John Krasinski’s ultra-scary sci-fi horror film A Quiet Place includes the scariest new alien monster we’ve seen in recent memory. The final creature design, which is basically a blind xenomorph with insane hearing abilities, delivers on terror, but it didn’t always. Krasinski has been open about how its look changed at the last minute during post-production. But VFX supervisor Scott Farrar of Industrial Light & Magic, who worked on designing the alien creature, has revealed to Inverse the monster’s humble and much-less-scary origins.
Spoilers for the monsters in A Quiet Place follow.
In a recent conversation with Inverse, Farrar told that the original looked “dangerous” and “prehistoric” but ultimately Krasinski and producer Andrew Form quite simply “didn’t think it was scary enough.” Form and other members of the team borrowed elements from various other scary creatures to come up with something new.
Judging by the looks of the final monster, they might’ve borrowed from creatures like the original Cloverfield monster, the Stranger Things Demogorgon, and the Venom symbiote from Marvel Comics. These and other elements combine into a frighteningly innovative creature design that has instilled fear in enough theatergoers to make $50 million for A Quiet Place in its opening weekend.
But what did the original version of these alien monsters look like?
“The old style was more a rhinoceros shape with fins and horns,” Farrar said. “Bony exoskeleton. Bony everywhere! He looked dangerous and prehistoric, but it was too strangely-shaped to be humanoid.”
Perhaps the most notable change came with the creature’s “flaps,” Farrar said: “He would have the flaps that would open on his head, chest, shoulder, and thighs — everywhere.” The biggest design change came from cutting down on these flaps and centralizing them on the creature’s head. In the final version, the creature has these organic panels on its face that blossom outward, exposing a pulsing ear that grants it extra-sensitive hearing. (This is where the inevitably Demogorgon comparisons come in.)
From the gist of Farrar’s descriptions, the original creature looked like a chubby dinosaur with hearing flaps all over his body.
Instead, we got a lithe and powerful hunter that shrieks like a banshee, one that makes theatergoers so afraid to make a sound that they hesitate to even eat their popcorn.
A Quiet Place is now in theaters.