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A monster with a face of tentacles resembling everyone's favorite Eldritch Abomination, Cthulhu. Using the official pronunciation of "Cthulhu" given by H. P. 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 be compared to such by fans.

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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, Beast Man, Humanoid Abomination, Animalistic Abomination.


Examples:

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    Anime & Manga 
  • Dagomon in Digimon Adventure 02 has "arms" that are a bound mass of tentacles, and above where those tentacles connect with the shoulders are a pair of eyes.
  • In Franken Fran, the mimic octopus that Fran tinkered with starts out as a blobby body with a head that has a human face but octopus arms for hair. It eventually develops a fully humanoid body and proceeds to mate with the man who had adopted it. At the end of the chapter, he's possibly dead and definitely serving as the nursery for thousands of mutant octopus eggs.
  • The Black Mass in Soul Eater, also knwon as "the Great Old One of Power", a mysterious entity who suspiciously resembles Cthulhu if he were made of some kind of viscous, dark, ever-shifting liquid.
  • Innsmouth (named after another of Lovecraft's stories) from My Hero Academia is an aquatic-based metahuman with tentacles coming out of many body parts, including his face.

    Comic Books 
  • Minor Doctor Strange villain the Dweller-In-Darkness is designed with Cthulhu in mind, appearing as a blue-skinned octopus-faced demon with a bulbous brain and the ability to generate fear.
  • 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 humanoid.
  • 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.
  • Superboy (1994): The two most common alien species seen amongst Kossak's slaves are both relatively humanoid with a bunch of tentacles on their lower faces. The first group just has prehensile tentacles as a sort of mustache/beard combo and four eyes while the other has an opening starting where a human nose would be and widening down to their chin full of short stubby tentacles that are a darker tone than their skin.
  • Thanks to the tendrils covering his mouth and his connection to fear, Man-Thing is a heroic example of this trope.
  • Ullux'yl Kwan Tae Syn, the being responsible for the obscure Marvel character Ulysses Bloodstone becoming an immortal monster slayer, was a green-skinned humanoid with a tentacled head.
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    Film 
  • 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.
  • Dagon: All the Dagon cultists in the village are various types of Fish People. Xuia's father has a face that resembles an octopus.
  • The howling ghost that emerges from the subway entrance in the original Ghostbusters (1984) appears to have a face full of tendrils, if it can said to have a "face" at all.
  • The Bodati (the alien whose tentacle is accidentally stepped on by Alex in the briefing room) in The Last Starfighter.
  • Davy Jones in Pirates of the Caribbean has facial tentacles, 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.
  • Star Wars: The Quarren, one of the two sentient species of Mon Cala, have squid-like heads complete with four tentacles around their mouths.

    Literature 
  • The race of quarren from the Star Wars also appear in the Expanded Universe, where it's noted that they are sometimes derogatorily referred to as "Squidheads" in refrence to their appearance. They lack any particular strength, aside from being seedy business men of the criminal underworld.
  • Lilith's Brood: The Oankali are a spacefaring species that have patches of short "sensory tentacles" across their scalps, foreheads, and throats in place of eyes, ears, or noses. Humans describe them as looking somewhat like anthropomorphic sea slugs — and also as being viscerally, skin-crawlingly horrifying until you get used to them. Also, their hands and feet have sixteen digits each, but at least those have bones in them.
  • Grivnizoids in their true from, from Borgel look like a cross between a humanoid tree and an octopus, as they are covered with tentacles.

    Live-Action TV 
  • Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. has the true humanoid form of Hive, a parasitic inhuman able to infest and possess the deceased's bodies. His true form is a human-like creature with tentacles for hair.
  • Babylon 5 has the pak'ma'ra, hunched humanoids with three pairs of tentacles around a tough beak. Despite their appearances, they are a relatively nice people, although secretive, carrion-eating, and smelly.
  • Doctor Who:
    • The Ood 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.
    • "Daleks in Manhattan"/"Evolution of the Daleks": After merging with the human Diagoras, Dalek Sec's hybrid form looks somewhat like this, with stubby remnants of the tentacles full Daleks have on the sides of his head.
  • Grimm has Gedächtnis 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. Interestingly for a fairy tales and folklore-themed series, they were based on/inspired by Beholders.
  • Power Rangers / Super Sentai

     Professional Wrestling 

    Tabletop Games 
  • Dungeons & Dragons:
    • The Trope Codifier is the tentacle-faced Mind Flayers/Illithids as pictured above, but despite the similarities Gary Gygax did not base his creations directly on Cthulhu, but on a novel cover.note 
    • The Krakentua from Kara-Tur are enormous octopus-headed spirits standing 100 feet tall and dressed in lavish silk robes. They hide in the depths of the sea and come out mainly to enslave lesser beings. The tentacles on their faces are also dexterous, allowing them to wield weapons in each of their seven tentacles.
    • Piscoloths/Piscodaemons are a species of Yugoloth/Daemon with lobster-like bodies and arms, birds' feet, and tentacled heads, However, rather than cephalopods, their heads are based on carrion crawlers (giant maggot-like monsters with paralyzing tentacles around their mouths). They obviously had also influence on the naming of the Final Fantasy example below.
  • As beings physically inspired by the mind flayers, the Ilthusians from the Mutants & Masterminds Freedom City setting also count. They're less scary than most of these examples, since the main representative of their species, Captain Kraken, communicates mainly in "Yarrr, me hearties!"
  • The Tyranids from Warhammer 40,000 incorporate this as bioforms:
    • Lictors always have "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.
    • The artwork for Ymgarl Genestealers in the latest Codex presents them as such, with octopus-like heads topped on hunched semi-reptilian bodies (the former trait being a result of mutation from standard Tyranid Genestealers). 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.
  • 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.

    Video Games 
  • 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 "Wizard" and "Sorcerer," then in Final Fantasy Tactics, became "Mindflare," while in the "Treasures of Aht Urghan" expansion of Final Fantasy XI they are known as "Soulflayers." The official English name for them now is "Piscodemon;"note  "pisco" as in "piscene" or "fish-like."
  • 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.
  • In Warcraft III, the n'raqi (Faceless Ones) have tentacles both for heads and hands. Bonus points in that they are the servants of the Old Gods, Shouts Out to the Cthulhu mythos.
  • World of Warcraft:
    • The Faceless Ones return and have additional lore, explaining that they were created by the Old Gods to serve as their priests and commanders.
    • The C'Thrax (Faceless General) model resembles Cthulhu even more than the n'raqi thanks to its more hulking build and the presence of two vestigial claws on the back that resemble wings.
    • K'thir have an emaciated human body with an octopus-like head with unusually long tentacles. They are servants of the Old God N'zoth and, much like Dagon's worshippers, have begun corrupting Kul Tirans and secretly transforming them into more k'thir.
  • 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 is literally just Cthulhu, complete with the octopus-like head, bat wings, and backstory as an Ancient Evil.
  • 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.
    • The Meklar have a mass of tentacles on their face.
  • The Elder Scrolls:
    • Morrowind: High ranking Sixth House members who are able to control their transformations after being afflicted with the Corprus disease will sprout tentacles from their faces. Ascended Sleepers are a prime example.
    • In Skyrim's Dragonborn DLC, Seekers are hulking, tentacled lesser Daedra in service to Hermaeus Mora, the Daedric Prince of Knowledge who himself takes a very Eldritch Abomination form.
  • 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.
  • 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 monstrous appearance, Kassadin is overall a very heroic character. As a shout out to this similarity in appearance, a skin has been released called "Deep One Kassadin."
  • One unique kind of Haunted in The Evil Within which is capable of turning invisible has a unique form of Facial Horror with meat and bone peeled away to form swaying tentacles of flesh hanging from its head.
  • Bloodborne:
    • Emaciated, robed humanoids with tentacled faces that use paralyzing magic attacks and try to grab the player, and upon succeeding grown an extra, funnel-like tentacle from top of their head and use it to suck out both health and Insight.
    • Amygdala, which is (by Great One standards) pretty damn humanoid. It's also got lots of arms, six fingers on each of its hands, and the bulbous be-tentacled head is a mostly-exposed brain that's (sometimes) also covered in eyes...
  • The point and click adventure game series A Matter of Caos available on Kongregate features Mr. Gilbert, a private detective with tentacles growing out of his face as the protagonist. The setting is such that Mr. Gilbert doesn't come across as too odd. He is actually a depowered Eldritch Abomination who had long ago grown attached to mortals and appointed himself as a guardian of sorts. Between various jobs he hunts down the remaining artifacts of his race and destroys them so that they cannot endanger anyone. For a brief moment in the final game he regains his full power, and he looks almost exactly like Cthulhu himself. Since "Mr. Gilbert" is just an alias, he might actually be Cthulhu.
  • The Ultimate Haunted House has the Squid Creature, which resembles a cross between Medusa and Cthulhu, and is one of the monsters roaming around the house waiting to curse you.
  • Faceless Void's model in Defense of the Ancients: All-Stars looks like this, due to being based on the aforementioned Faceless Ones of Warcraft. DOTA 2 makes his head more similar to that of a hammerhead shark instead.
  • Xenoblade Chronicles X: The Prone have humanoid bodies, but their faces have six eyes, several tentacles on the cheeks and sides of the head, and an enormous cavity where their mouth should be (the actual mouth is suggested to be further in). Doesn't stop one human in the game from falling in love with a Prone woman (who reciprocates).
  • Overwatch: The 2017 Halloween Terror event added a bonus Cultist skin for the robot monk Zenyatta, which transforms him into a robotic version of this trope. Besides a purple paint job, he gets a set of cultist robes and a Cthulhoid, tentacled head, in addition to his orbs getting decorated with slitted green eyeballs. He also gets some exceptionally creepy voice lines like "Zenyatta is everywhere", "Listen to the whispers of madness" and "Be consumed by the shadows" to go with this look.
  • Bendy and the Ink Machine gives us the Lost Ones: humanoid, skeletal ink beings with strands of ink dangling from their faces, sort of looking like tentacles. They're completely harmless, thankfully, however it's implied they're actually former studio employees.

    Webcomics 

    Web Original 

    Western Animation 
  • Vilgax, the Big Bad of Ben 10, resembles a hulking green humanoid with tentacles effectively replacing what would be a beard for humans.
  • Futurama:
    • Decapodians like Zoidberg have tentacles on the part of their faces where human have noses/upper lips, though they are smaller than those of most Cthulhumanoids in fiction.
    • Spoofed when Leela crawls through the radioactive muck in the sewers of New New York. 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. Said octopus says (in its best Baby Hermann voice) that before being mutated it was a little blonde girl named Virginia.
    • A gag in one episode shows a Cthulhu-like alien buying the Milky Way Galaxy off eBay.
  • The Glorft in Megas XLR have octopus-like heads and cybernetic humanoid bodies. A few of them have organic tentacles instead of mechanical legs.
  • 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 - a trait completely absent from their toyline counterparts (who instead opened up their backs).
  • 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 is the seventh Demon Lord of the Inner Pit, appearing as a mass of tentacles shaped into a shadowy humanoid form topped with a Cthulhu-like head.
  • Filmation's 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.
  • Wander over Yonder episode “The Good Bad Guy” has Major Threat AKA Jeff, Lord Hater’s former idol that got him into evil, before preforming a Heel–Face Turn. Concept art reveals that he was planned to be even more Cthulhu-like, with actual Tentacles, and a more octopus-like head.
  • In the Star vs. the Forces of Evil episode "By the Book", Star, Marco, and Glossaryck see a movie where the male lead is in love with a woman who is revealed to be this. Before they leave, Glossaryck spoils to the whole room that she dies in the end.


Need a Stinger? Why not Zoidberg? note 


Alternative Title(s): Tentacle Head

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