The Midnight Session n°1 : The Shape of Water

Today I wanted to offer you a new article format.
In “The Midnight Session”, I wanted to talk about more or less known films, all of which had a strange or disturbing atmosphere in common. My goal here is to introduce you to films that are worth watching or to try to teach you some things about others that are already well known to the general public.

What I love about Guillermo Del Toro :

What I like about Del Toro is that he is still one of the only directors to offer original and intelligent stories, populated by strange creatures taking the spectators into worlds oscillating between dreams and nightmares.


And strange creatures, he loves it!
It is inside his house nicknamed “Bleak House”, a sort of huge cabinet of curiosities, that our director stores his collections of books and objects related to horror and fantasy. Collection which constantly feeds his imagination and which he transcribes through his films to the delight of fans of the genre.

« The Shape of Water »


“The Shape of Water” tells the story of a mute woman working for the United States government (know you know why I choose this film for this first midnight session 😁). Around a corridor she discovers a room in which a strange creature is held. The two will end up having this friendship, until their relationship turns into a love story.

Guillermo Del Toro signs there a poetic and moving film whose history places it in America of the Sixties plagued by paranoia and racism. The woman and the creature, both too different in their own way will see through each other this beauty that the others do not perceive and will not leave indifferent other characters who will come to help the liberation of the creature.

Kind of Beauty and the Beast aquatic version, borrowing its sticky side from Howard Philippe Lovecraft, “The Shape of Water” is visually superb. With an aesthetic that will also remind video game enthusiasts of the atmosphere of the “Bioshock” series.

One would have thought that this film was a prequel to another film by Del Toro, his adaptation of Hellboy, in which another creature half man half fish was already present, but, although it is the same actor under the two masks , it is not so.
“The Shape of Water” is a unique and poetic film that pays tribute to a great film from the 1950s:


“The creature from the black lagoon”, directed by Jack Arnold in 1954.
The film tells the story of a team of scientists who during an expedition to the Amazon discover that a very ancient creature lives in the waters of the river.

Accusation of plagiarism!

“The Shape of Water” also raised a few waves of challenges and Del Toro was accused of plagiarism.


It seems that a novel by Paul Zindel, “Let me hear you whisper” would have the same theme. A cleaning lady from a biology laboratory falls in love with a captive dolphin.
There are many identical elements:

• The 60s ;
• The military scientific complex;
• Tyrannical superiors;
• The escape in a linen trolley …

Although Del Toro is still prohibited from having read the book, it is doubtful.


Another work may still have been a “strong inspiration”, it is the short film “The space between us”, released in 2015.
We find exactly the same themes and very similar plans.
Here’s what to make your own opinion:

Conclusion:

Plagiarism or not does not detract from the charms of “The Shape of Water”, which I absolutely recommend to you, because this kind of film is far too rare in cinemas. Supported by charismatic actors like Sally Hawkins and Michael Shannon, the work of Del Toro is a fantastic and extraordinary film, as only a passionate storyteller can bring us.

The alternative :

If you liked “The Shape of Water”, on a similar theme, I suggest the film “Cold Skin”. A Franco Spanish film directed by Xavier Gans.

In the early 1900s, a man settled on an island lost in the middle of the Atlantic to study the climate, but the island was also inhabited by a lighthouse keeper and a strange creature.
Adaptation of the eponymous Catalan novel, this film is a real gem worthy of the stories of Lovecraft.

See you soon for a next Midnight Session!

Author: Corona

A danish deaf girl infused with tea the morning, Corona the evening (the beer not the virus!) and addicted to cookies all the time!

2 thoughts

  1. The films above are all excellent choices, although I’ve never seen Cold Skin. You may be interested in a film called ‘Lady in the Water’ by M. Night Shyamalan. It wasn’t received well, but I enjoyed it.

    Liked by 1 person

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