Spectacular Tentacular: Transmedial Tentacles and Their Hegemonic Struggles in Cthulhu and Godzilla

  • Yorimitsu Hashimoto Osaka University
Keywords: Movie, Adaptation, Natural History, Folklore


Tentacular cephalopods appear regularly in film. Inspired by Hugo and Hokusai, stories of ferocious octopus attacking primates were invented. This fantasy of the Kraken was incorporated into monster movies in the 1950s with the cult of Cthulhu. Lovecraft describes a vision of the resurrection of prehistoric cephalopod monsters and reinterprets fragments from worldwide mythology. With the film King Kong (1933) as their distant origin, Godzilla (1954) and It Came from Beneath the Sea (1955) describe returns of monsters as recorded in ancient times. The Japanese film King Kong vs. Godzilla (1962) is interesting to consider in this context. Here, in a scenario possibly inspired by Japanese folklore, a huge octopus attacks King Kong, in a struggle that can be interpreted as a battle for initiative in the world of Cthulhu. Cthulhan pseudo-mythology is widely appropriated in later monster movies, although the racism is a stumbling block. In the movie Kong: Skull Island (2017), the monkey god returns like Cthulhu, but bites off the attacking cephalopod's tentacles. This evokes impressive scenes from both King Kong vs. Godzilla and Oldboy (2003). Here, Kong, seeming to extract Cthulhan racism, incorporates the powers of Cthulhu's intense tentacles and pseudo-mythological method.


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Author Biography

Yorimitsu Hashimoto, Osaka University
Professor (Comparative Literature and Culture), School of Letters


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How to Cite
Hashimoto, Y. (2020). Spectacular Tentacular: Transmedial Tentacles and Their Hegemonic Struggles in Cthulhu and Godzilla. Between, 10(20), 58-88. https://doi.org/10.13125/2039-6597/4228