Is Stranger Things Scary? (Explained)

Computer keyboard with the Iphone 11 pro with the Stranger Things logo

 

Stranger Things is one of the most popular series to come out of Netflix and has helped keep the service in the streaming market, even as filmmakers have pulled their creations from Netflix only to add them to other streaming services.

While Stranger Things may be one of the most watched series on the platform, this series is not a show that is made for the whole family.

Before watching Stranger Things, viewers should know what they’re getting themselves into.

 

Is Stranger Things Scary?

Viewer Loading Stranger Things TV Series On Xbox System

 

Yes, Stranger Things can be scary at times and is known to get much gorier in season three and onward.

The first two seasons of Stranger Things are more mystery-based than horror inspired, which makes them an easier watch for those who don’t appreciate horror.

One of the scariest antagonists is Vecna, who claims multiple victims throughout the series.

Vecna turns out to be the dead son of Victor Creel, who killed his entire family and had his father framed.

Many of the scenes including Vecna take a sinister turn for disturbing visuals, including multiple gruesome deaths.

During a flashback to the origin of Vecna, this Netflix original series shows a young child burning his infant sibling’s bassinet in his fireplace.

Some viewers may also find the flashback scenes of Eleven’s time at Hawkins Lab equally as disturbing.

Between the experiments that Eleven has to endure to the moment when another experiment kills the entire lab staff, Stranger Things shows that Eleven has been through multiple traumatizing experiences.

The introduction of the modern-day Victor Creel is a scary visual for younger audiences due to the exaggeration of Creel’s injuries.

Max Mayfield also ends up with eye injuries that aren’t easy to watch happen.

The death of Patrick during “The Nina Project” may be difficult for some viewers to watch due to how gruesome the results are.

After Patrick is drowned, Jason is forced to pull his contorted, bloody, eyeless corpse out of the water.

Throughout the series, there are multiple occasions where living characters find themselves communicating with the decaying corpses of their equally young friends.

Viewers prone to nightmares may want to avoid watching later seasons of Stranger Things at night.

Although some viewers may not like the horror aspects, seasoned horror fans have nothing to fear.

 

What Age Range Is Stranger Things Meant For?

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According to the British Board of Film Classification, Stranger Things is best viewed by children over the age of 15.

This rating is considered to be applied to all the currently available seasons.

However, it is important to consider your children’s personal maturity level before allowing them to watch the series.

This series includes strong language, brief nudity, sexual activity without a lot of detail, strong verbal references to sexual activities, threat and horror, violence without dwelling on the infliction of injury or pain, verbal references to sexual violence, and the use of drugs.

The series may follow a group of 12- to 15-year-olds, but that doesn’t mean that 12- to 15-year-olds are the target audience.

Instead, the true target audience for Stranger Things is considered to be 18- to 29-year-olds.

Multiple brands have used this information to their advantage, including Coca-Cola.

Since the series occurs during the 1980s, Coca-Cola struck up a brand deal with Netflix and Stranger Things to help their re-release of New Coke.

During the 1980s, New Coke first entered the soda competition and ended up immediately bombing.

Despite its disastrous taste, Coca-Cola was able to make those who actually grew up in the 1980s nostalgic for New Coke through the reaction of characters from Stranger Things.

Although the cast of Stranger Things may be young, the marketing for the series and done within the series is targeted toward a more mature audience.

If Stranger Things were truly a show for children, then we’d be seeing Netflix and Stranger Things team marketing toys over things like Smirnoff beer or a diet-friendly Coke product.

For parents who want to watch this series with their children, it would be best to wait until they’re older high school students.

 

Is Stranger Things Ending?

Stranger Things led logo during Netflix event.

 

No, Stranger Things isn’t ending after season four.

However, Stranger Things is now entering its final chapter, and the story of the children of Hawkins will eventually be coming to an end.

With the finale of season four introducing a version of Hawkins that combines the world as we know it and the Upside Down, fans could sense that a conclusion was on the horizon.

Luckily, fans don’t need to worry about the series ending soon.

Originally, Netflix promised the Duffer Brothers at least five seasons to tell their story.

However, there’s no denying how crucial Stranger Things has been for the survival of the streaming platform now that competitors like Disney have entered the world of streaming.

While fans should plan for Stranger Things to end after the fifth upcoming season, fans should also not be surprised if the Duffer Brothers are able to pull another season out of Netflix or even a spin-off series.

As of July of 2022, the fifth season was so early in production that a script had yet to be written.

Netflix has remained silent on topics such as a potential release date for season five or even about how long the potentially final season will be.

The first part of season five planned out by Matt and Ross Duffer involves the last 30 minutes of the season.

The Duffer Brothers wanted to plan out their final destination before working on the journey that they will take viewers on to make the ending more rewarding.

They plan to bring the story of Stranger Things around full circle by gathering the original cast from season one, which includes multiple characters who have been dead for years at this point in the story.

The Duffer Brothers are planning to include another time skip between seasons.

 

Is Eddie Munson Dead?

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Yes, the beloved character named Eddie Munson is officially dead, and there are currently no plans to bring this character back to life.

Although Munson may have quickly become a fan favorite within the single season he appeared in, the Duffer Brothers are no strangers to killing off their most popular characters.

Munson was killed by a horde of Demobats, which ate the metalhead alive and caused him to bleed to death in the Upside Down.

Ever since his death, fans have argued that Eddie Munson shouldn’t have died in the way he did.

Critics of Munson’s death feel that it was a needless sacrifice that the character made, even if he thought that he was genuinely going to be able to buy his friends some more time.

Most fans would rather have seen Munson continue on his way on his bike because he knew there was no way he was going to stop a horde of Demobats with a homemade sword and shield.

However, other fans of the series see this moment as a turning point for Eddie Munson’s character.

When Munson is first introduced to Vecna after running away from Chrissy as Vecna gruesomely murdered her and spending the rest of the season in hiding, Munson is motivated by his newfound friends to have the courage to fight the demons they’re dealing with.

The horde of Demobats may have been certain death, but Eddie Munson needed to become the hero of the story by facing the insurmountable odds in hopes of saving his friends’ lives and making their journey worthwhile.

Had Munson continued to run away on his bike, there was the chance that he would once again witness the deaths at the hands of the creatures of the Upside Down.

Rather than bearing that burden again, Munson gives up his life.

 

Is Max Mayfield Dead?

Sadie Sink at the "Stranger Things" Season 3 World Premiere at the Santa Monica High School on June 28, 2019 in Santa Monica, CA

 

No, Max Mayfield isn’t dead.

Instead, he is in a coma after Vecna attacked the young Hawkins teen.

Although Mayfield was originally supposed to be killed off by the end of season four, Ross Duffer claims that they wanted to make Mayfield’s fate cloudy to viewers by the end of the season.

Rather than ending on the definite note that Max Mayfield is dead, the Duffer Brothers wanted to make more of a mystery out of her situation.

By having Eleven partially revive Max and leave her in a coma, the confusing line between a fate ended in the Upside Down and the world as we know it is made even more blurry.

By the end of season four, viewers have seen Hawkins and the Upside Down blend in a way that makes every character’s fate uncertain.

Matt Duffer wanted to make it so Max’s strength might not be enough to allow her to see her way into season five.

Similar to Star Wars Episode V: The Empire Strikes Back, season four of Stranger Things is meant to remind the viewers that these teens could fail and what the consequences of that failure would be.

Even going into season four, the Duffer Brothers wanted to show that their characters are constantly improving and that they are children who have been forced to grow up quickly due to their deadly circumstances.

Max Mayfield’s situation reminds both the viewers and the teens that there are fates worse than death.

Just because a character can outlive a potentially lethal attack from an enemy doesn’t mean that they’ll come out stronger in the end.

Although Mayfield may not be dead, every bone in her body is broken, and her eyes were nearly sucked into her head.

Whether her friends win or lose the war, their experiences will have lifelong implications.

 

Where Is Stranger Things Filmed?

The outside of the location for the Secret Cinema presents a “Stranger Things”

 

Stranger Things is mostly filmed in Atlanta, Georgia as well as the less-crowded areas surrounding the major city.

Those who want to go sightseeing for Hawkins locations will be taking a tour all over Georgia.

Emory University’s Briarcliff Campus is used as the exterior for Hawkins National Laboratory, which used to be the Georgia Mental Health Institute.

The woods scenes were shot in Stone Mountain Park and Georgia International Horse Park in Conyers, just east of Atlanta.

Jackson, Georgia, about 50 miles south of Atlanta, is used when filming downtown scenes and is home to multiple iconic buildings from Stranger Things.

The Hawkins Library is actually the Butts County Probate Court, which is about an hour away from Atlanta.

The houses of Hawkins can be found across Atlanta, Fairburn, East Point, and Riverdale.

The interiors of homes and the laboratory were filmed on set in Atlanta.

Both Hawkins high school and middle school used the former Patrick Henry High School in Stockbridge, GA.

Even the Creel residence is a real mansion called Claremont House in Rome, Georgia, which was built in 1882.

The Gwinnett Place Mall in Duluth, Georgia served as the Starcourt Mall in season 3.

Although a majority of the filming occurs in Georgia, Stranger Things is also filmed in New Mexico and even Lithuania.

When Eleven and the Byers family moved to California, filming actually moved to Albuquerque, New Mexico.

Lenora Hill High School is actually Eldorado High School and isn’t the only local location to be used in filming, including the Americana Motel and the roller rink seen in the Netflix series.

When Joyce and Murray travel to a Russian prison to free Hopper, they were actually going to the Lukiškės Prison in Vilnius, Lithuania.

This prison originally opened in 1904 and is no longer in use, except for filming.

 

What Is Stranger Things Based On?

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Stranger Things is based on the real-life events surrounding the Central Intelligence Agency’s Project MKUltra, which occurred from the 1950s until the 1970s.

This real-life experiment was illegal and used human test subjects in the hopes of being able to develop mind control during the Cold War.

In the beginning, Project MKUltra started with willing volunteers, but things became more gruesome as the experiments continued.

Later participants were taken into the program against their will, only for them to be physically and mentally abused.

Those who were experimented on were deprived of sleep and forced to take drugs such as LSD as a way for scientists to control their minds.

Although Project MKUltra was shut down in 1973, the public didn’t learn about the major violation of human rights until two years later when declassified documents were beginning to be leaked.

Project MKUltra wasn’t the only story of human experimentation that helped the Duffer Brothers craft the backstory of Eleven.

They also used the story of The Montauk Project, which has vastly less physical proof surrounding it and is still considered to be a conspiracy theory, unlike Project MKUltra.

The Montauk Project supposedly took place at Camp Hero in Montauk, Long Island.

For decades, it was believed that up to 100,000 victims were kidnapped, murdered, and tortured in the name of unlocking the secrets to time travel, mind control, and even alien contact.

These kidnappings occurred during the 1980s, not long after Project MKUltra had been shut down.

Not much information is known for certain on what happened at Camp Hero, but a documentary from 2011 called Montauk Chronicles presented interviews of three men named Alfred Bielek, Stewart Swerdlow, and Preston Nichols who all claimed to be victims of the intense and illegal experimentation.

 

Is Eleven Human?

Millie Bobby Brown at the Netflix's season 2 premiere of 'Stranger Things'

 

Yes, Eleven is a human being.

Viewers learned this fact for certain during the second part of season four.

For the first time, we are introduced to Terry Ives who is a test subject from MKUltra and the biological mother of Eleven.

Under Dr. Brenner’s supervision, Ives was subjected to multiple forms of abuse including submersion in sensory deprivation tanks for long periods and forced taking of psychedelic drugs.

During the experimentation, Ives was unaware that she was pregnant with her boyfriend Andrew Rich’s child.

Before Rich could even discover that he was a father, Dr. Brenner orchestrated his expulsion in order to make him eligible for the Vietnam War.

After Rich was dead, Dr. Brenner knew it would be easier to take the child away from Ives.

As soon as Eleven was born, Dr. Brenner kidnapped her and stripped her of any identification.

Although her mother had given her the name Jane, she was simply Experiment 011 to Brenner and his staff.

To make it easier for Dr. Brenner to manipulate Eleven, he set himself up as her father figure by having the young child refer to him as “Papa.”

After further experimentation, Brenner quickly discovered that his experimentation on her mother during Eleven’s development caused her to have unique abilities.

Suffering a similar fate to her mother, Eleven was constantly pushed to her limits in order to help advance her abilities.

When she failed to live up to Brenner’s expectations, she was given intense harsh punishments like being placed in isolation for long periods.

In 1978, Eleven killed a guard who was trying to lock her in solitary confinement.

Rather than being upset with her or telling her that murder is wrong, Dr. Brenner praises Eleven for finally mastering her abilities.

 

Does Stranger Things Pass The Bechdel Test?

Computer with the Stranger Things logo

 

No, Stranger Things does not pass the Bechdel Test, despite the series featuring a strong female leading character.

The Bechdel Test is a shorthand way to measure a film’s tendency to display Hollywood’s typical gender bias.

In order to pass the Bechdel Test, a film must include more than one female character, two female characters talking to each other, and the conversation between the two female characters can’t be about a male character.

Although these qualifications may seem simple at first, there are very few series that actually pass the Bechdel Test.

Stranger Things passes the first two qualifications, but there is not a single conversation in the series between two female lead characters that isn’t about a male character or ends up resulting in them talking about a male character.

Even as more female characters are being introduced, it seems that the first four seasons of Stranger Things have yet to give the female characters a conversation that isn’t about the male characters.

One of the worst examples of this is the relationship between Max and Eleven.

Both girls feel that there is only room for one female friend in their friend group and begin to obsess over their love triangles.

Luckily, season four sees these characters begin to form more healthy ideas of what can be allowed within a friend group, resulting in a deep and meaningful friendship.

Even when Eleven is talking to another girl without her family, like Kali, their conversations end up being about Dr. Brenner.

Although Eleven and Kali discuss other topics while in a group with Eight’s runaway gang, the fact that male characters are a part of the conversations as listeners prevents these conversations from meeting the final requirement of the Bechdel Test.

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