Hawkins, Indiana has played host to many supernatural happenings over the past few years. From alien dimensions to telekinetic powers, Stranger Things packs a paranormal punch. One of the show’s strengths is weaving pop-culture Easter Eggs of the 1980s into the world of Hawkins. All whilst sprinkling some plot seasoning throughout the series, Season Three was full of these.
As we all anticipate Season Four, join us as we discover 9 Easter Eggs hidden in Stranger Things Season Three.
SPOILERS: If you’re reading this then you’ve probably seen Stranger Things, but if not there are spoilers ahead.
1. The Elm Street door
When Eleven goes looking for Heather, the missing lifeguard, she ventures to her home. The door is a replica of Nancy Thompson’s family home in 1984’s ‘A Nightmare on Elm Street’.
Whilst the house number differs slightly from 1428 to 1438, the symbol and the framing is a direct homage to Wes Cravens 80s genre-defining slasher. The comparisons entwine perfectly too. Craven pioneered the fear of teens vanishing at the hands of a supernatural being. Whilst the Duffer Brothers have played on this since season one with Will’s disappearance.
Craven played on the fear that the child isn’t safe in their own home and at constant risk of possession or even death. Stanger Things use this same fear throughout the seasons, dating back to Will’s initial vanishing and funeral.
This specific scene also features Eleven and Max arriving at the house and quizzing Billy about Nancy’s whereabouts. The conclusion of this encounter reveals that Billy is possessed by the Mind Flayer. It recognises Eleven from the showdown at the end of season 2. This is one final Craven-ism as his infamous villain was known for his possession and shapeshifting. Krueger, like Billy, was a threat to the protagonists as he had, or was the host to something inhuman and highly powerful.
2. Cates, the cardboard cut out
Season Three sees Dustin return to Hawkins from summer camp. This is when he reveals he has a girlfriend called Suzy. He claims that she is prettier than Phoebe Cates, the actress best known for her role in 1982’s Fast Times at Ridgemont High.
This reference to 1980s romance and adolescent lust crops back up later in the series; when Robin is trying to get Steve a job at the video store. Steve tumbles in into a cardboard cut-out of Cates as Linda Barrett before propping it back up and admiring it in comical fashion.
The first bonus Fast Times reference is in the form of the song ‘Moving in Stereo’ by The Cars. It’s the soundtrack to the slow-motion pool scene’ in the 80’s romantic comedy. Quite possibly the most replayed scene in cinema thanks to its pubescent audience. But, it’s also played in Season Three when Billy walks to the pool in his lifeguard uniform. It’s a nod to the risque film of the era whilst establishing Billy as the local heatwave heartthrob.
The second bonus Fast Times reference is the car Billy drives. His bad boy 1979 Chevy Camaro is the exact same car used in the 80’s teen flick and is very on-brand for the lifeguard lothario.
3. Peter and the plot twist?
Season Three saw the most emotional moments of the show so far. “The Battle of Starcourt” gave us the tear-jerking scene of Eleven reading the letter left for her by Hopper.
However, there may have been an audio Easter Egg planted that relates back to Season One…
The scene in season 3 includes Peter Gabriel’s cover of David Bowie’s “Heroes”. The same cover of the song that features in the season 1 episode “Holly, Jolly” when Will is still believed to be dead. This could be a subtle hint that Hopper isn’t dead and is set for a return… only season 4 will tell.
4. The Kaufman shout-out
Much like the Elm St reference, the is an ever more subtle hint at horror in Stranger Things Season Three with it’s Easter Eggs. Kaufman Shoes is shown in the Starcourt Mall, a likely nod to Philip Kaufman, who directed the 1978 classic, Invasion of the Body Snatchers.
As the Mind Flayer is partial to a spot of body-snatching themselves, its only fitting the director of the seventies scream-fest got their own spot in Hawkins.
5. Suzie and the book
Suzie is teased throughout Season Three, as we aren’t actually sure if Dustin’s girlfriend exists or not. But when she is revealed, she’s shown reading a book, a quiet contrast to the insanity taking place in Hawkins.
The book that Suzie (Gabriella Pizzolo) is reading is Ursula K. Le Guin’s A Wizard Of Earthsea. A tale of a young boy who accidentally releases an evil entity into the world thanks to his magical powers. Sounds a lot like a recap of Season One, and a flex of a reference for the eagle-eyed viewers.
6. Romero references
Another horror film used in Season Three is Day of the Dead when Mike, Will, Lucas, and Max are watching the film’s opening scene. This film begins with a dream sequence in which Lori Cardille’s protagonist imagines a wall of grasping hands. Using the most memorable images from the film establishes it as an intentional reference.
Day of the Dead was the third of George Romero’s Zombie trilogy (following Night of the Living Dead and Dawn of the Dead). It follows scientist and solders in an underground bunker, trying to fight a Zombie horde. The characters of Stanger Things are seen watching the film following a Blackout in Hawkins. The abandoned town resembles neglected Florida in Romero’s third Zombie outing.
A sign is also shown outside the theatre suggesting the film was a preview screening. This sets the film in Stanger Things cannon as Day of the Dead wouldn’t open nationally until later in July that year.
7. Murray’s phone number
Conspiracy nut turned heart-warming loon, Murray is a treat in Season Three. But he is also involved in a meta crossover Easter Egg. In Episode Six, Murray’s phone number (618-625-8313) is shown on screen. If you call it goes straight through to the characters voicemail.
Completely true to form, Murray, can be heard yelling about his mother and shouting about Joyce Byers before referring to the caller as a parasite. “If this is Joyce, Joyce, thank you for calling, I have been trying to reach you. I have an update. It’s about, well, it’s probably best if we speak in person. It’s not good or bad, but it’s something.”
Could this be another teaser for Hopper’s return in Season Four? Is he the American in Russia? IS IT BARB? … Probably not.
8. Ryder references
Getting even more meta, is the blink and you’ll miss it a reference to Winona Ryder’s filmography. Deep in the centre of Scott Clarke’s model is the grave from Beetlejuice.
This is an extra subtle nod to Ryder’s work of the time, yet the setting of season 3 actually predates Beetlejuice by 3 years. We shall see if season 4 holds even more Winona-isms.
9. The hair tie from Hopper
The blue hair tie is a subtle but highly useful prop throughout Stranger Things. Once belonging to Sara, the daughter of Hopper who died before season 1, it can be seen on Hopper throughout both Season One and Season Two. Prior to the Snow Ball, he gives it to Eleven and she is seen wearing it throughout Season Three.
To solidify its significance Hopper can be seen playing with it on her wrist before the two separate in the mall for their individual life-threatening missions. Unsure if the two will ever meet again, the blue hairband is the unspoken symbol of family between them both.
Some honourable mentions
Stranger things Season Three saw so many Easter Eggs hidden in plain sight, it deserves some extra shout outs.
Karen Wheeler’s raunchy books
During the pool scenes, Karen Wheeler can be seen reading Johanna Lindsey’s brand new novel “Tender is the Storm” which was released in 1985. In Season Two Karen was shown reading “Heart of Thunder” in the bath. This is the prequel meaning that the character is following the instalments of romance novels each series. 10 points for continuity.
Canadian eye candy
The subtle subtext is discreetly revealed regarding Eleven in Season Three. This is in order to develop the character into a more independent teen. This includes her love for Canadian pop stars. Mike and Eleven are shown listening to Corey Hart’s 1985 hit “never surrender” in her room. A cassette of fellow Canadian pop Rocker Bryan Adams is also shown in her room, in keeping with the theme that Eleven was fond of the Justin Beiber’s” of her day.
The pair are seen kissing to it in June of 1985 (Mike and Eleven, not Bryan Adams and Corey Hart… that would be a completely different show), and is another accurate reference to the times as it reached No. 3 on the American charts that summer.
Max and the movies
Much like Elevens character development, Max is given the same subtle treatment to add more depth for the viewers looking for it. In episode 2 Mall Rats’ her bedroom wall shows a poster for John Carpenter’s 1982 film The Thing. As this would have been a cult film at the time, it gives Max some edgy interests whilst referencing the seasons’ plot. The Thing sees a parasite taking over its host, mirroring the narrative of Stranger Things once again.
And that’s our list of Easter Eggs from Stranger Things Season Three. What do you think? Did we miss any rumours you’ve spotted? Let us know in the comments below.
Check our Stranger Things Season Two Easter Eggs article HERE.
Read IMDB information about Stranger Things HERE.
Cobra Kai Season 4 – Review
Cobra Kai season four is out now on Netflix and the All Valley is back and better than ever. Here’s our review.
SPOILERS: If you’re reading this then you’ve probably seen the show, but if not there are spoilers ahead.
It’s January, and new shows are popping up everywhere. This brings us to the show that I and my friends have been holding our breaths for: the fourth season of the hit Netflix series Cobra Kai! After three seasons, I wondered if there was anything left to mine from the Karate Kid lore or the Johnny/Daniel dynamic. I am happy to report that this might be my favourite season yet! It manages to not only expand upon the universe it has created, but to bring in a new villain, who is so bad that he threatens to outdo even John Kreese!
Season four sets us off where the third left off, with Johnny and Daniel having joined forces to fight Cobra Kai. Their friendship arc is the glue that holds this season together. The story focuses largely on whether they will be able to pull it together and make their partnership work. As in previous seasons, their relationship has its ups and downs. The stakes are heightened, however, as the season leads up to the All-Valley Tournament. A bet between the three senseis – Kreese, Daniel, and Johnny – means that losing the All Valley is losing the title of sensei.
This season explores the ways that both Johnny and Daniel work with the kids. It also examines the kids’ struggles as they prepare for the All Valley while dealing with conflict within the ever-changing network of friends and enemies in the dojos. Robbie has left juvenile hall and decided to join up with Cobra Kai as a means of inflicting revenge on both his dad and Daniel. Tori and Sam continue their rivalry. And John Reese’s old friend Terry Silver (of Karate Kid 3 fame) shows up to kick Cobra Kai into high gear.
Daniel’s son, Anthony, who has largely been absent until now, faces his own dilemma when his friends begin bullying Kenny, the new kid in town. This soft-spoken middle school character brings us into the world of the younger kids, setting up yet another storyline. Kenny becomes the victim of a gang of kids (including Anthony), enduring round after round of bullying before Robbie takes him under his wing. After his induction into Cobra Kai, the formerly shy middle-schooler becomes a bully himself.
Shades of grey
This brings me to one of my favourite things about the show. The constant back and forth dynamic between characters makes us feel that anything is possible. There is no black and white in the world of Cobra Kai. Where the Karate Kid told us that Daniel was good, and Johnny was bad, this show gives us a very different point of view. It’s a world where we’re never sure who to root for. In this season, we even see Hawk make a return to the “good guys” side after giving up his spot at Cobra Kai.
With Eagle Fang (Johnny’s new dojo) and Miyagi-Do teaming up, the kids – and the adults – have to learn to work together. Of course, complications ensue. Johnny becomes jealous of what he perceives as Miguel’s preference for Daniel over him. Sam wants to learn both her dad’s karate style and Johnny’s, despite her father’s discouragement. Meanwhile, at Cobra Kai, Kreese is losing his grip on the dojo. His former war buddy, Terry Silver, puts off a rather benign appearance in episode one, growing more and more evil with each episode.
This season is lacking in many of the big fight scenes of the previous seasons, instead choosing to focus their energy on the characters. The All Valley Tournament features several great karate matches and offers a satisfying conclusion to Johnny and Daniel’s arc. In the end, Cobra Kai takes the tournament win, but Johnny and Daniel have reached an understanding.
Tori defeats Sam to take the women’s All Valley trophy but later overhears her sensei paying off one of the referees. It’s clear that Cobra Kai has pulled yet another fast one. But the season ends on an even more ominous – and unexpected – note. Terry Silver assaults the over-aged former Cobra Kai member, Stingray, sending him to the hospital. He then makes a deal with Stingray to blame the crime on Kreese. We end the season with Kreese in handcuffs, Terry Silver set to take over Cobra Kai, and the future of Eagle Fang and Miyagi-Do uncertain. In a last shocking twist, Miguel leaves town in search of his biological father.
Although some may miss the school hallway throw downs, I found this one satisfying in a different way. It just goes to show that the ever-expanding Cobra Kai universe can keep bringing surprises season after season.
CULTURE CROSSING SCORE 9/10
Thank you for reading our review of Cobra Kai season four. Do you agree or disagree with our points or have anything to add? If so, leave us a comment below.
Check out our Hawkeye episode one and two review HERE.
Read IMDB information about Spider-Man: No Way Home HERE.
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