Netflix’s supernatural thriller hit Stranger Things is a show that’s chock-full of lovingly rendered homages to the science-fiction stories of yesteryear. There’s more than a hefty dose of nods to late 1970s, early 1980s Spielberg films like Close Encounters of the Third Kind and E.T., so it makes sense that series creators Matt and Ross Duffer would take a particularly Spielberg-ian approach to keeping its main monster hidden until well into the show.
Viewers didn’t get a good look at the full monster — affectionately called the Demogorgon by the main characters — until the later chapters of the season, and when they did it ended up being a sufficiently grotesque sight that’d be right at home with the macabre creature designs from the films of horror master Guillermo del Toro.
There was a lot of hard work that went into designing the faceless creature who terrorizes the inhabitants of Hawkins, Indiana, from the alternate dimension known as the Upside Down, and a VFX reel and early concept art just surfaced to see what might have been with the Demogorgon.
Here’s how effects house CoSA VFX created the spooky visual effects for the show:
As for the art, the initial designs by Aaron Sims Creative are equals parts gorgeous and disgusting. Some lean towards a more plant-like organic creepiness while others favor a kind of Cloverfield-esque humanoid.
The Duffers have been making the rounds and talking about their plans for a second season of Stranger Things, and while Netflix hasn’t budged, the fan fervor makes you think an announcement is coming any day now. What makes these designs more interesting is the prospect that they could pop up in a second season.
Check out this early look at the Rift into the Upside Down:
If you’ve binged through all eight episodes, you know that the characters might be done with the Upside Down, but the Upside Down is definitely not done with them. Poor Will Byers coughed up what looked to be a baby Demogorgon pod from his time in the alternate dimension. Considering Netflix has a bona fide hit on their hands, they’ll likely up the budget of Season 2, and maybe the Duffers could resurrect some of these designs for the next monsters to terrorize the main characters.
Until then, stream Stranger Things on Netflix, and try to keep the Demogorgon out of your nightmares.