By Jay Hunter – Much has been made of Netflix new series Stranger Things and all the movies it pays homage to. Without wanting to overlook the brilliant work that Matt and Ross Duffer put into their project themselves, the series has undeniably acquired DNA from plenty of classics and put it’s own unique twist on them making for a melting pot of nostalgia.
With that in mind, lets take a look at just some of the classic movies The Duffer Brothers used for inspiration.
Stranger Things takes place in Hawkins, Indiana. A town that isn’t not too far removed from Halloween’s, small suburban town of Haddonfield. This is of course a popular device, giving the audience the notion that Stranger Things could take place in any town across America, even theirs.
The show of course also takes inspiration from another of John Carpenter’s creations, his atmosheric themes. The synth-based score created by Kyle Dixon and Michael Stein screams Assault on Precinct 13, The Fog and Halloween to name a few.
Although Stranger Things is considerably more influenced by Spielberg in the 1980’s (we’ll get to that) the Duffer Brothers have themselves said that 1975’s Jaws was a direct influence on their storytelling, specifically when it comes to the shows monster. Talking about Eleven, Matt Duffer stated
“We built an entire backstory for her, and the trick was where to drop those puzzle pieces in. By the end of episode six, you know a lot about her. It was the same approach we had with the monster, that sort of Jaws approach — hint at it but don’t show much, so you have somewhere to go.”
There’s any number of movies the friendship dynamic of Mike, Lucas & Dustin could allude to. (Stand By Me, Monster Squad, The Losers Club in IT). But in the end, the upbeat spirit, even in downbeat circumstances is undeniably Goonies.
E.T: The Extra Terrestrial
Undoubtedly the biggest inspiration for Stranger Things is Steven Spielberg’s family friendly mega-hit, E.T: The Extra Terrestrial. From the visuals and lighting, right down to it’s core story telling and location. Hawkins, Indiana is a small dirt path town, surrounded by forrest, the children ride around on their bikes, packing walkie talkies. Whilst the children feel like loners in their own families, Mike and Elle’s relationship is by far the arc that recalls Elliot and E.T’s relationship the most. Much like E.T Elle is hidden within Mikes home, dresses up in wigs and of course possesses telekinetic abilities.
A Nightmare on Elm Street
It is revealed of course that Elle uses sensory deprivation to access the Upside Down, she relies on Winona Ryder to look out for her well being in the real world whilst doing so. Which is the crux behind the A Nightmare on Elm Street saga. In both Stranger Things and A Nightmare on Elm Street, teenagers devise a scheme to stop the beast which involves bringing the varmint into our own world only to usurp it by using boobie-traps set around our own home.