‘The Creature From the Black Lagoon’s’ Pop-Culture Legacy

Everett Collection

The Creature From the Black Lagoon released in 1954 has an enduring status in Hollywood history. Gill-man’s influence has continued to lurk under the surface of pop culture for seven decades, even popping up for a cameo here and there. Did you notice his influence in …?

The Seven Year Itch

The Seven Year Itch screengrab

(1955 movie) — At one point in this classic comedy, Marilyn Monroe and Tom Ewell come out of a showing of Creature From the Black Lagoon, with Monroe expressing sympathy for the Gill-man, saying he “just wanted to be loved.”

The Munsters

(1964 TV series) — In an episode of the sitcom called “Love Comes to Mockingbird Heights,” the Creature — known to the title family as Uncle Gilbert — visits the clan. This Gill-man can talk, explaining that he used to be a politician.

“The Creature From the Black Lagoon”

(1979 song) — Welsh rocker Dave Edmunds produced this ditty that spotlighted some of the same mournful “beauty and the beast” elements also noticed in the Gill-man’s story by the likes of Monroe in The Seven Year Itch.

Saturday the 14th

Saturday the 14th Gil Man screen grab

(1981 movie) — Gill-man turns up in the tub of an unsuspecting bather in a memorable scene from this otherwise not particularly memorable monster-movie spoof starring Richard Benjamin.

Pinball game

The Creature From the Black Lagoon pinball via Heritage Auctions

(1992) — This popular pinball machine fittingly featured a retro ’50s drive-in movie theme and electronic instrumental versions of songs from that era.

The Monster Squad

(1987 movie) — This cult-favorite Goonies-esque film pits a group of horror-movie-loving youngsters against the classic Universal monsters — including the Gill-man — who are being led by Dracula.

“Creature” fossil

Pareiasaurus Deltavyatia (Deltavjatia vjatkensis). Paleontology late Permian fossils.

Adobe stock

(1998) — Paleontologist Jenny Clack discovered a fossilized amphibian in 1998. Unfortunately, it wasn’t anything quite as cool as a real-life half-man/half-fish monster, more along the lines of a prehistoric frog/lizard type of critter. But Clack named the find after the Gill-man anyway, giving the long-extinct animal the scientific name of Eucritta melanolimnetes, which translates from Latin as “true creature from the  black lagoon.”

Lagoona Blue

Lagoona Blue Monster High


(Monster High dolls, 2010) — In this line of dolls inspired by monster movies, Lagoona Blue is the daughter of a Gill-man-type sea monster. The dolls were also launched into books and TV shows.

Creature From the Black Lagoon remake/reboot

THE SHAPE OF WATER, South Korean advance poster, l-r: Sally Hawkins, Doug Jones, 2017.

Fox Searchlight Pictures./Courtesy Everett Collection

Potential remakes of the 1954 classic have been talked about for decades, with names ranging from John Carpenter to Guillermo del Toro attached at various points, to no avail (though del Toro would ultimately get to do a version of sorts with 2017’s The Shape of Water).


Creature from Black Lagoon collectibles

There is a wide range of collectibles of the Gill-man from large wall hangings to tiki mugs, Soaky soap bottles, action figures, custom artwork, clothing, soda, model kits and so on. If you are a fan of the creature there is sure to be something up your alley.


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