Wanna Know What John Carpenter's CREATURE FROM THE BLACK LAGOON Would've Looked Like?

Of course you do.

By Scott Wampler · @ScottWamplerRIP · January 4, 2024, 2:57 PM EST

Here's something that FANGORIA's younger readers might not be aware of: back in the '90s, John Carpenter spent some time working on a modernized remake of Jack Arnold's Creature From the Black Lagoon (1954), only to have the entire project stall out at the last moment. Carpenter's take, which followed a number of other failed attempts to remake Universal's classic creature feature, would have featured a monster design from the legendary Rick Baker.

Here, take a look:

This is all on our minds today thanks to the tweet above, from the TomSpinaDesigns Twitter account. You can see Baker's clear love for the original Creature design (put together by unsung hero Millicent Patrick, whose frustrating story was beautifully captured in author Mallory O'Meara's The Lady From the Black Lagoon) in the images above, a sentiment Baker himself echoed in an interview with AICN back in 2012:

“We actually did a whole bunch of designs and maquettes. My designs for the Creature were kind of like my designs for the Wolf Man; it was very much based on a love for the original material, and trying to stay true to that in a lot of ways. I think we had a creature that was updated, but you could still tell where it came from.”

So, what happened to Carpenter's version? It's not entirely clear, but the general consensus seems to be that Carpenter's Creature From the Black Lagoon ultimately stalled out after his Memoirs of an Invisible Man (another FX-heavy, would-be blockbuster) flatlined in theaters around the same time. It's one of the more fascinating and intriguing "coulda-been's" in cinema history, and one whose failure to materialize we're still bummed about thirty years later.

Will Universal ever get around to remaking Creature From the Black Lagoon? Well, a number of writers and directors have certainly tried. At various points, directors like Gary Ross, Guillermo del Toro, Peter Jackson, and Breck Eisner were all attached to the project (worth noting: del Toro went on to make The Shape of Water instead, which earned him a Best Picture Oscar); at another, Max Landis wrote the script for a modernized remake of Arnold's film, one which would've taken place in a Disneyland-esque theme park during a hurricane (no, seriously). It's clear Universal wants to do something with our beloved Gill-man, but for now we're still waiting.