Helmed by a powerhouse team consisting of Misha Green, J.J. Abrams, and Jordan Peele, HBO’s Lovecraft Country weaves Lovecraftian horror lore into the monstrous realities of Jim Crow segregation. Adapting Matt Ruff’s 2016 novel of the same name, it plays around with the creatures popularized by writer H.P. Lovecraft, who was notoriously racist. Lovecraft Country, in part, reveals how monstrous racists can be. But it also taps into literal, physically terrifying monsters. We don’t encounter too many creatures in the first episode, but the ones that we have seen are enough to give us nightmares for days.
Let’s take a closer look at the ones that have emerged thus far and explore how they connect to Lovecraftian lore. Bear in mind that Lovecraft’s monsters are said to be so horrific, that the mere sight of them drives people to the brink of madness. Because of this, no one has been able to adequately describe one of these creatures. That explains why Lovecraft Country‘s monsters differ slightly from first-hand accounts given in the lore.
Cthulhu or Cthulhi
Right in the intro sequence of Lovecraft Country, we see a monster in Tic’s dream of war and aliens. To the untrained eye, the monster probably calls to mind Lovecraft’s most famous creation: Cthulhu.
Even if you’re not very familiar with Lovecraft, you’ve probably heard of Cthulhu. First introduced in Lovecraft’s short story “The Call of Cthulhu,” the cosmic entity embodies the hybrid form of an octopus, a dragon, and a human. In the story, a man comes upon a widespread cult that worships the “Old Ones” (including Cthulhu) who came from the stars long before human life. Eventually, the Old Ones and their city slipped beneath the crust of the Pacific Ocean. In the right conditions, Cthulhu, known to be the priest of the Old Ones, will rise once more and rule the world with aid from the Cthulhu cult.
However, upon a closer look, the creature bears more of a resemblance to a Cthulhi, otherwise known as the starspawn of Cthulhu. These monsters are significantly smaller than Cthulhu, but also have octopus-like tentacles.
In Lovecraft Country, we also encounter shoggoths. After they pull over in the woods, Tic and Leti hear a noise, and Tic jokingly says it came from a shoggoth. But it’s not much of a joke, because they later do encounter shoggoths, which have vampiric traits, like hating the light and possessing the ability to turn a victim into one of their own. In the Cthulhu Mythos, they’re shapeless blobs covered in eyes. Their first in-depth mention comes from a Lovecraft novella, At the Mountains of Madness. The amoeba-like, shape-shifting shoggoths were created and enslaved by the extraterrestrial Elder Things to build cities, though some later rebelled. Eventually able to reside on land, they have no consciousness of their own and are controlled through hypnosis.
Suffice it to say, Lovecraft Country will be featuring more of these unsavory creatures as episodes drop, so stay vigilant and channel Leti’s power run through the woods to stay brave!
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