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The 80s movie classics that will get you ready for Stranger Things season 2


Game of Thrones? That particular winter has been and gone. What's really on our radar is the upcoming second season of Stranger Things, in which our plucky Indiana Scooby gang once again confront supernatural menace in their all-American hometown.

Regulars David Harbour and Winona Ryder are back, as well as the central posse of Finn Wolfhard (soon to be seen in Stephen King's IT), Millie Bobby Brown, Noah Schnapp, Gaten Matarazzo, Caleb McLaughlin and Charlie Heaton.

The trailer brought the house down at the recent San Diego Comic Con – and to get you prepared for the season's release this October, here's a handy list of essential movies that have inspired Stranger Things...

Stand By Me

The influence of author Stephen King looms large over Netflix's smash hit but few adaptations of his work hit the sweet spot quite like this one.

It's not a horror story, rather a coming of age tale of four pre-adolescent friends at a crossroads in their lives, and their adventures to go and find a dead body by the railway tracks. It's not hard to see the influence of Ron Reiner's classic movie on the likeable Stranger Things ensemble.


Genre master Steven Spielberg arguably defined the wondrous, exciting tone of family cinema throughout the 1980s – not a little coincidentally, the period in which Stranger Things happens to be set.

Spielberg's timeless, heart-wrenching story of extraterrestrial friendship is a huge influence on the show, not least for how it depicts American suburbia coming face to face with visitors from another planet.


We're not just including this because of the fan-pleasing reference to the movie classic in the trailer. The tone of Ivan Reitman's blockbusting spooktacular courses through Stranger Things, from the shared banter between the central group to the sudden scares that take us off our feet. Seriously, if they got Bill Murray to appear in the show it would be like Christmas.

The Thing

An altogether more grown up and horrifying movie now, courtesy of John Carpenter. In reality, most of Carpenter's input is evident in the design of Stranger Things from the prowling suburban menace of Halloween to the synth score and wide-eyed wonder of Starman.

Even so it's the monstrous shape-shifting creature at the heart of his 1982 classic that's most evident, a clear inspiration for the show's Demogorgon (named after Dungeons and Dragons) as it contorts and flails with chilling abandon.


Horror-comedy really came of age in the 80s with the likes of An American Werewolf in London and this, Joe Dante's wickedly entertaining calling card movie about mischievous monsters causing havoc in small-town America.

The movie's somewhat controversial tone, swinging from sweetness to laughs to genuine horror, is a clear touchstone for Stranger Things, luring us in with a sense of domestic calm before abruptly pulling the rug out from under us.

A Nightmare on Elm Street

Stranger Things got seriously trippy with the reveal of the Upside Down, the nightmarish other realm in which the dreaded Demogorgon appeared to reside.

The second season looks to be revealing more horrific, intergalactic landscapes and we've got Wes Craven's surrealistic horror to thank for that, a masterful story of how dreams can lead to gruesome death.

The Goonies

Of course, it's not all about the menace. People love Stranger Things because they recognise the bantz between the core group of characters. One of the eighties movies that absolutely got this right was The Goonies, a story of a group of kids on a treasure hunt that's one of the most believable and enjoyable depictions of friendship put to the screen.

What did you make of the Stranger Things season 2 trailer? Let us know @Cineworld.