UK-based teacher, actor, musician and fearful film enthusiast Nigel Parkin ongoing column charting sexual perversion in classic horror films.
So Universal are currently developing their plans to resurrect all their classic monsters. Somewhere in all this there have been discussions about a reworking of CREATURE FROM THE BLACK LAGOON. At one point the idea was to use Scarlett Johansson.
Oh God. Oh yes.
Just imagine – the world’s first major studio science fiction/horror/art-porn movie. A mix of ironic high camp, lush, visionary fantasy and hard monster sex. It would work as a shot-by-shot remake of the 1954 film, using that script and even copying the rhythms and expressions of the original actors, allowing the audience to feel a suitable sense of knowing detachment and to be aware that they are being served perversion with postmodern pretensions!
Johansson would be clothed in the same outfits worn by Julia Adams. Take a moment to think about that. Curve-caressing shirts and shorts that would display her magnificent physical assets to full effect. There has often been an old-fashioned sense of slightly dark and thrillingly tempting glamour about Johansson, as if she has stepped out of a 40s film noir with her hair shaped and pinned and her full lips red as hell, the whole look cunningly complemented by a cigarette. Her casting in this remake would serve to highlight the fact that there is actually a similar air to Adams’ Kay in the original. Kay’s clothes might not belong in a shady city setting but the hair, the cigarette and the sensual allure certainly do. There is a steamy aura of temptation about Adams, causing tension between her partner and the man funding and leading their expedition and of course seriously inflaming the Creature! In one deeply significant moment Adams flicks a cigarette into the very part of the river in which the Creature is lurking and we watch him rise to it. Critics have suggested that he is angered by the thoughtless pollution but I think there are much stronger impulses at work. He is aroused. He knows his noir connotations. He can sense Adams’ lips on that discarded cigarette. It floats ahead of him like an offering, an invitation. Yes, there is pollution happening…but not of the environmental kind!
The Creature would also closely adhere to the look of the original. In a film that would after all be celebrating the perverse there would be a complete rejection of modern CGI effects in favour of a man in a suit. We have to know we are looking at a real man, muscular and moist in this ribbed rubber skin!! Look at this angry, erect figure from behind, with the protruding line of his spine stretching down form his domed head and his gills fanning out to the sides and you’ll get my point, so to speak!
Even the moments of horror would closely follow the original. They would simply be more graphic. Those deliriously wide-webbed, long-nailed hands would be shown in their full face-hugging, head-crushing, flesh-lacerating glory!
And of course all this pumping and spurting blood would fuel the desire for sex…in both Creature and viewer!
And the sex would be…well, otherworldly. This is where the full extent of the science fiction would come into play. This is where we would reveal the ultimate ace card represented by the casting of Johansson. At various moments in the film, while physically separate from each other, the Creature and Johansson would share telepathic visions in which they come together in a dark, disconnected space, standing over the slick, reflecting surface of the blackest of lagoons. The Creature would extend his arms, the heavy tongue in that gaping mouth beginning to stir as he watches her peel away her clothes, until at last they are entwined in a Giger-esque sculpture, a carving of carnal wonder, as their hands (and tongues) probe and explore every available opening…still peeling, peeling…and reaching under the skin of both outer bodies to caress the aliens within.
Of course this won’t be coming to a screen near you. But in our own dark, disconnected spaces we can share anything. Let Scarlett and the Creature get under your skin. Sink into the depths of the lagoon with them.
Oh, the black liquid of blissfully dark thoughts…