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This article is about the species. For the individual creature, see The Demogorgon.

Demogorgons are predatory creatures originating from the Upside Down, an alternate dimension. Demogorgons obey the malicious Mind Flayer, and make up part of his hive mind. Under his influence, Demogorgons are murderous, violent and have limited intelligence.

In 1983, a fully grown Demogorgon set foot in Hawkins, Indiana after a gateway to the Upside Down was accidentally opened. This Demogorgon was eventually defeated and destroyed, but not before it could inflict damage upon the human world. Will Byers, a rescued victim of the Demogorgon, became a vessel for the Mind Flayer. Somehow, Will's possession allowed the Mind Flayer to unleash a swarm of adolescent Demogorgons upon Hawkins.

Etymology

Demogorgons have not been given a scientific title due to their secretive status. However, Eleven and her friends coined the nickname "Demogorgon", naming the original monster from 1983 after an antagonist found in Dungeons & Dragons.

Life cycle

See also: D'Artagnan

The life cycle of a Demogorgon has six stages and seems to function similarly to that of several amphibian species. The specifics of how the cycle begins are unknown, but presumably starts with the deposition and incubation of larvae in a host. Once the larvae emerge from the host's body, they undergo a period of rapid metamorphosis, molting through each phase of their development until emerging as an adult. The process takes place over the span of a week. A Demogorgon's life cycle was best illustrated by Dart, a Demogorgon which Dustin temporarily kept as a pet.

Stage One

Larval Demogorgons are roughly the same shape and size as the standard garden slug, but they differ in terms of coloring. Larval Demogorgons are generally dark brown-green, with bright yellow spots.

The larvae inhabited the bodies of the original Demogorgon's victims:

  • Will Byers: Will was found in the Upside Down with a tendril extending down his throat following his capture by the original Demogorgon (see Stage Six below). A month after returning home, Will coughed up a larva and washed it down his bathroom sink drain. It is probable that the tendril 'impregnated' Will, so to speak.
  • Barbara Holland: While immersed in the Void, Eleven scoured the Upside Down to find Will and Barbara. She discovered Barb's corpse and saw a larva slither out of Barb's mouth and across her face.

At the tail end of October 1984, the pumpkin patches of Hawkins deteriorated in the span of only a couple of days. While Chief Hopper investigated one of the pumpkin fields on Halloween night, he could faintly hear strange chittering sounds. Later that week, a massive herd of wild Demogorgons had suddenly appeared in Hawkins.

Although never fully confirmed, it is implied that the herd of Demogorgons originated from the pumpkin fields. Dart, a Demogorgon which Dustin temporarily kept as a pet, made the same chittering sound which Hopper heard in the field.

The Mind Flayer presumably hijacked the biological function of the pumpkins, using them to spawn new Demogorgon larvae.

Stage Two

After an unknown amount of time, a larval Demogorgon would molt to the next stage of its life cycle, sometimes referred to as a “pollywog” due to the resemblance to the larval stage of amphibians. The pollywogs are small enough to fit in the palm of a hand, and their skin is colored yellow-green. They possess a pair of forelimbs with small claw-like hands, a mouth, and a lizard-like tail. They are incredibly sensitive to heat; even direct exposure to the light of a table lamp is enough to cause a pollywog extreme discomfort. During this stage, they appear to be opportunistic feeders, as Dart was found foraging for food in a trashcan and ate a candy bar it received from Dustin.

Stage Three

Unlike the other stages, the third stage of the cycle is not entered by the creature molting. Instead, this stage is signaled by the pollywog's skin taking on a dark green color, as well as an increase in body mass. The pollywog will then sprout a pair of hind legs, becoming quadrupedal. Small, sharp teeth begin growing in the creature's mouth.

Stage Four

Once the pollywog has eaten a sufficient amount of food, it again molts, growing a little larger than a standard house cat. It is in this stage that the juvenile Demogorgon develops the signature “petal mouth” that the species is best known for. In addition, the juvenile becomes carnivorous. Its skin takes on a darker color, and is resistant enough to heat that it is able to walk in direct sunlight with no injury.

Stage Five

Upon molting to the penultimate stage of their life cycle, the adolescent Demogorgon develops to a much larger version of their previous form, which Dustin referred to as a “Demo-Dog”. Now roughly the size of a large dog, the Demo-Dog is strong enough to tackle a grown human. They are proficient in digging tunnels and are able to climb steep precipices. While a Demo-Dog is not invulnerable to gunfire, its skin is thick enough to resist several gunshots.

Stage Six

See Also: The Demogorgon

After molting for presumably a final time, the Demogorgon would emerge as an adult. Adult Demogorgons are bipedal and reach a height of approximately 6 ft. They possess immense strength, being able to knock a door off its hinges and pin down an adult human with ease. Their sense of smell is exceptionally potent, being able to detect a small amount of blood even while in another dimension. Their skin has grown durable enough to withstand gunfire and numerous attacks dealt with a spiked object. One of the few things shown to cause a Demogorgon any type of significant harm was being burned, but even then the creature was able to escape fairly easily, and did not seem to be hindered by its injuries.

The Demogorgon that plagued Hawkins in 1983 could open inter-dimensional portals and appeared to possess limited telekinetic ability. It is unknown if all adult members of the species possess these abilities, or if they were somehow exclusive to that individual. It is also unclear whether or not this individual was under the control of the Mind Flayer.

Behind the scenes

The larvae

The larvae in Season 1 were added with computer graphics in post-production by visual effects studio CoSA VFX.[1]In the original script for "The Bathtub", a spider crawled out of Barb's corpse instead of the larva in the final version.[2]

References

  1. "CoSA VFX Stranger Things Season 1 VFX Reel" by Vfx Guru on YouTube. July 24, 2016.
  2. "Exclusive ‘Stranger Things’ Art Reveals ‘Upside Down’ Secrets and Barb’s Alternate End" ScreenCrush. August 22, 2016.


The Upside Down
Locations The Upside DownThe GateHawkins National LaboratoryPublic LibraryPortalsHawkins tunnel system
Entities D'ArtagnanThe DemogorgonDemogorgon (species)Library TendrilThe Mind FlayerHawkins tunnel system
Visitors Joyce ByersWill ByersElevenBarbara HollandJim HopperShepardNancy Wheeler
Miscellaneous Upside Down eggThe Upside Down (episode)Dungeons & DragonsThe Void
Articles may contain spoilers.