By now you’ve of Stranger Things and read all about the biggest references and easter eggs hidden throughout the series – if you hadn’t already noticed them yourself, that is.
— particularly those from the 80s — but still somehow manages a story which is not a rehash or reboot, but something totally original. The entire series feels so familiar that watching it is like watching an old favorite, except that it’s not, or not yet, at least.
As mentioned, Stranger Things unapologetically took inspiration from perhaps providing the most inspiration. But sprinkled in with all the obvious references, there were some much smaller ones, total blink-and-you’ll-miss-it moments.
Take a look at six of the more obscure and fleeting references to movies and TV shows that you may not have noticed – at least not on your first viewing:
WARNING: Spoilers for many of the episodes (including the final one) below.
1. Heathers – 1988
In Episode 5, “Chapter Five: The Flea and the Acrobat,” there is a short scene sandwiched between two scenes of Winona Ryder’s character, Joyce, when Nancy searches for a baseball bat. As Nancy searches the camera pans over a set of croquet mallets, making a clear reference to the in which the characters play croquet multiple times.
In Episode 6, “Chapter Six: The Monster,” Jonathan gets into a fight with Steve defending Nancy’s honor. By the end of the fight it’s clear Steve got more than he bargained for when Jonathan’s anger spills over and he rains down punch after punch on Steve’s smug face. As the cops approach, Steve’s friend, Tommy tries to pull Jonathon off Steve yelling “hey, he’s had enough, man! I said he’s had enough!” This is very similar to the lines that Bobby yells in the 1984 film The Karate Kid, when he’s trying to break up the Halloween fight.
There are Goonies references and vibes all throughout Stranger Things, including the fact that . This is probably proven best when he goes off to search for the stash of chocolate pudding he was certain the lunch lady was keeping from the kids. The moment he finds the pudding and shouts back to Mike is so similar to the scene in The Goonies when Chunk finds the ice cream stash and shouts to the rest of his group, you have to crack a smile.
Yes, there are an absolutely ton of of Jaws references in Stranger Things, but I think the most sneaky and clever reference has to be to do with the book Nancy was reading in Episode 6. After realizing that the monster is attracted to blood, much like a shark (a nice Jaws reference in itself, albeit an obvious one), Nancy and Jonathan are startled when Mrs Wheeler knocks on the door. As the camera pans we get a very quick glance at a book on Nancy’s bed titled Shark Attack. A quick google reveals that Shark Attack is a book by H. David Baldridge, and the book’s tagline reads “true tales of shark attacks on man — facts more terrifying than the fiction of JAWS.” Nice one, Stranger Things.
5. Twin Peaks — 1990 – 1991
In one of the final scenes of Episode 8 we see Will go to the bathroom, and barf up a slug. As he recovers from the reveal that his ordeal with the monster is far from over, he stares into the mirror only for his entire bathroom to flicker as though it has momentarily become the Upside-Down. As he stares into the mirror, before calmly returning to his family, it seems eerily similar to the final scene of David Lynch’s cult series, Twin Peaks. In the final moments of the series, Dale Cooper also stares into the mirror, before head butting it to reveal Bob as his reflection – much like Will, the evil had managed to enter him.
From a series that’s totally aware of its influences, to the most self-aware horror film of all time, Stranger Things manages a nice nod to Scream when Steve sneaks into Nancy’s room in Episode 1, much like Billy sneaking into Sidney’s. But the Scream references don’t end there, with Steve picking up Nancy’s teddy bear and making it talk, much like Billy did after Sidney’s dad almost catches them together in her room.