Wednesday, October 27, 2010

31 Monsters of October, Day 27: The Gillman

Real World Origin:
Film, The Creature from the Black Lagoon (1954)

In-Universe Description:
While digging for fossils in the Amazon, a paleontologist comes across what appears to be a fossil hand with webbed fingers. The fossil comes from the Devonian period; the era when sea animals first started to come onto land. The scientist leaves his native assistants to watch the site while he goes to round up more experts. While he's gone, a very much living version of the same creature emerges from the nearby river and his assistants are soon dispatched.

When the paleontologist and his group of experts return on the boat Rita, they discover that the hand was the only portion of the skeleton left at the original dig site. The scientists steam downriver into the body of water known as the "Black Lagoon" in hopes that rocks containing the rest of the fossil were washed downstream. Once in the Black Lagoon they find that a living example of the fossil is stalking them. The "Gillman" is intelligent, resistant to injury, aggressive, and immensely strong. It has also taken an unhealthy interest in the girlfriend of one of the scientists and is willing to kill most of the Rita's crew to capture her.

The sequels to The Creature from the Black Lagoon, Revenge of the Creature and The Creature Walks Among Us, aren't nearly as good as the original. However, they reveal that the Gillman's biochemistry more closely matches that of humans than of fish, that it has a second layer of human-like skin underneath its scales, and that it has a pair of lungs that allows it to breath when its gills are injured in a fire.

The Gillman made a guest appearance in the 1987 film The Monster Squad. Unlike his 1950s counterpart, who survived several close-range gunshot wounds, this new Gillman is dispatched with single shotgun blast to the chest. Despite the lack of resiliency, most Black Lagoon fans feel that the Monster Squad version of the costume is a excellent re-imagining of the Gillman.

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