List Of 80s References In 'The Battle Of Starcourt' - Stranger Things 3, Episode 8

By Gareth Bellamy
July 11, 2019 6:00 AM ‐ TelevisionStranger ThingsNetflixLong Reads

This article is more than four years old and was last updated in August 2020.

Stranger Things Season 3 - Chapter 8
Hopper, Joyce and Murray risk their lives to put a stop to the Russian's plans in the secret bunker beneath Starcourt Mall, but rely on Dustin to call for assistance from his new love interest, Suzie. Meanwhile, above ground the Mind Flayer's monster wreaks havoc in the food court.

Spotted any 80s references in Stranger Things season three we've missed out? Let us know in the comments at the bottom of the page.

Film Alert: Alien

Start as you mean to go, there's no slow build up by the time we get to episode eight. So seeing Eleven remove the Mind Flayer parasite from her leg and seeing the wee beastie come out of her leg, it's design especially took us right back the chest-burster coming out of John Hurt's stomach during the first Alien film, directed by Ridley Scott in 1979.

More From 'Stranger Things'

There's loads more from Hawkins on our 'Stranger Things' pages including playlists of music from the show, and you can test your knowledge of 'Stranger Things' with our trivia quizzes. Plus check out our complete 'Stranger Things' episode guide for all four seasons.

Music: Yello - 'Goldrush II'

Steve, Robin, Erica and Dustin head out from the mall to drive in Todd's convertible to get Dustin's radio and Goldrush II from Yello plays. Though they haven't exactly set the charts alive in recent years, Yello are perhaps the most famous Swiss electronic music duo. Yes, ok, the only Swiss electronic music duo. Active since 1979, you may very well know them from their hit 'Oh Yeah' which popped up in Ferris Bueller's Day Off, the Michael J Fox starring The Secret of My Success and multiple other films and TV shows.

Goldrush II comes from the 2005 remastered version of their 1987 synth-pop album One Second.

Film Alert: Lord of the Rings

The gang refer to the hill with Dustin's transmitter on as Weathertop, this is a reference to the Lord of the Rings book, where Weathertop (also known as Amon Sul) is the southernmost and highest of the Weather Hills. The site of several battles, and once a major fortress.

Music: Jackie Wilson - 'High and Higher (Your Love Keeps Lifting Me)'

Steve, Robin, Erica and Dustin driving to pick up the radio and this classic plays, which was originally released in 1967 peaking at 6 on the US Billboard chart, and peaking at 11 in the UK in 1969 when it got a release there. Jackie Wilson died in 1984, but the single got a re-release in the UK in 1987 and got all the way to 15 on the charts. There was a big fad for classic Motown and Atlantic soul tracks getting re-released in the UK in the late 80s, due a to a combination of being used on Levi's jeans adverts, film scores, and a lot of the chart music being pants at the time.
This track was also used at a key plot point in Ghostbusters II, something to do with slime in the Statue of Liberty.

Music: 'Scoops Troop'

Steve, Robin, Erica and Dustin approach the transmitter, Mike tries to call them on the walkie talkie. Scoops Troop from the original Stranger Things score by Kyle Dixon and Michael Stein plays.

Film Alert: Stripes

When Hopper, Joyce and Murray dressing up as Russians to infiltrate the base is a staple of many a cold war era film. The two that leap out to us are Stripes (1981), starring Bill Murray and Harold Ramis of Ghostbusters fame. Stripes was also directed by Ivan Reitman, the director of Ghostbusters. Also, Firefox, the Clint Eastwood starring cold war film as Clint pretend to be Russian and disguise himself as a Russian pilot in order to steal a top secret Russian plane.

Film Alert: Aliens

The Xenomorph - 'Alien'

Murray entering the tunnel in the bunker remind us of Bishop in Aliens (1986), when he has to crawl the length of the complex in a tunnel to reach the communications system to guide down a rescue ship.

Music: The Red Army Choir - 'The Russian Nightingales'

When Hopper and Joyce discuss going on a date while in the Russian bunker, the music playing is The Russian Nightingales by The Red Army Choir.

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80s Alert: Miami Vice

We already knew he was a Magnum PI fan, now we know he's a Vice fan too. We'd put good money on the fact he also liked Cagney and Lacey.

80s Alert: The National Lampoons Vacations

Nancy, Jonathan, Mike, El, Max, Will and Lucas having the call sign 'Griswolds' references the National Lampoons Vacations films. The original, released in 1983, was directed by Ghostbuster Harold Ramis and stars Chevy Chase, taking his family, The Griswolds, on a hapless holiday journey to Walley World. Hugely popular in the 80s, we can assume all the gang would have seen the film.

Film Alert: War of the Worlds

The movement of the Mind Flayer's tentacles (or arms? What are they?) as the enter The Gap look like the alien tentacles in Steven Spielberg's War of the Worlds (2005). Starring Tom Cruise, a pivotal scene plays out when he's trapped in the basement of a house, and the aliens outside send down long, snaking tentacles to try and find him.

Film Alert: Jurassic Park

Jurassic Park

Max, El and Mike hiding in Gap reminded us of the kids in Jurassic Park (1993) trying to hide in the kitchen from the Velociraptors.

Music: 'Planck's Constant'

When Hopper and Joyce enter the code Kyle Dixon and Michael Stein's original track Planck's Constant can be heard.

Film Alert: Back To The Future

Billy driving at Nancy and Jonathan in the parking lot is little bit like the scene in Back to the Future when they're trying to hit 88 mph in the parking lot in order to activate the time travel circuit.

80s Alert: Posters

So we find out Suzie is real? Shame on those of you who doubted Dustin! Anyway, being a good honest nerd, we can spot a poster for The Wizard of Oz on her wall. The 1939 film is known as a musical fantasy film, but surely it could also be sci-fi? A young woman is seemingly transported to a foreign world, populated by strange species, and forced to unite a rag tag bunch of rebels to beat an all-powerful enemy? Surely this is an inspiration to Rey in the new Star War films?

She's also got a poster for the original Muppet Movie (1979).

We also spotted a Brigham Young university flyer on her wall. This university is run by the Mormons, and Dustin already told us about his forlorn hopes in episode 1 of this season about how her parents wouldn't accept him.

Sci-Fi Alert: Suzie's Room

The book Suzie's reading is The Wizard of Earthsea by Ursula K Le Guin. Originally published in 1968, this fantasy novel tells the story of a young magician called Ged, who join a school of wizardry (sounds familiar?), and during a duel unleashed an evil shadow creature (!) which attacks him.

Is it mere coincidence that a famous quote of Le Guin's starts:
"Please bring strange things.
Please come bringing new things…"

Music: Limahl - 'Never Ending Story'

Dustin sings Never Ending Story to Suzie, the title song to the 1984 fantasy film record by Kajagoogoo's Limahl. The track got into the top ten around the world, got to 4 in the UK and 17 in the US.

Music: 'Planck's Constant'

When Billy is climbing out the car Planck's Constant by Kyle Dixon and Michael Stein plays again.

Film Alert: Terminator 2

Terminator 2

The Russian dude's facial damage is very similar to what happens to Arnie's T800 when fighting the T1000 in Terminator 2.

Music: Survive - 'Dirge'

When Joyce saves the world by closing the gate Dirge from Survive plays. Survive is actually the band that the composers of the Stranger Things soundtracks, Kyle Dixon and Michael Stein, are in when they're not doing all things Stranger Things.

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Music: 'Aftermath'

When the gate has closed Aftermath by Kyle Dixon and Michael Stein plays.

80s Alert: Aliens

We see the return of Sam Owens, played by Paul Reiser, his character featured heavily in season two, but Reiser really rose to fame in the 1980s, playing Carter Burke in Aliens (1986).

Music: 'Earth Song'

When Joyce hugs Will outside the mall Earth Song by Kyle Dixon and Michael Stein plays.

Three Months Later...

The 'three months later' news segment in the Hawkins news broadcast opens on a clocktower, bit of a Back to the Future reference?

In the news broadcast we see mysterious deaths referenced with photos of Barb, season 1, and Bob, season 2. (Do you, by any chance, think if you lived in Hawkins Indiana you have stayed living there with all this stuff going on??)

80s Alert: Dungeons and Dragons

Again, during the news broadcast, we see Dungeons and Dragons books, specifically The Dungeon Master's Guide, featured, and linked to satanism. Dungeons and Dragons is the fantasy game that Will, Mike, Lucas and Dustin play at the start of season 1, and is what Will wants to keep playing even as the others head off to chase girls. Hugely popular in the 80s, it's what we had before Fortnite came along.
Dungeons and Dragons, or D&D to those in the know, was subject to a genuine 'satanic scare' in the more religious US states, where people thought it could actually lead to raising the devil, and there was a big move to ban it. Duh!

80s Alert: Family Video Store

As Robin and Steve arrive at FamilyVideo there's a Firestarter poster in the window. This is. 1984 science-fiction horror film, based on a Stephen King novel, starring Drew Barrymore as a girl with pyrokinetic abilities, ie, the ability to start fires, hence the name of the film! A strong influence on how Eleven behaved in season 1 of Stranger Things.

Other posters in the video shop...

Scarface – The Al Pacino crime drama came out in 1983.

The Outsiders – Am American coming of age drama starring a whole raft of 80s acting talent including Patrick Swayze, Matt Dillon, Ralph 'karate kid' Macchio, Robe Lowe, Tom Cruise and Emilio Estevez. Directed by Francis Ford Coppola and released in 1983.

The Jerk – 1979 Steve Martin comedy.

Sixteen Candles – A John Hughes 80s classic starring Molly Ringwald and directed by John Hughes.

Plus, did you remember that the dude running the video store is Keith from season two? He's played by Matty Cardarople, and he was seen previously running the video arcade.

Film Alert: Robin & Steve's Favourite Films

Here is a great example of their differing personalities. Robin goes for quality with:

The Apartment (1960) – The Jack Lemmon and Shirly MacLaine won five Oscars and is often in critics top ten lists.

The Hidden Fortress (1958) – A Japanese historical adventure film from noted director Akira Kurosawa, the film was a strong influence on director George Lucas when he was preparing to shoot the original Star Wars film, particularly on R2D2 and C3PO.

Children of Paradise (1945) – A French romantic drama shot in Paris during the German occupation of world war two. Known to some as the French version of Gone with the Wind.

Steve goes for:
Animal House (1978) – A comedy about the life of excessof a bunch of deranged students living in a frat house on an American university campus in the 1960s. There's a strong Ghostbusters connection as it shares the same director, Ivan Reitman, and was co-written by Harold 'Egon Spengler' Ramis.

Return of the Jedi – The Star Wars film came out in 1983, despite Steve barely being able to remember anything about it.

Back to the Future – He clearly only mentioned this one as he'd watched it while escaping the Mind Flayer in the mall. Let' just say film probably isn't a major interest of Steve's.

Film Alert: Phoebe Cates

Steve knocks over a cardboard cut out of the rather attractive Phoebe Cates. Referenced several times in season 3 in Fast Times at Ridgemont High, and the fact that Dustin compares his girlfriend Suzie to her.

80s Alert: Videos On The Shelves

48 Hrs – An American police film about a paid of mismatched detectives starring Eddy Murphy and Nick Nolte. You can think of it as a dry run for Lethal Weapon.

Animal House – We've already covered this as it's one of Steve's three favourite films!

Dead Men Don't Wear Plaid – Steve Martin comedy from 1982. Wonderfully edits together original black and white footage from classic noir detective movies from the 1940s with newly shot material with Steve Martin. 

Mister Mom – 1983 comedy starring Michael Keaton who becomes a stay at home dad. 

Music: Hurricane Express - 'When You See Me'

Playing as we leave the video store and we see Jonathan and Nancy carrying out a mattress is When You See Me from Hurricane Express. Taken from this American rock band's 1978 album, Early Warning.

Cameo Alert

Stranger Things Season 3 Robin

It's near impossible to spot them, but Kyle Dixon and Michael Stein, the creators of the Stranger Things soundtrack appear in the background of the video store scene, taking on the role of customers.

Music: 'You're a Fighter'

When Jonathan and Nancy are in his empty room the music playing is You're a Fighter by Kyle Dixon and Michael Stein.

Music: Peter Sandberg - 'Deep'

The intimate piece of music that plays when Eleven reads Hopper's letter is Deep from Swedish multi-instrumentalist and composer Peter Sandberg. His debut album Motion was released in March this year, and Deep is the new single taken from it. This is a great example of very subtle piece of music being used to underscore the moment. Stranger Things is a series based on some pretty impressive set pieces, terrible violence, deaths, dimension spanning beasts, and comic relief, but at its heart it relies on the trust and friendship of our band of heroes. Hopper opening up in the letter about how the grief of losing his daughter had changed him, had made him bury his emotions, only for them to come out when El came into his life is a very touching point to end on.

Music: Peter Gabriel - 'Heroes'

When Eleven finishes Hopper's letter, the gang disperse to the sound of Peter Gabriel's Heroes, taken from Gabriel's 2010 album Scratch My Back, this track is a cover of David Bowie's original, released in 1977. Stranger Things fans may remember this track being used during the third episode of season 1, when they believe the dead body of Will Byers was recovered.

Back To Season One

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