Now finished with its third season, Stranger Things has boasted a wide variety of monsters over the years. The series started off with several mysterious entities like the Demogorgon, finally graduating to full-on creature feature when it introduced the dreaded Mind Flayer in season 2. Luckily, Eleven and her friends got some reinforcements because by season 3 as the Mind Flayer was closer than ever to coming through the Gate and wiping Hawkins off the map.
Updated on June 16th, 2022 by Kayleena Pierce-Bohen: Stranger Things season 4 has finally arrived in 2022, and Vol. 1 has given Hawkins two new monsters unlike anything Eleven and her friends have faced before; a long-lurking lich manipulating the town from the Upside Down, and the winged creatures that do his bidding. Vecna is an incredibly dangerous foe, and his Demobats are surprisingly vicious, but how do they compare to all the other monsters in Stranger Things?
If there was a category for the cutest creature — as opposed to nightmare fuel — D'Artagnan might be a contender for Best in Show rather than a Stranger Things monster. An adolescent version of the terrifying Demogorgons the crew face later in season 2, this little guy began as a slug-like creature found by Dustin.
Dustin's curiosity one Halloween night led him to place the slug in his turtle's tank and feed Three Musketeer bars (hence its deceptively altruistic name). Taking care of the monster was one of the worst things Dustin did, and "Dart" soon grew from the size of his hand to the size of a small dog, which led to its escape and later attack of the Party in the tunnels. Fortunately for Dustin and his friends, it could recognize him and somewhat block out the Mind Flayer's influence.
One of the things fans love about Stranger Things is its mystery, and the Hawkins Tunnels provided just that in season 1. When a gateway was opened beneath the Hawkins National Laboratory, a biological growth began to transform the tunnels under the lab, spreading out in all directions underneath the outskirts of the town. Chief Hopper first discovered an area of the tunnels by digging up an area of a pumpkin patch.
The tunnels intersected in a point called the "Hub", which was an important area where all the Mind Flayer's sentinels, the Demodogs and Demogorgons, gathered and coordinated their next attacks. Strewn with the bones of the dead, the Hub also is full of mysterious eggs.
Of all the Stranger Things monster names, "vines" might not be so creative, but none of the Hawkins crew equated the snake-like tendrils that corrupted the tunnels under Hawkins to something from Dungeons & Dragons. They were first seen covering the Hawkins Public Library in season 1 and crawling out of the Gate itself.
When Will Byers was abducted into the Upside Down, the tendrils wrapped around his body holding him in place, while another tendril went down his trachea. This led to one of Jim Hopper's most badass moments when he investigated the tunnels for himself and battled their many tendrils with a makeshift torch.
Introduced in season 4 of the series, Demobats are winged creatures with needle-sharp teeth and long tendril tails, which can wrap around victims' necks or drag them off. They gather in swarms around the gateway in the lake, dive-bombing any intruder to the Upside Down.
Steve, Eddie, Robin, and Nancy have to battle several of these creatures when they make their way to Vecna's lair in the Creel House, with Steve especially suffering numerous injuries during the attack. They may not be the largest of the monsters in Stranger Things but they're some of the nastiest.
The Demodog was the penultimate stage that a member of the Demogorgon species reached before molting into a final adult form. The Demodog was so nicknamed by Dustin because of its quadrupedal nature and resemblance to a large dog. Dustin's pet "Dart" reached this stage in development when the Party met him again, and he now belonged to a pack of Demodogs.
Demodogs are extremely strong, fast, and agile. They possess the "petal mouth" that their species is known for, with rows of sharp teeth. Demodogs are known to be exceptional diggers, a fact the crew finds out when they face them in the Hawkins junkyard. In one of Steve's most heroic moments, he beats one with a nail-encrusted baseball bat.
The antagonists and precursors of the Mind Flayer's dreaded appearance, the Flayed were members of Hawkins' community that were corrupted by the Mind Flayer's mental power. When it could no longer control Will Byers, it chose Billy, one of the series' most underrated characters, to be its emissary of doom.
In one of the most heartbreaking scenes in Stranger Things, it took over Billy's mind and used him as an instrument of its will, as well as a means to spy on the movements of Eleven and her friends. He was able to take over other citizens, and like a zombie outbreak, dozens became mindless zombies that eventually sacrificed themselves to the Mind Flayer.
By far the most recognizable of all the Stranger Things monsters, the Demogorgon was introduced in season 1 as the main antagonist to assault Hawkins. Referred to simply as "the Monster" until Dustin and the gang came up with a name derived from the infamous Dungeons & Dragons antagonist, it was unleashed when Eleven made one of her biggest mistakes — accidentally opening the Upside Down with her mind.
The Demogorgon abducted various citizens of Hawkins, including Will Byers, kidnapping him to be placed in the Upside Down and used to breed more of its kind. Standing anywhere from six to ten feet tall, the Demogorgon towered over its prey, and with its incredible strength, skin that could resist bullets, and a "petal mouth" full of sharp teeth, it's hard to believe Eleven could stop its rampage in the showdown at Hawkins Middle School.
Much like the creature in The Thing, the Hospital Monster was a horrible amalgamation of pieces of human tissue. It was a Stranger Things monster made from the Flayed members Bruce Lowe and Tom Holloway, both employees of the local Hawkins newspaper. When Nancy Wheeler and Jonathan Byers killed them in the Hawkins Memorial Hospital, their bodies turned into a bloody pulp that attacked them savagely, until Eleven arrived to kill it.
Possessing the mental acuity of the Mind Flayer, this monster was not only a terrifying-looking abomination, but it was also intelligent —in essence, a mini-version of the much larger creature). Fortunately — or unfortunately — it was later reabsorbed into the Mind Flayer to make it even more powerful.
In one of Stranger Things' scariest scenes, this hulking monstrosity — the largest embodiment of the Mind Flayer yet — attacked the Party in the Starcourt Mall like something out of a Stephen King book. By using the bodies of the Flayed to construct a physical body, it had managed to grow from the dormant particulate inside Will Byers to become a gargantuan spider-beast.
The Spider Monster was the only piece of the Mind Flayer that didn't get destroyed when Eleven closed the gate, allowing it to watch (through its connection with Will Byers) and wait for its opportunity to strike. Not only was it one of the most disturbing-looking monsters in Stranger Things, but its methodical consumption of Hawkins' citizens also made it a secretive, devious killer that not even Eleven saw coming.
Of all the monsters in Stranger Things lurking in the Upside Down, Vecna is the most humanoid and unpredictable. He's able to prey on the guilt and shame of impressionable teenagers above, attacking their minds and then killing them in horrific ways. He nearly gets Max, but she manages to outsmart him before he can finish her off.
Dustin has referred to Vecna as the Mind Flayer's "five-star general," indicating that he's under the control of the spider-like entity, but some Reddit theories about Vecna maintain that he and the Mind Flayer are one and the same. That, combined with his personal history with Eleven, could potentially make him the most dangerous monster the gang has ever faced.
The Mind Flayer is the ultimate antagonist in Stranger Things and the hulking ruler of the Upside Down. Introduced in season 2 as the "Shadow Monster" based on Will's experience being abducted, Will informs Eleven and his friends that after his return from the Upside Down he shares a link with its hideous overlord, a creature with spider-like legs that towers over its domain and wants nothing more than to take over Hawkins.
What makes the Mind Flayer so dangerous is its mental control of not only the Hawkins tunnel system and vines, but Demogorgons, the Flayed, the Spider-Monster, and even Vecna. He uses all of them as instruments of destruction on Hawkins, though he hopes to eventually conquer the world — unless he's stopped.