Of all the original shows that have launched on Netflix over the last couple of years, few have been as successful as the sci-fi horror series Stranger Things. With substantial critical acclaim for both seasons and a wealth of award nominations, this is one program that’s undoubtedly made its mark on the world already. However, the show probably wouldn’t be as great as it is if it weren’t for all the influences behind it. There’s so much that inspired Matt and Ross Duffer when they made Stranger Things, and you might not have been aware of them all.
The work of John Hughes
As much as the program is focused on its fantasy and horror elements, it’s also about kids in the ‘80s trying to navigate life. That’s why the Duffer Brothers looked to the work of filmmakers like John Hughes to try and make their portrayal an accurate one. Hughes was responsible for movies like dramedy The Breakfast Club which is largely considered one of the best coming-of-age films around. It’s clear to see the comparison between movies like this and certain sub-plots for the characters of Steve and Nancy.
The work of Stephen King
While Stranger Things might not be an adaptation of any of Stephen King’s books, the man’s work is clear to see in the show. The Duffer Brothers have been huge fans of the author’s writing since they were kids, and his books undoubtedly inspired some of the program’s more horrific elements. King often has a great way of pacing things with his writing, and he usually knows the best times to utilize suspense and dramatic reveals. That’s something that Matt and Ross used to their advantage.
The work of H.P. Lovecraft
It’s not just Stephen King’s work that inspired the brothers when creating Stranger Things. People like H.P. Lovecraft also proved to be extremely useful when it came to writing the series, especially the sections involving the Upside Down. Lovecraft was renowned for his ability to create horror from supernatural elements and, more importantly, the things you can’t see. There are times when Stranger Things becomes terrifying because you’re not sure what the characters are facing. It’s stuff like that which was primarily influenced by Lovecraft.
The work of Guillermo del Toro
Of course, the monsters that are shown in Stranger Things are typically just as terrifying as we imagine them to be. We have Guillermo del Toro to thank for that because it’s his horrific creatures that inspired the Duffer Brothers to ramp up the fear factor on their show. They wanted their monsters to look real without lots of special effects, and Guillermo’s work showed them how to do that. It helped that a lot of the people they hired to bring the creatures to life had worked on del Toro’s stuff in the past.
Whenever you create something, there will always be influences behind your work. You might not be aware of them, but it’s thanks to them that your piece turned out the way it did. It’s because of all these incredible inspirations that Stranger Things became the mega-hit it still is today.