The wait is almost over for the highly anticipated second installment of the cultural phenomenon that is
Stranger Things. The Netflix series, a clear homage to all things 80s, was a massive hit that took everyone by surprise in 2016 and anyone who grew up reading Stephen King -- or watching films by Steven Spielberg or John Carpenter -- felt right at home with the investigative quartet of kids.
So to help tide you over, we here at Comicbook.com thought it would be fun to recount the many 80s films that inspired the Duffer Brothers and list off the 10 Best Movies ALL
Fans Should Watch! Stranger Things What 80s film do you think should make this list? Check out the video at the top of the article to see if we agree or simply scroll on down to read the rest of the article. Most importantly, Stranger Things 2 hits Netflix on October 27th.
Slide 1/10 – 10. The Evil Dead Starting off our list is Sam Raimi’s horror classic, The Evil Dead. Out of everything on our list, the Duffer Brothers take very few (if any) elements from this movie, but there’s still a very clear fondness for the horror in The Evil Dead, especially since the poster is hanging in Jonathan’s room while a monster is creeping behind the wall.
For No. 9, we’ve got David Cronenberg’s Scanners. The 1981 Sci-Fi horror movie features a top secret company that attempts to locate people who have telekinesis and telepathy in order use them for their own evil corporate deeds. Sound eerily familiar? While Eleven doesn’t get quite as gory as Scanners does when she blows up people’s brains with the powers of her mind, it’s still not a pretty sight.
Slide 3/10 – 8. They Live No. 8 is John Carpenter's 1988 B-movie classic They Live. While the awesome Stranger Things intro music should probably remind you of every amazing synth score from every John Carpenter movie ever, we went with They Live mostly thanks to the giant government conspiracy angle. Plus, the alleyway fight between Jonathan and Steve is clearly inspired by Roddy Piper and Keith David’s throwdown in They Live. If you need another Carpenter movie reference, you can’t go wrong with The Thing, which Mike just so happens to have a poster of in his basement.
Slide 4/10 – 7. A Nightmare on Elm St Call it a hunch, but we think Freddy Krueger would probably find the Upside Down quite cozy. Like Freddy, the Stranger Things monster seems to be far more powerful in its own world, and also taking a tip from A Nightmare on Elm Street, whenever Eleven ventures to the Upside Down, she needs a dependable pal to pull her out when things get too hairy.
Slide 5/10 – 6. Firestarter If there’s one lesson that the Duffer Brothers clearly learned from the eighties, it’s beware the destructive powers of angry telekinetics, and they don’t get much more destructive than young Drew Barrymore did in the cult Stephen King adaptation. While we could have gone with Carrie, the similarities between Eleven and Charlie seem more obvious: They’re close to the same age, they’re both experimented on, and they both have nosebleeds when their telekinetic powers are about to do some major damage.
Slide 6/10 – 5. Stand By Me The Duffer Brothers clearly have such an affinity for Stephen King’s coming-of-age novella The Body and it’s subsequent adaptation directed by Rob Reiner, Stand By Me, that they actually had the young actors all audition using lines from it. The plot of Stand By Me is centered around four young friends who go searching for their missing friend, the very thing that Stranger Things does such a great job replicating.
Okay, so Alien technically isn’t an 80s movie, but the sequels were, and there’s no denying the many traits that the faceless creature shares with the Xenomorph from Ridley Scott’s sci-fi horror classic. First, there’s that sticky residue that the creature uses to trap its victims. There’s lots of goo in the Upside Down. Also, the creature pretty much uses humans as incubators, impregnating Will with a slug like creature in similar fashion to Alien’s face huggers.
Oh man, it would be quicker if we recounted everything in Steven Spielberg’s 1982 classic that Stranger Things DIDN’T borrow. Where do we even begin? Kids on bicycles, Mike hiding El from his mom the way Elliot hid E.T., government agents in hazmat suits, the blonde wig that Eleven wears to disguise herself. These are just the tip of the iceberg and if Stranger Things featured an alien instead of a monster, this might as well have been considered an E.T. reboot.
Slide 9/10 – 2. The Goonies Another story that was crafted by, surprise! Steven Spielberg! If you love hilarious kids with imagination, Goonies are the benchmark against which all other similar films are measured. While the situation in Stranger Things is much more dire, the group looking for their missing friend instead of a buried treasure, the fun, adventurous tone is still very much intact. Even though he doesn’t drop a “Truffle Shuffle,” Dustin Henderson is every bit as adorable as Chunk was in The Goonies. Slide 10/10 – 1. Stephen King's IT And finally, the film you absolutely have to watch if you’re a Stranger Things fan? Stephen King’s IT. Though the Duffer Brothers clearly weren’t inspired by the recent reboot since it came out after Stranger Things and all, they were probably inspired by the novel the movie is based upon, and you can’t get more “coming-of-age kids VS evil entity” than IT. Bonus! Finn Wolfhard who plays Mike even shows up as part of this group as the scene stealing Richie! So now you kinda have to watch IT.