In the (much awaited) newest season of Stranger Things, something much darker than the Demogorgon has come to haunt the Hawkins townsfolk. Furthermore, the Upside Down has infiltrated the real world unleashing some extremely terrifying predators.
Season one prompted some bizarre and rather outlandish theories concerning the humanoid creature, but what do we know about it and where did it come from, if not the Upside Down? Plus, we'd all very much like to know how many similarities it shares with Demogorgon from Dungeons & Dragons and whether it really does have a special connection with our favourite little heroine, Eleven. One can only ponder!
Unsurprisingly, the second season has led to more questions than answers but one thing's for certain: the Upside Down is a force to be reckoned with.
After the newest season's release a few days ago, let’s build some Stanger Things momentum and uncover some of the best theories and facts related to this slimy beast from another dimension with 15 Things You Didn’t Know About The Demogorgon.
14 Will uses a fireball to counteract it at the beginning of the show and this foreshadows a couple of future events
The Duffer brothers are prone to leaving the odd clue here and there. The intro scene in season one in which the boys play D&D hints at a couple of mishaps that take place later on. When Will unsuccessfully uses a fireball to attack the ‘gorgon, this links to Nancy, Steve and Jonathan’s failed attempt at killing the monster by setting it on fire.
Will’s defeat at the hands of the Demogorgon also forewarns the audience of Will’s abduction when he is seized by a similar being from the Upside Down. The Demogorgon’s true purpose in the story is yet to be explained but we’re sure season two will give us some well-deserved answers.
The proper introduction of Will’s character will certainly help as he should be able to give us a little more insight regarding his experience in the parallel dimension.
13 The Duffer brothers stated that it is more like the shark from Jaws than Pennywise from IT
We’ve all noticed the similarities between Stranger Things and Stephen King's IT, but the Duffer brothers have mentioned that the Demogorgon is more like the shark from Spielberg movie Jaws than the sadistic clown in IT (even though Pennywise also comes from a parallel dimension).
Does this mean the Demogorgon’s sole aim was to survive and reproduce or was it doing another, more sinister creature’s bidding? We now know that something much more terrifying is lurking in the darkness but we all want to know how it relates to the ‘gorgon.
What’s more, a poster for Stranger Things was released by Netflix in September that clearly resembles the original Jaws poster (from the sharp gnashers to the human prey). This show certainly loves to toil with our imagination!
12 There’s reason to believe it is a part of Eleven’s consciousness
We’ve all heard about people possessing other beings within them that form a part of themselves. The old angel-devil combo comes to mind. Many have concluded that Eleven awoke her bad side within the "limbo world" and that the creature was formed from her own isolation and anguish.
Lots of things point towards this hypothesis. In season one, Eleven seems to follow the ‘gorgon back to the Upside Down for some unknown reason (it even assimilates her arm raising movement when she attempts to subdue it).
What’s more, the flower-like creature never attacks El despite her frequent nose bleeds; this is odd because the monster is drawn to blood on other occasions, albeit not all. El did proclaim "I am the monster" (although she may have meant this metaphorically), and the 'gorgon appears to possess telekinetic abilities, similar to her own.
11 It was influenced by a bunch of other beastly creations
In their Variety interview, the Duffer brothers mentioned Clive Barker and Guillermo Del Toro as being their biggest inspirations when creating their flower-headed beast.
Presumably this is why the creature shares many similarities with the monsters from Hellraiser and the Pale Man (also known as Eyeball Hands) in Pan’s Labrynth. Artist H.R. Giger was also a major influence with his psychedelic paintings set in dark and surreal underworlds.
The brothers felt compelled to give the ‘gorgon humanoid features to enhance its creepiness. The combination of the human-like body and the repulsive petalled gnashers is disconcerting to say the least.
If you thought you saw a hint of Silent Hill in the Upside Down, then you’re not wrong. The brothers have mentioned that the Upside Down is loosely based on the spooky little town from the Silent Hill video game released in 1999. The origins of Silent Hill might even be a clue as to how the Upside Down came about.
11. It appeared in classic literature and its name likely derived from a typo
Before the monster became a D&D celeb in the '70s, it actually appeared in numerous pieces of classic literature. The origin of the creature remains vague and in each text, it represents something different according to the interpreter, although overall it seems to represent the dark unknown.
It’s believed that the term "Demogorgon" actually derives from a typo of the Greek word "Demiurge," meaning "creator of the world."
The word "Demogorgon" first appeared as far back as the 4th Century in Latin poem Thebaid by a Christian scholar named Placidus. In the poem, the word refers to a demon who must not be named.
The name was then attributed to a demonic or fear evoking being during the Middle Ages and it maintained its ominousness in English poems Paradise Lost and The Faerie Queen, Italian poem Orlando Furioso, Marlowe’s play Doctor Faustus, and American novel Moby Dick.
In Prometheus Unbound, the Demorgorgon is described as a "mighty darkness" rather than a demonic creature and it goes on to save the protagonist from years of torture.
10 The Duffer brothers said they have a 30 page document containing information about the monster
We’d all like to get our hands on this rumoured document, that’s for sure. A 30-page document sounds pretty hefty for one monster that’s supposedly dead.
This gives us reason to believe that there is a lot more to the ‘gorgon than first meets the eye. Evidently, its motives go well beyond dining on human flesh and hijacking children just for the sake of it.
The Duffer brothers have likened it to the shark from Jaws but does this mean it’s completely devoid of human traits such as empathy?
Let’s hope it wasn’t the end for the Demogorgon. OK, so the creature did disperse into millions of tiny particles but perhaps it was merely taken back to the Upside Down. After all, it seems like this sci-fi monster still has unfinished business.
9 It has a limited hunting ground
You may have noticed that the Demogorgon never strays too far from the woods and only ever comes out at night. When Joyce and Hopper enter the Upside Down to search for Will, they find the boy in the school library along with a few rotting corpses.
It appears as though the monster created its own creepy little nest amongst all the book shelves, but could it be protecting something else that resides there? Perhaps it’s looking after its own unborn offspring. Will did appear to be acting as a human-vessel for hibernation purposes, hence the slug-vomit. Since the slug-monster presumably grew into a baby Demogorgon, it only makes this theory all the more likely.
If we assume the Demogorgon is actually a part of El, then it’s also conceivable the creature can’t physically stray too far from the girl as this could have a detrimental effect on the creature’s existence or mental stability, and potentially El’s too.
8 The D&D version has two heads
Let’s go back to Demogorgon from the Monster Manual. This monster actually has two heads, unlike the creature from Stranger Things that barely has one! Each head has a name (Aemeul and Hethradiah) and a unique personality (which may or may not be symbolic of the ‘gorgon’s connection to El).
Aemeul and Hethradiah use opposing techniques to combat enemies and for this reason, are at constant logger-heads with each other.
Despite their antipathy towards one another, the heads cannot kill their other half for this would mean killing themselves. This might explain why the Demogorgon never comes for El; even if you hate a side of yourself, killing it would mean suicide.
If this is the case, the mother Demogorgon is still knocking about somewhere. However, again, we’re just speculating here.
7 It most likely took Will for a very specific reason
It’s not overly crazy to think Will might share a tiny portion of Eleven’s gift or that the child might be special in some other way. For one thing, it looks like the 'gorgon chose to keep Will alive. Furthermore, Will’s own upbringing is not too dissimilar from Eleven’s -- both their fathers are out of the picture.
Maybe his powers only came into existence during his time in the Upside Down or perhaps they were nurtured there in some way. After all, El is only that powerful because the lab had wanted to augment her abilities for their own greedy purposes.
Judging from season two, it seems plausible that both kids will be able to communicate with one another from separate dimensions at some point. We now know Eleven isn't the only child with special abilities.
6 If El is linked to it, it’s possible everyone has one but are unable to make contact with theirs like she did
If the Demogorgon is a part of Eleven’s consciousness then it’s possible everyone has one. Perhaps those who experience less torment or suffering possess ‘gorgons that are less destructive and hostile but Eleven is the only person powerful enough to summon hers.
She may have also unintentionally passed on her abilities, which is why the creature was then able to use telekinesis as well as travel through dimensions.
This might mean that the Upside Down and the normal world are linked, unless the waste-land was previously occupied by UD versions of the Hawkins residents, each with their very own ‘gorgon. Could the creatures have come into existence through some kind of supernatural epidemic?
If so, the Upside Down residents have either been killed or pushed out of the decaying universe. It definitely seems a similar fate awaits the regular Hawkins residents.
5 It isn't just attracted to blood
There has been heaps of speculation concerning the ‘gorgon’s hunting methods. The detection of blood is the most frequent hunting method used by the Demogorgon, but because it doesn’t always use this technique, perhaps there are other things that attract it to its prey. One such thing could be energy.
Energy seems to bridge the Upside Down and the regular world: Joyce is able to communicate with her son using fairy lights, the science teacher (Mr Clarke) said large amounts of energy can open up portals between alternate worlds and El’s own energy-based abilities allow the lab workers to interfere with the thresholds between time and space.
Moreover, the Demogorgon seems drawn to electricity (the pool-lights near Barb or the light-bulb in Will's shed). We need some answers!!!
4 It can heal on its own
Let's face it, the Demogorgon had a rough time of it on the real world. However, even after being caught in a bear-trap, set on fire and shot at by a bunch of human maniacs, the creature was still able to heal itself without so much as a scratch to show off to its mates.
The 'gorgon has both animal and plant characteristics which could explain why these common destroy-techniques are not enough to kill it. Fire seemed to do the most damage, even prompting the creature to escape back to the Upside Down.
While it seemed to recoil from the pain inflicted by the bullets and the fire, its injuries were only temporarily, and even the babies appeared to recover after being hit. This means the hybrid-beast has the power to regenerate, like a tree or a flower.
3 It is not a type of monster but the actual name of the D&D demon
Players of the game used to call it Demogorgon rather than ‘The Demogorgon". For this reason, some die-hard fans were a little confused by this name switch-up in Stranger Things, but perhaps it depends on the player's preference. Demogorgon, The Demogorgon, Tomato, Tomahto, whatever.
Demorgorgon made its first appearance in Eldritch Wizardry, a Dungeons & Dragons game released in 1976, so yeah, the demon’s been around for quite some time. In 1977, D&D released the very first Monster Manual containing the two-headed creature known as Demogorgon, also referred to as "Prince of Demons" or "Lord Of All That Swims In Darkness."
The Eldritch Wizardry rulebook was the first to add demons to the game and another dark lord of equal formidability, Orcus, was included alongside Demogorgon. Orcus is known as "Blood Lord" or "Demon Prince Of The Undead."
Orcus is chubby, looks a bit like a goat and owns a pair of bat wings while his arch-nemesis, Demogorgon, is a mixture of monkey, human and reptile. It's fair to say neither will be winning any beauty contests.
2 It's a cute little critter compared to other monsters in the Upside Down
In season two, the shadow monster, not dissimilar to a giant tarantula, comes to haunt Will Byers as bits of the Upside Down begin to merge with his own world. Though many of us initially wondered whether or not it was all in his mind, his "now memories" turned out to be happening in the present.
Also, you probably noticed the introduction of character Thessalhydra during the boys' game of Dungeons & Dragons (at the end of season one). Considering the 'gorgon was initially made known to us via one of their D&D games, this could be a clue as to the type of creature about to cause havoc on the streets of Hawkins.
Thessalhydra is a worthy opponent in D&D and resembles the multi-headed snake known as a Hydra in Greek mythology. The main difference is that its snake heads are united by a large gaping mouth filled with spikey teeth.
Thessalhydra procreates by using a living cell to harbour its larvae (ahem, Will).
1 It's actually just a guy in a suit
Rather than solely use CGI to bring the monster to life, the Duffer brothers decided to use old-school special effects that would allow the creature to interact with the actors during takes. The head and the arms were constructed using animatronics and move with the use of a remote control.
The suit was moulded around Mark Stegar’s body (the actor who plays the ‘gorgon throughout) and he often wore stilts to increase his stature.
The studio in charge of designing the monster was Aaron Sims Creative, also known for films such as Insidious and The Amazing Spider Man.
Spectral Motion, a creature-effects studio who are most famous for their work on Pan’s Labrynth, was also brought on board to help build the ‘gorgon.
The fact that Mark Stegar was frequently walking around the set in a freaky Demogorgon costume meant that some of the smaller kids had issues being around him. Thankfully, some genius told them he was a monster from Monsters Inc and that quickly put an end to the issue.
Can you think of any other interesting facts about Stranger Things' Demogorgon? Let us know in the comments!