Behind-the-scenes look at ‘Stranger Things’ monster is stuff of nightmares

Stranger Things
One of the many elements that contributed to Stranger Things being named our favorite television series of 2016 was the show’s unique — and terrifying — otherworldly antagonist, the creature dubbed “The Demogorgon” by the series’ core cast of young characters.

Visual effects studio Spectral Motion recently released a batch of new, behind-the-scenes photos and a creepy video depicting the creation of the Demogorgon, and it says a lot about the character that the creature is still scary even when we can see actor Mark Steger in the costume, or when it’s just depicted in concept art.

Demogorgon Animatronic Head Test

A movement test of the animatronic Demogorgon head from Stranger Things.

Posted by Spectral Motion on Thursday, December 29, 2016

Spectral Motion posted the photos and videos to Facebook, and the video is particularly nightmare-inducing with its depiction of the way the Demogorgon’s mechanical maw shivers open, revealing layers of sharp teeth. It also provides a nice look at the way the visual effects team was able to control the opening and closing of portions of the creature’s mouth.

The photos that accompany the video depict Steger in costume, complete with stilts and green-screen suit that allows portions of the actor’s body to be edited out of scenes. The photos also show where Steger’s head is positioned inside the Demogorgon mask, and which portions of his upper face and head needed to be erased from scenes in order to complete the full, terrifying effect of seeing the creature open its mouth.

Posted by Spectral Motion on Thursday, December 29, 2016

Posted by Spectral Motion on Thursday, December 29, 2016

Although Steger’s performance as the Demogorgon was supplemented by the occasional digitally created sequence, the video and photos offer a nice reminder of how much effort was put into using practical effects for Stranger Things — yet another way in which the series paid homage to the 1980s cinema that inspired it. (There are more photos posted on the studio’s Facebook page, so make sure to check them out.)

The second season of Stranger Things is expected to arrive on Netflix at some point this summer, although no official release date has been announced.

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