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What You Probably Never Noticed About The Design Of Stranger Things' Demogorgon

Audiences fell in love with "Stranger Things" when it first debuted in summer 2016. The show seemed to come out of nowhere, bursting at the seams with imagination and dazzling viewers with a twisted vision of middle America in which magic girls and monsters lurk just beyond the suburban facade. And Season 1 is still the best according to many. It holds a special place in the hearts of fans for its blend of Dungeons & Dragons-inspired horror and a central, heartfelt tale wherein a group of childhood friends battle the Lovecraftian realm of the Upside-Down.

Part of what makes the Upside-Down so unsettling and scary is the iconic Demogorgon that emerges from its gloomy depths in Season 1. The Demogorgon has a humanoid appearance from the neck down, though its spindly body is more reminiscent of Slenderman than any human. The pièce de resistance, however, is its head, comprised of five petaled flaps that taper down to a snout when closed but open to reveal a murderous maw of teeth and saliva. The creature can move at breakneck speeds, and its screeches are ear-piercing. It seems to hunt mindlessly, devouring its victims with those flesh-flaying teeth in a matter of moments.

However, although millions of fans have stared at their televisions in horror at the sight of the Demogorgon, there's one incredible aspect of its design you may never have noticed.

The Demogorgon's mouth never moves in the same way twice

Like many iconic monsters throughout the history of film, the Demogorgon from Season 1 of "Stranger Things" is an animatronic practical effect, as the Duffer brothers explained in a 2016 article for Entertainment Weekly. But the most unsettling thing about the Demogorgon is something you might never have noticed. Designed by Aaron Sims, a concept artist whose body of work includes "Ready Player One," the "Planet of the Apes" trilogy, and "I Am Legend," the Demogorgon was then constructed by Spectral Motion, a company that has previously worked with Guillermo del Toro to create models for "Hellboy," "Hellboy II: The Golden Army," and "Pacific Rim." The result was the monster we see on-screen, an unsettling, stalky bipedal creature with an oversized head that opens up like a Venus flytrap.

As Matt and Ross Duffer relay in their EW article, the sections of the Demogorgon's mouth peel back in a completely new way every single time it opens to attack or make noise. This unpredictability delighted the Duffers because it made the monster feel more like a living thing. Writing about the creature's mouth flaps, they said, "They had a life of their own, moving in unpredictable and bizarre patterns. It felt organic. Creepy. Real."

Demogorgons would continue to appear on "Stranger Things," and Season 4 features a battle between one and Hopper (David Harbour). More VFX was used for those than for Season 1, and some of the shots are actually a person in a green suit (via Collider). But it's hard to deny that the mechanical elements of the original Demogorgon still hold up, even today.