Come to think of it, the Gillman is our Countdown mascot this year and adorns all the Cryptkeeper badges in one form or another. He's a great character and he deserves more love than he gets from the industry. I have held hopes for a reboot Creature for decades now and always been disappointed. It seems that every few years somebody gets a greenlight to write a script or sign a director then it goes into limbo then it is canceled. A part of me does not want a reboot as reboots often do great disservice to the original (I'm looking at you, Rob Zombie) but after Bram Stoker's Dracula in 1992 and Mary Shelley's Frankenstein two years later, I thought we were on to something. 1999's Indiana Jonesesque The Mummy seemed to suggest there was still an interest in the Classic Monsters. Universal certainly thought there was as they went big budget with Van Helsing and that should have revitalized their monster properties. Sadly it did not. Some abysmal Mummy sequels probably did not help matters. In 2010 they gave us a rebooted Wolfman and this year we get Dracula Untold. Will this herald a return of Universal Monster glory? More importantly, will I ever get a Creature update?
And despite my fears that a reboot would suck (mostly because of my love of the original films) I want that validation on the big screen. Even more than that I want the Creature to stop being treated like Universal's Aquaman*.
What do I mean by that? Well the Gillman is primarily an aquatic monster, which is part of what makes him so cool to me personally as it combines two things I love: monsters and the water. Sure he can move around on land but with his huge webbed hands and huge flipper feet he's a bit clumsy and slow. While he is strong enough to flip automobiles, which should put him in the Frankenstein category of power, he really shines in the water. Unfortunately this means that when you have the big monster get together movies he's going to be used for some weak water gag or a one-shot swamp/bog scare and that's it. We can add to that the sad fact that old Gillman, save his appearance on the Munsters (which did him credit, I thought), is verbally inarticulate.
|From the Munsters. I don't know if I love the superfluous hat or scarf more.|
In terms of his physical presence he is pretty awesome. He is amphibious but more comfortable in the water, shrugs off bullets and has a lightly armored hide. His webbed fingers terminate in deadly claws as well. If you threw some shark or barracuda teeth in the mix he would be the perfect killing machine. He is supposedly an evolutionary dead end that still survives to this day (or into the 50s to be more precise). I can link the Creature to aliens, if you like.
|The cover art is the best thing about this novel.|
Sorry, I got distracted by the gaping plot hole. Let's just fall in, shall we?
So HERO and GF go back to the Devonian Era and find the Gillman race, a smooth-skinned, lithe, telepathic race of gentle aliens whose ship crashed into the primal seas of Earth and who now call our little mudball home. They have a weird beard hippie sea worshipping religious system and are very friendly and intelligent. Then some archaebacteria infects one of the gentle Gillpersons and it spreads it with a scratch to another and they start mutating into the form we all know and love. The new form is much, much stronger and hardier but less graceful and loses its gentle nature and hippie knowledge. Eventually, as always happens in time travel stories, the monsters get loose in the modern era and wreck shit.
It's shit pressed between cardboard covers, but such is my love of the character of the Gillman that I read the whole thing. I won't be doing that again.
I wasn't going to show you that picture because it is super-geek stuff, but the Creature directly inspired an AD&D monster. Think of it as a palate cleanser.
The Gillman is a great character and is worth a quality reboot. He's a science fiction monster but still feels like a classic monster. He's the total package and if handled correctly a new take on this old classic would be a guaranteed win. Why not make him heroic? Sure, let's have Gillman save some people at a lake camp that are running from zombies. He could be from lost Atlantis! We have options here, people. Maybe even go with a Swamp Thing angle. He's a being with a noble soul in the body of an aquatic killing machine. Gillman lovers, and I know you are out there, this is the age of social media. We have a voice, let it be heard.
*I say that for its pop-culture angle because, as we all know, I love Aquaman.