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A Supercut Guide to Stranger Things' Cinematic Inspiration

Even if you think ‘Stranger Things’ rocketing fame is unexpected, its classic movie references are not at all.

by Diana Shi
06 August 2016, 12:05pm

All images via

Minor spoilers for Stranger Things below.

Taking a look back at the movie offerings of the 70s and 80s, it’s obvious how much the two-decade cinema epoch was a wealth of imagery. The 70s gave us terrifying revenge spectacles and spine-chilling predation tales in Carrie and Halloween, while the 80s arrived with a goldmine of A-grade scares, like The Shining, Poltergeist, and A Nightmare on Elm Street.

On the genre flipside, science fiction also came into its element. Pioneering films in more ways than one, the movie-makers of the 1970s defined the future of sci-fi with titles like Close Encounters of the Third Kind and Alien. These films fired the first shots into the murky advancements ahead, addressing technology's potential to challenge human autonomy, extraterrestrial life and interstellar exploration, and the look of the future in general (as the Logan’s Run tagline puts it, “Welcome to the 23rd Century”).

And then, there's Stranger Things

The runaway Netflix series is known for its twist on the classic stylings of sci-fi and horror flicks, carrying heavy nostalgic references to earlier tentpole works that defined a quarter of a century of film. The series has acquired accolades for its ability to scoop up an enthusiastic and nostalgia-hungry fanbase while transcending problems in pacing and storytelling.

Now, a four-minute Vimeo short is in the wings to clear up all those aching feelings of familiarity. From Ulysse Thevenon, the video plows through a dozen different likely references forming a fully-fleshed out guide to sci-fi and horror history. Moreover, a neat side-by-side format directly compares one scene of classic movie to one Stranger Things scene—all to the throbbing arcade drone of the show’s theme song:

At times, it’s almost startling to see the likenesses of cult 70s/80s movies pulled right into the show's shots and motifs. But the eight-chapter show stands as a solid bet, consistently keeping an audience’s interest with tried-and-true visual tropes rather than relying on cliché dialog. 

Catch Stranger Things on Netflix now, and see more videos from Ulysse Thevenon on his Vimeo page, here.

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