List Of 80s References In 'Dig Dug' - Stranger Things 2, Episode 5

By Gareth Bellamy
October 31, 2017 12:00 AM ‐ TelevisionStranger ThingsNetflix

This article is more than four years old and was last updated in October 2018.

Compiled by the Higgypop Professor of the 1980s, Gareth Bellamy. He's so old, he can remember the 70s!

Stranger Things Dig Dug
Dig Dug is of course the name of one of the arcade games we saw Max playing back in episode one. Will episode 5 score highly in our rundown of 80s references in Stranger Things 2? Well, yes, of course it will!

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We get a brief look at Mike's watch at the start of the episode. Yes, it's a Casio calculator watch. These were nerd gold in the first half of the 80s. Next to useless, but the closest thing we had to iPads back then.


Tim Curry Pennywise The Clown, It

The Stephen King story gets another nod as Nancy and Jonathan share a motel room. (With separate beds, naturally!) They show their scars, which came from when they cut their hands in season 1 in an attempt to lure the demogorgon. In It, the characters are linked by a blood oath they make by cutting across their palms.

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Vietnam War

Hopper in the tunnel. Although this was all done and dusted by 1975, the aftermath of America's involvement in the Vietnam war continued into the 80s and long afterwards. It's still a factor in any American involvement in a land war anywhere in the world. We know Hopper is a Vietnam veteran, not least because we saw a Vietnam file in the cellar of his cabin.

The Viet Cong used tunnel systems to hide from US troops, ambush them, and store supplies. Hopper's stress in the tunnels here might not be 100% due to the alien nature of his adventure, he might be having a flashback.

Raiders of the Lost Ark/Indiana Jones

Hopper Stranger Things

Hopper appears to be channelling Indy in some of these tunnel scenes. He's got the right hat, he's ripped the sleeves off his jacket so is looking a bit more Indy than usual. He's got the pistol, he's just missing a bullwhip.



The food trail Dustin leaves for Dart is very similar to Elliot leaving a trail of Reece's Pieces to lure that alien out of the shed and into his house. What would you prefer, raw meat or chocolate?

The way Dart's head opens up when it barks/screams remind us of the alien in Predator, whose face kind of hinges open in all the wrong ways. Predator is a 1987 film starring Arnie that manages to tick the boxes for the science fiction, horror, adventure and action genres.


Stephen Spielberg's first feature film, released in 1971, features a motorist stalked on lonely roads by the driver of a truck. The truck in the film is a Peterbilt, hence the close-up shot of that name badge on the truck as El hitches a lift to find her mum.

Is this the last Spielberg film referenced in Stranger Things? We're guessing they won't do a Schindler's List tribute.

Goonies (Again)

Bob mentions looking for pirate treasure, there's even an X marking the spot. It could only be more obvious if Chunk appeared doing the truffle shuffle.

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Erica In Stranger Things

Lucas's sister Erica gets annoyed with Dustin on the walkie talkie. While she's doing that she picks up a He-Man play figure. He-Man was a massively popular toy franchise in the 80s, with a whole range of plastic toy figures and play sets, plus cartoons and even a truly terrible film starring Dolph Lundgren as the Master of the Universe himself.

Extra nerd facts if you knew that the company that made He-Man did so because it had originally turned down the chance to make the Star Wars figures for the first film in the trilogy. This is the toy industry equivalent of being the person who refused to sign the Beatles to their record label thinking they wouldn't amount to much.



El using a TV blasting static as a tool with which to communicate to her mother is another nod to Poltergeist. Does the fact she has to wrap a bandana round her head also mean this is a nod to Karate Kid?

Stranger Things Season One

Prepare to have your mind blown when Lucas finishes telling Max what happened to Will in season 1. She thinks it's a story and criticises Lucas for making something up which she felt "was a little too derivative in parts. I just wish you had a little more originality, that's all." Which is basically a summary of many of the key complaints about this series being made, in this series. How meta can you get?

Raider Of The Lost Ark

As Hopper gets rescued from the tunnels he does a quick grab back to pick up his hat. A move we've seen Indiana Jones perform too!


Hopper Stranger Things

Hopper being assimilated by the tentacles in the tunnel has got a real Aliens feel about it. The 1986 film included scenes, that were originally edited out of the film, that showed some of the colonists captured by the xenomorphs being cocooned in a nest under the reactor. It looks like something similar was in store for Hopper until Joyce and Bob came to the rescue.


Carroll Lloyd – 'Try My Love'. When Nancy and Jonathan check into the motel.
A Southern soul singer who recorded in Memphis. Can carry a tune but didn't have an extensive career. File under 'highly obscure'.

Carl Weathers – 'You Ought To Be With Me'. Playing as the Sinclair family have breakfast and Lucas asks his dad what he does when he's having an argument with his mum.
Carl Weathers is perhaps most famous for playing Apollo Creed in the Rocky series of films. This single was released in 1981 which places it between Rockys II and III.

Bobby Bare – 'Green Green Grass Of Home'. Playing as El catches a ride of the semi/truck to visit her mother.
A country and western singer, this track is taken from Bare's 1966 album The Streets of Baltimore.

Shock Therapy – 'Can I Do What I Want?' Playing as Nancy and Jonathan arrive at Murray's.
A hardcore experimental band from Detroit, Can I Do What I Want? Was released in 1985 on their album Shock Therapy.

Hittman – 'Metal Sports'. Another subtle tune from Billy as he drops Max at the arcade.
Hittman were an American prog-metal band active between 1984-1994. Metal Sports was released in 1985.

Robert Gorl – 'Darling Don't Leave Me'. Soundtracks Max being shown into the backroom of the arcade where Lucas is waiting.
Gorl is a German musician, best known for his work with D.A.F. He recorded don't leave me with Annie Lennox. It was released as a single in 1983.

The Jetzons – 'When The Sun Goes Down'. Lucas following Max out of the arcade trying to convince her that his story is true.
The Jetzsons were an American new wave band from Arizona. They formed in 1981 and managed to get all the way through to 1983 before calling it a day. If you think they sound familiar, you might have heard some of their music on recent Netflix series GLOW, about the Glamorous Ladies Of Wrestling. Red Oaks, the Amazon series also based in the 80s has used a few of their tracks too.

Channel 3 – 'Strength In Numbers'. When Billy picks up Max from the arcade.
An American punk band from California, Channel 3 were formed in 1980, and are still going! Strength in Numbers was released in 1982 and taken from their long player I've Got a Gun.

Philip Glass Ensemble – 'Open The Kingdom (Liquid Days, Part Two)'. Flashback montage of what happened to Terry Ives.
If you fancy something a bit jarring, then Philip Glass isn't a bad call. This track was released in 1986.

Billie Holliday – 'No More'. The track Murray puts on whilst necking vodka and trying to decide how to proceed after hearing Nancy and Jonathan's tape. Murray may be a bit unhinged, but he has great taste in music, Billie Holliday has one of the most distinctive singing voices of the 20th century, she recorded this track in October 1944.

Kyle Dixon & Michael Stein – The composers for the original Stranger Things seasons 1 and 2 soundtracks, what tracks did they provide for the 5th episode?

'Biking to School' – Plays while Lucas is on his bike whilst Mrs Henderson calls for her cat.

'Gearing Up' – Dustin getting his hockey gear on and getting ready to do battle with Dart.

'Connect The Dots' – Murray showing his 'Barb hunting' board on the wall of his office/lair.

'In The Woods' – Joyce, Mike and Will trying to work out where Hopper us on Will's drawing.

'Looking For A Way Out' – Hopper finding out that flames destroy the alien vine things.

'Crib' – El being shown what would have been her nursery.

'Birth Rescue' – Terry's flashback sequence showing how she went into labour, tried to infiltrate the Hawkins lab but is captured and given electroshock therapy.

'Turn Right And Run' – The sound of Joyce and Bob heading into the tunnel and looking for Master Frodo. Sorry, we meant Hopper.

On To Episode Six

  • 80s References In Stranger Things 2, Episode 6

    October 31, 2017

    Whilst Will's connection to whatever evil is lurking below Hawkins grows ever-stronger, nobody seems to have a clue how to save him. Elsewhere, Dustin and Steve form an unlikely bromance, bonding over girlfriend tips and Steve's haircare advice. But will we, the viewers, discover any fresh 80s references?

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