I love to watch Stranger Things around Halloween, and this year is no different. The show has elements of fantasy and horror, but it’s not usually gory. The scariest moments in the series are usually creepy because they’re suspenseful, unnerving, sad, or downright horrifying.
A scary scene does not always include violence. The most frightening moments on the popular series come in all shapes and sizes.
Without further ado, here are the top ten scariest moments in Stranger Things.
1. Season 1, Episode 1: Will sees the Demogorgon
Without a doubt, one of the scariest scenes in the series is when Will is stalked by the Demogorgon while riding home from Mike’s in the very first episode. The scene does a great job of building tension, and Noah Schnapp does a great job of appearing terrified and desperate.
The part where Will runs into the tool shed, shakily loading a gun to protect himself, only to be attacked by the monster gives me chills every time.
2. Season 1, Episode 2: Barbara is dragged away by the Demogorgon
A lot of Stranger Things fans really love Barbara, but I never really liked her. Nancy was just trying to have a good time at Steve’s and Barb was a real downer. Come on, Barb, Nancy needed a wing woman!
Regardless, I don’t think she deserved to die, especially not the way she did. The sound of Barb’s screams as she’s being dragged away by the Demogorgon is heart-wrenching because you know she is never going to climb out of that pool.
3. Season 1, Episode 4: Hopper realizes Will’s body is fake
The scene in episode 4 when Hopper goes to the morgue to look at Will’s body is incredibly suspenseful. Will’s body looks so real, and you can tell that Hopper is conflicted about how to handle the situation. However, the moment he touches Will’s body, he knows that something is wrong.
The way that he cuts open the dummy and pulls out all of the stuffing inside creeps me out every time.
4. Season 1, Episode 7: Eleven sees Barb’s body
Whoever works in the special effects department on Stranger Things deserves a raise for making Barb’s body look so disgusting. In this episode, the gang breaks into the middle school so that they can make Eleven a makeshift sensory deprivation tank. Using her powers, Eleven comes across Barb’s rotting corpse in the Upside Down.
Eleven is filled with dread as she walks towards Barb’s body, which is greenish-purple and covered in otherworldly goo, and that slug crawling out of her lifeless mouth was enough to make me gag.
5. Season 2, Episode 3: The Mind Flayer takes control of Will
At the start of season 2, Will is severely traumatized by his ordeal in the Upside Down. He is clearly struggling, which is only amplified when he starts seeing visions of a huge, spider-like shadow. Will hides from the monster, but after taking some advice from Bob, he decides to confront it.
The monster’s smoky tentacles pursue him through the middle school and at the last minute Will stops, yelling at the monster to “go away.” Obviously, this doesn’t work and Will is frozen as the Mind Flayer takes control of him. Will is powerless to stop the monster’s onslaught and the viewer feels equally helpless watching him.
6. Season 2, Episode 5: Will collapses in agony
After Hopper becomes trapped in a tunnel leading to the Upside Down, Joyce, Bob, Will, and Mike come to his rescue. Soon enough, scientists from Hawkins Lab arrive on the scene to set the tunnel on fire. However, since Will is connected to the Upside Down, he feels the fire burning him as well. Will starts convulsing in agony and collapses on the ground, his face contorted in anguish. The viewer can clearly tell that something is very wrong with Will.
7. Season 2, Episode 9: The Mind Flayer lives
At the end of season 2, Eleven closes the gate to the Upside Down and seemingly defeats the Mind Flayer. At the same time, Joyce, Nancy, and Johnathan are able to free Will from the monster’s control. The kids attend their school’s winter dance and finally have a moment of peace.
However, they are not as safe as they think. “Every Breath You Take” by The Police plays as it’s revealed that the Mind Flayer is still alive and planning its revenge.
8. Season 3, Episode 3: Eleven spies on Billy and Heather
At the end of the previous episode, Billy abducts fellow lifeguard Heather Holloway per the Mind Flayer’s instructions. After noticing Billy’s strange behavior, Eleven and Max decide to spy on him. Using her powers, Eleven finds Billy hunched over with the sounds of Heather’s pleading echoing around them. Billy turns around and seemingly perceives Eleven.
Later, Eleven finds Heather in a bathtub. The young woman begs for help, but she is dragged away before Eleven can do anything. It’s an unnerving scene because you know that when you next see Heather, she will never be the same.
9. Season 3, Episode 5: The Flayed dissolve into slime
I’ve said it once and I’ll say it again: I hated watching all of those people binging on chemicals before dissolving into one huge, rotting mass. Imagine being taken control by a being so powerful that you instantly forgo everything that makes you human.
It seems like the chemicals helped the Flayed decompose faster, so when the Mind Flayer needed them they would be ready to liquefy.
10. Season 3, Episode 8: The Mind Flayer is defeated and Hopper “dies”
I now know that Hopper is actually alive and being kept prisoner in Russia, but the scene where he dies so that the Mind Flayer can be defeated keeps me on the edge of my seat. There is a great contrast between the battle between the Mind Flayer and the kids and the fight between Joyce, Hopper, and the Russians to close the gate for good.
When Hopper realizes that he must die in order for Joyce to close the gate in time, the look he gives her absolutely breaks my heart.