Stranger Things is aware that it is an original and satisfying drama… that is built on a mountainous foundation of nostalgia. That presumably applies just as much to its Duffy Brothers creators as it does to the growing legion of fans who cannot get enough of the weird happenings of Eleven and friends. And Stranger Things 2 embraced this with a vengeance, loud and early. After all, one only needs to look at last year’s second episode, “Chapter Two: Trick or Treat, Freak” to see all the 1980s pop culture Easter Eggs on display.
And this sugar rush of memories reached its zenith during the Halloween party attended by the show’s one-time power couple, Steve (Joe Keery) and Nancy (Natalia Dyer). The two are adorably dressed as Tom Cruise and Rebecca De Mornay from Risky Business (back when Cruise’s shtick could be considered un-ironically adorable). But other shoutouts include Cobra Kai from The Karate Kid, John Belusi from Animal House, Lynda Carter’s Wonder Woman, Rocky Balboa’s training sweats gear, Siouxsie Sioux of the Banshees, and “Billy Jean” era Michael Jackson attire. Even the home itself is a nod to Nancy’s original namesake from season 1, A Nightmare on Elm Street. Tina was Nancy’s (Heather Langenkamp) BFF in that film, and also the one with the dubious honor of getting gutted first. So the fact that Stranger Things’ Nancy hangs out in her home (where Tina met her fate) suggests that Barb is not the only friend of hers in danger in this town.
We chronicle exactly where most of these nods are in the video below. We also highlight the more obvious ones gleaned when the Scooby Gang, minus Eleven, goes trick ‘r treating. The boys are of course dressed as the Ghostbusters, albeit with two Peter Venkmans, because Mike was totally being a tool for trying to force Lucas to be Winston. Newcomer Max also immediately endeared herself to the audience by earning cool girl points for dressing up as Michael Myers, the best of the slasher killers.
Some much lamer teen is later also seen as Jason Voorhees during this sequence. There’s even a Pac-Man!