Like the huge ape from the 1933 classic, our creature, the gill man, was not evil. Lonely and misunderstood are fitting descriptors for our green friend. As the white swimsuit symbolized the purity of Kay and her intentions, the green, brought out so nicely by Mr. Balkac, symbolized nature and an organic existence. Sure he killed...but only after his habitat was invaded by some very menacing figures with a mechanized boat and sharp weapons.
Though saved, and reunited with her love interest, we the viewer understand that in the years to come, Kay will feel a sadness at the ultimate fate of her green admirer. Though we were on the edge of our seats praying Kay would be rescued and unsoiled by the creature, when the gill-man sunk to the depths of the lagoon...a sadness came over us. Why? Maybe in the creature, we saw some of ourselves. We all have secret desires for treasures we could never have. Teenagers who would see this film in 1954 could relate to the outcast who would never get the cheerleader.
In Mr. Balkac's above sketch, the gill-man is wide-eyed. Balkac correctly captured the awe of our creature as he first sets eyes on his goddess. Unable to possess the intellect to worship, lust will guide his actions and basest emotions as he is drawn uncontrollably to Kay. In one sense horrifying, in one sense cute, the attraction to Kay has a purity to it that perhaps escapes modern day male-female relationships.
"Creature From the Black Lagoon" has so much for us, and not just from a Freudian perspective. Great acting, a neat monster, a classic Henry Mancini score, and shocking horror all contribute to cement this film's status as a classic. May a remake never be made, "Creature From the Black Lagoon" deserves the respect of the ages.