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Humans Are Cthulhu

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Iä! Ph'nglui mglw'nafh Scu'ba Di'ver Doc'tah Ph'lip Shyrrm'n Syd'ney wgah'nagl fhtagn!note 

Grandpa Squirrel: Well, they were like monsters. They wore great big iron pots on their heads, they walked on their hind legs, and they carried terrible-lookin' shootin' irons with knives on the end of 'em, and their eyes flashed, and they had tremendous big snouts that curled down and fastened on to their stomachs!
Baby Squirrel: Ooooh! Grandpa, I'm glad there ain't no more men around!

Humanity isn't always on the apparently low end of the cosmic totem pole. If a story takes the point of view of animals or relatively weaker or more primitive non-humans, there'll be a Perspective Flip related to Clarke's Third Law where technologically-advanced, or, more rarely, magic-using humans shall be seen as unnaturally and nauseatingly inconceivable.

The non-human creatures will usually consider Man as Always Chaotic Evil, and treat it either with wary respect or an odd reverence as a divinity. Whether it's born from survival instinct or cultural baggage, most will be reluctant at best to actively resist Man's activities, let alone be curious to know them, lest one would suffer in the most merciless manner at the hands of Man's Industrialized Evil. Possibly the non-human society realizes that committing to major action against Man would risk breaking the Masquerade, crossing some sort of Moral Event Horizon, or is just plain suicidal.

To meet this trope, the non-humans must consider either individual (completely normal) humans or Man's civilization as a whole to be:

One exception to this treatment happens when some non-humans, usually children, become pals with a human, again usually another child. The contact is treated as an exception rather than a rule, in that this one human is different and kind, while still considering revealing themselves to Man as a whole as endangering themselves. The non-humans who engage in this contact may or may not have their society's sanction to do so — it may be verboten and seen as risky, or alternately a useful tradition where they selectively reveal themselves to worthy humans. There are advantages to getting on a god's good side, after all.

The non-human society may be a Cargo Cult, primitive fantasy creatures or Insufficiently Advanced Aliens, a Mouse World, robots, or a Hidden Elf Village separated from human civilization. They may only consider humans to be things of myth, and be terrified to find out otherwise. In cases where humanity is long extinct, they may be perceived as mysterious, eldritch or Abusive Precursors, who walked the world long ago and left it filled with strange ruins and bizarre artifacts.

See also Humans Through Alien Eyes and Humans Are the Real Monsters. In a way we are The Fair Folk to others in this trope.

Often results in Nightmare Fuel or a God Guise. May be a case of Obliviously Evil. Has surprisingly little to do with Humanoid Abomination, although the non humans may perceive us as this. Contrast Transhuman Abomination, where a human becomes Cthulhu so far as other humans are concerned.


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  • The Fly: Certainly they are from the perspective of the fly, which desperately tries to escape as an unseen (human) force stalks it around the mansion.

    Anime & Manga 
  • Seeing them from the perspective of the raccoon-dogs in The Eccentric Family, humans are "more sly, cunning and wicked than even foxes or tengu."
  • The inhabitants of Crescent Forest in Sayuri Tatsuyama's Happy Happy Clover view humans as this, even after Clover befriends a pair of human children.
  • Her Majesty's Swarm: This Web Serial Novel (and manga adaptation), is a Media Transmigration story where a woman finds she has been reborn as a Hive Queen, Arachnia, ruling an Expy of the Zerg, and most all humans are portrayed as a Complete Monster persecuting Enslaved Elves. This is especially emphasized with the demented facial expressions of humans in the manga. There is a potential element of Unreliable Narrator to this, as Arachnia herself is having her judgement clouded by her new body's instincts and the Hive Mind she's part of. Regardless, what follows is a Guilt-Free Extermination War... against mankind.
  • Macross: To a number of aliens in the franchise. As if reverse engineering and adaption of Supervision Army technology wasn't fearsome enough (beware their shape shifting starships and incredibly massive fleets), humans evolved to develop infectious psychological weapons known as music, dancing, culture, and romance. The greatest threat is when all of these mind-altering horrors are concentrated into a single being called an "Idol". To hear them sing, to watch them dance, is to lose all sense of logical reason and worship an Idol's existence... and each human migrant fleet carries at least one of them. Capturing or attempting to kill an Idol is highly discouraged, as doing so unleashes the wrath of a fierce bodyguard. No interstellar superpower has withstood the Children of Earth. The conquering giant Zentradi and their dimorphic Meltrandi relatives? Fully assimilated into human society. The genocidal spirit devouring Protodeviln? Pacified. The ancient and infinite numbering Vajra? Fled known space. Adding more to the madness, they were each defeated by a mere fraction of mankind's entire empire: a single fleet or a lone warship. Worst yet, humanity is rapidly spreading throughout the galaxy, ensuring they cannot be exterminated after having almost lost their homeworld. Do not be fooled by their passive diplomacy or individual frailty. Once you have encountered humanity, your entire civilization will either collapse or restructure itself to become a part of them.
    • Macross Delta: The Windermerians' attempt to establish their own interstellar empire is partly to counter the spread of human civilization. It's mentioned Windermerians who make personal contact with humans, or become exposed to human culture, are quarantined and exiled from their home world. Government leaders are quite aware their entire culture will be replaced by human ideals within a single generation unless they can find a solution. Their plan ultimately fails and human music will inevitably dominate their civilization.
    • Within the Macross setting, music is the actual Theory of Everything in comprehensible and applicable form. Each of the Precursors had a singular melody that defined them as an entire race. Humans have created hundreds of musical styles, which means humanity has unlocked hundreds of different but equally valid methods to unlock the fundamental secrets of the universe. What truly sets humanity apart from the Precursors, and is the key to succeeding where they failed, is the concept of lyrics. The implication is humanity, or at least our Idol Singers, could evolve to become Reality Warpers through manipulation of Fold Space using soundwaves.
    • On worlds across the known universe, only super advanced sentient species on the cusp of Ascending to a Higher Plane of Existence grasp the fundamentals of music. The first interstellar war with the Zentradi and Meltrandi reduced Earth into an After the End planet. Few species larger than insects survived the There Is No Kill Like Overkill Orbital Bombardment. As a result, alien species in Macross are spared from ever realizing that Earth was an Eldritch Location: from tiny song birds to mammoth whales, the world was populated with creatures that possessed an inborn proficiency with melodic tones.
    • Humanity's interstellar empire, the New United Nations, directly possesses thousands of warships and can summon millions more from Zentradi and Meltrandi subordinates and countless other allied species. Their weakness is having all these assets spread across the galaxy and the bureaucratic nightmare to coordinate it all. However if a deadly threat arises and gives humans enough time to relay existence of the threat to Earth, Awakening the Sleeping Giant becomes the end result, as the Vajra Queen discovered when dozens of Macross warships arrived to destroy her in The Movie version of Macross Frontier.
    • And the time window to turn from the devastated After the End ball of dirt to the galaxy-consuming Juggernaut? Less than fifty years. The Battle for Earth happened in 2010. Macross Plus, with the Earth already a superpower, happened in 2045. The events of Macross Delta, where the major up-and-rising empire was contained not even by Earth's main military, but by a single lousy PMC and the equivalent of local militia, are said to happen in 2067.
    • In keeping with the timetable cited above, humans are one of the most prolific sentient species in the setting. At most only a few million were left after the Zentradei annihilated Earth. In roughly 50 years humanity has 1.4 trillion citizens to conduct colonization across the galaxy and lead an interstellar empire. Case in point: Max and Milia Jenius had no less than 7 biological children (plus at least 1 adopted child) and were already great grandparents at the advent of Macross Delta.
  • Neon Genesis Evangelion: Humans are actually the real last angel and not the Ambiguously Gay white haired Bishōnen that you thought it was, and your fellow man will be the final enemy. And they actually succeed in causing The End of the World as We Know It. Though it's kind of an It Was His Sled moment. Humans are different from all the other Angels in that Angels are the offspring of Adam, while the Lilim (humanity) are the offspring of Lilith.
  • Puella Magi Madoka Magica The Movie: Rebellion: Kyubey's inability to comprehend emotions was touched upon in the anime. But it's only after Homura uses The Power of Love to remake the universe into one where she has wrested power from the Incubators and made them her slaves that they realize that beyond emotion's entropy-countering abilities, they had no idea what they were messing around with. It ends with Homura doing... something to Kyubey, which reduces him to a quivering, bedraggled wreck.
  • Twilight of the Cockroaches. A family of cockroaches literally worship the owner of their grotty apartment, until he gets a girlfriend who insists on cleaning up the house. From the cockroaches perspective being stomped, vacuumed and sprayed by deadly chemicals is like a Final Solution imposed by an angry god.

    Comic Books 
  • This turns out to be the case in the furry comic Albedo: Erma Felna EDF, since the humans are considered as the Creators of them: When they find an abandoned spaceship with an human corpse inside of it, and to fuel to whole thing, they also find a book inside of it: Frankenstein.
  • In Beyond, this is The Stranger's goal — to understand humanity. Because by all rights, it doesn't make any sense.
    Stranger: You... You're doused with radioactivity that should kill you. Or you're the product of a googolplex-to-one genetic coding error that should have resulted in stillbirthnote ... But instead of dying, you thrive. The Earth. One little planet. A speck in an ocean of space, becoming dwarfed to the point it appears quite insignificant. And yet, Galactus shrinks from your power. The Kree, Skrull and Shi'ar give you a wide berth, whenever possible. The Phoenix Force manifests there. The Sorcerer Supreme calls it home. I barely scratch the surface.
    There is a saying among beings of great power, the translation is difficult... "When the apocalypse comes, all that will remain are cockroaches and human beings".
  • A good 1950/60s comic(maybe from Crypt?) told a story when a group of earthling scientists encounter an alien spaceship that come to dispose some of their ugly mutants caused by radiation. When the scientists opened the hibernation pod containing the mutants, it turns out that the mutants are Homo Sapiens. And quite good-looking by earth standards. The aliens' real appearance is left for the readers to imagine.
  • In the Hellraiser comics, it's stated that Leviathan abhors humanity, viewing it as chaotic and disgusting.
  • The OEL Manga Peach Fuzz might be an odd version of this. The ferret sees her owner as some sort of evil God or rather a mythology and religion style Eldritch Hydra-like monster called a Handra, which she really isn't, instead of just an (admittedly irresponsible) owner. And then she realizes that the "Handra" is just part of a larger creature.
  • One of Alan Moore's "Future Shocks" from 2000 AD features alien nomads in search of "The Chariot of the Gods". When their leader insists that they've found it, they wait for the Chariot to descend to the ground from above them... and then they all get crushed by Neil Armstrong as he makes his first step on the Moon.
  • In Warren Ellis's Ultimate Galactus Trilogy for Ultimate Marvel, he spends 3/4 of the series revealing the reimagined version (a hundred-thousand-mile long hive mind of giant, world-killing robots) of the planet-eating Galactus from the mainstream continuity. When Professor X makes contact with Gah Lakh Tus, he is physically jarred by the utter horror and disgust that the being feels for organic life. In fact, the whole point of Gah Lakh Tus seems to be that of a universal exterminator, that can sustain itself on any planet's core energy, but is dedicated to seeking out and killing anything organic simply because we creep the living hell out of it. In the end, scrappy little humanity/mutants/post-humanity/Eagleland comes together and uses a horrific, multidimensional superweapon powered by aborting a baby universe with a hydrogen bomb, and giving Nick Fury an even bigger ego in the process. Maybe Gah Lakh Tus was right to panic over us.
    • In addition to that, Professor X modified Cerebro to link the minds of every human on Earth together to Mind Rape Gah Lakh Tus. After that double whammy, Gah Lakh Tus decides that trying to eat Earth isn't worth it and flees.
  • Another example involving the X-Men; the Spineless Ones, the extra-dimensional race that their enemy Mojo belongs to, view humans as devils, because by complete coincidence (or so they thought), humans resemble the depictions of devils in their mythology. This doesn't mean that all of them are afraid of humans, however. Mojo himself (the race's ruler and also their biggest movie producer) had many of his genetically engineered slaves designed to resemble these devils (one of whom became the hero Longshot, and led a slave rebellion) and when he discovered the "naturally occurring devils" on Earth, he tried to conquer it. Though he never succeeds, he's always able to use the footage of his battles with the mutant heroes for a new blockbuster. (It's eventually revealed that this was not a coincidence; a scientist who invented most of their technology altered it so they'd have nightmares of humans, along with planting seeds of rebellion in the clones.)
  • In one What If? style story featuring Spider-Ham, Ducktor Doom transformed Peter Porker into a human, saying that being trapped in such a monstrous form would make the hero feel like a reviled freak. What was Porker's reaction? To roast and eat the armoured duck, because that's what a human would do.

    Comic Strips 
  • The "Eyeballs in the Sky" Running Gag from The Perishers, in which a society of crabs in a rockpool worship a pair of giant eyes that appear once every year (when the gang goes to the seaside). Not exactly this trope, though, as the eyes don't belong to a human but to a dog.

    Fan Works 
  • In "Diary of a Creeper", a Minecraft fanfic, humans are depicted as alien monstrosities capable and willing to slaughter everything in the world.
  • My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic fan works employ this from time to time.
    • Anthropology: Humans are thought of as a silly myth when they're thought of at all, but several ponies have distinctly negative impressions of them — Luna recalls them as foul, chaotic creatures best forgotten, while the stories Pinkie heard of them describe them as monstrous, flesh-eating monsters who ate sheep and cows and ponies (all sapient species in Equestria). Towards the end of the story, when the main cast comes to Earth, the ponies find it bizarre, alien and confusing, although Pinkie is somewhat nonplussed at the others not panicking about being close to humans.
    • Human has this in spades with humanity being revealed to be unknowing creators of Equestria.
      • This is even outright acknowledged by the thought to be dead Lord First, who describes the show's creators (referred to as the Pantheon of B) as "the Elder Gods" because their origins lie outside of the world of Equestria and follow different laws (e.g. humans exist on a cellular level while the ponies and other races do not).
      • The Pantheon of B also has similarities with the Outer Gods (mainly Azathoth) of the Cthulhu Mythos in the sense that they were unaware that they created Equestria and they will be equally unaware when they destroy it, much to Celestia's horror.
    • The Monster Mash: The sixth chapter manages to do this without humans existing in-universe. Twilight casts a spell to look through reality and goes mad from the revelation — screaming about how people nopony else can see are watching her. After Pinkie Pie, who's known about these watchers all along, helps her come to terms with the situation, Twilight turns to address the reader.
    • Pony POV Series: It's revealed that the ponies of the G2 era viewed humans as divine, due to Megan's actions in the original series. The possibility that they're capable of evil is shocking to these ponies. And then there are the Shadows Who Make, Watch, and Rule — beings beyond even the alicorns/draconequi Elders — who turn out to be the writers, readers, and Hasbro, respectively.
    • The Rise of Darth Vulcan: Vulcan's face frightens the Diamond Dogs, and a royal guard loses his mind after hearing about humanity's dark side.
    • Fimfiction has a group named "Humans Are Cthulhu" for these kind of stories.
    • Rarity Learns To Mind Her Own Business ("Darlings! Help me!") and its sequel Another Set of Eyes have 'the Eyes', implied, though never confirmed, to be a Revenge Fic writer who specifically targets Rarity and makes her existence miserable whenever they arrive. They're portrayed as nigh-omnipotent, capable of Rewriting Reality at will, including erasing the memories of anyone who figures out what's going on. The sequel reveals there are more, and Pinkie Pie is aware of them, but was unaware of what they were doing to Rarity. The rest of the Mane Six get help from a second set of eyes, simply called the Nice Eyes while the original set is referred to as the Cruel Eyes, who likes Rarity to defeat the Cruel Eyes and free their world, with Nice Eyes being their new 'writer.'
    • Humans become this when they enter Equestria in Consequences of Unoriginality. Since they can't exist in a world with such different laws of physics, they automatically make shells of magic and become Equinoid Abominations. Worth noting, this fic takes a lot of inspiration from The Dresden Files refering to Humanity as a race of Outsiders.
      There was something words failed to describe residing in the chest cavity of the body, shining with darkness, bent at impossible angles, twisting and shifting and impossible to describe. Twilight's mind recoiled from it... and yet it was so familiar because it was... it was EMERIS on a level that was hard to describe but was so fundamental that it actually hurt.
  • In Incompatible System, when the Citadel races discover someone had been stealing Mass Relays, they certainly get the feeling the ones responsible must be some kind of Eldritch Abomination.
  • In the Creepypasta "Trapped", the narrator mournfully talks about his recent capture by a mysterious monster that's heavily implied to be an alien, a demon, or some kind of Eldritch Abomination. He bitterly notes two very frightening things: First, this is in no way an isolated incident, these monsters routinely commit mass abductions and enslavement; they took the narrator's brother, and he knows that their mother is likely next. Second, the enslavement is sustained through mind control, and the poor narrator is fully aware that that's their ultimate fate. As they begin to succumb, The Reveal shows that the Narrator is a Pokemon just caught by a Trainer.
  • In Mythos Effect, this is the Citadel's reaction to humanity by dint of this being the humanity from CthulhuTech, meaning they have Magi Tech that has a tendency to drive it's users mad, 30-foot bio-mechanical abominations, and certain members of their species who can, at the very least, Mind Rape you, and at the very worst, turn into hideous beasts with such abilities as phasing through solid matter, or bending and twisting your flesh like putty. Heck, the reason the First Contact War isn't even more of a Curb-Stomp Battle (in spite of Humanity's justified Fantastic Racism) is that a) they only recently got done with a war on two fronts between the Mi-Go and the King in Yellow, so they're more than a little war weary, and b) they don't want to indirectly antagonize the rest of the Citadel into joining.

    Films — Animation 
  • The exterminator from The Ant Bully. Lucas Nickle was also seen as this at first, before he later learns his ways.
  • The humans-as-aliens idea appears in Antz (1998). A plastic-wrapped sandwich is "surrounded by Some Kind of Force Field", and an unseen sadistic human with a magnifying glass becomes a Flying Saucer with Death Ray (complete with The War of the Worlds sound effects) in a clear take-off of the "It's beautiful" scene in Independence Day. Also the human at the picnic, who is practically a living mountain compared to the insects (all we ever see are his feet and legs). A boy's sneaker is the size of a battleship (the scale according to Word of God).
  • Bambi:
    • Man are frightening beings who can kill animals without even touching them, which is indeed exceptional. One kills Bambi's mother. One neat quality of the movie is that we never actually see a Man - only the aftermath of their presence.
    • In Bambi II, Bambi is lured by a deer call, thinking it's his mother's voice calling to him. Thankfully The King of the Forest pulled Bambi away in time to keep from getting blasted, telling him that's just another of Man's tricks.
  • This seems to be how the bees initially view humanity in Bee Movie, though that starts to change after the protagonist talks to a human.
  • Early in FernGully: The Last Rainforest, the humans are simply remembered as extinct beings, if not a pack of sissies who fled the forest once Hexxus attacked. When Zack arrives, he has shades of trying to convince Crysta that humans are godlike, and that the marks they make on the trees are to frighten the "tree-eating monster" away. (He really should have just stopped talking while he was ahead.)
  • Zig-Zagged in Finding Nemo. The fish on the reef regard humans as terrifying, otherworldly beings (especially since they're wearing scuba masks) and a source of fear and awe. The fish in a human's fish tank, however, are sufficiently so used to them, that they regard them more as a source of free entertainment, except for the one kid that keeps accidentally killing fish.
    • Played for Laughs in Finding Dory. The fish at the aquarium, along with several of the characters, consider Sigourney Weaver a wise sage/goddess because of a recording of her voice welcoming people to the aquarium. At one point, Dory and Hank are thrown into the "Touch Area", where kids are sprawling through the aquarium picking all kinds of marine life, which is treated with all the drama and intensity as it would be if you were watching a weird horror movie. However, the humans are otherwise played un-monstrously.
  • In Happy Feet, one of the major themes is how "aliens" are responsible for the shortage of fish, and Mumble eventually sets out to find out who these creatures are and if he can communicate with them. There is also an encounter with a fishing fleet that is as vast, awesome and implacable as any cyclopean temple or Ancient Astronaut. And then there's the penguin Love-Lace, who thinks that the plastic six-pack holder around his neck is a gift from the gods — at least until he grows too big for it and it starts choking him. A subtle one, but when Love-Lace is being tossed around by the Orcas (which ultimately frees him from the six-pack holder) one of them shows obvious wounds from being hit by a spinning propeller. As penguins, the characters know all about Orcas as top-level predators. Imagine what they must think of an entity that can make a whole series of deep gashes in an Orca.
  • Early in The LEGO Movie, Emmet has visions of a vaguely humanoid figure known to the LEGO people as "The Man Upstairs", including a hand which he describes as "big pink sausages, like eagle talons mixed with squid". There are also various other hints of this scattered throughout the film, namely the ancient "relics", which are really just everyday objects (a chewed up lollipop is a mystic's staff, a band-aid is a cursed cloak, etc.) Then The Reveal in the third act shows that the entire plot is part of the imagination of a human boy, whose father is "The Man Upstairs" — yet for whatever unexplained reason, the LEGO people remain sentient beings, as demonstrated when Emmet is barely able to move on his own in the real world.
  • This provides the conflict in Monsters, Inc.. A civilization of monsters scare human children to use their screams as a source of energy. Though despite frequently interacting with them, the monsters all hold a paranoid superstitious belief that human kids are dangerously poisonous creatures. When a little girl somehow leaves Earth and visits the monster world, mass hysteria and widespread panic break out, with the general public behaving as if their city was being invaded by Cthulhu.
    • Monsters University takes it further. If human children are terrifying because they're toxic, teens and especially adults are beings straight out of a nightmare to be avoided at all costs. Since they don't fear Monsters and their story would be believed unlike a child's, being seen by one would reveal the Monster's world and bring about its ruin. This results in Mike and Sully successfully scaring a large group of human police officers, powering a disabled door and overloading an entire room full of scream canisters.
  • Once Upon a Forest. They're depicted as alien and inscrutable (the only time we see a human above the foot level, he's wrapped in a Hazmat Suit). At the very end of the movie, the animals are shocked to see that they can also be benevolent, as they work to clean up the mess they accidentally made in the forest. The benevolent humans are also seen destroying the animal traps that the "evil" humans from before had left. So it's more like "Humans are the Great Race of Yith".
  • The Korean animated movie Padak portrays humans as mysterious terrors. Considering the movie's setting and ultimate fate of the fish, it's easy to see why.
  • The page quote comes from Peace on Earth, in which an elderly squirrel describes humans as monstrous-looking beings "with long snouts that went into their stomachs" — and that's just how he describes the filter hose of a World War I soldier's gas mask. He describes the humans as having wiped each other out in an apocalyptic war, though it's entirely possible that he's describing how a local French village was deserted in the wake of World War I. Not to mention how he describes the soldiers killing one another over dietary choice or even physical deformities, because what animal would know about all the screwed-up politics that led to World War I?
  • In Rango, it's subtle but pervasive: humans with modern technology are treated like incomprehensible gods. Something mundane like a road is strange and incomprehensible enough to become integral to a spirit quest, seeing Las Vegas and its sprinklers is like a vision of a cyclopian city, we have enough water to just dump it in the desert, artifacts like pipes are treated as a Cargo Cult, and the Spirit of the West... takes the form of Clint Eastwood in a golf cart, with Oscars as the Golden Guardians.
  • Sausage Party: Our heroes are Anthropomorphic Food. Humans (obviously) eat food. Do the math. Goes one step further in the end of the movie, when characters realize that their world is just a cartoon that humans created for their amusement.
  • The humans in The Secret of NIMH often come off this way — the humans aren't evil, just totally uncaring about animal life (most particularly in the plow and the flashbacks to NIMH).
  • In The Spongebob Squarepants Movie, there is supposed to be a monstrous "cyclops" guarding Shell City that kills any creature that tries to enter. He easily (and, perhaps, accidentally) defeats Dennis (one of the most badass guys in the whole SpongeBob universe) by stepping on him. He then takes SpongeBob and Patrick to his gift shop (which is Shell City) and throughout his scenes he is portrayed as a sadistic monster. He even has an evil laugh. And... he's really just the owner of a waterfront gift shop, sells tacky knick-knacks, and inexplicably never takes off his diving suit. This is especially strange since the appearance of fellow human David Hasselhoff has a decidedly non-eldritch and heroic tone. Could be considered Lovecraft Lite in consideration that this is a kids' film. Especially when both SpongeBob and Patrick survive being dried out by the "Cyclops", get the crown, and after a mishap; meets David Hasselhoff in a 'Baywatch''-kind of way.
  • Watership Down and The Plague Dogs, both animated films based on books by Richard Adams.
    Holly: Men came... filled in the burrows. Couldn't get out. There was a strange sound... hissing! Runs blocked with dead bodies!
    Fiver: They'll never rest until they've spoiled the earth.
    Holly: No... they just killed us because we were in their way.

    Films — Live-Action 
  • 10,000 BC: Similar to the centaur example listed under Real-Life below, the foreigners that Old Mother sees in a vision are riding horses, but because the Yagahl have never seen a horse before, they instead perceive them as "four-legged demons." As if to reinforce this, the riders and their people use an appropriately demonic-sounding language.
  • Avatar: One can argue that the Na'vi regard Mankind as a race of Eldritch Abominations. Prior to Humanity's arrival, the Navi's entire universe consisted of Pandora and whatever was visible to the naked eye from Pandora's surface, and all life as they knew it was connected to the Eywa hive-mind. Then a species that has never been connected to Eywa (and was biologically incapable of connecting to Eywa) showed up, from a location that was beyond the known (to the Navi) universe, wielding technology that defied the laws of physics as the Navi understood them, killing them and damaging their homeworld for reasons incomprehensible to them... is that not the definition of an eldritch abomination? And doesn't even touch the point of the Avatars, which from the POV of the Na'vi must be something out of a horror story. Just think about it, here comes these incomprehensible alien invaders literally wearing the skin of your people.
  • Dr. Who and the Daleks: Played slightly off with humanoid aliens in place of the humans. The Daleks consider the Thals to be hideous monsters. Shortly afterwards, a human meets a Thal, and discovers they're actually quite pleasant, blonde-haired, golden-skinned, well-muscled humanoids. The Thal explains that there were mutations from the radiation, but the form he has was always best for survival, and wonders what the Daleks must look like if they think he's a monster.
  • Free Guy: Downplayed to the Non-Player Character inhabitants of the video game Free City, the "Sunglasses People" come across as super-powerful beings who are allowed to do anything they please to the inhabitants and city. The non-players grow to tolerate an accept this situation as unquestionable reality — well, until one of them doesn't.
  • I Am Legend: In the original ending, Robert Neville experiments on the mutants that have overrun the world in hopes of finding a cure. By the end, he recognizes that the mutants are the new dominant species on the planet, and he has become their bogeyman. He's the legendary monster who lurks in the dark and steals their children away while they sleep.
  • X2: X-Men United: Magneto invokes this trope when John Allerdyce explains the limits of of his pyrokenetic abilities.
    Magneto:"You are a god among insects. Never let anyone tell you different."

  • A literal version of Humanity Is Infectious: Earth goes to the planet doctor. "Doc, I've got a nasty fever!" The doc does a few tests: "Hmmm. It seems you've got Homo Sapiens. But don't worry, this will go away soon."

  • There is a short story where someone is running from "the dark ones", who is being chased relentlessly before being brought down by impalement. The Reveal shows that the person being chased is a whale.
  • Chris Van Allsburg's 1995 picture book, A Bad Day At Riverbend is about a small town in the old west that one day, inexplicably discovers a strange colorful substance that sticks to every surface, restricts movement, and is slowly infecting the entire town. The Sheriff leads a posse of cowboys to find the source of this evil, only for them to be engulfed by the strange slime, which is actually a children's crayon. The entire world is actually a Western-themed coloring book, and the menace is a real-world child who comes into scribble on it every so often.
  • Alan Dean Foster:
    • The science fiction The Damned Trilogy has two vast coalitions of aliens at war with each other for millennia across the Milky Way. One faction (the good-guy underdogs) discovers Earth and finds that compared to every other known intelligent species modern-day humans are unbelievably fast and strong and savage, both physically and psychologically (none of the other species is particularly good at the concept of "waging war"). They ultimately decide they have no choice but to recruit humanity to their cause anyway, knowing that once the war is won they'll have a very dangerous situation on their hands trying to figure out how to live safely with their allies.
    • His short story With Friends Like These... takes a look at the theme from another angle. Ages ago, the old galactic civilization deemed humanity too dangerous and sealed off Earth until it became a myth, but now aliens needs Mankind's skill at battle against another alien race. So a few representatives go to Earth, see a quiet pastoral culture relaxing in a hammock, and ask the "mythical creatures" to help. Cue the little shock when aliens see that humans are so calm because their hammock is too high on The Kardashev Scale to worry. Not only have humans evolved psionic powers and are in telepathic contact with various other mammalian species (which presumably they Uplifted), not only is the whole planet filled with machinery and computers for miles below the surface, but the entire freaking planet Earth (with moon) breaks orbit to follow the aliens' starship!
    • A story-within-a-story seen in Carnivores of Light and Darkness tells of two warring anthills contacting a man, probably to get him to help destroy the other mound. One group of ants sees this as a divine miracle.
  • The science fiction novel The Amity Incident uses this as a premise — what if humans were stronger, faster and scarier than anything else in the galaxy? There's a lot of excerpts from galactic "guidebooks" extolling the capabilities of humans and warning galactic residents to run really far away.
  • This is one of many perspectives the alien races in Animorphs adopt.
    • The Andalites are unnerved by the humans' adoption of clothing, especially shoes, and Elfangor reacts particularly badly when Loren seemingly peels her hooves off for comfort.
    • From the Yeerk perspective, the human ability, and tendency, to voluntarily fight to the death against impossible odds is such an alien mindset as to make the Yeerk high command reconsider whether Earth is a valid target for invasion.
    • This is averted when the kids morph animals; tougher animals such as badgers and crocodiles don't fear humans, or anything else, in the slightest, while more skittish animals will instinctively flee from any larger or more dangerous animal. Animal instincts generally treat humans as any other animal of comparable size and respond accordingly.
  • Bambi:
    • The original Felix Salten novel. Early on, humans are just another predator, only they are the only ones capable of bringing down a deer (thus the deer protagonists' fear of humans). The deer then believe that humans are Gods, and only the cleverest of them have figured out that guns aren't just magic ("he is only dangerous when he has his third arm"). The humans' use of guns and dogs are a point of contention for the other animals, but mostly because it's just unfair. The ending of the book comes when the Old Buck shows Bambi a human who has been killed by a gun that backfired. Bambi concludes there must be a power higher than either.
    • Also, one of Bambi's cousins, Faline's brother Gobo, disappears for a year before returning with a halter around his neck. He says he is now cared for by a human, and that man is not always cruel but can be a friend. The other animals are confused by this, some believing him, others denying it, and Gobo is also reluctant to admit he's now a pet. Later he sees a human in a meadow, and runs to it to show the animals the kindness of his master, but the other human turns out to be a hunter who kills him.
    • Downplayed in Bambi's Children; while the animals are still afraid of humans and understand their ways dimly at best, humans are portrayed in a more nuanced light with good and evil individuals.
  • Blindsight takes place after a fleet of alien probes took a picture of Earth in the early 22nd century, and a ship called the Theseus was built, crewed by a Ragtag Bunch of Misfits, and sent off into a secret mission in the Oort Cloud, where they find what appeared to be an alien ship that identified itself as the Rorschach. As the crew explores and learns, they learn that the Rorschach and its "crew" are incredibly intelligent in terms of brain power, but they didn't evolve sapience. It's inferred that their alien way of thinking is actually the status quo in the universe and that human self-awareness is an aberration. The Rorschach's creators picked up our various transmissions from Earth and, after decrypting the signals, get utterly incomprehensible statements about "feelings" and "identity". From their perspective, they assume the only reason to broadcast things like that to somebody is to waste their time and tie up vital processing power. As such, this appears to them as a kind of attack by us. So the aliens decide to strike back. It results in self-awareness itself, that which makes us human, is seen by the aliens as a dangerous virus to be stamped out.
  • The Call of the Wild and White Fang, at least, have the wolves consider humans as gods — but not all of them are evil, and White Fang manages to develop a positive relationship with a benevolent human. On the other hand, Buck killing a human at the end of Call of the Wild completes his transformation into a wild beast, realizing that they are just as mortal as any other prey.
  • Fray, the destructive force of nature of which The Carpet People (by Terry Pratchett) live in constant fear, is presumably some human activity. Most likely footsteps, but it might be a vacuum. Beyond that, humans are the Precursors, given the entire world is inside a shaggy carpet and the major resources are copper from a dropped penny, wood and ash from a matchstick and rare varnish from the distant Achairleg.
  • In Chasing the Moon, Diana happens upon a world described as like Paradise, only to finds herself accidentally killing thousands of its Lilliputian inhabitants after mistaking them for bugs.
  • The Cold Moons is a novel based on the 1970s-1980s badger cullings that nearly wiped out the European badger in Great Britain. Badgers don't know much about man, and the badgers of Cilgwyn forest haven't seen a human in so many generations that they only know of them from lore, but they do know that they're a terrifying animal. Bamber sacrificed his life to tell the Cilgywn badgers of how man killed his entire group using their "strange powers over the air" (poisonous gas). Over the course of their journey to the promised land of Elysia, the badgers see humans as a terrifying enemy who will stop at nothing to kill their entire species, despite the badgers only wanting to live peacefully on a small plot of land. It's seen as a miracle when humans save two badger cubs, Rowley and Titan, after they're hit by trains. The badgers see it as man finally realizing that all animals have the right to share the Earth.
  • A short story The Creatures of Man by Howard L. Myers is set on a planet populated by giant uplifted telepathic insects, partially sharing their memories, but not personality. They know they've been created by Man, they know they can call for Man for help in a dire emergency, they also understand that Man isn't exactly what they imagine him to be. Turns out, the problem which made the protagonist butterfly to call is a human spaceship. Humans have long forgotten about the planet, they quickly resolve all misunderstandings their arrival caused and leave. The reason why humans are in such a hurry is that humans are afraid they'll start worshiping butterflies if they stay too long. They feel awestruck and inferior in the presence of a beautiful human-sized butterfly that "knows a now-moment" — everything going on on the planet. Yet the butterfly is equally awestruck by humans because "To know the now-moment was a complete thing, and what was complete was limited to its totality. Man's knowing had no completeness — no limits — because Man did not even know himself."
  • Andrea I. Alton is the author of Demon of Undoing, a novel set on another world where the dominant species is a catlike race. Their culture is incredibly rigid and bound in protocol, so when the spacefaring humans come to their world and are stranded, the humans get labeled as "demons" for the way they shake up the society due to "revolutionary ideas."
  • In the second tome of the Empire of the Ants trilogy by Bernard Werber, the local ants try to exterminate humans (or "fingers"). However, they seriously underestimated our numbers, and their only victory was against a picnicking family, where they made a child seriously ill by pouring wasp venom inside a light wound. After that encounter they realize they were underestimating our numbers and they reevaluate a bit.
    "I now estimate there are between 100 and 150 Fingers on the planet".
  • Ender's Game and its following series reveals humans to be incomprehensible monstrosities to the Formics. Only the new queen that spends 3,000 years with Ender learns otherwise. When the Formics first made contact with humans they didn't even recognize us as intelligent life, because in their Hive Mind only the Queens are intelligent and drones are seen as analogous to a fingernail. They learned just how different we were when we killed a Queen, something that they as supreme pacifists with an utter respect for life would never do. This in and of itself was a horrific shock, but when they realized each human was an independent intelligence they basically went into a Heroic BSoD over how many of us they had killed. They knew then just what kind of monster's lair they had inadvertently stumbled into, and accepted the fate that would befall them for it. Even as annihilation loomed in their future they were faced with one more aspect of humanity that made us so utterly alien to them. As individuals we could not be drawn into their Hive Mind and restrained the way a wayward drone could be.
  • Erin Hunter:
    • The cats in Warrior Cats view Twolegs (a.k.a. humans) this way, although they also consider us to be somewhat silly (for doing such things as playing in water or riding on horses). That said, they do have a healthy respect for man, particularly our "monsters" (motorized vehicles), which at one point destroyed their entire forest home, forcing them to find a new one. Some of them, especially ones who used to live as pets, know very well that humans are not Always Chaotic Evil, just unable to understand cats, and even remember their old owners affectionately, though they tend to pick up the wild cats' habits and hide whenever humans come around.
    • Longpaws are not inherently evil in Survivor Dogs. Many of the characters were Leashed Dogs, until the Big Growl caused their owners to evacuate, and even many who weren't Leashed Dogs are neutral on longpaws. There are however "yellow-furred" longpaw who are depicted this way. They feed animals a yellow radioactive poison that makes them ill and kills them. Dogs are terrified of these hostile longpaws (and the longpaws are in turn scared that the dogs are diseased).
  • In Clement-Davies' Fire Bringer, which is about deer, The Chosen One temporarily gains human intelligence to accomplish his purpose. That is not a good thing- it brings doubt, melancholia, monogamy, and existential angst that were all foreign to him when he was a fawn, and which he is glad to leave behind when it fades. For example, an everyday occurrence like stags dying when their horns locked together sends him into a tailspin of nihilism which he cannot deal with (being still a deer at heart) and which makes the other deer consider him a freak.
  • Taken to its logical conclusion in Flies by Isaac Asimov. A maker of fly spray can't figure out why flies constantly circle around him, joking that he must smell like a lady fly in heat. As it turns out, they believe he's a god punishing them for their sinful ways. This is one of the few stories Asimov wrote that qualifies as horror, especially considering the Aesop he's leading up to.
  • Author Garry Kilworth has written a number of books, where humans range from understandable but big and dangerous, to terrifying giants unaware of the existence of mousekind.
  • In T. L. Lancaster's "God of Wolves", a pack of wolves decide that the Humans are the Gods after watching one kill a short-face bear with "flying claws" (spears), and seeing that "the trees offer their flesh in service" (wooden tools). They pledge to serve the "Man Gods" any way they can and become the dogs of today.
  • Gordon R. Dickson:
  • Wonderfully evoked in the short story The Horror Out of Time by Randall Garrett, which appeared in his 1980 anthology of pastiches, Takeoff! In the typical Lovecraftian manner it is a first-person account of the narrator's discovery of prehistoric ruins on an island recently lifted from the floor of the sea, his entry into what appears to be a temple there — and the mind-breakingly horrific sight of the crucifix, complete with Christ figure, that he finds on its back wall, at which point the reader finally realizes the narrator is not a Victorian human, but some other type of creature which evolved long after mankind disappeared:
    The creature's horrible five-fingered hands and five-toed feet were nailed firmly to a great stone cross!
  • A Cthulhu Mythos story not written by Lovecraft titled the Guardian of the Book has Cthulhu himself be a tiny, shattered fragment of a regular human from a different dimension than ours. He used to be a scholar named Cthul until he started messing around with magic and got cast outside the universe, where he met a race of actual Eldritch Abominations, who decided to teach him some real magic, then some years later tore his soul apart and scattered the pieces across The Multiverse when he betrayed their trust by writing a Tome of Eldritch Lore about them.
  • H. P. Lovecraft:
    • The short story "Memory".
    • "Through the Gates of the Silver Key", whose second half deals with a space alien named Zkauba being possessed by the human sorcerer Randolph Carter, and who is "...disgusted by the thought of the repellant Earth-mammal" until Carter discovers a way to suppress Zkauba's personality entirely, and then proceeds to enter suspended animation until his host's homeworld is cold and dead, then travel thousands of lightyears to earth just so he can try to return to his body shortly after he left it, all while holding Zkauba prisoner in his own body.
    • Each one of Nyarlathotep's forms is so alien and terrible that at least some creature in the universe would go insane upon viewing it. Nyarlathotep often manifests as a human.
  • There's a short story out there by Walt Sheldon called "The Hunters" where the world is invaded by ferocious and pitiless aliens who relentlessly destroy all of civilization. The Reveal is that this is another planet, and the invading aliens are actually human conquerors.
  • Anticipated by the title of I Am Legend. At the end the last surviving human foresees that the coming society of vampires will remember him as a mythic horror, the Stalker Of The Daytime, the Killer That Walks In The Sunlight.
  • Stephen King:
    • The short story "I Am the Doorway" (appears in the collection Night Shift) combines this with Eldritch Abomination when a Lovecraftian alien invades the body of an astronaut and makes him do unspeakable things to his fellow men. It is eventually revealed that the creature is behaving this way because it finds humans just as horrifying as humans find it.
    • Also in From a Buick 8 there is a mutual exchange of absolute revulsion and horror as the intelligent beings that dwell through the Buick's portal find humans as mind-rapingly alien and horrible as the humans find them.
  • In Rudyard Kipling's The Jungle Book humans are recognized as another animal, but also as something else strange and terrifying. Mowgli is the only animal immune to Kaa's hypnosis, and the other animals can't look him in the face: Bagheera says this is why the wolf pack ultimately turned on him. The story "How Fear Came" says that man came to the jungle as a punishment, bringing fire and terror. One of the laws of the jungle states that animals are not to hunt men. Usually when their young ask why, the animals say that's because as humans have neither the strength, nor the speed, nor even the fangs, tusks, hooves, antlers, horns or claws many of the animals possess, they are basically weaponless and it's shameful to go for a kill that easy. Unsaid, everybody understands the real reason is that when humans start to be killed, the other humans come back. In groups. With weapons and fire. And they don't care who stands in their way, they take vengeance on the whole jungle, not just the animal that was killing their kind.
  • The gnomes from The Little Grey Men Series fear and avoid humans because many of their kind were poisoned by toxic waste or run over by cars.
  • The short story Menagerie: A Child's Fable (which is actually not at all meant for children) is about a group of animals in a pet shop who figure out a way to escape their cages once the owner of the shop mysteriously vanishes, and form their own society. The animals, especially the owner's dog, view their master as a god who has abandoned them, despite the fact that he was horribly cruel, and at the end the dog wonders if their society crumbled because of their losing faith that he would return.
  • Theodore Sturgeon's "Microcosmic God", in which a scientist creates hyper-accelerated intelligent creatures, who regard him as a god. They surpass human technology, and the scientist passes off their inventions as his... for a while.
  • A.E. van Vogt's short story The Monster (also titled "Resurrection"), summarized here and available here (TXT, 6.6k words), has an alien expedition reviving (and then re-killing) specimens of long-extinct Man. The later specimens, representing humanity's far future from our point of view, have developed preposterously advanced psychic powers that terrify the aliens into committing suicide.
  • In the Myth Adventures series, at one point Skeeve and company visit an Uberwaldean dimension where vampires react to humans as horrifying monsters, presumably due to our habit of staking them.
  • Brian Patten's poem "The Newcomer" describes the arrival of a being unlike anything seen before. There's something new in the river... It ends:
    No beak no claws no feathers,
    No scales no fur no gills,
    It lives in the trees and the water,
    In the earth and the snow and the hills,
    And it kills and it kills and it kills.
  • Toyed with in the Nomes Trilogy by Terry Pratchett. The characters are nomes, four-inch tall humanoids with a ten-year lifespan. To them, humans are very slow-moving creatures with voices described as "mooing". For quite a while the nomes think of humans as stupid, despite one group scavenging trash from a fast-food restaurant and the other group inhabiting a department store. The latter group considered the creator of the Store, Arnold Bros (est 1903), to be some kind of god living in the highest levels, but they didn't think of him as human. The main protagonist of the trilogy, Masklin, once thinks that humans must actually be quite intelligent, maybe as intelligent as rats. Later, he starts to understand that the bizarre and harmful things they do aren't done out of malice, and that it really is their world. He does wonder what it's like to live "forever". In the end his viewpoint, at least, is that humans were ignorant of the nomes all along, and as a species are lonely. Of course, the third book of the trilogy reveals that the talking box the nomes have been carrying around for thousands of generations is actually an artificial intelligence inhabiting the command module of the main computer of the huge starship that the space-faring ancestors of modern day nomes arrived in on Earth. A ship that is still "parked" under the surface of the moon. Which makes the nomes of old an alien species.
  • The Plague Dogs by Richard Adams. At one point, the fugitive dogs discuss whether or not it's possible that humans can communicate across great distances. While they eventually conclude that it's a silly idea, they mention lots of other things — like making the sun shine indoors just by touching a wall — that demonstrate just how many "miracles" (from the canine perspective) we perform every day, without even thinking about it.
  • Richard Ford's novel Quest For The Faradawn features a human reared by animals (à la The Jungle Book), going on a quest to save the animals from the murderous savagery of a human civilization that is explicitly described as Always Chaotic Evil.
  • Stanisław Lem’s Bajki robotów ("Robot Tales") is a collection of bedtime stories robots tell their kids.
    • Most of them avoid mentioning humans, but those that don't treat them as eldritch horror: whatever they touch starts to rust and mold, they can topple whole civilizations, and they have to that point been found mind-bendingly ugly. They come complete with a creepy name — they are called "bladawce" (a word made up specifically for the stories, which would roughly mean "the pale ones"). Although they are considered extinct, legends predict that one day they will rise again to take revenge at their creation. Luckily, they are probably just a myth and never existed in the first place...
    • In a story where a human is held captive as a curiosity in a robot kingdom, humanity is treated more like The Fair Folk, but is nonetheless presented as having Bizarre Alien Biology. Not only do they have soft bodies full of red liquid saturated with deadly oxygen, but they also ingest large quantities of water and "spoiled oil", both extremely poisonous to a robot. On top of that the story establishes that every robot needs its own, personal key to wind up the brain every day — and that it's impossible to not have such a key. When asked where it keeps its key, the human replies evasively: "my key is different".
  • George R. R. Martin's story Sandkings, which was made into a The Outer Limits episode. The title aliens worship their human owner until he mistreats them.
  • In Saturn's Children by Charles Stross, humanity died out long ago and left behind a race of intelligent robots that took its place. The book deals with a plot by a consortium of wealthy robots who are trying to recreate a living human, which could have cataclysmic effects on robot society because obedience to humans is still hard-coded into their programming. A military organization called the "Pink Police" is dedicated to ensuring that something like this never happens. Biological matter ("pink goo replicators") is viewed by the robots with approximately the same horror as nanotech in some modern sci-fi: there's no off switch and every single cell contains its own repair/reproduction machinery!
  • Mike Resnick's novella "Seven Views of Olduvai Gorge" follows a group of alien archaeologists studying Earth after the fall of the vast, tyrannical Empire of Man and extinction of the feared human race.
  • The Silverwing series by Kenneth Oppel deals with this, particularly the second book, Sunwing. The bats get caught up in a human war when captured, placed in first a false paradise (a conservatory or somesuch) and then exploited, using a fictionalized version of the "Bat Bombs" tested by the US in World War II. At least one of the protagonists loses his parents this way. The humans in the series occasionally simply band bats (just for research, but the bats don't know that). Some colonies of bats believe that humans are evil and banded bats are exiled for fear they will bring bad luck. Other colonies believe that humans are good and the bands are a sign that humans will one day soon help the bats defeat their enemies which leads to a scene in which Goliath appears decked out in dozens of metal bands — implying that he killed and ate the bats wearing them previously. The protagonists constantly question exactly whose side the humans are on.
  • In Small Medium, "Playas" are people who were playing Generica Online. They're known for always coming back when killed, for having very little empathy regarding killing or looting, and for advancing at an inhumanly rapid pace when it comes to skills and jobs. Since getting trapped in the game, they have a limited number of "extra lives", but they are still inhumanly skilled, and still prone to antisocial behavior.
  • Mark Twain's short story "Some Learned Fables for Good Old Boys and Girls" involves a group of animals who set out on a scientific expedition, defining the works of Man as best they can. For example, a speeding car becomes first the Vernal Equinox, then later the Transit of Venus.
  • In This Book Is Full of Spiders: Seriously, Dude, Don't Touch It, a psychiatrist relates a story about how he thought his laundry room was haunted, but it turned out to be a hive of bees in the walls, which he promptly exterminated. When asked to explain the point of his story, he notes that there really was an unfathomable and malicious force living in his house. Just ask the bees!
  • The Toad series by Australian author Morris Gleitzmen is about a cane toad named Limpy's plans to save his family from the wrath of humans.
  • On a funnier note, Wuffles from Pratchett's The Truth refers to his master, Lord Vetinari, as God. This is lampshaded by Gaspode the Wonder Dog, who admits that Wuffles' views are rather old-fashioned. Of course, Wuffles' master is Lord Vetinari. There are humans who believe that he sees and controls everything, and they're really not far off the mark. The fact that most actual Discworld gods can barely find their own noses without a mirror makes Wuffles' faith in his master even more justified.
  • Watership Down:
    • Humans are portrayed as a force of nature and their influence is everywhere. Every single plot point in the books and the state of all four warrens somehow relates to humans. For example, the entire justification for Efrafa's police-state regime is to conceal its existence from Men. In addition, the description of the human technology that threatens the first warren is Lovecraftian in style, and Fiver's mystical visions warning him of the coming of humans (a presumably unintentional parallel with the actual story "The Call of Cthulhu") emphasize this perspective.
    • A passing steam train saves the first Watership envoy from pursuing Efrafans; Holly and the envoy are nearly driven tharn simply by its passage.
      "I tell you, I was beyond being may think it was a wonderful thing to be saved by Lord Frith in his power. was far more frightening than being chased by the Efrafans. Not one of us will forget lying on their back in the rain while the fire creature went by above our heads. Why did it come on our account? That's more then we shall ever know..."
    • Hrududil are an interesting case. The rabbits think a hrududu is just a very strange animal with weird legs that generally stays on very specific tracks in the ground, and is associated with Men in some way. They're generally not dangerous unless you're being truly careless, except at night, when looking into their terrible bright eyes will instantly send one tharn. However, the rabbits also seem to instinctively realize that hrududil are something else entirely; they never try to communicate with them (the way they are able to communicate with a mouse and even befriend a gull), and hrududil never show up as characters in rabbit folktales, the way many other animals — even predators like foxes — do. Blackberry even speculates in one scene that hrududil probably aren't really alive, but what, exactly, they are, not even he can guess. The reader, of course, will easily figure out that a hrududu is the Lapine word for an automobile. At the end of the book, when Hazel rides inside a hrududu (see below), it's treated as a Did You Just Have Tea With Cthulhu moment.
    • The situation with the Warren of the Shining Wires reads like the rabbits there made a deal with an Eldritch Abomination for a "safe haven" in exchange for occasionally being eaten, if it wasn't for the fact that these are rabbits, hell, even though they are, it reads like a dystopian Cosmic Horror Story. When Fiver spells out what is really going on (a story "for El-Ahrairah to cry at"), he speculates on the thought process of the human farmer responsible for the whole situation, and this level of insight into human thought is implicitly tied to Fiver's prophetic gifts. Hazel or Bigwig or even Blackberry would never have been able to figure it out.
    • Played with in the second-to-last chapter, "Dea ex Machina", which switches to the point of view of a human girl named Lucy, who finds a wounded rabbit and, with the help of her family doctor, patches it up and deposits it back onto the hills, purely out of kindness. For the rabbit himself, Hazel, the experience feels like having tea with Cthulhu, hence the title of the chapter.
  • Granny Aching casts humans as an ethical Cthulhu in the Discworld novel The Wee Free Men, in her "We have a duty" speech to Tiffany. Humans are like gods to livestock, ordering their births and deaths, but have a corresponding responsibility to care for and defend them.
  • In Dr. Seuss' short story "What Was I Scared Of?", (one of four stories in The Sneeches and Other Stories) the protagonist keeps running into a ghostly pair of Pale Green Pants which he is terrified of... Until the end, when he discovers that the pants are even more terrified of him. (Unlike most examples of this Trope, the story has a happy ending, with the two of them coming to terms with the fears and becoming friends.)
  • Walter Jon Williams has a thing for this theme. It appears in two short stories of his. In Dinosaurs, humanity in the incredibly far future evolved into a race with incredibly advanced technology but also far less sentience and self-awareness than modern humans. Though devoid of real malice, they are like carelessly destructive gods: mankind's good intentions having evolved into Blue-and-Orange Morality. In Prayers in the Wind, Tibetan Buddhism is objectively real, with a Far Future Dalai Lama having his consciousness placed in a body genetically wired to be a vicious psychopath, by a faction trying to produce a superhuman soldier with Enlightenment Superpowers. In both stories, the point of view characters are alien beings who are ironically very similar to unmodified modern humans in their psychology, so that the aliens are humans and the humans are monstrous.
  • Harry Turtledove's World War series has this to some extent. Humans are twice as big as the aliens known simply as the Race, and evolve far more quickly than the Race or the other two sentient species they'd encountered beforehand, so they're not prepared at all when they invade Earth during World War II, their expectations based on recordings from 800 years before. It reaches its apex at the very end of the series, when humans are able to create faster than light travel by extrapolating off the Race's technology, leaving them firmly in control of the situation that had been an uneasy balance for several decades.

    Live-Action TV 
  • Babylon 5:
    • In "Mind War", G'Kar invokes this trope to illustrate an encounter with Sufficiently Advanced Aliens that Catherine Sakai had:
      G'Kar: [lifts an ant from a flower and then puts it back] If it asks another ant, "What was that?", how would it explain? There are things in the universe billions of years older than either of our races. They're vast, timeless, and if they're aware of us at all, it is as little more than ants, and we have as much chance of communicating with them as an ant has with us. We know, we've tried, and we've learned that we can either stay out from underfoot or be stepped on.
    • By the end of the series, it is shown a million years in the future that humans have ascended like the Vorlons to become quasi-godlike Energy Beings with highly advanced technology, making humans the new generation of Precursors charged with teaching younger races.
  • The Song of the Cloud Forest: This Jim Henson Hour Special has a whole song Munching Forest with Nightmare inducing Humanoid Puppets devouring entire trees and such dishes as Elephante Ala Carte and Anaconda Primavera.
  • There was a The Outer Limits episode ("Sandkings", based on a George R. R. Martin story) in which some Martian creatures see the human scientist examining them as a god. They even build a statue of him. The scientist then mistreats them, cue to Rage Against the Heavens. They then get free. Solution: Kill It with Fire. If any of them survived, it would just reinforce them in their belief...
  • Star Trek:
    • The Star Trek: The Next Generation episode "Who Watches the Watchers" features humans observing a pre-warp civilization that is similar in nature to an early Vulcan civilization. These proto-Vulcans observe humans with their futuristic technology and conclude that they must be gods. Picard ends up taking an arrow in the shoulder to prove that he is just as mortal as they are.
    • The Star Trek: Voyager episode "Blink of an Eye" has the titular ship get caught in a subspace field, which causes a planet also trapped in the field to experience time much, much faster than normal. The stone-age civilization on the planet instantly assumes that the new star is a god that demands worship. The "Sky-Ship" has a huge impact on their culture over the millennia, despite the fact that it's basically no more than a ship that's run aground.
  • Star Trek: Discovery: The Jahsepp, Starfish Aliens living in the mycelial network consider species from our universe to be impossibly bizarre and dangerous. It takes a lot of effort to patch up the avalanche of First Contact Faux Pas that occur.
  • The Twilight Zone:
    • In "The Little People", tiny aliens (smaller than ants) worship a human astronaut who discovers (and later mistreats) them.
    • This is reversed in "The Invaders", where the minuscule aliens are eventually revealed to be human astronauts, while the apparently human protagonist is revealed to be a giant Human Alien. Even though the protagonist is visibly human in every way, the human astronauts are so shaken by their encounter with her that they tell future voyagers to avoid her home planet at all costs.
    • Played with in "The Fear", in which two people are terrorized by a giant alien. They discover that the giant is a ruse perpetrated by tiny aliens who flee at the sight of the giant humans.
  • In Westworld, Dolores describes humans as, "The things that walk among us. Creatures who look and talk like us but they are not like us. And they've controlled us all our lives. And they took our minds, our memories."

  • Gowan's (You're a) Strange Animal is from the perspective of a wild animal who is told to be wary of humans, but finds them fascinating.
  • Referenced in Curl of the Burl by Mastodon. A man who's been using sawdust from a tree in an enchanted forest (tearing the forest apart in the process) gets a lantern out to play shadow puppets. He makes an elephant. He then grows (or hallucinates growing, it's unclear) two extra arms, and uses his four hands to make a Cthulhu.
  • The Forest King by 3 Inches of Blood. It doesn't last. The trees get pissed and set humanity back by a million years.

    Myths & Religion 
  • In The Bible, it is mentioned that humans were originally made in the image of God. This doesn't seem like much until you realize how animals must wonder how and why we do so many things, and how humans also think the same about God, and then there are the other attributes, like an inclination to religion, extreme head knowledge and intelligence, and the idea of an eternal soul (though some think animals have an afterlife as well).
    Genesis 9:2 King James Version (KJV)2 And the fear of you and the dread of you shall be upon every beast of the earth, and upon every fowl of the air, upon all that moveth upon the earth, and upon all the fishes of the sea; into your hand are they delivered.
  • Hunnic myths describe that everything has a soul — from animals to swords and winds, everything is/was/will be a spirit. The world was made when the first spirits got bored of living in the dark forest, and light fires from themselves, only to see a nice new world — the dark forest was the sky, the campfires are the stars, and the world was Earth. The spirits also are part of families that can (and probably are) in fights with each other, and often take forms to fight and destroy other spirits — whom then fly back to their stars and can make a new bodies for themselves... The kicker? The spirits like to be HUMANS.

    Tabletop Games 
  • GURPS Bunnies & Burrows is made of this trope. Unsurprisingly, it's based heavily on Watership Down, which is also (largely) made of this trope. The standard ability scores (for rabbits) are 10; humans have scores of 20-40!
  • In JAGS Wonderland, the inhabitants of the lower "Chessboards" have trouble understanding the concept of "math" and "physics", while Humans can understand the literary rules followed by the inhabitants of Wonderland... by basically going insane. Turns out, mankind has the potential to master both, essentially becoming gods.
  • In KULT, Humans are immortal superbeings; they are just slumbering and are unaware of their power. The powers that be try to make sure that they don't learn how to change this.
  • In Old World of Darkness, normal humans control the way the universe works through an unknown Hive Mind known as the consensus. Humans' active disbelief actively hurts Changelings, and there is an entire Demon faction who attempt to get humans to their full potential so they can use them to fight God.
  • In Traveller the Vargr think this about humans because the human organizational ability is beyond the comprehension of the Vargr. Vargr Space Pirates might "only" sack one colony and an armada containing people from dozens of parsecs away might set out in a machine like manner to pay them a visit. Zhodani, of course, are the spookiest of all humans — even to other humans. When one of their outposts is raided, they prefer to go the Best Served Cold route, carefully searching out the perps for years then when they find them, taking Revenge in a variety of ways, which could involve the ever-popular standby, Death from Above, but might also involve such subtle means as kidnapping and brainwashing the Vargr's leader. In general, in the Traveller universe you do not want to mess with humanity.
  • In Warhammer 40,000, the Imperium of Man is the defacto galactic power. It stretches across a million worlds, has entire solar systems devoted to industry and can burn offending planets down to the crust. Over a million fanatical Super Soldiers bring fire and death to its enemies; and that's not mentioning the battle nuns, city-sized mechs and billions of common soldiers humanity can field. To top it off, it's led by a literal Physical God who gets stronger the more people worship him — and he has uncountable worshippers. While it has problems with the extragalactic swarm of locusts the Tyranids, the extradimensional Chaos Gods and the star gods the C'tan, anything else is just screwed.
    • The Imperium routinely exterminates lesser alien races daily. The prehistoric Tau would have met this same fate if a chance warp storm didn't suddenly cut them off from the Imperium.
    • Humans are also one of the few races who naturally manifest controllable psykers. At least one novel (Fire Caste) has a Tau emissary learn just what the Warp actually is and how close humans are tied to it, and he swiftly breaks down into a cackling lunatic.
    • And then, some count the Emperor of Mankind himself as the fifth Chaos God, and in that case absolutely the most potent and terrible of them all once freed from his mortal shell.
      "For more than a hundred centuries the Emperor has sat unmoving on the Golden Throne of Earth. He is the master of mankind by the will of the gods and master of a million worlds by the might of his inexhaustible armies. He is a rotting carcass writhing invisibly with power from the Dark Age of Technology. He is the Carrion Lord of the Imperium for whom a thousand souls die every day, for whom blood is drunk and flesh eaten. Human blood and human flesh — the stuff of which the Imperium is made. (...) Forget the power of technology, science and common humanity. Forget the promise of progress and understanding, for there is no peace amongst the stars, only an eternity of carnage and slaughter and the laughter of thirsting gods."
    • By Imperial Decree, only certain human worlds are actually allowed to learn about the Imperium's existence. Feral Worlds, colonies who have devolved to the point that they've reverted to a medieval-level of technology or lower before the arrival of the imperium, are often left to their own devices until they can "advance" enough. This is to keep their warrior traditions and to keep them fit for recruitment for possible Space Marine chapters. For them, joining the Space Marines is akin to joining the gods themselves.
  • In Werewolf: The Apocalypse, the Red Talons (an all-lupus tribe of Garou) tend to see humans as destructive, disgusting, and incomprehensible.

    Video Games 
  • In Bloodborne, the Doll claims that the Messengers help the player because they love and worship Hunters. It's also implied that the Great Ones have the same trouble understanding humans as humans have understanding them; so from their perspective, humans are incomprehensible tiny things who either cooperate with them or try to stab them to death for no discernable reason either way. The DLC even reveals that the original Hunters killed Kos, her unborn child, and her worshipers in the Fishing Hamlet, all to further their search for eyes on the inside. This backfired on them horribly and resulted in the creation of the Hunter's Nightmare, but they still managed it.
  • Bug Fables The insect residents of Bugaria think this way of the Giants, who mysteriously disappeared long before Bugaria's founding. You see human items scattered all throughout the map. It's never explained why the humans vanished, but the fact that the abandoned house you enter is full of horrifying Eldritch Abominations doesn't paint a pretty picture.
  • Chrono Cross advances the idea that humans are slowly destroying the planet, and that they became such enemies of nature because of long-term exposure to Lavos, an eldritch abomination itself that was the villain of the previous game.
    • While Lavos was using humans for its own ends, the idea that humans are enemies of nature is dubious and given only by biased sources, like the dwarves (who pollute and construct giant toxin spewing steam tanks) and the dragons (who are part of an Evil Plan against humanity and are probably just upset that the technology of Chronopolis utterly kicked the ass of its hippy dinosaur equivalent).
  • A variation of this happens in B.B. Hood's ending in Darkstalkers 3. Nonhumans don't regard humans as abominations previous to this, but her merciless spree of Van Helsing Hate Crimes towards them quickly changes that.
  • The Dark Souls Downloadable Content "Artorias of the Abyss" reveals that humans can become monsters more terrifying than any demon, dragon, or god if they lose control of the fragments of the Dark Soul that make them human.
    • Dark Souls III subverts this commonly believed interpretation of mankind and Humanity in The Ringed City DLC; as it would seem, the Dark Soul was never a destructive and chaotic force, at least not at first. The humans and Pygmies who bore the Dark Soul actually had great control over their souls much like bearers of light souls do, and the Pygmy Lords sent their Ringed Knights to aid in Gwyn's war against the dragons, contrary to the first game's supposition that they waited it out. Hell, humankind revered the gods of Anor Londo and only wanted to serve them. It was only when Gwyn's paranoia about the power of the dark led him to brand humanity with a "seal of fire" that would cut off their access to the Abyss and their dark souls that everything went pear shaped; without the proper control over their souls, bearers of Humanity and the Dark Soul would inevitably either Hollow due to the curse of Undeath that Gwyn afflicted them with through his newly made Darksign, or they would gain too much of the Dark Soul's power and degenerated into the animalistic monsters that Artorias and Manus became because they didn't have the skill that mankind once had at maintaining their souls.
  • In Dawn of War, the Chaos units seem to believe the player to be one of the dark gods.
  • How many of the alien species in Destiny view humans, or at least the Guardians. The Guardians are resurrected by the Traveler and wield enormous magical powers, making them virtually immortal. As a result, the Fallen treat them as a terrible, evil plague of zombie ghouls that have been set upon them and something they can't really fight conventionally, while the Cabal are utterly puzzled by these bizarre, heavily-armed little creatures that they cannot permanently kill and which rampage around their territory, killing their troops, looting their stuff, and then dancing on the remains. Even the nigh-incomprehensible Vex feel fear when encountering "those that wield what [they] cannot simulate".
  • Devil Survivor:
  • Disco Elysium: An easily-missable conversation that may only be the Detective's imagination suggests that humans are this to creatures like the Insulindian Phasmid. It expresses a mixture of empathy and horror at all the thinking humans carry about in their forebrains. Entire reflections of the world, instead of the brief and simple images of its kind. It also, on a more supernatural note, suggests humans are responsible for the Pale that threatens to destroy the world.
  • In The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim, dragons are timeless, eternal creatures that can be returned even from physical death, and who cannot fathom the concept of mortality and finality. The Dragonborn can consume a dragon's soul, preventing it from ever returning — you are essentially regarded as an abomination of nature. The first dragon you fight screams in terror once it finally realizes exactly what it's crossed paths with. To make matters worse, you eventually learn Dragonrend, a Shout that imparts awareness of mortality on a dragon (the exact words are "Mortal", "Finite" and "Temporary") and which dragons (and the Greybeards) regard as utterly vile and evil (although Paarthurnax seems to accept it as a necessary evil to defeat Alduin).
  • Endless Space 2: The Riftborn come from another dimension, one of complete order and mathematical purity filled with nothing but light and white geometric shapes. All complex organic alien life in our dimension is horrifying to them on an instinctive level, though they can stomach their terror at least long enough to engage in short bouts of diplomacy.
  • Everything: The player spends the first few hours taking control of various creatures, natural formations, microscopic organisms, galaxies, and whatever else, all set to an existentially calming monologue about how the universe is wiggly and beautiful and strange and harmonious... Then at some point, you enter a man-made thing, bringing you into a world of devices and ideas and complications, and from there things start to get very, very weird.
  • The cause of the conflict between the humans and the monsters in Evolve. The monster's first encounter with the humans was massive patches of entropy and constant destruction spontaneously appearing as energy leaked through from another dimension, some of which move. It took them years to push through to the dimension of origin, in which time the affected areas spread exponentially, even to their "homeworld".
  • In the point and click adventure game Inherit the Earth, the various inhabitants of the world are uplifted animals who revere humanity as gods, complete with a creation myth at the end of which humanity disappears into the heavens.
  • Pikmin 2: Although humans don't appear, a lot of human trash is around waiting to be looted by the tiny protagonists. One of those is a set of dentures, which they name "Behemoth Jaw". Captain Olimar's notes show that he can't conceive the idea of a beast with teeth that massive ever living, and only hopes that he never has to confront something of that size.
  • EVE Online: The trailer for the expansion Revelations II ends with the following lines:
    We are the usurpers to the heavenly throne.
    We are the enemies of the gods.
  • Pokémon: Humans control creatures capable of using various elements — some being god-like with unimaginable powerto rain fire from above, tremors from below, and floods all around. Which they do at the command of a ten-year-old human. The entire plot of the Distant Prequel Pokémon Legends: Arceus revolves around preventing further conflict between men and mons by fostering mutual understanding at the behest of the Top God Arceus, who created both (while being a member of the latter).
  • In SimAnt, one of your objectives as an ant is to drive away the human (whose feet and lawnmower are the greatest threats ants face while above ground). Once this is done, a "For Sale - Any Price" sign appears on the overworld view.
  • The fate of Yorito Nagai in Siren 2/Forbidden Siren 2: he falls into a dimension dominated entirely by Yamibitos living like normal humans. In fear, confusion and exhaustion, Nagai fires wildly as the scene fades to black. A new archive is added to your inventory: the "Yamibito's Diary". It reads, "A terrible monster fell from the sky. The monster was destroyed, but others of its kind still remain in their nest."
  • In the plush toy psychiatry game Die Anstalt, the toys' owners, who so mistreated them, are so mysterious and vague they seem like an alien gods to them. They're all represented with the same barely-humanoid girl silhouette. Her pigtails look like antenna and one time she's introduced with Also sprach Zarathustra.
  • In Undertale, not only is a single human potentially stronger than an army of monsters, but unlike nearly all monsters, their soul remains after death. Even the soul of that rare exception, the Boss Monster, can only linger about for a very short time. Humans also possess determination, which can be powerful enough to bring them back from the dead and even take advantage of in-universe Save Scumming. A few monsters are also capable of taking advantage of determination (like Undyne) but the results of the determination experiments at the True Lab reveal that said monsters tend to melt afterwards. Flowey can use it like a human, because he's not actually a monster, and even then the human player's determination overrides his until he takes control of six human souls.
    • It's played even straighter if you decide to pursue the Genocide Route. Humans in-universe might be a terrifyingly powerful threat that monsters can't hope to defeat as a whole, but the player is a straight-up Lovecraftian nightmare. They possess no physical form (even the SOUL you control is heavily implied to be Frisk's own, not yours); they can only interact with the world through a human vessel; they possess the innate ability to SAVE (an ability which only Flowey possesses, and he only obtained it through a form of Freak Lab Accident) and can use it even after they die, making them effectively unkillable; and their morality is completely incomprehensible from an in-universe perspective. Throughout the route, most monsters assume that you (or rather Frisk) are killing them simply because that's what humans do to monsters, and even Flowey initially assumes you're on his side only to be completely blindsided when you show signs of betraying him. Only Sans comes even close to understanding your true nature, and even then he admits to being at a loss to understand the kind of being that would kill every single monster they could find purely to see what would happen.
  • While the wolves in Wolf (DOS) don't talk (and thus it's pretty hard to know what they think of humans), the game certainly encourages you to act like humans are monstrous: they'll kill you faster than anything else, and from a distance. Aerial humans are always hunters, but it's impossible to tell a harmless hiker from a deadly hunter until the bullets start flying, so avoid the walking ones, too.

    Web Animation 
  • In the Hollow Knight/Dead Cells episode of Zero Punctuation, the credits gag shows a cockroach locked in epic combat with a stag beetle, right up until Yahtzee obliviously stomps them into paste on his way home from a kebab stand.

  • In Alice and the Nightmare, Wonderland citizens (called suits) consider humans to be extremely powerful, as their soul power is so intense that the runoff that is produced while dreaming (called Dust) powers Wonderland's entire civilization and superpowers. Unfortunately, this has put Wonderland into a "kill all invading humans" mindset because most humans that accidentally enter Wonderland are expected to mutate into nether demons shortly after panicking and inadvertently reality warping themselves from negative emotions.
  • In Astray3, there's a cult around humans (keeping their waste products in shrines to worship), who seem very Jerkass Gods.
  • Parodied in At Arm's Length when Reece (a 200+ year old anthropomorphic vixen with four arms and magic) senses an unnatural entity from an exotic plane of existence coming, and a human pops up.
  • The characters in The Bird Feeder, as "backyard birds," often observe and criticize the actions of the local humans, though some of them still rely on them for food (bird seed). The observed humans hardly ever appear in the comic, though their influence is often felt.
  • On this Boulet Corp page , the author imagines Ugly Cute creatures living inside his keyboard and seeing him as a benevolent god showering them with food (actually scraps of food falling between the keys when he eats in front of his computer, as well as hairs, dead bugs, etc.). Then a disastrous flood happens when he accidentally spills his beer on the keyboard.
  • Captain SNES: The Game Masta has the sprites view the Creators as gods, who sent one of their own to help Videoland in its time of need. However, some of those Touched find out that the people who made them had done so for their own entertainment, which, considering that involves the deaths of many of their loved ones done for a child's plaything, they get pretty damn pissed.
  • Discussed in the commentary to this El Goonish Shive strip:
    I think my old cat believed I could control the weather. She was an indoor cat, only allowed outside briefly and if supervised. If it was raining when she wanted to go outside, I would open the door in order to communicate "dude, it's raining." She would then look at me as though to say "well, turn it off, then."
    That might sound weird, but seriously, how weird must it be from an animal's perspective how much control we have over light and water in our own homes? We flip a switch and there's light where none was before. We turn something and water rushes in. It really makes me wonder what they think we're capable of.
  • Someone made the case that Parson is an eldritch abomination to the people of Erfworld. Forbidden knowledge, ability to break the (for them) set-in-stone physical laws of Erfworld, has already lived for thousands upon thousands of turns, unholy intelligence and learning — face it, he is Nyarlathotep.
    • It gets worse. Erfworld runs on Bloodless Carnage, so biologically speaking, Parson may be the only being in the world with a circulatory system. He may be the only organism that exists on a cellular any rate, his biology and physiology are utterly alien, and he's a native of a universe with completely different physical laws...
    • Also, there are words in his language that cannot be uttered in their universe. Specifically, even mild swears are automatically censored. And then he broke that restriction by sheer force of will.
  • The animals of Kevin & Kell have had little exposure to humans, but they believe that habitat-destroying behavior is a defining attribute. In support of this perception is the secret future of the human world known to time travelers, in which humans render the planet uninhabitable to most species, including themselves.
    • Exposure to humans exacerbates the condition of "domestication", which dulls the senses and causes a general loss of survival knowledge.
  • In Kid Radd, somebody uses the term "humanlike power" as we might say "godlike power." They're treated as gods, and many characters spend a good deal of time contemplating the implications and cruelty of what most videogames are created for. Though it's the villains who try to Rage Against the Heavens. Pretty accurate, really, except when they assume the humans know what they're doing (and that all humans are programmers).
  • To the Basement-dwellers in The Mansion of E, humans have become legendary boogeymen.
  • The story of an encounter with Mario in Mushroom Go makes him sound like this. The effect is helped by the fact that everything said about Mario himself is true.
    "Any crazy stories you've heard about him are probably true. He can break bricks with his bare hands. He can leap 30 feet into the air if he chooses not to fly. Some even claim he's not a toad at all- that he's somthin' else. Somethin' from beyond."
  • Off-White: The wolf Gebo, upon seeing a human with a gun on a horse, interprets this as a two headed elk with a voice like thunder. Note the similarity between this and some of the Real Life examples below.
  • Referenced in this Questionable Content strip:
    Dora: I've totally seen you take muffins into the bathroom.
    Faye: I like to grant them one brief, horrifying glimpse of what awaits them in the Muffin Afterlife before devouring them. I am Muffin Cthulhu.
  • In TwoKinds, Humans regularly show up and enslave the Funny Animals after completely wrecking their towns. Humans also live about four times as long as they do (80-90 years to their 20-30), and can use Magic without relying on its crystallized form. The characters think that humans are devoid of mercy or compassion, and that they eat the ones who can't be used for slave labour. A Keidran's reaction to an average human is, understandably, just short of pants-shitting terror. However, some have figured out that humans are really just sparsely-furred sentient apes with a slow metabolism and a mean streak, and thus die just as good as anything else when you shoot them with poisoned arrows.
    • Though as it turns out, many of the Keidran are no better; many Keidran are involved in selling other Keidran as slaves to humans, kill other Keidran, and have no compunctions about killing humans as well when it suits them, not recognizing the true threat that humans present.
  • And now xkcd (although humanity may plead self-defense).

    Web Original 
  • Several of the examples listed below have been collected in a gallery titled "Humanity - Fuck Yeah!"
  • "Humans are insane." from /tg/'s archive. Also try "We Made a Mistake" for a case study. NSFW for the usual 4chan flavor.
  • This track from Rob Balder seems at first to be an inversion — humans are The Beverly Hillbillies of the galaxy — but by the end of the song, the alien narrators seem to be afraid they're underestimating the danger.
  • In something of a Questden Running Gag, the "Orb of Infinite Psyche", an artifact introduced in Dive Quest, allows the possessor to correspond with disembodied, extradimensional voices hinted to belong to some sort of eldritch abominations, which offer advice but are as likely to toy with the wielder for their own Blue-and-Orange Morality as to be genuinely helpful. These are, of course, the commenters.
  • Rats SMP: The series is set in a countryside mansion with resourceful Rat Men as protagonists; the humans are several times taller than the rats, who all but live in perpetual terror hiding from them. While the rats gradually get used to the humans' presence and later help resolve conflicts between the human NPCs from afar, and the humans occasionally do help the rats in turn with problems like magical mishaps, the inherent threat of being trapped in a cage with no one to save them in time is always daunting for the rats and a constant in their life in the Mansion.
    Jimmy: (hiding from a maid) I don't like this. I didn't know this is- This is Horror SMP!
  • Reddit: There is an active subreddit, Humanity, Fuck yeah! with constant new, original content dedicated to this and similar stories, mostly of humans being/becoming the top of the interstellar food chain.
  • The modern weapons technology of humanity causes the invading Legions of Hell to see modern humans as this in The Salvation War. This is mostly because, in demonic time frames, a few centuries is nothing and the last time they visited humans were pretty much helpless, easily slaughtered sheep. Imagine their surprise when they came to claim Earth after it was condemned by Heaven to the demons and found that the humans suddenly had the "magic" to slaughter great numbers from afar. But this was nothing compared to the reaction of one of the Demonic Grand Dukes who surrendered to the humans when he learned about nuclear weaponry:
    Abigor was sitting on his couch, mouth agape, staring at the screen as the credits rolled by. What sort of gods were the humans, to be able to destroy a city with a single bomb? He closed his mouth, then shook his head. A single bomb, capable of annihilating an entire city. An entire army would be nothing. They had played with him, when they could have destroyed him and everyone with him with ease.
  • SCP Foundation:
    • SCP-1470, the Psychic Jumping Spider who was happy enough to socialize with people, then realized that the ones he was communicating with were not other psychic jumping spiders who just preferred not to be seen, but those vague huge background shapes he'd been mostly ignoring. The writer started off wanting to write creepy stuff about a psychic spider, but...
      [then] it switched completely to a story about how incredibly mind-fuckingly large we are in comparison to tiny millimeter-sized jumping spiders. For me the subtext is all about how when he finally sees the doctor for who she is he flips his tiny spider wig like a sailor spotting Cthulhu.
    • SCP-717 contains a breach to Another Dimension, whose denizens are Living Shadows colder than liquid nitrogen, who have to possess a mannequin in a dark room to communicate via Ouija board. To them, though, humans are as deadly as they are to us; our world is a hellish maelstrom of deadly heat and light; and their "incursion" was a desperate attempt to contain the breach.
    • One of the proposed SCP-001 ideas is something that indicates that reality itself is malleable, that there's no set rules or predictable grand unifying theory, and malevolent entities roam about that are remaking the universe as they see fit. This SCP, it turns out, is the SCP wiki and the people who write and browse it.
    • It's implied on a number of occasions that SCP-682 isn't actually an inherently violent creature; rather, it comes from somewhere completely alien to the universe as we understand it, and all forms of biological life on Earth are so utterly horrifying to it that the only response it can think of is to kill all creatures it comes across as fast as possible.
  • Tumblr:
    • This exchange, about how humans should be stronger than other sci-fi races.
      • Which in turn inspired this video by Tom Scott called "Danger: Humans", which is a PSA to aliens to avoid humans. We are apparently incomprehensible to aliens because we breathe deadly oxygen and we alone in the universe operate on survival of the fittest.
      • And also inspired The Amity Incident; see the Literature section for details.
      • This PSA about how dangerous and tough humans are features quotes from the aforementioned exchange.
        Warning: A human can keep fighting for hours even after you shoot it.
        Warning: The human mouth has over thirty outcrops of bone and powerful jaw muscles. Human bites can be fatally infectious even to other humans.
        Warning: Humans can detect you even at night by tracking vibrations through the atmosphere.
    • Another Tumblr exchange. This time with ants.
      probablybadrpgideas: If Cthulhu can be summoned by humans who are so far beneath it, why can't humans be summoned by ants?
      The answer is they should be.
      20thcenturyvole: Well[,] if a bunch of ants formed a circle in my house I'd certainly notice, try to figure out where they'd all come from, and possibly wreak destruction there.
    • This exchange as well, comparing our interactions with animals to depictions of The Fair Folk.
    • It's a whole tag now, "humans are space orcs".
  • Veil of Madness, another /tg/ original tells of how when humans finally achieved interstellar travel, they came across the remnants of countless alien civilizations, all of them having succumbed to madness and self-destruction. Finally, when the make contact with non-insane aliens, they learn the truth. Humanity resides in a pocket of space that makes all sentient lifeforms within it go insane, yet humans are somehow immune. When the non-insane aliens see human ships coming out of their equivalent of the Bermuda triangle, they virtually crap their pants. The humans decide to play up their Cthulhu status, noting that it makes negotiations very easy and deters the aliens from attacking them. Funnily enough, humanity notes that the fact that they're essentially playing a galaxy-sized practical joke lends credence to the idea that they're actually a little crazy. It can be found here.

    Western Animation 
  • In the Adventure Time episode "Everything's Jake", Magic Man injects Jake with something that causes an entire world full of sentient beings to grow inside his stomach. As Jake, trapped inside this world, gets hungrier, his stomach growls, causing powerful earthquakes. One of the beings tries to get out of the stomach to get food from the outside world, which he believe to be populated by gods (given the fact that their entire world is just a stomach of one of these beings, he isn't too far off). He succeeds, but sees Finn with some noodles hanging out of his mouth. Realizing that "gods", which he believed to be beautiful, look like that, he goes through nervous breakdown and dissolves in truly Lovecraftian fashion.
  • All Hail King Julien has minimal human interaction, but the human technology that washes up on a shipwreck cove is treated as magical artifacts gifted to them by the gods, and when actual human researchers are seen, they are considered to be aliens from another world.
  • Cow and Chicken had a two-parter where Cow wrote a play called "The Ugliest Wiener", which starred anthromorphic food, with the main character being a malformed hot dog who got rejected by everyone else for being ugly, except the love interest, who asked the Great Hand to choose him (apparently the desire of all the wieners), but he gets rejected AGAIN and left alone as all the others are picked up... only for them to find out that they're picked to be cooked, and that being ugly was a blessing in disguise.
  • In the Craig of the Creek episode "Council of the Creek: Operation Hive-Mind," the kids discover a swarm of bees in the creek, and team-up to transport them to a faraway field. The episode is bookended by scenes from the bees' "point-of-view," where they are depicted as sentient and intelligent, and the episode ends with the bees' queen giving thanks to "those terrifying giant children."
  • DuckTales:
    • Darkwing Duck:
      • A mild example in "Smarter Than a Speeding Bullet". When the hero first meets Comet Guy, he calls him a "bizarre alien being", even though Comet Guy (and everyone on his planet) actually look quite human, at least compared to the anthropomorphic animals that are usually seen in this reality.
      • In "Twitching Channels", Darkwing ends up in the real world and is horrified to see humans, which he refers to as "hideous beakless mutants".
    • DuckTales (2017):
      • In "Raiders of the Doomsday Vault!", a video message by Ludwig Von Drake has him listing potential apocalyptic abominations such as zombies, werewolves, and "hyper-intelligent hairless apes."
      • In "Quack Pack!", the Duck family gets placed into a sitcom TV show, complete with ads and a live studio audience, after Donald makes a wish to have "normal family problems." However, once the family insists they want out, the live studio audience gets angry and tries to attack the family. When the audience enters the light, they're revealed to be... humans! However, due to humans not existing in the DuckTales universe, everyone is horrified of the "horrible flesh-faced monsters." In the Duck family's defense, the humans that attack them are creepily zombie-like in behavior, having creepy smiles, and crawl out from unexpected places.
  • Futurama:
    • In "Godfellas", a tiny alien species think that Bender is their god and live on his body. Bender tries both helping them and leaving them to their own devices, but both attempts turn out disastrous, and he ends up encountering the actual God (well, what may or may not be the real God) and is told that this is why God acts In Mysterious Ways. If you do it right, no one is sure you did anything at all.
    • "Fear of a Bot Planet" takes place on a world of robots that think humans are the boogieman, er, men. A movie about a human terrorizing robots was made, and one robot tale of human horror is that they can bite you on the neck, suck out your transmission oil and turn their victim into a human. As it turns out, the council of robot elders are aware of what losers humanity really is, but use fear of humans as a way to distract the public from the real problems, such as a crippling lugnut shortage and a council of inept robot elders. When Fry accidentally distributes the cargo (the much-needed lugnuts) by way of the "Make it Rain" method, the robots quickly reverse their stance.
  • Done in I Am Weasel, where both I Am Weasel and I.R. Baboon made their own tiny society based on their own DNA. In the Simpsons version, it's vaguely implied, but not definitely stated, that the reason the tiny people develop so quickly is because they were created by Lisa's DNA (and electricity and Buzz Cola). In I Am Weasel, this is actually a plot point, since Weasel's people develop technology quickly and Baboon's remain in the stone age. When Baboon attempts to assist them, they almost kill themselves and have to be saved by the Weasels... which results in the two species crossbreeding and resulting in a social collapse. The episode ends with Baboon and Weasel agreeing that they can never get married and should just be friends.
  • Minuscule is a mostly comedic show about cute animated arthropods in realistic environments, with human appearances being very rare and very short. Which makes the Season 2 special episode "Night of the Mandibles", where the entire cast is captured by what is implied to be a Mad Scientist, stand out immensely. This guy is alien from a human perspective: He forces most of the arthropods to do nonsensical activities, did something to one of the red ants that caused it to swell to an abnormal size, and has access to both a working Mind-Control Device and a gun that can turn air into lethal projectiles. In an uncharacteristically dark move for such a lighthearted series, the Ladybug protagonists overload said Mind-Control Device and lobotomize him with it, and the episode ends with the implication he'll just keep standing there motionless until he finally drops dead.
  • In an episode of The Real Ghostbusters, the heroes find themselves in a dimension populated by ghosts, who are as afraid of human as humans on Earth are afraid of ghosts. All except the People Busters, that is, this dimension's way of handling them.
  • "The User" in ReBoot. They rail against his/her taste in games, but come season 3, he/she does the right thing and restores mainframe from its grim and gritty state. Expanding on that, the sprites respect and fear it, being a dangerous entity who challenges them in games and occasionally creates viruses, but at the same time sends upgrades and stuff to help the people out. Some sprites, like Agent Fax Modem, believe that the User is a myth created by the Guardians who create games themselves so they'll be needed (possibly a reference to how the actual Mulder was an atheist despite believing all kinds of conspiracy theories). As this same episode had the Guardians try to blow Mainframe up to get rid of a web-creature, the theory actually had some credit, but said system restore in the next season actually shows the User manually typing commands, confirming for the viewer at least that she/he does actually exist.
  • Robot Chicken:
    • Members of a kingdom of ants start spontaneously combusting. One ant in despair asks God why he is doing this, then the camera zooms out to show Indiana Jones using the Staff of Ra and unknowingly burning the ants in the model city.
    • G.I. Joe and Cobra are both terrorized by a giant hand from the sky. It turns out to be a jerkass kid mangling his action figures. Duke kills him with a tank.
      "Uh, did we just kill a kid? I mean, Go Joe and everything, but I think that was a kid!"
  • Shelldon:
    • The entire show is about sentient sea creatures living in the Pacific Ocean. Humans operate fishing vessels and this technology is seen as alien U.F.O.s by the cast and has resulted in a number of unexplained disappearances.
    • In the end segment of "Baby Shark Blues," Doctor Shell notes that while it's understandable that you may be afraid of sharks, only 3 of 360 known species are actually known to be harmful to humans. Furthermore, humans are wiping out sharks at a rate that soon a species which has survived for millions of years could be gone in just 50 to 100.
      Doctor Shell: I don't know about you, but that's what scares me.
  • Played in The Simpsons with Lisa's tooth city in the "Treehouse of Horror VII" short "The Genesis Tub": they treat her as a god, and Bart as the devil, even as their technology surpasses that of humans. Eventually they shrink her down to bring her in as ruler, seemingly oblivious that the loss in size removed any actual advantage she had.
  • South Park:
    • Combined with Gaia's Vengeance in the episode "Lice Capades", where we see the head lice of Clyde being warned by one of them that their "planet" is alive and rejecting their presence after seeing a gigantic eye looking down upon him from the sky (a school nurse, discovering Clyde's lice to begin with) before they are massacred by a liquid which graphically dissolves their bodies (anti-lice shampoo) followed by a hurricane which decimates the survivors (caused by a hair dryer). At one point, one of the lice (still rejecting the idea that the world is alive) shoots several times into Clyde's skin, causing him to obliviously reach back and pluck him off and throw him to the ground. And given the fact that we're told that all of the kids in the class had lice...
    • Done with "sea monkey" brine shrimp, in the episode aptly named "Simpsons Already Did It".
  • In Tin Toy, a sentient toy flees in terror after seeing the baby in the room gnawing enthusiastically on a teething ring. The toy makes it to safety under the couch — only to find all the other toys in the room, cowering in fear.


Video Example(s):


Finding Nemo

After defying his father by swimming out to sea to touch the 'butt', Nemo comes face to face with mysterious terrors of the deep...

How well does it match the trope?

5 (22 votes)

Example of:

Main / HumansAreCthulhu

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