I'll probably expand on this at some point soon, but as this post has been sitting here for a while I thought it was worth having up in the meantime:
The Creature from the Black Lagoon:
"the Creature or Gill Man is a thorback to the Devonian period, the so-called "Age of Fishes", a geological expanse of time stretching from approximately 345 back to 395 million years ago"
"Alland explained, the so-called Gill Man was some weird combination of alligator, fish, and turtle. The fact that the monster also possessed the general shape of a human being made him even more interesting. This "Creature" supposedly still haunted the jungles of South America and existed unchanged in appearance or habits since Devonian times."
"the only movie monster to emerge during the 1950sto take upon himself a kind of classic status. The Gill Man was the real successor to such earlier Universal classic horror characters as the Frankenstein Monster, Count Dracula, the Wolf Man, the Mummy, and the Invisible Man."
"The image of the Gill Man, with his ichthyoid face and fins and his unique style of swimming, has become...as familiar an icon as the square-headed Frankenstein Monster with the scars and the neck electrodes, and the sinister black-caped Transylvanian with his craving for human blood." (231)
"Arnold once stated, he intended that the Creature be sympathetic, attacking only when provoked, and then capably of any form of violent revenge." (233)
Glut, Donald F. (2001) Jurassic classics: a collection of Saurian essays and Mesozoic musings. USA: McFarland & Company, Inc.
"Karloff's slender six-foot body was propped up to give the illusion of unnnatural height."
"The robotic appearance featuring grafted-on metallic highlights suggest a melding of science and nature."
"The abnormal shape represented how the top of the head would look removed, with more gray matter piled in and a new cranium supplied to accomodate the over-sized brain."
"Artificial veins were actually strips of cotton soaked in colodion and actor's hands were meticulously made up...even the slightest bit of makeup caused unbearable pain when caught in the actor's eyes." (45-46)
Brunas, John, Brunas, Michael, Weaver, Tom (2007) Universal horrors: the studio's classic films, 1931-1946. USA: McFarland & Company, Inc.