Steven Moffat based new 'Doctor Who' monster The Silence on famous painting 'The Scream'.
The new aliens battle The Doctor (Matt Smith) in the upcoming new series of the BBC sci-fi show and the inspiration behind their terrifying design came from Norwegian artist Edvard Munch's expressionist painting, which depicts a bulbous-headed 'man' clutching his face whilst shrieking.
The extraterrestrials have the ability to control the human mind and actress Alex Kingston - who plays The Doctor's companion River Song - thinks this power, coupled with their design, makes them very frightening.
She said: "I think they're (The Silence) a little bit like the Weeping Angels, they're creations where you can question whether they do really exist. I think that's such a clever and frightening concept, especially for children to play with, rather than the classic Dalek or Cryberman. It's much more psychological and really, really interesting.
"They look like Edvard Munch's 'The Scream'."
Explaining why he based the aliens' design on the artwork, Steven revealed he wanted to toy with the idea of the creatures being present throughout human history.
Speaking at the launch of the new series at London's Olympia last night (04.04.11), he said: "The idea is that we've been surrounded by these things throughout history - not really, just in 'Doctor Who' - and they've appeared in paintings and other things."
Matt insists the creatures are one of the scariest intergalactic races the Time Lord has ever battled.
The 28-year-old actor said: "I think they're very scary. With anything in 'Doctor Who' it tends to be the sum of it's parts, on this one I think the idea behind them is particularly clever and they're realised very well, so physically they're brilliant. Hats off to all the design team and the production team for making it happen."
The Silence appear in the first two episodes of the upcoming season which is set in 1960s America and features the moon landings, President Richard Nixon and mysterious UFO hotspot Area 51.
'Doctor Who' returns to screens on BBC1 on Easter Saturday on April 23.