This is a BVC Blog “exclusive” – my good friend Alan Rodgers is a horror novelist, Stoker Award winner, and has written a lot of stories set in the H.P. Lovecraft mythos. I think that’s the right way to say it – “Lovecraftian”? I was never too up to speed on Lovecraft, and found his prose so ornate and heavy that I never realized that the 5-minute short segments on one of my favorite childhood shows, Night Gallery, were set in various Arkham locations and the “monsters” in them were Cthulhu and his pals.
Isn’t he special? Now where did these monsters come from? Are there real-world things like this, the sources of the nameless and not-so-nameless creatures detailed by Lovecraft?
I’m of the opinion that the best horror has some basis in reality. It may not seem as though Cthulhu has any basis in reality – or does he?
These ammonites have pretty shells, but nasty tentacles and possibly, cold, inhuman eyes.
And here is the giant squid – most recently filmed live for the first time. If the giant arms, and sharp-toothed suckers on the end of its massive “paddles” that serve as feeding arms don’t bother you, then maybe the snapping beak inside its mouth will convince you this is one of Cthulhu’s descendants. These guys come courtesy of National Geographic’s feature on sea monsters.
It is said that giant squid make poor eating, because their flesh is filled with ammonia, which helps them achieve neutral buoyancy, allowing them to descend to great depths without being crushed.
These creatures are also completely opposite from human beings in anatomy, structure and nature. It is their alienness, I believe, that makes the Lovecraft monsters seem just plausible enough to be frightening.
And, the cuttlefish here may be Cthulhu’s “friendly emissary,” meant to fool us all, before we are consumed by his Elder Brethren. Cuttlefish are being found as increasingly capable of pretty amazing feats of memory, intelligence and learning. I think cuttlefish are even a little bit “cute.” So, more fool me.