Monster of the Week: Cthulhu

BY Robert Lamb / POSTED November 18, 2013
Cthulhu rises in 1993's "Necronomicon: Book of the Dead" (Image courtesy Bart Mixon) Cthulhu rises in “Necronomicon: Book of the Dead” (Image courtesy Bart Mixon)

There’s a lot of misinformation out there about Cthulhu.

While most commentators tend to focus on the “dead god” aspects of this remarkable creature, only director Christophe Gans and creature effects wizard Bart Mixon have chosen to focus on the purely biological aspects of this tentacled leviathan.

(Image courtesy Bart Mixon) (Image courtesy Bart Mixon)

As revealed in the 1993 Lovecraft anthology film “Necronomicon: Book of the Dead,” hoary Cthulhu employs an ingenuously deceptive means of capturing human prey. It sends up a long tentacle with a specialized tip disguised as a nude, human female.

This pesudo-sapien lure, pictured above right, even speaks and makes sexual advances toward its prey — the perfect means of snaring lonely sailors and melancholy brooders.

Natural World Analogs
While Cthulhu’s lady-tentacle is certainly more animate than anything in nature, there are organisms in the natural world known to flaunt a bit of bate as well. For starters, consider the spider-tailed horned viper, which wiggles its bizarre tail to lure in spider-hungry birds. Let’s see it in action:

And then there’s the alligator snapping turtle and the pseudo-annelid lure on its tongue. The wiggling, worm-shaped bit of flesh draws fish into the turtle’s jaws, and then that’s all she wrote.

But even these superstars of aggressive mimicry have nothing on the tentacled one. Let’s see the dark one in action:

Monster of the Week is a — you guessed it — regular look at the denizens is of our monster-haunted world. In some of these, we’ll look at the possible science behind a creature of myth, movie or legend.


About the author: Robert Lamb is a senior writer and podcaster at HowStuffWorks, where he co-hosts Stuff to Blow Your Mind with Julie Douglas. He has a love for monsters, an aversion to slugs and a hankering for electronic music.

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