11 classic movies that inspired Stranger Things

Credit: Stranger Things - Netflix
Credit: Stranger Things - Netflix /
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6. A Nightmare on Elm Street

Release Year: 1984
Director: Wes Craven
Writer: Wes Craven
Starring: Heather Langenkamp, Johnny Depp, Robert Englund, John Saxon, Ronee Blakley, Amanda Wyss

In A Nightmare on Elm Street, young Nancy Thompson and her friends are tormented by a monster from their dreams that bleeds over into reality. If they fall asleep they are in his realm, and he is all too eager to kill them in gruesome and creative ways.

Like the Demogorgon in Stranger Things, Freddy Krueger can cross over from his dimension to ours. There are direct visual homages to A Nightmare on Elm Street as the Demogorgon, like Freddy, stretches the fabric of our world to break through. Scenes of the Demogorgon pushing through the walls and ceiling mimic Krueger’s attempts to do the same.

Stranger Things also drew inspiration from Nancy Thompson’s set of booby traps that she lays to ensnare Freddy, ultimately lighting him on fire. Nancy Wheeler and Jonathan Byers do the same in an attempt to trap and kill the Demogorgon, with the same fiery result.

Our young heroes in A Nightmare on Elm Street fight a constant struggle between their dreams and their reality as lines are blurred and threats become too real. Poor Will Byers, upon his return from the Upside Down, also fights this battle as remnants from his time in horrific isolation seep into his home life.

To promote Season Two of Stranger Things, Netflix launched a campaign of homage posters. Unsurprisingly, A Nightmare on Elm Street inspired poster was included.