• Before making a single edit, Tropedia EXPECTS our site policy and manual of style to be followed. Failure to do so may result in deletion of contributions and blocks of users who refuse to learn to do so. Our policies can be reviewed here.
  • All images MUST now have proper attribution, those who neglect to assign at least the "fair use" licensing to an image may have it deleted. All new pages should use the preloadable templates feature on the edit page to add the appropriate basic page markup. Pages that don't do this will be subject to deletion, with or without explanation.
  • All new trope pages will be made with the "Trope Workshop" found on the "Troper Tools" menu and worked on until they have at least three examples. The Trope workshop specific templates can then be removed and it will be regarded as a regular trope page after being moved to the Main namespace. THIS SHOULD BE WORKING NOW, REPORT ANY ISSUES TO Janna2000, SelfCloak or RRabbit42. DON'T MAKE PAGES MANUALLY UNLESS A TEMPLATE IS BROKEN, AND REPORT IT THAT IS THE CASE. PAGES WILL BE DELETED OTHERWISE IF THEY ARE MISSING BASIC MARKUP.


WikEd fancyquotes.pngQuotesBug-silk.pngHeadscratchersIcons-mini-icon extension.gifPlaying WithUseful NotesMagnifier.pngAnalysisPhoto link.pngImage LinksHaiku-wide-icon.pngHaikuLaconic

Great taste, less ph'nglui mglw'nafh.

"I'm an Elder God of the Damned! I can't have any ribbons on me, you wretched shrew!"
Cthulhu, Hello Cthulhu

"A devil from the Outer Dark,” he grunted. “Oh, they’re nothing uncommon. They lurk as thick as fleas outside the belt of light which surrounds this world. I’ve heard the wise men of Zamora talk of them. Some find their way to Earth, but when they do they have to take on some earthly form and flesh of some sort. A man like myself, with a sword, is a match for any amount of fangs and talons, infernal or terrestrial..."

Oh no! The Cult of KRZY has read from the Book of Darned Awful Things and unleashed the dreaded might of Yog-Sofserve, the Black Goat with Thirty-One a Thousand Flavors! Yep, it's end of the world time. But wait! Those big darned heroes showed up and shoved old Yog back into his book. Crisis averted! And nobody went gibbering insane!

Where the traditionally Lovecraftian Cosmic Horror Story tries to unleash an emotional whammy of despair and hopelessness on the characters and the audience, Lovecraft Lite has a more modest aim. It uses the toys and themes of Trope Codifier H.P. Lovecraft and tell a different, more optimistic kind of story in the genre of Speculative Fiction. In a Cosmic Horror Story, hope is gone. Lovecraft Lite, though, doesn't have the same hopelessness and ends up being more of an adventure or comedy that just so happens to take place in a similar setting. So it's basically a Cosmic Horror Story on anti-depressants. May sometimes cause cases of Vile Villain Saccharine Show if said abomination clashes too much with the tone of the show.

Since part of the definition of the Cosmic Horror Story is that mankind has no chance at even comprehending the hideous Truth of the universe, let alone fighting it; any series where someone can say Did You Just Punch Out Cthulhu? is closer to Lovecraft Lite than Cosmic Horror Story. Sometime this is done by having bigger fish on hero's side, possibly as a Big Good. Compare/contrast also with Cthulhu Mythos, Did We Just Have Tea with Cthulhu? and Did You Just Romance Cthulhu?[1]

Examples of Lovecraft Lite include:

Anime & Manga

  • Magical Girl Lyrical Nanoha As. So there's this Tome of Eldritch Lore which, every once in a while, unleashes an Eldritch Abomination that crunches planets like walnuts. This thing has never been stopped. It's bound to an Ill Girl and slowly killing her, while her guardians descend further and further into villainy due to their inability to save her. The only method the largest mage army in the universe can come up with to save Earth is freezing the girl in magic ice until the end of time. Feeling hopeless yet? Fear not, for the White Devil and her loyal cohorts have already been dispatched to the scene! Just lean back and watch them kick befriend some eldritch ass!
    • Well, up to that point it is subverted as even Nanoha can't scratch it. Only once the Ill Girl bring a part of the book to its senses and turns it on the insane world-destroying part do their chances improve, and even then they needed a battleship cannon that wipes out everything in a 10 Km. radius (they kicked it into the atmosphere first). But indeed, in the end love, friendship and firepower prevailed.
    • Except that even all of that (i.e. getting beaten up by the entire main cast, teleported into space, hit with said nuke-cannon, and getting completely obliterated) wasn't enough to actually stop that thing. The book was just to going to reincarnate somewhere else and the corrupt defense program would have taken over again. It was only because Reinforce Eins sacrificed herself that the corruption could be truly purged.
  • In Soul Eater, one of the major villains is a Humanoid Abomination who's existence brings the world into chaos, but so are two of the protagonists who want to protect it. Said abomination also has emotions, most prominently extreme paranoia.
  • Puella Magi Madoka Magica is like this. The entropy problem might not be fully resolved, the world might still be full of grief, Kyubey's race might be realistically impossible to defeat, Kyouko couldn't save Sayaka, but at the very least the titular character remade the world so that Witches are no more, though at the cost of her very existence.
  • the second season of Tengen Toppa Gurren Lagann is like this, with the anti-spiral. It is a hive mind of another spiral race that gained Instrumentality to stop its evolution, and is trying to control or slaughter all other spirals in the universe, to prevent them from accidentally breaking it with too much spiral power. They come from beyond the stars, form a pocket universe they created themselves, and when more than a million humans walk the earth, they come forth to destroy them. Their weapons are immensely powerful and unlike anything else our heroes have ever seen, their numbers seem to be endless, and their victory is all but certain. Of course, since this is TTGL all it needs is some hot blood and a few drills to deal with the problem.
  • Seikoku no Dragonar is chock full of this, although the atmosphere at the Dragonar Academy tends to be more relaxed and colorful, the Zepharos Empire sends enemies that are extremely powerful, like true Lov4ecraftian Old Gods, and visually utterly terrifying. to the point they're not really so "lite" in their cosmic horror, and a lot scarier than even the really scary Lovecraftian stories. The attacks often involve radiation beams, towering freakish creatures and masses of writhing tentacles that overwhelm opponents. There's a very terrifying sequence of Eco trapped within the maw of the Necromancia in Ep. 3, being slowly devoured by its writhing tentacles and inner appendages before Ash can rescue her. The Necromancia is created and summoned by Milgaus in an ultra creepy, occult like ceremony that again, is even scarier than the lines from actual Lovecraft and Lovecraftian stories.
    • Plus when the Necromancia appears the whole daylight sky suddenly turns black before an invincible, skeletal enormous monster appears, utterly terrorizing the whole town. He and some of the other monsters and Eldritch Abominations also really are basically invincible, with Ash having to use very special skills and knowledge about their nature to fight them with even a faint hope of success.
  • Dororon Enma-kun Meramera at the very end went into this - Heaven and Hell agree to destroy the Earth to harvest energy produced by human souls, which their supplies has run low, and because Youkai Patrol members are demons and cannot die, therefore they doesn't understand what dying means for humans, they don't see a reason to stop it. They later change their minds and solve the problem.
  • Kirby of the Stars, since it's both a light, satirical Slice of Life and a story of a Last Starfighter fighting Eldritch Abominations produced by a Mega Corp.
  • Arguably Neon Genesis Evangelion, lying on the border between Lovecraft Lite and outright Cosmic Horror Story. A post-apocalyptic Crapsack World where, because man meddled with the underlying order of creation and other Things Man Was Not Meant to Know, half of the population has died and the remainder are in the process of being annihilated by awakened cosmic horrors with Mind Rape powers. Humanity does try to do something to defeat them by creating Humongous Mecha which are actually duplicates of said abominations, but the chosen pilots are mentally ill to begin with, and the battle only makes things worse in increasingly horrifying details. There's also a conspiracy of cultists that plans to use other, more powerful Eldritch Abominations upon which both the Angels and Evas were based upon and whose ichor was actually the primordial origin of all life spilled in a cosmic accident never meant to happen, and bring about The End of the World as We Know It as soon as these monstrosities awake from their stupor (almost like The Call Of Cthulhu). In the end, the apocalypse is so incomprehensible it also makes us real life humans go mad from the revelation. No wonder people hail End of Evangelion as the penultimate of Pessimism. The Lite? While Earth does become a deserted Hell after the events, at least the protagonist takes over the End of the World process, gets a therapeutic End of the World Special and becomes The Anti-Nihilist!
  • Nyarko San makes Nyarlathotep a silver-haired hyperactive girl, Chtugha her lesbian stalker, Hastur a shy small-frame guy who likes the protagonist...guy, and Shantak birds a Pokémon monster. And they love cartoons and video games.

Comic Books

  • Final Crisis: Darkseid and Mandrakk the Dark Monitor cause almost all of existence to be sucked down a black hole. Superman kills Mandrakk with a song and restarts everything with the Miracle Machine, wishing only for a "happy ending." A mountain of hope in a sea of hopelessness. Even the words engraved on his tombstone inspire hope: To Be Continued.
  • In addition to the usual assortment of devils, vampires, and zombies, the Hellboy universe has over three hundred Eldritch Abominations waiting in the wings to ring down the curtain on the world and a surprising number of insane mystics, witches, fairies, and deities who want to help. (It wouldn't be the first time this has happened either.) If the Big Bad Ensemble Ogdru Jahad are set free, even goddesses like Hecate might not survive. The only reason the world hasn't been destroyed yet is the titular Hellboy, a half-devil, half-human with a stone hand that's infused with the power of the angel who created the Ogdru Jahad who's taken a liking to humanity. He's also prophesied to destroy the world himself, and to lead the armies of Hell in war against Heaven.
    • The presence of the heroic Hellboy and his team as well as the Fantasy Kitchen Sink aspect of the world makes this Lovecraft Lite.
      • The jury's actually still out on Hellboy; it all depends on whether You Can't Fight Fate or Screw Destiny wins out in the end. If the latter, then it's Lovecraft Lite. If the former, it's Cosmic Horror Story with a long string of Hope Spots. And then there's the fact that both the BPRD's battles are getting more and more desperate and Hellboy's grip on hope (and by extension his humanity) is getting frayed by his increasingly strong doubts about his ability to keep screwing destiny, which hang an ominous, lengthening shadow of malaise on the setting. We'll just have to wait and see where Mignola takes the story.
      • He has been asked, and the tropes were explained... Mignola says it's 'both'. Insert screaming.
      • But the only way he could possibly do both is to have an ending so incomprehensible you-. Oh Crap.
      • Well, let's be fair - Even if Hellboy doesn't choose to embrace his destiny, the BPRD are still getting screwed over in the ever rising stakes against them. The war on frogs is over, but things are just getting worse and worse. Hellboy embracing his destiny would just be like tipping gasoline on something already on fire.
  • Both the Marvel Universe and the DC Universe have plenty of Eldritch Abominations (one of them even became a playable character in a video game!) including some that greatly outclass the local superheroes. However they also have gods, cosmic entities, artifacts of great power, etc. so that they never have an absolute chance to destroy the universe. Besides, being superhero comics, you know they will fail in the end anyway.


  • There is a movie genre called "action horror," which takes the regular Horror Films and turns them into action movies. Make them epic action movies and you've got yourself some Lovecraft Lite.
  • The first Hellboy film has Red briefly fighting and ultimately putting an Eldritch Abomination back in its can. While the abomination isn't defeated for good, it's put back into its inescapable prison and no one loses their mind because of it.


  • Lovecraft himself wrote some Lovecraft Lite, so don't think it's a departure from the tone of the original stories, including some of his most famous. Notable are The Case of Charles Dexter Ward, in which the Terror From Beyond that the protagonist accidentally summons turns out to be helpful, and the Evil Sorcerer is easy to defeat by saying the right words, and The Shunned House, which features flamethrowers.
    • Of course the flamethrowers don't do much good, but some sulfuric acid deals with the situation perfectly.
    • Don't forget The Dunwich Horror, where humanity actually wins, as the protagonists successfully banish the spawn of Yog-Sothoth that was going to bring about the end of the world. They do end up severely traumatised by the events but nobody goes insane. The Dunwich Horror is considered by many Lovecraftian scholars to be so uncharacteristic of Lovecraft that it must have been a parody. Lovecraft's letters don't support the theory, though. Perhaps he just decided to cut humanity some slack for once.
      • It may be edifying to note that the many books, games, and TV series which have drawn upon the works of Lovecraft for almost a century have far more in common with The Dunwich Horror than any of his other works.
    • Even "The Call of Cthulhu" could be seen as lighter than expected, since Cthulhu is kept from fully wakening by a stroke of luck (and a desperate maneuver with a fishing boat).
      • Perhaps humanity isn't utterly destroyed in that story, but Cthulhu isn't beaten. He just goes back to sleep for another millennium or so.
  • Clark Ashton Smith's stories often fall into this, not because of actual content, but because of attitude. Yes, there are horrors beyond imagination lurking just beyond humanity's sight, and the universe does not give a crap about whether a primitive race of two-legged apes lives or dies, but this is usualy no reason to Go Mad From the Revelation. And "strange and inhuman" means "malevolent" considerably less often. Also, humanity as a whole manages to outlive all the Eldritch Abominations plaguing its past and present, and survive until the Sun starts dimming (by the way, note, that Clark Ashton Smith's and Lovecraft's work were supposed to happen in a shared verse).
  • And another contributor to the original Cthulhu mythos, Robert E. Howard often wrote in the same way as well. The universe is ultimately hostile in his works, and mind-melting horrors that contaminate everything they touch are plentiful in his works. The difference is, characters often are Badass enough to look them straight into the eyes and, rather than Go Mad From the Revelation, stab them in the face.
  • And the Conan stories generally follow the example Robert E. Howard set as Conan's creator - they are on the line between Lovecraft Lite and Cosmic Horror Story. Conan regularly battles eldritch things and always comes out of it okay, although they are still treated as freakishly terrifying.
  • Discworld has plenty of examples of Cosmic Horrors - the things from the Dungeon Dimensions, the Hiver, etc. But ultimately, none of them succeeds in causing permanent damage, and the heroes always win in the end. It helps that they're defined, somewhat; they're explicitly less "real" than everything else, which makes them simultaneously more magically and psychically potent, and much more vulnerable physically. Rincewind once took one out with camera flash, and held several off with a sock containing half a brick.
    • Yob-Soddoth deserves special mention for the name alone.
    • Note, too, that occasionally the Discworld version of an Eldritch Abomination will turn out to be deserving of some pity.
  • The Light Novel Haiyore! Nyarko-san is a Love(craftian) comedy with Nyarlathotep as the heroine. If that isn't enough, whenever she hits Mahiro's Berserk Button (including making disgrace to the actual mythos), he will punish Nyarko by stabbing her hand with the elder sign...which is just a mundane fork.
  • Several of the Doctor Who Expanded Universe novels use Lovecraftian elements, and they're all inevitably Lovecraft Lite, sometimes to an eye-rolling extent. One of the more self-aware is the New Adventures novel All-Consuming Fire by Andy Lane, which alternates the narration between a Public Domain Character 19th-century guest, who finds the experience full of incomprehensible strangeness and mind-scarring horror in classic Lovecraft fashion, and the Doctor's companion, who's much more blasé about the whole thing. ("Rugose alien monstrosities? What, again?")
    • All-Consuming Fire is so self-aware about being Lovecraft Lite that the monster turns out to be a moderately powerful Starfish Alien pretending to be an Eldritch Abomination.
  • Some of the work of Charles Stross, particularly The Atrocity Archives and anything else in its series, is a form of this. Although some people do go gibbering mad from witnessing the horrors of the unknown, they generally aren't completely impossible to deal with, and the British government has a society set up to do just that.
    • Well, they can currently deal with it. The problem is that CASE NIGHTMARE GREEN (aka the stars being right) is just getting warmed up and still has another seventy years left to run.
    • Of course, Charles Stross also wrote A Colder War, which keeps the dark tone of a Cosmic Horror Story throughout.
    • In some aspects, the Laundryverse just as horrible as the standard Lovecraft universe. A group of sufficiently determined madmen can very well unleash something capable of destroying the entire universe. In fact, The Atrocity Archives features a visit to dying remnants of a parallel universe where Nazis succeeded at doing exactly this. And with advances in computer technology (magic really being advanced math and all this) a feat like this is implied to be possible with just a bunch of sacrifices, instead of millions upon millions. What sets Stross' works apart from Lovecraft's is that upon realising the extent of horror they are facing, protagonists are mostly driven to greater determination and ingenuity in holding the line, instead of madness and despair (and, of course, the little detail that said determination tends to win them at least temporary victories).
  • Most of Simon R. Green's novels feature some flavour of Lovecraft Lite, most evident in his Forest Kingdom series.
  • Every single Lumley attempt at a Cosmic Horror Story ends up like this. Great Old One Ithaqua rules supreme on an alien planet, but his Half-Human Hybrid daughter leads La Résistance. Cthulhu has a good brother named Kthanid. His most famous contribution to the mythos, the Cthonians, who cause massive earthquakes, drive people insane through prolonged psychic contact, and burrow through bedrock and magma like a hot knife through butter... can be killed by contact with water. The same story that introduces them features a secret society whose modus operandi is locating sleeping eldritch abominations and blowing them up with bombs and an enormous drill.
  • Scream for Jeeves, by P. H. Cannon, is a Bertie Wooster/Lovecraft crossover, retelling a number of canon stories as Bertie/Jeeves adventures. Jeeves, of course, is Up To Snuff, having been dealing in Eldritch Phenomena since a lad...
  • The Adventures of Samurai Cat has Great K'Chu. To the Miaowaras the half-fish inhabitants of Outsmouth smell... tasty.
  • The Mall of Cthulhu by Seamus Cooper is a light comedy novel set in the Lovecraft mythos, wherein a nerdy barista and his FBI agent best friend battle a cult of skinheads attempting to raise Cthulhu. While the main characters are fairly messed up as a result of their brushes with the unspeakable, in this universe the supernatural seems more likely to make you a codependent, socially awkward, unlucky-in-love loser than a gibbering lunatic.
  • A Night in the Lonesome October by Roger Zelazny presents opening the gate to the Great Old Ones as a game played by Jack the Ripper, Dracula, the Wolfman, witches, mad scientists, and assorted other stock characters of horror. And it's narrated by Jack the Ripper's dog.
    • What's interesting here is that looked at carefully, the actual setting isn't really much brighter or more idealistic than straight Lovecraft. All the coziness comes from the "insider's perspective" on the happenings, as well as the main characters' resistance to the more debilitating forms of insanity.
  • Dragaera has the sinister Sufficiently Advanced Alien race known as the Jenoine who come across as eldritch in their Blue and Orange Morality and who periodically show up and create trouble. Luckily, the powers that be make sure that someone's around who can "punch them out".
  • Most of The Trail of Cthulhu by August Derleth falls under this until the very end of the book subverts it, going out on a very bleak and appropriately Lovecraftian note, much closer to a Cosmic Horror Story.
    • Derleth did this quite a bit. He came up with a number of higher and benevolent powers to side against the monstrousities of Lovecraft's canon. He also associated each of the beings with an element, meaning they could also be beaten by properly summoning the opposite elemental (as in "The Dweller in Darkness"). He was pretty much the father of Lovecraft Lite.
  • Dean Koontz just falls way too far on the Idealistic Side to avoid this trope. The alien invasion in The Taking has all the trappings of Cosmic Horror complete with a couple of Lovecraftian references. Except it turns out to have been an Apocalypse (sort of)in which humanity's wickedness is punished (cue Koontz's Anvilicious rants about the downfall of Western Civilization) and all children and sufficiently virtuous adults are spared. The subsequent new world actually seems rather utopian. The Eldritch Abomination in Winter Moon is defeated by an everyday American nuclear family.
  • John Dies at the End could be considered this. The entities that John and Dave fight (especially Korrok itself) are pretty Lovecraftian, but the guys keep coming out on top.
  • Monster Hunter International killed an elder god with reality. Literally. A mundane nuke only infuriated the creature, but a magitech reality amplifier destroyed it. They can't handle linear time any better than we handle them.

Live-Action TV

  • Buffy the Vampire Slayer and Angel both had elements of a Cosmic Horror Story, with ancient evils under the earth just waiting to be woken. Buffy ultimately took a more hopeful spin and showed how Buffy could actually make a difference. Angel had a more existential theme of finding meaning in the struggle to do right even knowing that evil cannot be truly defeated.
    • Angel also has Illyria, an ancient god-thing from the beyond, returning to find her armies long turned to dust, her powers gone, and herself stuck in a human body. That the pitilessness of the universe can brutalize Lovecraftian monstrosities themselves is somehow made to feel a little sad.
  • Doctor Who has occasionally had the Doctor and his friends come up against evil Godlike beings and Lovecraftian style threats (although not quite as explicitly Lovecraftian as the Expanded Universe would make them). Given that this is Doctor Who we're talking about, you get two guesses regarding who usually comes out on top of these encounters. Note that, on occasion, the Doctor comes across legitimately Lovecraftian powers, like the Animus, the Great Intelligence, or the Midnight creature, which can't be defeated with a bit of Techno Babble and a smile, but these are a rare variety.
    • Then there's The Doctor and the other Time Lords being very Lovecraftian themselves. The Doctor has claimed they seeded the universe with life (and somehow arranged for it to preferentially evolve into intelligent forms resembling themselves). Their civilization was founded in a war so brutal that it made them genetically abhor violence. As CHILDREN they are made to stare into the Untempered Schism, a gap in the universe allowing direct access to the Time Vortex, which contains all of reality (some are inspired, some run away, and some go mad).
    • The Doctor is viewed this way by many of his enemies.

  There was a trickster. Or a goblin. Or a warrior. The most feared being in all of the cosmos. There was no reasoning with it... one day it would just appear in the sky and tear down your world.


Tabletop RPG

  • Call of Cthulhu, ironically, arguably applies. Lovecraft's protagonists would half the time die or go mad before they even knew enough to get proactive about the Eldritch Abominations, which frankly didn't much care about us, for the most part. (Later games, like De Profundis and a number of other indy narrativist roleplaying games, have attempted to yank the horror right back up.)
    • Indeed, many players play the game as a black humour roleplay, rather than a horror, where your character's inevitable death or madness is played for laughs.
    • This depends on the way the game is played, and the scenario.
  • Pokethulhu, a Cthulhu-Pokémon crossover. Although as parody this may go even beyond "Lite".
  • Considering the setting is stated to be surrounded on all sides by mindless, aimless chaos and has a multitude of ways to bring about the Endofthe World As We Know It, the setting of Exalted would be pretty bleak if not for the fact that this is the Exalted we're talking about. Punching out Cthulhu is practically their job description.
  • Dungeons and Dragons in its various editions, and Pathfinder even more so, contain plenty of Lovecraftian elements scattered throughout the lore and splatbooks. But, since the game's general theme is heroic fantasy in a world full of benevolent and malevolent gods and controllable magic, these elements lack some of their original bleak hope-destroying teeth. It's sort of indicated that the Cosmic Horrors' time has come and gone (Aboleths), or are safely far away from conventional reality (the Far Realm), needing only the occasional band of intrepid heroes to perform intermittent "maintenance" on the fabric of reality (usually by nuking the encroaching tentacle-monsters with fireballs).
    • Call of Cthulu D20 tried to avert this, of course, being a port of the original to the D20 System. However, being a version that is compatable with D&D, they knew people would want to cross over, so they included rules for using cosmic horrors against D&D heroes, and these rules very much played the trope straight.
  • Toon doesn't even try to be scary in its "Crawl of Catchooloo" setting. For starters, the monsters drive your characters sane.
  • Cthulhu Tech. Sure, Mankind is losing the war against the Great Old Ones, but they have biomechanical Humongous Mecha able to kick around Eldritch Abominations and the Old Ones have had several defeats.
    • But according to the setting material and the game storyline, things keep getting worse and worse, and humanity isn't just gradually losing, it is losing HORRIBLY, and the government is just blatantly lying to everyone about it.
  • Anima: Beyond Fantasy has its share of Eldritch Abominations, the most notable one being the insane goddess of joy Edamiel, turned goddess of nihilism. Nothing that a high level group of adventurers couldn't handle, though...
  • Monsterpocalypse have the Lords of Cthul, dead ringers for the Great Old Ones. However, they're just another playable faction... Which means they can be beaten by giant robots, King Kong sized gorillas and Ultraman expies, among other things.
  • For entities alleged to be an inexorable threat to all humanity, the Horrors and bug spirits from Shadowrun and Earthdawn seem to get their nasty asses kicked a lot.
  • In Mortasheen, there is an entire class of Eldritch Abomination monsters called Unknowns, which you can actually add to your team of battle monsters and use to beat the stuffing out of other battle monsters.
    • Of course, this is Averted with the Ultimates, who are so powerful that even the weaker, unstable replicas of them are some of the strongest monsters around, and who themselves are going to be specifically designed as That One Boss
  • Eclipse Phase takes the time out from talking about the Cosmic Horror Story future where Earth is a charred wreck and there's a virus seeded by Eldritch Abominations and godlike AI's that turns people into ravening monsters or worse, to emphasise that there is hope, no matter how truly fucked we may appear to be.
  • Munchkin Cthulhu. Though it is possible for a player to lose to Cthulhu, it's also possible to win. Your real enemies, as with any game of Munchkin, are not the monsters. They're the other players.
  • Eldritch Skies is interesting: While it is based mainly on the man himself, it draws more inspiration from him as a science fiction author then a horror author. Thus, part of the Space Opera setting means that humanity is rapidly ascending to the point where a true Cosmic Horror Story is impossible and we have begun to understand what an Eldritch Abomination actually is. "Alien" in this setting does not mean "malevolent" (hell, the semi-benevolent Q figure is Nyarlathotep), and what man calls the Elder Gods are actually the universal unconsciouses of Precursors who have since managed to Ascend to a Higher Plane of Existence, and humans are explicitly capable of following in their footsteps. Also worth noting is that it's actually impossible to Go Mad From the Revelation here-that's hyperspace exposure, and it's treatable.


  • Tren Krom of Bionicle is brain-breakingly ugly and has Mind Rape-y mental powers, but he's a creation of the Precursors like everything else on that world. Far from having alien motivations, his masters proclaimed You Have Outlived Your Usefulness and locked him up; you can't blame him for wanting his freedom. And just to underline the "lite", Tren Krom recently suckered another character into a Grand Theft Me - but when he filled his end of the bargain, Artakha (another old and powerful being, but much less of an Eldritch Abomination) forced him to give the body back.
  • The existence of plush Cthulhu dolls is probably a case of this.

Video Games

  • It's debatable whether Mass Effect fits here or on Cosmic Horror Story. On one hand, the Eldritch Abomination Sovereign is pretty handily defeated by mere mortals. On the other hand, said mortals take heavy casualties in defeating just one and there are tens of thousands more waiting for someone to open the relay to dark space, meaning it'd be nigh impossible to win if they came in force. With two sequels confirmed, it remains to be seen which way the series ends up going. However, the general Screw Destiny attitude of the first game makes it likely to end up more in Lovecraft Lite territory.
    • The sequel is out and the verdict is in: "undecided." Mass Effect 2 goes into a bit more detail about just what the Reapers do to the species they harvest: the first game established that they "repurposed" them to their own ends - that's how the Keepers aboard the Citadel were created - but it becomes a Player Punch when the villainous Collectors are revealed to be the Protheans after 50,000 years of indoctrination and Body Horror. On top of that, it appears Shepard's improbable feat of killing one of their own has gotten the Reapers interested in humankind: cue the mass colony abductions, with the sole purpose of liquefying humans into goo and feeding it into an embryonic Human Reaper. That's right: they harvest entire species to procreate, and their big plan in ME2 was to construct a new Reaper using a human genetic base. On the flip side, this game firmly establishes that there's really nothing Shepard can't do - including come Back From the Dead (albeit with the help of a shadowy organization) and (optionally) ensure his/her entire team survives the Suicide Mission at the end. And the Human Reaper? Yes, s/he kills it too. All in all, the game ends on a hopeful note - followed by a shot of a fleet of tens of thousands of Reapers descending upon the galaxy. ME3's either gonna have one hell of a fight or one hell of a Downer Ending...
    • It appears the ultimate answer to this question will depend on the player's choices; Word of God is that it will be possible for Shepard to lose to the Reapers in ME3.
  • Warcraft 3: The manual for the game asserts that in the distant past the world was ruled by a cabal of malevolent "Old Gods", which, again, fit this trope to a tee. In the subsequent MMORPG World of Warcraft, Old God (C'Thun) actually appears as a boss in the game. Even though you only fight some of his tentacles and do not actually defeat the god by mastering the boss.
    • The Old Gods are back in the "Wrath of the Lich King" expansion, with the ominous Yogg-Saron. Saronite ore turns out to be the solidified blood of Yogg-Saron and prolonged exposure to mining it will drive NPC's mad. He is the Final Boss of Ulduar, his prison (which has been breached and his warders corrupted. Hints of this are scattered thought the expansion, usually in the form of ominous whispers. ).

  " The druids of old were wise to tear down Vordrassil, for its roots seep deep into the dwelling of an ancient evil. You know their kind as Old Gods. Beware Yogg-Saron, the beast with a thousand maws. His evil extends beyond Vordrassil's roots."

    • For that matter, the Titans, Azeroth's creator deities who defeated the Old Gods, are found to be not as benign as previously believed. While they seem to prefer Azeroth existing to it not existing, it is revealed by the Bonus Boss of Ulduar that they are rather nonchalant about the prospect of wiping out everyone on the planet to "start over" if need be.
      • And in the Cataclysm expansion, it turns out that the Titans left behind the equipment to wipe out all life and "start over" all primed and ready to go at the push of a few buttons.
  • Wild Mass Guessing goes that the glitch Pokémon Missingno. is actually a Reality Warper Eldritch Abomination, explaining its effects upon the games. Either way, you can still easily kill it with a rock.
  • Earthbound is an arguable example. Ness and company cannot defeat Giygas (AKA Azathoth with fewer tentacles). No matter what. Instead, you require the breaking of the fourth wall that gives Paula's pray ability the power of basically everyone in the world... and the person (you) that is outside of the TV. Because not even Eldritch Abominations can comprehend what lie beyond the Fourth Wall.
    • Not to mention the rest of the story is bright and colorful and set in a relaxing Flavor One Eagle Land.
  • Demonbane is like this. The mafia might include powerful sorcerers summoning Eldritch Abominations, but the protagonist can beat elder gods with a big magical mecha. Necronomicon isn't as much a book that drives you mad, as a loli that is easy to fall in love with.
    • On the other hand, it has enough moments where it goes into the full-on Lovecraftian despair-horror to be a less than straight example. Witness particularly the Bad End.
    • The sequel continue to play with this. Turn out that it's impossible to permanently seal Nyarlathotep, as it will simply emerge in another mask from alternate universe and continue its plan to release Azathoth. Fortunely, there are omnipotent Elder Gods who will make sure its plan won't succeed.
  • Oracle of Tao. You can beat up Cthulhu, Cyaegha, or Yog Sothoth. Though it is somewhat hard, since they are puzzle enemies that respawn if you don't do it properly, and if you fail, you get mind-raped, and go insane before tentacles swallow you and the world whole. Still, even the "terrifying" parts of the loss are a bit silly.
  • The text adventure Anchorhead also blurs the line. The cultists running the titular Town with a Dark Secret are stopped in their goal of guiding a Cosmic Horror to Earth, but still, a number of people are killed, at least one person goes gibbering insane, and it's possible said Cosmic Horror may be back in another thousand years. Furthermore, the epilogue hints that the Big Bad who lead the cult might not be gone for good. He always returns to his blood.
  • Shadow Hearts. Not only does your party step up and beat up Eldritch Abominations on a regular basis (one of whom is God), but under the right circumstances the protagonist can actually force an apology from four of them.
  • Did I just Tele Frag Shub-Niggurath? Yes, yes I did.
  • The Telltale Sam & Max episodes have been dropping the occasional Lovecraft reference as far back as Episode 201. In the third season, it becomes increasingly obvious that Lovecraftian Eldritch Abominations are going to be part of the main plot. In episode 304, an Elder God lays out an extremely Lovecraftian prehistory, the summoning of an infant Cosmic Horror is attempted, and Max himself becomes Maxthulhu. This is almost played straight, but since it's in the Sam & Max universe, it comes off more as Dark Comedy rather than true Cosmic Horror. Also Yog-Sothoth is actually rather nice and helpful for an Eldritch Abomination, saying that age has mellowed him out some. Being only a tiny fraction of his former self symbiotically attached to a human sorcerer and stuck in our universe after his summoning technically failed probably has something to do with this.
    • The real villain turns out to be not an interdimentional monstrocity but Max's own superego, annoyed at being ignored for so long, thanks to Max being all id.
  • Toyed with in Elona as the game invokes both tropes at once, both in story AND gameplay. Lulwy of the Wind might look like a naked chick with wings, but Lolth help you if you piss her off. She has so much speed she gets 8 attacks on a quickling character, damn near 30 on anybody else, hits like a falling starship, and is implied through dialogue and worship-interaction to be the cause of the Etherwind, a particularly nasty purple hailstorm at the beginning of every season which inflicts grievous Lovecraftian Body Horror mutations upon any caught within, for better or worse. Pray your world continues to entertain her, or Haruhi help you she will reshape your face until it entertains her once more. Meanwhile, Shub-Niggurath is a random monster encounter, uses its source material as flavour text, especially for sanity attacks, but is really quite harmless unless cornered and unable to teleport, and once properly beaten to a smudge can be captured with a Pokéball and made your own. The real challenge of a Shub-Niggurath comes from the fact it is a very high level, and when it doesn't teleport, it casts summon monster. Summon Monster is a level-based spell, so it could conceivably summon something that will punch BOTH your lights out. And if you've been rendered insane, you're helpless against whatever it called up by accident. Also, the Big Bad is a CHAOS worshipping warmage halfway to becoming one. He can be dispatched easily with a little Batman prep time and skill grinding. In summary: Lulwy = Cosmic Horror and Shubsie/Zeome = Lovecraft Lite
  • Insanely Twisted Shadow Planet is a Dyson Sphere-sized mass of writhing tentacles and machinery. It's no match for a single alien piloting a dingy UFO.
  • Cthulhu Saves the World. It's all in the name.
  • Terraria is a nice, happy, 2d Minecraft-like game. Also like Minecraft, it has some pretty warped and grotesque enemies, especially the bosses. A lot of the enemies from The Corruption look like animated clumps of rotten flesh, and they presumably conjoin together to make the Eater of Worlds boss. However, it gets ramped up further when you attempt to activate Hardmode. By making a Human Sacrifice by throwing a Guide Voodoo Doll into lava, you summon the Wall of Flesh - an enormous Advancing Wall of Boss that is comprised of unidentifiable fleshy matter, with lots of miniature creatures attatched to it that try to eat you. The sheer sight of this thing inflicts a temporary case of magically induced terror that literally reads "You have seen something nasty, there is no escape". But all of the above are killable, and they could be a lot more horrifying looking than they are. Not to mention the cutsey look of everything else.
  • Dungeons and Dragons: Warriors of the Eternal Sun has, as its final enemy a tentacled abomination called a Burrower that dwelt in a cavern deep underground and which was driving the people on the surface all mad, but in the end, you used a scroll to summon Ka the Preserver, and he killed the Burrower.
  • Magicka's DLC campaign "The Stars Are Left" (and, to a lesser extent, its main campaign as well) is an Affectionate Parody of the Cthulhu Mythos with plenty of Body Horror to go around. This being Magicka, by the time you're finished with the campaign the wizards have exterminated half of the elder god pantheon.
  • Dark Souls has a lot of very depressing Fridge Horror when it comes to the metaphysical aspects of the universe. The game is also filled with minor Eldritch Abominations. The Gaping Dragon might as well be called "The Mouth with a Thousand Teeth", and then there is Ceaseless Discharge, a 500 foot tall Magma Man with some really freaky things coming out of his head. With enough patience and skill, you can kill all of these.

Web Original

  • In the Metro City Chronicles, Squid Kid's superpowers apparently come straight from the Lovecraftian mythos.
  • Cthulhu is a reoccurring character in New York Magician. Michel is a casual acquaintance with his minion.

  "Your boss is a squid."

  • Plenty of short stories on Everything 2.Usually played for humor.
  • The Whateley Universe (as the name would indicate) mixes Lovecraftian elements into its Super-Hero School setting.
    • The story "Ayla and the Grinch" has The Unpronounceable, a Lovecraftian demon from another dimension that isn't defeated, merely locked out of this dimension because it didn't have a big enough foothold. This time. Ayla nearly died, and suffered psychological damage that required psychological help from psychics. Everyone else who saw the tiny part of it that got into our world (except the people who locked it out of our dimension) either died horribly or suffered horrific psychological effects. That's not too 'lite'.
    • On the other hand, Sara manages to successfully avert her fate, and is pretty much a Lovecraftian horror who is...ChaoticGood?
      • Whether or not Sara ultimately has averted her fate just yet or is simply still in her Hope Spot remains to be seen. There's still that ominously foreshadowed pending visit of her 'relatives' coming to 'test' her, and there's that small issue with Shub-Niggurath wanting her for high priestess that's been brought up during her father's visit and left hanging since. And her somewhat infamous encounter with Jobe might in fact call her 'alignment' into question a bit...
  • The Adventures of Lil Cthulhu. Awwww!
  • Atop the Fourth Wall - The Entity plotline finally gets into this direction at the very end, but barely Entity consumes all people on Earth, Linkara has no way to defeat it...but he manages to convince it to commit a suicide, restoring the world back to normal


  • The Misadventures Of Hello Cthulhu: Cthulhu gets stuck in the perpetually happy world of Hello Kitty. Hilarity Ensues.
  • In Ghastlys Ghastly Comic, a character tries to summon Cthulhu, but finds that the horrific Elder God is just an infant, about the size of a toy poodle and less dangerous. On top of that, he gets drafted as its baby sitter for an eon or two.
  • The Unspeakable Vault of Doom is a humoristic take on the more famous Lovecraftian entities. It's subversion, humans are still abomination fodder, but the comic focuses more on the wacky hijinks Cthulhu and friends get up to between summonings and stellar alignments. And while we can't stop them, we can give them serious headache.
  • The Call of Whatever
  • Calls For Cthulhu, apparently...
  • Imagine that the real reason the U.S. Space Program no longer sends men beyond Earth orbit is because they discovered planet-sized aliens space monsters, and our only hope of survival is to avoid attracting their attention. In another story, this could be a very scary premise; in The Adventures of Dr. McNinja, this is a punchline.
  • Irregular Webcomic has Cthulhu repeatedly defeated by being wrestled by a human. Admittedly, that human is Steve Irwin, but still... The Great Old One has also been defeated by yetis, and eaten by a croc, so it's definitely a toned-down version of Lovecraft's most famous entity.
  • Shadowgirls loves this trope. Power of Friendship reigns, humans are on the receiving end of Not So Different speeches from the cosmic horrors, and of course most problems are highly punchable. Deep Ones are honorable and sometimes cute, Interspecies Romance ends up played quite straight.
  • Grim Tales from Down Below, despite being an ostensibly Darker and Edgier sequel to The Grim Adventures of Billy and Mandy, gets a rather happy ending. Of course, the fact that many of the monsters, demons, god-things and assorted freaks and creeps are on the side of the heroes protagonists probably helps...
  • Dork Tower uses this occasionally for gags, such as pop-culture mashups "Spongebob Cthulupants" and "Pokethulu". One slightly NSFW strip spoofing Evony even had Happy Thulhu saying "I threw up on your sanity a little."
  • Ow, My Sanity mixes the Lovecraftian elements with an Unwanted Harem plot. Also takes a stab at the Magical Girlfriend genre "with a rusty chainsaw".
  • Generally speaking, anything in Sluggy Freelance involving K'Z'K fits into this. Grotesque monster destined to destroy the world? Check. Tome of Eldritch Lore that summons the monster? Check. Beating the monster through Heroic Willpower, clever schemes, dumb luck, and Incredibly Lame Puns? Check.
  • Schlock Mercenary dips its toes into this when dealing with paan'uri. One possible translation of their name is 'That which exists where nothing should' and they remain mysterious and shadowy figures in their first few appearances but after the Core War, courtesy of the Fleetmind, they've been analyzed enough that with enough resources they can be fought and defeated. They still remain a threat but that's because they are not without resources of their own.
  • In User Friendly, the first time Cthulhu appears he is cause for the characters to worry. It takes two strips to turn him into a joke.

Western Animation

  1. Although that last shows up in H.P. Lovecraft