‘Stranger Things 3’ Celebrates Nostalgia, Nerdiness, and Horror — GeekDad

7 min readJul 24, 2019

I’d never have guessed that it would take me three entire weeks to watch the eight episodes that make up Stranger Things 3. With Game of Thrones and all the Netflix Marvel shows behind us, it’s my favorite current television show.

It was a long wait for this season: twenty months since season 2. And while Stranger Things season one remains my favorite of the series, this third season was certainly very good.

As it progressed, I realized that while the writing and the cast are both excellent, the true appeal of Stranger Things stems from its callbacks to the vast bonanza of culture offered by the 1980s. The number of truly iconic films to come out of that decade is pretty amazing.

Nostalgia in Stranger Things 3

There were more eighties movie references than I’m willing to list exhaustively, but I’d like to share ten of my favorites — the ones that kept popping out to me as we watched this season. Please note that there are huge spoilers ahead.

Beginning with the exploding rats, and certainly when the melted blobs of flesh crawled along to merge into a greater whole and form gruesome Lovecraftian horrors, I sensed the mashup between The Thing and Terminator 2. But given that it’s disgusting bloody chunks of flesh rather than liquid metal, I’ll file this one under The Thing.

Invasion of the Bodysnatchers

Although Will was taken by the mind flayer in the second season, Stranger Things 3 had a number of townsfolk possessed by the evil force from the Upside Down. Seeing a number of them stand side-by-side with that empty expression gave me a distinct Bodysnatchers vibe.

The Terminator

From the first time we saw Soviet Arnold relentlessly tracking Chief Hopper, I started referring to him as The Russian Terminator.

The Soviet threat on American soil is a cold war fear that has never been distilled and presented more aptly than in the 1984 film Red Dawn. A secret…


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