Plot: As word reaches the science community about the “gill-man,” an aquatic humanoid discovered in the Amazon, a team of researchers head to the area to see what data can be collected. The creature was lost by the original team and presumed dead, but these scientists have some theories that suggest otherwise. As it turns out, the creature is still alive and thanks to some clever stun-traps, he is captured and taken back to Florida, where is placed in an ocean center. The center is home to valuable research on marine life, but it also serves as a theme park of sorts and of course, the creature would be quite a draw for the tourists. But can the creature be imprisoned and turned into a zoo exhibit or will he once again overcome his captors?
Entertainment Value: The Creature from the Black Lagoon nailed the monster movie vibe and delivered one of the most iconic horror creations ever, so this sequel had a lot to live up to. Revenge of the Creature isn’t even close to the magic of the original, but it is a solid b movie and has some good sequences, especially the ones between the creature and John Agar. The story is fine and is an interesting extension of the creature’s tale, even if it veers from the original’s vision. The movie does have several back in the Amazon before we move to the ocean center, so at least an effort to made to keep a connection, which is nice. This is a simpler, less stylish movie to be sure, with basic visuals and a more spartan production design, with even the underwater scenes being rather plain. But genre fans should be able to pick up some trace elements of ecological horror that would become a boom in horror cinema, as well as a critique of places of SeaWorld and how performance animals are treated. Even so, Revenge of the Creature winds up as a passable continuation of the creature legend, but it never sparks the imagination like the original.
The cast here is fine, but as the material is thin at best, no one is really given too much of a chance to shine. John Agar has the most substantial role, as the man who experiments on the creature and tries to keep him in line, with ruthless methods. Those who have seen The Shape of Water will pick up on Agar’s role immediately, as Michael Shannon plays essentially the same character there. The romance between the creature and a beautiful woman was an enduring element of the original movie and while it is tried again here, it just doesn’t resonate as well. Lori Nelson’s performance is fine, but it just isn’t the same the second time around, as it feels forced here. This movie also has Clint Eastwood in his screen debut, in a small role as a lab technician. Revenge of the Creature never tries to be more than a watchable b movie, so perhaps we shouldn’t judge it too harshly, since it does deliver on that front. Perhaps the cast and crew knew it would be impossible to equal the original and went for a different approach here, one that isn’t as memorable, but is still decent. So for fans of classic horror and the Universal Monsters, this one is still worth a look.