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Creature from the Black Lagoon

August 1, 2009

It's not easy having gills. Especially when you're being hunted by a chartered boat full of scientists who'd just as soon dissect you as look at you. But then, if you're a half-man, half-fish monster, with webbing between each finger and claws the size of Kansas, well, you can undoubtedly hold your own.

In 1954, that's exactly what Gill-Man did. The titular "creature" from the fabled and far away Black Lagoon, sparked a whole new niche in the Universal Monsters genre. Given just the faintest hint of humanity (the human male-sized hands, the ensuing infatuation with Kay, the woman on the scientists' boat), Gill-Man showed audiences how much more fun destruction could be when the monster is a guy you can almost root for.

Besides his human leanings, Gill-Man also differed from the other monsters of his day in that he wasn't bent on world domination, nor was he the result of some lab experiment gone horribly wrong. He was simply a mysteriously organic hybrid in its natural habitat... with absolutely no problem eradicating any threat to his boggish environment and the peace he'd found there.

In the grand tradition of Universal Monsters (including the famed triumvirate of Frankenstein's Monster, Count Dracula and The Mummy), Gill-Man and The Creature from the Black Lagoon are still considered classics today.

Is the Creature your favorite Universal Monster? What could today's horror genre learn from Creature from the Black Lagoon?

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