The filmmaker recalls being terrified by the peculiar comic book baddie.

Warning: This article contains spoilers for The Suicide Squad.

It's fair to say that writer-director James Gunn's The Suicide Squad (in theaters and on HBO Max Aug. 6) has no shortage of villainous characters, from John Cena's homicidal Peacemaker to Peter Capaldi's immoral scientist the Thinker. But the film's big bad, Starro, is a really big bad. In fact, per DC comics lore, Starro (a.k.a. Starro the Conqueror) is a giant, starfish-shaped alien capable of controlling millions of people with its spores. This Lovecraftian monster made its debut appearance in a 1960 issue of the Brave and the Bold comic, in which it battled the Justice League of America, and later terrified the young, comics-reading Gunn, which explains the beastie's appearance in The Suicide Squad.

| Credit: DC Comics

"Starro scared the s--- out of me as a kid," the filmmaker tells EW. "I know he's a big pink-and-cerulean-blue starfish, but I thought he was terrifying. There's something about the way Starro attached to people's faces that was just so scary to me. And this was before Alien, you know. He was so scary to me, and creepy, and also just so big and colorful and completely Jeff Koons-comic-booky that I thought it was a fun villain to deal with."

The cast of The Suicide Squad also includes Margot Robbie, Idris Elba, Joel Kinnaman, Michael Rooker, Viola Davis, Steve Agee, Daniela Melchior, Jai Courtney, Nathan Fillion, David Dastmalchian, and Flula Borg.

Catch a glimpse of Starro in the red-band trailer for The Suicide Squad above.

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