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Adaptational Abomination

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When a character is adapted from their source material to another form of media, oftentimes alterations are made to their abilities, origins, and more in order to make them better suited to the new take, or simply because it's cool. Normally, these changes aren't too drastic, or even are more subdued in an attempt to make the work more 'realistic' by having their unusual characters be more grounded.

This trope is not for such adaptations.

While in the source material a character may have been a simple, easy-to-understand monster, or wizard, or what have you, in the adaptation they are far from ordinary. For example, the original may have just been a man with superpowers may become a Humanoid Abomination, either to make the audience afraid of his powers, or even as a way to ''explain'' his powers. Sometimes it's a case of Ascended Fridge Horror, and sometimes it's just the adaptation being Darker and Edgier... that is, if the eldritch nature of the adaptation has a basis in the original work at all, and isn't just the new author completely changing things up.


Sub-Trope of Eldritch Abomination and Adaptation Deviation. Super-Trope to Santabomination. Contrast Adaptational Mundanity. See also Adaptational Badass and Adaptational Villainy. May qualify as an Adaptation Species Change, if either version can be called a species in the first place.


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    Anime & Manga 

    Comic Books 

     Fan Works 

    Films — Live-Action 
  • In The Ritual, one of the cultists claims that the supernatural monster stalking the heroes is a Jotunn, more specifically a spawn of Loki. In Norse Mythology, Jotunns are alternatively known as "Frost Giants". Interpretations of what Jotunns look like depend between adaptations, usually being pictured as being similar to humans and gods, but significantly larger, with other adaptations giving them ice-based decor to them. Here though, the Jotunn is portrayed as an Animalistic Abomination with the body of a large elk overgrown with plant matter, with the addition of protruding spines from the vertebrae and an additional set of human-like hands by her hips. Her head is far more monstrous, resembling a headless human torso with antlers for arms and arms for legs, with a vaguely human head with glowing eyes where its crotch would be. It's worth noting that the most well-known Jotunn are Loki and his children: Fenrir (a giant wolf), Jormungandr (a giant snake), and Hel (a half undead goddess), so an animalistic being is completely in line with Norse myths.
  • Marvel Cinematic Universe
    • Doctor Strange: Dormammu was always a Humanoid Abomination, but his comic version was still a recognizably humanoid Evil Sorcerer. His live-action film counterpart isn't even remotely humanoid beyond a face and exists outside of time while he tries to assimilate universes into his Dark Dimension.
    • Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2: While Ego the Living Planet was quite powerful, the Ego of the film is more of a cosmic being despite having the ability to take a human form. His true form is a giant glowing brain with the planet being something he formed for himself rather than just being a planet that was given consciousness. He becomes more Lovecraftian when his true colors are revealed, as his expansion plot involves spreading pieces of himself to grow like tumors on other planets.
    • Spider-Man: Far From Home: Invoked and subverted with the Elementals, who are portrayed by Mysterio as immortal beings who have inspired myths throughout history and are capable of destroying the entire planet. Except actually don't exist at all, at least in the incarnations Mysterio presents, as they are his illusions he uses to pretend to be a hero. Morris Bench, the "real" Hydro-Man, is mentioned to supposedly exist as a "mere" superpowered human.
  • It (2017): In terms of presentation, it is only downplayed with the titular Pennywise/It. While It was as much of an Eldritch Abomination in the books, its traits are exaggerated and more overtly demonstrated in the 2017 adaptation. The original Pennywise was mostly capable of putting on the act of a flashy, friendly clown, however, Bill Skarsgård's interpretation is more feral and obviously monstrous, rarely bothering to even act human. Pennywise is clearly inhuman from the get go, while in the books it only becomes apparent later on and the humanoid form is a very poor disguise that quickly falls off. The second half plays with this. Pennywise never assumes the spider form of the book only a clown-headed spider form, but more emphasis is given to the fact that Its true form is the Deadlights, a trio of lights akin to three suns.
  • In James and the Giant Peach, the rhinoceros which ate James's parents isn't really described as anything else other than just an animal (which makes it even more surreal in a way). In the live-action/animated film, it is a malevolent supernatural entity from beyond which manifests itself as a storm cloud shaped like a rhinoceros more closely related to the book's Cloud People.
  • The Titans in the MonsterVerse take the Kaiju from the Godzilla and King Kong franchises into this direction. While the various monsters from each series were weird and terrifying in their own unique ways, the MonsterVerse makes a point that the Titans not only predate mankind by many millions of years, but that should they ever awaken from their slumber, humanity is hilariously ill-equipped to do anything about it. Research from MONARCH reveal that they were all worshipped by various human civilizations of the past (being the source of various gods and monsters from religions new and antiquated), their mere presence acts as the catalyst that allows life to thrive on Earth, most of them are or have become Single Specimen Species, they have anatomies and abilities that should be impossible, they can (and have) hibernated for thousands of years, their bodies can absorb and store radiation and the only thing keeping them from destroying all of humanity is that their alpha (Godzilla) commands them not to, and even then it is left vague as to why.
    • Godzilla: King of the Monsters (2019) leans into this in its depiction of King Ghidorah. In the original Godzilla continuity of the showa films, Ghidorah was established as a civilization-destroying world eater from the depths of space, but when he became Godzilla's most frequently-recurring enemy, Villain Decay set in pretty hard, and even his first film has a pretty light and campy tone. Most of the Japanese films since played him as just another kaiju, albeit one of the franchise's more iconic villains. King of the Monsters, on the other hand, emphasizes Ghidorah's alien biology (the revelation that he is an alien comes just after watching him disturbingly regrow a lost head after shrugging off a weapon that should have melted him), returns his threat level to a truly global scale with Hostile Terraforming, and giving him a folkloric backstory as The Dreaded tormentor of ancient civilizations. Even the cinematography around him is full of apocalyptic and satanic imagery, and his leitmotif is a Drone of Dread set to a Buddhist chant about void and nothingness.
  • Nearly every adaptation of The Ring emphasizes the scare factor to make it more palatable to horror audiences. Sadako Yamamura (and her foreign counterparts), for example, becomes a vengeful ghost who terrorizes her victims personally. The original novels are actually more science fiction than horror, the "curse" is cancer caused by a mutation of the smallpox virus rather than anything ghostly, and Sadako's origin story is rather mundane. The famous scene where she comes out of television to claim her victims? That isn't in the novel.
  • The Voyage of the Dawn Treader, the third installment of the Narnia movies, makes the sea serpent much more eldritch than it was in the original novel. It's more grotesque (for example, when it unfolds its scales to reveal hundreds of insectoid legs), and it emerges from the fog of nightmares surrounding the Dark Island (which, in the book, has nothing to do with the serpent). Word of God confirms that, in the film continuity, the villain from The Silver Chair (a Diabolus ex Nihilo with a snake connection) was behind the fog and the sea serpent inside it.


    Live-Action TV 
  • Kaamelott: Meleagant was originally just Guinevere's kidnapper in the tales of King Arthur. Here, he's some kind of Humanoid Abomination who visibly terrifies the Lady of the Lake just by existing, mind-controls people and corrupts Lancelot, implies he can't be killed and seeks to drive Arthur to suicide. When asked what the hell he is, he identifies as the gods' answer to Arthur's sins (sleeping with a vassal knight's wife).
  • In Penny Dreadful Dracula is Satan's brother.

    Tabletop Games 
  • Warhammer 40,000: The legend of Saint George and the Dragon upgrades the dragon to a C'tan, a star vampire currently locked on Mars and implied to be the real Omnissiah worshiped by the Adeptus Mechanicus. Saint George was not a normal knight either, but the immortal God-Emperor of Mankind himself.
  • A Pyramid article giving advice on creating a Supers/Cthulhu mashup game included vignettes featuring thinly-disguised versions of established characters, including Superman as a humanoid Mi-Go and both Surfer in Silver and Blackened Racer being among the many names of Nyarlothotep.

    Video Games 
  • Fate/Grand Order:
    • Tiamat of Mesopotamian Mythology here isn't just the goddess of Primordial Chaos — she's one of the Evils of Humanity aka Beasts and her nature as the ultimate My Beloved Smother is brought front and center.
    • The demons of the Ars Goetia vary in appearance and malevolence in the original grimoire. Here, unless inhabiting a host, they unilaterally manifest as shrieking flesh pillars dotted with eyes, and all of them are seemingly bent on destroying humanity. Their collective, Goetia, is arguably this trope applied to the Ars Goetia itself, being Solomon's original summoning spell taking the form of a Humanoid Abomination (when it's not possessing Solomon's corpse) and another of the seven Evils of Humanity.
    • The Foreigner-class Servants are historical people who made contact with the "Outer Gods" and managed to cling to their sanity, leaving them with some powers from the Outer Gods at their disposal. Currently none of them have connections to the eldritch in life (as far as anybody knows, anyway...) but the game's story explains how each of them came to be. Abigail Williams (famous for the Salem Witch Trial) was "forced" to become the host for Yog-Sothoth, while Katsushika Hokusai apparently gets contacted by what's implied to be Cthulhu, and his Trial Quest says that Abigail has inadvertently opened the way for more Outer Gods to "visit" the Earth.
    • In Celtic Mythology, Diarmuid ua Duibhne was killed by a demonic boar. This game shows that the boar was closer to an Animalistic Abomination, who eats magic runes and strikes fear even to dragonkind.
  • In the Castlevania series, Dracula is more than just a powerful vampire. He is the commander of a seemingly endless army of demons, including Death himself, has various forms of powerful black magic at his disposal, including Resurrective Immortality, owns a castle that in itself is another demon and is known for changing forms, and he has the ability to turn into all sorts of demonic forms. In the Chronicles of Sorrow duology, it's revealed that Dracula is also known as The Dark Lord, which is basically this universe's equivalent to Satan.

    Web Videos 
  • In Joueur du Grenier, the review of Barney Hide and Seek turns Barney the Dinosaur into a child-hunting monstrosity. As the game is intended for small children, the kids are very easy to find, there's no way to die and if you leave the game idle, Barney starts walking to the exit by himself. The narration takes this to mean that Barney cannot be hidden from, cannot be killed, and cannot be stopped.
  • Atop the Fourth Wall: MissingNo. is a video game glitch that while somewhat creepy, wasn't anything beyond that. The Entity, by contrast, is a universe-assimilating monster that's the most dangerous member of a Pantheon of Eldritch Abominations, and a threat to the entire multiverse. Lewis wrote it as such because MissingNo. creeped him out as a kid, and represented this by making it a Lovecraftian monster.

    Western Animation 
  • Tales of Arcadia:
    • In Arthurian Legend, Morgana le Fay was the half-sister of King Arthur and popular recurring villain in both the original stories and adaptations thereof, portrayed as either part-fairy or as an accomplished sorceress, sometimes on the same level of the Lady of the Lake. In Trollhunters however, she is much more of a threat than that. It is never made clear whether or not she was ever human, and while she is mentioned to have been Merlin's apprentice, it is implied that she had been around long before him. She is indestructible, unstoppable at full-power, was responsible for the existence of every other villain in the series (if not directly, then by proxy) and she could not be killed, instead had to be contained either in amber (at the cost of most of Merlin's magical reserves) or, later, within the Shadow Realm.
    • In Wizards (2020), Nimue - better known as the Lady of the Lake - is portrayed as a giant, one-eyed tentacle beast with a vaguely feminine angler that Merlin had imprisoned in a magical cave. According to Merlin, she was the one who first created Excalibur, and when the sword is broken he returns so that she could repair it, only to get eaten for his troubles.
  • Ben 10: Ultimate Alien: Dagon is revealed to be the identity of the dragon that Saint George fought. Unlike in the original legend, the dragon is merely one form of a Cthulhu-like Multiversal Conqueror who's mere visage is unpleasant to look at.
  • Tokka from Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles II: The Secret of the Ooze is a mutant who served the Shredder. However, in Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (2012) he (or rather she) is portrayed as a giant volcanic alien tortoise known as one of the Six Cosmic Monsters of the Universe who guards a piece of the black hole generator and has no affiliation to Shredder and/or Rahzar in this incarnation.
  • In the comics, Ian Karkull is a guy with shadow powers. In Superman: The Animated Series, Karkull (no first name) is a Cthulhu-esque magical horror who turns the Daily Planet into a Bigger on the Inside cavernous Hellgate. Anyone possessed by his minions, such as Lois and Jimmy, instantly turns into a monster. Oh, it gets even more cheerful. The center is a Bottomless Pit, or so we think. Well, when the tablet Karkull was sealed in falls down the pit and Superman has to chase it, we find it does have a bottom. The bottom has a mouth. The bottom is also rising, fast enough that Superman has to push himself to outfly it. It's hard to imagine a C-list villain like Ian as the master of all this, but his animated counterpart gave us some of the DCAU's best Nightmare Fuel.


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