Monday, November 14, 2016

The Monster in Stranger Things, Part IV


I am sorry I took so long. Halloween is always very busy for me, and by the time I was done, there was no time to post anything on my humble website because I had to make money doing freelance writing, the moonlight was in my eyes, and I had to see a man about a hearse. Here is more information to back up my awesome theory. 

This is Part IV of an exploration into the nature of Demogorgon (or The Monster, as I prefer to call it) in the Netflix sci-fi/horror masterpiece, Stranger Things. You can read Part I here, Part II here and Part III over here. Spoiler alerts will follow, as usual. 

(HELL)O AGAIN

I dropped da bomb regarding my theory several weeks ago. Instead of debating with people who do not believe my theory, it has been more enlightening to read the ideas of others and see if their ideas were more bullet-proof than what I came up with. So far I am quite pleased. In discussing their own ideas, nobody has dived into the conspiracy theories that make up the mythology of Stranger Things, which is very important to the work, in order to explain what The Monster is. 

I’d like to apologize if I mislead anyone into thinking that The Monster in Stranger Things is Eleven’s alter ego. It is not. I referenced other films that dealt with similar themes regarding spontaneously appearing imaginary beings in order to show that the Netflix series was dealing with material that actually had roots in previous film and literature. Now I am going to talk about a few more films, and then I am going to dive into the conspiracy theories that make up The Monster.


That being said, throughout the first episode X-Men #134 is mentioned a lot. In this comic, Phoenix, a female character with awesome psychic powers (including telekinesis) has a dramatic personality change (mind control is involved, of course) and becomes an alter ego, Dark Phoenix, turning evil. The Duffer Brothers would not have mentioned this comic without a good reason.

THE STORY BEHIND THE STORY

The Duffer Brothers did not just reference other films when they were creating the series. They also referenced conspiracy theories on the Internet. Sure, the cinematography, subject matter and other themes draw from serious literary and film influences, but the writing goes beyond that to fulfill its objective. The Internet is a gigantic library of logic and instinct, magik and science, business and entertainment. While wacky conspiracy theories make up much of Stranger Things, so does quantum physics, forbidden science and black magik.

RANDOM CHAOS

The fantastic yet horrific story the Duffer brothers told to entertain us did not include a creature that had no rules whatsoever. If it did, the audience would notice and the story would suffer. Most horror films deal with adversaries that have supernatural origins. However, the supernatural elements still follow guidelines, either because a proper authority tells us the rules, or because the monster in question is based on some cultural mythology that has rules we already understand since we are familiar with the legend, thanks to previous sources. Werewolves can be killed by silver bullets. Vampires can be killed by stakes through the heart. You know the drill, once reminded.


THE RING

The Ring is a horror film about a little girl who dies, becoming a ghost that kills people. In life she expired because her parents dumped the little girl into a well, leaving her to die. Now, anyone who doesn’t share the videotape of her insane, macabre mental images is doomed to be killed by her avenging, somewhat digital image. The bodies seem to be dead because of a heart attack induced by fear. This makes sense. I Am the Pretty Thing That Lives in the House features a similar series of circumstances. In The Ring, you have to share the videotape, or you will die. Think about it. The little girl was ignored. Now everyone has to pay attention to her, or they die. Too bad the whole world abandoned VHS for DVD a long time ago.

THE GRUDGE

In The Grudge, a father killed his wife, his child and a cat in his house, somewhere in Japan, right before he committed suicide. Because of this, anyone who enters the former docile of the murdered, doomed family is under a curse. No matter where they go the person sees images of the family until they are killed by the angry ghosts, usually because they have lethal heart attacks induced by fear. While the haunting that kills people seems to have random elements, there is still a pattern by which the narrative is still infused with drama. People walk into the house where the murders occurred. They see something horrible. Bad stuff happens to them in the form of hallucinations that are reminiscent of the members of the family until either the father or the mother kills them. Simple rules. Don’t go in the house, unless you don't enjoy terror, hallucinations and death.

NO RULES?

Just as the Duffer brothers looted past films for Stranger Things, they looted the Internet in a similar way for The Monster. Eleven has rules. So does the splinter from her personality that has incarnated from her mind to terrorize the world. Imagine a series where the monsters had no rules? 1977’s House, a Japanese horror film, seems to be this way. A pack of young girls go to a house where a crazy old woman is hanging out with her cat. Without explanation, bad stuff happens.


A chandelier shoots crystals at people. A young girl loses her head in a well, and it flies around and bites people. A piano eats a young woman. Stacks of flaming wood attack people. People look into mirrors and see monstrous versions of themselves until their face shatters like glass. Monstrous phantasms appear. Chandeliers eat heads. Turns out it is the old woman, but if you destroy her painting of a cat blood shoots out and people burn alive. WTF. Don’t go in the House

Watching a series like that would become the opposite of fun, fast. Why is this stuff happening? Why should we care if everything seems so random? Why get attached to characters that randomly die in hallucinogenic ways? The Walking Dead has gone on for many years using the same old rules for their zombies. As an audience, we can handle mystery early on when we are enjoying our monsters, but after a while the novelty fades and somebody who seems to know what they are doing appears and explains all the chaos.

DEMOGORGON

Eleven has telekinesis, controls electricity and can open wormholes into another dimension using electromagnetism. The Monster detects electricity, follows it, devours the energy, can open wormholes into another dimension  and also has electromagnetism. (Sharks can also detect electricity, using a process called electroreception.) It can manipulate objects (before Will gets grabbed, it uses telekinesis to open the lock on the door). Then, it creates a wormhole to suck the person into The Veil of Shadows. It is also large, strong and somewhat invulnerable. It can be slowed down, fought off or temporarily evaded, but Demogorgon seems to be pretty unstoppable, according to its own rules. Where did those rules come from? At one point the characters have a meeting about The Monster, and compare the thing to some sort of primordial beast or roving animal. There is a sense that it is not evil, just doing what it does to exist.


There are many fascinating blogs and YouTube videos that attempt to figure out more about it based on the show itself, which is an intelligent approach. My plan is to use the Internet and explore other angles by using conspiracy theories, the occult and quantum physics, plus some weird, evil science stories, to give you all more information to help back up my theory, and show that the Duffer brothers really have done an amazing job of explaining a demon in a story by avoiding the occult and embracing the darker side of scientific experiments our world is heir to, all the way back to WWII.

CONSPIRACY THEORY CHAOS?

The heart of the argument is the combined conspiracy theories the Duffer brothers accessed to make their monster. Yes, there are many old influences affecting the cinematography, the casting (I am sure you noticed the Sheriff looked like Jack Nicholson in The Shining), the credits, etc., but brand new influences kept it all fresh. Instead of basing The Monster on Germanic legends of the Black Annis, myths about werewolves or stories about zombies, the Duffer brothers mined conspiracy theories found on the Internet. Each of these modern myths provided a piece of the overall idea that made Demogorgon. I am going to run through them, pointing out the pieces as we go. Without these conspiracy theories, you don’t have Eleven, you don’t have The Monster, and you don’t have Stranger Things.


MKULTRA

Back during WWII the Nazi’s had a lot of disposable people, some really evil individuals running the show, and a scientific drive to do anything, and commit atrocities of any nature, to control everybody Adolf Hitler wanted controlled. People were chosen from concentration camps for Nazi scientists to experiment on. There were no rules, no ethics and no limits. Massive funding, unlimited bodies, anything goes. Only Satan knows what they came up with.

At the end of WWII, many Nazi scientists ended up in America, thanks to Operation Paperclip. The American government wanted the knowledge these scientists possessed, especially because the USA thought fighting the USSR was more important than anything. One of these scientists, Dr. Josef Mengele, ended up in our country where the CIA put him to work experimenting on people the same way the former Nazi experimented on Jews in the name of science, fascism and evil.

MKULTRA is discussed in Stranger Things. What is important is that this program led to many, many other programs. The scientists at Hawkins are certainly cut from the same bloody cloth as the Nazi’s that worked on mind control project for der Furher, and Eleven is certainly the product of these horrific experiments. Just ask her mother. The work that is being done at the lab goes much further, leading to other, darker projects. Sure, Eleven’s mother was the product of MKULTRA, according to the series, but what is going on at the Hawkins Lab is not that project.

PROJECT MONARCH

Mengele wasn’t the only wacky Nazi scientist engaged in hijinks and goings on involving the torture and experimentation of human beings. Another evil expert on the subject was a very terrible guy named General Reinhard Gehlen, who ended up in America in 1945 after helping Hitler spy on Russians using scientific experiments best described on Reddit under the Horror section. According to researchers on the subject that specialized in conspiracy theories, anything Mengele didn’t do, Gehlen did, and they continued their work in America, torturing human beings while Americans paid the bill.

For decades experts agree that Gehlen continued to explore the human mind for the CIA, dedicated to creating the perfect spies and assassins using hypnotism, the occult, drugs, electroshock therapy, sexual molestation, trauma and everything else they could think of to break a human mind, splinter it into fragments, so that each piece formed a shard, or alter, that was programmed to do different acts according to their subliminal control. Crazy, fun stuff, right?

Later on, another name pops up: Dr. Donald Ewan Cameron, a psychiatrist whose favorite method was to attach metal helmets to the heads of his subjects, electrocuting them into comas so he could remake their personality. ‘Member the strange, wire covered helmet Eleven is wearing in some of the flashbacks?

Monarch programming consists of several layers. Beta programming turns the person into a sex slave. Omega programming makes the person kill themselves if captured or questioned. Theta programming was based on making psychic assassins by stimulating their brains to develop psychic powers to make them trained, lethal, programmed killers. Bingo.


There is a lot of material available online, written by attorneys, survivors, psychiatrists and investigators, about Project Monarch and how it still might be going on to this day. What is disturbing is that, according to researchers, the project used a lot of black magik symbols, Satanic imagery, occult iconography and other unpleasantness to make the programming as nightmarish as possible to the child involved, in order to make sure their normal personality is smashed to pieces so the alters can be programmed to do their work.

Have you noticed that there is no mention, whatsoever, of demons, ghosts, the occult or anything else like it in Stranger Things? Nothing at all. The Duffer brothers used the Internet to make their monster, but they completely took out references to magik and the occult. You are only getting the science side of this horror story, which is a very Lovecraftian approach, when you think about it.

Eleven doesn’t have a split personality. She doesn’t become another person when somebody says the right code word. But there is a fracture in her psychology, and shard that has been taken from the greater whole, which explains why the poor girl doesn’t have much of a personality in the show. She has been raised all alone, with minimal outside contact, and she has been giving a cocktail of drugs and other psychosurgery for who knows how long. That would probably explain her odd, distant demeanor.


 ‘MEMBER THE DARK CRYSTAL?

At the climax of the story, a splinter is united with the greater whole and, in a brilliant flash of light, they are united, opening a rift in time and space that allows the merged being to move on to another dimension, whole at last. The end. Did I just describe the climax of Stranger Things? Nope. That is the end of The Dark Crystal.

When Eleven recognizes Will in the photo on the wall, The Dark Crystal is on the wall next to her. We never see her talking to Will. We never see them together. She recognizes him, though, because the splinter that has been shattered from her mind saw Will, and is running around, doing that evil. In The Dark Crystal the two separated beings unite, becoming a being of spiny, brilliant light. I am not saying Eleven’s dark half is running around. It is supposed to be her id. We will get to that, later.

In a few days I will give you another post about this subject, after I post something else for The Man. You know how it is, Bills have to get paid. Money has to be paid. See you soon!

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