Cthulhu Mythos in popular culture

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Cthulhu

This article provides a list of cultural references to the work of author H. P. Lovecraft. These references are collectively known as the Cthulhu Mythos. For works that are stylistically Lovecraftian, including comics and film adaptations influenced by Lovecraft, see Lovecraftian horror.

Film[edit]

Title Year Writer Notes
Re-Animator 1985 Stuart Gordon, William J. Norris and Dennis Paoli An American science fiction horror film based on the Lovecraft story "Herbert West–Reanimator."[1]
From Beyond 1986 Dennis Paoli, Stuart Gordon and Brian Yuzna An American science fiction-body horror film directed by Stuart Gordon, loosely based on the Lovecraft short story of the same name.[2]
Cthulhu 2007 Daniel Gildark Loosely based on "The Shadow Over Innsmouth".[3]
The Last Lovecraft: Relic of Cthulhu 2009 Devin McGinn A comedy-horror film about the last of Lovecraft's relatives.[4]

Games[edit]

Game Title Publisher/Developer Year Notes
Arcane Mystery Serial Sarbakan, PC 2002 Online serial game pitting human investigators against the creatures of the Mythos.[5]
Alone in the Dark Infogrames, PC 1992 Survival horror game based on the works of H.P.Lovecraft.
Arkham Horror Chaosium
Fantasy Flight Games
1987
2005
A board game originally published by Chaosium. The license was later acquired by Fantasy Flight Games, with a revised and expanded version of the game republished in 2005.[6]
Call of Cthulhu Chaosium 1981 Award-winning role-playing game based on the Mythos.[7]
Call of Cthulhu Collectible Card Game Fantasy Flight Games 2004 Collectible card game based on the Mythos.[8]
Call of Cthulhu: Dark Corners of the Earth Bethesda Softworks/2K Games, Xbox/Microsoft Windows 2005 Loosely based on The Shadow Over Innsmouth, with references to other Mythos works.[9]
Chez Cthulhu A Chez Geek (by Steve Jackson Games) variant where slackers may descend into Lovecraftian madness.[10]
Cthulhu Fluxx Looney Labs 2012 An H. P. Lovecraft-themed variant of the original Fluxx game, including cards based on some of the characters, objects and events in the Cthulhu Mythos.[11]
Cthulhu Gloom A spin-off of the card game Gloom, players are given a family of Lovecraftian characters. The goal of the game is for the players to kill their own characters in horribly terrifying deaths for negative points, while keeping their opponents' families healthy and happy. All of the cards in the game contain references to Lovecraft themes, places, and characters.
Cthulhu Dice Steve Jackson Games 2010 A dice game with a custom 12-sided die, embossed with tentacles, Elder Signs, and more. You roll the die to try to destroy your opponents' sanity[12]
Cthulhu Saves the World Zeboyd Games 2010 A 2D role-playing video game where Cthulhu must be a hero to recover his dark powers.
Dungeons & Dragons TSR, Inc. 1980 Games company TSR included an entire chapter on the Cthulhu mythos (including statistics for the character) in the first printing of Dungeons & Dragons sourcebook Deities & Demigods (1980). TSR, however, were unaware that Arkham House - copyright holder on almost all Lovecraft literature - had already licensed the Cthulhu property to the game company Chaosium. Although Chaosium stipulated that TSR could continue to use the material if each future edition featured a published credit to Chaosium, TSR refused and the material was removed from all subsequent editions.[13]
Elder Sign Fantasy Flight Games 2011 A dice game involving a team of investigators attempting to prevent the "Ancient Ones" from awakening. Also, a mobile App Game with the same goal.[14]
Eldritch Horror Fantasy Flight Games 2013 A board game published by Fantasy Flight Games inspired by the Arkham Horror board game.[15]
Eternal Darkness: Sanity's Requiem Silicon Knights 2002 A Nintendo Gamecube game inspired by Lovecraft's writings. The game is set in Rhode Island where the main character finds a tome with stories of Cthulhu like 'ancients'. The game won the honorary "Day of the Tentacle (Cthulhu) Award" at GameSpy's Game of the Year Awards.
Etrian Odyssey III: The Drowned City Atlus 2010 A dungeon-crawler role-playing game that draws heavily on Lovecraftian mythos. The optional final boss, the Abyssal God, bears heavy resemblance to Cthulhu, and its minions are known as the Deep Ones.
Illuminati A card game with an expansion supplement, "Servants of Cthulhu".[16]
Knights and Dragons Gree 2013 Cthulhu appears as a limited Epic Boss, and there are multiple quests based on him.
Lost Souls 1990 Online game with direct references to the Mythos.[17]
Magicka Paradox Interactive 2011 An action-adventure video game, featuring Cthulhu-themed expansion "The Stars are Left".[18]
Magic: the Gathering Wizards of the Coast In the set Rise of the Eldrazi, the size and descriptions of the Eldrazi themselves are partially based on the Cthulhu mythos.[19]
Mansions of Madness Fantasy Flight Games Board game involving one player in the service of malevolent deities and other players attempting to stop them.[20]
Megami Tensei Atlus 1987 - A series of Japanese role-playing games featuring creatures and figures from various mythologies, including beings from the Mythos. They serve varying roles throughout the games, sometimes as enemies, sometimes as recruitable allies. In particular, Nyarlothotep served as the chief antogonist for Shin Megami Tensei: Persona and Persona 2.
Monsterpocalypse Privateer Press 2008 - A tactical board game pitting giant monsters against each other. One of the factions is the Lords of Cthul; a Fiends faction from another dimension who are Lovecraft-inspired beings - Yasheth being Cthulhu, Corruptors being cthonians, Tanglix being gugs in particular.
Munchkin Steve Jackson Games 2001 A card game that features a series of parody expansion sets based on the Mythos.[21]
Mythos Chaosium 1996 - 1997 Collectible card game based in the Lovecraft mythos setting and spanning the 1920s era, dreamlands and modern times via expansions. Players were investigators attempting to complete adventures and not drop to zero sanity.
Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Paizo Publishing 2009 A spin-off of the 3.5 Edition of Dungeons and Dragons, Pathfinder includes several of the Outer Gods and Great Old Ones as deities that can be served by player or non-player characters.
Payday 2 OVERKILL / Starbreeze Studios 2013 A four-man Co-Op Multiplayer game where it's all about Heists. Cthulhus face is available as a Mask in this game.
Prisoner of Ice Infogrames 1995 An adventure game based on H. P. Lovecraft's Cthulhu Mythos, particularly At the Mountains of Madness
Quake id Software 1996 A first-person shooter computer game whose final boss was an entity named Shub-Niggurath,[22] though actually resembling a Dark Young.
Sam & Max: The Devil's Playhouse Telltale Games 2010 A five-episode Point-and-click adventure game from the Sam & Max series. The story features a Cthulhu-like race of elder gods, the most notable of them named "Yog-Soggoth".[23]
Scribblenauts, Super Scribblenauts, Scribblenauts Remix, Scribblenauts Unlimited, Scribblenauts Unmasked 5th Cell 2009, 2010 (Nintendo DS), 2011 (iOS), 2013 Cthulhu and Shoggoth can be summoned during gameplay.[24]
The Secret World Funcom 2012 An action-adventure MMO. Parts of the game were described by the project lead as being inspired by Lovecraft.[25]
Shadow of the Comet Infogrames 1993 An adventure game based on The Shadow Over Innsmouth.
Sherlock Holmes: The Awakened Frogwares, Windows 2006 Features an investigation into a number of disappearances believed to be the work of a Cthulhu cult.[26]
Smash Up Alderac Entertainment Group 2013 This card game features a "Smash Up: The Obligatory Cthulhu Set" expansion which adds Cthulhu cultists, Innsmouth locals, Elder Things, and Miskatonic University members and "Madness" cards that each of these groups can use to various effects.[27]
SMITE Hi-Rez Studios 2014 A third person MOBA with Gods from different pantheons as playable characters. Ah-Muzen-Cab has a purchasable skin inspired by Cthulhu, named "The Dark Whisperer".
Trail of Cthulhu Pelgrane Press 2008 An investigative role-playing game.[28]
Terraria Re-Logic 2011 Eye of Cthulhu [29] and Brain of Cthulhu [30] are two prominent boss characters one must engage while advancing in the game.
World of Warcraft Blizzard Entertainment 2006 C'Thun, a one-time high-end boss monster, has been described as "ripped straight from the Cthulhu Mythos".[31] Since then, several other 'Old Gods' based on this design have appeared in the game. Also, the Faceless race (servants of the Old Gods) bear a resemblance to Cthulhu himself.
X-COM: Terror from the Deep MicroProse 1995 Features multiple aliens that bear a close resemblance to creatures from the Cthulhu Mythos, including Cthulhu himself as "The Great Dreamer". Most names have been altered. A hidden underwater city is called "T'leth" instead of Lovecraft's R'lyeh. However, some of the original names, such as Deep One, were adopted unchanged.[32]

Music[edit]

Band Album Song Notes
The Acacia Strain Continent "Cthulhu" Inspired by Lovecraft.[33]
Adagio Dominate "R'lyeh the Dead" Inspired by R'lyeh
The Beast Remade Worship The Beast EP "Cthulhu" Track and album art inspired by H.P. Lovecraft and the cthulhu mythos.[34]
Antipeewee Human grill party "Cool Guy Cthulhu" Track by the German Thrash Metal band.
Bejelit Hellgate "The Haunter of the Dark" Based on Lovecraft's short story Haunter of the Dark
Blind Idiot God Various Various Name inspired by H.P. Lovecraft's description of Azathoth
Blue Öyster Cult Curse of the Hidden Mirror "The Old Gods Return" [...] Of a six eyed god whose wings beat; In a time so odd, so very odd; And we're all lost, all of us blessedly lost [...]
Burning Shadows Into the Primordial "Haunter of the Dark" Based on Lovecraft's short story Haunter of the Dark
Caravan For Girls Who Grow Plump in the Night "C'thlu Thlu" [...] Something seemed nearly dead making me feel so cold; Even the trees seemed to fear there was something unreal
Cradle of Filth Midian "Cthulhu Dawn"
Dark Moor Beyond the Sea "The Silver Key" This song is based in the Dreamland of H.P. Lovecraft and the Randolf Carter’s adventure.[35]
The Darkest of the Hillside Thickets Various Various Many of the band's songs reference Lovecraft's work.[36]
Deadmau5 4x4=12 "Cthulhu Sleeps" An eponymous instrumental.[37]
Dream Theater Systematic Chaos "Dark Eternal Night"
Eben Brooks O R’lyeh? Iä, R’lyeh! "Hey There Cthulhu" [...] Hey there Cthulhu, down there in your sunken city. You’re a billion light years distant and the stars look very pretty from R’lyeh. [...]
Expulsados Cuarto Para Espectros "La granja de los Gardner"
Flint Glass Nyarlathotep "Various"
The Gothic Archies The Tragic Treasury "We Are the Gothic Archies" [...] Though gothic we are Archie, though Archie we are goth; No Satan-worshipers we, we worship Yog-Sothoth!
Gwar Scumdogs of the Universe "Horror of Yig"
Fields of the Nephilim The Nephilim "Last Exit for the Lost" [...] Between the spaces, along the wall; Appearing faces, that disappear at dawn; We're getting closer. I can see the door; Closer and closer; Kthulhu calls; Forever remain (x4)
H. P. Lovecraft (band) H. P. Lovecraft (1967); "H. P. Lovecraft II" (1968) Various A 1960's band named for the author, with song content reflecting Lovecraft's works.[38]
Iced Earth Plagues of Babylon "Cthulhu"
Nile "Various" "Various" Nile have written several songs about the Cthulhu mythos. Vocalist and guitarist Karl Sanders claimed Lovecrafts works were in harmony with the essence of death metal .[39]
Manilla Road Spiral Castle "Spiral Castle" [...]Yog Sothoth has come; And the ancient ones
Metallica Death Magnetic "All Nightmare Long" Described by vocalist James Hetfield as being about the Hounds of Tindalos.[40]
Metallica Master of Puppets "The Thing That Should Not Be" Lovecraft-inspired, alludes to The Shadow over Innsmouth--"hybrid children watch the sea, pray for father roaming free"—and the rhyming couplet "The Nameless City"--"not dead which eternal lie, stranger eons death my die". "[41][42][43]
Metallica Ride the Lightning "The Call of Ktulu" An instrumental inspired by "The Call of Cthulhu".[44]
Morbid Angel Covenant "Angel of Disease"
Nox Arcana Necronomicon (all songs) An album entirely about the Cthulhu Mythos.[45]
Mocha Lab Cthulhu: The Funksical Various The first eight songs tell a humorous story about the Elder Gods, accompanied by Funk music.
Payne's Grey Kadeth Decoded (all songs) A concept piece based on a novel by noted US horror writer H. P. Lovecraft.[46]
Portal Various Various This obscure Australian Black/Death band is heavily inspired by Lovecraft's works lyrically, visually, and musically.[47]
The Unquiet Void Various Various The title of Jason Wallach's enigmatically named creative effort of dark ambient music consisting of a planned trilogy of albums directly referencing the Cthulhu Mythos. Two albums have been released, "Poisoned Dreams" and "The Shadow Haunted Outside", with the final album of the trilogy, "The Secrets of Vanished Aeons" to be released soon.[48]
Rudimentary Peni Cacophony (all 30 songs) An album consisting entirely of songs that reference (either directly or indirectly) both Lovecraft's personal life and his literary works (mainly the Cthulhu Mythos).[49]
Saille Ritu "Fhtagn" A slow ritualistic song based on "The Call of Cthulhu" from a cultists perspective.[50]
Shub-Niggurath Le Morts Vont Vite and other albums "Yog Sothoth" and other tracks Avant-rock/zeuhl band from France which received acclaim for its development of Magma's sound. Several tracks are explicitly Cthulhu Mythos-inspired.[51]
The Vision Bleak Carpathia - A Dramatic Poem "Kutulu!" Many of the band's songs are inspired by classic Horror novels and films, including H.P. Lovecraft's work.[52]
Therion Beyond Sanctorum "Cthulhu" Inspired by H.P. Lovecraft's work.[53]
Zardonic Lovecraft Machine "Cthulhu" The first track of this release is named after Cthulhu.[54]
The Men That Will Not Be Blamed For Nothing This May Be The Reason Why The Men That Will Not Be Blamed For Nothing Cannot Be Killed By Conventional Weapons "Margate Fhtagn" A story of a Victorian family going on a seaside holiday to Margate, which gets interrupted by Cthulhu rising from the sea.[55]

Print[edit]

Title Author Year Notes
The Adventures of Samurai Cat Mark E. Rogers 1984 The character Samurai Cat traverses time and space on a mission of revenge, and at one point wreaks havoc in H. P. Lovecraft's "The Shadow Over Innsmouth".[56]
All-Consuming Fire Andy Lane 1994 This Doctor Who Virgin New Adventures novel is set on a planet called Ry'leh and features an alien claiming to be Azathoth. It also equates several pre-existing Doctor Who monsters with Mythos creatures, claiming Fenric (from The Curse of Fenric) is Hastur, the Great Intelligence is Yog-Sothoth, and the Animus (from The Web Planet) is Lloigor.[57]
And Another Thing... Eoin Colfer 2009 The final installment in the Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy series, and, in a humorous vignette, features Cthulhu interviewing for the position of god of the planet "Nano".[58]
Awoken Serra Elinsen 2013 A young adult paranormal romance about a girl who falls in love with Cthulhu who appears at her high school in the guise of a teenage boy. The novel was created by internet film critic, Lindsay Ellis and her friends Nella Inserra and Elisa Hansen along with their fanbase as a parody of Twilight and subsequent novels of the young adult paranormal romance genre.[59]
A Colder War Charles Stross 1997 A novella that blends the political fiction and technothriller genres with the Mythos.[60]
The Crawlin' Chaos Blues Edward Michael Erdelac 2010 A blues singer in 1964 who makes a deal with Nyarlathotep for fame and fortune.[61]
Crouch End Stephen King 1980 A short story concerning a young couple lost in the London suburb, featuring several references to the Mythos.[62]
Discworld (series) Terry Pratchett 1983 - Numerous allusions exist throughout the series; the most explicit of these is the Necrotelecomnicon, after Lovecraft's iconic Necronomicon grimoire.[63]
Green Lama Unbound Adam Lance Garcia 2010 The Green Lama, a pulp hero from the 1940s, battles Nazis as they attempt to raise Cthulhu. Features strong elements from the Mythos.[64]
Haiyore! Nyaruko-san Manta Aisora 2009 - A Japanese light novel presenting Cthulhu Mythos-creatures as aliens that are either trying to defend or exploit the Earth. Features Nyarlathotep, Cthugha, and Hastur (portrayed as young girls - the last one being an effeminate boy) as main characters. Has been adapted into both manga and anime.[65][66]
I, Cthulhu Neil Gaiman 1986 A short story on Gaiman's website featuring Cthulhu dictating an autobiography to a human slave.[67]
The Illuminatus! Trilogy Robert Anton Wilson and Robert Shea 1975 Features several Mythos references.[68]
Johannes Cabal: The Fear Institute Jonathan L. Howard 2011 The third novel in the Johannes Cabal series is set primarily in Lovecraft's Dreamlands and features many Lovecraftian references, locations, and elder gods.[69]
The Laundry Files Charles Stross 2004 - 2012 Influenced by Lovecraft's visions of the future, and set in a world where a computer and the right mathematical equations is just as useful a toolset for calling up horrors from other dimensions as a spellbook and a pentagram on the floor.
The Midnight Eye Files: The Amulet William Meikle 2008 Set in modern day Glasgow, the worshippers of Cthulhu attempt to revive the god.[70]
Move Under Ground Nick Mamatas, Nightshade Books 2004 A pastische of the work of Jack Kerouac, William S. Burroughs, Neil Cassady and other luminaries of the Beat Generation milieu, juxtaposed with the Cthulhu Mythos transposed into the late fifties/early sixties within California.[71]
The Philosopher's Stone Colin Wilson 1981 Two scientists, now possessing heightened consciousness, discover mankind is the creation of Lovecraft's Old Ones.[72]
Resume With Monsters William Browning Spencer 1996 A humorous novel about a worker who battles a series of bad jobs and Lovecraft's Elder Gods.[73]
The Secret Memoir of the Missionary Hirofumi Tanaka A retelling of the arrival of St. Francis Xavier in Japan as influenced by the Cthulhu mythos.[74]
Shoggoth's Old Peculiar Neil Gaiman 2004 A short story, in Smoke and Mirrors (story collection), where an American tourist happens upon Innsmouth, an English seaside town, and its elderly Cthulu followers who explain about their master, whilst getting drunk on an odd local beer.[75]
Practical Demonkeeping
The Lust Lizard of Melancholy Cove
The Stupidest Angel
Christopher Moore 1992
1999
2004
Eggs Sothoth are a popular breakfast at HP's Cafe in Pine Cove, the setting of these and other Moore novels. The owner of HP has been driven to drink by his encounters with supernatural creatures and other monsters.
Some Notes Concerning a Green Box Alan Dean Foster 1971 A short story, in "With Friends Like These..." A book of short stories published in 1977. Story documents expedition somehow related to H.P. Lovecraft and Cthulu.[76]
Soul Eater (manga) Atsushi Ōkubo 2004 The Black Mass that resides within The Book of Eibon is most likely a nod to H.P. Lovecraft's Cthulhu.[77]
A Study in Emerald Neil Gaiman 2003 A Sherlock Holmes/Lovecraft cross-pastiche.[78]
That Which Should Not Be Brett J. Talley 2011 Set in the early 20th century, concerning a quest for an ancient book that can restore the Lovecraft deities to power.[79]
Unspeakable Vault (of Doom) François Launet 2003 (launched) A humorous web-comic strip featuring the Lovecraft deities and monsters. Anders Sandberg noted this comic as an example of the trend of poking fun at formerly horrifying concepts.[80]
14 Peter Clines 2012 A speculative fiction novel which explores the Cthulhu Mythos in a contemporary setting[81]
The Long War A.J. Smith 2013 (launched) A series of dark fantasy novels described as "Martin meets Lovecraft".[82] Shub-Nillurath, or "the Black God of the forests with a thousand young", is a primary antagonist as are the Dark Young. The first novel "The Black Guard" contains several references to the Cthulhu Mythos.[83]
My Little Pony: Annual 2013 Ted Anderson and Katie Cook 2013 Sunset Shimmer is briefly seen reading The Necronomicon in a library.

Television[edit]

Title Notes
Cast a Deadly Spell TV Movie. The movie is very much an homage to the works of H. P. Lovecraft. Though not based on any one particular story by Lovecraft, the film features many Lovecraftian tropes, and can be considered to take place against the unified backdrop which has come to be known as the Cthulhu Mythos. The nightclub is called Harry Bordon's Dunwich Room. Frequent references are made to the Necronomicon, the Great Old Ones, Cthulhu and Yog Sothoth throughout the film.
Dark Shadows Episodes 885 to 980 of the gothic soap-opera, a storyline commonly known as 'The Leviathans', was inspired by 'The Cthulhu Mythos'.[84]
Digimon At the end of Episode 13 of Adventure 02, His Master's Voice, the silhouette of Dragomon appears rising from the sea, bearing a striking resemblance to Cthulhu. In the same episode, DigiCode (a fictional alphabet featured in the Digimon franchise) translating to Ph'nglui mglw'nafh Cthulhu R'lyeh wgah'nagl fhtagn and Innsmouth appears. The Japanese title of this episode, ダゴモンの呼び声 (Dagomon no Yobigoe), translates to The Call of Dagomon, a reference to The Call of Cthulhu.[85]
Fate/Zero In Episode 13, Caster summons a giant sea monster by chanting Ph'nglui mglw'nafh Cthulhu R'lyeh wgah'nagl fhtagn.
The Grim Adventures of Billy and Mandy The season 1 episode "Big Trouble in Billy's Basement" and the season 5 episode "Prank Call of Cthulhu" feature Yog-Sothoth and Cthulhu respectively.[86]
House Season 6, Episode 18 "Knight Fall" features the Necronomicon, predominantly as a plot piece.
Nyaruko: Crawling with Love Nyaruko-san centers around Nyaruko, a formless Cthulhu-deity of chaos (Nyarlathotep) who can take on the shape of a seemingly ordinary silver-haired girl. Nyaruko and two other Lovecraft-creatures, Cthugha and Hastur, end up being freeloaders at Mahiro's, the protagonist, house. The show takes many other references to H.P. Lovecraft's works.
The Real Ghostbusters The episode The Collect Call of Cathulhu references the Necronomicon and an attempt to revive the so-called "Cathulhu," described as one of the "Great Old Ones". Lovecraft is also mentioned by name.[87]
Rod Serling's Night Gallery The season 2 episodes "Pickman's Model"[88][89] and "Cool Air"[88][90] are based on the original 1926 Lovecraft short stories of the same name, while "Professor Peabody's Last Lecture" heavily references the Mythos.[88]
Scooby-Doo! Mystery Incorporated The episodes "The Shrieking Madness" and "Pawn of Shadows" guest-star Professor H.P. Hatecraft, author of otherworldly horror stories, whose name is a play on Lovecraft's. Mythos symbolism abounds, including the fact that Hatecraft's character Char Gar Gothakon closely resembles Cthulhu.[91]
South Park Features Cthulhu as a character in the season 14 episodes Mysterion Rises and Coon vs. Coon and Friends.[92]
Supernatural In season 6, episode 21 "Let it Bleed", Lovecraft and six others performed a ritual to pierce the veil between worlds, opening a door into Purgatory on March 10, 1937. A creature of Purgatory came through and killed Lovecraft a few days later on March 15.[93] In season 7, it would become clear that the 'Old Ones' of Cthulhu Mythos are Leviathans, which were the first beings created by God before being locked into Purgatory so that they would not be a threat to later creations.

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