To Celebrate Doug Jones’s Starring Role in The Shape of Water, We’ve Gathered a List of His Most Interesting Characters
In honor of Guillermo del Toro’s new fantasy romance film, The Shape of Water, starring the human chameleon Doug Jones as the Amphibian Man, we thought it’d be a good time to go through and rank the best of the many creatures Doug Jones has played on both the big and small screens.
The Shape of Water, starring Doug Jones
Before we get started, here’s the low down on the new Guillermo del Toro movie, The Shape of Water. The Shape of Water came out on December 8th, 2017 in select theaters, and stars Doug Jones and Sally Hawkins as a pair of unlikely lovers united by even more unlikely means. Sally Hawkins stars as a mute janitor at a government facility where Doug Jones, the Amphibian Man, is being kept. Though neither of the characters can speak to each other, they learn to communicate and eventually fall in love, which of course, spells trouble for both of them because when does love not result in chaos and destruction, am I right?! Ha ha! Ha… ha ha… Hmm. 🙁
A Little Background on Doug Jones
The crazy thing about Doug Jones (apart from his lanky and super flexible body and highly expressive face) is that he has over 150 acting credits to his name, but very few people actually know what he looks like. The vast majority of his roles are played in heavy creature makeup and prosthetics. In fact, the only reason I know what he looks like is because one of his roles in which he doesn’t wear (a lot of) makeup haunts my nightmares to this day. Before we get started, I’ll show you why! The show was Fear Itself, the episode was “Skin and Bones.” (watch til 19:30 for maximum creepiness.)
The Top 10 Doug Jones Creatures
Now that we can share that nightmare, (you’re welcome) let’s get into the good stuff. Here are our top 10 favorite Doug Jones appearances in sci-fi films, and why we love them.
Abe Sapien: Hellboy
Pretty much everyone has seen and loved Ron Perlman as Hellboy, but Abe Sapien is a smart, lovable character that doesn’t get the credit he deserves! Though his origin story isn’t explored fully in the movie, in the comics Langdon Caul was a Victorian-era scientist who became the amphibious man we know and love after conducting an ancient ritual using an underwater jellyfish-looking god. I always assumed he was just a natural anomaly!
Amphibian Man: The Shape of Water
The Shape of Water was just recently released so I don’t want to give anything away, but from the glimpses of the character allowed to escape onto the interwebs, it seems like a more realistic, more detailed Abe Sapien. Down to eating hard-boiled eggs!
Angel of Death: Hellboy 2
The Angel of Death had a small but instrumental role in the sequel to del Toro’s popular comic book adaptation Hellboy. The most interesting aspect of Dougie’s role as the Angel of Death is that (according to the script) the Angel was meant to be a woman. This isn’t the first (or the last, as we’ll see later) time Doug Jones played a lady monster. The Angel of Death had this crazy aura around her as well that Jones simply nailed.
Cochise: Falling Skies
“Falling Skies” is a sci-fi TV show that came out in 2011 and ran for five seasons. It feels and even kind of looks like “The Walking Dead” except that instead of a zombie apocalypse, it was an alien invasion that changed the world. Doug Jones plays Chichauk Il’sichninch Cha’tichol, or Cochise, for short, an alien fighting alongside the human race against the bad aliens, the Espheni. Cochise is a peaceful leader who acts as an ambassador for his race. But I am just so in love with his makeup!
Thin Clown: Batman Returns
Though the role of “Thin Clown” wasn’t a huge one in and of itself, Dougie’s appearance in the 1992 Tim Burton film marks his role in a first big-budget blockbuster movie. Thin Clown and Fat Clown were two of the Penguins lackeys instrumental to inflicting maximum chaos on Gotham City. Doug Jones’ naturally creepy vibe lends itself well to a role as a killer clown!
Carl Swangee: Automata
First of all, if you haven’t heard of Penny Arcade, go change that! (My high school science teacher’s son is one of the comics’ artists!) Second of all, Automata is a new TV show which premiered summer 2017 after almost $500,000 was raised via Kickstarter to bring this Penny Arcade comic to the small screen. Automata takes place in an alternate 1930’s reality where Doug Jones stars as Carl Swangee, an automaton detective in a world where the production of automatons is outlawed (as opposed to liquor). This is my first time seeing him play a creature that isn’t organic, but of course, he nailed it!
Star Trek: Discovery, the first Star Trek TV series since Enterprise ended almost 13 years ago (does that make anyone else feel incredibly old?), features Doug Jones as Saru, the First Officer of the USS Discovery. The coolest thing about this role is that Saru is a Kelpien, a never-before-seen species in the Star Trek universe. With his highly intricate face details and cloven hoofs, Saru the Kelpien is a unique and fairly pretty addition to the Discovery’s crew. Fun fact: Dougie says that he modeled Saru’s walk after supermodels! *snap snap snap* Fierce.
The Ancient: The Strain
Guillermo del Toro’s novel trilogy became the show it was always meant to be in 2014 when The Strain aired on FX. Doug Jones plays one of the seven Ancients, ancient vampiric creatures older than civilization. These freaky and incredibly powerful beings (crimson worms technically) were the original vampires and its due to their actions that the vampire wars that trigger the events of the series happened. The Ancients are similar in appearance to the Pale Man in Pan’s Labyrinth, other than the creepy eye-hands, of course, and exude a similar sense of doom. Speaking of which…
When they say Doom the movie was loosely based off Doom the revolutionary video game series, they mean it, but that’s a whole ‘nother article so I won’t complain too much.
Doom, the 2005 box-office bomb featured space marines fighting genetically engineered alien monsters in lieu of hellspawn, like the games, but the alien monsters still looked pretty demonic. And Doug Jones, the King of Creatures, plays a couple of them! Referred to as “imps,” these disturbing, animalistic rage machines are in fact scientists and soldiers turned into monsters by injecting them with an alien chromosome. Dougie plays two of these unfortunate-souls-turned-monsters, namely the Dr. Carmack Imp and the Willits Imp. In addition to his monstrous movements, Doug had to be super athletic for this role, which featured a lot of pouncing and jumping on unsuspecting marines.
Silver Surfer: Fantastic Four: Rise of the Silver Surfer
I’ll be honest with you. I was hesitant to include this one on the list because my coworkers actually refuse to admit this movie even exists, they hated it so much. Not because it was a bad movie (which it was), but because it was a bad representation of their favorite comic book character, the Silver Surfer. That said, I personally think Doug Jones did a great job with what he was given to work with… which, albeit, wasn’t much. Dougie’s expressive and lanky body worked well for this version of a sulking, emo Silver Surfer, even though (my coworkers assure me) it was nothing like the comic book character at all.
Bonus Section: Miscellaneous Doug Jones Roles
Unfortunately for science fiction, many of Doug Jones’s best, most well-known roles aren’t a part of our favorite genre, so it wouldn’t really be appropriate to write an article on them. Buuuuut, that’s why bonus sections exist! If it makes you feel more comfortable, we can call it “Honorable Mentions.”
Grady: “Skin and Bones,” Fear Itself
This is BY FAR the scariest episode in the Fear Itself universe, and it is entirely due to the unnerving, tension-building screen presence of Doug Jones as Grady Edlund who becomes a Wendigo after getting stuck in a snowstorm and resorting to cannibalism to survive.
Faun/Pale Man: Pan’s Labyrinth
Alright, funny story. For whatever reason, I went into Pan’s Labyrinth thinking it would be a harmless children’s movie. Cut to me, 30 minutes in, curled in a blanket clutching my pillow in my dorm room, staring horrified at the ridiculously terrifying creatures Doug Jones forever cemented in my nightmares. Oh, it wasn’t a funny story? *shrugs*
The Pale Man is probably Doug Jones’s most
recognizable role, simply because its so FREAKIN’ FREAKY. But, Dougie also played the Faun, who was pretty much the main character other than the little girl.
Lady Beatrice Sharpe: Crimson Peak
And here’s another instance of Doug Jones playing a horrific and female monster. Lady Beatrice Sharpe’s oozing, clay/blood-drenched ghost was actually Dougie haunting the adorable Mia Wasikowska all along! Good news though: that knowledge does nothing to make the ghost less scary.
The Gentlemen: Buffy the Vampire Slayer
The Gentlemen were a reoccurring hazard in Buffy’s world, bringing silence, scalpels, and death wherever they went. Doug Jones played one of the Gentlemen, and without a voice to define his character, Dougie’s ability to distort his face, and his smooth, inhuman, flourishing way of moving made him perfect for the role. Or vice versa!
Did we miss any of Doug Jones’s hallmark roles? Do you want to hear more about The Shape of Water? Let us know in the comments!
The featured image is the property of Fox Searchlight Pictures, not us! Thank you to Fox and everyone else we used pictures from in this article. WE OWN NONE OF THEM! NONE!