The 6 Gnarliest Uses of Cerberus in Pop Culture
Halloween is my favorite holiday, and I like to celebrate on my blog with monster lists! I’ve done ghosts, I’ve done movie monsters, and this year we’re going to celebrate my favorite monster of all time: Cerberus, the original dog from Hell!
I was a huge fan of Greek Myths when I was a kid. I used to take this big book of Greek Myths out of the Middle School library all the time! And Cerberus, the three-headed guard dog of the Underworld, was my favorite monster. He’s just so snarly and badass! I even used to draw a Cerberus superhero, who had a normal head, then two fake dog heads on his shoulders as part of his costume. Man, I’d give anything to find some of my old middle school sketches… Anyway, for Halloween this year, I’ve put together a list of the best Cerberus cameos in pop culture!
Join me after the jump if you dare to be scared!
6. Sci-Fi Channel Original Movie
Once upon a time, the Sci-Fi channel had a thing going where they made purposefully terrible movies to appeal to a certain fan base. This eventually led to stuff like Sharknado 4 and Dinocroc vs. Supergator, but I’m fairly certain that whole ‘phenomenon’ has died down since…right? At any rate, Cerberus is the story of a group of thieves who steal Attila the Hun’s legendary breastplate, which is totally a thing. The breastplate holds the key to uncovering the Sword of Mars, which makes the wielder invincible, and which is also totally a thing. And the sword is guarded by Cerberus! See, they snuck him in there somewhere. I guess he moonlights from guarding the Underworld sometimes? Eventually it’s up to a plucky young history student to defeat the thieves, kill Cerberus and return the sword to its rightful place — I think. I’m not about to actually watch the movie.
5. My Little Pony
When your My Little Pony cartoon already stars unicorns and pegasi, you might as well go all-in with the mythical creatures! My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic has manticores, sea serpents, cockatrices, jackalopes and a freakin’ hydra! They’ve also got Cerberus, guard dog of the Underworld, who has actually made multiple appearances! In the first episode, Cerberus terrorizes Ponyville until resident animal lover Fluttershy rubs his belly. She’s good with animals of all kinds. But the ponies later learn that while Cerberus was away from Tartarus, one of their mortal enemies escaped, and they’ve got to save the world from him! Cerberus is then spotted standing guard when the ponies eventually return the bad guy to his cell. Good dog!
4. Marvel Comics
Considering both Thor and Hercules are members of the Avengers, Marvel Comics has a lot of fun when it comes to mythological characters and creatures. Cerberus is no different, and even has a human form that he can change into from time to time! Most recently Cerberus had a short but sweet cameo in X-Factor, but he first appeared back in the 1960s in the pages of Thor comics. He’s a big brute of a God who favors a giant hammer and a lot of spikes and horns. He first opposed Thor, who was trying to gain access to the Underworld to rescue Hercules. Thor kicked his butt, as Thor is wont to do. Still, you better believe that if I ever get to write the Avengers, Cerberus is gonna be the Thor stand-in, like they tried to do with Ares that one time.
3. Final Fantasy 8
Cerberus is a summon — or Guardian Force — in Final Fantasy 8. Summons are often one of the coolest parts of the Final Fantasy games, or at least they were back then. And Cerberus was an optional boss fight in the Galbaia Garden atrium — words that hopefully mean something to someone. It’s been a long time since I played FF8, but I definitely remember giving Cerberus to my favorite party member, just because. He had the power to cast Triple when summoned, which is always helpful, and makes a lot of thematic sense. There have been other Cerberuses throughout the Final Fantasy games, but Cerberus has never been higher and more badass than when he was a summon! (Were they called ‘summons’? I’m blanking on what they were called…).
2. All the Herculeses
Cerberus’ biggest claim to mythological fame is as the legendary 12th Labor of Hercules, when old Herc was tasked with marching right down to the Underworld, scooping up this pooch and carrying him back to the surface. So of course, Cerberus shows up in ALL THE HERCULESES! We’ve got Disney’s Hercules cartoon, and then he showed up in Hercules: The Legendary Journeys, and even had a small cameo in the Rock’s Hercules. No word, though, on that non-Rock Hercules movie from the same year. I refused to even try to Google it. And I have nothing better to do at the moment. It’s the principle of the thing.
1. Harry Potter
For a short period of time, Cerberus was called upon to guard the Sorcerer’s Stone while it was at Hogwarts School of Witchraft and Wizardry. The three-headed hound was purchased by gamekeeper Hagrid from a “Greek fellow”, and was renamed Fluffy, because Hagrid was bad at naming things. Despite his fearsome size and three vicious heads, Fluffy was easily defeated by a bit of music, which both He-Wh0-Must-Not-Be-Named and a couple of First Years figured out. Let’s hope nobody brings a lute into the Underworld! But wait Sean, you say, wasn’t Fluffy just a regular three-headed dog and not the actual Cerberus? Sure, that might be the case…except that no less than J.K. Rowling herself confirmed Fluffy’s origins and eventual fate! I guess Hagrid’s friends at the Leaking Cauldron are some strange fellows indeed!