Spoilers ahead for Vol. 1 of Stranger Things Season 4, because Demo-Bats are ahead!
It’s not a season of Stranger Things unless the record-breaking Netflix series introduces some new monsters to make fans very happy that they don’t have any open portals to the Upside Down to worry about in real life. Vecna – who was created using impressive practical effects on actor Jamie Campbell Bower – is the big bad menacing the people in Hawkins, but as Steve learned as soon as he passed through Watergate, the vicious Demo-Bats are to be feared in the Upside Down. The screeching and squeaking of the new monsters means horrors are on the way, and lead sound effects editor Angelo Palazzo explained the not-so-horrifying but totally effective sources behind their sounds.
Stranger Things has introduced the Demogorgon as the terrifying creature that can more than hold its own against even multiple people at once, the Demodogs that can murder their way through a lab as a pack, and now the Demo-Bats that would have killed Steve if not for the arrival of his friends. Even then, he still lost his pound of flesh. According to the lead sound effects editor, finding the sound for the bats meant embracing the kinds of terror that they bring to the show. Angelo Palazzo said:
The swarm of Demo-Bats that nearly killed Steve and served as a pretty serious threat for the whole group of teens in the Upside Down had some ominous flapping sounds, but who could have guessed that they came from clothes and bags and plastic? Steve was more or less holding his own when he just had one of the bats attacking him, but that changed very quickly once the whole swarm arrived. Even if Steve hadn’t been in the Upside Down, it would have been clear that these were no common bats; according to Angelo Palazzo, that’s exactly what co-creators Matt and Ross Duffer were looking for. He said:
It’s probably pretty safe to say that most viewers weren’t thinking about squeaking doors when it came to the Demo-Bats attacking Steve, or when the other three teens arrived and they had to join forces to hold them off long enough to make an escape. Who could have guessed that the sounds for the bats not only didn’t come from any kind of real-life creature, but instead came from a door opening and shutting? The lead sound effects editor went on to share another unexpected source for a Demo-Bat sound, as he continued:
Steve probably could have used a good cup of joe after barely surviving the swarm of Upside Down bats, but nobody in that group was thinking of coffee when they arrived through Watergate! Steve’s attack was undoubtedly one of the scariest – if not the absolutely scariest – sequences of Season 4 that didn’t involve Vecna, so the closet sounds plus cappuccino machine were both unexpected and very effective in creating the sound for the bats.
Honestly, kudos to Joe Keery, Natalia Dyer, Maya Hawke, and Joseph Quinn (whose Eddie is one of the standout newcomers of Season 4) for pulling off their terrified performances the scene without being able to see or hear the Demo-Bats in the same way that viewers would be able to with the release of Vol. 1. The bats attacking Steve was a doozy of a cliffhanger for the end of Episode 6, so viewers can be thankful that there was still one more episode of Season 4’s first volume to reveal his fate. The group isn’t out of danger from the bats just yet, with both Steve and Nancy still in the Upside Down at the end of Vol. 1, so only time – and Vol. 2 – will tell Netflix subscribers if and how they make it out.
Whatever happens, the characters can only hope that those bats don’t follow the example of the Demogorgon and Demodogs and escape through a gate up to Hawkins! Find out what’s next when Vol. 2 of Stranger Things Season 4 releases on Friday, July 1 on Netflix. In the meantime, check out our breakdown of Vecna’s origin story as well as some of the big Stranger Things questions that still need answers. If Vol. 2 follows Stranger Things’ usual pattern of starting to bring storylines together in the final episodes of a season, then maybe the characters will start coming together despite all of the distance early on.
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Laura turned a lifelong love of television into a valid reason to write and think about TV on a daily basis. She's not a doctor, lawyer, or detective, but watches a lot of them in primetime. Resident of One Chicago, the galaxy far, far away, and Northeast Ohio. Will not time travel and can cite multiple TV shows to explain why. She does, however, want to believe that she can sneak references to The X-Files into daily conversation (and author bios).