The ’80s influenced Netflix series Stranger Things has become the surprise hit of the summer with its clever blend of horror, adventure, sci-fi, and a healthy dose of nostalgia. Created by twin brothers Matt and Ross Duffer, the pair has gone on record saying that ’80s films have heavily influenced the series and the decade’s imprint can be seen in everything from tone to visual homage. Here are 12 movies from the ’80s whose influence flows through the veins of Stranger Things.
1. Alien (1979) & 2. Aliens (1986)
Okay, so Ridley Scott’s Alien missed out on the ’80s by one year, but you could also mention James Cameron’s action sequel, Aliens in the same breath when it comes to influence. The Duffer Brothers have consistently mentioned the Alien films and the work of H.R. Giger as key inspirations for the look of some of the Stranger Things‘ key elements. Whether it’s the production design of the portals to the Upside Down that resemble the interior of Alien‘s ship or the design of the monster itself, the DNA of Alien runs deep in the series.
“What we were trying to do with our monster is, first of all, we wanted it to be a dude in a suit, which limits you but in a good way,” Ross Duffer told The Daily Beast. “We wanted it to have a simplicity to it.” Scott has mentioned throughout the years that the limitation of having a person in a suit playing the alien meant he was forced to find creative ways to shoot it in order maintain tension and not reveal too much. In fact, one of the scenes cut from Alien — an infamous moment where the alien “crabwalks” — is a wonderful example of how silly the alien could have looked if it wasn’t shot in interesting ways.