If you’ve watched Stranger Things (which you probably have), you know the entire show is full of iconic movie references. Whether it’s the first season’s nod to The Goonies and Stand By Me, or the third season’s Back to the Future mentions, the Netflix show knows its audience (which is again, everybody).
Ross and Matt Duffer, brothers and co-creators of the show, constantly talk about their influences which can be summed up by a handful of people: Stephen King (It, Firestarter, Carrie), Steven Spielberg (Jurassic Park, Jaws, E.T.), Wes Craven (Nightmare on Elm Street, The Hills Have Eyes) and John Carpenter (Halloween, The Thing).
“I think it’s almost divided, in a way, into thirds,” explained Ross to The Hollywood Reporter in August 2016. “I mean, it’s very simplified. Because the teens are almost in that, whether it’s Carpenter, King or Wes Craven. It’s like they’re in that Halloween mode where they’re having s-x and getting into trouble and there’s obviously darkness that comes with that that’s symbolized by this monster.”
He added, “With the kids it’s more, yes there’s the Spielberg stuff, but that’s where it gets a little confusing, because part of it is the Spielberg stuff like E.T., and because with adults, we really wanted that Close Encounters feel with Joyce and stuff, or Jaws, where it’s like these people that don’t really believe in the extraordinary coming encounter with that, and that’s where you get the sense of wonder with the Christmas lights and all that, which is what we really wanted.”
In an interview with The Guardian, Ross mentioned Spielberg once again as a huge influence. “So the idea was, could we take – what Spielberg did in the 80s was he took these kind of B-movie ideas, like flying saucers or killer sharks, and he elevated it. In this new medium, can we go back and try and do a little of what he did, take something that’s been relegated to being cheesy, and can you do an elevated version of that?” And that’s exactly what they did!
Ross and Matt also expressed how audiences loved to see original content like Stranger Things, while having such a nostalgic feel to it due to its movie nods to films many people loved growing up. It’s a nice break from constant remakes which Hollywood seems to be obsessed with currently. “I think audiences are getting excited; they want to see original stuff out there,” Ross told The Hollywood Reporter. “I think people are embracing this, because it’s really us just going, ‘Hey, these were the movies we loved, these were the types of stories we loved,’ and in all honesty, we couldn’t get this made as a movie in a million years.”
Scroll through our gallery for all of the movie references in Stranger Things.
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