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Top 10 Stranger Things 2 Movie References

VO: Rebecca Brayton
Written by Justin Giglio Good artists copy; great artists reference classic 80’s movies. Welcome to WatchMojo.com, and today we’re counting down our picks for the Top 10 Stranger Things 2 Movie References. For this list, we’re looking at some of the most clever, interesting, and nostalgia-inducing movie references littered throughout the second season of “Stranger Things.” As we’ll be looking at all the episodes in season two, here’s your Spoiler Warning. Have an idea you want to see made into a WatchMojo video? Check out our suggest page at http://WatchMojo.comsuggest and submit your idea.
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Top 10 Stranger Things 2 Movie References

Good artists copy; great artists reference classic 80’s movies. Welcome to WatchMojo.com, and today we’re counting down our picks for the Top 10 Stranger Things 2 Movie References.

For this list, we’re looking at some of the most clever, interesting, and nostalgia-inducing movie references littered throughout the second season of “Stranger Things.” As we’ll be looking at all the episodes in season two, here’s your Spoiler Warning.

#10: “The Goonies” (1985)


“The Goonies” has been a huge influence on the characters, situations, and dynamics of “Stranger Things” kids from the very beginning, so seeing Sean Astin - AKA Little Mikey - show up in Hawkins was a pure delight, but of course, the references don’t stop there. Episode 5 features Astin’s character Bob doing some map work reminiscent of the famous scene in “The Goonies.” Sadly, instead of treasure, the only thing this map lead to was Bob’s gruesome demise at the hands of a vicious Demodog.

#9: “A Nightmare on Elm Street” (1984)


Nancy is heading over to Tina’s house? That’s got to be a nod to Wes Craven’s “A Nightmare on Elm Street” - which was released in 1984, the same year that season two takes place. In episode 2, Steve and Nancy head over to a party at Tina’s for some good ol’ fashion high school binge drinking - which doesn’t end well for Nancy. In “A Nightmare on Elm Street” Nancy and Tina are good friends - that is, of course, until Tina is murdered at the hands of Freddy.

#8: “Bram Stoker's Dracula” (1992)


Winona Ryder has been in plenty of movies, but among her most famous roles is undoubtedly her turn as Mina Harker in 1992’s “Bram Stoker's Dracula.” What better way to pay homage to your lead actresses long and impressive career than to have Sean Astin dress up as the least intimidating vampire in history for Halloween. This is one the many tender moments shared between Joyce and Bob, and one that subtly calls back to a true horror classic.

#7: “Gremlins” (1984)


Before transforming into a truly terrifying Demodog, D'artagnan the Pollywog was an adorable little creature that didn’t like bright lights and had a huge appetite. If this sounds like a familiar concept, it’s because it’s reminiscent of another 80s classic. Before transforming into a truly terrifying Gremlin, Gizmo the Mogwai was an adorable little creature that didn’t like bright lights and had a huge appetite. Had Dustin seen Gremlins in June of 1984, maybe he would have known better than to feed and protect Dart in the first place?

#6: “Close Encounters of the Third Kind” (1977)


During one of Will’s “episodes,” he looks beyond the doorframe in the entrance of his home to reveal the hellish landscape of the Upside Down. This scene is a pretty straightforward recreation of a similar moment in Steven Spielberg's’ 1977 classic “Close Encounters of the Third Kind” and another instance of the Duffer Brothers wearing their influences on their sleeves. "Close Encounters" and by extension, the films of Steven Spielberg, are a driving influence on the tone and characters of the series, so direct nods like this one are to be expected.

#5: “The Evil Dead” (1981)


The Evil Dead is an 80s horror masterpiece, so it’s no wonder why the Duffer Brothers decided to pay homage to such a truly influential film. The references range from the subtle to the overt, from Eleven opening up the doors to the cellar to the image of the swing rocking back and forth on the front porch, to the treacherous vines that bind their prey - though, luckily for Hopper, his vines we’re only interested in choking him as far as we know.

#4: “Ghostbusters” (1984) & “Ghostbusters II” (1989)


The first “Ghostbusters” film was released in June of 1984, just a few months before the events of “Stranger Things 2” so it didn’t take long for Will, Mike, Dustin and Lucas to become full-on mega-fans. The same could be said of the Duffers, who injected some subtle Ghostbusters callbacks throughout the new season. Namely, the way Venkman and Hopper react to getting slime on their hands, or the scene of Steve, Will, Lucas, Dustin and Max exploring the tunnels below Hawkins which is reminiscent of the New York Pneumatic Railroad scene in Ghostbusters II.

#3: “Star Wars” franchise (1977-)


El’s abilities are pretty reminiscent of the force, so in the somewhat stand-alone 7th episode, her journey has a number of parallels to the Star Wars saga. Our first instance of this is the scene where her sister, Kali, helps her control her powers which is straight out of the X-Wing scene in the swamps of Dagobah from “Empire.” But Kali quickly changes from Yoda to The Emperor as she encourages El to give into her passionate urges and force choke one of the men responsible for her mother’s lobotomization to death. El eventually rejects Kali and her methods, choosing to return to her friends - sound familiar?

#2: “The Exorcist” (1973)


While many of the films referenced this season were released around the time the story takes place, this film predates season 2’s fictional 1984 by more than a decade. That being said, even now, more than forty years after it debuted, “The Exorcist” remains a truly horrific film. Many of the scenes dealing with the Smoke Monster’s possession of Will mirror similar moments from this classic and disturbing horror film, adding to the unsettling atmosphere and dread of each scene.

#1: “Alien” (1979) & “Aliens” (1986)


Much like the transition from 1979’s “Alien” to 1986’s “Aliens,” “Stranger Things 2” ups the stakes by presenting last season’s antagonist, the Demogorgon, as just one of many, as The Party must contend with what seems like an unstoppable force in the Demodog army that shreds through Hawkins Lab. Like in “Aliens” Paul Reiser plays a scientist and representative of a corporation up to no good, though this time he does have a redemption arc. The Smoke monster looks like a giant Xenomorph mixed with a spider, and flamethrowers are all over the place. There are too many references to this iconic Sci-fi horror franchise to name, but it is undoubtedly the biggest influence on this season.
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