‘Stranger Things’: A Veiled Horror Remake

by Frank Martin

It’s no surprise that Stranger Things is known for its homage to 1980s sci-fi and horror culture. Some are blatantly obvious. Others are hidden as Easter Eggs for fans to find. But the latest season has touches of one classic horror movie that stand out a little too much. That film, of course, is A Nightmare on Elm Street. I’m not the first person to point this out. The influence is pretty obvious. But at what point does a story fade from being inspired by a work to becoming a remake?

On paper, Stranger Things and A Nightmare on Elm Street are completely different. The character structure and plots don’t match up at all. Yet there are moments and underlying feelings that give off a similar atmosphere. Vecna is certainly a menacing presence who physically and spiritually bodies everything that Freddy Kruger did. He puts teens in a trance like state that allows them to hallucinate and experience a warped reality. He also has a claw like hand which is very reminiscent of Freddy’s glove.

As I said, the two stories are completely different. Yet, when Vecna taunts the teens, mocking their lives, you could close your eyes and hear Freddy speaking through him. Some of the kills — particularly when the teens are lifted in the air and hang on the ceiling — mimic A Nightmare on Elm Street as well. And then there’s the one teen who is framed by Vecna and being hunted by the police, just like in A Nightmare on Elm Street.

Bear in mind this is not a criticism of the show. Far from it. It is an acknowledgment that the show was able to closely embody the feel of a classic ’80s movie while also creating something completely original and unique in their already existing universe.

Stranger Things is streaming now on Netflix.

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