Religions of the past postulated that the gods were the reason for whatever transpired in the universe, both in the celestial and material realms. Most of those gods resembled humans with their physiques and behaviors despite their supernatural abilities. The gods created many things, some of which were monsters. There were monsters created by those gods, but there were also gods with less human qualities. These were the monster gods. The deities of impossible physicalities and amorphous, grey moral codes.
Monsters have a long history, a lot of which predates written human history, but monster gods are rare. The idea of giving such a hideous creature so much power is downright horrific to some and in later storytelling, this becomes more than clear with the likes of the Cthulhu mythos and other Lovecraftian entities. Let’s begin with the basics: the forerunners of the show so-to-speak.
Speaking of Greek mythos, there were a lot of monsters who came dangerously close to the definition of gods, but due to their feral power, they didn’t make the cut. Cerebus, the infamous three-headed dog of Hades, or his doggie counterpart Orthrus, along with the Minotaur are earlier depictions of monsters in olden lore. Hydra, Scylla, Charybdis, the dragon serpent Ladon among many others.
The more common monsters known to a variety of monster loving fans are Cthulhu and Godzilla. Although Godzilla is technically a Kaiju or a titan as most call him, he’s in line for a god status.
These are the well-known monsters, the ones we see in the movies. Even Cthulhu and his unholy hordes are becoming more mainstream. So where are all the monster gods who got tucked away into the back recesses of human history and imagination? What gods lay unspoken of either because of their obscurity or the secrets of their unimaginable terror kept from us. Here is a list of five lesser-known monster gods who are just as terrifying as the Kaijus and Eldritch gods.
Echidna and Typhon
The monsters of Grecian myth listed above like Cerebus, Ladon, Minotaur and all that lot were never considered gods. Their banal likeness and lack of any supernatural prowess were too close to the animals. Monsters all came from somewhere, believe it or not, these creatures of ancient Greek myth had parents. Echidna, a serpentine woman, was considered the Greek mother of monsters because of all the monstrosities she birthed back in the ancient days. And let’s not forget her husband, Typhon, the father of all monsters in the Greek mythos pantheon. Despite their “lowly” nature, these two spawned all the Greek monsters we learn about in seventh grade literature class today.
Though technically this monster god of death is involved loosely with the Lovecraftian Circle, it is not a major part of the Cthulhu mythos and therefore belongs on this list. Mordiggian is a magnificent god created by the horrifying imagination of the late Clark Ashton Smith. This god is featured in the short story “The Charnel God” in the Zothique realm, a fictional version of a dying Earth. Mordiggian was a sight to behold, described as a worm the size of a dragon with neither eyes nor limbs. Its mere presence snuffed all light and warmth within the space it occupied, which was always an enormous area due to its magnificent size. This ancient monster deity is worshipped by ghouls.
Another ancient culture deity is featured on this list. Ammit was the goddess of divine retribution and justice, if you can call it that, of the afterlife in Egyptian myth. She was a foul goddess, a monster, a chimera combination of crocodile, lion, and hippo. Ammit’s legend begins when a deceased’s heart has been weighed by Anubis, the Egyptian god of the Underworld, in the afterlife against Ma’at’s feather of truth. If the heart is found wanting, Ammit devoured the heart so that the soul could be cast into Egyptian hell and left to burn. With a fate like that, it’s no wonder Ammit is on this list for how intimidating and dark she is.
Perhaps the most terrifying monster god on this list is the Hindu deity named Kaal, or in some cases it is referred to as Kala in the Mahabharata. The name of this deity is often left to mystery, with many variations depending on the particular Sanskrit legend it is featured in, but these are the two most commonly associated with this entity. This being is the Hindu god of death and like death is shrouded in obscurity as to the likeness of physical form, but often resembles a great and horrific monster. In Javanese legend, he is depicted as a monster giant. Kaal is described as the destroyer of worlds, the personification of Time annihilating us all bite by bite, consuming all matter that dares stand in its path. In this form he is also known as Yama, giving more mystery to this illusory deity.
Dr. Victor Frankenstein
No, we’re not discussing Frankenstein’s monster, we are discussing the man with deific power who was more of a monster than the creature he brought into existence. Dr. Victor Frankenstein was a madman imbued with the ability to create life. A god if you will. It was his cruelty and lack of compassion that truly deserves a spot on this list of unspeakable monsters. From the moment Frankenstein’s creation walks the earth, he is treated as an unsightly blight to humanity. When he reunites with his creator, the creature receives a wallop of shame upon learning that his master loathes him. The creature is universally feared and reviled by everyone he stumbles upon yet it’s the creator, Dr. Victor Frankenstein, who can’t stand the sight of his creation the most. Despite the creature’s deep intellect and somber empathetic plight, his creator represents a monster god drowning in his ocean of self-pity to recognize the beauty in his own handiwork.