Demogorgon, X-Men and Other “Stranger Things”

So. Stranger Things. I know, everyone has already talked about it and I’m way behind.

I’ve been busy. So sue me.

But this show is incredible, the perfect blend of Super 8 and Fringe and Stephen King, and it absolutely must be discussed. (If you haven’t watched yet, go do it now—it’s only eight episodes. Spoilers to come.)

In particular, we absolutely must discuss the very excellent, horrifying monster of this show. Who doesn’t love a good monster, right?



But what the heck is this thing? Welp. I’ve got a theory.

What we know

The show doesn’t tell us much about the monster, but we do learn some things for sure.

  • It lives in the Upside Down.
  • It steals children (and teens).
  • It is a predator that eats meat, but not humans.
  • It hunts in our world (the Rightside Up?).
  • It can smell blood.
  • Its presence affects electricity.

So okay. That’s what the show spells out for us.

But in addition to that, we can observe a few more things. First, Eleven seems to be the first person from the Rightside Up to discover the monster. It also seems to escape the Upside Down about the same time that Eleven escapes from the lab.

Relevant themes

There are some delightfully geeky details in this show, particularly with the four boys and their play together.

First, let’s talk about one of my favorite topics ever: Comics. Specifically, X-Men #134, which Will calls dibs on after winning a bike race with Dustin on their way home, right before the monster takes him.

This issue is not a random mention.

X-Men #134 features a major moment within the X-Men universe: The one in which the Mastermind goes too far in his tinkering around in Jean Grey’s psyche, and unleashes the Dark Phoenix. Later in the episode, Dark Phoenix puts Mastermind in a coma with her telepathic powers.

Seeing any parallels in Stranger Things here? Anyone? Bueller?


So now that we’ve got that settled, let’s move on to the demogorgon. This monster is introduced right at the beginning of episode one, as the thing that kills Will’s character in the boys’ Dungeons and Dragons game.

(Tangent: So many points for positive portrayal of DnD. So many.)

What the heck is a demogorgon? Let’s turn to our handy dandy Monster Encyclopedia.

The demogorgon is a two-headed demon monster with blueish-green scales, a forked tail and mandrill heads. Depending on which head is used, the demogorgon’s gaze can charm its victims or drive them insane.

Most don’t realize, though, that the two heads contain separate consciousnesses, and that these two minds are constantly battling to destroy each other. The demogorgon is often told within the terms of a struggle to divide or unite them.

So what’s it mean?

We’ve got two metaphors here that both tie back to a duality and an inner struggle. Okiedoke. Now let’s go back to Stranger Things for a moment.

Remember when Eleven first showed Mike her powers, and then said “It’s me. I’m the monster,”?

So … what if she’s right?

I mean, Eleven and the monster are obviously the same being, as are the two heads of the demogorgon, or the two personalities of Phoenix.

But, my theory is, the monster is a psychological manifestation that stemmed from Eleven and the trauma she has suffered from the lab’s experimentation.

Beyond the thematic hints, Eleven is the first to discover the monster. As the lab begins to study the monster and its habitat in the Upside Down, the monster seems to be able to do something Eleven won’t: Destroy the scientists holding her hostage.

Add to this equation that Eleven and the monster seem to break free at about the same time, and I’m shipping this theory.

All in all, I don’t think we’ve seen the end of either of them, and I can’t wait to see what this incredible team comes up with next.


What do you think the Stranger Things monster is?


Bonus round: Get excited for season two of Stranger Things with this report of everything we know so far, and then make your own Stranger Things-style sign.

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