Frequently in Speculative Fiction
stories, there is a monster, or perhaps a race of monsters, with a face of tentacles resembling everyone's favorite Eldritch Abomination
. Using the official pronunciation of "Cthulhu" given by HP Lovecraft
, the closest thing to the correct pronunciation a human can manage is
"Khlulhloominoid". Now say that five times fast
Different variations exist. The being(s) may have tentacled fingers, or they may have completely normal fingers. They almost always have an unusual skin pigmentation such as green, grey, greenish grey, or orange. They might have a beak within their mass of tentacles like a real octopus, or a Lamprey Mouth
concealed among them; alternately, they might have a humanoid mouth just above or below the tentacles. Their strength varies, but they are almost never of the same power level as the Eldritch Abomination
that inspired them. In fact, they may act nothing at all like the original Cthulhu, but still, expect them to compared to such by fans.
Also note, while examples may or may not be supernaturally enhanced, this is not about Eldritch Abominations
, but about humanoids who look vaguely like Cthulhu.
Related to Unscaled Merfolk
, Fish People
, Petting Zoo People
, Humanoid Abomination
, Animalistic Abomination
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Anime & Manga
- The Black Mass in Soul Eater.
- Dagomon in Digimon Adventure 02, being an expy for Cthulhu. It also applies the trope more than once - its "arms" are a bound mass of tentacles, and above where those tentacles connect with the shoulders are a pair of eyes.
- Minor Doctor Strange villain the Dweller-In-Darkness is designed around this trope.
- The Flash had an arc where he had to face some interdimensional race of aquatic invaders that had many octopus traits.
- In Welcome To The Jungle, a graphic novel prequel to The Dresden Files, Harry ponders which type of monster may have killed a night watchman. One panel shows a Police Lineup of the (monstrous) "usual suspects", including a stocky, long-tentacled example of this trope.
- Mr. Fane from Nocturnals is an unusual example in that he looks mostly human, and manages to pass as an ordinary if somewhat eccentric man as long as he keeps the lower half of his face covered. Underneath that concealing scarf, though... Well, he really does have the face for tentacles.
- Topo◊, an Aquaman supporting character sports this look.
- Thanks to the tendrils covering his mouth and his connection to fear, Man-Thing is a heroic example of this trope.
- The proto-Prawns from Niell Blomkamp's short film Alive In Jo'burg, which inspired District 9, look like this instead of the insectoid appearance of the big budget adaptation.
- Cthulhu himself is actually depicted like this in the comic-book section of The Last Lovecraft. Also Starspawn, his pets and the "half-breed" also count.
- Davy Jones is depicted this way Pirates of the Caribbean. He also has a crab pincer for a hand, and one of his legs resembles that of a crab. Designed to resemble a beard, hook and peg leg, of course.
- The Quarrens from Star Wars.
- The Bodati (the alien whose tentacle is accidentally stepped on by Alex in the briefing room) in The Last Starfighter.
- The first example here should very well be one of Lovecraft's own alien races, the octopoid "star-spawn of Cthulhu," which look much like their master/father/high priest/god.
- Colonel Brandon in Sense and Sensibility and Sea Monsters.
- The race of quarren from the Star Wars Expanded Universe. They lack any particular strength, aside from being seedy business men of the criminal underworld.
- The Fithp in Footfall are described as looking a bit like a cross between an elephant and an octopus. However, they're not really humanoid.
- More elephant than anything else. They just have a trunk that branches into eight tentacles that they use as a (generally not particularly good) hand.
- The Grel from the Bernice Summerfield series.
Live Action TV
- Babylon 5 has races like the pak'ma'ra and the Drakh. The pak'ma'ra are relatively nice (though secretive, carrion-eating, and smelly), but the Drakh are more or less evil (though not completely, this being Babylon 5 after all).
- The Ood from Doctor Who are an interesting sort of double subversion in that despite their creepy appearance, they're perfectly cheerful and friendly, but their psychic hivemind also makes them prone to takeover by genuine Eldritch Abominations.
- And Dalek Sec after he merges with a human.
- The Mighty Morphin' Power Rangers episode, "The Power Stealer," gave us the aptly named Octophantom.
- Series/Grimm has Gedatchnis Esser. An octopus-like Wesen that can use the four arms on its head to steal all your memories and leave you suffering dementia. Basically, it's a Wesen race of Human-sized Cthulhu.
- Mind Flayers/Illithids in Dungeons & Dragons, but despite the similarities Gary Gygax did not base his creations directly on Cthulhu, but on an unrelated novel covernote .
- The Tyranids from Warhammer 40,000 deserve mention. Lictors, most obviously, always have the "feeder tendrils," but many other units in the army list have the option of buying that upgrade to create a giant chitinous army of slavering, gibbering mini-Cthulhus.
- In particular, the artwork for Ymgarl Genestealers in the latest Codex presents them as such. The unit background states the Hive Mind goes out of its way to avoid reabsorbing their biomass because they undergo physical mutations constantly and uncontrollably.
- 50 Fathoms, a Savage Worlds setting, has the Kraken - resembling the illithid, but they're playable - and don't make bad wizards, either.
- The Solar queen K'Tula is said to have eventually warped her body into a cephalopod horror, a change so drastic that it was too far removed from the human potential that Solar Charms work off of for her to make any that could enhance it.
- The Old World of Darkness had the Chulorvia, an underwater race of Eldritch Abominations. They have several breeds, one of which is a classic Cthulhumanoid.
- In the card game Magic: The Gathering, there exists a creature card that is a huge, unholy, tentacle-faced monstrosity from the deep: Wrexial, the Risen Deep. Also fits under Kraken and Leviathan.
- Drelnoch is a mutant yeti with tentacles.
- The Dark Eye has Gal'kzuulim, demons that serve Archdemon Charyptoroth. They are created through a ritual, from humans and krakonier(Deep One expies).
- The Mind Flayers from D&D also appear in several installments of the Final Fantasy series, since it stole much of its early bestiary from Dungeons and Dragons. In the original translation of the first game, they were simply called "Wizaard" and "Sorcerer," then in final Fantasy Tactics, became "Mindflare." The official English name for them now is "Piscodemon;" "pisco" as in "piscene" or "fish-like."
- In the Treasures of Aht Urghan expansion of Final Fantasy XI they are known as Soulflayers, coming quite close to violating Hasbro's copyright (see Tabletop Games above).
- In Resident Evil: Revelations there's a new type of infected, the Ooze, who are mixed with genetic material from sea creatures, so, many of those resemble Cthulhumanoids.
- The Faceless from Warcraft. Bonus points in that The Faceless are the servants of the Old Gods, Shouts Out to the Cthulhu mythos.
- In Mass Effect, the species depicted in sculptures found on Ilos and seen in Shepard's dreams resemble this. Initially assumed to be the Protheans, they're actually the inusannon — the precursors to the Protheans themselves.
- The Malachi from later Castlevania games looks like. It has a surprisingly-hard-to-avoid dustball attack.
- In Castlevania: Symphony of the Night, there was a monster with the same animations but no face tentacles and slightly less beastly-looking arms that was called "Ctulu" (sic). the names were likely switched by accident.
- Subverted in Master of Orion 2. The game has the aquatic, transdimensional race of Trilarians. When you add the fact planets named "Arkham" and "Rlyeh" (and "Arlyeh") are there as well, you realize somebody at the developers must've really wanted to do a Shout-Out. The manual also suggests that they were descended from a colony of the main Big Bad race of the game. At the same time they tend towards the "Pacifistic" personality-type, and can often be convinced to simply hand over planets to you if you ask them nicely. Their diplomacy music is also one of the mellowest tunes in the whole game, and even their physical appearance may seem quite beautiful rather than terrifying to you.
- To a lesser extent, the Meklar. In MoO 2, they have a mass of tentacles on their face.
- The Ascended Sleepers from The Elder Scrolls III: Morrowind have tentacled faces.
- The sligs from the Oddworld games, although only partially humanoid, as they have robotic "pants" instead of legs.
- The prison guards in Demon's Souls, featured in a particular level, are basically miniature Cthulhus in garbs. It doesn't really help that they have a Mind Rape spell which paralyzes you, after which they rush towards you and impale you on one of their tentacles.
- Bloodsuckers from S.T.A.L.K.E.R..
- The rubbery men in Fallen London. Possibly a subversion, as they seem perfectly polite and civil despite not being capable of human speech. This doesn't stop everyone and their dog from trying to kill them, though.
- You have the option to make yourself one in Champions Online. Just get the facial feature "tentacles," and for bonus points webbed or tentacled hands and/or feet.
- Pokémon X and Y has a kid-friendly version in Malamar. A humanoid upside-down squid-thing with tentacles as hair and hands, Dark/Psychic typing, and has the ability to make its foes bend to its will.
- In Quest for Glory IV, possible enemy encounters include Cult of the Dark One members who have been warped into Cthulhumanoids.
- Oddly averted in the Shin Megami Tensei franchise. While Cthulhu himself is a recurring demon, his appearance more closely resembles a kraken than this trope.
- Kassadin in League of Legends wears full armor and a helmet that makes him look like having Cthulhu's head. He could best be described as a gray-blue skinned man wearing gear that makes him look like Darth Cthulhu. He's a Champion that got his power from the Void, a chaotic and destructive realm not that unlike Lovecraft's works. Surprisingly, despite his power's origin and monsterous appearance, Kassadin is overall a very heroic character.
- One unique kind of Haunted in The Evil Within which is capable of turning invisible has a unique form of Facial Horror that gives it this appearance, with meat and bone peeled away to form swaying tentacles of flesh hanging from its head.
- Vilgax from Ben10.
- Spoofed in Futurama when Leela crawls through the radioactive muck. We see her body with an octopus for a head, and the initial assumption is that she mutated. However, she is immune, and when she gets to shore she disgustedly pulls off the octopus that got stuck to her face.
- The Glorft in Megas XLR.
- A few of the Sea Tribe characters from Gormiti: The Lords of Nature Return are just like this.
- The Rahkshi in BIONICLE: The Mask of Light could split their faces open to reveal a mass of writhing tentacles.
- In Freakazoid!, villain Waylon Jeepers summons a Cthulhu expy named "Vorn the Unspeakable", who fits this trope to a "T".
- Squid of Generator Rex fits this trope, having quite a few features taken from his namesake.
- Karkull in Superman: The Animated Series.
- Filmations Ghostbusters had the Affably Evil Mr. Squid, who successfully captured the Ghostbusters even though Prime Evil didn't believe him. Just before Jake dematerialized him, he asked if he might one day join the 'Busters. Interestingly enough, his character design anticipates Davy Jones from Pirates of the Caribbean by almost twenty years!
- Many of the M'arrillians in Chaotic, especially G'harlag, who is just like Cthulhu.
- Squidward from Spongebob Squarepants would probably qualify, although he would be more of an anthropomorphized six-armed octopus than an actual cthulhumanoid.