The Demogorgon from Stranger Things has been haunting the nightmares of fans since the show debuted in 2016, but what are the origins of this vicious creature? With its great ensemble cast, including Winona Ryder and David Harbour (Hellboy), nostalgic setting and mix of drama and horror, Stranger Things quickly became a huge hit for Netflix. While some critics took issue with what they felt was shameless pandering to nostalgia by invoking movies like E.T. and Aliens, the overall quality of the series couldn't be denied.
The first season centered on a group of young boys who search for their missing friend, and they encounter a mysterious young girl named Eleven with psychic powers, and that an alternate dimension dubbed the Upside Down exists. Stranger Things season 2 made the series even bigger in scope, introducing a new villain called The Mind Flayer and other creatures for the gang to face.
The Demogorgon remains the iconic villain of Stranger Things, which was the creature that kidnapped Will, killed Barb and caused a whole host of problems in season one. The Demogorgon has no facial features to speak of, with a head that opens like a flower to reveal a gaping mouth filled with razor-sharp teeth. Its skin is incredibly tough and resistant to gunfire, with fire appearing to be the only effective weapon against it. The Stranger Things Demogorgon isn't terribly smart, but it makes up for that in viciousness. It's incredibly strong and once it gets the scent of blood, there's little that can stop it.
The Demogorgon comes through from the Upside Down to claim victims, opening portals between the two dimensions that look like wounds, which eventually heal over. Eleven encountered this monster during the Project MKUltra experiments being conducted in the Hawkins lab, which later allowed it to travel from the Upside Down and into Hawkins to hunt for food.
The Stranger Things Demogorgon isn't the only member of its species, with season two opening up the mythology of the alternate dimension some more. It also explained the life cycle of a Demogorgon, with the larva that Will Byers coughed up in the finale of season one being revealed to the first stage. This larva stage resembles a large slug, while the second stage dubbed a Pollywog. In this form, the larva has molted and grown a tail, a mouth and some limbs. They're sensitive to heat in this form, and after Dustin feeds it some food that leads to the next stage.
The stage three Pollywog becomes bigger, grows teeth and sprouts legs, while stage four develops the famous petal mouth and becomes resistant to heat. Stage five finds the creature becoming a Demodog, which is essentially the Demogorgon in dog form. They're still vulnerable to gunfire in this form, however. The final stage is the classic Stranger Things Demogorgon, though it's possible there's a stage beyond that. The Demogorgon's are also controlled by the Mind Flayer from the Upside Down, confirming they don't have much in the way of intelligence outside of its commands.