The “Stranger Things 2” Poster Draws On A Vast, Rich Legacy Of Horror Movie Posters

From ‘Fright Night’ to the Korean poster for Paul Feig’s ‘Ghostbusters,’ the callbacks are strong.

The poster image for the second season of Stranger Things was revealed this morning, and it’s a stunning, immediately resonant image: the four kids from season one (minus Eleven, who will presumably be showing up later), on their familiar bicycles, on the outskirts of their town as they watch a violent red sky that may be haunted by something spectral and spooky. The new season doesn’t hit Netflix for three more months, but this tantalizing image only makes us want October 27 to get here sooner.


However, the poster doesn’t just conjure our love of the first season of Stranger Things and those characters. It also draws on our familiarity with similar images. If season one looked like the cover of a Stephen King novel, this poster looks more like R.L. Stine’s Goosebumps crossed with—well, crossed with a lot of horror movie posters, both classic and contemporary. The image perhaps most clearly recalls 1985’s Fright Night, with a contrast between suburban ordinariness and the monsters in the sky; it also suggests the Korean poster for 2015’s Ghostbusters remake, with four figures staring at something emerging from a swirl of clouds. Similar imagery also popped up on the posters for A Nightmare On Elm Street and Friday The 13th Part VIII: Jason Takes Manhattan.

It’s also imagery that’s been referred back to by other recent posters—in M. Night Shyamalan’s 2008 film The Happening and 2015’s The Hallow, and it’s not a million miles away from the art for 1996’s Twister, either.

All of which is to say that part of the joy of the first season of Stranger Things was the fact that it was full of imagery and ideas that referred back to similarly-themed work from the past, while also feeling like it was building something new and contemporary off of those images. If the first poster for season two is any indication, that’s something they’ve kept at the heart of the concept going forward.

About the author

Dan Solomon lives in Austin with his wife and his dog. He's written about music for MTV and Spin, sports for Sports Illustrated, and pop culture for Vulture and the AV Club.