“Man is not only capable of change, but man alone — among all living creatures — can change the direction in which that will take place.”
A professor (Arthur Franz) who receives a rare prehistoric fish is puzzled when the dog owned by his research assistant (Troy Donahue) suddenly becomes wild after drinking the fish’s water, and his colleague’s assistant (Helen Westcott) turns up murdered after spending time with Franz. His concerned girlfriend (Joanna Moore) tries to protect Franz from suspicion, but he himself is determined to get to the bottom of the mystery.
Director Jack Arnold is best known for a handful of sci-fi classics, including It Came from Outer Space (1953), Creature from the Black Lagoon (1954), and The Incredible Shrinking Man (1957). Unfortunately, this Jekyll-and-Hyde-inspired flick isn’t in the same league by a long shot; the storyline is of the type where audience members figure out the “mystery” long before the rest of the characters do, despite obvious hints. Meanwhile, Franz isn’t a particularly likable hero — while we admire his tenacity and self-sacrifice, he’s also a bombastic womanizer who won’t stop lecturing. (His opening line as he’s removing a plaster cast from his girlfriend’s face is, “Ah, the human female in the perfect state — helpless and silent.”) Clearly this is meant to show his — I mean mankind’s — more primitive side, but it comes across as simply dated and obnoxious. The makeup of the titular monster is pretty silly-looking, too.
Redeeming Qualities and Moments:
- Russell Metty’s cinematography
Nope; you can definitely skip this one.