THE CREATURE WALKS AMONG US finished off the trio of Universal’s popular Gill-Man thrillers in 1956 with this 78-minute fish story, making the mistake of underscoring the basic silliness by having a script that pretends at depth by diving into several thematic directions only to sink below C-level (hey, that’s as good as anything you hear in the movie).
Another expedition recaptures the creature (last seen grievously wounded in Florida, never having made it to any theme parks), only this group, besides a thoughtful scientist (Rex Reason) includes a sneering, jealous husband (Jeff Morrow), his semi-trampy wife (Leigh Snowden) and a surly boat captain lusting after the dame (Gregg Palmer). We’re supposed to care about their problems when not watching them swim, both of which make up dead zones in the story, which has them surgically (paging Medicine + Phrases = Scientific Wonders Dept) repair a badly burned monster into something closer to… human. Some present.
While the refurbished (and still pissed) creature won’t win any beauty contests, the trauma from his wounds, rehab and continual search for love (it’s Miss Snowden’s turn to get the fish-eye treatment) brings out his dormant inner mammal and he ends up taking sides. Perhaps he overheard the doctor (the sane one) pronouncing “we all stand between the jungle and the stars, at a crossroads. I think we better decide what brings out the best in humankind, and what brings out the worst, because it’s the stars or the jungle.” Shortly after this observation, several people get killed, because the audience already knew what side they were on when they paid to watch this.
Well photographed (they had the underwater stuff down), with a few good action scenes, chiefly the fiery capture sequence on a motorboat in a stream and then the final furniture-bashing, body-hurling stomp through the doctor’s compound. The makeup covers the real-live persons Ricou Browning (3rd time in gills) and big bruiser Don Megowan. Directed by John Sherwood, the writing is weak, the second-string actors trapped by the material. As with the first two films, the music score, overseen by the credit-whisking Joseph Gershenson, was a mash-up of cues from Henry Mancini, Hans J. Salter, Heinz Roemheld and others. Filmed in Wakulla Springs and Fort Myers, Florida.