It comes from the murky water of the Amazon River deep in the rainforest. Could easily be mistaken for a man if not for the rough, dark green, fish-like scales, tall body and webbed claws It can breathe on land and in the waters causing it to be a predator for both worlds. It is known has the gill man but as it was explain on FANDOM website of villians, “the Gill-man better known as the Creature from the Black Lagoon, the Swamp Creature, the Amphibian Man and the Asset (http://villains.wikia.com/wiki/Gill-man).” It is known to be “a living fossil, the only survivor of a species from the Devonian age” yet it can withstand a gunshot wound due to its strong exterior. How can the gill man be so strong yet be almost extinct? Being so close to extinction may be the reason for its attraction to human females to reproduce. Reproduction of his species seems to be the main purpose for the creature. The Encyclopedia of Literacy and Cinematic Monster describes all the iconic moments of each monster from books and films and for The Creature of the Black Lagoon the reason it became pop culture in media was “the iconic image of the Creature coming out of the primordial waters of his home or carrying away bathing suit-clad damsels to his hidden grotto are some of the most enduring in science fiction film.” The scene of the creature rising from the dark water and snatching the beautiful young lady is what made the creature be one of the top five pop culture monsters which includes Frankenstein, Dracula, Werewolf and the Mummy. But if you were raised on Disney films could it be that The Creature of the Black Lagoon could be retake of the classical Beauty and the Beast?
In the film The Creature of the Black Lagoon the gill man is first introduce by the members of a research group discovering a fossilized dry skin tighten around the bones claw-like hand with long nails never seen before. The lead scientist in the group excitingly states it is something he has never seen before and must take it back to research it more at the institution. The fossilized claw-like hand was found in the Amazon and the questions of who does the hand belong to, where it came from, and what is it. The researches continue their search of the creature and soon become aware the creature is interested of the teams’ only female, Kay. What is the desire of the creature? Why is the creature after the young beautiful woman who he keeps again and again trying to kidnap her? Looking past the kidnapping the creature wanted someone to share their remaining years left. Of course it was the last of its kind and it was lonely. Kay being the only woman in the crew was what he needed which was a mate. Can you blame him for attempting? Just look at it as his way of flirting and his attempts are harmless. Yet the team had no choice but to hunt the creature and even auger over if the creature should be killed or not. Jeffrey Jerome Cohen has studied monsters and with his research develop seven theories of what makes a monster a monster for example thesis two states the monsters always escapes has Cohen states, “the monster itself turns immaterial and vanishes, to reappear someplace else (Cohen p.4).” The Creature of the Black Lagoons received two sequels even after in the first installment it was shown the gill man being shot and it is dying in the river floating aimlessly. The creature always returns to attack and cause terror again. As said before in the very beginning of the film the creature is present by a fossilized hand. Already in the film the remains of the creature are shown to remind humans once a creature existed. Furthermore of the loneliness of the gill man that still lives isolated in the Amazon looking for a companion.
The biggest difference in The Creature of the Black Lagoon and The Shape of Water is the capture of the gill man who is taken to a government building to be studied. Like in The Creature of the Black Lagoon the gill man was a target. We want to know what it is and will do what we can to trap it in a glass case to study it. Yet he found a protector in that government building who had many things in common with him. Such as the disability of their voice and for them to communicate they had sign language to build a relationship. This woman who is mute, and interestingly had scars on her neck that looked like gills, was not afraid of him but curious and decide to make herself known to him. The gill man from The Shape of Water had fans described the creature as beautiful: with smooth scales, big eyes that are full of curiosity, skin tones of blue and tan color and even in one scene shown to glow. The glow scene of the creature is when the lead female character Elisa is embrace him. Elisa, unlike Kay, has fallen in love with the gill man and example her love as, “when he looks at me, the way he looks at me… He does not know, what I lack… Or – how – I am incomplete. He sees me, for what I – am, as I am. He’s happy – to see me. Every time. Every day (https://www.imdb.com/title/tt5580390/quotes/?tab=qt&ref_=tt_trv_qu).” As much as they love in different maybe even weird you can not help but cheer for them to be together. He too loves her and protects her in the end when she is shoot from the villain of the movie. The gill man kills him with his claws, that can be described like The Creature of the Black Lagoon’s claw-like hand, and then returns to Elisa and takes her in the water where they kiss and she is now alive. What is known is they left together and are happily in love. What a twist in the story of the Beauty and the Beast. The gill man in this film is kidnapped and held prisoner in the government building and Elisa is the one to bring him home even at the cost of her life.
In both films the creature is sought after by the government and scientists to study the gill man. The first glimpse of the creature is of its hand emerging from the water. The body of the gill man has changed from both films. Once being rough and rigid has evolved to smooth scales. So different yet so beautiful. Cohen mentions monster polices the borders of the possible and with the gill man it be a mere-man who is half fish and half man. We have creatures such as mere people, but it seems that the gill man is beyond that. The gill man is both fish and man having the ability of both specie and more. To breath on land and water, healing powers, incredible strengthens, and it was not mention but could it be the life span of the gill man is beyond of a human. In The Shape of Water the officer who is in charge of keeping the gill man under surveillance tells the story of how the creature was thought as god, his lines were, “the natives in the Amazon worshipped it. Like a god. We need to take it apart, learn how it works(https://www.imdb.com/title/tt5580390/quotes/?tab=qt&ref_=tt_trv_qu).” Both creature were from the Amazon and were recognized for their abilities but those who were from outside the Amazon wanted to studied it.
At times I link The Creature from the Black Lagoon to The Beauty and the Beast. A pretty young Bella, in this case Kay, being taken from the Beast, the gill man. It wasn’t until The Shape of Water that the gill man got his love from the woman who say past his exterior and fell in love with what was in the inside. Guillermo Del Toro, director of The Shape of Water, explained why he chose the title of his movie by saying, “my movie is called ‘The Shape of Water’ because water like love, it has no shape. When it appears it can be in the shape of someone from your same gender, with a different language and culture, with a different age. It can appear in a thousand shapes, but in the end, you recognize it.” Call me a hopeless romantic but I love a good love story even if it involved a fish man.
“Ben Chapman, “The Gill Man” 1929-2008.” Journal of Diving History, vol. 16, no. 3,
Summer2008, pp. 58-59. EBSCOhost, search.ebscohost.com/login.aspx?direct=true&db=a9h&AN=35272860&site=ehost-live.
An obituary for the actor who played the sea monster from The Creature of the Black Lagoon. The article gives details of the movie, sea monster, and actor. The details will help with the paper by comparing The Creature of the Black Lagoon with The Shape of Water which may be a newer version of the sea monster.
Maguire, Muireann, et al. “Mutant and Freak.” The Ashgate Encyclopedia of Literary and
Cinematic Monsters, Jeffrey Andrew Weinstock, Ashgate Publishing, 1st edition, 2014. Credo Reference, https://search.credoreference.com/content/entry/ashgtmonster/mutant_and_freak/0?institutionId=5312. Accessed 17 Jul. 2018.
What is the creature from both movie The Creature of the Black Lagoon and The Shape of Water? The book is an encyclopedia of movies from movies and books. It states the first movie to appear a half man and half fish is The Amphibian Man. It will be used to give an example and to define what the creature is.
Alder, Emily. “Sea Monsters.” The Ashgate Encyclopedia of Literary and Cinematic Monsters,
Jeffrey Andrew Weinstock, Ashgate Publishing, 1st edition, 2014. Credo Reference, https://search.credoreference.com/content/entry/ashgtmonster/sea_monsters/0?institutionId=5312. Accessed 17 Jul. 2018.
An article of different sea monsters with the definition and description. Will use the article to debate what the creature from the movie is. This article defines it as a merman and it will be discussed further in the paper.