News culture Stranger Things Season 4: does the series become more horrifying over the seasons?
The fourth part of Stranger Things is fast approaching and if there is something that seems to be in the spotlight, it’s horror. As the seasons go by, the saga gains in maturity with its characters, in the same way as the genre it tackles: horror.
- When ET meets horror
- The Upside Down, by Lovecraft in the text
- From Cthulhu to Carpenter, the most frank horror
- Season 4, an apotheosis?
When ET meets horror
The first season of Stranger Things has a lot of references to 80s science fiction. If there are two works to which this first part pays homage, it is ET by Steven Spielberg and Alien by Ridley Scott. The character of Eleven is clearly an analogy of the little extraterrestrial, with extraordinary powers, that young Mike tries to hide in order to protect her from scientists, but also to avoid any problems with those around her. As for the Demogorgon, the creature has a lot of characteristics similar to the xenomorph of the eighth passenger. Whether by its imposing shape, its aggressiveness or its tendency to kidnap its victims to take them to its nest by making them swallow a kind of tentacle, the Upside Down monster seems straight out of Giger’s imagination.
Despite this aspect, the first season of Stranger Things is closer to a thriller, with some horrific touches, oriented towards the disappearance of Will Byers. It’s not until the final two episodes that the work embraces horror, with a direct confrontation against the Demogorgon. The choice of these two references is perfectly chosen to build a whole horrific mythology. A childish universe meeting another more adult and disturbing, just to go crescendo. Then what better than Alien and ET to talk about a meeting of the third type. History to drive the point home, ET was originally supposed to be a horror film, before being a family film. Like what, nothing is lost, everything is transformed.
The Upside Down, by Lovecraft in the text
Now that the universe is established, season 2 of Stranger Things can afford to develop its mythology. The first season introduces us to the Upside Down, a world parallel to ours, but in a darker, slimier and strange version. But how does it work and by whom or what is it governed? That’s what this second plot tries to solve, and what better than to draw inspiration from Lovecraft to talk about strange and inexplicable things. In his novels, the American writer approaches horror through cosmic entities like Cthulhu. The objective of this creature is to free itself from its millennial prison by penetrating into the minds of humans, in order to be able to reign over the world once again. Those who have been corrupted by the whispers of Cthulhu are doomed to wander madness.
In the opening of Call of CthulhuLovecraft explains:
What is most pitiful in the world is, I believe, the inability of the human mind to connect all that it contains. We live on a placid island of ignorance, surrounded by dark oceans of infinity which we were not destined to travel far. The sciences, each striving in its own direction, have hitherto harmed us little. One day, however, the coordination of scattered knowledge will open up such terrifying perspectives on reality and on the appalling position we occupy in it that we will only have to sink into madness before this revelation or flee this mortal light. to take refuge in the peace and security of a new obscurantism.
Doesn’t that remind you of a certain lab trying to access something she has absolutely no control over?
The Mind Flayer from Stranger Things is a direct reference to the eponymous character from Dungeon and Dragon, himself inspired by Cthulhu with its tentacles and ability to penetrate people’s minds. This season 2 takes on a deeper, mystical horror with this enigmatic entity. We completely leave the world of children, to immerse ourselves in the madness of the Upside Down.
From Cthulhu to Carpenter, the most frank horror
Despite its more colorful appearance, Season 3 of Stranger Things is closer to a horror series than previous stories. Spectators are directly confronted with body-horror. Basically, it is a subgenre of horror that exhibits graphic violations of the human body. After closing the portal leading to the Upside Down, a fragment of the Mind Flayer remained on earth. Like all good Cthulhu-bis, the king of the Upside Down takes possession of animals and humans in order to merge them to create a grotesque avatar with which he can accomplish his goals. We see bodies melting, exploding, and taking shapes reminiscent of the worst creatures in Carpenter’s cinema.
Added to the psychological horror is gore, which is omnipresent in the season. As proof, from the first scene, we see scientists reduced to shreds by a failed experiment. The series no longer seeks to establish its atmosphere through thriller or strangeness, here the horror is graphic and direct. The horror of Stranger Things builds gradually through the seasons, and seems to continue its rise in season 4.
Season 4, an apotheosis?
From the first trailer, we understand that the Duffer brothers no longer take tweezers. Between the house of horrors and the return of Robert Englund, legendary actor of the Claws of the Night, season 4 of Stranger Things puts the package. Netflix seems to have emphasized special effects, in order to reinforce the horrific immersion. It only remains to be seen if this long-awaited sequel will be the apotheosis of the genre. See you on May 27 on Netflix to find out.