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.
Squid Game – Review
The Players and Games
On 17 September 2021, South Korean, Netflix series Squid Game was released. Unbeknown to many including writer and creator Hwang Dong-hyuk, this nine-part drama quickly became the most talked about and watched show around the world.
The extremely well written, staged and thought-out show is a mix of ‘Black Mirror’, ‘Hunger Games’ and ‘Battel Royal’ all rolled into one. To make an intense and binge-able series from start to finish.
The series can be watched with subtitles or dubbed. We would suggest watching it subtitled as some of the dubbed voiceovers don’t quite match up to the characters and you can lose some of the intensity in the scenes. With both options, however, you will still be able to get a good handle of the story, as you follow hundreds of money-poor contestants take on the deadly childhood games.
SPOILERS: If you haven’t watched the whole of Squid Game yet. Stop reading here as we are about to review the players and the games, with some hefty spoilers added in.
All dressed in green tracksuits the players are the focus of the story, and the costuming made sure they did just that. In Screen Rants video Squid Game: 15 Things You Missed, we find out that Dong-hyuk wanted the players in school uniforms. But after realising they would have to wear shorts and skirts, he went with the PE style tracksuits in green, the opposite colour to red on the colour wheel… to make sure the blood stood out.
The game starts with 456 players, but there are eight main characters, who we are invited to find out more about within the story.
Seong Gi-hun (player 456)
The very first player we are introduced to is gambling addict Seong Gi-hun, Played by actor and successful model Lee Jung-jae. Gi-hun lives with his mother, bets all her money on horses, has a lot of debts, and gets his own daughter’s birthday gift from an arcade game. Which cleverly links to the boxes they use for coffins, within the game.
Gi-hun, is a great main character because through his lies and bad habits, his narrative is written to show that he has a compassionate side too, which you can relate to.
Kang Sae-byeok (player 067)
The next character we meet is Kang Sae-byeok, portrayed perfectly by model Jung Ho-yeon, in her first ever acting role. The character arc of the strong, independent, pickpocket, is so interesting and endearing to watch. She goes from depending on herself to becoming part of a team and putting her trust in others.
Her back story is of wanting money to help her brother leave an orphanage and to move her mother from North to South Korea. This puts her in a very sympathetic light which urges us the viewer to root for her.
Cho Sang-woo (Player 218)
The next player we are introduced to is Cho Sang-woo, this complex character played by popular TV actor Park Hae Soo. His own story and mannerisms are what make him such an interesting and confusing character who one minute you like, for example when he helps the team out in tug-of-war game or the other minute you despise especially after the stunt he pulled with Ali, in the marble arena. This makes him one of the best characters to have in a show like this as he is unpredictable, like we saw at the end of game six.
Oh il-Nam (player 001)
The heart and soul of the team… or so we thought! Was Oh il-Nam player 001- we should have known!
One of the smartest players in the game was expertly played by actor and writer, Oh Young-soothe. The likable old man had us going all the way to the end and even made some of us cry in the marble game making the twist at the end of the series even better.
Jang Deok-Su (Player 101)
All good games need a villain, luckily there were a lot within the 456 players, but none were as bad as actor Heo Sung-tae’s portrayal of tatted Jang Deok-su.
Player 101, comes in hitting one of the female players and leaves being dragged down by another one! His well-written character had us shouting at the screen and hoping for a worthy death, and after his betrayal to Han Mi-nyeo before tug of war, she served him the cruel departure from the game we had all hoped for.
Abdul Ali (Player 199)
After saving Gi-Hun in the red light, green light game. Abdul Ali showed not only his strength but his love and trust in others which unfortunately would also become his demise…Thanks to snaky Sang-woo.
Actor Anupam Tripathi took his first big TV role and ran with it becoming one of the most loved characters in the series. Even getting a barrage of meme’s made for the character following his wrongful and underhanded death.
Han Mi-nyeo (Player 212)
Due to the copious amounts of death and blood, it’s always wise to have a little comic relief. Han Mi-nyeo’s character was certainly that, with her frequently used catchphrase of ‘I’m good at everything, except for the things I’m not’. Portrayed by Californian born actress Kim Joo-ryeong, the loud and obnoxious character really gave the competitive edge to the game, especially in the honeycomb games when she cheated, using a lighter to melt the candy! Her character, however, did get a little grating at times.
Ji-yeong (Player 240)
Our biggest issue with this character was that there was simply not enough screen time! Played by Lee Yoo-mi in her first major role, the character of Ji-yeong captured our hearts in just three episodes. Particularly as we got to know more about her harrowing backstory if only there was a way that both Ji-yeong and Sae-byeok could have left the marble arena together!
The main part of the story of Squid Game, is the six schoolyard games, which the players must play and win to get their hands on the life-changing sum of money.
Game 1: Red Light, Green Light.
The aim of the game is not to move when the ‘creepiest doll in history’ is looking, otherwise you are eliminated, and in this game, this doesn’t just mean out! When the ‘creepy doll’ isn’t looking you need to run as quick as you can and try and cross the line within the time frame. Sounds easy right? Not when you realise if you move… you die!
Red Light, Green Light is where the players realise what kind of game they are involved in and where we lost over half to the players too!
The schoolyard set and creepy doll voice just add to the tension of this game, which is also amplified by the visuals of the game in play accompanied by the switch over to the Front Man as he watched the game through monitors whilst listening to the song ‘Fly me to the moon’.
Game 2: Honeycomb/Dalgano Candy
To be safe in this game you need to successfully cut out a shape from Honeycomb, without damaging or breaking the shape. The only tool you are given to help you is a needle.
At the beginning of this game, we truly see the back-stabbing side of Sang-woo, as he realises what game it is, as the players start to pick their shape, before knowing what they need to do.
In the know, Sang-woo goes for the easiest shape, a triangle, and neglects to warn the others as Gi-Hun walks over to pick the hardest shape, the umbrella. This game separates the cheaters from the thinkers as Mi-nyeo and Deok-su use a lighter and Gi-Hun uses his brain and licks the shape free.
The climbing frames, bright colours, childish music and gunshots provide the perfect setting to make this whole scene completely unnerving for the players and the viewers.
Game 3: Tug of War
In teams of ten, it’s time for the players to play Tug of War. The main basis of this game needs no introduction, but instead of being pulled into a pile of mud like the classic game… you get pulled to your death.
Due to the Dr, Player 111, and his extra gameplay with some of the guards. (That involved selling body parts) Deok-su and his team know what game was coming up and managed to put together a team of strongmen to win their heat. Unfortunately, Gi-hun and his team didn’t have the same knowledge and in turn looked to have a weaker team than others. Luckily Il-Nam and Sang-Woo had solid gameplay ideas which saved the team.
The setting for Tug of War, took a bit of a dark turn and away from the schoolyard setting. With yellow and grey platforms set in a pitch-black room. Within this game, we lost half the players.
Game 4: Marbles
With this series, we all had the fear that at one point out favourites would be pitted against each other but not this early! Asked to pair up the players thought they would be playing together in teams like the last game, but that was not the case.
In the game of Marbles, the pairs were left to decide for themselves what game they wanted to play, with the loser being eliminated!
Probably one of the hardest games to watch as most pairs were playing a game of chance. If you were anything like us, we were hoping there was going to be another twist where some of the characters would survive in pairs but instead, we lost some big players and learned who were not to be trusted.
Having two games back-to-back where we lost half the players each time really helped keep the momentum of the story.
Game 5: Glass Bridge
To start this horrifying game of chance, the players had to pick their order, before knowing what the game was which led to a very tense moment where Gi Hun, almost went first. His indecisiveness helping him hugely here.
The aim of this game is for the remaining players to make their way across the glass bridge hopping from glass square to glass square, hoping to land on the tempered glass, rather than the normal glass which would break instantly sending them plummeting to their death.
Again, set in a pitch-black room with a few lights this game was intense! But it did however whittled the players down to three and showed Sang-woo’s ‘do anything for the money’ character again.
The added glass blasts at the end of the game also added an extra twist of tension as front runner Sae-byeok got severely injured.
Game 6: The Squid Game
With only two players left after Sang-woo eliminated Sae-byeok with a dinner knife, it was on to the final game and namesake of the series, Squid Game.
This game is divided into attacker (Gi-hun) and defender (Sang-woo). The attackers’ objective is to reach the “home” square marked on the opposite side of the field, while the defender’s purpose is to block them and push them out to win.
However, let’s be honest we saw very little gameplay as it ended up in a fight between the two finalists. The end of the game was gripping to watch, particularly with the knives in play and Gi-huns indecisive personality. Just as we think it’s all over, rather than putting his foot in the home square Gi-hun tries to get an injured Sang-woo to walk away from the game so they can both survive, giving up on the money.
But it a massive twist Sang-woo picks up the knife from the floor and instead of killing Gi-hun, like we anticipated, he kills himself. This was a great call from writer Hwang Dong-hyuk as it was unexpected and gave us a little extra from Sang-woos character. However, we can’t help but think that maybe it would have been a bigger twist if Sang-woo did kill Gi-Hun and won the games as no one was routing for him.
What do you think about our thoughts on the players and games within Squid Game? Let us know in the comments below.
Check out book to movie adaptations coming soon HERE.
Read IMDB information about Squid Game HERE.
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