Cultural impact of Creature from the Black Lagoon

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The extensive and persistent impact on media and popular culture of Creature from the Black Lagoon began even before it was seen in theaters. To publicize the release of the film in 1954, Ben Chapman, in costume, introduced the Gill-Man to the public on live television in The Colgate Comedy Hour with Abbott and Costello.

Film influence[edit]

  • Many films featuring monsters put the Gill-Man's likeness in the background as an homage. Its likeness was also used for the film The Monster Squad. However, due to licensing issues with Universal, the Creature is referred to as the Gill-Man.
  • In the 1955 comedy The Seven Year Itch, Marilyn Monroe and Tom Ewell come out of a theater showing Creature from the Black Lagoon. Monroe expresses some sympathy for the Gill-Man, saying that it was not really bad and that it "just wanted to be loved".
  • In the 1990 cult film Johnny In Monsterland, Johnny has a nightmare in a sequence where he "spawns" with a sea monster referred to as "the inverted mermaid". The "inverted mermaid" was a nude female wearing a Don Post Gill-Man mask and hands.
  • Director William Winckler was inspired by the film when producing his 2005 black-and-white horror film Frankenstein vs. the Creature from Blood Cove. In the 90-minute retro monster movie, a bio-genetically engineered half-man, half-fish creature battles Frankenstein's monster on a beach and beneath the waves, with underwater photography reminiscent of the underwater shots in Creature from the Black Lagoon. A stuntman/diver wearing a full-body latex rubber costume was used to portray the Blood Cove creature on camera, not unlike Ben Chapman and Ricou Browning in costume in Creature from the Black Lagoon.
  • In The Nightmare Before Christmas, there is a character in Halloween Town named the "Undersea Gal" who is clearly meant to be a combination of the Gill-Man and a mermaid. In one song, she ponders the contents of Jack's present: "Perhaps it's the head that I found in the lake".
  • The half-man, half-fish character known as The Missing Link (often referred to as "Link") in the film Monsters vs. Aliens is an homage to the Gill-Man.
  • In Hotel Transylvania, there are multiple Gill-men in the crowd scenes with other famous monsters.
  • The 2017 film The Shape of Water is a romantic fantasy between a mute woman and an amphibious creature from South America. Director Guillermo del Toro was inspired to make the film from childhood memories of seeing the Julia Adams swimming scene in Creature from the Black Lagoon and hoping the creature would get with the girl.[1]

Television influence[edit]

  • In an episode of the classic TV series The Munsters, the Munster family receives a visit from "Uncle Gilbert", who proudly refers to himself as the "Creature from the Black Lagoon".
  • In the second-series episode of Blackadder, "Money", Edmund refers to Baldrick as "the Creature from the Black Latrine".
  • The TV series The A-Team had the team leader playing a monster called the Aquamaniac in several low-budget horror flicks. The Aquamaniac is an obvious homage to Creature from the Black Lagoon, appearing nearly identical to the Gill-Man.
  • The Buffy the Vampire Slayer episode "Go Fish" featured aquatic creatures very similar to the Gill-Man.
  • Attack of the Killer Tomatoes: The Animated Series parodied the film in "The Tomato from the Black Lagoon". In this episode, the gang looks for a missing-tomato-link in the San Zucchini Botanical Gardens, whilst they are stalked by an amphibious tomato that goes after Tara (who is also part tomato).
  • The Gill-Man has a brief cameo emerging from Lake Springfield on The Simpsons.
  • In Mad Monster Party? and Mad Mad Mad Monsters the Creature appears, along with the other monsters, for a party.
  • In a Wonderbug segment ("No Foe Like a UFO") of The Krofft Supershow a couple of thieves pretend to be aliens wearing Gill-Man masks.
  • The Gill-Man appeared in the Robot Chicken episode "Shoe", voiced by Seth Green. He tells a man that he prefers the lagoon to be called the "African-American Lagoon". It also appears in the Robot Chicken sketch "We Are a Humble Factory", now voiced by Breckin Meyer. Learning of the success of Count Chocula, FrankenBerry, and BooBerry, as well as Fruity Yummy Mummy and Fruit Brute, the Gill-Man decides to make his own cereal called "Creature with the Black Macaroons" because "macaroon" sounds like "lagoon"; however, the cereal was not successful and when all the cereal were dumped into his lagoon, he says "I should've gone with legumes", as "legume" also sounds like "lagoon".
  • In The Comic Strip, he has a son named Lagoon.

Musical references[edit]

  • Trinidadian calypso singer Lord Melody released a song called "Creature From The Black Lagoon" in 1957. In this song, he is compared to the Gill-Man by his son's friends, which his son protests. This song became one of his signature songs and also endured as a nickname for Melody for many years.
  • Dave Edmunds, with his band Rockpile, also performed a song called "Creature from the Black Lagoon". Edmunds' song, included in his 1979 album Repeat When Necessary, was written by Rockpile's lead guitarist Billy Bremner.
  • Frankenstein Drag Queens from Planet 13, a band from North Carolina who were fronted by Murderdolls lead singer and solo artist Wednesday 13, also did a song about the Gill-Man, titling it "Creature from the Black Lagoon".
  • The heavy metal band Iced Earth also did a song about the Gill-Man called "Dragon's Child" on the Horror Show album.
  • WNC-based rock/blues band Pipapelli released Critter in 2012. The song "Black Lagoon", from that CD, is a ballad about life, love, and murder as seen through the Gill-Man's point of view. It is available at the link listed in the external links.
  • The Insane Clown Posse's song "The People" includes the line "Chillin' with the Creature from the Black Lagoon".

Other cultural influences[edit]

1962 magazine cover depicting the Gill-Man
  • Creature from the Black Lagoon was made into a pinball game, designed by John Trudreau (a.k.a. "Dr. Flash") and released in 1992 by Midway under the Bally brand name. It has a retro 1950s drive-in theme. Completing side missions causes the screen to display "Universal Presents...Creature from the Black Lagoon", and then requires the player to chase after the monster, just like in the film. The game sold 7,841 units. The Gill-Man is also featured in the 1998 pinball game Monster Bash.
  • In the Stephen King novel It, the shape-shifting Pennywise the Clown pursues and kills a victim whilst in the form of the Gill-Man.
  • The Creature - referred to as the "Gill Man"[2] - appears as a 1/4th part of the composite creature Monsterex in two of Archie Comics' Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles Adventures comic specials.[3]
  • A series of children's books, written by Mike Thaler and Jared Lee, parody the film. Beginning with The Teacher from the Black Lagoon, it continued with The Principal from the Black Lagoon, The Gym Teacher from the Black Lagoon, and several others.
  • Abe Sapien of Hellboy fame was originally inspired by the film and its titular creature.
  • The Marvel Comics character Triton of the Inhumans is a green, water-breathing character resembling the Gill-Man.
  • The DC Comics character Aquaman donned a suit of armor resembling the Gill-Man in the 2005–2007 miniseries Justice.
  • Calvin (the Calvin and Hobbes protagonist) described his babysitter Rosalyn as the "creature from the black lagoon".
  • Though technically a merman, the character Rikuo in the Darkstalkers game series, and his race, bear a striking resemblance to the Gill-Man. Perhaps more so than any other character in the game, he remains very true to the source character, as Rikuo is from an area in Brazil near the Amazon, and even the character's name is a reference to one of the actors who played the Creature.
  • The Monster High character Lagoona Blue is the daughter of the Gill-Man.
  • The opening credits of the 2003 video game Tony Hawk's Underground feature a character known as T.H.U.D., which resembles and acts similar to the Gill-Man. In the opening credits, the creature attacks Eric Sparrow (the game's main antagonist) and apparently kills him. It can also be unlocked as a playable character in free skate mode either by use of a cheat code, or by completing the game's story mode on hard difficulty.
  • In October 2010, Funko released a seven-inch, button-eyed, cuddly version of the Gill-Man.[4]
  • The Mexican artist José Rodolfo Loaiza Ontiveros created a gallery of images which mixed together various Disney characters and classic Hollywood creatures and villains from horror films. One of those images includes the Gill-man and Disney's Ariel.[5]
  • When paleontologist Jenny Clack of the University of Cambridge discovered a fossilized amphibian in what was once a fetid swamp, she named it Eucritta melanolimnetes, which is Greek for "the true creature from the black lagoon".[6][7]
  • In the 2008 video game Fallout 3, the Mirelurk Kings bear a striking resemblance to the Gill-Man.
  • In the spin-off comic of The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen featuring Captain Nemo II, the heroes face off against a clone army of Hitler and Ayesha look-alikes while also contending with Gill-men/Creatures from the Black Lagoon.
  • In Mirage Comics' Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles #28, April, Casey Jones, and the Turtles encounter a dying fishwoman and four fishmen that resemble Gill-Men.[8]

References[edit]

Notes

  1. ^ http://bloody-disgusting.com/news/3457493/iconic-horror-movie-scene-inspired-shape-water/
  2. ^ "Monsterex", in Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles Mutant Universe Sourcebook (vol. 1) pg. 56.
  3. ^ Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles Adventures Special #3: "The Night of Monsterex" (1992) and #7: "The Return of... Monsterex!" (1993).
  4. ^ "Universal monsters get cuddly." DreadCentral.
  5. ^ Disney Characters Meet Freddy, Michael, and Even the Creature From the Black Lagoon!
  6. ^ Clack, Jennifer A. "A new Early Carboniferous tetrapod with a mélange of crown-group characters." Nature, Volume 394, Issue 6688, July 1998, pp. 66–69.
  7. ^ Clack, Jennifer A. " 'Eucritta melanolimnetes' from the Early Carboniferous of Scotland, a stem tetrapod showing a mosaic of characteristics." Transactions of the Royal Society of Edinburgh: Earth Sciences, Volume 92, Issue 1, March 2001, pp. 75–95.
  8. ^ Mirage Studios' TMNT (vol. 1) #28, "Sons of the Silent Age"