11 classic movies that inspired Stranger Things

Credit: Stranger Things - Netflix
Credit: Stranger Things - Netflix /
7 of 11

7. Alien

Release Year: 1979
Director: Ridley Scott
Writer: Dan O’Bannon (story/screenplay), Ronald Shusett (story)
Starring: Sigourney Weaver, Tom Skerritt, Veronica Cartwright, John Hurt, Harry Dean Stanton, Ian Holm, Yaphet Kotto

In Ridley Scott’s game-changing, franchise-spawning, nightmare fuel science fiction horror film, Alien, the threat of the humanoid Xenomorph is ever-present.

The crew of the Nostromo is awakened from stasis by the ship’s computer to investigate a transmission from a nearby planetoid. Three of the crew members suit up and roll out, only to encounter a massive number of egg-like objects. Upon investigation, one of the eggs slowly hatches and an alien creature bursts out, latching onto the face of unsuspecting Executive Officer Kane (played by the legendary John Hurt). What follows is a truly frightening game of hide-and-seek, played through the confines of the ship.

In Stranger Things, the Hawkins Laboratory staff don some serious gear to head into the upside down, wearing similar suits to the Nostromo crew. Once Joyce and Hopper investigate the curious realm on their own, they find poor young Will essentially incubated by the Demogorgon. It’s a visual that’s perhaps more of a reference to Aliens than the 1979 original, but nevertheless, seeing a child in that position is horrifying.

The design of the Demogorgon itself is also reminiscent of Scott’s Xenomorph. It’s tall and somewhat humanoid with pronounced musculature, collarbones, and ribs. You can see it on the feet as well, and don’t get me started on the thighs… those creepy creatures are thick.

The town of Hawkins may be a bigger playing field to navigate, but the isolation of a small, disconnected town has the same effect. After all, in the Upside Down, no one can hear you scream. Just ask Barb.