The Creature Walks Among Us

Rating: 5 out of 10.

The third and final Gill-man film from 1956 toys with interesting fish-out-of-water themes. Despite competent direction and good acting, the low budget and aimless script fail to give this movie buoyance. 5/10

The Creature Walks Among Us. 1956, USA. Directed by John Sherwood. Written by Arthur Ross. Starring: Rex Reason, Jeff Morrow, Leigh Snowden, Gregg Palmer, Don Megowan. Produced by William Alland. IMDb: 5.6/10. Rotten Tomatoes: 5.4/10. Metacritic: N/A.

In 1954 a crew of scientists led by SF legends Richard Carlson and Richard Denning, along with Julie Adams, took a fatal trip up the Amazon river in search of the Gill-man, a “mer-man” remnant from the Devonian period thought to be the missing link between fish and humans. In true King Kong manner, the movie depicted the strife between “science” and “nature”, where Denning wanted to catch the Creature for the sake of research, money and fame, whereas Carlson’s humane view ultimately won out, leaving the Gill-man to nurture his wounds in the tranquility of his Black Lagoon (see review). In 1955 Universal revisited its new favourite monster in Revenge of the Creature (review). That movie began with a new team of scientists bringing the Creature to an aquarium in the US, where John Agar and Lori Nelson “researched” him with electric bull prods, until he had had enough of “science”, broke out and returned to the sea.

In 1956 Universal followed up with a second and last sequel, The Creature Walks Among Us, directed by John Sherwood. Arthur Ross, who co-wrote the original film, is now back as sole screenwriter after sitting out the middle film, with mixed but interesting results. This time a new crew finds the Gill-man swimming around the Florida Everglades and set out to catch him. On board is the shrewd millionaire scientist Jeff Morrow (one of our favourite aliens) and his young and beautiful but completely estranged wife Leigh Snowden, who gets into romantic complications with broad-chested, no-nonsense sailor Gregg Palmer. The Richard Carlson part in the film is played by deep-voiced and handsome Rex Reason, who teams up with Morrow for another Universal SF movie after having starred in This Island Earth (1955, review). Along for the ride are also disposable Dr. and Dr., Maurice Johnson and James Rawley, as well as David McMahon as the ship’s captain. The reason for this expedition, it is explained, is for Morrow to capture the Creature and learn what he can from this missing link in order to genetically modify humans so they can reach space.

Rex Reason, Jeff Morrow and Gregg Palmer.

Tensions have already started building between Morrow, Snowden and Palmer before they set eyes on the Gill-man, as Snowden insists on going down with Reason and Palmer hunting for the creature. This is so the crew can recreate for a third time the famous scene of the Creature secretly stalking Julie Adams underwater. Palmer and Reason abort their hunt, as Snowden dives too deep and gets diving sickness, which for some bizarre reason causes her to start doing underwater ballet.

Gregg Palmer and Leigh Snowden.

Later the crew, sans meddling woman, chase the creature in a small boat into a small subsidiary river, where they corner it and try to knock it out with a sedative. However, when it attacks, some genius throws a gasoline lamp on it, after it has accidentally dowsed itself with gasoline (very convenient for the story). Sedated and badly burned, it is taken to the ship, which includes a high-tech medical facility. Here they realise that the creature’s outer scales have burned away, revealing a layer of “human skin” underneath. But its gills have also been melted shut, which means it struggles to breathe. Examining the no-longer-gilled-man, they discover dormant lungs, and decides to perform a tracheotomy and jumpstart the lungs, essentially turning their patient from fish to man in a matter of minutes. The plan is then to take it back to Morrow’s mansion by the sea, where he is to be kept for study.

The “boat”.

This is also what happens, albeit not without a mishap on the way, where the Creature wakes up, saves Snowden from being raped by Palmer and then returns to the sea, not realising its gills no longer work. Reason dives down with an air hose and rescues the Creature. Back at the mansion, Morrow locks the creature up in a pen with his goats, just in sight of the ocean (where we naturally get a scene with Snowden swimming). Here, the philosophical debate between Reason and Morrow comes to a point — even though what the point is, is not entirely clear. However, what is clear is that Morrow sees the Gill-man as a beast, and that as a beast it will always follow its natural instinct to kill. Reason, however, argues that it is a reasoning, feeling being, and if met with kindness will react in kind. When the triangle drama between Morrow, Palmer and Snowden comes to a point, Morrow reveals who the real beast is, and commits a murder in sight of the Creature. The Creature breaks free, takes his revenge and returns, one last time, to the sea.

The creature walks among us, in the form of Don Megowan, here with Gregg Palmer.

The Creature from the Black Lagoon, the Gill-man, was the last of the classic Universal monsters, in a long line from Lon Chaney, Sr.’s Quasimodo in 1923 to Lon Chaney, Jr.’s The Wolf Man in 1945. The Gill-man was sort of a late-born straggler conjured up during the final phases of the 3D craze after Universal had had s few promising successes in the science fiction genre, primarily through the hands of producer William Alland and director Jack Arnold. While it id have its scripting flaws, the first movie was a genuinely thoughtful picture with a budget that allowed Alland and Arnold to make what was essentially a very good monster movie. I was also helped by a superb cast, and not least by diver Ricou Browning’s artful portrayal of the Creature underwater. The second film was a rehash of he first movie, with a slow-moving and predictable script, terrible dialogue and stodgy acting. But it did have a few of Arnold’s flashes of genius. The third instalment generally gets a bad rap, primarily for “wrecking” the Creature by taking it out of the water. While one can lament this decision, it wasn’t a terrible idea as such, had screenwriter Arthur Ross been able to do anything interesting with the premise. However, once the Gill-man is topside, the attention turns almost entirely to the love rectangle and to the philosophical sparring between Morrow and Reason. Whatever Morrow had intended to do with the Creature after he was captured, it is never even mentioned again — the Creature just stands around in his sailcloth suit in the goat pen, looking longingly at the lake beneath him. Exactly how the Creature’s genetic mutation is going to help humans reach space is unclear, although there is some talk of creating a new species of human. How being able to breathe underwater (if that is the point of it all) will help humans reach space remains a mystery. However, once topside, this discussion immediately disappears and turns exclusively to the question of whether the Creature is predestined to be a mindless killer or whether it has gone through some sped-up evolution, making it more alike humans. However, this discussion of bestiality or evil as determined by nature or nurture now doesn’t really concern the Creature, but rather Morrow’s character and his abusive relationship with his estranged wife. The mirroring of monsters in humans is an old trope and one that can work very effectively if used well. Here, however, Arthur Ross just seems to be flailing.

Leigh Snowden, in one of a number of gratuitous swimsuit scenes.

The reason to bring the Creature up on dry land was economical. Shooting underwater required time, equipment and, not least, a large crew of wranglers, safety-divers, etc. The first movie was no big-budget production, but produced on about 650,000 dollars, which was, at the time, the budget for a mid-sized Hollywood picture, and a considerable amount of that money went into the 3D technology. Revenge of he Creature was made considerably cheaper that Creature from the Black Lagoon, still filmed in 3D, although I have found no actual budget references for that movie. The Creature Walks Among Us was filmed even cheaper, and flat, and my estimate would be that it would have been filmed for 250–300,000 dollars. Creature from the Black Lagoon made 1.3 million USD at the box office and Revenge of the Creature 1.1 million, and Universal gambled correctly that even a cheaper third chapter would at least make back double its cost on the Creature’s marquee value alone — it took home 1 million USD, making it the most profitable (proportionally speaking) film of the franchise. Producer William Alland tells film historian Tom Weaver that he did not want to make the film, but was assigned to it by Universal. Jack Arnold did not return, instead directorial duties were given to long-time assistant director John Sherwood, who had previously only directed two short movies and a western.

Perhaps the best scene of the movie, of the crew hunting the Creature.

However, Sherwood’s direction is not bad. He had worked his way up the apprentice system within the studio — the same way that Jack Arnold had. He does a good job of replicating the feeling from the first movie during those two thirds of the film that it is water-bound; although much of the action is filmed aboard the boat in a studio. But the film does benefit from a fair amount of location shooting around Florida and the Everglades. In many of the wide shots all the characters are wearing hats, suggesting doubles were used for some of the location filming, but other parts clearly had the actors on location. The best sequence of the movie is the one where the crew is hunting down the Creature during the night in a small boat somewhere along a small, tropical by-river. The camera boat trails behind, skillfully filming between leaves and branches, creating a mysterious atmosphere, aided by the creepy nightly fauna created by the film’s sound department. Ricou Browning does some of his best physical acting here, in the Gill-man suit, and there a really nice full-body burn stunt, as the Creature is set on fire (with stuntman Al Wyatt in a special suit). Another great scene is the one in which the Creature tries to return to the sea after being operated on, and has to be rescued by Rex Reason, diving down with an air hose. I suspect this was Browning in the suit again, once again doing a great job with the physical acting, even though it is not his “ordinary” Gill-man suit, but the modified, gill-less one used by Don Megowan on land (which probably wasn’t a “suit” as much as it was gloves, boots and headgear, as he always wears clothes over the rest of his body, with Universal further cutting corners to save time and money). The scene is perhaps ten seconds too long, but very good nonetheless.

In other instances, the lack of budget shows. Most shots of Ricou Browning underwater are actually reused and unused material from the previous movies: apart from the afore-mentioned scene, we never see the main characters in the same shot as the Gill-man when they are underwater. The sets are all cramped, and sometimes the actors almost have to crawl over each other in order to all fit in the shot. The way they are frequently lined up for the camera also shows Sherwood’s lack of experience.

Ricou Browning in reused footage.

Whatever the faults of the film, the actors aren’t to blame. Jeff Morrow is suitably evil as the millionaire scientist, and Rex Reason was a better actor than his handsome frame and majestic voice would suggest. Once you hear that amazing barytone, you think his in the film just for the voice, but he is actually a subtler actor than his pipes would suggest. Leigh Snowden was better known for her looks than her talents, but she is not a bad actress at all, and actually gets a more interesting role than many of her B-movie sisters. The script does Gregg Palmer no service, and it would have been difficult for any actor to make anything more of the one-dimensional role, but despite some stiffness and the occasional bout of over-acting, he pulls through. The rest of the cast are merely placeholders, but Maurice Manson and James Rawley as the extra scientists are dependable supporting players, adding a degree of realism to the proceedings. Don Megowan does what he can as the land-based Creature, and puts in a surprisingly emotional pantomime.

Jeff Morrow and Rex Reason.

As stated, The Creature Walks Among Us was a box office success in relation to its production costs, and pulled in nearly as much money as its two predecessors. At the time of its release, it received fair notices in the trade press. Brog in Variety wrote: “The scripting by Arthur Ross is shadowy in detailing some of the human relations and motivations, but still hold together sufficiently in keeping interest centered on the main character.” The Independent Film Bulletin noted that the film is able to “milk some excitement” out of the Gill-man, but gives the impression that the idea “is beginning to wear thin”. The review continues: “For the most part, it is a rather mechanical meller that telegraphs its punches. However, it should be a worthy boxoffice entry for for houses that fared well with the two previous films.” Harrison’s Reports likewise reported: “If the previous ‘Creature’ melodramas have proven acceptable to your patrons, this one, too, should satisfy them, for the chills and thrills it offers are on par with its predecessors.”

Today the picture has a 5.6/10 audience rating on IMDb, based on around 3,500 votes, and a 5.4/10 critic rating on Rotten Tomatoes, with a 43% “Rotten” consensus. The Creature Walks Among Us has a 2/5 rating on AllMovie, with Cavett Binion writing: “This disappointing conclusion to the series makes little use of the 3-D thrills that enlivened the original and forsakes the opportunity to present a literal fish-out-of-water story in favor of hackneyed melodrama.” Entertainment Weekly calls the film a “misfire”, and TV Guide notes that “little of the magic of the original picture [is] present”.

The Gill-man behind bars.

Phil Hardy in The Encyclopedia of Science Fiction Movies bemoans that the Creature has been reduced to “an unsympathetic, conventional, lumbering monster”. Bill Warren in the book Keep Watching the Skies” calls the film “a fairly good B-budget monster film, but […] nothing special”. Chris Barsanti in The Sci-Fi Movie Guide writes that The Creature Walks Among Us has “little of the original film’s magic, but [is] a weirdly compelling film in its own right”. While most modern critics place the movie into the category “clunky melodrama but curiously interesting”, there are also those views on both sides of this middle-of-the-road approach. Matthew Foster at Foster on Film gives the movie a scathing 1/5 stars, calling it “one of the dumbest movies you’re likely to see”. But the defenders are in majority. Andrew “Zero Stars” Wickliffe at The Stop Button gives The Creature Walks Among Us 2/4 stars. While noting that it’s a disappointment from the two previous films, citing “cool […] character work” a “rather good” script, “solid” acting. Wickliffe praises Snowden’s acting and writes that “Reason does a fantastic job delivering all the scientific and philosophic monologues”. Richard Scheib at Moria actually awards the movie 3.5/5 stars: “While usually regarded as the least of the series, The Creature Walks Among Us is actually quite a good film. What strikes one is its conceptual audacity.” And Barry Atkinson in his book Atomic Age Cinema goes as far as calling The Creature Walks Among Us “the finest, most all-rounded and complete gill-man feature.

Diving.

All things considered, The Creature Walks Among Us is a fair B-movie, certainly on par, if not better than the weak final entrances in Universal’s monster cycle in 1944 and 1945. Universal seldom made terrible horror or SF films, and even its weaker scripts were elevated by the solid talent and routine of the people behind the camera. Screenwriter Arthur Ross toys with interesting ideas, but by the time the Creature arrives on dry land, the script has completely gotten lost in its shifting emphases, as if it no longer was quite sure what the story was supposed to be about. We are promised a fish-out-of-water story, but this never materialises. Ross doesn’t really do anything with the creature once he is fished out of the water, he’s just sort of shuffled around from one place to the other, ending up in a goat pen. Despite all the talk of using the Creature as a starting point for creating a new species of humans, the script never delivers on this plot, either. In the end, all the lofty concepts boil down to a finale where the Creature simply acts as an illustration of the rather tired horror movie rumination of the beast in all of us. The story has then long since stopped being about the Creature, and instead focuses on the forced domestic melodrama. Performances are all fine, with Reason and Snowden the standouts. The direction is likewise OK, with a few flourishes, but mostly mundane and hampered by the low budget.

Ricou Browning in the underwater suit, before the Gill-man doubles in size once it becomes land-locked.

If you’re looking for logic and consistence, then look away. Of course, there’s the oft-repeated SF sin of misunderstanding the concept of mutation. Individual organisms don’t mutate, even with the “help” of external forces, such as radiation. Species or groups mutate – or evolve – over time, and mutations can be carried on through sperms, but individuals don’t start sprouting extra toes or fingers after being radiated. Of course, SF movies often try to get around this fact by introducing some kind of technology or chemical which bypasses the laws of nature, allowing mutations in an individual. But nothing of the kind is done in The Creature Walks Among Us. One could launch a defence of the movie arguing that the Creature doesn’t actually mutate, it simply goes through a kind of metamorphosis, shedding its scales and opening up already dormant lungs, a bit like a tadpole becoming a frog. And, sure, theoretically it is possible that Gill-men go through metamorphosis and become land creatures, but that’s not what the script suggests. However, this is a monster movie, and I’m fine with monster movies stretching the laws of nature for the sake of plot and theme. But what bothers me is the massive vagueness with with the film handles the central idea – for that matter, how it fails to even explain it. In the beginning, he explains that he hopes to learn from the Creature how humans could evolve – or mutate – in order to cope with the exploration of outer space. But he never explains this any further, or even why humans would need to evolve in order to explore outer space. At mid-point, it is hinted that the working theory was that the Gill-man could and would evolve once on dry land, and the fact that it does is seen as a success. But during the rest of the film, Morrow’s character seems to belittle or dismiss this mutation, and indeed anything that might be learned from the Creature – again, without any explanation of what has causes this sudden pessimism.

Rex Reason, Jeff Morrow and Leigh Snowden.

But there’s also other, smaller details that are jarring. For example, when hunting the Creature in the small boat, the hunters complain it’s dark, and then pull up two ginormous, round oil lamps with wicks on top, and place them precariously on stern and bow of the little boat. First of all, anyone who has ever sat by a fire in the dark knows that this is the worst possible action you can take when hunting anything, because the open flame in front of you will not so much illuminate the dark but blind you. Plus: on this super-high-tech research boat, one would assume they stocked flashlights. Of course, this who charade is simply an extremely contrived way of getting the Creature to set itself on fire. Another silly point is when Snowden’s character dives down on the hunt for the Creature and is affected by nitrogen narcosis. While it is true that divers say that the condition resembles being drunk, I doubt that there has ever been a case of a diver chasing a dangerous sea animal forgetting what she is doing and starting to do underwater gymnastics. Then there’s the fact that the Gill-man seems to double in size once he’s pulled out of the water. Ricou Browning, playing the Creature underwater, was no small man (his height has been reported as between 5’8 and 6’3, or 180-190 cm), but he was lean and lanky. Don Megowan, standing 6’6 (199 cm) tall, towers over 6’3 leading man Rex Reason, and the 200+ lb actor is clearly heavily padded in the chest and shoulder areas, giving the landlocked Creature almost double the chest circumference of the aquatic version. It’s like Arnold Schwarzenegger doubling for Keanu Reeves.

John Sherwood, as mentioned, was not a particularly seasoned director when he was assigned to The Creature Walks Among Us. This was only his second feature film after the romantic western film Raw Edge, made the same year. He only directed one other movie, the curious science fiction thriller The Monolith Monsters (1957), before Universal terminated its apprentice program. Before that Sherman was one of the many people who worked their way up in the film business, in his case from the props department to assistant and second unit director, in which capacity he made over 60 movies. Unfortunately the job led to his untimely death at just 55 years old in 1959, as he passed away from pneumonia contracted while directing the second unit on the film Pillow Talk.

Rex Reason.

Born in Germany to American parents, Rex Reason and his brother Rhodes were brought up by a mother who was, in Rex’ words ”the biggest movie buff in the world”, and she brought up both her boys to become actors. After serving in WWII, Reason worked on stage for three years, before landing a lead role in a minor MGM film in 1952. He was picked up by Universal in 1953, and for some inexplicable reason, the studio decided to change his birth name – the Hollywood-friendly Rex Reason – to Bart Roberts, which he despised, and only tolerated for two movies, including Taza, Son of Chochise (1954), where he played a Native American, slathered in brown body paint, with a likewise brownface Rock Hudson as his brother. This was one of his few beefcake roles. In 1955 he landed the lead in Universal’s Technicolor SF splash This Island Earth, which was a clear sign that he was not on Universal’s list of top leads; big names didn’t do sci-fi. Just like another hunky leading man, John Agar, Reason had difficulties holding his own against the small group of big-time leading men that Universal was grooming, including actors like Rock Hudson and Tony Curtis. Agar had starred in Revenge of the Creature the year before, and the next year Reason found himself as the lead in The Creature Walks Among Us.

In the book Double Feature Creature Attack, Reason tells film historian Tom Weaver that had he known he would be remembered for The Creature Walks Among Us, he wouldn’t have done it: “I did the film feeling it was just a job, but I really hadn’t anticipated the possibility of it getting on television – there weren’t too many movies on television of that type at the time, and I thought of it as a picture I’d simply be able to put behind me. I personally thought it was kind of corny.” Reason was also slated as the male lead in the 1957 movie The Deadly Mantis, but that time he put down his foot. However, he probably wouldn’t have played the part anyway, as the movie went in production after what’s been labelled the great Universal shake-up, as the final demise of the so-called studio system led Universal to drop most of its contract players, including Rex Reason. In 1962, Reason opted out of his acting career. He tells Weaver that after being billed as a Hollywood leading man in his very first film at the age of 22 in 1952, he had led a sort of sheltered movie star life – and 10 years later felt that he had missed out on a sort of personal and spiritual growth that his old friends who were not in the movie business had experienced. According to himself, he then went on a journey of self-discovery. In more prosaic terms, he did what many Hollywood actors did after retiring and went into real estate.

Jeff Morrow.

Jeff Morrow was a veteran of the stage, a Shakespearean actor with experience from radio. He made his screen debut in 1953 with a lead in the spectacular A-picture The Robe, one of the first to be filmed in Cinemascope, and got rave reviews for his performance. However, for one reason or the other, he wasn’t able to follow up on the hype, and spent most of the fifties alternating between A and B movies as a very respected character actor, but never a commercial star. He was picked up by Universal in 1955, as the studio wanted him for This Island Earth. The next year, he teamed up once again with Reason in The Creature Walks Among Us. In 1957 he starred in another quite intelligent science fiction film called Kronos, in which he played a scientist. That same year he starred in one of the most unintentionally hilarious science fiction films in history, The Giant Claw. And much later, in 1971, Morrow did a walk-on part in Harry Essex’ abysmal Creature from the Black Lagoon remake Octaman, filling in for an actor who got sick. Morrow tells Weaver it was one of the few things he acted in that he never saw.

Leigh Snowden.

Beginning her career as a photo and department store photo model, Leigh Snowden became an overnight sensation in late 1954 on the on the Jack Benny TV show, “sashaying across the stage at the San Diego Naval base”. The curvy blonde was signed to a 7-year contract at Universal three days later, and was first cast in her perhaps best remembered role outside The Creature Walks Among Us, as Cheesecake, or the “No” girl, in Robert Aldrich’s crime drama Kiss Me Deadly (1955). Pinning her as a Marilyn Monroe type, Universal cast her in the leads of a handful of B-movies in 1956, however, her contract was terminated after her second marriage in 1956. After giving birth a year later she focused on her family, and did a few TV roles as a freelancer, until retiring from the screen in 1961. She passed away in the early 80’s from skin cancer, only 51 years old.

Gregg Palmer, of Norwegian stock on his father’s side, was born Palmer Lee in San Francisco in 1927. After WWII he got into radio as a lark, and moved to Los Angeles to pursue a career in acting in 1950. In 1954 he was picked up by Universal, as one of a number of actor groomed to step up as tough guy leading men behind Rock Hudson and Tony Curtis – a group that included Rex Reason and John Agar. His first featured role was in Taza, Son of Chochise, alongside Hudson and Reason, as well as SF bit-part staple Morris Ankrum. Alas, the timing was bad for Palmer, as he came into the Universal roster just before the studio system fell apart. However, unlike Reason, Palmer kept at it, specialising in westerns – he appeared in most of the famous western TV series between the 50’s and 70’s, and is known for appearing in seven films with John Wayne – notably in the role of the machete-wielding villain John Goodfellow in Big Jake (1971). Palmer also racked up a small number of SF appearances. In the infamous low-budget South Sea Horror SF movie From Hell it Came (1957), Palmer plays the native who after death returns as the walking tree stump monster Tabonga (although the tree suit was worn by bit-part actor Chester Hayes). He had an uncredited bit part in Disney’s The Absent Minded Professor (1961) and a featured role in Columbia’s radiation-mutation movie Most Dangerous Man Alive (1961). In 1968 he appeared briefly as a rancher in the western-themed Star Trek episode “Spectre of the Gun”. Palmer retired in 1982, and lived to the respectable age of 88, passing away in 2015.

Rex Reason, Maurice Manson and Jeff Morrow.

David McMahon, who plays the captain of the research ship in The Creature Walks Among Us has the surprising distinction of appearing in the three perhaps most iconic science fiction films of the 50’s; The Thing from Another World (1951, review), The Day the Earth Stood Still (1951, review) and The War of the Worlds (1953, review). All roles were uncredited blink-and-you-miss-him roles: in the two first he played military officers, in the latter a minister. He also appeared in tiny roles in the B-movies It Conquered the World (1956, review), The Deadly Mantis and The Monster that Challenged the World (1957).

Bit-part heavy staple Paul Fierro appears in one of his talkiest roles (he has over ten lines) as the man who tips the scientists of the Creatures whereabouts after being attacked by it. His wife is played by Nicaraguan beauty queen, actress and dancer Lillian Molieri in one of her few credited roles – this was her second-to-last movie appearance. She toured as a dancer in Europe, where her father served as a diplomat for three years in the late fifties, before returning to Nicaragua, where she opened a dance school. In the late sixties she hosted an hour-long radio show, which was awarded the prestigious Monje de Oro prize.

Paul Fierro.

Ricou Browning, playing the underwater Creature, was a show diver and producer at a Florida waterpark when he was hired to play the Gill-man in Creature from the Black Lagoon, and went on to appear in all three movies. He appeared as a stunt diver in Disney’s Jules Verne blockbuster 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea (1954, review) and in the early 60’s turned to underwater directing on TV shows. In 1963 he teamed up with Ivan Tors, and co-created, co-wrote and co-directed the hugely popular TV show Flipper. In 1965 he directed the impressive underwater sequences in the James Bond movie Thunderball. He also worked as second unit or assistant director on films like Hello Down There (1969), Hot Stuff (1979), Caddyshack (1980, and another James Bond movie, Never Say Never Again (1983), as well as Police Adademy 5 (1989).

Creature actor Don Megowan in Creation of the Humanoids (1962).

Playing the Creature on land was Don Megowan, a 6’6+ ft or 199 cm tall actor, track and field star and football player. When he was involved in a car accident in 1963, paramedics needed a crane to lift him out of the vehicle because of his huge size. Unsurprisingly, his build made him popular for roles as heavies, and he appeared as such in a whole slew of western TV series in the 50’s, 60’s and 70’s. His portrayal of the Gill-man has gone down as the one he is best remembered for, despite appearing in over 100 films or TV shows. He also had small roles in Alfred Hitchcock’s To Catch a Thief (1955) and Mel Brooks’ Blazing Saddles (1972). He had two starring roles in low-budget science fiction movies. He played the heroic leads in The Werewolf (1956) and The Creation of the Humanoids (1962). He is one of the ever-growing numbers to have played Frankenstein’s monster, in Curt Siodmak’s 1958 TV movie Tales of Frankenstein. He also had a bit-part as “early man” in The Story of Mankind (1957).

Janne Wass

The Creature Walks Among Us. 1956, USA. Directed by John Sherwood. Written by Arthur Ross. Starring: Rex Reason, Jeff Morrow, Leigh Snowden, Gregg Palmer, Don Megowan, Maurice Manson, James Rawley, David McMahon, Ricou Browning, Paul Fierro, Lillian Molieri. Music: Irving Gertz, Henry Mancini, Heinz Roemheld. Cinematography: Maury Gertzman. Editing: Edward Curtiss. Art direction: Alexander Golitzen, Robert Smith. Makeup: Bud Westmore, Vincent Romaine. Visual effects: Clifford Stine. Produced by William Alland for Universal.

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