Picking up a year after the first film, REVENGE OF THE CREATURE has a couple of stalwart scientist-types return to the Black Lagoon to capture the monster. Using dynamite charges (which seems a little over the top!) to subdue him, they transport the amphibian back to
Florida and set him up in
for scientific study and public viewing. Ichthyologist Helen Dobson (Lori
Nelson) and fellow scientist Clete (Really? Clete?) Ocean Harbor Ferguson (John Agar) begin trying to both
communicate with the Gill Man and romance each other. Their romance is a bit
more successful... probably because Agar doesn't poke Nelson with an
electrified prod every ten minutes as he does the Creature. Finally the poor
aquatic beastie manages to break free, kill a few folks and run off into the
open water with gunmen in hot pursuit. Once again he has his sights set on a
female — this time it's Ms. Nelson he goes in search of, putting her new fiancé
Agar on the offensive!
Definitely a couple of notches down from CFTBL, Revenge is still good and certainly not worthy of the turkey carving given it by Mystery Science Theater 3000. The main reason for the drop in quality is unavoidable, as the first film eliminated the mystery of the Creature. At least they acknowledge this by getting him onscreen quickly and moving the story to the next logical step. However, by taking the Gill Man out of the lagoon a big part of the creepy thrill of the first film is lost. The Creature just isn't as scary or impressive lurking in a swimming pool as he was in a shadowy grotto. Another reason for the lesser stature of Revenge is that too much time is spent on the romance subplot. This is a structural carry over from the previous film; in that film it seemed unobtrusive while here it simply gets in the way. The romance story element could have been great if it had been used to emphasis the sadly solitary nature of the Gill Man but this idea is only given lip service and instead we're treated to him once again becoming infatuated with a human female. Plus the two lovers are given the movie's most stilted dialog, making their romantic scenes pretty silly at times. Still, this is a fun, well-paced monster film and a pretty good sequel to a classic. If only they had decided to include a Gill Woman...