For enthusiasts of the horror genre, tales that probe the darkest corners of the human psyche and the monsters lurking therein are irresistible. Among such tales, ‘Glorious’ emerges not merely as a captivating narrative, but as an ode to Lovecraftian mythos and the duality of human nature.
Leading the artistic vision of ‘Glorious’ is the adept director Rebekah McKendry. Her innovative approach to horror is unmistakable in every frame. However, it’s the combined literary brilliance of Todd Rigney, Joshua Hull, and David Ian McKendry that makes the narrative pulse with intensity and depth.
The film explores the lesser-known deity from Lovecraft’s pantheon, Ghatanothoa, a monstrous entity with the terrifying ability to petrify any who lay eyes upon it. The choice to spotlight this deity, as opposed to the more mainstream Cthulhu, offers audiences a fresh foray into Lovecraft’s expansive and eerie universe.
One of the standout features of ‘Glorious’ is its unconventional setting: a rest stop bathroom. This seemingly mundane space undergoes a transformation, bridging the realms of the sacred and the impure. The narrative challenges our ingrained perceptions of sanctity and purity, offering a refreshing take on a location so ordinary.
Wait, who the heck is Ghat anyway?
H.P. Lovecraft, despite his profound influence on horror literature, often lurked behind the scenes, lending his pen to others’ ideas. One such collaboration was with Zealia Bishop in “The Mound,” wherein Lovecraft, as her ghostwriter, introduced the world to the haunting entity of Ghatanothoa.
Originating from the star Xoth and claimed to be the first-born of the iconic Cthulhu, Ghatanothoa is ensnared within the confines of R’lyeh, like its better-known parent. Yet, the lore around this deity primarily revolves around the ancient continent of Mu. Here, Ghatanothoa was not just a myth but a god whose dominion instilled both awe and dread.
The horror of Ghatanothoa is profoundly psychological. Unlike many Lovecraftian entities that drive individuals to madness or despair with their mere presence, Ghatanothoa has a more visceral power. To behold this deity is to be condemned to an eternity of paralysis, one’s body rendered mummified while the mind remains agonizingly aware. This macabre fate taps into an inherent human fear — the terror of consciousness trapped within an unresponsive vessel. (People with ALS confront this fear in real life, and with the recent loss of Dead By Daylight’s most fun and engaging streamer, Puppers (Max), he must be mentioned here in memory of a light in the fog.)
Lovecraft’s portrayal of Ghatanothoa, through Bishop’s premise, leans heavily on the unseen. The entity’s form, too grotesque for human comprehension, remains shrouded in ambiguity. It is this deliberate obscurity that magnifies the horror. Without a clear visual, our imaginations, with all our individual fears, craft Ghatanothoa’s image. This approach, where the unseen and unknown become sources of profound terror, is a hallmark of Lovecraft’s style.
The narrative of “The Mound” further delves into the cults that venerate Ghatanothoa, showcasing the deity’s far-reaching influence. Through ritualistic sacrifices and ceremonies, Lovecraft paints a civilization ensnared by the deity’s malevolent grip, adding layers of societal horror to the already palpable individual dread.
Although Lovecraft’s hand in “The Mound” was uncredited, his fingerprints are undeniable. Ghatanothoa stands as a testament to his ability to weave existential horror with cosmic terror. While the deity might not share the limelight like some of its Lovecraftian counterparts, its thematic depth and visceral horror make it a quintessential part of the lore.
Ghat Comes to Life in ‘Glorious’
J.K. Simmons’ portrayal of Ghatanothoa’s voice resonates with an eerie gravitas, perfectly capturing the dread and allure of the Lovecraftian deity. His performance, backed by the atmospheric direction and nuanced script (that has a sense of humor and irreverence throughout), awakens Ghatanothoa from the pages of Lovecraft’s tales to a cinematic reality.
Character evolution is at the heart of ‘Glorious’, most notably in the character of Wes. Initially empathetic, Wes’s transformation into something far more sinister prompts viewers to confront unsettling truths about human nature. As his descent into monstrosity is revealed, it becomes agonizingly clear why Ghatanothoa selects him, painting a portrait of inner darkness that overshadows even the deity’s own ominous presence.
Under Rebekah McKendry’s direction and brought to life by the trio of Todd Rigney, Joshua Hull, and David Ian McKendry, ‘Glorious’ stands as a testament to the power of psychological horror. It challenges our understanding of monstrosity, emphasizing that the gravest terrors are often not supernatural, but those that dwell within us.
‘Glorious’ is an essential watch for any aficionado of Lovecraft or horror in general. Its narrative ingenuity, compelling performances, and innovative exploration of Lovecraftian lore, make it an unforgettable cinematic experience. As one immerses oneself in its layers, Lovecraft’s assertion rings true: “The oldest and strongest emotion of mankind is fear, and the oldest and strongest kind of fear is fear of the unknown.”
Who doesn’t love a giveaway?
Proud participants of the October Frights Blog Hop:
Always Another Chapter
Be Afraid of the Dark
Carmilla Voiez British Horror Author
Angela Yuriko Smith
James P. Nettles
Silver Hollow Stories