Mockbusters were around way before The Asylum. The Creature from the Black Lagoon (1954) and its subsequent sequels Revenge of the Creature (1955) and finally The Creature Walks Among Us (1956) also had an illegitimate cousin.
In 1955 the crew who worked on Jack Arnold’s sequel to the seminal Universal classic, entitled Revenge of the Creature, thought it would be fun to produce and shoot their own Creature spoof/knock-off at Florida’s Marine Studios. The fruit of their labor was the little known and even littler seen Return of the Creature. The twenty-minute flick was shown at the wrap party for Revenge and never seen again.
Now, after 58 years of speculation as to whether or not this flick actually existed, a researcher named Tom Weaver has uncovered the long lost film, and there are plans to screen it at this year’s Monster Bash in Pittsburgh, PA.
Weaver explains to RoboJapan, “About 15 years ago, while doing CREATURE research out in California, I came across a REVENGE OF THE CREATURE publicity item (probably never published anywhere) to the effect that, while Jack Arnold & Co. were making REVENGE at Florida’s Marine Studios, several Marine Studios employees thought it would be fun to make their own monster movie, a spoof of REVENGE, and show it at the REVENGE wrap party. It sounded pretty far-out, and I had a feeling it was just made-up crap so I just made a small note of its existence (the publicity item’s existence) and kinda forgot about it. Then, a couple years ago, we all found out that there WAS such a production: The brother of its star Patricia Powers (died 1997) created a website and mentioned it, about two thirds of the way down.”
Weaver continues, “Once I read that, I became determined to find out if it still existed but didn’t know how to go about it. One other tidbit I discovered in my travels: Marine Studios founder Cornelius Vanderbilt saw it and loved it and asked that a duplicate print be made. An associate of Vanderbilt’s, a guy who traveled with the Vanderbilts, told me that in different parts of the world, the urge to see it again would hit Vanderbilt and he’d ask this assistant to dig out the print and a projector and run it for Vanderbilt and all his Vanderbilt-level friends. The assistant told me that glitterati around the world were treated to RETURN OF THE CREATURE. The assistant also told me the name of the guy who dreamed up the movie and had the original print — but didn’t know if he was still alive. He’s alive. I found him. I now hold in my hands a DVD copy of THE RETURN OF THE CREATURE which arrived in my PO Box about an hour ago. It was made in a few days by guys who never made a movie before or after — but everyone who’s seen it, including Ricou Browning, have told me that it’s quite funny. During its 21-minute running time, I laughed out loud several times. Most Hollywood comedies don’t make me laugh, but this nutty thing did.”
How’s that for an amazing story? Kind of really makes you want to go to Monster Bash, no? Let’s just hope somehow, some way this finds some form of distribution so that fans everywhere can enjoy it!
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