Where strange fact and stranger fiction collide
I am sorry’ but I could not write this without some major spoilers, so if you have not seen Guillermo Del Toro’s The Shape of Water, you may want to hold off reading this, until you have.
I saw Guillermo Del Toro’s movie The Shape of Water Friday and let me say this, it is an amazing and beautiful movie. It deserves every bit of the Oscar buzz it has generated, it is a phenomenal movie and one of the best ones I have seen this year.
The movie is a very symbolic movie. Most of the dialog comes from a black woman and a closeted gay man, people who in the movies 1962 southern setting would have been in most cases silenced. Silence plays a major part in the story, not just in Elisa’s muteness, but also key points are what is not heard and what is not said. Water is symbolic for creation and freedom. Del Toro himself said the movie is symbolic for his life as an immigrant in the US. With any critical review of TSoW. The importance of symbolism cannot be overstated.
In ways the movie is a remake of the sequel to The Creature of the Black Lagoon, The Revenge of the Creature. But the CftBL is not the stories only inspiration. Del Toro is a very well-known H.P. Lovecraft fanboy. We see a lot of influence from the Old Gent from Providence in GDT’s movies. He wanted very badly to make HPL’s The Mountains of Madness into a movie, so it isn’t stretching to think that he would be influenced by the Deep Ones in Lovecraft’s Dagon and The Shadow Over Innsmouth, when he created his creature.
But I think it goes deeper than that. Are you ready? The Asset or the Creature is Lovecraft’s creation Dagon!!!!
Now you may be thinking Dave what are you smoking and can I have some, but hear me out.
For those of you who may not know of it, Dagon was one of Lovecraft’s first stories. In it a sailor finds an island that is thrust up from the bottom of the sea by an earthquake. He sees these drawing of Fishmen, on pillars on the island, so big that they are eating wales. Then he sees on these gigantic fishmen freaks out and escapes, only to be chased by their king Dagon’s worshipers across the globe.
Now wait a minute Davey boy, Doug Jones, who plays the Asset isn’t 30 feet tall in the movie. OK, no but we see in the Shadow Over Innsmouth, that there are human sized Deep Ones, and Cthulhu can change his shape and size why cannot Dagon? Besides the movie is a fantasy, we are not supposed to accept every scene as exactly what we see on the screen. Elisa placing a few towels under the door jamb wouldn’t really let her make her bathroom in an aquarium, nor are we supposed to believe she got her voice back when the world turned black and white for a dance scene. It is a fantasy.
So why do I think that the Asset is Dagon. First he is, at least three times referred to as a god. One of the best lines in the movie is “He might be a god…He ate a cat.”
Next the big bad keeps referencing the story of Samson, including when he was menacing Zelda. He talks about how at the end of the story God returns Sampson’s strength and allows him to bring down the Philistine temple. What he doesn’t say is that according to the Old Testament the temple he destroyed was the Temple of Dagon.
OK so maybe The Assets isn’t Dagon, but I am sure that Del Toro who co-wrote the story deliberately put that tie in to Dagon into the script.
Alright, now that I am on a role and let me say that I disagree with how most people seem to think the movie ended. Most people think that The Asset used his power to heal Elisa’s gunshot and her neck scares turning them in to gills. Yes I think he healed the wounds she got from being shot by Strickland, but I don’t think that he healed her neck wounds. I think she was always part Deep One and he helped her evolve into the form she was always destined to be. If the Asset is Father Dagon, then she is Mother Hydra.
The idea that a person could be part Deep One and unaware of it is enshrined in the story The Shadow Over Innsmouth. Elisa is an orphan and no one knows who her parents really were, also supporting my theory is the fact that she was found by a river, it is possible that what human doctors though were wounds might have always been undeveloped gills, the whole time.
In the bus scene she seems to be able to control the water on the vehicles windshield. It would make sense that she had this power if she was at least Part Deep One. She seems to also have a sexual fixation on water from the very beginning of the film. It would also explain not only her attraction, but her connection to The Asset. Finally as evidence of a shared race, she and the fishman are both mute.
In 2018 we will get a novelization of The Shape of Water, maybe there will be more evidence for or against my theories in it. Maybe Del Toro or co-writer Vanessa Taylor will say something to will make it clearer. But until then I chose to believe these are HPL Easter Eggs.