Next Article in Journal
Validation of the Short Forms of the Centrality of Religiosity Scale in Georgia
Next Article in Special Issue
Ted Chiang’s Asian American Amusement at Alien Arrival
Previous Article in Journal
Comparative Religion and Anti-Religious Museums of Soviet Russia in the 1920s
Previous Article in Special Issue
Altar Call of Cthulhu: Religion and Millennialism in H.P. Lovecraft’s Cthulhu Mythos
Open AccessArticle

Facing the Monsters: Otherness in H. P. Lovecraft’s Cthulhu Mythos and Guillermo del Toro’s Pacific Rim and Hellboy

Interdisciplinary Studies Department, Salem State University, Salem, MA 01970, USA
Religions 2020, 11(2), 58; https://doi.org/10.3390/rel11020058
Received: 3 December 2019 / Revised: 9 January 2020 / Accepted: 20 January 2020 / Published: 22 January 2020
(This article belongs to the Special Issue This and Other Worlds: Religion and Science Fiction)
What happens when we imagine the unimaginable? This article compares recent films inspired by H. P. Lovecraft’s Cthulhu Mythos with that author’s original early 20th century pulp horror stories. In Guillermo del Toro’s films Pacific Rim and Hellboy, monsters that would have been obscured to protect Lovecraft’s readers are now fully revealed for Hollywood audiences. Using the period-appropriate theories of Rudolf Otto on the numinous and Sigmund Freud on the uncanny, that share Lovecraft’s troubled history with racist othering, I show how modern adaptations of Lovecraft’s work invert central features of the mythos in order to turn tragedies into triumphs. The genres of Science Fiction and Horror have deep commitments to the theme of otherness, but in Lovecraft’s works otherness is insurmountable. Today, Hollywood borrows the tropes of Lovecraftian horror but relies on bridging the gap between humanity and its monstrous others to reveal a higher humanity forged through difference and diversity. This suggests that otherness in modern science fiction is a means of reconciliation, a way for the monsters to be defeated rather than the source of terror as they were in Lovecraft’s stories.
Keywords: science fiction, secularization; monsters; popular culture; horror; supernatural science fiction, secularization; monsters; popular culture; horror; supernatural
MDPI and ACS Style

McConeghy, D. Facing the Monsters: Otherness in H. P. Lovecraft’s Cthulhu Mythos and Guillermo del Toro’s Pacific Rim and Hellboy. Religions 2020, 11, 58.

Show more citation formats Show less citations formats
Note that from the first issue of 2016, MDPI journals use article numbers instead of page numbers. See further details here.

Article Access Map by Country/Region

1
Back to TopTop