We're only a week away from the release of Stranger Things Season 2. The first series quickly established itself as a cult classic, a perfect blend of supernatural horror and innocent '80s nostalgia. The second season, through all of its many trailers and teasers, promises to continue this intriguing story as the citizens of Hawkins must now face a threat far more terrible than even the Demogorgon.
On Saturday, October 21 (just one week before the Season 2 premiere), Netflix released a fantastic new #StrangerThings teaser over on Twitter. The first segment seems to be principally devoted to setting the scene, introducing the new Palace Arcade and giving us a strong sense of the '80s time frame. From there though, it launches into some of the most intriguing clips to date that might give us a better idea of what exactly we need to be afraid of as well as what key plot points to keep an eye out for.
Let's pull this teaser apart and take a look at all the intriguing hints.
What's Happening To All The Pumpkins?
Perhaps the most fascinating mystery of this teaser is the question of just what's going on with the pumpkins. Traditionally, we put pumpkins out on Halloween to drive away evil spirits. It seems that, on the day before Halloween in 1984, something destroys the farmers' crops across Hawkins.
Blending these superstitions with Stranger Things lore even further, is it possible that on Halloween the boundary between our world and the Upside Down is at its thinnest? In Hawkins, those unwise experiments might have rendered the boundary even thinner, perhaps to the extent that creatures from the nefarious other realm can finally get through. If that's the case, the destruction of the pumpkins may be to prevent them warding off the most terrifying monster from the Upside Down to date.
But if pumpkins ward off the creatures from the Upside Down, who (or what) is destroying them? One disturbing possibility is that Will Byers, still affected by his experience last year, is an unwitting agent of evil. It's possible that Will himself is the one destroying the pumpkins, providing a believable narrative link to bring the kids into this investigation.
We Get An After-School Special On Fear
In one grimly amusing segment, Hawkins Middle School science teacher and AV Club supervisor Mr. Clarke tells us all about the science of fear. It's an appropriate topic for Halloween, and he stresses that all living creatures have a sense of fear. The short voice-over is interspersed with footage of Will Byers, suggesting that he's the one who has most reason to be afraid.
Why is this the case? Is he struggling to control himself, perhaps destroying pumpkins in the night? Or has his experience of the Upside Down led him to sense the looming presence of a terrifying monster?
The Palace Arcade
It's clear that the new Palace Arcade is a major location in Stranger Things Season 2. Set photos showed the cast filming outside what appeared to be retro arcades, and one of the first teasers relived Season 1 as an arcade game. Where the first season centered around the school, it looks as though Season 2 will be focused on the arcade.
VHS-C And The Mysterious Monster
The VHS-C part of the teaser doesn't seem particularly significant at first glance. That said, this is actually the second reference to VHS tapes in Netflix's creative promotional push for Season 2. If you download the Stranger Things mobile game, you actually have to collect eight VHS tapes in order to unlock an exclusive trailer.
Perhaps significantly, the very next clip in this teaser appears to show the boys confronting the "shadow monster." It appears to be filmed by a handheld camera that has since been dropped on the ground while the boys are out trick-or-treating, too. In Season 1, the kids were fascinated by radio transmissions. Have they now moved on to television, and are they recording their own adventures? If so, it's possible that VCRs will be as important to Season 2 as radio was to Season 1.
Perhaps the most interesting aspect of the teaser is the idea that television signals are being somehow messed with. It's possible that the electromagnetic spectrum is somehow the key to travelling between the Upside Down and our reality. Certainly Season 1 suggested that the two realities are closely intertwined, with Will Byers able to communicate through the lights.
An earlier teaser dropped another hint to the electromagnetic spectrum. Designed as a mock conspiracy theory video, this teaser described countless strange events in 1984. Notably, it included that year's unusual sunspot activity.
1984 was a year in which the sun appeared to break from the solar cycle, with unusually strong sunspot activity that interfered with electrical systems on Earth. It's unlikely that the sunspots are particularly relevant to the show's plot (they peaked earlier in that same year), but it's still another hint at electromagnetic disturbances.
The world fell in love with Stranger Things, but somehow the cast and crew have pulled off the impossible: they've managed to keep this second season pretty much under wraps, dropping only the most tantalizing of hints. That's been followed by one of #Netflix's most creative marketing campaigns to date, with fans desperately trying to pull apart the teasers and guess the plot.
We'll find out what it all means on October 27th when Stranger Things Season 2 (not so mysteriously) appears on Netflix.
Are you planning to binge-watch Stranger Things Season 2, or will you take your time? Let me know in the comments!