I'm addicted. You're addicted. We're all addicted. The 80s have come back in mesmerizing form with Netflix's pop-supernatural mystery Stranger Things -- and we couldn't be happier.
The show draws heavily from a golden age of horror cinema, including all of its cliches, sights and sounds, ultimately packaging them into something so nostalgically delightful it'll keep you smiling and screaming all the way through its 8 episodes.
But one of the show's main sources of inspiration comes in the form of something a little more familiar to us: GAMES!
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Stranger Things & The Draws of Silent Hill
As a visual comparison. Look at the image above and the titular image for the article, notice any similarities?
Stranger Things was written and directed by the Duffer Brothers, Matt and Ross. They've been heavily involved in science fiction and horror for both TV and movies and intended to channel their adoration into their latest release. But amongst all of this synth-laden wonder, they've managed to sneak in their love for a little game from the late 90s:
There’s [John] Carpenter, there’s Silent Hill, there’s Clive Barker, there’s some anime references. We’re sort of pulling from everything. - Matt Duffer in conversation with Nerdist
Searching for easter eggs in Stranger Things you're bound to find dozens of references to cinema and its champions, but Matt has reinforced the impact Silent Hill had on the show several times:
We talked about “Silent Hill,” the video games were an inspiration, and “Alien” was an inspiration, in terms of the look. - Matt in conversation with Variety
There are so many other influences in there, too. We play a lot of video games—there’s a Silent Hill vibe.
So, with Matt having discussed Silent Hill's impact on the show, what exactly can we see that's indicative of this horror classic? In order to fully examine the similarities I'm going to have to get all spoilerific up in here. You've been warned.
What Do You See?
So aside from the copious amounts of looming fog throughout Stranger Things which clearly references Silent Hill's trademark visual style, there are a few visible queues that recall the fear that gripped us as we clutched our PlayStation controllers.
The most obvious example is this guy:
The Silent Hill franchise has used numerous monsters of a similar appearance, most notably:
With the creature out of the way there are more subtle references to the franchise that fans can uncover, such as the use of particles in the air once characters venture to the "Upside-Down."
In fact, this entire netherrealm is reminiscent of the towns that the Silent Hill games have envisioned. The way in which it subverts all of the locations we've become familiar with and presents us with a kind of ghost town that only horrific creatures inhabit is clearly inspired by the great games.
After the collapse of Hideo Kojima's Silent Hills and the hole it left in our hearts, it's great to see elements of the adored franchise living on in the likes of Stranger Things. We're living in a time where popular entertainment is obsessed with nostalgia as Star Wars, Indiana Jones and Jurassic Park come flooding back to our TVs and cinema screens. But if the standard of quality continues as it has with ST, bring it on.
Did you notice any Silent Hill references in Stranger Things?
Sources - (Kotaku)