Directed by Rebekah McKendry and written by Joshua Hull, David Ian McKendry and Todd Rigney, “Glorious” tells the story of Wes (Ryan Kwanten), a heartbroken man who makes a pit stop at a public toilet. He comes across a woman named Sharon (Tordy Clark), who sees the pile of stuff in Wes’s backseat and tells him to clean it if he intends to sleep in it for the night. After making some desperate calls to Brenda (Sylvia Grace Crim), who is apparently his ex, Wes gets drunk and burns all of his belongings near the parking lot, including the pants he’s wearing. The following day, he rushes into one of the toilet stalls to puke his guts out. And that’s when he hears the omniscient voice of a man who starts to make small talk with him. But eventually, he reveals that he’s a god named Ghatanothoa (J.K. Simmons), and he wants something from Wes through the glory hole.
Who Or What Is Ghatanothoa?
The first hint of Ghatanothoa (or Ghat’s) extraterrestrial or godly nature is seen in the parking lot, where a strange-looking flower with translucent ooze on it is glowing. Later on, it becomes mildly clear that that’s the thing that is helping Ghat create a layer around the toilet so that no one can come in or go out of there until Wes does his task. In terms of what Ghat looks like, that is shown through the illustration on the wall of the bathroom stall in which Wes is sitting. He has the body of a human. But there are three eyes on his chest. And instead of a human head, there is a blue and red bundle of tentacles. Each tentacle has a circular set of teeth. The part where the tentacles meet has a bunch of eyes, and the glory hole, which I guess represents another mouth, has teeth in it too. However, it’s later revealed that Ghat isn’t that well-formed. He is a massive hunk of mass with tentacles, spiky flesh, and disgusting eyes.
Ghat appears to be a mind-reader too. He can cause hallucinations and enter one’s memories and pull them out of them. And he’s in control of the physics of that bathroom stall. But his powers are apparently waning, and if Wes looks at him directly, he’s going to become a hollow shell devoid of humanity. Ghatanothoa is a character created by the writers H.P. Lovecraft and Hazel Heald. As per their work, Ghat is the firstborn of Cthulhu. In “Glorious,” Ghat describes what appears to be Cthulhu as a being of pure energy wandering in space and possessing the power to give physical form to his thoughts. Going by the etchings, that’s how Cthulhu gave birth to humanoids. However, since he didn’t want them, he sought to destroy them. During the conflict, Cthulhu’s eldest sliced him open, and the blood and guts that flowed out of him ended up being the universe, the planets, and life, in general. He begged his children to stop any more new life from forming. His children agreed, but only if he allowed the life that already exists to continue thriving.
Although Cthulhu accepted defeat, he continued to loathe humanity in particular. So, he created a being of pure destruction that is capable of destroying all life and returning the universe to the “infinite nothing” that it once was. Ghatanothoa is that very being. Now, the creation of Ghat weakened Cthulhu and allowed his children to imprison him in a deep part of space and hide Ghat in the Ether, where he remained until he came across Wes.
What Does Ghatanothoa Want From Wes?
When Wes critiques Ghat about his intention to kill all living beings in the universe, Ghat says that’s something he doesn’t want. Which is interesting for a god that’s made with the sole purpose of killing all living beings. Ghat says that he has apparently formed a connection with humanity. That’s why he’s hiding from his father. But that won’t be possible if he enters his corporeal (physical) form. He says that Cthulhu has already broken free from his prison and is searching for him. And once Ghat becomes fully physical, the universe will be destroyed immediately. The key to stopping that is by returning Ghat back to his ethereal form, and, surprise, surprise, only Wes can make that happen. Ghat says that Wes has to “satisfy” some feelings that have awakened in him while extending one of his tentacles through the glory hole. If you are thinking what I am thinking, don’t worry, because it is the exact same thing that Wes is thinking.
Wes assumes that he’s going to get out of this pickle when Gary, the property manager (André Lamar), arrives there. He even tries to make Gary the victim of Ghat’s whole plan. But Ghat simply (and grotesquely) eats him up because, according to fate, Wes is the only one who can save the universe. Based on his own assumption that he must put his phallus through the glory hole to satiate Ghat’s desires, Wes pulls down his underwear and sticks his “Johnson” through the hole. Ghat is audibly offended by it, and he ridicules Wes for even thinking that that’s what it’s going to take to save the universe. He proceeds to correct him by saying that he needs a portion of his liver. Wes is confused as to how he’s going to get it out of his body. Ghat clears that by sliding a shard of glass, thereby indicating that Wes needs to cut open his gut, reach into his own body, and extract a portion of the liver.
Before going any further into the weird beyond, here’s a little mythology lesson. So, many cultures consider the liver to be the seat of the soul. That’s why, in Greek mythos, Prometheus was punished by the gods by chaining him to a rock and having his liver pecked out by a vulture (or an eagle). The liver has also been considered to be the seat of the darkest emotions that are usually synonymous with wrath, jealousy, and greed. It’s also referred to as the “seat of anger.” On a slightly positive note, the liver is also linked to courage, strength, and terms of endearment such as “Jan-e-jigar”. And the organ is used to describe those who are rich, honorable, or happy. But in Wes’s case, the nature of his departure with his liver leans towards the former because he isn’t the good guy we think he is.
‘Glorious’ Ending Explained: Did Everything That Wes Experience Actually Happen?
When Wes refuses to risk his life to ensure the safety of the entire universe by donating a part of his liver, Ghat says that he’s being selfish. And that he needs to do it for all the people who are innocent, kind, and are emblems of self-sacrifice. Wes says that every act of kindness is done for a selfish reason. Hence, no one is actually unselfish and, hence, not worth cutting out his liver for. He even goes into story mode and talks about how his father used to berate his mother just because he was the breadwinner of the family. He says that his father blamed his mother for being selfish when she died by suicide. When Wes finishes his rant, he notices that a rift in space has opened in the bathroom’s walls. So, in a fit of anger, he starts calling out to Cthulhu to come get Ghat and bring an end to this nightmarish stand-off. That’s when Ghat starts to mess with Wes again by threatening to erase Brenda’s memory from his brain.
That’s what triggers Wes to follow through with the act of cutting out his liver by re-entering the stall beside Ghat’s. But he asks Ghat to let him visit Brenda in his memories one last time. That’s where we see the birth of their relationship and its death as well, when Brenda finds the photos of the girls in Wes’s red box (something that he burned along with his belongings). That’s right. Wes is a serial killer. However, he developed feelings for Brenda and, out of some weird fear of commitment, he killed her. In a hypnotically edited sequence, we see Ghat reaching into Wes’s gut to get his liver, while Wes imagines that all the girls he has murdered are doing the same to him. When Ghat is done, Wes stumbles out of the stall and falls to the ground. He announces that the task is over and he is going to return to his ethereal form now. As mentioned earlier, we briefly get to see the horrifying, tentacled, physical form before cutting back to reality.
Here’s the kicker: In the film’s closing minutes, Wes is seen all bloodied and cut up but lying in a regular bathroom. The blood shower caused by Gary’s death that painted the walls and everything in it red seems to be fictional. When Wes starts to get out of the door, he thinks that he’s a hero for saving the universe. Ghat says that he’s not a hero because heroes are remembered. But Wes is going to be forgotten because that’s what he deserves. Ghat says that he deserves to be forgotten, too, since they are both beings of pure destruction, and they shouldn’t exist in this beautiful world. When Wes does exit the toilet and subsequently dies near the burning pit due to excessive bleeding, there is no sign of Gary’s car. So, there’s a chance that this whole episode could’ve been a result of a mixture of Wes’s guilt and his generational trauma due to his mother’s death. And it ended with Wes killing himself. Or, Ghat is really that powerful and, except for Wes, he flicked everything back to normal after getting the liver. You decide.
“Glorious” is a 2022 Drama Horror Film directed by Rebekah McKendry.