Stranger Things Side-by-Side the 80s Movies It Borrows From
It's been less than two weeks since the 1980s-set Stranger Things debuted on Netflix, and fans are already clamoring for Season 2 of this hit show. Netflix hasn't issued an official renewal quite yet, but while some have been praising the show for its unmistakable 80s style, complete with homages to some of our favorite 1970s and 1980s movies, others have been dismissing the show for the exact same reasons. For those who may want a comprehensive breakdown of all these references, an enterprising fan has taken matters into his own hands. Be warned, if you haven't watched this show yet, there will be SPOILERS below, so read on at your own risk.
A Vimeo user named Ulysse Thevenon cut together a video that shows side-by-side footage of scenes from Stranger Things and the several movies it "rips off." This video presents solid arguments that there are scenes from classics like The Goonies, Alien, E.T the Extra-Terrestrial, Firestarter, Poltergeist, Close Encounters of the Third Kind, A Nightmare on Elm Street, Explorers, The Shining, Stand By Me, Carrie and Commando. Some references are quite obvious, including early scenes with the mysterious girl known as Eleven (Millie Bobby Brown) that are practically carbon copies from E.T. scenes, but other references in this video may not be as accurate.
Several commenters on the Vimeo page have pointing out that the Commando homage should really be attributed to the first Rambo movie, First Blood, especially since the kids also mention "First Blood" after a fight. Though, the scene is also heavily inspired by The Lost Boys, with the character of Lucas representing all things Corey Haim and Corey Feldman, which is evident by his name, and other Lucas references to License to Drive and Stephen King's Silver Bullet. While Rambo did the bandana first, the shots in Stranger Things are almost exactly recreated from The Lost Boys, with Lucas serving as Sam and the Frog Brothers all rolled into one.
Others pointed out that the telephone scene in the house with Winona Ryder, where she gets zapped with electricity, is actually an homage to Buckaroo Bonzai, since the same thing happens anytime someone gets a phone call from the President of the United States. These same telephone shots are also referncing the iconic moment between Nancy and the telephone in A Nightmare on Elm Street. There are also other missing references from The Lost Boys, Stand By Me, Altered States, Evil Dead and even the IT miniseries. And the video completley waxes over the fact that Sheriff Hopper is a direct homage to Sheriff Brody. And of course, perhaps the best homage is from Harrison Ford's Witness, when the boys and Eleven are hiding in the abandoned bus.
Another aspect that is not touched upon is the fact that creators of the show, The Duffer Brothers, fully acknowledge their 'homages'. And when any particular episode heavily borrows from a given movie, you will see a movie poster in the background for that exact movie. One scene has a Jaws movie poster perfectly framed behind Hopper as he gives a speech that seems lifted right out of that classic Steven Spielberg thriller.
This supernatural series only spanned eight episodes in the first season, and it isn't known if the series is renewed, how many episodes will be ordered. Series creators Matt Duffer and Ross Duffer have said that they wanted to solve the main thread of Season 1, while still leaving some story threads "dangling." Hopefully we'll have an official update on Season 2 from the streaming service quite soon.
Set in Hawkins Indiana in the 1980s, Stranger Things chronicles the search for a young boy who vanishes into thin air under highly suspicious circumstances. His mother (Winona Ryder) opens an investigation into the boy's disappearance with local authorities that unravels a series of mysteries involving top-secret government experiments, terrifying supernatural forces and one very strange little girl. A love letter to the ubiquitous cult classics of the 80's, Stranger Things is a coming of age story for three boys that draws this quaint community into a world where mysteries lurk beneath the surface.