Chapter Six - The Spy
The Endless Summer - Hanging on the wall of Max’s bedroom is a poster for the 1966 documentary, The Endless Summer, which follows a pair of surfers as they travel the world catching waves. Being that Max is a transplant from California, the poster is likely a nod to her home and its well-known surfer culture. Not too mention, she’s such a proficient skateboarder, it’s likely she’s not such a bad surfer, either.
MTV - The television in Billy’s room is playing MTV, specifically the music video for Ratt’s song “Round and Round”. The music video station launched in 1981.
Stand By Me - In the first season of Stranger Things, the kids are shown walking along the train tracks in a shot that’s reminiscent of the film Stand By Me. In this episode, those train tracks resurface when Steve and Dustin are laying out bait to capture D’art.
Farrah Fawcett Hair Spray - While monster hunting, Steve offers Dustin some advice on dating and girls, but his best piece of advice is the secret to his fantastic head of hair - Farrah Fawcett’s Hair Spray. Rising to fame in the 1970s, Farrah’s feathered hair style was all the rage through the 1980s, so of course the actress had her own line of hair spray.
Jurassic Park - With the trap laid for D’art, Steve and the kids hide in the school bus at the junk yard, but when D’art refuses to take the bait, Steve goes outside to help lure him in. As he approaches D’art, another demodog comes at him from the side mimicking the raptor attack on Muldoon in Jurassic Park; the infamous “Clever girl” scene.
Music From This Episode: Queen's "Hammer To Fall"; Artie Shaw's "There's Frost On The Moon"; Billie Holiday's "You Better Go Now": Roy Orbison's "Blue Bayou"; Ratt's "Round And Round"
Chapter Seven - The Lost Sister
Shirley Temple - When El arrives in Chicago and finds her lost sister, she’s hanging out with a gang on misfits, one of whom refers to El as Shirley Temple, an obvious nod to the likeness El’s curly mop of hair has to the iconic child actress.
X-Men - The sequence of Kali, El’s sister, instructing her to harness her anger and use it to power her abilities reads very similarly to the dozens of scenes across the X-Men comics in where a mutant is trained to use their abilities. In fact, it’s almost the polar opposite of the scene between Charles Xavier and Erik Lehnsherr from 2011's X-Men: First Class.
Care Bears - The gang that El falls in with in Chicago has been hunting down and murdering those who worked at Hawkin’s Lab. When they do so, they hide their identities with plastic Halloween masks - one of which is clearly a Care Bear, most likely Cheer Bear due to its pink color.
Supermarket Sweep - On their way to murder one of the men from Hawkins Lab, Kali, El, and the gang stop at a gas station and go into the convenience store to stock up on supplies. Once the man behind the counter is tricked into thinking the bathroom is overflowing (thanks to Kali’s ability to make others see what she wants them to see), the mohawked man announces it’s time to play Supermarket Sweep. This is the name of a long-running game show that sees contestants racing through a supermarket, trying to grab as much as they can as fast as they can; making it a perfectly apt analogy for what's about to go down.
Punky Brewster - Another sitcom seen playing on television (this time in the home of the former Hawkins Lab employee) is Punky Brewster, a show about a young girl being raised by her foster father and it clearly mirrors the situation between El and Hopper; the series debuted in 1984.
Music From This Episode: Bon Jovi's "Runaway"; The Runaways' "Dead End Justice"; Icicle Works' "Birds Fly (Whisper To A Scream)"