Strange Influences: Our Favorite Movie References From ‘Stranger Things’

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13) A Nightmare On Elm Street (1984)

stranger-things-dyer-heatonA subtle reference, but it’s certainly there. The original A Nightmare On Elm Street saw teenager Nancy Thompson (Heather Langenkamp) pull otherworldly predator Freddy Krueger into the “real” world to battle him after he murders her friends . In Stranger Things we have teenager Nancy Wheeler (Natalia Dyer) attempting to pull otherworldly predator Demogorgon into the “real” world to battle him after he murders her friend!

12) Firestarter (1984) /Carrie  (1976)

StrangerThingstrailerThese two classic Stephen King novels-turned-films deserve co-equal mention as their DNA is all over Stranger Things. Their tales of abused adolescent girls whose psychic powers serve as a means to brutal revenge are echoed in Stranger Things’ Eleven. Like Firestarter’s Charlie, Eleven’s abilities are the result of a sinister government experiment involving psychotropic drugs. Like Carrie, she is a sweet, timid girl who, thanks to a lifetime of abuse at the hands of her lone parental figure, has no qualms about using lethal force on adolescent bullies and adult authority figures alike. Eleven (portrayed by Millie Bobbi Brown) emerges from the story with a character that is distinctly her own, but the influence of her predecessors is strong and brilliantly portrayed.

11) Akira (1982-1990)

The events of Stranger Things are set one year after the real-world debut of Katsuhiro Otomo’s groundbreaking cyberpunk manga Akira which became an equally groundbreaking feature film in 1988. Akira’s story – that of a teen motorcycle gang caught up in a military conspiracy involving psychic powers – finds a  more innocent reflection in the bicycle-riding preteens of Stranger Things who face an identical crisis. But Eleven’s many gruesome kills and maimings – and the look on her face while doing so – all bear an uncomfortable resemblance to Akira’s psychokinetic villain, Tetsuo.


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