Movies & TV

Did You Catch These '80s Pop Culture References in Stranger Things 2?

From the easy Ghostbusters nods to the Vonnegut Easter Egg you probably missed.
IMAGE Netflix; Lucasfilm

There are a number of ways fans can enjoy Stranger Things. For some—possibly younger fans—it's just a fun sci-fi show with some cool kids and big budget action. But for a lot of older fans, it's a trip into the past with nearly every scene containing some sort of Easter Egg or reference from obscure or massively influential '80s pop culture.

It's kind of like a Where's Waldo? of vintage clues, where every prop, line, costume, or shot could be a reference. You have to look closely, you have to be diligent, and, most importantly, you really have to know your shit. These could be easy references, like the whole plot line of Will getting possessed being a nod to The Exorcist. But they could also be really obscure, like Dig Dug—the arcade game in which Max beats the boys' high score—being a game about fighting monsters in tunnels (kinda like the whole plot to this season, get it?).

They're all over the place though, with fun allusions to Thriller, Carrie, Ferris Bueller's Day Off, Red Dawn, Stand By Me, The Shining, E.T., Aliens, Footloose, Jeepers Creepers, lots of Stephen King, Ghostbusters (obviously), Close Encounters of the Third Kind, The Empire Strikes Back, and so many more I'm not going to list them all because this show is like some sort of monster hybrid of every movie that ever came before it.

And if you think that makes the Duffer brothers unoriginal, consider how creative one has to be just to fit all of this stuff into nine hours of TV. That's not copying—that's love, my friends. And, if anything, Stranger Things has more than enough of that to fill the entire Upside Down.


This story originally appeared on

* Minor edits have been made by the editors.

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Matt Miller
Matt Miller is the Associate Culture Editor for
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