Chrissy Stranger Things Evil Dead

That Time Stranger Things Ripped Off The Evil Dead

Along with Stranger Things, it seems like Evil Dead is more popular than ever nowadays, and with good reason. It’s not just because of its decades-long video game history, including the new Evil Dead game for console/PC, which looks awesome, by the way (check out this post for a detailed history of every single Evil Dead video game). And it’s not just because Starz’s Ash VS The Evil Dead made Ash’s violence and quirky jokes available to a younger audience, although that probably helped too. 

And I assume it’s not because of the off-Broadway Evil Dead musical.  

I know I’m nerding out here, but The Evil Dead is timeless. I’m just saying, everyone loves that freaking gore fest, from Stephen King to Quentin Tarantino to the Duffer Brothers end every horror nerd in between. 

And by the way, if you’re interested to know how Stephen King helped greenlight the Evil Dead, check out this article I wrote about it. True story!

Jonathan’s Evil Dad Poster in Stranger Things

Let’s bring it back to Stranger Things. We have all seen the Evil Dead poster in Jonathan’s room. The poster is a not-so-subtle nod to the 1980s. It helps set the tone of horror and nostalgia for times gone by. 

But what if the poster is more than just a device to set the tone? Here I make the case that the Duffer Brothers directly and blatantly ripped off the Evil Dead film.

This article is about season 4 episode 1 of Stranger Things, entitled “The Hellfire Club.” But surely you’ve seen this poster in earlier seasons:

Evil Dead Poster Stranger Things

The Evil Dead’s Ending Style in Stranger Things

So, Evil Dead, right? You know the part where Ash goes crazy at the end?

It’s a famous scene. Maybe the famous scene. Because that’s when Ash is the last one standing. It’s where things suddenly get really weird, and he goes crazy.

So the first point I want to make is that the very end of Stranger Things s4 e1 imitates how things go sideways all of a sudden at the end of Sam Raimi’s masterpiece.

In case you forgot what happens at the end of Evil Dead, this is the scene I’m talking about:

When the Stranger Things Ripoff of Evil Dead Starts

It all starts at 7:30 left in the episode (s4 e1). The entire mode of storytelling changes. All of a sudden,  we hear the sound of a clock going off, and then Chrissy and Eddie start freaking out. Especially Chrissy. She is terrified by whatever terror seems to be lurking in the darkness just outside Eddie’s window.

Stranger Things Evil Dead

And you know what else?

Can you guess which horror film has a scene that plays out just like that?

That’s right: it’s the Evil Dead cuckoo clock scene with Cheryl.

As if that wasn’t a striking enough similarity, then there’s Chrissy’s mother.

Chrissy goes to her mom’s room to seek comfort from the things that go bump in the night. But her source of comfort – her very own mother – has become a terrifying creature.

Stranger Things Chrissy's mom

Same for her dad, whose eyes and mouth are sewn shut.

This scene is obviously an homage, with Chrissy’s parents as Deadites.

And sure, I can be generous and call this a “love letter to The Evil Dead” instead of a ripoff. Actually, t’s pretty cool that the Duffer Brothers brought this Evil Dead vibe into Stranger Things. It helps evoke nostalgia for the era, don’t you think?

If you’re a big Evil Dead fan like me, you knew this scene was an homage to Sam Raimi the minute you saw it. All the classic effects are there: monster masquerading as a loved one? Check. Monster’s voice suddenly getting deep and two-toned at just the scariest part? Check. Familiar, evocative sound effects underscoring the protagonist’s horrified reaction? Three strikes and you’re out.

Sam Raimi Camerawork in Stranger Things

Then at -6:23, the camera zooms in on Chrissy’s face, the shot goes sideways, and then the sounds start to get all melty. This is one of Sam Raimi’s trademarks in The Evil Dead.

For more on this, check out my top 5 favorite SAM RAIMI CLOSEUP shots. I made some cool gifs for that post 🙂

Horror GIF - Find & Share on GIPHY

Doors in Evil Dead and Stranger Things

Then there’s the whole thing with the doors.

Stranger Things Chrissy

Doors are a huge device in The Evil Dead, especially the cellar door and the front door that leads into the cabin. Here’s one Evil Dead door scene I especially like:

At the time of this writing, I have only had time to watch Stranger Things season 4 episode 1: The Hellfire Club. I have met Eddie Munson and Chrissy Cunningham.

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