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Frequently in Speculative Fiction stories, there is a monster, or perhaps a race of monsters, with a face of tentacles resembling everyone's favorite Eldritch Abomination, Cthulhu. Using the official pronunciation of "Cthulhu" given by H.P. Lovecraft, the closest thing to the correct pronunciation a human can manage is "Khlulhloominoid". Now say that five times fast.
Different variations exist. The being(s) may have tentacled fingers, or they may have completely normal fingers. They almost always have an unusual skin pigmentation such as green, grey, greenish grey, or orange. They might have a beak within their mass of tentacles like a real octopus, or they might have a humanoid mouth just above the tentacles. Their strength varies, but they are almost never of the same power level as the Eldritch Abomination that inspired them. In fact, they may act nothing at all like the original Cthulhu, but still, expect them to compared to such by fans.
Also note, while examples may or may not be supernaturally enhanced, this is not about Eldritch Abominations, but about humanoids who look vaguely like Cthulhu.
Anime & Manga Edit
- The Black Mass in Soul Eater
Comic Books Edit
- Minor Doctor Strange villain the Dweller-In-Darkness is designed around this trope.
- The Flash had an arc where he had to face some interdimensional race of aquatic invaders that had many octopus traits.
- Davy Jones is depicted this way Pirates of the Caribbean. He also has a crab pincer for a hand, and one of his legs resembles that of a crab. Designed to resemble a beard, hook and peg leg, of course.
- The proto-Prawns from Niell Blomkamp's short film Alive In Jo'burg, which inspired District 9, look like this instead of the insectoid appearance of the big budget adaptation.
- The Quarrens from Star Wars.
- Cthulhu himself is actually depicted like this in the comic-book section of The Last Lovecraft. Also Starspawn, his pets and the "half-breed" also count.
- The first example here should very well be one of Lovecraft's own alien races, the octopoid "star-spawn of Cthulhu," which look much like their master/father/high priest/god.
- Colonel Brandon in Sense and Sensibility and Sea Monsters.
- The race of quarren from the Star Wars Expanded Universe. They lack any particular strength, aside from being seedy business men of the criminal underworld.
- The Fithp in Footfall are described as looking a bit like a cross between an elephant and an octopus. However, they're not really humanoid.
- More elephant than anything else. They just have a trunk that branches into eight tentacles that they use as a (generally not particularly good) hand.
- The Grel from the Bernice Summerfield series.
Live Action TV Edit
- The Ood from Doctor Who.
- And Dalek Sec after he merges with a human.
- Babylon 5 has races like the pak'ma'ra and the Drakh. The pak'ma'ra are relatively nice (though secretive, carrion-eating, and smelly), but the Drakh are more or less evil (though not completely, this being Babylon 5 after all).
- Hone no Shitari from Samurai Sentai Shinkenger is a tentacle head.
- The Mighty Morphin Power Rangers episode, "The Power Stealer," gave us the aptly named Octophantom.
- Power Rangers Samurai has Octoroo (the American counterpart to Shinkenger's Shitari).
Tabletop Games Edit
- Mind Flayers/Illithids in Dungeons and Dragons. It should be noted that Gary Gygax did not base his creations directly on Cthulhu, but on an unrelated novel cover. If you're curious, the cover has skulls with roots growing through them.
- The Tyranids from Warhammer 40000 deserve mention. Lictors, most obviously, always have the "feeder tendrils," but many other units in the army list have the option of buying that upgrade to create a giant chitinous army of slavering, gibbering mini-Cthulhus.
- In particular, the artwork for Ymgarl Genestealers in the latest Codex presents them as such. The unit background states the Hive Mind goes out of its way to avoid reabsorbing their biomass because they undergo physical mutations constantly and uncontrollably.
- 50 Fathoms, a Savage Worlds setting, has the Kraken - resembling the illithid, but they're playable - and don't make bad wizards, either.
- The Solar queen K'Tula is said to have eventually warped her body into a cephalopod horror, a change so drastic that it was too far removed from the human potential that Solar Charms work off of for her to make any that could enhance it.
- The Old World of Darkness had the Chulorvia, an underwater race of Eldritch Abominations. They have several breeds, one of which is a classic Cthulhumanoid.
- The Mind Flayers from D&D also appear in several installments of the Final Fantasy series, since it stole much of its early bestiary from Dungeons and Dragons.
- The Faceless from Warcraft. Bonus points in that The Faceless are the servants of the Old Gods, Shouts Out to the Cthulhu mythos.
- The species depicted in sculptures found on Ilos and seen in Shepard's dreams resemble this. Initially assumed to be the Protheans, they're actually the inusannon -- the precursors to the Protheans themselves.
- The Malachi from later Castlevania games looks like (and according to some people, was originally named) Cthulu. It has a surprisingly-hard-to-avoid dustball attack.
- Subverted in Master of Orion 2. The game has the aquatic, transdimensional race of Trilarians. When you add the fact planets named "Arkham" and "Rlyeh" (and "Arlyeh") are there as well, you realize somebody at the developers must've really wanted to do a Shout-Out. The manual also suggests that they were descended from a colony of the main Big Bad race of the game. At the same time they tend towards the "Pacifistic" personality-type, and can often be convinced to simply hand over planets to you if you ask them nicely. Their diplomacy music is also one of the mellowest tunes in the whole game, and even their physical appearance may seem quite beautiful rather than terrifying to you.
- To a lesser extent, the Meklar. In MoO 2, they have a mass of tentacles on their face.
- The Ascended Sleepers from The Elder Scrolls III: Morrowind have tentacled faces.
- The sligs from the Oddworld games, although only partially humanoid, as they have robotic "pants" instead of legs.
- The prison guards in Demons Souls, featured in a particular level, are basically miniature Cthulhus in garbs. It doesn't really help that they have a Mind Rape spell which paralyzes you, after which they rush towards you and impale you on one of their tentacles.
- Bloodsuckers from STALKER.
- The rubbery men in Echo Bazaar. Possibly a subversion, as they seem perfectly polite and civil despite not being capable of human speech. This doesn't stop everyone and their dog from trying to kill them, though.
- You have the option to make yourself one in Champions Online. Just get the facial feature "tentacles," and for bonus points webbed or tentacled hands and/or feet.
- Eight Bit Theater had a group of cultists who masqueraded as cthulhumanoids, badly.
- Monsterful had a cthulhumanoid with a little baby daughter as an extra on this page.
- The Asteroid Trading Post guy from The Inexplicable Adventures of Bob.
- The Cthulhu spawn from The Call of Whatever look like humanoids with octopus heads (as opposed to the canonical Cthulhu spawn which look like cthulhu, but only big instead of mindbendingly huge).
- Order of the Stick, being based on D&D, naturally has a "Squid Thingy".
- Implied to be what Sam Starfall from Freefall looks like under his environment suit, though his face supposedly causes humans to puke so we haven't seen very much.
- Actually, he's implied to be a completely non-humanoid squid-like alien. He can only walk upright because of a frame in his suit.
Web Original Edit
- Dagon, the Eldritch Abomination evil sorcerer from the Global Guardians PBEM Universe looks so much like the classic Dungeons and Dragons mind flayer that the page picture above could be used as a mug shot for the character.
- In the Whateley Universe, the mutant psychic who now goes by the codename Fubar. He had a bad encounter with a Mythos thing and transformed into something that looks like a Star Spawn. He lives in a big water tank and has been stuck there for decades. This is rather appropriate, since Lovecraft used the name "Whateley" rather famously.
Western Animation Edit
- Vilgax from Ben 10.
- Spoofed in Futurama when Leela crawls through the radioactive muck. We see her body with an octopus for a head, and the initial assumption is that she mutated. However, she is immune, and when she gets to shore she disgustedly pulls off the octopus that got stuck to her face.
- The Glorft in Megas XLR.
- A few of the Sea Tribe characters from Gormiti the Lords of Nature Return are just like this.
- The Rahkshi in Bionicle: The Mask of Light could split their faces open to reveal a mass of writhing tentacles.
- In Freakazoid!, villain Waylon Jeepers summons a Cthulhu Expy named "Vorn the Unspeakable", who fits this trope to a "T".
- Squid of Generator Rex fits this trope, having quite a few features taken from his namesake.
- Karkull in Superman: The Animated Series.