Stranger Things 4: Horror Movie References


After three years the fourth season of Stranger Things has finally hit the streamosphere for what could be their strongest storyline yet. The characters we have come to know and love are back and new characters like Eddie have instantly endeared themselves to fan. The fear factor has been cranked up to 11 and Kate Bush has been given a well-deserved career Renaissance. As with previous seasons, creators the Duffer Brothers proudly tip their hats to the films that inspired their hit science fiction/horror series. Eagle-eyed horror fans will no doubt see Easter eggs and sources of inspiration throughout the seven episodes we have received so far. Of course there are SPOILERS in this post.

A Nightmare on Elm Street: This one is perhaps the most obvious as the inspiration creators, the Duffer Brothers have taken from Wes Craven’s masterpiece this season. Vecna’s MO of tormenting and ultimately killing them by lulling them into a dream-like state where their nightmares come to life is very reminiscent of Freddy. The monster from the Upside Down even has pronounced claws on one hand. Even in the show, Dustin used A Nightmare on Elm Street to illustrate how the newest monster operates. As a nice nod to this source of inspiration the Duffers even cast Freddy himself Robert Englund in the role of Victor Creel.

The Thing (1982):In an aged industrial structure surrounded by a bleak wintry environment where a hardened but ragged survivor will have to face a monster. There are definitely shades of John Carpenter’s take on the famous monster in Hopper’s arc this season. Beyond the surface level aesthetics, Hopper, like Kurt Russell’s RJ McReady, the Hawkins police chief is also trapped in a place where he can not trust anyone around him as he learned the hard way during an attempted escape.

Hellraiser: When actor Jamie Campbell Bower auditioned for the role of the man who would become Vecna he did so to the script of Clive Barker’s masterpiece Hellraiser. This makes perfect sense as like Pinhead, Henry Creel/One began as a human seeking something new beyond normal life with it ultimately resulting in them as lord of a horrifying hellscape. Not only has he disavowed his former humanity but the way he carries himself as with a certain stoicism and commanding presence definitely shows inspiration of the leader of the Cenobites.

Carrie: It may not have been pig’s blood in the gymnasium but milkshake in the center of the skating rink can be just as traumatizing. When her high school tormentors decide to put Eleven through their worst they make sure it is a grand public spectacle where she is drenched in milkshake and humiliated for all to see. While their prank was absolutely horrible we do get a bit of catharsis when Eleven smashes her tormentor in the face with a skate.

Silence of the Lambs: When Nancy and Robin visit Pennhurst Asylum they have to meet Victor Creel in his cell buried in the deepest and darkest hole possible. There is no denying the reflections of them meeting with Creel and Clarice Starling’s meeting with Hannibal. With a final warning from the guard the two descend into the gothic dungeon to witness pure horror for themselves in the last cell down the row.

The Evil Dead: Fans no doubt spotted the poster for this horror cult classic that launched the careers of Sam Raimi and Bruce Campbell’s in Jonathan Byers’ room. As a nice further nod to the eventual cult favorite trilogy Raimi’s revolutionary rapid moving camera stylings is utilized in a number of scenes around the Byers home.

Amityville Horror: Based on the supposed true horrors experienced by the Lutz family and investigated by Ed and Lorraine Warren. A nice family starting out move into what they think is their dream home only for it to become a nightmare when the spirits that caused the murders that happened there previously begin to focus on the new family. What Victor Creel believes to be a demonic entity slowly but surely begins a campaign of torment against the Creels. It culminates with a single night of horror where two are dead, one is in a coma, and Victor is believed to be an insane killer.