Sunday, 26 February 2017

Stranger Week Bonus Day – POP! Television: Demogorgon (Stranger Things)

The most visible threat of Stranger Things was the Monster, better known as the Demogorgon. A number of Lovecraftian elements are present in the show, but the Demogorgon’s design is where we probably see the most influence shining through. H.R. Giger and Silent Hill's hands are also evident, though there’s far less bio-mechanoid/Freudian sexuality than either of those influences typically showcases. Stalking through both the real world and the Upside Down, numerous characters fell victim to its claws and teeth-lined face.  

At present, we don’t actually know a great deal about the creature; there’s been a wide array of fan theories, but for me the jury remains out until such time as future season/s of the show provide more information. The Duffer Brothers themselves have likened it to the shark from Jaws, rather than being a sentient being, but I guess we’ll just have to wait and see what…unfolds…

The POP depicts the Demogorgon with its “face” fully flared out, ready to attack. It somewhat resembles a carnivorous flower, and it’s also pentacle-shaped – this is likely a reference to the demonic origins of Demogorgon in Dungeons & Dragons, which in turn drew its name from a rather vague (and unrelated) figure in Christian demonology*. Modern research seems to suggest that the whole concept was likely based on a misinterpretation of the word “Demiurge”, a figure in Gnostic belief. But here we start to move into occult waters that are well out of my depth.

The scale is not quite right. Looking at screencaps, the Demogorgon is substantially larger than a human, but nowhere near big enough to warrant a 6” POP. They’ve gone bigger in the past with figures like Cthulhu, but on this occasion I think the reduced scale still works fine. He’s wildly different in style to the other figures in the series – which would ordinarily be a criticism but makes sense in light of the way the character is depicted on the show.   

There’s also a chase version of the Demogorgon, and it’s a good example of an ideal chase figure i.e. it adds something cool to the collection, but it’s not essential to own in order to consider the collection complete (Eleven’s chase POP is a bad one for this very reason). The chase version depicts the Demogorgon with a closed face, somewhat resembling a clenched fist, a nurse from Silent Hill or a butt. It’s okay…but the regular version is definitely the cooler one.   

If you enjoyed Stranger Things but don’t want to go all-in on the line, Demogorgon and Eleven are the obvious figures to pick up. The sculpt is good, the paint is fine (the teeth on the "petals" is a bit sloppy) – and while I wouldn’t go so far to say the Demogorgon has quite reached iconic status yet, it’s a very cool creature design and will look great on the shelf alongside other movie monsters. I can't wait to see what Season 2 throws at the protagonists!  

*Though they got it a little off if they wanted to convey this; the upright pentacle that we see on the Demogorgon's head has typically been seen as a symbol of good. It's the inverted one that's meant to convey darkness or evil. Hence why neo-pagans tend to wear upright ones and metal bands tend to use inverted ones. The upright one has even been used as a Christian symbol at various times, though your local church is unlikely to have one on prominent display.  

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