|Portrayed By:||Ben Chapman|
The Gill-man—commonly called the Creature—is the main antagonist of the 1954 black-and-white science fiction film Creature from the Black Lagoon and its two sequels Revenge of the Creature (1955) and The Creature Walks Among Us (1956).
In all three films, Ricou Browning portrays the Gill-man when he is swimming underwater. In the scenes when the Gill-man is walking on dry land, Ben Chapman performed the Gill-man in the first film, followed by Tom Hennesy in the second, and Don Megowan in the third.
The Gill-man's popularity as an iconic monster of cinema has led to numerous cameo appearances, including an episode of The Munsters (1965), the motion picture The Monster Squad (1987), and a stage show (2009), and reimagined 2017's The Shape of Water. Despite this popularity, the Gill-man appeared in the fewest movies of all the Universal Classic Monsters.
Creature from the Black Lagoon
The last known surviving member of a race of amphibious humanoids which flourished during the Devonian age, the Gill-man (as christened by Dr. Thompson) dwelled in a lagoon located in a largely unexplored area of the Amazon rainforest. The creature was apparently known to the natives, as the captain of the boat Rita mentioned local legends of a "man-fish".
After having found the fossilized remains of another Gill-man, a marine biology institute funds an expedition to the Amazon in order to find more remains. Though the Gill-man reacts violently to the intrusion, he develops a soft spot for the team's only female member, Kay, and repeatedly tries to abduct her, going as far as building a makeshift dam to prevent their boat from escaping. After having killed numerous members of the expedition, the Gill-man takes Kay to his underwater lair, where he is tracked down by the remaining survivors and riddled with bullets. The Gill-man tries to escape by swimming deep into the lagoon, but dies from his injuries.
Revenge of the Creature
A year after the events of the first film, the Gill-man is shown to have survived and is captured by different scientists. He is sent to the Ocean Harbor Oceanarium in Florida, and quickly becomes a huge tourist attraction. He is studied by an animal psychologist and his ichthyology student. The psychologist's attempts at communicating with the Gill-man are hampered by his attraction to his student. The Gill-man breaks free from his tank and escapes into the ocean. It is not long before he begins stalking the ichthyology student and kidnaps her at a boat party. The Gill-man is soon tracked down by police and again gets shot multiple times, forcing him to flee into the ocean. He again tries to swim away and supposedly dies from his wounds.
The Creature Walks Among Us
After living for a short while in a Florida river, the Gill-man is found again, and after a vicious struggle, is accidentally immolated. The Gill-man's injuries are so severe that his scales and gills fall off, forcing his captors to perform surgery on him to prevent suffocation. X-rays on the creature show that he has begun developing a land animal's lung structure, so a tracheotomy is performed, opening an air passage to the lungs, transforming the Gill-man into an air-breathing, nearly human animal. Dressing him in a suit made of sail cloth, the Gill-man is taken to a California estate, where he is imprisoned within an electric fence. Though they initially try to integrate the Gill-man into human society, one of its captors frames it for a murder, and the Gill-man ultimately escapes into the ocean.