Stranger Things 2 Has More '80s References Than You Could Ever Spot Yourself
By GameSpot Staff on
How big an '80s junkie are you?
Stranger Things uses its setting to the fullest. It was true in Season 1, and even moreso in Season 2. That's why there are more '80s jokes, references, and easter eggs than most fans could hope to spot themselves.
Luckily GameSpot Universe is here for you, and we hunted for as many '80s references as we could find in Stranger Things 2. Some are obvious, but many are not.
How many of these did you see on your own? Let us know in the comments.
Dig Dug was a popular game in the '80s, but that's obvious. We're looking at The episode's title, as well as Max's high score name--both a reference to the George Miller film series. OK, that's obvious too. But did you realize that Dig Dug actually only allowed three letters for high scores, not six?
When Stranger Things 2 catches up with "the party," they're at the local arcade. This is a callback to the opening of Tron (1982).
Dragon's Lair is a real arcade game that came out in 1983--and it really was a rage-inducing quarter eater, just like the gang experiences.
The Terminator came out in October 1984, which makes its placement on the movie theater marquee perfect.
The Cold War
The paranoia multiple characters exhibit about a Russian spy infiltrating Hawkins may be off the mark slightly, but it was symptomatic of the times. The Cold War was still going strong in 1984.
Will says his favorite candy is Reese's Pieces--like because of 1982's E.T.
The architecture of the lab building is reminiscent of examples seen in movies like David Cronenberg's weird 1970s sci-fi/horror film Crimes of the Future.
The scientists using flamethrowers to keep the Upside Down at bay calls to mind the 1986 movie Aliens.
This sequence is likely a tribute to the famous Close Encounters of the Third Kind (1977) scene.
Eleven wants to dress up as a ghost so she can venture out on Halloween, just like E.T. It's possible she even saw the movie on TV at some point, since it came out in 1982, two years earlier.
Ghostbusters was a real but quickly forgotten movie that came out in the summer of 1984, just months before Stranger Things 2 begins. OK, this is a bad joke. We're sorry.
Joyce's boyfriend, Bob, dresses up as Dracula for Halloween, and the two share multiple scenes. Winona Ryder, the actress who plays Joyce, also starred in the 1992 movie Bram Stoker's Dracula. Coincidence? Actually, this one's a maybe.
The mask Max wears is Michael Myers from 1978's Halloween.
Steve's old friend Tommy is wearing a Cobra Kai outfit from 1984's The Karate Kid.
The "pure fuel" guy is dressed like John Belushi in Animal House (1978).
Steve and Nancy do a Risky Business (1983) couples costume. She's apparently a huge Tom Cruise fan.
This cool customer is doing a pretty slick Magnum, P.I. Love the 'stache.
Point Break wasn't out until 1991, but we're still counting this partygoer as homage on the show's part.
Eleven staring at the static screen looks like a similar scene in Poltergeist (1982).
Much like the mogwai in Gremlins, Dustin's pal D'Art starts out cute--until he starts feeding. Wow, the summer of 1984 was incredible for movies.
Dustin has a Certificate of Anti-Paranormal Proficiency, a sign he's a member of the official Ghostbusters fan club, hanging on his wall.
Also in Dustin's room are an E.T. figure, and--a slightly less obvious reference--an Odious Ogre action figure from Dungeons & Dragons in 1982.
That Steve vs. Billy showdown felt very Teen Wolf (1985).
There was a subtle Evil Dead (1981) vibe while Eleven was stuck in Hopper's cabin, especially when she ventured down into the basement--or should we say "fruit cellar?"
Dustin's pet Demo-dog sheds its skin much like the newly hatched Xenomorph in Alien (1979).
Will's frantic drawing is reminiscent of the effect the aliens in Close Encounters of the Third Kind (1977) have on anyone who comes in contact with them.
More Evil Dead
More Evil Dead (1981), as the shot of the porch swing swaying in the breeze is basically shot-for-shot.
Even More Evil Dead
And yet more Evil Dead (1981), as the vines/tentacles that wrap Hopper up bring to mind the traumatic scene in that classic horror film.
Stranger Thingsis heavily inspired by The Goonies (1985), but not always as overtly as when Sean Astin's character, Bob, asks whether there's "pirate treasure" at the X on Will's frantically drawn map. Astin, of course, starred as Mikey in The Goonies, a movie about a group of kids hunting for pirate treasure.
There's another Aliens (1986) reference when Hopper drops cigarettes on the ground to mark his trail through the tunnels. Ripley does the same thing with flares in Aliens.
The scientists in Stranger Thingsdiscovering that disconnected particles of contaminated dirt will react in tandem to stimuli is a reference to 1982's The Thing, in which an extremely bearded Kurt Russell realizes the same about contaminated blood.
Eleven's entire origin story is inspired by Firestarter, a 1984 movie based on a 1980 Stephen King book, in which a young girl with dangerous psychic powers escapes from a mysterious government agency.
Lucas's sister keeps messing with his He-Man action figure. He-Man aired from 1983 to 1985.
Much like Indiana Jones, Hopper refuses to leave his hat behind, even after extremely harrowing experiences.
Steve and Dustin are basically doing Jaws (1975) while they leave chum in their wake as a trail for D'Art.
We know Will is a Jaws fan from the poster on his wall.
Temple of Doom
Steve and Nancy muttering to themselves in separate rooms mirrors a similar scene in Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom (1984).
Particularly in Episode 6, when Will, Mike, Hopper, and Joyce wind up at the lab, Paul Reiser as Dr. Owens is basically reprising his role as Carter J. Burke in Aliens.
Yes, More Aliens
Joyce's meeting with the government scientists is highly reminiscent of Ripley's briefing with the Weyland-Yutani suits in Aliens.
OK, Just Stop
The scene where Dr. Owens watches on radar as his soldiers get killed one by one is straight out of--you guessed it--Aliens.
Eleven's makeover is basically a reverse of Ally Sheedy's in The Breakfast Club (1985).
Eleven's baby mask has appeared in other films, notably Terry Gilliam's Brazil (1985).
Empire Strikes Back
Eleven's training with Kali is reminiscent of Luke Skywalker's training in Empire Strikes Back (1980), particularly when she moves the train car, like when Luke needed to lift his X-Wing out of the swamp with the force.
Also a reference to Empire: Dr. Brenner's appearance to Eleven mirrors Darth Vader's appearance to Luke in the cave.
The scene in Episode 8 where they need to get the power back on through a combination of sneaking around and Bob's hacker skills was inspired by Jurassic Park, although that came out in the '90s.
This scene between Max and Lucas is a reference to a scene involving Winston in Ghostbusters--which is ironic, given that Lucas really didn't want to be Winston for Halloween.
The Last Alien Reference, We Swear
In the final Alien reference of the season, the Hawkins lab apparently uses the exact same alarm system seen in the iconic film, as heard in this scene from Episode 8.
One final obvious one for the win: The entire exorcism scene is, well, straight out of The Exorcist(1973).