Hey, good lookin!
Huh, me? Are you talking to me?
If you are, you best mean what you say. The Gill Man is not known for having thick scales—er, skin. And yes that is the Gill Man in the photo above, otherwise known as the Creature From The Black Lagoon.
We all know the iconic look of the Creature From the Black Lagoon, one of Universal’s classic monsters, but in the photo above, that ain’t it! And that’s because in the third and final Creature movie, THE CREATURE WALKS AMONG US (1956), a group of scientists perform surgery on the creature, in a misguided attempt to make him more human.
There are three Creature From the Black Lagoon movies. The first and the best, CREATURE FROM THE BLACK LAGOON (1954), was followed by two sequels, which while not as good as the original, were highly entertaining in their own right, REVENGE OF THE CREATURE (1955) and THE CREATURE WALKS AMONG US (1956).
The most memorable part of the third film is that the Creature’s look changes in the second half of the film, as seen in the photo above, and that’s because evil scientist William Barton (Jeff Morrow) attempts to change the Gill Man into an air breather for reasons which never make much sense, but that’s okay. After all, he’s an evil scientist. He’s not supposed to make sense.
The surgery also seems to give the Creature some bulk, and that’s because after the surgery, the gill man was played by the very large Don Megowan. And if you want to see Megowan without the Gil Man make-up you can check out the neat chiller THE WEREWOLF (1956) in which Megowan played the hero, the town sheriff. Anyway, this new gill man on land is a hulking figure who appears much more monstrous in size than when we saw him underwater.
I like all three CREATURE movies, and THE CREATURE WALKS AMONG US is probably my least favorite of the three, mostly because I prefer the classic underwater Creature. That being said, the on-land Creature is certainly scary looking, and I wouldn’t want to bump into him while walking along the beach at night, that’s for sure!
And while the Creature never perishes on-screen, it’s assumed that he finally dies at the end of THE CREATURE WALKS AMONG US, because the film ends with the Creature returning to the ocean, only now he doesn’t have gills anymore, and so most likely he will drown.
Then again, the Creature is not stupid. For all we know, rather than drowning, he simply turned around and came back ashore.
But where did he go afterwards, you ask?
For the answer to that question, let’s turn to the fictional side of this otherwise nonfiction article:
There are a number of theories. Rumor has it that he settled in the woods of North America and started the Bigfoot craze. Others believe he went on to enjoy a successful career as a Hollywood stuntman. And still others believe he simply settled down and opened his own seafood restaurant, Gillman’s Fish and Chips Shack.
Whatever his fate, he was never seen on the big screen again, and that’s no fiction!
At least they haven’t tried to reinvent him: the Gill Man is another classic best left to film history because no technology can possibly do a better job on the imagination than the original!