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A STRANGER THINGS Season 2 Movie Reference Rundown

If you’re a fan of ’80s sci-fi and horror, one of the best parts about the first season of Netflix’s Stranger Things  is spotting the references. Poltergeist, The Thing, The Goonies, and E.T. were all among the movies directly riffed upon in the show about kids, a girl with telekinetic powers, and a shady government organization’s monster-world experiment. But with the series coming back for another year, what new cultural touchstones will there be for fans to revisit and mull over? We spoke to the cast and crew to find out.

David Harbour, who plays the defacto action man, Sheriff Hopper, said multiple times that season two is heavily inspired by Indiana Jones. This would certainly be a bit of a departure for the show, which–while it’s always had fantastical elements–was meant to be very suburban. Even if just in Hopper’s approach to the adventure, an Indiana Jones-esque slant could bring the show even more into the Dungeons & Dragons realm that has been hinted at since the beginning.

stranger things ghostbusers

The creators of the show (known as the Duffer Brothers) asked the younger stars to watch specific films as well, and Finn Wolfhard (who plays Mike Wheeler) told us that two of the biggest ones were Joe Dante’s 1984 film Gremlins and Ivan Reitman’s 1984 film Ghostbusters. (Huh, ’84 was a big year, eh?) We can already see some of the Ghostbusters influence from the clips we’ve already seen; some are very obvious like the kids all dressed up as Ghostbusters for Halloween, but some are more subtle, like that movie ending with a giant threat destroying New York City, and we’ve already seen a giant something or other traipsing through Hawkins, IN.

Gremlins is a fun one, and it might be akin to the Ghostbusters thing in the way that movie also ends with an entire town under siege by monsters, but several small ones instead of one big one. We truly don’t know what could be coming from the Upside Down next year, but we know the Demogorgon is just the beginning.

strangerthings hopper

Finally, the show’s producer, Shawn Levy, told us that they looked at several ’80s genre sequels that escalated the franchise and weren’t just a pale imitation. He referenced Terminator 2: Judgment Day and The Empire Strikes Back, but it was James Cameron’s 1986 movie Aliens that seems to me like the most relevant; all three of these movies heighten and change the circumstances, but Aliens literally takes the same world and does a completely different movie with it. So if Stranger Things season one is the haunted house movie, maybe season two will be the one with a ton of monster-fighting action that still continues to scare. Maybe with an Indiana Jones figure?

What do you think we’ll see in Stranger Things season two? We’ll find out on Halloween 2017, but in the meantime, share your thoughts in the comments below!

Images: Netflix

Kyle Anderson is the Associate Editor for Nerdist. You can find his film and TV reviews here. Follow him on Twitter!

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