So What Exactly ARE The Eldritch Terrors In The Chilling Adventures of Sabrina?
Did you get to watching the latest and the last season of Chilling Adventures of Sabrina on Netflix? The fourth season premiered on New Years Day 2021 and was problematic in many ways (Please don't get me started on the absolute horrific nature that was Nick and 'the sea of sorrows' in the final episode) but the season's big bad brought up a lot of mention of lore from the science fiction horror guru H.P. Lovecraft.
While the mythical entities that played the role of the CAOS season's big bads, they don't actually directly lift from a particular 'Eldritch Terror' series by the dystopian writer, but they do have their places in his weird world. I thought it would be a great idea to dive a little deeper into the villains of this season and how they relate to the Lovecraft lore.
In the Chilling Adventures of Sabrina, the Eldritch Terrors are inspired by the 'Great Old Ones', written by H.P. Lovecraft as part of this Cthulhu series. In the TV show, the Eldritch Terrors are eight ancient inhuman, immortal, and world-destroying entities that predate time and space. They are known as The Darkness, The Uninvited, The Weird, The Preverse, The Cosmic, The Returned, The Endless, and The Void. They are brought about by the devious methods of the character of Father Blackwood, who develops a sort of cult-like church based on these entities and starts calling himself Reverend Lovecraft.
But what exactly are they in Lovecraftian legends?
To begin with, the first Eldritch Terror to be brought into the series is The Darkness which was based on Lovecraft's group mythos of Outer Gods. The idea is that all of the beasts in Lovecraft's stories exist in their own dimension and move between dimensions and worlds, and the Elder Gods want to destroy the Earth and everything on it. It's a good first pitch in a way to bring nameless entities into Greendale in the form of Miners looking to force-choke people to destroy the light, but it doesn't hail directly from any particular legend of Lovecraft's other than simply 'The Outer Gods'.
The second episode focuses on The Uninvited, which is more directly lifted from Lovecraft's story The Outsider. In this story, a beastly-looking man with no contact in the outside world ends up at a party he wasn't invited to and terrifies the guests there (which is what happens at Aunt Hilda's wedding). This is a more a tale of loneliness and sadness, rather than any other evil undertones that they portray in CAOS.
The third episode, which wasn't nearly weird enough for my liking, told the tale of The Weird, which is based on Lovecraft's classic Cthulhu monster. Part dragon, part octopus, Cthulhu is the most wildely known of Lovecraft's monsters and you can read more about it on the article I wrote here.
Following The Weird is The Perverse, which sees Father Blackwood taking over Greendale in a rather Hilter-esque fashion. This is based on Lovecraft's God of Perversion Y'golonac, who is depicted without a head in Lovecraft's stories (which is essentially what happens to Father Blackwood in this episode). It is said though, that Y'golonac is actually based off an Edgar Allan Poe poem called The Imp of the Preverse, where the Imp makes people do things contrary to their own self-interest. It is said that Lovecraft is heavily influenced by the work of Poe.
Following The Perverse then comes The Cosmic, which takes a step back from Lovecraft's pages and instead seems to appear as a strange Supernatural-like retelling of parellel universes, which Lovecraft regularly used in his writing. It seems to be less about one particular entity and more of an all-encompassing encounter of Lovecraft's entire works.
After which, comes The Returned, which brings forth zombified returnees of the dead in a strange retelling of the bible story of Lazarus, who was brought back to life by Jesus after being dead for four days. Lazarus is also depicted as the Ferryman of the River Styx with coins over eyes.
And then we come to the final entities - The Endless and The Void, which Salem mentions as being entities that work in tandem. The Endless is never-ending, but The Void is the end of all things. When fighting The Endless, it is seen that this storyline, while being a great call-back to the original Sabrina the Teenage Witch TV show, follows the Lovecraftian story of Thasaidon, who is said to be the Master of the Endless Void. For the sake of the show, The Endless and The Void are split and The Void because is the end of the world, the stretch of nothingness that we cannot understand.
And cannot understand the ending indeed. There was apparently four different endings that could have been shown for Chilling Adventures of Sabrina, and the ending here was a disappointment for fans who are crying out after the show's cancellation. Personally, I think we should have a Prudence/Ambrose spinoff! What do you guys think?