Stranger Things has become a global phenomenon. The mix of sci-fi, supernatural horror and heartfelt friendship seems to be able to draw in the masses.
A loving homage to the movies and music of the 1980’s, when the series is set, the Duffer brothers set out to create a show that evoked all their childhood cinematic experiences. Pop culture references are vast, with influences coming in from all angles: E.T., Alien and the Goonies, Ghostbusters, and even Raiders of the Lost Ark.
It has surpassed viewing records for Netflix, going beyond those set by Regency-era drama Bridgerton. It has been such a hit that Netflix is developing a spin-off series in the hope of building the science fiction series into a broad entertainment franchise.
It isn’t uncommon for TV shows and movies to build up their franchise by gaining traction in the gaming world too, like with Alien: Isolation and Goldeneye 007 from the Nintendo 64 era, and there are even many casino games based on movies and TV shows. Netflix has jumped on the bandwagon of this trend, recently snapping up the game Stranger Things Puzzle Tales, having it exclusively on its platform.
With there being four series of Netflix’s supernatural hit, we thought we would look at four strange things about the show that you may or may not know. From its chilling real-life roots to Freddie Kruger joining the cast, we uncover four interesting facts every Stranger Things fan should know.
Stranger Things is inspired by a 'true' story
Originally going to be called ‘Montauk’, the show took inspiration from an alleged US military programme named the Montauk Project. According to the conspiracy, a number of questionable experiments were conducted in the Montauk, New York area, during the 1980s, including experiments on children involving mind reading, mind control and time travel.
An electrical engineer from Montauk, Preston Nichols, claims to have worked on the project and wrote a book back in 1992 titled Montauk Project: Experiments in Time. In an interview he claimed that the project started out looking at how you could interface minds with computer systems, but this later evolved into developing a mind-control device.
While there is no substantial evidence to prove anything nefarious or bizarre was going on in Montauk, it is easy to see the parallels between the conspiracy theory and Stranger Things. If nothing else, it definitely proved to be a brilliant idea for a TV show.
What about Barb?
After being dragged to the Upside Down by the Demogorgon in season 1, fan favourite Barb made waves, gaining an outpouring of love for her character. Fans were so upset by her dramatic and untimely death, that they started the #justice4barb movement.
Shannon Purser, who played Barb, was completely overwhelmed by the love, saying it was totally unexpected, and that it had been madness since she had starred in the show. Her character wasn’t supposed to be such a big deal, but it all just exploded. While many are hoping she may make a surprise comeback, the producers are not so sure that someone could bounce back from such a horrifying death, even on Stranger Things.
Indiana Jones inspired Hopper
With the disheveled heroism and the distinct drawl, solving problems with his brain and his fists, and not to mention the hat, it shouldn’t come as a surprise that Indiana Jones inspired the character of Chief Jim “Hop” Hopper. David Harbour, who plays Hopper, is a massive fan of the character, so much so that he claims to have seen Raiders of the Lost Ark thirteen times at the cinema when it first came out.
The Duffer brothers have described how Harbour loves to channel Indiana Jones, even to the point of asking to recreate one of the archaeologist’s most famous film scenes in Stranger Things – having a giant boulder roll after him. In an interview with Entertainment Weekly, the brothers claim to be unsure whether Harbour is being serious or not.
One, two, Freddie’s coming for you…
Arguably one of the 80s most iconic and famous supernatural bad guys stumbles over from Elm Street to the Stranger Things universe in season 4. In a twist of fate, Freddie Krueger actor Robert Englund joined the cast after approaching the Duffer brothers about a role in the show. The Duffer brothers were said to be thrilled, especially as they claim the season is deeply inspired by the Nightmare series and by Englund’s performance in the movies.
Englund plays Victor Creel, a disturbed and intimidating man who is imprisoned in a psychiatric hospital after being convicted of gruesome murder in the 1950s. He becomes integral to the story, and definitely becomes the stuff of nightmares.
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