The creators of Stranger Things follow the trend set in the earlier seasons and flirt with the series' fans, offering more and more cinematic references in the new episodes.
Oddly enough, the films made in the 1970s and 80s, some of which have become classics, continue to have an impact on the culture.
Stranger Things' season four reveals many homages to the bygone era — let's take a look at some of them.
Starting from the first Alien, the movie series has been a source of inspiration for many filmmakers, including the creators of Stranger Things. Actor David Harbour, who plays Jim Hopper, noted that the third installment of the franchise influenced his storyline in many ways this season. When his character finds himself in prison trying to rally other inmates to fight the deadly creature, it's hard not to draw parallels with Ripley played by Sigourney Weaver.
The Amityville Horror
The story of the Creel family murder largely follows the plot of The Amityville Horror. It's worth noting that the 1979 Stuart Rosenberg film, alluded to in the show's new episodes, was based on a real cursed house story.
Another obvious reference is the design of Vecna's monster house, which is similar to the one in Amityville.
Star Wars: Episode V – The Empire Strikes Back
The series makes a small reference to the fifth episode of Star Wars, filmed back in 1980. The authors linked it to the Dungeons & Dragons game, which the characters turn to throughout the series.
During another match, Dustin rolls the dice on the board and says, "Never tell me the odds!" This is a line from Han Solo in Star Wars: Episode V.
You may notice many similarities between Stranger Things' Eleven and Carrie White from Brian De Palma's 1976 film of the same name, based on the book by Stephen King. Both heroines have to endure bullying from their peers, which causes them to become bitter and strike back.
At the end of the second episode, Eleven smashes her abuser's head with a roller skate — though when doing it, she didn't use her powers as Carrie did in the movie.
Director John Carpenter's films have been a guiding star for the creators of Stranger Things. The legendary 1978 movie Halloween is literally cited in the second episode, when Nancy (Natalia Dyer) learns about Victor Creel — a man who has become as much of an urban legend in Hawkins as Michael Myers in Halloween's Haddonfield.
In Carpenter's movie, Myers kills his sister before escaping from a mental hospital years later. Although Victor Creel's story doesn't follow that of Myers exactly, the series' concept of the suburban boogeyman is a pretty obvious reference to the horror classic.
The Lord of the Rings
In episode six, Dustin convinces the gang to go find a gate that may have opened at the scene of Vecna's last crime. Eddie suggests that his friend is asking him to go to Mordor, saying that "the Shire is burning" — which clearly is a reference to Tolkien's work.
In fact, it appears more than a simple nod to the seminal fantasy series: Vecna possesses Sauron-like powers that allows him to see what's going on around Hawkins and the Mordor-like place he calls home.
Nightmare on Elm Street
The 1984 film directed by Wes Craven was the biggest influence on season four.
Besides following an immortal being who can get into people's minds to kill them, the show also features Robert Englund — the very actor who played Krueger in the original movie. He makes a cameo as Victor Steel in the season's episode four. Another parallel with the famous horror character is voiced by Dustin, who suggested that Vecna might have a "Freddy Krueger's boiler room," that is, a special place where he can be defeated.
The Silence of the Lambs
When Robin and Nancy listen to the guard at Pennhurst Mental Hospital telling them the rules of conduct for meeting Victor Creel, viewers are reminded of the similar warnings in The Silence of the Lambs, which Clarice Starling (Jodie Foster) received before her "date" with Hannibal Lecter (Anthony Hopkins).
The scene in Stranger Things also features a corridor, which appears very similar to the one that had Lecter at its end — it even has the same brick wall on one side and an anxious patient in one of the neighboring cells.