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What DAY OF THE DEAD Can Tell Us About STRANGER THINGS 3

Warning: This article contains spoilers for Stranger Things Season 3, Chapter One: Suzie, Do You Copy?

Stranger Things has officially returned and with its first episode, the show has already thrown us straight into pure neon-tinged 1985 nostalgia. There’s plenty to pick apart (and we’ve got our best minds on it). One of the (many) earliest pop-culture references could give us a big insight into what’s to come.

As the episode opens we see the core group of kids sneaking into the brand new Starcourt Mall via Steve’s ice cream store, Scoops Ahoy. Their reason? To see the newest George Romero zombie flick, Day of the Dead at the recently built multiplex. It might just seem like a fun 1985 nod but with a little more inspection it might actually give us some real insight into where season three could be headed.

The Setting

In Day of the Dead, the world has been overrun by zombies. Though that doesn’t seem likely for Stranger Things 3, there are some things about the underground military setting of the spooky sequel that already seem familiar.

The Story

In case you haven’t watched the brilliant satire yet, Day of the Dead centers on a world where the ratio of Zombies to humans 400,000 to 1. To survive the new status quo, humanity has created heavily armored barracks and underground bunkers; one of the latter is where the film is set. If you’re a fan of the film, it quickly becomes very clear that there’s a lot that could be extrapolated on or built on in ST3, especially when we look at this quote from Romero. It could easily be about Hawkins, Indiana. “[It’s a] tragedy about how a lack of human communication causes chaos and collapse even in this small little pie slice of society.”

Secret Military Bases

We know that the world of Stranger Things is full of shadowy military organizations, so it shouldn’t be much of a surprise that Day of the Dead is too. The cult horror follows a team of military scientists attempting to find a cure for the zombie apocalypse in an underground layer, so it would be very interesting to see this season tackle something similar. The Hawkins Labs were the center of much of the maleficence and evil of the first two seasons. We could see a new subterranean space where the smartest minds are trying to stop the chaos of the Underground… or trying to harness it for their own gain.

Medical Experimentation

Day of the Dead features a whole bunch of medical experiments, which has obviously also been a big factor in the recent history of Hawkins, Indiana. We’d love to see this season expand on that element and give us a little more of an insight into the tests which gave El and her superpowered siblings their strengths, as well as why the Hawkins Labs were so eager to open up a portal to another world in the first place.

A Docile Threat / Unexpected Ally

One of the most memorable threads in Day of the Dead is the tale of Bud, he’s a domesticated zombie who appears to remember some of his former life as a living human. It would be very interesting to see Stranger Things take this route and potentially introduce a new creature/experiment who ends up taking an interest in helping the kids against the Mind Flayer and those who want to control the monster for their own nefarious ends.

A Fake Out Ending

With only one season left to go (according to the Duffer Bros.), we can expect a big twist, and if Day of the Dead is potentially offering up a path that this chapter might follow then that could include a fake-out ending like the iconic one at the end of the 1985 film. A huge horror trope the idea of an ending which completely tricks viewers is a classic one and Day of the Dead does it with aplomb. There we get a character who seemingly dies only to be revealed as a survivor who was having a nightmare.

Though it’s unlikely that Stranger Things will do the “it was all a dream” twist, if they follow in the footsteps of Day of the Dead they may well offer up an unexpected or potentially temporary death of a beloved character…

What did you think of Stranger Things 3? Join us for theories, breakdowns, and more in our spoiler discussion post!

Images: Netflix, United Film

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