Who Are the Lovecraftian Horrors in the AQUAMAN Trailer?

The ocean is scary, man. Yes, it’s full of beautiful, strange life and is the last great expanse on the planet Earth, but there’s some weird crap down there too, and half of it we haven’t even seen yet. And as H.P. Lovecraft once famously said, “the oldest and strongest type of fear is fear of the unknown.” Ergo, I’m afraid of the ocean. And in the new extended look at DC’s Aquaman movie, we see not only Atlantis’ undersea wonders, but some of the scarier, nastier elements as well. And a lot of it is clearly modeled on some of Lovecraft’s deepest fears. The very opening shot of the trailer finds a snow globe with a lighthouse that accompanies Arthur Curry’s narration. It’s a fairy tale-ish beginning, but director James Wan is telling us the kind of fairy tale it’ll be. You can see for half a second that the globe is sitting on top of the book The Dunwich Horror by none other than H.P. Lovecraft. That story speaks of a human woman who communed with the Outer God Yog-Sothoth to birth a pair of pretty harrowing children, one taking after his mortal mother—albeit with goat-like features—and the other—a giant, hulking nightmare, nearly imperceptible to the human eye—after his father. Curry is, of course, the offspring of a human man and an undersea queen.But The Dunwich Horror isn’t the only Lovecraft story to which Aquaman appears to pay homage. The Shadow Over Innsmouth tells of a town that for generations has worshiped a Deep One, an ancient and powerful aquatic deity that gives them bountiful fish catches in exchange for a little bit of breeding, producing a people with some distinctive characteristics. And sure, Arthur Curry isn’t borne of a fish and a human, but an Atlantean and a human. But toward the end of the trailer, we see some of what the very bottom of the sea holds, in the form of massive, bipedal fish monsters. They’re quite reminiscent of the Deep Ones from Lovecraft’s mythos, but they’ve been in DC Comics since the first issue of Aquaman‘s The New 52 continuity, as written by Geoff Johns. They’re the Trench, an integral part of the “Throne of Atlantis” storyline and both began and ended Johns’ time on the title, which saw it become revitalized as one of the top DC ongoing series of the post-“Flashpoint” continuity.As one of the original seven kingdoms of ancient Atlantis, they were splintered off after the city sunk into the ocean, destroying four of the seven kingdoms outright. The Trench are called as such because they adapted to living in a very, very deep part of the Atlantic Ocean, off the coast of New England (hello again, Mr. Lovecraft), and grew giant eyes, extra sharp teeth, and more resilient bodies to help them thrive in the pitch blackness and high pressures of the deep ocean. Not only that, they have “Toxikinesis,” the ability to spit a chemical from their mouth that can cause paralysis. So, they’re pretty gnarly, and if they team up with Patrick Wilson’s Orm to overthrow the throne of Atlantis, then Aquaman and Mera are in some deep (one) trouble.Wan is a pretty big horror guy (obviously), so the references to Lovecraft both in theme and in direct nod point to a much more frightening turn for the movie, and coupled with the trailer’s Indiana Jones/Uncharted action and opulent Atlantian kingdom, could make for a movie right out of any fantasy fan’s library.Are you stoked for the Trench to take on Aquaman? Let us know in the comments below! Aquaman hits theaters December 21.

Images: DC Comics/Warner Bros

Kyle Anderson is the Associate Editor for Nerdist. You can find his film and TV reviews here. Follow him on Twitter!

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