The darkness of mankind is often explored in movies where monsters manifest seemingly from nowhere; fear, in cinema, often reveals true identities.
The idea of a villain leading the “fight” against a strange, often alien creature (or creatures) isn’t something new or original, but it’s still always a challenging pursuit to try and frame humans as bad guys, and to try and make an audience feel sorry for a species they’d never seen before walking into the theatre.
The Creature Walks Among Us – the third and final instalment in the Creature From The Black Lagoon series – introduces a new cast but takes on a classic trope of a human villain holding the piece together. Dr. William Barton (Jeff Morton) is a crazed and abusive scientist looking for the Gill-Man, star of the last two films, who gets badly burned when captured.
When the creature is examined, Gill-Man begins shedding his scales, developing skin and lungs. Eventually, Gill-Man is taken back to shore, where he still longs for the sea in wistful shots gazing to the distance, before losing his temper and attacking the people on land.
This third film seems to be blunter than the first two: the scientists are the real villains in this, and Jeff Morton plays the megalomaniacal Barton with a steely coldness. The movie manages to evoke a few frights, but it’s the sadness that will stay you, with the creature becoming a shadow of his former self as the plot develops.
It’s well directed too, with the scene of the Gill-Man catching fire a standout, and that’s without touching on the superb score, courtesy of the legendary Henry Mancini, which really floats with the more poignant moments.
The Creature Walks Among us isn’t the most exciting edition of the franchise: it’s fairly predictable in the end and at times, it seems like the movie’s only delaying the cataclysmic finale by stretching out the action.
It is, however, a fascinating way to end the trilogy, and it stands as its own movie without the two. It’s a great insight into the monstrousness of mankind more than anything, and an entertaining watch.