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Psychosquid really lives up to its name.
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Octopoids and other tentacled creatures are often depicted as terrifying monsters.

Squids and octopi dwell in the deep ocean where they can sometimes reach immense sizes, they move strangely with their incredibly non-human anatomy, and they are remarkably intelligent. But mostly, they have tentacles. These are usually seen completely alien and disgusting: they are slimy, have a whole lot of suckers, and move in an incredibly unnerving fashion. Given all these factors, it is only natural to see many works of fiction featuring creepy octopi as scary monsters the hero has to fight.

But it doesn't have to stop to mere cephalopods: some have noticed that cephalopod's tentacles are so creepy and unnerving that they could considerably crank up the horror meter of other monsters, and decided that they could be used on creatures even more menacing than actual cephalopods. Cue the various Mix-and-Match Critters like cecaelias, Cthulhu-like Eldritch Abominations and a plethora of monsters with entirely gratuitous tentacles.

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Super Trope to Giant Squid. The Cthulhumanoid and Octopoid Aliens rely very often on this trope as well. Contrast (or sometimes overlaps with) Funny Octopus. Frequently overlaps with Combat Tentacles and the "Kraken" part of Kraken and Leviathan.


Examples of Scary Squids and assorted cephalopods:

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    Anime And Manga 
  • In Gargantia on the Verdurous Planet, the Hideauze are aggressive squid-like monsters engaged in a long war against the Galactic Alliance of Humankind. They are also the descendants of humans who genetically altered themselves to survive in the vacuum of space.
  • Octagon, the first enemy destroyed by Kirby in Kirby: Right Back at Ya!, is a gigantic, sheep-eating, flying, fire-breathing octopus.

    Comic Books 
  • Watchmen: Ozymandias destroys New York using a giant squid at the end of the book. The movie, however, removes the squid in favor of an energy machine that sends highly destructive blasts of energy to not just cities around the world.
  • Diabolik had to fight octopi twice: the first time was when a millionaire, expecting Diabolik's visit, put his jewels in a chest and the chest in a pool containing seawater and a giant guard octopus (Diabolik planned to poison it, but found himself in a hurry and had to jump in and knife it to death), while the second time he was peacefully swimming when a wild octopus attacked him.
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    Films — Animation 

    Films — Live-Action 
  • The dianoga from A New Hope, the one in the Death Star trash compactor, happens to be octopus-like. They're also called "garbage squid". And they will invade toilets.
  • Ray Harryhausen's The Mysterious Island based on Jules Verne's novel features a giant ammonite that attacks the characters when they're working to float a sunken ship the end of the movie.
  • Pirates of the Caribbean: THE KRAKEN! Its master, Davy Jones, could be considered this too. His head is basically an octopus with tentacles for a beard and a back of the octopus for the back of his head.
  • Prometheus: The Fetus Terrible super-facehugger thing.
  • Sharktopus combines this with Threatening Shark.
  • The Italian movie Tentacoli features a giant octopus that was stirred up by an underwater tunneling project, and developed a taste for humans.
  • Disney's 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea. The famously scary giant squid that attacks the Nautilus underwater and fights its crew on the surface.
  • Godzilla: Oodako is an octopus Kaiju. However, it isn't a very dangerous one compared to some others.
  • It Came from Beneath the Sea: The titular "it" that came from beneath the sea is a giant octopus.

    Literature 
  • The Lord of the Rings has the Watcher in the Water (a huge squid-thing that guards the gates of Moria).
  • Michael Crichton's Sphere had "Jerry" summon a swarm of impossible squid, and later a giant squid (an homage to the one from 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea) to attack the undersea station.
  • The 1957 French novel Niourk by Stefan Wul features amphibious, hyperintelligent mutant octopuses.
  • John Wyndham's The Kraken Wakes is about the invasion of Earth's oceans by a race of alien cephalopods. (Or at least the organic weapons they deploy are somewhat squid-like; it's never revealed what the actual aliens look like..)
  • Victor Hugo's novel The Workers of the Sea depicts at one point a fight between a sailor and a huge octopus.
    A greyish form drifts in the water; big as an arm and half a yard long; it's a rag; this form looks like a closed umbrella without a handle. This rag slowly moves towards you. Suddenly it opens, eight spokes swiftly spread around a two-eyed face; these spokes are alive; there is flamboyance in their dance; it's a wheel of sorts; opened up, it is four or five feet in diameter. Frightening blossom. This thing throws itself at you.
    The hydra harpoons the man.
    This beast crawls over its prey, covers it, ties it in its long coils. Below it is yellowish, above it is dirt-toned; nothing could adequately express this eerie dusty shade; it seems a beast made of ashes that would live in water. It is spiderlike in its shape and chameleon in its coloration. Angry, it turns purple. Horrifyingly, it is soft.
    Its knots strangle; its contact paralyzes.
    It evokes scurvy and gangrene; it's a disease made monstrous flesh.
  • Ian Fleming's Dr. No has a giant octopus at the end of the obstacle course that the eponymous villain puts James Bond through.
  • The H. G. Wells story "The Sea Raiders" is about some giant squid who migrate to the English coastline and start eating people. They can even walk about on the shore a bit.
  • Not evil of themselves, but put to a nasty use: The murder weapons in The Night Season are blue-ringed octopuses, whose fatal poison has no antivenom.
  • The Plant That Ate Dirty Socks: Referenced during the first book, when Michael stays up late to watch a monster movie featuring a giant octopus (and also a mad scientist).
  • In Pagoo, an illustrated children's book about the life story of a hermit crab, the final predator from which Pagoo must escape is an octopus. It's normal-sized, but since Pagoo is about the size of a human fingertip, their encounter is plenty terrifying for the young crab.

    Live-Action TV 

    Myths & Religion 
  • The Kraken from the northern legends, though in the first incarnations it was more like a Turtle Island thing.
  • The Oodako (great octopus) is the protagonist of a sad Japanese legend where he forces a girl to marry him.
  • In the Hawaiian creation myth, the sun was imprisoned in the ocean by a gargantuan octopus, who was slain by a god.

    Tabletop Games 
  • Dungeons & Dragons: A rather straight example would be the Krakens, a race of massive intelligent giant squids. That are also often wizards. They too like to enslave humanoids when they have the opportunity.
  • Magic: The Gathering:
    • The Kraken creature types, which includes the Polar Kraken, one of the biggest creatures in the game.
    • The Cephalid, a race of squid-folk portrayed as physically weak but sneaky and conniving.
    • Zendikar brings us the first true legendary octopus: Lorthos, the Tidemaker.
  • Munchkin has the Level 18 Squidzilla monster (outright called Cephalopodzilla in French).
  • The Old World of Darkness had a cephalopod race called the Chulorviah, who could parasitize humans and had plans for world domination.
  • Pathfinder:
    • Krakens are gigantic, evil and highly intelligent Giant Squids who view the world as rightfully theirs and other creatures as either enemies to be destroyed or as potential slaves. One ancient kraken known as Kaktora was so powerful that the demon lord Dagon saw her a genuine enough threat to his rule over sea monsters to personally enter the Material Plane to kill her, while in the current day the kraken Zhanagorr took over the Tian Xian nation of Wanshou after saving it from a devastating typhoon — which he may or may not have been responsible for to begin with — and turned it into a rain-lashed quagmire ruled by evil sea creatures.
    • Devilfish are smaller — although still larger than humans — seven-armed squid-like monsters supposedly created when Dagon's blood and life essence mixed with Kaktora's tattered flesh. They worship Dagon as their creator and live lives ruled by the urge to kill and feed. A more intelligent variant rules cities in the deepest abysses of the sea and regularly wars against other sea-dwelling races, but its intolerance for shallow-water conditions means that surface-dwellers rarely run into it.

    Video Games 
  • The Ceph from Crysis are as evil as these things come, waking up from their million-year hibernation to destroy humanity and take over the planet. They deploy terrible Freeze Rays and horrific flesh-melting bioweapons against population centers (such as New York) before invading and fucking the place up with their litho-ships.
  • Ultros from Final Fantasy VI. He's mostly comical, though.
  • Super Mario Bros.
    • In Super Mario RPG the first boss of the sunken ship is a Giant Squid that goes by the name, King Calamari. He has 800 Hit Points and his left tentacles have 200 Hit Points while his right tentacles have 260.
    • King Kaliente from Super Mario Galaxy is also of the evil cephalopod bunch. Though like most Mario enemies he's also pretty comical.
    • Brigadier Mollosque-Lanceur III Dauphin of Bubblaine, is a monstrous purple octopus with fancy clothing with a mustache and hair curls that appears as the boss of Bubblaine in Super Mario Odyssey.
    • Paper Mario series:
      • Thousand Year Door has the first boss battle against a Blooper.
      • Super Paper Mario features a boss battle against a giant Blooper during Chapter 3-2.
  • Quest for Glory IV has cephalopod imagery all over to represent the Dark One, possibly a reference to Lovecraft or Czernobog of Russian mythology. There are also "hexapods", six-legged monsters that guard the monastery.
  • Mass Effect brings us the Reapers. An entire race of horrifically powerful squid-shaped starships bent on perpetuating a cycle of extinction on the entire galaxy every 50,000 years, as they have for at least the past 37 million years. And that's 740 cycles!
    • Some theories suggests that they might have been doing this for a billion years. And that's 20,000 cycles!
    • They're shaped like cuttlefish because they were created by the Leviathans, who are giant aquatic beings, and they remade themselves in the image of their creators once they Turned Against Their Masters and started killing everything.
  • Oodako the giant octopus boss in Muramasa: The Demon Blade.
  • As well as the Watcher from the book, The Lord of the Rings Online has a giant tentacled terror in the sewers of Carn Dum.
  • Some of Ecco the Dolphin's more random enemies include giant octopodes called Eight-Arms. The Prehistoria levels have plenty of pointy ammonites, too.
    • Defender of the Future gives us first the giant octopus, and later a Giant Squid which involves a puzzle to defeat it.
  • The first boss of Ratchet and Clank 2 is a huge swamp-octopus thing. Its big brother also acts as a hidden boss.
  • Squiddicus from Donkey Kong Country Returns and Donkey Kong Country: Tropical Freeze is a gigantic octopus that spends most of his time attacking ships in the background, but in a few levels he'll attack Donkey and Diddy, smashing platforms and swiping with his tentacles. And he's covered with small spikes, making him invulnerable.
  • The Martians from Metal Slug series, resemble squid or octopi.
  • Ozumat, the fiend from below, a massive spawn of the Old Gods who seeks to aid the naga and faceless with their campaign in Vashj'ir in World of Warcraft. He's also the bastard who sinks your ship at the start of the zone. Suffice to say, killing him feels good.
  • The giant octopus boss of Quaria in Bug!, which stays in the background, grabs fish with its tentacles, and throws them at you. You counter by whacking them back at his head, after which he will come up close and personal, using his tentacles to hurt Bug directly.
  • The Mega Man X series have Launch Octopus and Squid Adler/Bolt Kraken. Though they are anything but squishy- the former launches homing missiles and can drain X's life, while the latter makes liberal use of Shock and Awe.
    • Sequel franchise Mega Man Zero brings us the cryokinetic Tech Kraken, who attempts to cause an earthquake by drilling a suicide submarine into the ocean floor.
  • The Xarquids from XCOM Terror From The Deep. Essentially, they're Nautiloids fed on a diet of alien steroids and have a sonic beam shoved up they're tentacles. And they swim backwards.
  • Gohma Lashers from Asura's Wrath, designed to look like a combination of Octopuses and Shelled Cephalopods. They take this to an extreme, being an entire mile or more in length from the top of the head to the end of it's tentacle.
  • The second The Dishwasher game has Squidface, a katana-wielding sword master with an octopus for a head.
  • Kirby's Epic Yarn has Capamari, the boss of Water World. During the first phase of his battle, he appears to be a squid until you unravel the knitted cap he's wearing, revealing him to be an octopus and triggering the second phase.
  • Malamar from Pokémon X and Y. Malicious-looking Dark/Psychic humanoid squids that are the Pokemon's equivalent of Mind Flayers. They can hypnotize others into doing their bidding, and it doesn't help that they are used by trainers for nefarious purposes. Its pre-evolved form Inkay is more timid and less overtly malicious, but it's still a Dark-type.
  • Some characters in The Secret World believe that the Dreamers are extra-dimensional cephalopods.
  • The single-player story mode of Splatoon features the octopus-based Octarians, who fought the Inklings in a previous war and have seemingly returned for revenge. It turns out their habitats were falling apart and running out of power, and they stole the Great Zapfish to try to fix it.
  • In the first King's Bounty game the Kraken sinks the ship of the pirate captain who lead you there. Later you have to face the whole beast, but you have to kill the tentacles.
  • Conan has a boss battle against a very Giant Squid at one point during the game.
  • The Kraken of Evolve invokes this. Its mouth is a series of fangs set in the midst of some tentacles, it had tentacles growing out of its back and head, and its 'wings' are essentially tentacles on the ends on normal limbs.
  • The Witcher series:
    • The first game has a more clear example with the boss Zeugl, who is basically an Expy of the Watcher in the Water, except that instead of having a humanoid head, it has fish head. It also has elements of Dianoga as it lives in the sewers. Geralt fights it by combating its Combat Tentacles that act like they have a mind of their own.
    • The second game has the Kayran, an enemy that is a combination of this and a Giant Enemy Crab. It has tentacles from a crab-like monster. It is the first real boss of the game and lives in the swamps.
  • Kid Icarus: Uprising: The space Kraken. Pit has to shoot down its tentacles while fighting it. Despite living in space, it can shoot water from its mouth.
  • Castlevania games have enemies called Dark Octopus, a mutated octopuses tormented by black magic. The monsters were introduced in Symphony of the Night and later reappeared in Order of Ecclesia.
  • A giant, red octopus awaits the player at the bottom of the ocean in Wii Play Motion's minigame Treasure Twirl. It seems harmless at first, but when you start reeling up with the treasure chests, it suddenly appears at the bottom of the screen and comes after you, trying to impede you way up to the surface. The scary jingle, as well as the suddenness of the agression makes the whole thing very frightening.
    Webcomics 
  • Cucumber Quest: Splashmaster is a monster resembling a Giant Squid who terrorizes the Ripple Kingdom, and the only cephalopodian character seen there.
  • Dinosaur Comics: T. rex's neighbors are a group of raccoons and cephalopods who practice some rather unwholesome habits, including self-cannibalism, and ask highly unnerving questions on the nature of "consent". According to God, they were not meant to be part of creation — they were simply there one day. Staring.

    Web Original 
  • Neopets: Zigzagged. Tiny Giant Squids are kept as pets, Small, Large, and Giant Giant Squids are eaten, but Tyrannical Giant Squids are seen as dangerous.
  • In Hector's World, a squid is an evil Con Man and leader of a criminal gang. Octopi are also seen as antagonists when characters imagine shady people.
  • Orion's Arm has the horror story of the Bitenic Squid, an Uplifted Animal variant created to self-direct its psychological development, totally free of human preconceptions. Rousseau Was... very wrong: the one in a million who achieve coherent thought and communication are total sociopaths with Blue and Orange Morality revolving entirely around their solipsistic interests, and all the more dangerous for it when they find outsiders to exploit. Their presence it outright banned on several worlds, and quite a lot of people consider their basic existence to be an atrocity.

Examples of other Tentacled Terrors:

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    Comic Books 
  • Spider-Man:
    • Spider-Man's foe Doctor Octopus. Not really squishy, though.
    • Spidey has a lesser foe called the Squid who really is all squiddly diddly.
  • Octoboss, a minor Invincible villain, is a horrifying anthropomorphic octopus who straddles the line between Humanoid Alien and Starfish Alien. His head and hands are all masses of super-strong Combat Tentacles. Since Invincible is in part a Spider-Man homage, Octoboss is probably based loosely on Doctor Octopus.
  • There's also Shuma-Gorath, a recurring enemy of Doctor Strange, who can best be described as a pile of green tentacles with a giant eye in the middle. As the name and appearance might suggest, he's a lovecraftian chaos entity residing outside our dimension, and is constantly trying to find a way in. He is very unpleasant to deal with to say the least.
  • The Ogdru Jahad from Hellboy, being a mix of Lovecraft and Babylonian myths, are often portrayed as enormous tentacled masses beyond our universes borders. They're also the Big Bad of the entire setting, are responsible for the creation of Hellboy and have intended for him to bring them into our reality to usher in the End of Days.

    Films — Animation 
  • In The Little Mermaid, Ursula the wicked sea witch is part cephalopod. Her first designs had lower bodies based on scorpion fishes and manta rays, but the designers decided to base her on an octopus instead since tentacles would add a "seductive yet scary aspect".

    Literature 
  • Cthulhu Mythos: The octopus-headed star spawn, and their leader, the Dread Lord C'thulhu, Master of R'lyeh. H. P. Lovecraft had a strange thing about tentacles and invertebrates in general. There's always, always tentacles, to the extent that anything with tentacles will for better or worse be compared to a Lovecraftian horror. It might be because he was both violently allergic to pretty much all seafood and had something of a phobia about them. The reason there's such a strong "slimy creature from the sea" motif in his monsters is because, to Lovecraft, marine creatures were among the most vile and disgustingly ugly animals in the world. Of course, the Old Gods aren't actually cephalopods or anything else that resembles terrestrial life, its just the closest approximation of their true appearance that our brains can understand.
  • The evil Martians in The War of the Worlds are distinctly squid-like octopoids.
  • The Grim in Septimus Heap, which lives in the sewer pipes below the Port and which feeds upon animals falling in them. It's the initiation job (the Task) of Keeper Apprentices to cut one tentacle of off them without being eaten.

    Live-Action TV 
  • In Doctor Who, Daleks are pretty much brains with tentacles in personal tanks.
  • Hyperdrive: The sex education video shows (fortunately not to the audience) the dangers of Interspecies Romance with such creatures.
    "This crew member had intercourse with a Glygonthian octopoid. Let's take a close look at his genitals. Pustules have developed, and on the pustules: warts. Soon, his entire groin explodes, leaving five baby octopoids, each with his face. Remember, Alien Sex is Danger Sex."

    Tabletop Games 
  • Dungeons & Dragons:
    • In addition to the actual cephalopod examples listed above, D&D has the Illithids, also known as Mind Flayers. They are mostly similar to skinny grey humans but with heads that look like an octopus with four tentacles, which they use to get hold of their victims' heads and eat their brains. They are also parasitic creatures that reproduce by implanting their tadpoles into the brains of humanoids, where they slowly feed on the victim's flesh and grow around its skeleton, eventually completely absorbing and replacing the host. Any humanoids that don't get their brains eaten or have embryos implanted in their heads are used as slave labor.
    • D&D also has the Aboleths, gigantic tentacled fish with three eyes and psychic powers. Like Illithids and Kraken, they too enjoy enslaving humanoids.

    Video Games 
  • In Sunless Skies, if you spot an innocuous-looking locomotive suddenly sprouting black tentacles, flee: this particular ship had been invaded by Guests, tentacled monstrosities that can invade space locomotives and are drawn to the warmth associated with places that had been lived in. And as their stolen home grows cold, they will frantically search for a new locomotive to take over. Like yours.
  • The Queen of Hearts in American McGee's Alice and its sequel is a monstrous mass of blood red tentacles looking like arteries. The Queen is the embodiment of Alice's madness, her tentacles spreading through her mind and Wonderland, corrupting the latter into a nightmarish version of its original self.
  • The Ceph, and evil cepalopod-like race from Crysis are as evil as these things come, waking up from their million-year hibernation to destroy humanity and take over the planet. They deploy terrible Freeze Rays and horrific flesh-melting bioweapons against population centers (such as New York) before invading and fucking the place up with their litho-ships.
  • Quest for Glory IV has cephalopod imagery all over to represent the Dark One, possibly a reference to Lovecraft or Czernobog of Russian mythology. There are also "hexapods", six-legged monsters that guard the monastery.
  • Mass Effect brings us the Reapers. An entire race of horrifically powerful squid-shaped starships bent on perpetuating a cycle of extinction on the entire galaxy every 50,000 years, as they have for at least the past 37 million years. And that's 740 cycles! Some theories suggests that they might have been doing this for a billion years. And that's 20,000 cycles! They're shaped like cuttlefish because they were created by the Leviathans, who are giant aquatic beings, and they remade themselves in the image of their creators once they Turned Against Their Masters and started killing everything.
  • As well as the Watcher from the book, The Lord of the Rings Online has a giant tentacled terror in the sewers of Carn Dum.
  • In Path of Exile, the influence of the Eldritch Abomination known as The Elder on maps in the endgame Atlas of Worlds is represented by a swirling mass of tentacles. Inside Elder-influenced maps, patches of grey tentacles appear on the ground, tentacled monsters can spawn, tentacles can emerge from the ground and slam the player, and tentacled portals can spawn and spew forth a stream of monsters until destroyed. Elder Items have a tentacled background.
  • In Haunted Halls, Dr Blackmore has disgusting octopus tentacles in place of his lower body. He sometimes use them to impede the protagonist's way.
  • Chairman McKraken is an evil squid-like Yokai that tries to take over the world in Yo-Kai Watch.
  • In Darksiders, the Deadly Sin Gluttony is a monstruous... thing that mixes the very worst aspects of both this trope and the Alluring Anglerfish . With entirely too many mouths and an insatiable appetite. Sweet dreams!
  • In Sundered, the various Eschaton creatures are amorphous masses of tentacles beneath their white masks and hooded robes. They worship Eldritch Abominations from the Cthulhu Mythos, and are implied to have once been human before something went very wrong.

    Webcomics 
  • At the start of Bearmageddon, a dead bear with octopus tentacles is pulled from a sewer. Joel's group encounter several live ones while escaping the church through the sewer.

    Western Animation 
  • In Chaotic, the M'arrillian Tribe is hostile sea food at the lower-rungs, but the higher rungs, like Chieftains and Aa'une himself, are mostly eyes and slimy tentacles that don't look like anything. Aa'une's One-Winged Angel form with multiple mouths and a dozen tentacles now makes him by far the ugliest creature in the entire series.
  • In the pilot episode of Justice League, something called "Imperium" appeared, a big, night-loving blob with tentacles.
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