ByDave Conley, writer at Creators.co
"Smokey, this is not 'Nam. This is bowling. There are rules."
Dave Conley

In Hollywood there is a place darker than the blackest lagoon, a place where scripts and movie ideas can languish in limbo for decades or sometimes they just go there and die. It's called Development Hell.

It's a place where scripts wait for Actors, Directors, and producers to get attached and raise them off of the shelves where they lie gathering dust.

2012 book by David Hughes
2012 book by David Hughes

The Movie business is just that , a business. Millions can be made or lost with a single green light. That's probably why they keep making sequels, reboots and remakes of films with a proven track record. Reboots are an especially tricky to predict though for every Dawn of the Planet of the Apes(2014) there is a, well Tim Burton Planet of the Apes. Even though they've shown with modern technology and a good script, a believable and realistic update of a beloved old movie franchise can be successfully done, some studios are still afraid to dive into certain murky waters. The waters I speak of are 'The Black Lagoon".

Poster by Ken Taylor
Poster by Ken Taylor

In 1954 Universal made a B&W 3D movie called the "The Creature From the Black Lagoon" directed by Jack Arnold and starring Richard Carlson, Julia Adams, Richard Denning, Antonio Moreno and Whit Bissell. The Creature was played by Ben Chapman on land and by Ricou Browning underwater.

He was a good swimmer!
He was a good swimmer!

The film was a success generating two sequels: Revenge of the Creature (1955), also filmed and released in 3-D, and The Creature Walks Among Us (1956), filmed in 2-D.The Creature aka The Gill-man, climbed from the ooze to be ranked among the classic Universal Monster.

So you may be asking "Why don't they reboot this classic?" Surely if they are going to redo American Psycho, The Fly, and Poltergeist. Why then in the name of all that is unholy can't they redo "The Creature Fom the Black Lagoon?"

The truth is they have been trying to remake this movie since 1982. That's over 30 years that this movie has been in "development". John Landis was one of the first with a script with two creatures one good one bad and he wanted to make it in 3-D the studio pulled the plug because they didn't want it to interfere with Jaws 3-D. Too bad they beat that dead shark to death.

Seemed like a good idea at the time
Seemed like a good idea at the time

10 years later In July 1992, John Carpenter was developing the remake at Universal.With a script by Herschel Weingrod and Timothy Harris Universal offered Peter Jackson the director's position in 1995, but he chose to work on King Kong instead.

Yes I'm certain, like us he's bigger!
Yes I'm certain, like us he's bigger!

Then in 1996, Ivan Reitman planned on directing a remake, but that never happened. With the success of The Mummy remake in 1999, the Gill Man was once again resuscitated.

In 2001, Gary Ross signed on to write and produce the remake with his father, Arthur A. Ross, one of the original's writers. He told The Hollywood Reporter,

"The story my father wrote embodies the clash between primitive men and civilized men, and that obviously makes it a fertile area for re-examination."

In August 2002, Guillermo del Toro, was attached as director. Del Toro, bailed so Univesal hired Tedi Sarafian (Terminator 3: Rise of the Machines) to write a script in March 2003.

In October 2005, Breck Eisner signed on as director.

"As a kid, I remember loving Jack Arnold's original version of this film", he explained. "What I really want to do is update an iconic image from the '50s and bring in more of the sci-fi sensibility of Alien or John Carpenter's The Thing."

Ross said in March 2007 the Gill-man's origin would be reinvented, with him being the result of a pharmaceutical corporation polluting the Amazon.

"It's about the rain forest being exploited for profit"

Because the film was delayed by the 2007–2008 Writers Guild of America strike, Eisner remade The Crazies instead. He had planned on filming Creature from the Black Lagoon in Manaus, Brazil on the Amazon River. The boat set had been built. Eisner continued to rewrite the script, claiming it was full of "action and excitement, but scary". Eisner spent six months designing the new incarnation of the Gill-man with Mark McCreery (Jurassic Park, and Davy Jones' designer). Again plans were shelved after the failure of Universal's remake of The Wolfman in 2010.

Reported  design for Eisner's Gill Man
Reported design for Eisner's Gill Man

Although there was a rumor that Carl Erik Rinsch might direct a remake that would be produced by Marc Abraham, Eric Newman and Gary Ross, however, a project featuring this ensemble had been abandoned by 2011.

In 2012 the Hollywood Reporter said a new script simply called "The Black Lagoon" was getting a fresh start from Dave Kajganich, who wrote The Invasion(2007) A remake of Invasion of the Body Snatchers. He's also reportedly working on rewrites for several Stephen King remakes. Universal’s vp of production Anikah McLaren and creative exec Sara Scott were overseeing the project for the studio. Kristel Laiblin will exec produce for Strike.

That was the latest thing I could find about the beloved Creature and that was reported to come out in May, 2014 the only thing that did surface then was the photo posted of what may or may not have been Mark McCreery's design for a modern day Gill Man. I have found a lot of other concept art in my exhaustive search for answers to The Creature Stuck in Development Hell!

Kent Hamilton
Kent Hamilton
Kent Hamilton
Kent Hamilton
Kent Hamilton
Kent Hamilton
Terry Gammil
Terry Gammil

It's unbelievable to me that Universal doesn't pursue this more wholeheartedly. Imagine how bad ass a modern 3D version of this could be with a combination of practical and CGI effects. Motion capture technology could do away with the man in a rubber suit and then a modern Gill Man could destroy a Predator or an Alien! Maybe even stop by Weeki Wachee Springs and pick up a mermaid after her show.

Hey Gill! Long time no see big guy!
Hey Gill! Long time no see big guy!

Poll

What do you think? Should they reboot "The Creature from the Black Lagoon"?

sources: Wikipedia, Therealgillman.com, The Hollywood Reporter, Dread Central. Deviant Art, kenthamiltonconcepts.blogspot.com

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