The Human Fish: Pescetarian Perversity washed up in Pathé’s archive


This surreal and borderline cult-horror clip ‘Human Fish’ is one of the strangest archive finds from British Pathe to date! The video doesn’t containt any sci-fi amphibian hybrid creatures, the title is just a splash of typical Pathe News creative license. However, the clip is more perverse in its own way:

A flock of pretty local girls from Peckham (yes, we did just write those five words sequentially) cram into a bizarre glassed-off spectator room to watch Harold Elven, a rather hunky swimmer and philanthropist, fasten himself into a festish-esque harnass which is then connected to a fishing line. Then a fisherman, Jack Hargreaves, tries to reel Harold in whilst Harold attemps to swim away from his captor.

The whole affair is just plain scary, and the overall horror effect of this reel is enhanced by the eerie setting, the prototype electro classical score and the anxious narrator. The Human Centipede may be disgusting but this, The Human Fish, could be developed into a psycho-sexual Stephen King novel.

We’ve since learnt that this swimming pool still exists in Peckham but is not open to the public. It’s part of a private appartment building. We wonder if the current tenants know that this was happening in their pool back in 1949?

It seems the war sent Londoners a bit mad. Definitely an archive favourite!

If you come across anything that rivals The Human Fish then please do post it up on our Facebook group British Pathe Film Archive.

Locals in Peckham discuss the location on this forum here, and share some interesting memories of the pool!

Author: British Pathé

British Pathé holds the world's finest newsreel collection. We also represent the Reuters historical collection. All 220K films are viewable on our website.

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