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This review originally appeared in issue 8 of THE CINEMA LASER.

CREATURE DOUBLE FEATURE

If you're a fan of the science fiction genre, then you have got to love the way MCA/Universal has been delivering the goods in recent months. First they give us THE GOLDEN AGE OF SCIENCE FICTION THRILLERS!, now we get the CREATURE DOUBLE FEATURE ($60) with REVENGE OF THE CREATURE and THE CREATURE WALKS AMONG US.

REVENGE OF THE CREATURE was directed by Jack Arnold, and is the direct sequel to Arnold's CREATURE FROM THE BLACK LAGOON. The story starts, as in the first film in the Amazon, then shifts to Florida after the Gill-man has been captured and put on display in a "Sea World" environment. Just as with the first CREATURE film, the Gill-man becomes enamored with the film's lovely female lead. Great horny toads indeed! Not happy with his new surroundings, the Gill-man escapes and goes on a rampage, but does take time out to follow his new paramour. The cast includes John Agar, Lori Nelson, John Bromfield and the incomparable Nestor Paiva.

REVENGE OF THE CREATURE was originally released in 3-D, but is presented flat on Laser. MCA/Universal has done a fine job with the flat black and white transfer. The image has a nice black level, good contrast and fine detail. If one scrutinizes the image, you will find a great deal of space above and below the main action indicating that REVENGE OF THE CREATURE was intended to be projected at a 1.85:1 aspect ratio. The film isn't damaged by the full screen transfer, but those with a couple of strips of black cardboard may want to matte the image to the intended ratio. As for, the digital monaural soundtrack is faithfully reproduced, with few age related flaws.

THE CREATURE WALKS AMONG US was not directed by Jack Arnold, and has something of a bad reputation because it was not the box office hit the previous two installments were. Jack Arnold left the series because he felt he had little else to contribute to the character of the Gill-man. Director John Sherwood took over the reins on this third installment, and he acquits himself quite well. In fact, I like this film almost as much as I liked the original.

THE CREATURE WALKS AMONG US is something of a departure from the first two films, in this installment the Gill-man becomes the victim instead of the monster. Scientists capture the Gill-man and turn him into a guinea pig in an effort to create a new species. Due to a fire, the Gill-man looses his gills and is forced to become a land based creature with the scientist activate his dormant lungs. Throughout the rest of the film, the creature longs to return to the water, which may cause his ultimate demise. Humans are portrayed so unsympathetically in THE CREATURE WALKS AMONG US that they become the monsters, which causes the audience to identify with the Gill-man. The cast includes Jeff Morrow, Rex Reason and Leigh Snowden. Ricou Browning returns for a third time to portray the Gill-man in the underwater sequences. Hey, what happened to Nestor Paiva...

The second half of this double bill looks as good as the first half. The black and white image is sharp and richly detailed. And as with REVENGE OF THE CREATURE, THE CREATURE WALKS AMONG US has been given a full frame transfer, so those strips of black cardboard will come in handy again. The digitally encoded monaural soundtrack sounds great- so amplify that stock music! The Pioneer LDCA pressing is excellent for both films.

The double feature is presented on four sides which allows both films to be presented in CAV on their second sides. Both films come packaged in a nice gatefold jacket with photos and liner notes. Also include are theatrical trailers and still files for both films. Very highly recommended for fifties science fiction fanatics.

 
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Laserdisc reviews are Copyright 1996 THE CINEMA LASER and may not be copied or reprinted without the written consent of the publisher.
THE CINEMA LASER is written, edited and published by Derek M. Germano.


 

 

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