Shoggoth Butt Invasion (2016) by Jason Wayne Allen

Thus I am coming to be convinced that the erotic instinct is in the majority of mankind far stronger than I could ever imagine without wide reading & observation; that it relentlessly clutches the average person—even of the thinking classes—to a degree which makes its overthrow by higher interests impossible.

H. P. Lovecraft to Rheinhart Kleiner, 23 Apr 1921, Letters to Rheinhart Kleiner & Others 177

Shoggoth Butt Invasion (2016) by Jason Wayne Allen is a farcical sequel to At the Mountains of Madness by way of Debbie Does Dallas. The tone is very tentacle-in-cheek: sexually explicit, outrageously unrealistic, over-the-top, and surprisingly dedicated to wringing out jokes from Lovecraft’s Mythos with all the aplomb of an X-rated version of National Lampoon’s Bored of the Rings or Doon. It is gleefully and unapologetically taking the piss in a way that is rather rare even for most Mythos parodies such as “The Fluff at the Threshold” (1996) by Simon Leo Barber or “Kanye West—Reanimator” (2015) by Joshua Chaplinsky.

This is not unfamiliar territory for Jason Wayne Allen, whose other Mythos works include the Deep One erotic novella Ichthyic in the Afterglow (2015) and “The Horror at the Garrsmouth Orgy” in Strange Versus Lovecraft (2013). Drawing on both the surrealistic atmosphere of bizarro fiction and the rhetoric of gonzo pornography, Allen has crafted a nymphomaniac heroine who is utterly unfazed as one eldritch horror after another crawls out of—and into—her orifices.

Readers might be shocked and appalled at a character who embodies the sex-crazed vapid bimbo or nymphette, may be affronted by Allen’s mockery of the Mythos, even disgusted by crude language and scenes like this:

My legs in the stirrups, I watch the doctor’s head move between my knees. I wonder if the doctor likes the hair I keep down there, that orange patch matching the carpet to my fiery drapes. My hips slowly rise as I feel his latex fingers part my pussy lips. I come hard in the doctor’s chiseled face, and out with my juices comes the shoggoth.

Dr. Wadsworth is a skid mark on the floor of his examination room.

Jason Wayne Allen, Shoggoth Butt Invasion 7-8

Shocked, appalled, disgusted—and, hopefully, still turning the pages—is the point. A shoggoth emerging during a nonstandard vaginal exam and squishing the attending physician is played for erotic slapstick, not horror. The whole point of the exercise is to push the limits a little, to pile silly on silly, affront on affront, to say to hell with conventions and expectations and keep transgressing further and further…because it’s a fun ride. Disturbing in parts, borderline obscene in others, but that’s rather the point. If you’re not going push the limits of what the audience finds acceptable, the ne plus ultra, then why write a transgressive erotic Lovecraftian novella anyway?

There is one scene that tip-toes on the very borders of obscenity, if it doesn’t cross directly over it. It involves the mortal remains of Dr. Wadsworth, the gynecologist who was splattered by the shoggoth, reassembled with an aborted fetus and reanimated so that the Frankenstein’s Monster can give Beatrixxx one more going-over before the serum wears off. I’m not sure that one would pass the Miller Test.

In a sense, Shoggoth Butt Invasion is Mythos-as-exploitation. The erotic possibilities of Lovecraft’s Mythos may be theoretically infinite, but in practice most “Lovecraftian” erotica follows familiar beats. It’s a rare work that seeks to be as transgressive, weird, and offensive as most readers and critics imagine Lovecraftian erotica should be. Allen is more dedicated to explicitly Mythos erotica than Cthulhu Scat Hangover & The Innsmouth Porno VHS (2014) by Adolf Lovecraft, but doesn’t have the dedication to characterization, setting, and plot that are the hallmarks of Edward Lee’s “Hardcore Lovecraft” novels such as Trolley No. 1852 and The Dunwich Romance.

Cthulhu lets go another shriek. THis one warbles into almost a human moan.

“Fuck yeah! Iä! Iä Fhtagn that pussy, baby!

Jason Wayne Allen, Shoggoth Butt Invasion 42

Future generations will probably never read Shoggoth Butt Invasion. Released as an ebook via AmazonKindle and a slim print-on-demand paperback from CreateSpace, the book is no longer available for sale in either format. New Kink Books, the publisher, appears to be defunct. For all that POD publishing and digital publishing have opened up the marketplace to thousands of new titles for readers, it is a very fast-paced and fragile reading ecosystem. Books that don’t sell fall off the backlist as publishers crash or content managers find offense with them, and there are vanishingly few to filter down into the secondary market of used books. Libraries ignore them.

Sometime in the future, perhaps, if a cult following develops the few surviving copies might become collector’s items—or the files might crop up on some sharing site, helping to circulate those networks and hard drives too eventually crap out. Now, more than ever, books that are not read and appreciated in their time are likely destined to be forgotten utterly.

Does it matter? Is Shoggoth Butt Invasion worth preserving?

You’ll never know unless it is.


Bobby Derie is the author of Weird Talers: Essays on Robert E. Howard and Others and Sex and the Cthulhu Mythos.

Deep Cuts in a Lovecraftian Vein uses Amazon Associate links. As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases.

Fight! Iczer-One (戦え!!イクサー1, 1985-1987)

Nagisa: “Why did you chose me?”

Iczer-One: “Because I like you.”

Fight! Iczer-One

The manga “Fight! Iczer-One” (戦え!!イクサー1) by Rei Aran (阿乱 霊) was first serialized in issues 21 and 22 (1983-1984) of Japanese manga anthology magazine Lemon People (レモンピープル), with an additional chapter published in 1986. From 1985-1987, the series was adapted as an Original Video Animation consisting of three episodes running a total of ~100 minutes. This begat a small franchise that would include the sequels OVA Adventure! Iczer-3 (冒険!イクサー3, 1990-1991) and Iczer Girl Iczelion (戦ー少女 イクセリオン, 1995), American comic adaptations the OVA Iczer One (1994, Antarctic Press) and Iczer-3 (1996, CPM), and various audio dramas, art books related to the OVAs, etc. Much of this media is only in Japanese, but the original OVA for Fight! Iczer-One was dubbed into English in 1993, and with this and subsequent re-release on DVD it has a small English-language audience, and this review will focus primarily on the 1985-1987 three-episode OVA, specifically the 2005 DVD release.

In terms of what it is, Fight! Iczer-One is almost the quintessential 1980s anime. It has big hair, martial arts, laser swords, an alien invasion, flying ships with drills on the front, giant mecha, body horror, tentacles, the power of love, a high school girl, a little bit of nudity, lesbians, lasers, explosions…and, of course, the aliens who are attacking the Earth are known as the Cthulhu (クトゥルフ), sometimes translated into Cthulwulf in the dub.

Rei Aran, the creator of the original manga, and Hirano Toshiki (平野 俊貴), the director and character designer for the OVAs, were obviously drawing on some familiar influences. For example, the alien parasites that provide the majority of the body horror have obvious parallels with John Carpenter’s The Thing (1982) and possibly Alien (1979), and the advanced Japanese military ships with the prominent front-mounted drills are reminiscent of the Gōtengō—but the story and designs were also innovative.

Iczer Robo: A Visual History illustrates how the mecha designs are relatively sleeker than those of other manga and anime of the period, such as Robotech or Appleseed, and incorporate organic components (notably, the secondary pilot as a kind of power source), an idea that would be taken much further in works like Neon Genesis Evangelion. The relative dearth of male characters in the story, where both primary protagonists and antagonists are women, and the focus on lesbian relationships is a decided step away from male- and heterosexual-dominated narratives in manga and anime as well…and that brings up a fine point of discussion.

Lemon People was known as a lolicon magazine that often featured manga depicting younger or younger-looking women or girls in a romantic or sexual context. Today the term lolicon (derived ultimately from Vladimir Nabokov’s novel Lolita) is often associated with pedophilia and pornography, particularly Japanese art and manga that depict underage girls in sexually suggestive, nude, or explicitly sexual contexts, which rather drives folks to imagine something much more salacious and taboo than the reality, even without taking into account Japanese censorship laws. “Fight! Iczer-1” and its adaptations and sequels are not child pornography by any stretch of the imagination, featuring no explicit depiction of genitalia and relatively little nudity during its runtime. The protagonist Kanō Nagisa is explicitly in high school at the time of the events, much as the main characters of Sailor Moon were, and is clearly an older teen rather than an adolescent.

While this is technically the first Lovecraftian animated work to feature a lesbian relationship, predating Mystery of the Necronomicon (黒の断章, 1999) by over a decade, the plot focuses more on the emotional side of the relationship rather than the sexual side of things. Iczer-One needs the emotional rapport with Nagisa to effectively fight the Cthulhu, but there is a barrier of understanding which complicates this relationship even getting off the ground. It may seem weird to claim a realistic depiction of relationship struggles in an anime where aliens eat their way out of Nagisa’s parents and a giant mecha is powered by lesbian love, but a lot of the emotional angst Nagisa goes through could have been eased up if Iczer-One had been open and communicative about her needs for this relationship/plan to save the planet.

Iczer-One: “I was created by the Cthulhu. I’m an android.”

Fight! Iczer-One

If all of this doesn’t sound very Lovecraft…well, it is not. Fight! Iczer-One is Mythos-In-Name-Only; the alien Cthulhu have no real connection to H. P. Lovecraft or the Mythos beyond the name. The use of the name is reminiscent of how in Armitage III (1995) the scriptwriter Konaka Chiaki (小中 千昭) borrowed the name “Armitage” from Dr. Henry Armitage in Lovecraft’s “The Dunwich Horror”: a reference, an inspiration, but not ultimately an effort to incorporate the story into any wider Mythos through the borrowing. This kind of tangential connection to the Mythos is more common than one might think; like the inclusion of the Necronomicon Ex Mortis in Evil Dead II, these are the outer ripples of Lovecraft’s influence on the pop cultural landscape.

It has to be emphasized: Fight! Iczer-One is fun. While the franchise was never huge in English and amounts to little more than a couple VHS tapes or DVDs and a handful of obscure comics, for those who remember anime of this vintage, the OVA is a good example of a lesser-known and often overlooked work from this period.


Bobby Derie is the author of Weird Talers: Essays on Robert E. Howard and Others and Sex and the Cthulhu Mythos.

Deep Cuts in a Lovecraftian Vein uses Amazon Associate links. As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases.

Cthulhu Scat Hangover & The Innsmouth Porno VHS (2014) by Adolf Lovecraft

In all of his stories, not one of H. P. Lovecraft’s characters ever pissed themselves in fright. No character soiled their britches as Great Cthulhu stumbled through the waves, or noisily vomited up a half-digested lunch on seeing the swiftly-decomposing remains of Wilbur Whateley. You might run across a reference to a man whose face has been bitten away, but never a dirty diaper; a suggestive smear of blood, but never a drop of menses. A character might be described as moving through filth, but you never get the actual description of the turds, or the rotting carcasses buzzing with flies, or the sudden desperate need for a restroom.

Weird fiction may be horrifying, but it is rarely disgusting. Fear and disgust are basic emotions that can both arise from transgressions, and can be quite intimately linked: a dead body may engender fear and disgust, a prude might find a Satanic orgy both horrifying and revolting. During the heyday of Weird Tales, there was a limit one could go in explicit description, and while later decades grew more lax in terms of actual censorship, many practical limitations remain. Nudity is still more acceptable in horror films than actual feces; a character might be shot a hundred times or bisected by a saw blade, but they probably won’t be drowned in a toilet full of urine.

Even in weird and horror fiction, there are many norms and mores…and transgressing these can result in quite powerful works of art and literature. Terrible, in their own way, but powerful.

This is the psychology of the exploitation films, underground comix, heavy metal and all of its many musical sub-genres and modes with their cover art, and of Splatterpunk fiction and its literary descendants Extreme Horror and Bizarro fiction. For writers and artists who embrace the transgression beyond mere fright, there are strange, vast opportunities to go beyond what any normal writer—even the normal Lovecraftian writer—has gone before.

Of course, it isn’t necessarily pleasant to read or write, but that’s the point. The visceral response, the new emotional sensation that you can’t get anymore. After reading “Innsmouth” or “Cthulhu” for the fiftieth or a hundredth time, do you really still feel the same dread? Or have you gotten used to it? Cthulhu, for many, has become a familiar horror. There are plushies. You can go buy dice and pillows, Cthulhu panties and sex toys. While a Lovecraft reader might be horrified at the mere existence of such merch, Cthulhu itself is far less a figure of terror to most. Cthulhu has become…cuddly.

That isn’t always the case, of course. Some Lovecraftian fiction is more transgressive than others, even in these jaded later days. “Necrophallus” by Makino Osamu (牧野修) is explicitly more visceral than the average Mythos tale; Insania Tenebris (2020) by Raúlo Cáceres pushes Mythos art to an explicit extreme; “The Vulviflora of Vuutsavek” (2008) by Charlotte Alchemilla Smythe is sexually explicit without letting go of the essential element of horror—yet none of these works really embrace disgust as equal to horror. None of them push that element of transgression.

For Lovecraftian works like that, you generally need to look for such works as Edward Lee’s “Hardcore Lovecraft” line including The Innswich Horror, The Haunter of the Threshold, Going Monstering, Trolley No. 1842, and The Dunwich RomanceThese are all stories that put the horror and disgust under a microscope, that don’t pan away or keep the nastier bits of the action off the page or buried under a metaphor, as Lovecraft did. In a more avant-garde vein, you might look at Jordan Krall’s bizarro classic Squid Pulp Blues, pedal-to-the-metal Tentacle Death Trip, and the surreal collection Nightmares from a Lovecraftian Mindor Kevin Strange’s McHumans.

Many of these works are now out of print and rare. Extreme fiction tends to have a limited audience, and self-publishing and small presses have been the norm; once it was Arkham House that published what the big publishers wouldn’t, but now the bleeding, gore-stained edge of extreme Lovecraftian fiction is mostly occupied in self-publishing…and there are some delightfully disgusting treats out on the fringes of known literature.

“Adolf Lovecraft” was the pseudonym for a bizarro writer who self-published three ebooks: Cthulhu Scat Hangover (2014), The Innsmouth Porno VHS (2014), and Cthulhu Bomb (In A Whore’s Guts (2016). While never destined for any best-of anthologies and largely ignored by critics, these are works that are exactly what they set out to be: nasty deep dredges where the balance is less on Lovecraftian horror than Lovecraftian disgust.

Cthulhu Scat Hangover contains two stories: “The Brown Eye From Beyond” and “Cthulhu Scat Hangover.” Both of these stories deal with very similar themes and visuals, and barely amount to more than a scene each; they may or may not have been inspired by a similar scene in chapter four of “The Apocalypse Donkey” in Squid Pulp Blues…

The wet sounds of shit-hitting-cement got louder. The tentacles got closer and before they wrapped around his leg, JImbo thought he saw the hypnotic and crystalline eyes of a squid. He blinked, thinking it was his imagination but when he looked again, they were still there.
—Jordan Krall, Squid Pulp Blues 146

…or perhaps not; independent invention has happened before and will again.

While some of the images are striking, the prose is rather straightforward, with an almost business-like low-budget horror movie earnestness than any effort to wax loquacious. Adolf Lovecraft does not try to ape Lovecraft’s loquaciousness and occasional ultraviolet prose.

The pain was indescribable as Angela from accounts slowly forced her entire fist into his sphincter. He was screaming gibberish, completely helpless, and she too was shouting something equally nonsensical—”Cthulhu R’lyeh wgah’nagl fhtagn!” or some such bollocks—as her wrist, then her forearm, strekaed with gore and faeces, disappeared past Donny’s torn, haemorrhaging anus.
—Adolf Lovecraft, “Cthulhu Scat Hangover”

The stories also have no wider Mythos to tie into; aside from the name and familiar incantation, we aren’t left with any idea of why Angela from accounts is doing this, exactly. We don’t see the cult, if there is one, we get one perspective of a life with all of its petty bullshit hopes, ambitions, fears, and insecurities, and then he dies on a toilet after shitting out a tentacled horror.

It isn’t even played for laughs.

The Innsmouth Porno VHS also consists of two short works: the eponymous “Innsmouth Porno VHS” and “Brown Shower Apocalypse.” The latter has more in common with the contents of “Cthulhu Scat Hangover” than the others, and again there’s that sense of familiarity of theme, if nothing else, with Krall’s Squid Pulp Blues: the looming apocalypse, the terrible mundane sordidness of human relationships, sexual paraphilia, and the use of drugs and alcohol to cope. While it isn’t wholesome to any degree, “Brown Shower Apocalypse” isn’t written as a story to cater to or condemn those who have a sexual desire for a woman to shit on their chest like that infamous scene in Ilsa, She-Wolf of the S.SAs kinks go, it’s disgusting but not horrorific…except, perhaps in this story where it blends from one into the other at the end.

“The Innsmouth Porno VHS” is a different approach: no scat, for one thing. For another, it engages in a bit of intriguing worldbuilding:

Mike and I, in our early 20s, had been born into a world in which the Innsmouth Condition already existed. The Innsmouth kids had been born about a decade earlier. It wasn’t exactly commonplace to us—I’d only ever seen a couple of people with it in my life, and that had been in large cities—but it definitely was part of the world.
—Adolf Lovecraft, “The Innsmouth Porno VHS”

Imagine a world where developing fishy attributes was like Thalidomide babies. Pornography is already intensely driven by genre and tags; the desire for new and different sees users browse by both specific sexual acts and kinks and types of performers. Race, sex and gender, hair color, body types, body modifications like tattoos and piercings are all fair game. It wouldn’t be that strange to imagine what adults with Innsmouth Condition might end up doing in front of the camera…

It is about as far from cosmic horror as you can get. If Joe Koch is correct that body horror is the opposite end of the spectrum from cosmic horror (A Transmusculine Horror Writers Looks At Lovecraft), then “The Innsmouth Porno VHS” might suggest that the spectrum has another axis, and that body disgust is the opposite end of the spectrum from cosmic disgust. The idea recalls Arthur Machen’s dialogue on sorcery and sanctity, the idea that there are transgressions of the mundane world that are more repellent than mere theft or murder, the kind of revulsion against reality hinted at in some weird tales:

And for three hundred years I have done his bidding, from this marble couch, blackening my soul with cosmic sins, and staining my wisdom with crimes, because I had no other choice.
—Robert E. Howard, “The Tower of the Elephant”

A tentacled entity sliding out of a broken rectum covered in shit into a toilet might evoke mingled disgust and horror, but there is nothing of the cosmic in a videotaped orgy featuring two women with birth defects. Weird, certainly; outside the mundane categories on your pornographic website of choice, but the physicality of a hardcore sex tape, with spitting, rough sex, and dirty talk spoken from mouths ill-adapted to human speech trends more toward disgust than horror…although there is still that strange fascination that accompanies anything unusual, bizarre, and taboo.

As the name implies, “The Innsmouth Porno VHS” is sexually explicit, but the real focus is on the mental or spiritual corruption of the protagonist. The eponymous VHS awakens something in him, and Adolf Lovecraft deftly captures that sense of utter fascination, of something beguiling in its wrongness, the shivering sensation of watching something you weren’t meant to see…trying to capture, in a sense, that liminal state of watching pornography for the first time, except with less explicit fear of being caught and more explicit visceral attraction mixed with disgust.

The orgy, gangbang, fish fry, whatever it was, began to wind down.
—Adolf Lovecraft, “The Innsmouth Porno VHS”

The difference between this story and the others in Adolf Lovecraft’s small corpus is that the dirtiness and disgust are on the inside. The other stories are gross-outs, violent, nasty, and viscerally disgusting in the acts they describe, and the point-of-view characters don’t survive to develop new kinks or learn any moral lesson. In “The Innsmouth Porno VHS” however, there’s something more…not in the sense of a greater extreme of physical disgust, but maybe in the sense of cosmic disgust. It isn’t just about jerking off to a new fetish for Innsmouth girls, it’s what that new and unnatural libido leads him to do…and that is, in many ways, more disgusting than all the scat-filled references in the other stories combined.

Cthulhu Bomb (In A Whore’s Guts) is an omnibus anthology of Adolf Lovecraft’s work, including all four stories from the previous two collections along with several new ones. The same themes are at play, but the stories don’t build on one another, there is no larger picture to grasp. Many of the same ideas, spinning out in variations, fucked-up situations that are brutal but never beautiful, that degrade but don’t enlighten.

Disgusting stories aren’t for everyone; it is a different kind of transgression, meant to invoke a different response, and while disgust and fear are closely related, the effects they have on mind and body can be very different. For those who think they have delved into the depths of cosmic horror…there may be some things out there that you aren’t ready for yet, and may never be. There are stranger and more terrible things than Adolf Lovecraft out there.


Bobby Derie is the author of Weird Talers: Essays on Robert E. Howard and Others and Sex and the Cthulhu Mythos.

Deep Cuts in a Lovecraftian Vein uses Amazon Associate links. As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases.

The Mystery of Lustful Illusion -Cthulhu Pregnant- (2015) by Takayuki Hiyori (宇行 日和)

愛欲幻想の怪~クトゥルフ・プレグナント~ (The Mystery of Lustful Illusion -Cthulhu Pregnant-) by Takayuki Hiyori (宇行 日和) is a 2015 Japanese tankōbon hentai manga published by Unreal Comics (アンリアル). This book is divided into ten chapters, each of which contains a fully-illustrated and sexually explicit Cthulhu Mythos story.

In art style, the book is geared more toward erotic comedy than erotic horror; and many of the Cthulhu Mythos entities within are presented as monster girls. Takayuki Hiyori had been previously known for their dōjinshi based on popular monster girl harem manga Monster Musume, and their manga are essentially a pornographic parallel to the mostly non-explicit books like Monster Girl Encyclopedia II (2016) by Kenkou Cross (健康クロス).

Cthulhu_TOC

In terms of writing and storytelling, The Mystery of Lustful Illusion -Cthulhu Pregnant- is a disconnected collection of short works, much like most Lovecraft story collections or Lafcadio Hearn’s classic collection Kwaidan. There is no larger overarching story of narrative, the major appeal of the work being simply that it uses the Cthulhu Mythos for these erotic stories and sexualized versions of eldritch entities like Cthulhu, Hastur, Shub-Niggurath, the Deep Ones, the Hounds of Tindalos, and the Cats of Ulthar.

The contents are aimed toward some well-established tropes and kinks: as the title might imply, impregnation is a fairly significant theme in many of the stories, but there are also instances of multiple penetration, sex work, incest, nonconsensual sex, body transformation or modification, breast expansion, group sex, large genitals, etc. Readers familiar with tentacle erotica might wonder if such appendages play their part, as they do in Le Pornomicon (2005) by Logan Kowalsky, but in truth they don’t play a significant role in the proceedings.

Cthulhu_CalloftheAbyssIn point of fact, The Mystery of Lustful Illusion -Cthulhu Pregnant- is difficult to distinguish from Monster Musume or Monster Girl Encyclopedia products. While Takayuki Hiyori uses references to the Cthulhu Mythos in the crafting and telling of the stories, the manga itself is pretty straight forward monster girl erotica, and aimed more directly at that audience than Lovecraft fans. The depictions of the various Mythos entities is mostly original, but skewed toward “mostly human with a few non-human traits”—the Cats of Ulthar, for example, are indistinguishable from the generic manga or anime “catgirl,” with their primary feline traits being cat ears and tail on a nubile young woman’s body. Eldritch horrors are hinted at but seldom realized.

The contents of this book might be generally compared to the more sexually explicit chapters of The Elder Sister-like One by Pochi Iida (飯田ぽち。), but where Pochi is telling an extended narrative with a few characters with extended character development and exploring emotions, Takayuki Hiyori is necessarily more episodic, with varied content and swift-moving stories that tend to get to the sexual action fast, dwell on them for the majority of the length of the chapter, and come to a relatively swift conclusion.

Cthulhu - Ulthar

Arguably the most fun chapter in the book is a variation on “The Cats of Ulthar.” While the forms the cats take are stereotypical for hentai manga, and the results are pretty much what you might expect, it both pays homage to Lovecraft’s original work while playfully subverting aspects of it. One might compare it in some ways to the “erotic” versions of classic horror novels which achieved a bit of notoriety in the 1970s, like The Adult Version of Frankenstein and The Adult Version of Dracula by “Hal Kantor” (Ed Wood, Jr.). Erotic retellings of Lovecraft aren’t exactly new—for example, “Herburt East: Refuckinator” (2012) by Lula Lisbon—but illustrated or graphic adaptations are relatively scarce.

愛欲幻想の怪~クトゥルフ・プレグナント~ (The Mystery of Lustful Illusion -Cthulhu Pregnant-) by Takayuki Hiyori (宇行 日和) has not been officially translated into English or published in the United States; perhaps some company like FAKKU might do so in the future and make it more widely available. Until then, those interested in the Japanese original can still find copies available from retailers online.


Bobby Derie is the author of Weird Talers: Essays on Robert E. Howard and Others and Sex and the Cthulhu Mythos.

Deep Cuts in a Lovecraftian Vein uses Amazon Associate links. As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases.

Teenage Twins (1976)

Historically significant, this was shot in three days by the legendary Carter Stevens, and was the very first adult XXX feature film to star real life twin sisters (Brooke and Taylor Young). Somehow their college professor stepfather (played by Leo Lovemore) has come to find the Necronomicon in his possession, which he needs for his witchcraft class. Right. That’s the thing to do with the most powerful and valuable book of dark magic on Earth…play show-and-tell with some 20-year-old turdbrains in community college. Inviting a horny friend (Eric Edwards) to help him with translating the ancient tome, the two men decide to give the Necronomicon a test drive and perform a ritual that’s supposed to give eternal life—which of course goes all wrong.
—Robin Bougie, “Enter My Dark Passage The Seventies Occultist Porn Film” in
Cinema Sewer Volume Six (2017) 9

Teenage Twins (1976) was not the first time one of Lovecraft’s creations had made it to feature film, as there was a run of Lovecraftian films in the 1960s. However, in addition to being the first X-rated American film to feature genuine twin sisters, it was the first pornographic film to feature the Necronomicon. How that came to be, is a bit of an entertaining story in itself.

Carter Stevens (Michael Stevens Worob) had been trained as a photographer and worked in film processing and directing. In 1972 he found a distributor and began his career directing pornographic films with Collegiates (1973); he would also do a fair amount of work in front of the camera. This was during the “Golden Age of Porn,” when adult filmmaking had a certain cachet—the stag film of the first half of the 20th century had given way to films that focused on plot as well as spectacle, and often featured a certain degree of arthouse aesthetic mixed in with the literal grindhouse appeal. By the mid-to-late 70s, Stevens had achieved some measure of success along these lines with films like Rollerbabies (1976), a science fiction pornographic film. As Stevens would then put it:

We had just put Rollerbabies in the can and were cutting it, (and that was the longest, most expensive, most complicated film I had done to date) and we were pretty burned out when Annie Sprinkle introduced me to one of the twins at another porn shoot we were all on. The twins had both been stewardesses for a couple of rinkydink southern airlines and had been laid off.
—Joshua Axelrod interview with Carter Stevens in Cinema Sewer, Volume Two 65

“Taylor Young” (real name unknown) had begun acting in adult films with Fanny (1975), whose cast also include Annie Sprinkle and Leo Lovemore. A comparison of Stevens and Lovemore’s filmographies show that they worked on several films together before Teenage Twins, including Lickety Split (1974), Highway Hookers (1975), Hot Oven (1975), and Mount of Venus (1975); Eric Edwards had been in the last three films as well, and would be in Teenage Twins also; Tia von Davis, who would play the twins’ mother in Teenage Twins was also in Mount of Venus. While it wouldn’t quite be a repertory company, it was clear that Stevens had a few actors he’d worked with before and could trust to perform when the opportunity presented itself.

I met the sister [Brooke Young] and she said she might be interested. I called my distributor in Detroit and told him I needed money right away to make another film. He balked as I hadn’t finished Rollerbabies yet but when I said I have a set of twins his wallet dropped open faster than his mouth. It was a real challenge making Twins as neither girl knew crap about sex. I remember Mary Stuart siting in my kitchen with a dildo trying to teach the girls how to give head. And I swear I’m not kidding when I say up until then they thought the term “Blow Job” was literal. We cobbled together a script (yes my films had scripts) in no time and within 2 weeks we shot Teenage Twins.
—Joshua Axelrod interview with Carter Stevens in Cinema Sewer, Volume Two 65

Mary Stuart was an actress who had worked with Stevens on Lickety Split and Rollerbabies. Stevens’ distributor was Arthur Weisberg, president of Gail Film Distributors, who had backed him financially on The Collegiates, The Hot Oven, and Mount of Venus before Rollerbabies and Teenage Twins. As for the script…

The credits for Teenage Twins name “Al Hazard” as responsible for the script; this was the pen name of writer Richard Jaccoma, who also used it (or a variation on the name) for Vampire Lust (1975), Punk Rock (1977), Honeymoon Haven (1977), Pleasure Palace (1979), and various adult magazine articles; he would eventually edit Screw magazine. Jaccoma was a definite fan of pulp fiction, and the use of a variation of Abdul Alhazred as a penname is one of the Easter eggs for fans—and it is really his script which makes what would have been just another mid-70s pornographic film with a gimmick into something of interest to Mythos films today. His non-pornographic works include the Fu Manchu pastiche Yellow Peril— The Adventures of Sir John Weymouth-Smythe—one of the characters in the novel being a certain writer named Al Hazard.

It was shot in one long 3 day weekend. We saved money by renting the camera equipment for a Friday and it didn’t have to be returned till Monday morning all for one day’s rental fee, so we shot most of our films in 3 day (pardon the expression) spurts. The kitchen and dining room shots were done in my real kitchen and dining room. The rest was shot in my studio on sets.
—Joshua Axelrod interview with Carter Stevens in Cinema Sewer, Volume Two 65

The hurried production probably accounts for some of the roughness of the film, and little errors in the editing. There was no budget for special effects, but the script and directing is clever in how it works to try and suggest it. The twins, for example, are supposed to have a psychic bond so that each feels what the other feels; a sex scene with one could thus alternate in cuts with how the other twin is handling their empathic arousal—which notably includes one scene where the promiuscious twin Hope is with her boyfriend and the virginal twin Prudence relieves herself by masturbating with a Bible—which scene was cut from some releases of the film so as not to offend audiences. The soundtrack, however, is fantastically funky.

The overall low budget and rush of the filmmaking is probably most notable with the ending. The film culminates with a ritualistic orgy, guided by the professor reading from the Necronomicon—but ends with notable abruptness at the final line. Whether or not they simply ran out of film, it sure feels like that.

In fact we all called them the Quaalude twins. Sexually they were rather unschooled. They did not fool around with each other off screen, it was strictly my idea to pair them up on screen as I had never heard of it done in any movie before that. […] When I found the male twins for Double Your Pleasure I had to dly down to Florida to get one of the female twins out of jail where she had been doing time for passing bad checks. In turth I think she had just gotten so stoned and ust kept writing checks long after the bank had closed the account.
—Joshua Axelrod interview with Carter Stevens in Cinema Sewer, Volume Two 65

The actors in Teenage Twins would go on with their careers; Carter Stevens would direct them both again in Double Your Pleasure (1978), which would be almost their last film—it isn’t uncommon for actors to leave the industry after only a few years, to put their screen names behind them and move on with their lives without the stigma. It is a pity there are no interviews that give Brooke and Taylor’s perspective on the filming of Teenage Twins, or their brief careers.

Stevens claimed that Teenage Twins was his most profitable film, and with the low production costs and the number of times it has been packaged and re-packaged, that wouldn’t be surprising.  While the “teenage” part was always spurious (no birthdates are given for Brooke and Taylor, but they look to have been in their mid-20s), incest was and is still a taboo subject, and taboo always has a marketing draw…as evidenced by films like Hammer Studio’s Twins of Evil (1971) which included a brief (non-explicit) lesbian scene, or by the Sexxxtons Mother/Daughter duo in the 2010s, although in that case the two women made sure to never make sexual contact with one another. Whether Teenage Twins could be legally made today would probably require a careful analysis of the incest laws of whatever state it was filmed in (Stevens is quoted as saying “As far as I know, there’s no crime called ‘conspiracy to aid and abet the commission of incest.'” Teenage Twins Collection booklet 6).

Yet for Mythos fans, the most interesting part of the film is the Necronomicon itself.

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Although mentioned in the film’s opening, the Necronomicon itself doesn’t appear until well over half the film’s runtime, and no good shots have appeared of the prop itself. Pulp fans might be interested to know that the incantation read out of the book is “Ka nama kaa lajerama”—the incantation from Robert E. Howard’s “The Shadow Kingdom” (Weird Tales Aug 1929), the film thus marks the adult film debut of Howard’s literary creations as well.

The Necronomicon in Teenage Twins acts as a catalyst as much as it does a grimoire; supposedly the very presence of the book inspires some of the sexual escapades, such as when Gerald has a threesome with his step-daughter Hope alongside Professor Robert. It is an interesting angle, but as with many pornographic films, the plot is mainly there to set up the scenes and the pairings. Yet if Jaccoma hadn’t written the Necronomicon into the script—and Stevens hadn’t rolled with it—who would remember Teenage Twins today as more than a mid-70s effort to capitalize off of gay-for-pay twin actors?

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There are several versions of Teenage Twins out there in the marketplace, including on VHS and DVD, and it has been marketed as Teenage Tarts and The Young Twins. The Teenage Twins Collection includes commentary on the making of the film with director Carter Stevens, as well as great little details like:

Ads for production assistants and actors appeared in the Village Voice on December 1, 1975 and shooting commenced days later on December 5. […] A $65 receipt from Chicken Galore for fried chicken, ribs and twenty paper plates gives some indication of the cost of feeding cast and crew on a tiny budget.
—Michael J. Bowen, Teenage Twins Collection booklet 5

I was once told that at an early WorldCon a cut of Teenage Twins was shown which excised the hardcore sexuality and left intact the plot; it was supposedly screened under the tongue-in-cheek title At the Mons of Madness. I’ve never been able to find any confirmation to this, but Stevens was a known science fiction fan, and a con reporter in the fanzines Drift #3 and Event Horizon #349 confirms that he attended MidAmericaCon (the 34th WorldCon) in 1976, and apparently held private screenings of some of his films…so I consider it at least possible that the film was shown.


Bobby Derie is the author of Weird Talers: Essays on Robert E. Howard and Others and Sex and the Cthulhu Mythos.

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Cthulhu Trek (2008) by Leslie Thomas

Cthulhu Trek– Written and Edited Les Thomas, Layout and Illustrations Cabin Campbell, 1st. Edition, 2008. Star Trek collides with Lovecraftain horror. Robert Blochʼs Lovecraft/ Star Trek connection, Jeffery Combs HPL/ ST characters. Plus Sutter Cane (sometimes spelled Kane) Star Trek Fiction (Warning: Explicit sex and violence). $4.00
—Leslie Thomas, 13th Hour Books

In the early 1930s, science fiction fandom came into being. One of the characteristics of this fandom was the strong influence of the amateur journalism movement. It wasn’t just that there were fanatical readers of pulp fiction, but they documented their love and excitement, their fan art and fan poetry and fanfiction, their discussions and feuds.

Today, we talk about fandom studies with textbooks like the Fan Fiction Studies Reader because these early ‘zines are the trace fossils of the fans themselves, most of whom are sadly gone and can no longer give us living memories of what it was like to buy the magazines off the rack, to organize the first conventions, make their own costumes at home. To carry out debates by mail, and see the wonders and terrors of the Atomic Age and Space Age and finally the Digital Age be manifest around them.

As the fans grew up, fandom grew up with them. Scholars like Brian Wilson have traced the history of rule 34 from the first nude artwork that graced the 1930s fanzines to the Star Trek slashfic written and analyzed by Joanna Russ to the internet erotica of today. Things percolated together and got profoundly, lovingly, weird. Mash-ups between different genres, different properties, entirely different fandoms came together, often just for laughs or following some singular vision of “Hey, wouldn’t this be cool?” or “Hey, wouldn’t this be hot?”

Leslie Thomas is a fan of both Star Trek and the Cthulhu Mythos. His 2008 ‘zine Cthulhu Trek is a labor of love, an unpaginated 16-page staplebound black-and-white expression of profound and utter nerdiness—and it is, in many ways, an exemplar of what a fanzine can be: fun, scholarly by its own lights, and brimming with creativity and enthusiasm.

McCoy opened another cabinet and, from it he pulled out a small jar and handed it to Kirk. “I have to ask Jim, but did you have sex with a Yithian lately,” a slight smile crossed his kindly face as he place [sic] the alcohol back into its cabinet.
—Leslie Thomas, “Cream” in Cthulhu Trek

The first few pages of the ‘zine trace connections between Star Trek and the Mythos—principally via Robert Bloch, who wrote three episodes of the original series, and versatile actor Jeffrey Combs whose credits include multiple roles in both Star Trek series and various Lovecraftian films and adaptations, most especially the Re-Animator series, From Beyond, The Evil Clergyman, Necronomicon: Book of the Dead, and The Dunwich Horror (2009).

Like a good hoax, Thomas then transitions into fanfiction—presenting pieces of the Mythos-inflected Star Trek fiction of Sutter Kane. Of these, the bare two pages of Kirk picking up an extraterrestrial (or should that be extratemporal?) STD are perhaps the most memorable, although Chekov’s encounter with a dominatrix is certainly not something that will be forgotten in a hurry, barring blunt forced trauma to the head or the alcoholic equivalent.

Cthulhu Trek ends with the rather odd bit of trivia that Will Wheaton starred in The Curse (1987), a rarely-remembered film based on Lovecraft’s “The Colour out of Space.” Wheaton, of course, gained popularity by playing Wesley Crusher on Star Trek: The Next Generation, and if it feels weird to turn the page from Sulu in the grips of madness to a tidbit that feels straight out of the Internet Movie Database…well, it is. Like all fanzines, Cthulhu Trek is idiosyncratic, produced by one writer who was also his own editor, with Cabin Campbell as illustrator and layout artist.

Could Thomas have taken it further? Could he have produced a full-fledged erotic Star Trek/Cthulhu Mythos opus, self-published it, and reached the heights of fame that E. L. James did? Maybe. So could you. What he did instead was write and publish a funny little chapbook as a bit of amusement for himself and his fellow fans. Which is pratically the definition for what fanfiction is: the desire not just to create something inspired by some work, but to share it with others. That is what Cthulhu Trek is, ultimately; not a masturbation aid, but an endearing effort to share the love of Star Trak and the Cthulhu Mythos.


Bobby Derie is the author of Weird Talers: Essays on Robert E. Howard and Others and Sex and the Cthulhu Mythos.

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Dagger of Blood (1997) by John Blackburn

They that write as a trade to please the whim of the day, they are like sailors that work at the rafts only to warm their hands and to distract their thoughts from their certain doom; their rafts go all to pieces before the ship breaks up.
—Lord Dunsany, “The Raft-Builders” (1915)

Popular fiction, whether it be for pulp magazines, comic books, or pornography, is ephemeral. Precious few authors have the kind of posthumous renaissance that H. P. Lovecraft has experienced. Even those who build up a considerable body of work, or a dedicated following, often sink out of sight once they die. Their works aren’t reprinted. Work goes uncollected, unread, forgotten.

John Blackburn died in 2006. His raft is breaking up.

In 1989, Blackburn self-published his own comic, Coley on Voodoo Island, acting as writer, artist, and letterer. While normally categorized among gay comics, Coley is bisexual, or maybe pansexual: a living sex icon, his very presence tends to attract everyone, regardless of sexuality or gender identity. Some folks might characterize Coley—the ageless, immortal, six-pack-abs voodoo sex god with a large penis, a bottomless libido, and a constant parade of sexual partners—as a form of wish fulfillment. Yet it is wish fulfillment in the same way that Conan the Cimmerian, or Captain America, or the Vampire Lestat are. Coley embodies a pure fantasy, a larger-than-life figure who moves through the world, and in so doing changes it.

The first four issues of Coley’s adventures were self-published by Blackburn; in 1992 Fantagraphics, which was publishing a great number of alternative, independent, and erotic comics, picked up Coley and reprinted the first adventures and then new ones. While a supernatural fantasy element was present from the beginning, the Cthulhu Mythos slid into the mix in 1993 with the two-issue series Idol of Flesh, where Coley runs up against a cult of Shub-Niggurath.

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Idol of Flesh #2 (1993)

As an artist, Blackburn puts a lot of work into his hatching; you can see some influence from superhero comics in the often skin-tight clothes and Coley’s heroic proportions, and this sometimes goes for other characters as well. Compositions tend to be focused: the reader’s eye is usually drawn to the center of each panel, each pane, and backgrounds usually fade out to dark hatching during the frequent erotic scenes or conversational back-and-forth. Stylistically very different from Le Pornomicon (2005) by Logan Kowalsky or Insania Tenebris (2020) by Raúlo Cáceres, many readers might fairly judge it to be almost crude by comparison. It might be better to compare Blackburn’s work with underground cartoonists of the ’70s in terms of style and technique.

The plot of the series revolves around Coley, even when he isn’t on the page. The other characters are almost invariably attracted to him, but have to figure out for themselves what that means, what their relationship is about, particularly as Coley—while a loyal friend, and able to fall in love easily with others—has basically zero interest in monogamous relationships, and resists anyone else’s efforts to constrain or define his behavior. This tends to put him at odds with local authority figures, such as the police, religious types, and general bigots—and in a few cases, attracts supernatural forces.

The Cthulhu Mythos intrudes on Coley and his gaggle of associates in the three-issue Dagger of Blood series in 1997. This was the final standalone comic produced featuring Coley, although Fantagraphics would publish three additional omnibus albums titled Coley Running Wild from 1997-2003. Coley’s earlier encounter with the cult of Shub-Niggurath put him on the cultist radar, and he now has to deal with another descendant of the Old Ones.

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Dagger of Blood #2

While the story takes many X-rated breaks, the plot takes a turn strongly reminiscent of the post-war Men’s Adventure Pulps of the late 1940s and 50s—though not one that would probably ever have passed the editors of those magazines.

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Dagger of Blood #2

Old Nazi mad scientist in a temple of the Old Ones deep inside a jungle probably sounds like an exploitation script treatment even before you add the pornstars, voodoo sex god, flagellation scenes, interracial relationships, body modification, sex changes, and bloody violence…but there is something more interesting at work here.

One of the things that sets Coley apart from the other characters in this series is that he is completely accepting of both his body and his sexuality; it helps that by the standards of the characters in the comic, he’s basically perfect: young, slim, muscled, big genitalia, etc. and he maintains it with seemingly zero effort. By contrast, many of the other characters are not at all happy with their body or their sexuality. The main antagonist Joquatoth is dealing with the effects of his inhuman heritage—and wants to stay human. If he wasn’t deliberately set up as evil, he could be seen as an almost tragic figure, facing issues of body image that parallel those of many transgender folk as they deal with issues like puberty, or strive to achieve a body closer to their gender identity via hormones and surgery.

Blackburn doesn’t explore these issues in anything like depth; the castration scene is a setup for a sub-plot where the genitalia of two characters are swapped: Coley’s lover Lonny gets a vagina, and the mostly lesbian Kit gets his penis. Lonny and Kit’s introspection at these drastic and fantastical changes to their bodies is less than profound…but it’s there.

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Dagger of Blood #3

The idea of transsexual or intersex characters that don’t conform strictly to a sex or gender binary are nothing new, not even in Lovecraft’s time. His friend Samuel Loveman wrote “The Hermaphrodite” in 1926, pulp stories like Seabury Quinn’s “Strange Interval” (Weird Tales May 1936) and Lovecraft’s own “The Thing on the Doorstep” (Weird Tales Jan 1937) play with gender-changes, albeit in very non-explicit and largely sexless ways. It takes a certain amount of artistic freedom to actually depict and address some of these issues, and that just wasn’t possible under the editorial and mail censorship of the 1930s, even if there had been writers among Lovecraft’s correspondents and devotees who had desired to address such issues.

Which is one of the things that makes Dagger of Blood stand out. Yes, it’s very blatantly pornography, with a rare page that goes by without nudity or some sexual act; it’s a comic book and not a novel, which places it in that weird intersection of being doubly disposable for being taboo in subject matter and a medium often derided at the time as childish or trash (though that was slowly changing). The Mythos material is slight, being two storylines involving cultists with semi-human leaders. There is a tentacle erotica scene, which might owe something to the popularity of Japanese manga and anime like Toshio Maeda’s La Blue Girl (manga 1989-1992, original video animation 1992-1993).

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Dagger of Blood #3

Yet it’s for that exact reason that Dagger of Blood has its charms, and can even address some of these issues of gender, sexuality, relationships, and body image when contemporary Mythos works largely didn’t…because Blackburn didn’t have to subscribe to the same editorial taboos, the social norms and mores that he would if he had been working for Marvel Comics or even Playboy. Working on his own he had more creative freedom to get really weird—and that kind of growth can be important. Even if Blackburn’s Coley opus isn’t destined to stand the test of time, it is one of Dunsany’s rafts set adrift…and who knows what it might inspire, if it does survive a little while longer?

Our ships were all unseaworthy from the first.

There goes the raft that Homer made for Helen.
—Lord Dunsany, “The Raft-Builders” (1915)

John Blackburn’s Dagger of Blood #1-3 were published by Eros Comix in 1997; they were collected in Coley Running Wild, Book Three: Hardthrob (2003).


Bobby Derie is the author of Weird Talers: Essays on Robert E. Howard & Others (2019) and Sex and the Cthulhu Mythos (2014).

“Lascivious Tongues” (2014) by Christine Morgan

Christine Morgan reminds us that sex is so much more than just bodies coming together in her story Lascivious Tongues; it’s as much a mental, linguistic game as anything else. Words have power, particularly during sex: some words might only power your fucktoys, others could power your house, your city… or destroy your reality altogether! Lascivious Tongues is a lot of fun in a classic “don’t read the cursed book” way, and delivered to us by a master storyteller with a great feel for dialogue and character.
Justine Geoffrey, “On Old Names, Old Guards and Great Old Ones” in Necronomicum #1

There are definite parallels between Mythos literature and pornography. The Necronomicon and 120 Days of Sodom are both forbidden books, shunned by normal people, dealt with (at least in earlier times) only by specialists and pursued only by particularly fanatical readers, often hidden in libraries. These works are all taboo—just reading or possessing them carried a social stigma, and in some cases could even be illegal according to some authorities. Generations of Mythos fans have appreciated the fetishistic element to Mythos tomes when they read of the decadent works described in “The Hound.” Later authors have exploited these parallels to create Mythos tomes that combine the forbidden lore of erotica and cosmic horroras in Le Pornomicon (2005) by Logan Kowalsky, or “The Perils of Liberated Objects, or, The Voyeur’s Seduction” (2009) by Caitlín R. Kiernan. (For more on this subject, see “The Necronomicon as Pornography” in Sex and the Cthulhu Mythos.)

The term “fetish” as normally applied to sex signifies a particular and often fixed image of veneration. This sense of the word is derived in turn from European encounters with votive objects among the indigenous peoples of Africa—literal idolatry, when viewed through the Christian world-view of the traders, sailors, missionaries, and later anthropologists who sought to catalog and categorize what they saw, even if it was with imperfect understanding.

Cthulhu, not coincidentally, had an idol too.

She cared not a whit that the eccentric New England recluse’s library was said to have also contained dozens of tomes on occultism and folios of pornography. Nor did she lend any credence to the scandalous talk of orgies, covens, sacrifices, rituals, and other such hysteria and nonsense.

And it was absurd even to suggest that the book had anything to do with Grantham vanishing.
—Christine Morgan, “Lascivious Tongues”

Sexual fetishes lend themselves to cataloging and categorization too. Specific images—the stern headmistress is a staple character, the all-girls school a staple setting—lend themselves to endless permutations. Like Cthulhu, there is never one single, correct, absolutely perfect and eternal depiction; there is only endless and fascinating repetitions and variations, writers and artists playing on a theme, trying to capture or depict specific moods and ideas.

Which is a long way to say that the similarities between erotica and Mythos fiction are more than skin-deep; there is a certain fundamental similarity in purpose with fetishistic sexual literature. The really good writers are seldom dispassionate, but in the throes of their own fascination with the material, the techniques used in many Mythos pastiches and erotic works are essentially the same—and occasionally bleed over. This is a bit obvious when it comes to remixes such as “Kanye West—Reanimator” (2015) by Joshua Chaplinsky vs. “Herburt East: Refuckinator” (2012) by Lula Lisbon, but the dividing line between “serious Mythos story” and “erotic Mythos story” can be exceptionally thin—and it is entirely possible for a Mythos story to be a work of erotic horror, for a Mythos image like Cthulhu’s tentacles to become a sexual image fulfilling a particular fetish.

“Lascivious Tongues” works in no small part because Christine Morgan plays specifically to images of Lovecraftian horror as well as to sexual fetishes. In combining the two, she is sort of crossing the line twice—in both directions. Jessica Barlowe, the stern, virginal, and sexually repressed headmistress of the all-girl’s college does not satisfy what might be the expectations of the reader—her tastes, once awakened, lie in a more occult direction—and the Lovecraftian horrors have a form and appearance distinctly atypical for those expecting phallic-headed tentacles to burst forth from beyond the portal, as described and depicted in the Necronomicon in Noé & Barreiro’s The Convent of Hell.

Her facility with languages, combined with her position as headmistress of the Eastridge School for Young Ladies, meant that Jessica Barlowe had long since wearied of the inevitable ‘cunning linguist’ jokes with which each new wit fancied himself so clever.
—Christine Morgan, “Lascivious Tongues”

Yet more than anything, Morgan has tongue firmly in cheek. While the puns are few, she is definitely cognizant of the play of words and concept. Lovecraft and pornographers both have a tendency toward adjectives and adverbs, and if “Lascivious Tongues” doesn’t reach the heights of Lovecraft’s ultraviolet prose, it is definitely trying to evoke the particular idiom of a certain range of Victorian and Edwardian erotica in some of its diction.

Compared to many Mythos pastiches are overwritten and drag in terms of pacing, “Lascivious Tongues” moves almost too briskly, hitting its story beats and not slowing down until the weight of the sex scenes demands it. Many passages and transitions are downright terse. It is a very pulp/erotica style of writing, unlike the longer literary form such as Widdershins (2013) by Jordan L. Hawk, which otherwise shares a similar period setting. Which is to say, “Lascivious Tongues” is not exactly The Way of a Man with a Maid (1908) with the addition of a Mythos tome. It could easily have been something like that, if Morgan had aimed at a novel instead of a short story. The basic building blocks for such an erotic Mythos novel are there—but the market is different.

“Lascivious Tongues” was published in Necronomicum: The Magazine of Weird Erotica #1 (2014). Erotica is often ephemeral fiction; read once and then forgotten or discarded. It took quite some time to build up the idea of “erotic horror” as durable literature, beyond masturbation fodder. Which is a shame because some quite good fiction has been lost to disinterest, in men’s magazines and the wilds of the early Internet…and to ebooks which were available for a period, and then disappeared, taking their stories with them.

Necronomicum was set up as a triannual e-periodical; it made it to four issues…which isn’t bad at all, considering it published some well-known authors such as Ramsey Campbell, Christine Morgan, and Brian Sammons. The trick for any series publication is reaching the right market—all the more difficult in an internet already flooded with erotica and pornography. For such a publication, with a token payment, short & simple makes sense. “Lascivious Tongues” isn’t the worse for being written as a fast-paced bit of Lovecraftian erotica, but it definitely makes more sense in context as something written as a quick read in a small ebook anthology.


Bobby Derie is the author of Weird Talers: Essays on Robert E. Howard & Others (2019) and Sex and the Cthulhu Mythos (2014).

Mystery of the Necronomicon (黒の断章, 1999)

Mystery of the Necronomicon (黒の断章, Kuro no Danshō) is a four-episode hentai (sexually explicit, adult-oriented) Original Video Animation (OAV) produced in Japan and released in 1999 and 2000 on DVD and laserdisc; it was dubbed and released into English-speaking markets in 2007 on VHS and DVD, with periodic re-releases on DVD since then, most recently the all-in-one 2014 DVD from Critical Mass.

It is difficult to put Mystery of the Necronomicon into its proper context because most of that context has never been translated into English. In 1995 the first of a computer game series “Suzusaki Detective Office File” (涼崎探偵事務所ファイル) was released by Avocado Powers (アボガドパワーズ, often Anglicized phonetically as “Abogado Powers”) for the PC-9800 personal computers; it was ported to the Sega Saturn in 1997, and to Windows in 2004. The game was an adult-oriented mystery/horror, and spawned a sequel in 1996; a third game was planned, but never came out due to financial difficulties at the company. Subsidiary materials include a 1997 strategy guide to the Sega Saturn game, which was praised for its art.

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Mystery of the Necronomicon is essentially the film version of the 1995 computer game. This wasn’t necessarily weird in the late ’90s; one of the more successful examples English audiences might be familiar with is Street Fighter II: The Animated Movie (1994, dubbed English version released in 1995), and Japan had already released a 1994 computer game Necronomicon (ネクロノミコン) based on Lovecraft’s work. As the game itself has never been officially translated and released in English markets, it’s difficult to say how accurately the  4-episode OVA represents the plot and characterization. Both game and OVA appear to be trying the tricky job of producing an original Cthulhu Mythos horror/mystery with characters that are sexual beings—and that sexuality isn’t limited to consensual heterosexual relations without paraphilia; the OVA  contains graphic scenes of consensual female homosexuality, BDSM, and urophilia as well.

The explicit sexual content may be why the game producers partnered with production company Discovery, a Japanese company that had specialized in adult animation such as the slightly infamous Night Shift Nurses series. While there’s no scuttlebutt on the behind-the-scenes involved with bringing Mystery of the Necronomicon to English audiences, the North American distributor Anime 18 had also distributed Night Shift Nurses and other titles from Discovery, so it seems likely that this was a case of something in Discovery’s back-catalog of titles that they thought would appeal to the North American market…how well that worked out, it’s hard to say, but there must have been at least some commercial interest for the DVD to get multiple English releases.

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It’s possible the “Book of the Dead” subtitle on some of the English releases drew some inspiration from Necronomicon: Book of the Dead (1993), an American/French/Japanese co-production, but it’s telling that the box art emphasized “From the director of Urotsukidoji: Legend of the Overfiend,” one of the famous tentacle erotica anime that derive from the work of Maeda Toshio (前田俊夫). The distributors were obviously trying to capitalize as much as possible on the explicit pornographic nature of Mystery of the Necronomicon—this was a product being marketed to a specific crowd—which bears a little bit of inquiry.

There is a cost involved in translating every work. For those first writers who translated H. P. Lovecraft into Japanese after World War II, it was the cost of the translator’s time and expertise, then on top of that the normal publishing costs; the same applies for Japanese literature translated into English. For especially art-heavy works like the Monster Girl Encyclopedia II (2016) by Kenkou Cross (健康クロス), there are special considerations to make sure that the art is properly reproduced, and there are potential issues of censorship to deal with, but it’s still mostly an issue of translation costs. With an anime, there are added costs: for a dub, the script has to be translated, voice actors contracted, performances recorded, then new voice tracks have to be mastered and synchronized with the videoso it’s not a small process, there’s layers of work to be done, and that’s assuming that censorship issues aren’t involved. Japanese pornographic works, by statute, blur or hide genitalia and often cannot depict pubic hair and may involve characters under the legal age of consent in other countries—such issues may or may not be resolved as part of the translation process, and there’s an added cost involved with removing censoring, or changing the script so a character is at least 18 years old if it’s going to be sold on the North American market.

Because of this cost, only a fraction of the vast amount of media that Japan produces ever reaches English-language markets, and that fraction of stuff tends to get skewed toward specific markets where it is believed (or at least hoped) that it will sell. Sometimes this leads to big successes like the Sailor Moon, Dragon Ball, and One Piece series, or the Super Sentai series which were translated into Power Rangers—and sometimes this leads to abysmal flops, stuff that either for poor translation or distribution or whatever other reason fails to find its audience and sinks out of sight. Because of the cost involved, this means that companies tend to focus on those franchises and products which do sell, and if a given series is successful, they’ll try to bring over another similar work to sell to the same market.

Which is a long way to say: Mystery of the Necronomicon was not translated into English because there was a hardcore market of Japanese Cthulhu Mythos fans that were frothing at the bit to get their hands on any and all Japanese media related to Lovecraft’s creations. Instead, it looks a lot like Mystery of the Necronomicon was translated to fill a niche for sexually explicit anime for a market that was hungry for hentai. There is a bit of irony to the fact that with the rise of the internet, so many people have associated the tentacle erotica of hentai works by Maeda Toshio & the like with the relatively tentacle-heavy Cthulhu Mythos fiction of the 1990s and early 2000s, but so little of the stuff actually coming out of Japan in translation actually dealt with that.

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While there is sexually explicit content to Mystery of the Necronomicon, most of the four episodes are taken up with the eponymous mystery that the detectives are there to solveand anyone looking for gonzo masturbation material, porn without plot, might be surprised that it’s a fairly well-plotted story (albeit one with plenty of graphic sex scenes), with solid voice acting and some good visuals. The soundtrack and animation are workable; neither the best nor the worst of Japanese animation from the period, but many of the horror scenes are fairly effective. There are little Easter eggs for Mythos aficionados as well, such as the character Clark Ashton, and the final mystery takes a very interesting turn that showcases how well-versed the writers were in their Lovecraftian lore.

Lovecraft’s story “Herbert West—Reanimator” takes place in Arkham and at Miskatonic University, but largely predates the establishment of Lovecraft’s Mythos and doesn’t involve his eldritch entities or terrible tomes. Like “The Picture in the House,” it is only tangentially connected to the Mythos at large by virtue of being set in Lovecraft country. Some later media have tried to work around this by making the source of West’s reagent derived from studies of the Necronomiconthis was a plot point in many of Dynamite’s Reanimator comics, and Alan Moore and Jacen Burrows’ Providenceand not to spoil things too much, in Mystery of the Necronomicon it is revealed that West has a connection with the book tooalthough as with many Japanese Mythos works, the physical appearance of the Necronomicon is inspired more strongly by the Necronomicon Ex Mortis from the Evil Dead films, as discussed in “Night Voices, Night Journeys” (2005) by Inoue Masahiko (井上雅彦).

Mystery of the Necronomicon is ultimately a good example of how Lovecraftian influence spreads outside of the sphere of English-language media, only to come back in somewhat weird and unusual form. The surprising thing isn’t that Lovecraftian erotica exists, or exists in Japanese, but that there was sufficient audience for something like that in the English-speaking world that people spent the time and effort to translate it back into English. It isn’t exactly Lovecraft seen “through a glass darkly”because there is nothing imperfect or distorted about the adaptation; it is simply something that is both oddly familiar and different from what English-speaking audiences have seen before.


Bobby Derie is the author of Weird Talers: Essays on Robert E. Howard & Others (2019) and Sex and the Cthulhu Mythos (2014).

“Shoggoth Makes Three” (2003) by Jean Ann Donnel

A house in the suburbs or an apartment in the city would be assigned him, and he would be initiated into one of the large affection-groups, including many noblewomen of the most extreme and art-enhanced beauty, which in latter-day K’n-yan took the place of family units.
—H. P. Lovecraft, “The Mound”

Most readers don’t normally associate H. P. Lovecraft with polyamory. Then as now, monogamy was the prevailing paradigm among the bulk of the population, and Lovecraft’s romances in his fictions are almost always explicitly monogamous in nature; there are a few lover’s triangles in stories like “The Man of Stone” with Hazel Heald and “Medusa’s Coil” with Zealia Bishop, but there are no polycules in Lovecraft country outside of “The Mound.”

There was nothing new with the idea of polyamory during Lovecraft’s lifetime. His friend James F. Morton was part of a “free love” group at one point, and his chapbooks were advertised in The Public in 1916, alongside advertisements like this:

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After Lovecraft’s death, polyamory became more common. “The Discovery of the Ghooric Zone” (1977) by Richard Lupoff famously opens with a polyamorous threesome…but for the most part, monogamy remains the overwhelming romantic schema of Mythos fiction, both serious and jocular, erotic and non-erotic. Indeed, while the attitudes regarding sex have become much more progressive and expressive in Mythos fiction, romances—particularly marriage—often deal with existing attitudes and problems, with a Mythos twist. This can be seen in works like “Mail Order Bride” (1999) by Ann K. Schwader (marriage-by-contract, the stresses of pregnancy on a marriage), “A Coven in Essex County” (2016) by J. M. Yales (patriarchal attitudes towards marriage, spousal abuse), Mexican Gothic (2020) by Silvia Moreno-Garcia (marriage under duress, consanguineous marriage), etc. Infidelity remains a relatively rare theme, as well as marriage counseling. The bulk of marital issues in the expanded Cthulhu Mythos appear to be solved only be the death of one or both partners.

Which is part of what makes Jean Ann Donnel’s “Shoggoth Makes Three” so special.

“Fi Fi is your lover’s name as well?” she inquired.

Cantraip looked at her startled. Could it be?

“You’re not a lesbian, are you Ms. Peaches?” the moderator asked, arching an eyebrow. “That would explain your being in a dysfunctional relationship group,” he stated.

Ms. Peaches stared at him steadily with contempt in her eyes. “I’m quite straight. Fi Fi’s not exactly a woman and definitely has male members,” she commented.
—Jean Ann Donnel, “Shoggoth Makes Three” in Cthulhu Sex Magazine (2003), vol. 2, no. 16, 20

Donnel is playing the situation for laughs; the idea of a polycule with a polymorphous shoggoth in the middle is almost a one-note joke. Yet for all that the idea is being played for transgressive comedy, it does include several interesting developments in Mythos fiction which other authors would also explore—and maybe a few that haven’t been explored much at all.

It is hard to pinpoint where exactly the idea of a shoggoth (or other Mythos entity) with multiple genitalia serving as a bridge between heterosexuality to a broader range of sexual experiences originated. Certainly there was some fanfiction where ardent weird fiction fans were imagining the possibilities; Rick McCollum illustrated one possibility for a fanzine in 1980:

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One might also add Robert M. Price’s story “A Thousand Young” (1989), where a libertine encounters:

For there, revealed by the glare of the lights, was no solid heap of swaying orgiasts, but rather chains of bodies spread over the pulsing and gelatinous surface of a tentacled, amoeboid horror, the revelers grotesquely arrayed like suckling whelps as the thing fed greedily on their sexual vitality through the questing pseudopodic phaluses, teats, and vulvas it sent forth!
—Robert M. Price, “A Thousand Young” in The Shub-Niggurath Cycle (1994) 94

The idea, both artistic and literary, of a polymorphous Mythos entity that can produce genitalia at will is still very much part of the creative erotic lexicon of the Mythos, as can be clearly seen in many depictions of the shoggoth in, for example, fan-works related to Monster Girl Encyclopedia II (2016) by Kenkou Cross (健康クロス). Arguably there were prototypical works in the Mythos anticipating this, such as the strange plants to which parts of human men and women were grafted in Clark Ashton Smith’s “The Garden of Adompha.”

What these stories generally lack is the emotional connection. For many, the ability of a shoggoth to assume multiple genitalia, male and female, is purely a matter of sexual possibilities. Jean Ann Donnel’s Ms. Peaches doesn’t feel it’s homosexual to be with a shoggoth, no matter how many vulvas it may have at the moment; but her interest in Fi Fi, like Cantraip’s, is more than just sexual. There’s a romantic bond, above and beyond just the sexual one…and it’s a bond that Ms. Peaches and Cantraip learn to share with each other as well as Fi Fi.

Fi Fi had parts entwined, and in, both of them and covering them protectively. They slept in Fi Fi and Fi Fi in them, as well as in one another. They were not going back to the dysfunctional relationship group. The three of them felt their relationship was absolutely perfect just as it was.
—Jean Ann Donnel, “Shoggoth Makes Three” in Cthulhu Sex Magazine (2003), vol. 2, no. 16, 21

“Shoggoth Makes Three” has a happy ending…and, for what the story is, a short-short of only two pages, played for laughs, that’s workable. However, there is the potential in that setup for much more substantial and powerful stories that explore this kind of theme, of humans finding a meaningful relationship with an eldritch entity that extends beyond just sex, which eschews the limitations of gender.

Such a story is “Ink” by Bernie Mozjes in Whispers in Darkness: Lovecraftian EroticaWhile Mozjes doesn’t cover quite the same ground as Donnel (no therapy), “Ink” is played more seriously; the conclusion is less foregone, and the emotions being addressed have more kick. Donnel takes it for granted that the shoggoth, because of their multiple genitalia, is able to bridge the gap between men and women mostly on a sexual basis. Mozjes is more focused on what else might attract someone to enter into a polyamorous relationship with an eldritch entity—and why the polymorphic entity itself might enter into such a relationship.

Which is rare ground. It’s often a strange case for Mythos fiction, particularly Lovecraftian erotica, that regardless of how fantastic the physical forms and acts of copulation turn out to be, the actual basic mechanics tend to default to heteronormative values of sex and relationships. Whether that’s a collective failure of the imagination or catering to what the audience wants, who can tell? Yet it doesn’t seem that many people have written of, say, polygamous marriages in Innsmouth. For everyone that thinks every possibility for Mythos fiction has been explore…reconsider your preconceptions. There’s a lot stranger territory out there.

“Shoggoth Makes Three” by Jean Ann Donnel was first published in Cthulhu Sex Magazine (2003) vol. 2, no. 16. It has not been republished. Donnel had written some short-short fiction on the alt.cthulhu.sex Usenet group, and also published “Have You Found Him” in Eldritch Blue: Love & Sex in the Cthulhu Mythos (2004).


Bobby Derie is the author of Weird Talers: Essays on Robert E. Howard & Others (2019) and Sex and the Cthulhu Mythos (2014).