The sea monster Kraken has seen numerous appearances in fictional works and popular culture. This mythological monster has appeared as a villainous entity in a large number of mainstream and widely popular and notable films, television shows, books, and video games.
In 1830, possibly aware of Denys de Montfort's work, Alfred Tennyson published his popular poem "The Kraken" (essentially an irregular sonnet), which disseminated Kraken in English forever fixed with its superfluous the. Tennyson's description apparently influenced Jules Verne's imagined lair of the famous giant squid in Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Sea from 1870. In the novel, seven giant squid attack the submarine simultaneously; however, all film adaptations to date (excepting one depicting a giant manta ray-type creature) have opted for one, unrealistically massive squid instead. Verne also makes numerous references to Kraken and Erik Pontopiddan in the novel.
According to Philip A. Shreffer in The Lovecraft Companion, it is safe to suppose that Tennyson's portrayal of Kraken also influenced the 20th century horror writer H. P. Lovecraft in his description of the octopus-headed monster-god Cthulhu, which is currently trapped at the bottom of the ocean, until "strange æons" shall bring about its return to the surface; and which in his short story The Call of Cthulhu is encountered by a Norwegian sailor.
|The Kraken by Tennyson|
Below the thunders of the upper deep;|
Far far beneath in the abysmal sea,
His ancient, dreamless, uninvaded sleep
The Kraken sleepeth: faintest sunlights flee
About his shadowy sides; above him swell
Huge sponges of millennial growth and height;
And far away into the sickly light,
From many a wondrous grot and secret cell
Unnumber'd and enormous polypi
Winnow with giant arms the slumbering green.
There hath he lain for ages, and will lie
Battening upon huge seaworms in his sleep,
Until the latter fire shall heat the deep;
Then once by man and angels to be seen,
In roaring he shall rise and on the surface die.
In the American tall tale, Captain Alfred Bulltop Stormalong was a literally larger than life seaman who grew to be one of the tallest seaman ever, and eventually built a gigantic ship to accommodate his own proportions. On a voyage to China at age 13, Stormalong's ship encountered a Kraken, which took hold of the ship's keel. Stormalong dove into the water and tied the creature's arms into knots. As Stormalong grew older, he eventually encountered the kraken again, this time successfully drawing the beast into a whirlpool from which it never escaped.
A Tolkien Bestiary by David Day proposes that the Watcher in the Water in J.R.R. Tolkien's The Fellowship of the Ring was based on Kraken, though it seems unlikely that Tolkien would have placed the Kraken in fresh water. This view has been further contested by those who note that the tentacles of Tolkien's monster are nowhere described as octopus-like, though "The Watcher" does suggest a single creature. In the 2001 film version by Peter Jackson, the Watcher is clearly more similar to our modern view of Kraken.
The book The Kraken Wakes by John Wyndham details an almost apocalyptic scenario in which the massive sea creature is the main cause. Although it is made clear in the book that the 'Kraken' of the story is actually a process of invasion by ocean-dwelling aliens, it is still clear that the Kraken is the basis for these aliens and Wyndham's fictional narrator quotes Tennyson's poem in the preface. Presumably for this reason Wyndham has been cited as having based the story on the poem.
In the series of books A Song of Ice and Fire by George R. R. Martin, a golden Kraken on a black field is the coat of arms for the Greyjoy House.
In Herman Melville's 1851 novel Moby-Dick the crew of the Pequod encounter a "vast pulpy mass, furlongs in length". Melville attributes this to Bishop Pontopiddan's "the great Kraken" and was assumed to be a giant squid.
The nonfiction Encyclopedia Horrifica explores the connection between the Kraken and the giant squid. The author cites the Kraken as his inspiration for writing the book. On the official website, the Kraken was the first-ever "Monster of the Month" in May 2007.
In the tabletop strategy game Warhammer 40,000 universe, one of the three named hive fleets of the Tyranids is Hive Fleet Kraken, so-called for its tactics of spreading out into separate, tendril-like attack formations, rather than the brute force assault of its predecessor, the blunted Hive Fleet Behemoth. Tyranids of this hive fleet typically have beige skin, bright green blood, and black carapaces with bold red highlights.
Kraken appear in Artemis Fowl: The Time Paradox as enormous, peaceful creatures that stay in the same spot for centuries feeding on algae, doubling as islands. They are described as being conical in shape, although there is a tubular shaped one on the coast of Ireland. In this book, kraken shed their shells explosively, igniting a layer of methane under the old one and sending it flying.
In 20,000 Leagues Under The Sea, The Kraken attacks Captain Nemo's 1866 submarine The Nautilus.
There is also a sea monster in the film Clash of the Titans called the Kraken. However, it is portrayed as a giant four-armed humanoid with scales and a long fish tail instead of legs. In the film, Perseus uses the decapitated head of Medusa to turn the Kraken into stone to prevent it from ravaging the city of Joppa and killing the sacrificial Andromeda. In Greek mythology the monster Perseus defeated was called Ceto, which is depicted by the constellation of Cetus (usually depicted as a whale, whose systematic name is Cetacean, also deriving from Ceto).
A creature called the Krakken appears in the Ben 10 episode "The Krakken" with its vocal effects done by Fred Tatasciore. However, it is depicted as a large reptilian beast instead of the classic squid-like form.
In Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man's Chest, The Kraken is an enormous sea monster that does the bidding of Davy Jones by pursuing the souls of men who bear the black spot, a mark that appears on men who owe Jones a debt. Captain Jack Sparrow spends most of the movie trying to avoid the creature but is eventually forced to face off with it. For more information on this version of the creature, see Kraken (Pirates of the Caribbean).
The Kraken from Clash of the Titans appears in the Robot Chicken episode "The Munnery" voiced by Todd Grinnell. Poseidon releases the Kraken to devour Andromeda. Rejoicing that he is free, eats Andromeda, and heads to his old home only to find out that his wife has re-married. He then heads to his old job only to find that he has been replaced. He is then forced to work in a fast-food restaurant. It then goes through what appears to be a sea monster's life that went downhill. With a grim ending of Kraken committing suicide in a halfway house, ending with the quote "Like Andy always told me, get busy dying or get Kraken."
A Kraken, which was a giant squid (voiced by Maurice LaMarche), appeared in two episodes of the short-lived Nickelodeon animated series Catscratch. He has magic powers and is from another world. He befriended Gordon.
In the 2007 film Juno, the title character relates an anecdote about a high-school student overdosing on behavioural medication, stripping off her clothes, and diving into a shopping mall fountain, declaring, "I am a Kraken from the sea!" It is later revealed that she was that student.