Pop culture obsessives writing for the pop culture obsessed.

The Duffer Brothers offer the definitive breakdown of Stranger Things film references

Photo: Netflix

You don’t have to be an ’80s pop-culture scholar—or to even lived through the ’80s—to appreciate the myriad of nostalgic nods the Duffer Brothers wove into the mythology of their Netflix hit Stranger Things. Nevertheless, the pair sought to clear the air by outlining many of their influences in a detailed new Wired video (to accompany our own list of season three Easter eggs, of course). Some of these reveals are more valuable than others: If you didn’t get the Alien/s references, you were probably watching a different show.

But some nods are so subtle, you may kick yourself for missing them the first time around. There’s the guard in season one reading Stephen King’s Cujo (with Hopper helpfully commenting, “Nasty mutt”), Hopper’s truck resembling the Chief Brody’s vehicle from Jaws, and Cary Elwes’ season-three character also referencing the shark blockbuster by playing a similarly unscrupulous mayor. And showing some of these references right alongside the Stranger Things scenes they inspired offers some impressive new perspective on the series. Fine, we’ll rewatch it again.


Sure, 25 minutes may be more than you want to invest in a show you’ve already binged over a weekend. If you want to wow your Stranger Things pals with some Close Encounters and Altered States parallels, though, check out this Wired video.

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About the author

Gwen Ihnat

Gwen Ihnat is the Editorial Coordinator for The A.V. Club.