Everyone has a favorite movie monster or three, right? Whether it’s classics like Dracula or the Wolfman, sci-fi perils like the Alien or Godzilla, or even more mundane creatures like the shark in Jaws or the ‘gators in Crawl. Monsters come in all shapes and sizes. Darth Vader totally counts as a monster (especially when I first saw him as a kid), as does Anton Chigurh from No Country for Old Men.
This series is about our favorite things that go bump in the night, our dearest creepy crawlies, our fondest nightmares. Are they among your favorites as well? Or is there something still more monstrous that tickles your fancy?
Monster: The Demogorgon (Stranger Things)
Many elements come together to make Stranger Things the smash hit that it is, but it’s the Demogorgon that sets the tone.
There’s something about a simple predatory creature that just brings the chills in the way no other can. The shark from Jaws, the Xenomorph, the raptors of Jurassic Park – they have no nefarious intentions or ulterior motives, they’re just looking for a snack. And so is the case of the Demogorgon as the central antagonist of season one. And there’s another layer to the fear – it capitalizes on our fear of the unknown. Jaws scared people silly when it debuted on theaters because a shark goes undetected to its pray, only briefly coming to the surface to kill its prey. And in Tremors, the Graboids work as a land equivalent of the shark, eerily scheming below the surface to capture their victims. The Demogorgon takes this to the next level by breaking the boundaries between dimensions, making nowhere in Hawkins safe.
The great twist to the Demogorgon is that the creatures are typically less scary the more that they appear. Seeing the monster breaks that fear of the unknown. But the Demogorgon is nightmare fuel in and of itself with its petal-shaped mouth filled with teeth. It is familiar and unfamiliar at once, creating as much dread seen as unseen.
And the Duffer Brothers masterfully set up and draw parallels between the monster and Dungeons and Dragons monster to root this menacing creature in old-school cool.
The Demogorgon is one of my favorite monsters. What are your thoughts on the Stranger Things creature?