10. The Hugh Jackman movie Prisoners was part of their “missing child” inspiration
While a number of ’80s films influenced Stranger Things, there are a few more modern films that inspired the Duffer Brothers. For example, they attribute some of their inspiration to Prisoners. The 2013 film directed by Denis Villeneuve and starring Hugh Jackman tells the story of a young girl’s abduction. When the police arrest and subsequently release a suspect, Hugh Jackman’s character takes matters into his own hands and tortures the suspect (Paul Dano) for answers. However, that’s only the tip of the iceberg. The film actually had many layers and twists.
But in order to pull some of those core ideas into focus, the Duffer Brothers decided to tell the story through the lens of a child. From there, the abduction mystery grew into the monster story we know Stranger Thing to be today.
As Ross Duffer explains:
"“It was great seeing those characters in that tone on the big screen, but we thought it needed more. It was taking that idea of a missing child and combining it with the more childlike sensibilities that we have. You know, can we put a monster in there that eats people? Because we are nerds and children-at-heart, we thought it was the best thing ever.”"
Combined with Cold War experiments (Project MK Ultra), we got Stranger Things.