Reviewed by Colin Jacobson (December 23, 2018)
For the third and final film in a series started by 1954’s Creature from the Black Lagoon, we head to 1956’s The Creature Walks Among Us. At the end of 1955’s Revenge of the Creature, the title character took up residence in the Florida Everglades.
Wealthy Dr. William Barton (Jeff Morrow) decides to disturb the Creature’s solace and he mounts an expedition to capture the beast. Once this occurs, Dr. Barton turns the Creature into an air-breathing land-dweller. This doesn’t sit well with the Creature and sends him on a rampage.
Why do I suspect that the decision to make the Creature able to inhale oxygen stemmed from financial considerations? It’s cheaper to shoot on land than in the water, so this development allows for a less expensive production.
Not that this really adds much to the equation, as the Creature could always spend time on land – limited time, perhaps, but it’s not like he needed to stay in the water 24/7. The Creature created plenty of land-based terror in the first two movies, so the change to air-breathing really does strike me as nothing more than a budget-related gimmick.
Not that the film totally avoids underwater material, as it spends a reasonable amount of time there during its first half. Perhaps the Creature’s change doesn’t relate to a desire to save some dough, but my suspicions remain – especially since some of the underwater footage recycles shots from earlier films.
This doesn’t make Walks a bad movie, though, and like with Revenge, I appreciate the film’s willingness to stretch its boundaries – to a degree, at least. Also like Revenge, Walks offers a few novel conceits while it regurgitates a few old themes.
In the latter domain, we once again find a Creature motivated by lust for a sexy blonde. While that idea seems tedious, Walks spices up matters somewhat due to the nature of the female lead.
Whereas the first two movies featured fairly passive women, Walks brings a much more dynamic love interest. Barton’s wife Marcia (Leigh Snowden) exhibits bravado and daring to the point of recklessness, factors that make her both more interesting and more of a wild card than her predecessors.
In addition, the typical romantic side of the story comes with complications, as we see ruptures in the relationship between Dr. Barton and Marcia. This opens the door to a love triangle that adds a bit of drama.
None of these elements feel especially novel, but they give Walks more bite than the often toothless Revenge. The latter seemed mushy and bland too much of the time, whereas the edgier characters of Walks manage to allow the film a little added oomph.
Despite all these factors, Walks suffers from one major flaw: the dopiness of the decision to make the Creature a land-dweller. Eventually he feels like little more than a big lunkheaded dude without much personality. He simply pouts and lumbers around in a dull manner that neuters a lot of his prior menace.
Even with these drawbacks, I still think Walks provides a decent sequel. It manages to go its own way and offer a twist on the Creature template.