Stranger Things season 4 could embrace the “satanic panic” of the 80s

Stranger Things - Credit: Netflix
Stranger Things - Credit: Netflix /

What is Stranger Things season 4 about?

At the end of Stranger Things season 3, we saw a news teaser about “Horror in the Heartland” about what happened in Hawkins, the corrupt mayor, and the rise of alleged satanism in America. We didn’t fully understand what that meant for Stranger Things season 4, but it appears to be more of a teaser for the new season than we originally understood.

Lindsey Romain of Nerdist did a great breakdown of what could happen if Stranger Things season 4 dives into the satanic panic of the ’80s.

There’s a deep history that the Duffer Brothers and the writers could bring it into the series during the fourth season. Basically, during the ’80s, there was a lot of fear about satanism and Christian fundamentalism, according to Nerdist, and that caused a real divide in culture. And, real damage was done during this time period.

The feature cites the West Memphis Three as an example of fears about satanism that went too far when three innocent teens, Damien Echols, Jessie Misskelley Jr., and Jason Baldwin, were convicted of the murder of three boys in West Memphis.

They were released decades later.

It appears, as the Nerdist piece mentions, that Stranger Things season 4 is going to explore this during the new season with Eddie Munson, played by Joseph Quinn and The Hellfire Club. Munson is very similar to Echols.

Munson is the leader of The Hellfire Club, according to the character description shared by Netflix recently. For those who don’t know The Hellfire Club is the Hawkins High D&D club, and it looks like Dustin, and probably Mike and Lucas and Max, will be part of the club in the new season.

According to TV Line, Munson is described as:

"“an audacious 80’s metalhead who runs The Hellfire Club, Hawkins High’s official D&D club. Hated by those who don’t understand him — and beloved by those who do — Eddie will find himself at the terrifying epicenter of this season’s mystery.”"

This is super interesting to me. I think this would be a great direction to steer season 4. D&D has been a major part of the series so far, and it makes a lot of sense to really lean into that in the new season.

It was also noted in the Nerdist piece that D&D was also viewed as an unsavory activity during the time period, given all the magic and monsters and more.

Honestly, I’m worried for Munson. No one wants to be at the “terrifying epicenter” of anything in Stranger Things. It almost never ends well for those involved. Only the Hawkins heroes have survived the events of the first two seasons, and some of those characters were killed.

I also like how the satanic panic and drama around The Hellfire Club creates a lot of conflict among those at the school and in the town of Hawkins. Surely, there will be some big fights between Mike and his parents and the parents of the other characters who don’t like what The Hellfire Club is and what they’re doing.

I could also see the town turning on Dustin, Mike, Lucas, and the rest of them and the problems that creates with the backdrop that these kids are the only reason everyone in Hawkins is still alive.

I don’t think we really know what Stranger Things season 4 is going to be about yet. There’s so much that we still don’t know about the season, but I really like the idea of this culture war dividing Hawkins over D&D. It feels very on-brand for this show.

We still don’t know when Stranger Things season 4 is coming to Netflix. Production is still happening, so we’re waiting to find out when production will end. If production ends this spring, we could see Stranger Things season 4 in late 2021.

Stay tuned for more news about season 4!

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