Stranger Things has taken the world by storm and its third season is being hailed for being its most innovative yet! The show is one big love letter to 80’s movies and pop-culture, so what better nightcap could there be than to watch a bunch of 80’s flicks after you’ve binged the series.
So throw on your best bomber jacket and aviators, and prepare to be the coolest kid on the block with your next movie night. Here are 10 movies, that are not only quintessential 80’s, but some of the inspiration behind everyone’s favourite show.
STAND BY ME
Stranger Things owes a lot to Stephen King, but the one that really stands out is 1986’s Stand By Me. There are probably other King movies that fit closer to the tone of the Netflix show, but Stand By Me takes the prize for being a coming-of-age story. Following a group of kids who wind up in the middle of a murder mystery, Stand By Me is the story of the loss of innocence and being forced to grow up a bit early.
Basically, it’s the Cold War told through boxing. I really don’t know if it gets more 80’s flash and cheese than Rocky IV. Rocky (the unbeatable American spirit) challenges the roided out Russian super-soldier who fights dirty (The Rocky franchise was pretty subtle when it came to politics) to a fight and avenge his fallen friend. I’ve always been a sucker for Stallone’s Rocky saga, and clearly so were the Duffer brothers – Hopper’s fight with the Russian agent in the final episode is very reminiscent to the 1985 classic.
THE EVIL DEAD/ THE EVIL DEAD II
Sam Rami’s Evil Dead trilogy honestly needs its own article for how incredible and unique it is, but for now we’ll settle for the two from 1981 and ‘87 respectively. And yeah I know this is technically two movies, but they really do need to be watched back to back.
Set in a remote cabin in the woods, five college students uncover a mysterious audiotape and accidentally unleash a force of flesh possessing demons.
It’s this kind of low-budget horror the Duffer Brothers love and you can definitely feel the influence of this movie when the kids fight the Mind Flayer in the cabin. Rami’s one of those directors who’s never content picking one genre, and his Evil Dead series showcases that perfectly weaving in and out of full-blown horror, to almost slapstick comedy. One if not both of these films need to be at your next marathon.
There’s no way John Carpenter’s The Thing wasn’t making it on this list. Carpenter has always been an influence to Stranger Things, but season three really steps it up a notch with some insane body horror.
Set at a remote research installation in Antarctica, a shape-shifting alien sneaks its way into the lab and the scientists quickly find out they can’t trust ANYONE.
Weirdly enough the classic suspense flick was met with poor audience and critical reception, while today we have an almost reverence for the movie (hey stranger things have happened, right?). Ironically it was another alien flick that probably ruined any chance of The Thing doing well at the box office (it’s also the next one on our list …)
E.T- THE EXTRA-TERRESTRIAL
Let’s be honest, there wasn’t a reality where E.T wasn’t going on this list. You want secret government scientists? Kids, who are in more control than the adults for some reason? A character with crazy powers who ends up bonding with our main character, only to sacrifice themselves before revealing that they’re not really dead? Need I go on? This movie has been talked about to death so I’ll leave it there, but yeah it’s worth the re-watch.
NEVER ENDING STORY
Okay, full disclosure this movie has nothing to do with Stranger Things, but it does give us one of the best S.T. moments of all time so it’s capping off the list. A lonely kid finds a fantasy book in an attic and the more he reads, the more he wonders if the story really is just a story. If you somehow haven’t seen this innovative, treasure of a movie WATCH IT NOW.
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