***Potential Spoilers Below***
As far back as I remember my choice of visual entertainment has been the long form television show. While I enjoy a good movie I prefer the long arcs and character development found in television. Star Trek:TNG, DS9, Babylon 5, and The XFiles is what I loved. You can imagine how happy I am that we are now in a golden age television. Even better, we are at the beginning of entire seasons instantly released so one can binge entire shows in one sitting.
Netflix’s Stranger Things is a must watch example of this new format. A pastiche of 80s horror, scifi, and pop culture, that pays homage to everything and everyone including Stephen King, Stephen Spielberg, John Carpenter, The Clash, and classic Dungeons and Dragons.
The show takes place in Hawkins, Indiana over several days during the Fall of 1983. A 12 year old boy mysteriously vanishes one night. His close friends begin searching for him on their own while the town Sheriff begins His disappearance sets in motion a chain of events involving secret government projects, psychics, and a horrible evil force from beyond.
Stranger Things has an outstanding cast of young actors complimented by a fantastic performance by Winona Ryder. If you enjoy 80’s genre horror/scifi movies like E.T., Poltergeist, Carrie, and Stand by Me, you will love this show.
**Some Potential Spoilers**
While I enjoyed the 80’s references and old movie homage what I truly enjoyed about the show was the really good somewhat esoteric occult symbolism. Off the top of my head several things stood out.
The failure of fathers. Every father figure character in the show was a failure. From the creepy Dr. Breener the evil scientist abuser to Will Byers self serving waste of a father. Even Sheriff Hooper failed as a father in his own eyes and attempts to redeem himself. This theme coupled with El being a somewhat angelic figure(The gold wig, levitating above water) that is sacrificed alludes to a few occult/biblical themes. Contrasted with the portrayal of mothers it gives you plenty to think about.
Running away with the horrible father theme you could see the whole show being about child abuse. Specifically abuse by fathers. El is clearly the victim of Dr. Breener who she calls “Pa.” The other main victim is Will Byers, the son of a druggie abuser who abandoned him, his brother, and mother. The Byers family has an alluded element of darkness and child abuse that is not hard to catch.
El’s name is Eleven. When you look at numerology and occult symbolism of the number just by doing a quick google search you realize it was intentional. It represents duality, psychic power, super intellect and danger.
The idea of duality in 11 is the key symbolism. She is two different things, on one hand a innocent child on the other a powerful weapon. The world is shown having more dimensions with the Upside Down, a good and a bad.
What does this mean? I think that the main monster, the Demogorgon is actually the Upside Downs representation of child abuse. The Demogorgon is the other side of El, the other half of Eleven, the representation of all the child abuse alluded or shown in the series. At one point El even states “I am the monster,” in one of the episodes.
What do you guys think, any other theories? I love weird occult stuff believe that symbolism of this sort adds depth to stories allowing for greater connection and enjoyment.