The series “Stranger Things,” season two is packed with references to pop culture, ’80s movies and comic references that many didn’t notice. It’s becoming a national pastime to watch the show to compare how many references you can spot and then find out which ones fellow viewers caught that you might have missed. We’ve put together 20 of the top Easter Eggs that have been identified so far. While this isn’t an all inclusive list, these are the ones that were the most identified. See if they match the running list that you have going for the series so far. We have to warn you though, if you’ve missed a few episodes, you may want to get caught up before you read, because there are likely to be spoilers that would ruin the fun of the search.
1. Vintage Cheetos reference
In the first episode of season two, we see the arcade manager Keith with his bag of crunchy Cheetos Cheese puffs. Take a look at the packaging and you’ll see that the bag is from the packaging style used in the 1980s. This Egg is found in the “MadMax” episode. If you were a kid in the 80s, you may experience a rush of nostalgia because when you compare the packaging from back then with todays more modern version, it’s easy to see the differences. It’s strange how some of these small details can trigger a flood of memories that take you back to certain periods in your life.
2. “E.T.” reference with Reeses Pieces
Will’s visit to Dr.Ownes results in him asking him what type of Halloween candy is his favorite. Of course Will responds with Reese’s Pieces. This was ETs favorite candy and it fit in perfectly with the second reference to the film happening when one of the kids dressed up in a sheet for trick or treating as we saw in the film. In order to disguise ET on halloween, Elliot threw a sheet over him so he wouldn’t be recognizable as an alien. We all remember the scenes that the references point back to Spielberg’s blockbuster film that has now become a classic, “E.T. The Extra-Terrestrial.” It came out is 1982 and it was just the start for the child star Drew Barrymore who played Elliot’s little sister. After the film was released, This candy became the rage because it was promoted in the movie that everyone thought was super cool at the time.
So with Paul Reiser playing the part of Dr. Owens, we should have caught the fact that he’s not trustworthy immediately. Reflect back to the part that he played in the movie “Aliens.” He was also an authority figure in that film from the 1980s and his character was sketchy to say the least. Did this at least make you vaguely reflect back on that character? It did for quite a few viewers who still remember the iconic figure.
The very title of the first episode of the second season is a reference to the Mel Gibson movie with the title “MadMax.” The record that Dustin set for “Dig Dug” was thrashed by “MadMax.” “Dig Dug” was released in 1982, which was just prior to the release date of “MadMax” the movie which came out in 1984. It would be one year later than the sequel to the film would be released, making Gibson a sensation. It’s quaint that this name was used for the incredible gamer that smashed Dustin’s record into bits and pieces.
5. “Dragon’s Lair” and Don Bluth (1983/1982)
Do you remember when the game “Dragon’s Lair” was popular? It was a hit at the arcades but it cost double the amount of other games. Instead of a quarter, you had to pay fifty cents just to play. Dustin is playing this game in the first episode of the second season and we also sea the animation of Don Bluth, famouse for “The Secret of NIMH,” which came out in 1982. “Dragon’s Lair was released in 1983 and was the fascination of most teens and pre-teens who were into gaming and arcades at the time. We believe that part of the fascination with the game was because of the difficulty level. If were able to get past the initial few stages, you were believed to be a master with some sort of mystic abilities.
6. The first heart transplant in 1984
Did you catch the Hawkins newspaper with the article about Merrill’s Pumpkin Patch? If you were truly being observant you would also have noticed the reference to “Baby Fae’s Baboon Heart.” It was in October of 1984 that Stephanie Fae Bauclair received the history making procedure that made her the first baby to receive a heart transplant. The news would have broken a few weeks before the events that transpired during this episode. If you didn’t catch this one, here’s another to add to the list of collectibles.
7. “Second Alien” reference and another to “The Thing”
When doctor Owens goes down into the basement, the scene that unfolds as his workers are busy using a flamethrower to scorch some kind of odd looking creatures who are upside down. does this remind you of the flamethrower that was used in the “Aliens” films? If not, it should. There was also a slight allusion to the popular movie “The Thing.”
8. “The Exorcist” reference
Think back to the scene where the Doctor, Joyce and Will consider the condition of the young child who is undergoing tests and studies with a distraught mother watching in the background. The medical personnel in this picture don’t know what they’re doing and it’s obvious. This brings on the subtle nuances of the movie “The Exorcist” that featured child star Linda Blaire and gave her a boost on her way to stardom in the 1980s. This was perhaps one of the biggest films of the decade and it started a new wave of fascination with horror films that were disturbingly graphic.
9. “Terminator” reference
We see on the Marquis for the Hawkins theater that “The Terminator” is brightly advertised. This is the iconic film that made Arnold Schwarzenegger practically a household name. Although the crew didn’t make it to the shoing in the episode, it’s definitely a reference to the movie that most of us remember as being the biggest thing going at the time. They were too busy doing other things but this one was so glaring that it was hard to miss, even if you weren’t paying close attention. The film was released in October of 1984.
10. “Close Encounters of the Third Kind”
When Wills door opens and we see the bright glow of light shining through the trees it is definitely recreating a scene from the blockbuster hit “Close Encounters of the Third Kind” This is the film that starred Richard Dreyfus and a cast of others who were mysteriously drawn to a particular site in the desert. They dreamed about a certain hill with distinct features and were compelled to draw pictures and recreate sculptures of the landscape until the time when the force drew them all to the gathering point where a spaceship of aliens would make contact with the earthlings. The first communications were in sound tones that were put together to form a musical interlude in this unforgettable and iconic film from the 1980s.
11. “Halloween costumes” point to popular films from the 1980s
This part of the episode is packed with references to popular films from the era. It was the perfect way to interject a series of references through the costumes. The boys went as “Ghostbusters” all decked out in the gear that made Dan Ayckroyd” famous for his iconic role in the 1980s blockbuster. Max is wearing a Michael Meyers costume and we’re taken back in time to the scene in the film where Laurie Strode saw him jumping out of the bushes. Max did the same thing in the episode and this is one reference that was impossible to miss.
12. “Risky Business”
Another popular film from the 1980s is referenced in the episode with Steve and Nancy dressing up as the characters from the movie that were played by Rebecca DeMornay and Tom Cruise. We see them in a scene at a party and the clothing and accessory choices leave little doubt about who they are intended to be in yet another of many references to this big hit that became a part of the American experience in film.
13. “Karate Kid”
There were so many references from the kids’ costumes to choose from that it was almost overwhelming for trackers who were attempting to make notes and writer them down, but one particular character stood out for just a moment. We see one of the kids dressed up as Johnny from the popular film that kicked off a series of sequels to movie that became a big hit with teens. He’s wearing the famous headband and in this scene he even looks a lot like the actor Ralph Macchio who played the role of the bullied teen who was taken under the wing of a great Karate instructor so he could learn how to defend himself from the guys who were picking on him. This turned out to be a great action story that didn’t miss the chance to infuse a teen love interest and this is one of the things that put the films in the franchise over the top with popularity among teen groups. Ladies who are now in their 50s remember those days so fondly and it’s kind of nice to have a reminder that flashes us back to those old days.
14. Michael Jacson “Billy Jean” video reference
This was also at the Halloween party. We see one of the kids dressed up in the suit and bow tie and it brings us backwards in time to the days when Jackson’s hit video was first released. It hit high on the charts and hovered at the top with an impressive burst of popularity among Jackson fans. Any reference to this would be easy to pick up though. Jackson rose to the top of the charts wth the song which was big, but the video was just too cool to be believed.
We also see someone dressed in a Pacman costume. This was an iconic video game from the 1980s and it was one of the first big hits to come out. What kid didn’t play Pacman? Everyone both young and old were doing it, because it was so addictive. If you didn’t have an Atari, then you were saving your change to go down to the arcade so you could get in line for a machine to play the game. Yep, just seeing the round yellow little guy brought to life by a partygoer who thought he was cool enough to imitate was enough to spark a round of nostalgia that brought back memories of the hours and days spent playing the game. Who doesn’t remember getting frustrated when you lost another life and the game was over? It was challenging to play back in the day, and even though we’ve seen advances in video game technology that would have blown our minds back then, it was the rage of the era and if you didn’t play Pacman, there was suspicion that maybe you weren’t that cool.
16. Anti Paranormal Activity Certificate
This is another hidden treasure from the 1980s that heavily references the pop culture from the era. In Dustins bedroom, the certificate of anti paranormal activity is hanging in plain sight on his bedroom wall. If you’re not paying close attention you could miss it because all it would take is the blink of an eye. There was only one way to get the certificate at the time and that was to become a member of the fan club. The certificate allowed you to “exterminate paranormal entities” and to “save the world on short notice.” The certificate also allowed him to “charge premium rates” for rendering these services, as is clearly shown if you take the time to read the terms of the certificate and the privileged that membership in the club allowed. It was a big deal for kids who really got into the film. Just look at the raft of paranormal reality shows that the movie franchise kicked off. They were dealing with ectoplasm and we still hear these terms being bandied around today. This takes us back in time with yet another reference to the “Ghost Busters” franchise. There are probably more, but this was one of the more cool references that the creators were able to sneak in. If you didn’t catch this, it’s another one to write down so you have a complete list of the Easter Eggs/references that we were able to catch.
17. “Gremlins” reference
Hopper gave Eleven three rules for living with him and they are written on a piece of paper. What does this remind you of? Well, you have to be old enough to remember the movie from the 80s, or at least have seen it to understand that it is a reference to the three rules that you had to observe if you were going to own a mogwai in the film. You couldn’t expose them to bright lights, you couldn’t get hi wet and you could never under any circumstances let hi have any food after midnight. Bright light would hurt him and if he was exposed to sunlight he would die. As for eating after midnight, he would spin a cocoon and undergo a metamorphic change that would turn him into an evil little gremlin that would make your life a living hell.
Hopper’s 3 rules include: always keeping the curtains drawn which is an illusion to keeping the sunlight out; only opening the door upon hearing his secret knock and never going outside alone, especially in the daylight. In case you didn’t catch this, it’s an obvious reference to the hit movie. The icing on the cake at the end of the scene came when the Jerry Goldsmith theme from the “Gremlins” movie score. This reference was just way too cool.
18. “Goonies” reference
Dustin and Dart have consistently bonded over their love of candy bars and we see him holding a Three Mustketeers bar that is packaged in the retro style wrapper that also takes us back in time, but this isn’t the most important reference. It’s a reference to the time when Chunk bonded with Sloth by offering him a candy bar fro the iconic film. What a way to make a friend. It’s hard to get the image of the Sloth character out of your mind because he was so disturbing to look at. In this reference we kind of get a two-for because of the retro wrapper and the whole bonding over candy thing. Although it’s common for people to come together when they share mutual interests, this was yet another hidden treasure that stood out like a sore thumb. Can getting a candy bar from someone really make you trust them more? Well, from the perspective of a candy lover, they’re giving you something that is near and dear to their hearts, so it is definitely a gesture of good will and it even borders an offer of friendship.
19. “Indiana Jones” reference
In the scene where Hopper, Joyce and Bob are escaping from the tunnel, we see a reference to the iconic “Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom” film from the 1980s when Hopper left the group and ran back to retrieve his hat. He did it in such a cool way with two fingers, snatching it neatly up, just like Harrison Ford’s character has done so many times in the film franchise. It even looks like the iconic hat that Indie wore when he was out on an expedition or other great adventure. We must admit that this was one of the better allusions that was so well laid out that it makes “Indiana Jones” fans smile and remember the films that became the sensation that catapulted Harrison Ford’s acting career to dizzying heights of success. He was one of the coolest characters of the time because he was a mixture of high intellect in his role as a college professor who taught courses on archaeology, and a daring adventurer who would go on quests to find hidden treasures. He didn’t retrieve them for selfish purposes. His goal was to donate them to museums where everyone in the world could enjoy their beauty. Jones appealed to viewers of all ages and genders because of his amazing charisma and daring bravery.
20. Another “Alien” reference
When the soldiers descend into the tunnels below Hawkins, we’re reminded heavily of the movie “Alien.” They are ridiculously outnumbered by the bad guys which runs parallel with a scene from the iconic film. The group is ambushed by the demadogs and there’s more. This scene is complete with Paul Reiser overseeing the operation and not doing anything that is truly helpful to the team. A host of props including body cams and radar blips that are tracking the demadogs as they make their way in a massive horde to the soldiers below is so close that it’s almost a paradoy of the infamous scene from the “Alien” film. This is perhaps one of the most striking references because there are so many parallels to the movie that it’s hard not to make the connection, that is, unless you haven’t seen the “Alien” films. It is well done and we add it to our collection of the top twenty Easter Eggs/references. While some of the others that we’ve mined from season two of “Stranger Things” may be a little more obscured and hard to detect, this is one of the most deliberate and glaring sequences that the creators have concocted. We even get the same eerie feeling that we got from the film because trouble is coming and the ones in charge are either too incompetent to do anything about it or they don’t really care that much.