The monster I am covering is Cthulhu. Out of all of the monsters I have seen if I had to put him on a grading scale I would give him an “A”. He is a monster that is hard to understand because he is very rarely directly referenced in anything; even his name is rarely uttered by anyone. He is described as “The Thing cannot be described—there is no language for such abysms of shrieking and immemorial lunacy, such eldritch contradictions of all matter, force, and cosmic order.” (Lovecraft 3) in his original story where he appears but since then he has taken on a new shape. He is said to look like a giant green humanoid creature with a squid like head, tentacles making up his mouth, wings on his back, a long tail, and claws.
He is considered to be one of “The Old Ones” (Lovecraft 2) a being of nightmares and unimaginable power and knowledge; a god in his own right. Even when he is in his eternal slumber her can alters peoples dreams, and make them see horrific unthinkable things. He wants to use people against themselves, using a person’s curiosity against them as they seek out the source of the dreams and horrible visions. He is also known to shift reality by giving people ancient artifacts about the old ones and even having mind melting creatures stand in the wake of anyone that opposite him or his cults. His ultimate goal is to be released into the universe so that he can do as he pleases again, with no one to stop him. Once released everyone can only hope that they are so insignificant that he will not destroy our planet. “We are like ants to him, our only hope is that he does not notice us so that we can keep living our insignificant lives.” (Gildark) He is also said to know so much that if you ever got the chance to ask him a question your brain would literally explode before he ever finished answering you.
With the better understanding of how the monster looks and how he acts, I can explain how Cthulhu is a grade “A” monster. Cthulhu came to be through a short horror tale written by the writer Howard Phillips Lovecraft in the magazine called Weird Tales in the year 1928. Lovecraft would go on to write many more horrific monsters and tales that would become very famous in literature. Cthulhu represents the fear of the unknown in culture, but he can also represent the fear of the uncontrollable. He serves the culture by showing us we can’t let the fear of the unknown consume us and drive us mad. We have to keep moving forward with our lives and make it the best we can with what we have.
Cthulhu is able to meet the criteria of a lot, if not all, of the monster theories that are stated by Cohen. Some of the bigger theories he meets the criteria of in my opinion are “…thesis 2, The Monster Always Escapes… thesis 3, The Monster is the Harbinger of a Category Crisis… and thesis 7, The Monster Stands at the Threshold of Becoming…” (Cohen) Starting with thesis 2 he is one of the monsters that always escapes which goes perfectly with everything he represents. He is the fear of the unknown and if he is left to his own devises there is no telling what he can do with his god like strength and power. Another reason to why he always escapes is because there has never been a single way to even stop Cthulhu in the first place, which some may see as a flaw to a monster but again in my opinion fits very well with the intent behind the monster, you can not stop the unknown, you can only stave it off by staying in bubble. Now on to thesis 3. Whenever Cthulhu shows up or even his name is uttered, the crisis has already started. When the monster is in his slumber like state, he can still affect the minds of people and make weird things happen, which makes people go crazy. He doesn’t even have to physically intervein to cause a crisis to start happening, but once he does, then the crisis has really started. Lastly thesis 7, I have been referencing this through the whole paper, what makes him the scariest is because you have no idea what he will do next, he brings back our fears of the unknown, and the monster itself can’t be scary, it was never described to us in the original book, not well at least. We are scared of what our mind makes of him.
Now, to compare the Cthulhu written by H.P. Lovecraft to the newer Cthulhu that was in the movie “Cthulhu”, the older Cthulhu written by H.P. Lovecraft had a very ominous feel to him making him an indescribable and unspeakable creature from the depths of the unknown ocean with the tangibility of a living being and the power of a god made for a very scary monster in itself. With these words alone fear can be stricken into the hearts of many people as their minds race to try to imagine such a monstrosity and what would happen if he was unleashed onto the world. The newer version of him in the movie “Cthulhu” he is given a face which I feel really takes away from the phycological horror that comes with the H.P. Lovecraft monster, but in the same stroke you are also able to see the monsters powers in action as mass amounts of people and monsters murder and cause insanity in the name of Cthulhu. Structures are toppled, laws thrown out the window, and empathy for one another completely gone as the beast makes everyone lose their mind just by the mere thought of him being an actual living being in the universe. With both of them having their strengths and weaknesses I still believe that the original Cthulhu is a much better monster than new Cthulhu, because humans will always be afraid of the unknown and the uncontrollable, while the new Cthulhu is uncontrollable he has been given a body and face so he is no longer the unknown. Humans’ biggest fear is not the monster itself because there is always a way to beat the monster, but the fear of what the monster really is. “You are not afraid of the dark, you are afraid of what might be in the dark.” Is something I have heard growing up and that statement stands true.
everything I have touch on about the original Cthulhu I have no doubt in my
mind that he is a grade “A” monster. He represents our fear of the unknown,
something we can never get away from no matter how hard we could try, no way to
kill it, and no way to make it go away. Even if you think you are out of his
grasps he always has a way of showing back up. When I think of truly petrifying
monsters he is the first name I think of because he is the one that makes you
think about just how scary he is. So if you have never heard of him, I highly
suggest acquainting yourself with him, you will be in for a very scary treat.
Chambers Harrap, Una McGovern “Cthulhu.” Chambers Dictionary of Literary Characters, 1st edition, 2004. Credo Reference, Accessed 18 Jul. 2019.
This will be one of my scholarly sources. It is the definition and description of Cthulhu. This is a great source to use as a clear definition of what the monster is. This can be used in a multitude of ways to explain how he fits into monster theory and just in general clear things up.
Cohen, Jeffrey Jerome. “Monster Culture: Seven Theses.” From Monster Theory: Reading Culture. Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 1996. 3-25.
This is the clip out of a book talks about monster culture and how monsters are shaped in the form of fears and worries of the cultures that made the monster. It gives a better look into monsters and is a great tool to pick monsters apart with. I will be using this to show how well Cthulhu was made to be a monster of his time and how he became so popular.
Gildark, Dan, director. Cthulhu. Regent Releasing, 2007.
This is the most recent film featuring the story of Cthulhu. The story shows Russ coming back for his grandmothers funeral. He is kind of tied into a creepy cult without ever knowing much about it. He digs deeper to find out the weird happenings that have been going on in the town for years ranging from missing people to just creepy happenings that cant be explained. I will be using this as a more modern adaption of Cthulhu to show what has changed about him, or even if he carries different meanings now then when he did back when he was made.
Lovecraft, Howard Phillips. “The Call of Cthulhu.” Weird Tales, Feb. 1928.
This is the short story where Cthulhu first originated. It talks of a man looking through his Grand-Uncle’s research after his odd death. His Uncle talks about odd ancient writings that he had come across and an ever living cult called “The Cthulhu Cult” that worshipped a god-like being with horrible powers. The main character’s curiosity gets the better of him and goes to seek out more and ends up getting more information than he could ever wish for. I am going to use this in my paper as a main source because this is the first time Cthulhu has shown up in history and he makes for the perfect monster of his time.
“Lovecraft, H(oward) P(hillips).” Chambers Biographical Dictionary, Liam Rodger, and Joan Bakewell, Chambers Harrap, 9th edition, 2011. Credo Reference, Accessed 18 Jul. 2019.
This will be one of my scholarly sources. This is a Biography of H.P. Lovecraft the creator of the monster Cthulhu. I will use this source to show the times that Lovecraft grew up in and why he made the monster the way he did. I will also use this to reference the culture and environment the monster was made for.