Attempts to revive Creature From the Black Lagoon, the 1954 classic about an expedition to the Amazon that accidentally discovers a humanoid Gill-man who would have rather remained undiscovered, have been made every couple years for the last several decades. Names like John Landis, Guillermo del Toro, Gary Ross, John Carpenter, Peter Jackson and Breck Eisner have all been attached to remakes, but they've all failed for various reasons. The Gill-man does crop up every now and then in pop culture (as seen in the Mondo poster to your right), but the 1987 masterpiece The Monster Squad was his last sizeable appearance on the big screen.
But now a resurgence of the classic Universal monster is finally materializing. Unfortunately it's not on the big screen. Instead it's for Mockingbird Lane, a reboot of The Munsters from TV vet Bryan Fuller (who is also a producer on next year's Hannibal TV series).
THR chatted with Fuller about the show, revealing some very intriguing details about the reboot. The new hour-long format and shift from comedy to drama might annoy some fans of the wholesome Munsters, but it sounds like Fuller's trying to give classic monsters a more fitting life in the 21st Century:
The Munsters actually do what monsters do: they eat people and they have to live with the ramifications of being monstrous. It's like grounding it in a reality because the half-hour was a sitcom, we saw the monsters: they were monsters on the outside and weren't monsters on the inside. For us, they're monsters outside and inside, and we get to double our story.
As for who those monsters are, Fuller confirmed that so far the Creature From the Black Lagoon and the Phantom of the Opera are two storylines they're already incorporating into the show. The series doesn't have a full season order, however, and so most of it is largely unwritten. If things pan out, though, there's potential for plenty more of our favorite creatures of the night to start crawling around prime time:
Once Upon a Time has fairy tales. We have Universal monsters, which for me are the fairy tales of my youth. That's where I grew up, loving The Munsters, the Wolfman, Frankenstein, Dracula, the Metaluna monster from Silent Earth and the Mole People. I would love to rope in all of those characters from those stories, as well as get the Cat People and get those types of things. But we can't just do Monster of the Week; they have to have a reason for being in the story -- an emotional capacity -- for us to interact with their characters.
And we'd love to see you rope those characters in as well, Mr. Fuller. So here's hoping for many seasons of Mockingbird Lane to come.
Oh, and if you're worried about these monsters finding new life on TV, only to be marred by cheap CGI (as so many of the fantasy elements in Once Upon a Time are), you should know that Fuller and company are going full prosthetics:
The Creature from the Black Lagoon will be like [1988's] Splash, Too: When he's wet he's the Gillman. That's one of the best makeup effects -- prosthetics -- that anybody has done, that monster costume. And when he's dry, he's a handsome guy.
Okay, so he's not exactly the pure, inhuman river monster we all know, but we're happy for his return all the same.
Check out the rest of THR's interview with Fuller for more details about the show, more cast and character details, including Grandpa forming out of rats!