Giant squid in popular culture

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Giant squid sculpture in Seattle, Washington, USA

The giant squid's elusive nature and fearsome appearance have long made it a popular subject of legends and folk tales. Its popularity as an image continues today with references and depictions in literature, film, television, and video games.

Often, the giant squid is represented as being in dramatic, evenly matched combat with a sperm whale. This powerful image is no longer considered accurate given the evidence that exists for a simpler predator-prey relationship between whale and squid, with the whale being the predator and the squid the prey.

Books and comics[edit]

An illustration from the original edition of Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Sea depicting a giant squid.
Fighting the squid on the Nautilus.
Captain Nemo viewing a giant squid from a porthole.

(Alphabetical by author)

  • In Book 27 (The Exposed) of K. A. Applegate's Animorphs book series, Rachel and Tobias morph sperm whales to find a giant squid, and then the rest of the group morphs the one squid to find the Pemalite ship.
  • Jaws' author Peter Benchley's novel Beast features a giant squid terrorizing Bermuda. A TV movie (IMDB entry) was also made. However Benchley's description of the Beast (with clawlike teeth in the center of its suckers) more accurately describes the Colossal Squid.
  • Arthur C. Clarke used giant squid in many of his works. In The Deep Range, a squid of exaggerated size is captured and exhibited. In the short story "Big Game Hunt", a device capable of controlling the behavior of invertebrates is used in an attempt to capture and film a giant squid. In Childhood's End, one of the characters stows away on an alien spacecraft by hiding inside a model of a giant squid battling a whale.
  • James Rollins' SIGMA Force Book 4: The Judas Strain (2007) provides detailed descriptions of sightings of schools of giant predatory attacks by Taningia danae squid in the waters off the island of Pusat[1] and graphic descriptions of collaboratortive squid attacks of several characters.[2][3]
  • A giant squid also dwells in the lake at Hogwarts in J.K. Rowling's Harry Potter series of books. It seems to be quite friendly towards the students, and sometimes even acts as a lifeguard when they swim or fall in the lake.
  • A giant squid acts as a minor character in Charles Sheffield's novel The Web Between the Worlds.
  • Many giant squids are mentioned in Tentacles, the sequel to Cryptid Hunters, by Roland Smith. The character of E-Wolf is hired to capture a giant squid for the Northwest Zoo and Aquarium. Smith portrays the squids as pack hunters.
  • The River Moth, which flows through author Jeff VanderMeer's fictional city of Ambergris, is inhabited by giant squid. The city is named after ambergris, a substance secreted by sperm whales.
  • In H. G. Wells' The Sea Raiders, a voracious swarm of giant squids (fictitiously referred to as Haploteuthis ferox) slay a total of eleven people in boats and even attack a man on shore.

Film and television[edit]



  • In the film The Pagemaster (1994), Adventure, looking for a book to help Richard get past his fear of heights, picks out 20000 Leagues Under the Sea and turns to a page with an illustration of a giant squid. Immediately water gushes out of the book, and the giant squid's tentacles slowly emerge, as Richard and Adventure ascend a ladder to escape.
  • The Beast (1996), a film (with William Petersen, Karen Sillas) is about a giant squid terrorizing a Pacific NW Island, based on Peter Benchley's novel.
  • The title of the film The Squid and the Whale (2005) refers to the popularly imagined combat between sperm whale and giant squid, specifically as depicted in the diorama at New York's American Museum of Natural History, which the main character visits in the last scene of the movie.


(Alphabetical by series)

  • The Doctor Who episode "The Power of Kroll" (1978) features a carnivorous monster resembling a giant squid (the largest monster ever seen in the series) which lives at the bottom of a swampy lake, and is worshipped by the natives (despite the fact that it sometimes eats them).
  • In the Family Guy episode "Death Is a Bitch", a giant squid appears as an uninvited and threatening guest in the Griffin home that they choose to "just ignore and pretend it doesn't exist."
  • In the Futurama episode "The Deep South" (2000), Fry and Umbriel cheer at a fight between a sperm whale and a giant squid.
  • An episode of the TV show Invader Zim which was unaired in the United States, called "Zim Eats Waffles", shows Dib watching Zim battling a "Giant Flesh-Eating Demon Squid" to the disbelief of his colleagues.
  • The giant squid was #3 in the Most Extreme episode, "Body Parts", because it has the largest eyes of any living animal. It was #5 in another episode, "Monster Myths", because it's not a sea monster and can't sink ships.
  • The documentary series The Future Is Wild depicts certain species of squid evolving into land-based, air-breathing forms culminating in the 12-foot (3.7 m) tall, 8 ton "Megasquid" 200 millions years in the future. Other squid species include an ocean-dwelling, 120-foot (37 m) long "Rainbow Squid" capable of highly sophisticated optical camouflage and color alterations, and the small, arboreal "Squibbon", highly agile terrestrial squid which spend their lives swinging through the branches of massive lichen trees of the future. It is implied that the Squibbon may someday evolve into Earth's next sapient life form.
  • The Real Adventures of Jonny Quest (a re imagining of the franchise in the 90's) featured an entire episode[which?] dedicated to the giant squid, although the squids in the episode were as large as buildings.
  • On the Cartoon Network show The Secret Saturdays, a show about a family of cryptozoologists, the parents (Solomon "Doc" and Drew Saturday) are telling their son, Zak Saturday briefly in one episode[which?] about how they spent their last anniversary in the stomach of a Giant Squid. This is impossible, as neither a giant squid nor even a colossal squid can swallow a human whole.
  • In the 1970s cartoon series Super Friends, Superman and Aquaman rescued a cruise ship from a giant squid, which had been enlarged by the scientist Dr Pisces. The giant squid's ink had the effect of instantly enlarging any marine creatures that came into contact with it.
  • A giant squid and a colossal squid both made an appearance in Wild Kratts.[when?]


(Alphabetical by artist)


  • The post-metal band Giant Squid takes its name from the animal.
  • Deathcore band "Here Comes the Kraken" refers to a giant squid.
  • The indie group Modest Mouse sold shirts on tour in the year 2001 featuring a giant squid fighting a sperm whale.[citation needed]
  • The Wizard Rock band "The Giant Squidstravaganza" takes its name from the animal, and its appearance in the Harry Potter series, and sings songs exclusively from the point of view of that specific giant squid, often expressing his love for toast.



  • Scottish pirate metal band Alestorm has a song on their album Back Through Time (2011) called "Death Throes of the Terrorsquid", about a band of pirates fighting a giant squid.
  • The artist "Allergic to Shellfishness" has written and recorded a song "The Great Vampire Squid"
  • Australian songwriter Baterz wrote and recorded a humorous ballad entitled "Giant squids" in which he speculated that the animals "have a much better time than we do".
  • Folk Rock Singer/Songwriter Jonathan Coulton's EP Where Tradition Meets Tomorrow includes a song, "I Crush Everything," about a remorseful giant squid.
  • Metal band "Engorged" have a song entitled "Architeuthis" from the album Where Monsters Dwell.
  • Squid in general - and giant squid in particular - are mentioned in several songs written by Robyn Hitchcock, notably the Soft Boys' song Underwater Moonlight
  • A song by the heavy metal group "Tourniquet" titled "Architeuthis" is about the mysteries of the giant squid.

Video games[edit]

(Alphabetical by game or franchise title)

  • In BioShock, when entering the fictional city Rapture aboard an underwater elevator, a giant squid can be seen for a fair amount of time before it moves away, either fleeing from the elevator, or from the whale seen almost immediately afterwards. Later in the game, a dead giant squid can be seen in a display case.
  • In Dragon Quest VIII: Journey of the Cursed King, one of the bosses you fight is a giant squid called Khalamari who uses two of its tentacles to act as hand puppets. It has attacked several ships but when it is defeated, Khalamari reveals he is friendly but was brainwashed by Dhoulmagus. After being cured, Khalamari gives you a Gold Bracer.
  • In Endless Ocean for the Wii, a giant squid can be found in the Abyss, along with a Sperm Whale. Being a non-violent game, the giant squid will not hurt you and the sperm whale will not attack the giant squid. In its sequel Endless Ocean 2: Adventures of the Deep, however, the giant squid is too dangerous to continue the quest and the only way to proceed is to lure a sperm whale to fight it while you find the mini-sub.
  • In the game "Jaws Unleashed", the shark encounters a Colossal squid in a level called "the Deep". Juvenile Colossal Squid can be encountered in free roam mode. The squid in the level "The Deep" is very exaggerated, if JAWS is 25-foot (7.6 m) in the game then the giant squid is at least 60 ft (18 m).
  • In Kirby's Epic Yarn, the boss Capamari is what first appears to be a giant squid wearing a knit cap, but he then turns out to be an octopus.
  • In the Mario franchise, large squid-like monsters called "Bloopers" are common enemies of the video game character Mario. In a few games giant Bloopers serve as bosses.
    • In Super Mario RPG, the first boss of the sunken ship is a giant squid that goes by the name, King Calamari. Log from the former crew revealed the squid attacked the ship and the trapped it in the treasure room while the ship sank. It is capable of speech and when its mind is read, King Calamari states that the ship is his. It has 800 Hit Points and its left tentacles have 200 Hit Points while its right tentacles have 260.
  • In Sly 3: Honor Among Thieves, Sly and the gang attempt to subdue the legendary giant squid known as "Crusher" in order for them to defeat Blood Bath Bay's main antagonist, Captain Lefwee. After an arduous battle between Crusher and Sly's crew aboard a pirate ship of their own, they are able to subdue the giant creature and possess its mind with the help of The Guru for use in their operation.
  • In the game Soulcalibur III, the character Nightmare gains a "giant" squid as his joke weapon.
  • In Super Metroid, the boss character Phantoon resembles a giant squid, as well as the Ozymandias squid creature from the comic series Watchmen.
  • In World of Warcraft, the final boss in the Throne of the Tides dungeon is a giant squid called Ozumat. Its model has since been used in Mists of Pandaria as a quest enemy and a dying one can be seen in the Isle of Thunder.



  1. ^ Rollins, James (2007). SIGMA Force Book 4: The Judas Strain. p. 66. 
  2. ^ Rollins, James (2007). SIGMA Force Book 4: The Judas Strain. p. 46. 
  3. ^ Rollins, James (2007). SIGMA Force Book 4: The Judas Strain. p. 66. 

See also[edit]