The Alien. The Weird. The Inconceivable. The Other.
The Eldritch Abomination is a type of creature defined by its disregard for the natural laws of the universe as we understand them. They are grotesque mockeries of reality beyond comprehension whose disturbing otherness cannot be encompassed in any mortal tongue. Humans suffer Brown Note or Go Mad from the Revelation effects just from witnessing their Alien Geometries. Reality itself warps around them. Any rules that they do follow are beyond our understanding, as are what motives they might have for any of their actions.
Native to the Cosmic Horror Story genre dabbled in by authors such as H. P. Lovecraft, Robert W. Chambers, and Robert E. Howard, the Eldritch Abomination has become a mainstay of horror and fantasy works, along with numerous others that popularly derive inspiration from Lovecraft. They are often used as a Greater-Scope Villain, Outside-Context Problem, Mad God, God of Evil or Sealed Evil in a Can - though they hail from somewhere beyond our petty parameters of good and evil in the typical sense. As they are defined by existing outside reality as we conceive it, most also come from somewhere beyond the stars or before the dawn of time or outside our universe.
Physically, the Eldritch Abomination is only defined by seeming somehow "off", hinting at their incomprehensible nature. They can range from humanoid to animalistic to physically impossible to inconceivably bizarre. However, common physical characteristics include similarities to internal organs, animals with tentacles, or celestial bodies.
The power of these beings can greatly vary. Some of which can be defeated by mortals, usually via a special weapon specifically meant to kill them, some of which are more powerful than gods, but are often still able to be defeated. In the Cosmic Horror Story genre, however, these beings are usually unbeatable, or are technically beatable, but will result in a Pyrrhic Victory with an incredible cost unless the story is a bit "lite" in comparison to your usual fare against Eldritch entities. Many stories involve only a proxy, incarnation, representation or some manner of reduced form of theirs being defeated or otherwise ejected from our reality with the greater whole/source entity remaining uneffected, able to wait out the end of the current generation, civilization, planet or reality itself, or it being noted that it has already done so in the past to impose itself once more in the present. In some cases, we simply stop them being fully summoned into our world. The most often used element for a Cosmic Horror Reveal, at which point, expect such a creature to be the Final Boss.
A Sub-Trope of Our Monsters Are Different, Our Monsters Are Weird & Cosmic Entity. Though note that a monster being really powerful, weird or ugly is not, in and of itself, an example of this trope. The monster must break the established internal logic of the work.
For specific storylines involving Eldritch Abominations, see the Did You Just Index Cthulhu? page. More candidates for being Eldritch Abominations are: God of Evil, God of Chaos, The Old Gods, Paradox Person, and Starfish Aliens. When regular humans look like (or legitimately are) Eldritch Abominations to other species, that's Humans Are Cthulhu. Sister Trope to Brown Note Being, since eldritch or abomination doesn't describe every creature which causes a Brown Note, nor does every Eldritch Abomination cause one (though it is common for them). An Eldritch Location is not necessarily an Eldritch Abomination that takes the form of a Genius Loci, but it can be. May be the cause of a Bizarro Apocalypse.
Do not confuse this with Complete Monster, which is more about evil than (physical) monstrousness, especially since a Complete Monster isn't necessarily a literal monster, and an Eldritch Abomination isn't always evil. However, an Eldritch Abomination who has clear agency and is sufficiently heinous by the standards of the story or its own established Grey-and-Gray Morality can qualify as a Complete Monster.
Thanks to the nature of this trope, potential Real Life examples are very vague and questionable at best. So No Real Life Examples, Please!
A Super-Trope to:
- Adaptational Abomination: An entity which was not so eldritch in the original story becomes more of an abomination in the adaptation.
- Adorable Abomination: An eldritch being which actually looks rather cute (though maybe deceptively so, or perhaps it's genuinely friendly).
- Alliance with an Abomination: When an ordinary mortal teams up with a very powerful eldritch being.
- Angelic Abomination: Angels which look extremely bizarre and alien, instead of being more humanoid. Interestingly, while most angels in The Bible look like what one would expect from religious art, some of them do appear as this type.
- Animalistic Abomination: An eldritch creature which somewhat resembles or behaves like a more monstrous version of an ordinary animal.
- Benevolent Abomination: An eldritch entity that is genuinely good and friendly towards mortal beings, instead of being maliciously evil or amorally alien.
- Botanical Abomination: An eldritch organism which appears to be an extremely bizarre and unnatural plant.
- Digital Abomination: A virtual eldritch being originating from cyberspace.
- Draconic Abomination: A dragon-like creature which looks very bizarre and otherworldly. Probably also a demon or god.
- Eldritch Transformation: An ordinary being gets turned into a horrifying abomination.
- Transhuman Abomination: An eldritch entity that was once a normal human being.
- Flesh Golem: A being that is made up of merged skin, turning them into a fleshy blob.
- Genetic Abomination: Mutant monstrosities born from genetic engineering.
- Humanoid Abomination: An eldritch being which superficially resembles or behaves like a human, or is at least vaguely human-shaped.
- Monstrous Humanoid: An abomination which may have a vaguely human-shaped, bipedal body, but their obviously inhuman features are a dead giveaway.
- Santabomination: Santa Claus is a strange being of unfathomable power. Though considering he can travel all over the world in one day, this actually makes a lot of sense.
- Humans Are Cthulhu: When literal humans are viewed as being unfathomably strange or alien from the perspective of (usually more primitive) non-human creatures.
- Mechanical Abomination: A strange and powerful machine or robot which was created to go far beyond the limitations of normal technology.
- Starfish Aliens: Eldritch abominations which are explicitly extraterrestrial or extradimensional in origin tend to look extremely bizarre and otherworldly.
- Undead Abomination: A dead being which has somehow been brought back from death as an extremely bizarre and terrifying ghost or zombie.
- Anime & Manga
- Comic Books
- Fan Works
- Live-Action TV
- Mythology & Religion
- Tabletop Games
- Video Games
- Web Original
- Western Animation
- Other Media