Posted by: Loren Coleman on October 22nd, 2005
Creature From the Black Lagoon and Coelacanths
You know that cryptozoology is having a culturally significant impact when a movie 50 years old, inspired by a cryptozoological event, is being remade. Variety announced last week that Universal has hired Breck Eisner, the director of last spring’s "Sahara," to steer "Creature From the Black Lagoon" into the mainstream, for a new era of movie viewers, many who are fascinated by real-life cryptids.
The original concept for the movie developed from the excitement in the early 1950s that surrounded the Comoros Islands (near Madagascar) discovery of a "living fossil," the coelacanth. After its initial find in 1938, and the eventual acceptance that an animal thought extinct for 65 millions was still alive today, the race was on to find the next specimen. When that second coelacanth was found in 1952, it became a bigger worldwide media event that the capture of the first.
"Creature From the Black Lagoon" was a graphic result of the public’s interest in this grand adventure story, as many at the time felt the coelacanth was only the tip of the iceberg in terms of future "living fossils" to be encountered. Put in context, it is easily to see why Ivan T. Sanderson and Bernard Heuvelmans, in the 1940s and 1950s, would formulate the notion of and coin the word "cryptozoology," then.
For the 21st century version, Gary Ross will write the script; his father, Arthur A. Ross, wrote the screenplay for the original. The plot will reportedly be modernized and yet follow the first motion picture concept closely. The 1954 film introduced the Gill Man from the Black Lagoon, a bipedal reptiloid that terrorized archaeologists who had dug up fossils of an earlier prehistoric Gill Man from a riverbank somewhere in Amazonia. "Plans for the update call for shooting in the U.S. as well as a Central or South American location," says Variety.
In my book Mothman and Other Curious Encounters I included a chapter entitled "Lizardmen," detailing some of the real-life Gill Man reports and their eerily overlaps with the Black Lagoon Creatures.
Loren Coleman is one of the world’s leading cryptozoologists, some say “the” leading living cryptozoologist. Certainly, he is acknowledged as the current living American researcher and writer who has most popularized cryptozoology in the late 20th and early 21st centuries. Starting his fieldwork and investigations in 1960, after traveling and trekking extensively in pursuit of cryptozoological mysteries, Coleman began writing to share his experiences in 1969. An honorary member of Ivan T. Sanderson’s Society for the Investigation of the Unexplained in the 1970s, Coleman has been bestowed with similar honorary memberships of the North Idaho College Cryptozoology Club in 1983, and in subsequent years, that of the British Columbia Scientific Cryptozoology Club, CryptoSafari International, and other international organizations. He was also a Life Member and Benefactor of the International Society of Cryptozoology (now-defunct). Loren Coleman’s daily blog, as a member of the Cryptomundo Team, served as an ongoing avenue of communication for the ever-growing body of cryptozoo news from 2005 through 2013. He returned as an infrequent contributor beginning Halloween week of 2015. Coleman is the founder in 2003, and current director of the International Cryptozoology Museum in Portland, Maine.