Siren's Call

get caught in the mermaid net

Fin fatales -- mermaid films

fin fatales
For those who can't get enough mer-tails in their daily lives, here is a list of films and television programming which feature mermaids to add to your collection.

The mermaid trend has been riding high for years. It started with classics such as Mr Peabody and the Mermaid, Miranda, and Mad about Men looking for love in all the wrong places. The 1960s brought horror-oriented titles such as Night Tide in which the "fin fatale" who drowns sailors still lurks nearby.

In modern times, mermaids such as Ariel (Disney's The Little Mermaid) and Madison (Splash) are no longer seen scary creatures from the cold depths -- they can become human in the proper circumstances!

These items can be difficult to find since many are out of print. Some great places to buy these things online include:

Mermaids in films

Classic films

Mr. Peabody and the Mermaid Mr. Peabody and the Mermaid (1948): Black and white, though there also exists a colorized verison. Romantic comedy about a man who catches a mermaid while fishing and rediscovers himself around the time of his impending 50th birthday. Mr. Peabody’s fishing pole becomes a phallic symbol considering its position protruding from his groin area. Using it, he probes the feminine sea and takes from her something that brings him both physical pleasure and emotional pain. Lenore, the mermaid, is hooked in the flukes, and her tail battles powerfully against the inevitable pain of capture. But she finally surrenders to Mr. Peabody with a look of dazed wonder, an expression of eagerness to discover what he is like. She could easily escape by leaping out of his boat, but she does not. Thus the male has conquered the female -- much to his later vexation. Directed by Irving Pichel. Cast: William Powell, Ann Blyth. Miranda Miranda (1948, UK): Miranda is caught by a fisherman and rescued by Charles (David Tomlinson), but whenever she gets wet her tail reappears. The Doctor is pulled into the feminine sea because he is unwilling to surrender his fishing pole or his pipe -- both of which are male symbols. He is dragged down into the mysterious womb-like cave of the sea. The male surrenders to the female -- the rigidity of the land being captured by the fluidity of the encompassing feminine sea. Followed by a sequel, Mad About Men (1954, UK). Directed by Ken Annakin. Cast: Glynis Johns, Googie Withers, David Tomlinson.

Mad About Men Mad About Men (1954, UK): Sequel to Miranda (1948). Romantic comedy, this time Miranda swaps places with a schoolteacher who has gone on holiday. All is well until she, inevitably, falls in love with a human. Directed by Ralph Thomas. Cast: Glynis Johns.

Mermaids of Tiburon Mermaids of Tiburon (1962): Mermaid fantasy in which a diver is aided in his search for sunken treasure by beautiful mermaids. Also titled The Aqua Sex (1962). Directed by John Lamb. Cast: Diane Webber, Karen Goodman. Million Dollar Mermaid Million Dollar Mermaid (1952): One of Esther Williams' water movies that was popular during the 1950s. It involves swimming, but no actual mermaids.
Night Tide Night Tide (Image Entertainment, 1961): Black and white. On leave in a shore side town, a sailor named Johnny (Hopper) becomes interested in a young dark haired woman who works with father at a local carnival near the beach. After certain mysterious and tragic events, Johnny begins to suspect that she may actually be a real mermaid that kills during full moons. He is then enticed almost to his death by the passion which ironically destroys not him, but the mermaid-like girl with whom he is obsessed. In his troubled dreams, he sees her as a beautiful woman who becomes first a seductive mermaid and then a deadly octopus trying to kill him. Directed by Curtis Harrington. Cast: Dennis Hopper, Linda Lawson, Gavin Muir. Diver Dan Diver Dan (1961): Dan discovers an undersea world inhabited by talking fish and ruled by a beautiful and wise mermaid. The drama is fueled by Baron Barracuda and his scheme to eliminate Dan and destroy the harmony of their little world. Directed by Mort Heilig & Leon Rhodes. Cast: Frank Freda (Diver Dan), Allan Swift (voices), Suzanne Turner (the mermaid).

The Heart of a Mermaid The Heart of a Mermaid (1916): Black & white, silent. I can't find a copy anywhere to write a plot synopsis. Cast: Mary Fuller.

Animation and anime

The Little Mermaid The Little Mermaid (Disney, 1989): Disney's version of Hans Christian Anderson's classic tale. Followed by a sequel, The Little Mermaid II: Return to the Sea. The Little Mermaid II The Little Mermaid II: Return to the Sea (Disney, 2000): The made for video sequel to The Little Mermaid. The DVD includes a computerized storybook narrated by the woman who voices Ariel and a short classic Disney cartoon from 1938 titled Merbabies.
Under the Sea Under the Sea (Disney, 1990): Volume 6 of the Disney "Sing Along Songs" collection. "Underwater" themed songs for children with a mermaid theme throughout. Finding Nemo Finding Nemo (2003): One of the boats in Sydney Harbour is "The Saucy Mermaid." Also on the Nemo DVD is the short film entitled "KnickKnack" which includes a mermaid in a fish tank.
Mermaid Forest Mermaid Forest (1991, Japan): Anime. The animated version of one of the short stories in Rumiko Takahashi's bestselling "Mermaid" manga series. Yuta and Mana become immortal by eating a mermaid's flesh. But there are other immortals, and some of them aren't nice. Also known as Ningyo no mori. Directed by Takaya Mizutani. Mermaid Scar Mermaid's Scar (1993, Japan): Anime. Those who consume the flesh of the mermaid become immortal. But what happens when you don't want to be immortal anymore? Directed by Morio Asaka.

Modern mermaid films

Acri Acri (1996, Japan): Japanese language romantic mermaid fantasy. Also known as The Legend of Homo-Aquarellius. Directed by Tatuya Ishii. Cast: Tomoko Tanaka, Kimika Yoshino. La Petite Sirene La Petite Sirene (1980, France): A young girl obsessed with the fairy tale "The Little Mermaid" finds a 40-year old mechanic (her prince). Also known as The Little Mermaid, Directed by Roger Andrieux.
Local Hero Local Hero (1983, Scotland): A comedy about an American oil company representative who is sent to Scotland to buy a town, but ends with a pro-environmental message when an oceanographic research center is built. One of the researchers has webbed toes, but the film contains no actual mermaids. Directed by Bill Forsyth. Cast: Peter Riegert, Burt Lancaster. Chechu y familia Chechu y familia (1992, Spain): Chechu is a 13 year old boy who lives surrounded by peculiar people including his grandfather, his uncle, and two mermaids -- one of which he falls in love with. Directed by Alvaro Saenz de Heredia. Cast: Amparo Moreno, Fernando Fernan Gomez, Esperanza Roy.
Splash Splash (Disney, 1984): Romantic comedy about Allen Bauer (Hanks) who unwittingly falls for a mermaid (Hannah). Received an Oscar nomination for "Best Writing, Screenplay Written Directly for the Screen" and a Golden Globe nomination for "Best Motion Picture in a Comedy or Musical". Followed by a sequel, Splash, Too (1988). Directed by Ron Howard. Cast: Daryl Hannah, Tom Hanks, John Candy, Eugene Levy. Splash, Too Splash, Too (TV, 1988): Television movie, sequel to Ron Howard's Splash (1984). Directed by Greg Antonacci. Cast: Amy Yasbeck, Todd Waring, Mark Blankfield.

Lady in the Water Lady in the Water (2006): A fantasy drama about a water nymph who is being persecuted by a wolf-like creature. Directed by M. Night Shyamalan. Cast: Paul Giamatti, Bryce Dallas Howard.

the dolphin The Dolphin (1987): This is a Brazilian film with English subtitles. A pink river dolphin becomes a man on nights of the full moon. He comes onto land and makes love to a woman, making her pregnant, then abandoning her when he returns to his true form in the black river water. Their male cross-breed offspring has an Oedipal desire for his human mother causing him to pursue and haunt her.

An interesting film despite its low-budget look, there is one scene which the man is on top of the woman when his legs suddenly turn to a dolphin tail and he splashes off into the river. We never see him as a merman, but the fact that he is one is of course suggested.

  le grand bleu Le Grand Bleu (The Big Blue) (1988): A French film that, while not directly related to these Brazilian stories, does deal with with a similar theme. This is a tale of a young deep-sea diver who feels that dolphins are his only true family. Despite the fact that he tries to find love with a human girl, he actually carries a picture of a dolphin in his wallet similarly to the way other man carry pictures of their sweethearts and family.

Although this man is never called a merman, there are hints that perhaps he is one because he yearns for the sea and feels more at home with dolphins than with humans. His desire to dive deep into the ocean may represent the human longing for reconnection with the wellspring of life in the water.

where the river runs black Where the River Runs Black (1986, MGM-UA): A fairy-tale story about a beautiful naked Brazilian native girl called "the Eagle Woman". When she jumps into the black water, she turns into a dolphin. She seduces an American priest who is later killed by an enormous anaconda (apparently a reference to the story of the serpent and the fall of Eden). Their offspring, called Lazaro (an allusion to the biblical Lazarus story), is taken from the jungle to live as an orphan in the city. But seeing himself as a slave to modern civilization, he is instinctively driven to return to the Amazonian jungle to spend the rest of his life in the river swimming with dolphins. The natives revere him as a guardian spirit who is protecting the rainforest which is threatened by encroachment of corrupt "civilized" humans.   Aquamarine Aquamarine (2006): Based on the Alice Hoffman book of the same name. Directed by Elizabeth Allen. Cast: Emma Roberts, Joanna Levesque.

Mermaids Mermaids (1990): A romantic mother/daughter comedy set in the 1960s. Cher (playing the mother) wears a mermaid costume during one scene.

Mermaids on television

red shoe diaries Red Shoe Diaries (Showtime Cable network series, 1994): In the episode entitled "Night of Abandon", we hear once again the tale of Brazil's Bufeo Colorado. A young sexually-repressed woman visits her grandmother in Rio de Janeiro during the New Year's festival. The older woman encourages her granddaughter to experience the joys of living by making a special offering to Yemaya, the mermaid goddess of the sea. The girl puts the pages of her diary onto a little papier-mâché boat and sends it out into the sea. This action is the girl's prayer to the sea-goddess asking for the experience of true love.

A few months later at the Mardi Gras celebrations, she meets a powerful and handsome man who tells her that he received a message from Yemaya sending him to the girl. They make love all night on the beach and both are totally exhausted. In the morning, the man returns to the water, and she can now go on with her life having discovered the passion and abandon of living life to its fullest.

  x-files X-Files (Episode 2.20, aired 31 March 1995): In the episode entitled "Humbug", we learn that the culprit was the legendary Fiji Mermaid, based on the real-life and infamous hoax perpetrated by P.T. Barnum.

futurama Futurama (Episode 25, aired 16 April 2000): In the episode entitled "The Deep South", the Planet Express Ship crew visits the lost city of Atlanta. While there, Frye falls in love with a mermaid. It doesn't work out though, because she's the wrong kind of mermaid -- he wishes she was the other kind with the fish on top and lady on the bottom.

Tealmermaid's Treasure Grotto