There’s all sorts of monsters in the world, and not all of them are supernatural: school bullies, unethical scientists, that voice in your head that tells you you’re not good enough. Many of these bullies make an appearance in Stranger Things, but it’s the “monster,” called the Demogorgon by the Dungeons & Dragon loving Mike and his crew, that gives us the most nightmares.
And yet, the movie-lovers in all of us can’t help but notice that the monster from Stranger Things seemed eerily similar to many of the other monsters from these ’70s and ’80s horror movies. According to creators Matt and Ross Duffer, that’s totally on purpose, too.
As the brothers told Entertainment Weekly:
The brothers also list some other monster influences:
Below are some of the obvious monster inspirations for Stranger Things.
The Duffer Brothers were incredibly influenced by the 1979 film Alien and one of the key alien designers, surrealist artist H.R. Giger. They also loved the fact that the alien in Alien was not computer-animated. As Bustle notes, “The alien was a practical effect that took up real space, which influenced Duffer Brothers’ decision to build an animatronic monstrosity.”
Another clear influence from Alien would be the fact that the monster seems to cocoon its prey like spider, similar to the alien from Aliens. And what about that mysterious large egg-shape thing that the sheriff finds in the Upside Down? Does it hold another monster like the egg in Alien? I guess we’ll have to wait for season 2 to find out!
You can’t watch the monster in Stranger Things without thinking of Guillermo Del Toro’s monsters, which look like children’s books creations gone horribly wrong.
Silent Hill is actually a video game, but the Duffer Brothers mention the game, and its artist Masahiro Ito, repeatedly in interviews as an influence. As Kayla Herrera writes for Cinema Blend, the Upside Down has a lot in common with the world of Silent Hill. For instance, those specks in the air in the Upside Down? Apparently, Silent Hill has them, too (only in Silent Hill the specks are believed to be ash rather than toxic air.)
As compared to:
One of the main villains of Silent Hill, Pyramid Head, clearly inspired the Duffer Brothers, as well. Masahiro Ito created Pyramid Head because he wanted “a monster with a hidden face.” Sound familiar? The monster of Stranger Things has no face—until it blossoms into a terrifying man-eating flower.
When the monster from Stranger Things tries to break into our world, he pushes against the wall, distorting its dimensions, in a style that can’t help but make us think of David Cronenberg’s creepy film Videodrome:
The effect is completely unsettling—not to mention, terrifying.
Like the shark in Jaws, the monster is attracted to blood. As the Duffer Brothers explain:
Both monsters make a disturbing clicking sound before they strike. (Plus, both their faces seem to “blossom” a bit, in a terrifying way, of course.
And yet, with all these disturbing appearances of the monster, it truly stands out in the world of Stranger Things, making the series feel completely original. We can’t wait for season 2!