A creepy kid with killer telekinetic powers is pretty scary. As is a strange orderly at who knows way more about the government’s shadowy lab than he should. But Henry Creel/One became truly terrifying when the Upside Down contorted him into the horrifying monster known as Vecna. A lot more went into creating Stranger Things‘ greatest threat than just prosthetics and CGI, though. Jamie Campbell Bower’s performance made that nightmare come alive. From his piercing stare to his unsettling gait, everything about the character oozed dread. And he also sounded menacing. But would those deep dark tones have been as scary if he had different dialogue? The answer is a resounding “no,” because Stranger Things‘ newest star recited some famous lines using his Vecna voice and instead of frightening us he made us laugh.
Campbell Bower stopped by The Tonight Show where he told Jimmy Fallon how he developed Vecna’s voice. He said it took him a few months to get it right. Originally during the show’s March 2020 read-through, just two months after he got the part, the voice was nasally, “more like Freddy Krueger.” HE knew it wasn’t working though, so he kept working on it. That included watching Doug Bradley in Hellraiser. Obviously that worked, because he found the “deep booming voice” that “comes out of the darkness” the role called for.
What it didn’t call for was reading absurd, famous, decidedly non-Vecna lines from pop culture. That included quotes from movies like Notting Hill and Titanic, as well as cereal slogans and even a daily affirmation.
But the highlight was when he busted out a verse from Lizzo’s “About Damn Time.”
Had Lizzo’s music been around when One worked at Hawkins Lab maybe his life would have been very different. Maybe he wouldn’t have hated all of humanity. OF course, had that been the case, we never would have heard Vecna sing that song, so maybe it was for the best.