I'm a big fan of H.P. Lovecraft, so I've been eagerly awaiting SOTA's Nightmares of Lovecraft line, which they announced last year at the SDCC. The line is based on the written works of Lovecraft, rather than a film or comic adaptation. SOTA has sent along photos of the first three figures in the line: Cthulhu from "The Call of Cthulhu," Dagon (who doesn't specifically appear in any story, but is mentioned in "Dagon" and "The Shadow Over Innsmouth"), and the ghoul from "Pickman's Model."
Cthulhu is perfect. Just perfect. I'll go out on a limb and say that it's the best sculptural rendition I've ever seen of the beastie. Lovecraft describes Cthulhu as resembling a cross between a man, an octopus, and a dragon, and that's basically what you've got here. And all the little details - I'm particularly fond of the spikes on the "eyebrows." I'm curious whether those were inspired by Tom Sullivan's drawing of Cthulhu in S. Petersen's Field Guide to Cthulhu Monsters. In any event, Cthulhu's been sculpted before, so there is something of a tradition of interpretation to work from. Also, one doesn't want to stray too far from the traditional image of Cthulhu, lest one alienate fans.
SOTA took more creative license with Dagon. Lovecraft never properly described Dagon; the creature in his short story "Dagon" may or may not be the god himself. Chaosium, the company that publishes the Call of Cthulhu roleplaying game, has generally described Dagon as a giant merman. SOTA abandoned that and went with something a lot more horrifying. Their Dagon is closer to Cthulhu than Poseidon. It's easily the most horrifying of the three figures, with those wild fish eyes, suggestive thick pink tentacles, jagged pointed teeth, and monstrous gullet. If I still used the GotGM (Gross Out the Girlfriend Meter), this thing would be a 10.
Finally, there's the ghoul from "Pickman's Model." In the famous painting, the ghoul is only eating a single person, but this one has apparently been busier. It's a unique take on the Lovecraftian ghoul, who are described as not being taller than a human. In an interesting twist, SOTA's ghoul - with its pose and large lower-jaw tusks - is intriguingly similar to McFarlane Toys' upcoming Haunter of the Pits, who hails from a novel by HPL's friend and correspondent, Robert E. Howard.
SOTA's waiting until after Toy Fair to see how much retailer interest there is in the line, but they're shooting for a price point of about $20 per figure (these are big figures), due out sometime in late 2005.