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August 20th brought the one hundred and thirtieth birthday of Mr. H.P Lovecraft. Even now, decades after he penned his final weird tale, his work continues to entrance new readers. However, it also repels. In fact, Lovecraft's racist beliefs and use of tropes have tainted his colossal legacy for many. In turn, it has paved the way for a new generation of authors working to reappropriate cosmic horror. Today, we honor those efforts of inclusivity with a roundup of our favorite tentacle-y monsters from modern fiction!

 


Warren the 13th and the Thirteen-Year Curse

Sketchy, Warren the 13th

At first blush, Sketchy has all the makings of a terrifying tentacled monster: multiple limbs, slit-shaped pupils, and he lives in a boiler room. But Sketchy is anything but terrifying. In fact, he ends up being quite friendly to our favorite toad-faced bellboy. 

 

 

White Tendrils, The City We Became

N.K. Jemisin grabs the reins of Cosmic Horror in this new novel about New York City and the avatars that embody its boroughs. In it, an invading force from another dimension takes form as creepy white tendrils that grow from the city like an infestation. 

 

 

 

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Lovecraft Country

It’s unclear how much of the HBO television show will take after the book, however, if one thing is evident from the trailer, it should be riddled with Lovecraftian tentacles and monsters. We can’t wait to watch!

 

 

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Mind Flayer, Stranger Things

Some folks don’t know, but the Mind Flayer first appeared in Dungeons and Dragons in the early seventies. The Mind Flayer had multiple tentacles and looked similar to Lovecraft’s Cthulhu. However, the Flayer we’ve come to know in Stranger Things is a bit more smokey skyrise than squid god. Either way, it still gives us the creeps. 

 

 

Cecil, Welcome to Night Vale

To be clear, Cecil, the mysterious host of the popular Welcome to Night Vale podcast is not technically a monster. However, a strange movement has taken place in the fandom over the last several years. It seems fan art of Cecil will regularly include strange tentacle-like tattoos, or they will depict tentacles emerging from his back. Coincidence?

 

 

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Flerken, Captain Marvel

Of all the amazing characters in the Captain Marvel movie, Goose the Flerken was easily one of the best. We can’t wait to see more of this terrifyingly dangerous but oh-so-adorable kitty. 

 

 

Photo by Jules Marvin Eguilos on Unsplash

Giant Squid, Harry Potter Books

Certainly one of the lesser-known characters in the Harry Potter Franchise, the giant squid still warrants a shout out for not eating Viktor Krum that one time. 

 

 

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Sarlacc, Star Wars

If it’s mean enough to eat the greatest bounty hunter in the galaxy, then it’s mean enough to make our list.

 

 

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Davy Jones and the Kraken, Pirates of the Caribbean 

Last, but certainly not least, we’ve got the two grumpiest tentacle boys on the high seas: Davy Jones and his cephalopod-like pet, the Kraken. Both have more tentacles than they do manners, and for that, they are perfect additions to our slithery list. 


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J. B. Kish's picture

J. B. Kish

J. B. Kish grew up in the American Southwest and spent most of his childhood concocting strange stories with spooky monsters. Now, he lives in the Pacific Northwest and has begun publishing those childhood nightmares for others. He is the author of two novels, including the paranormal thriller A Wall for Teeth and Stingers, which takes place in both Arizona and Oregon. He has the same birthday as Captain Kathryn Janeway, which is a thing he takes very seriously. Probably too seriously.