Easter eggs you missed in Stranger Things Season 2

Aside from supernatural shenanigans and rich '80s period detail, the Netflix original series Stranger Things boasts a seemingly endless supply of Easter eggs and knowing nods to other movies and pop culture properties. In fact, it might be faster to list all the bits of the show that don't actually refer to something else rather than those that do.

And that's not all. Sometimes what looks like an Easter egg—like Lucas's collection of He-Man action figures and Maxine's nickname of Mad Max—are actually just details that come from a show set in the 1980s. But in the interests of making your next rewatch more satisfying, here's a not-anywhere-close-to-complete list of some of the more overt Easter eggs you might've missed in Stranger Things Season 2. And before you get mad and open up your face with rage like the demogorgon, just remember: spoilers ahead.

Sean Astin never says die

That's right, one of the actual actors cast to play a new role in season two is himself an Easter egg. Sean Astin, who plays Joyce's doomed boyfriend Bob Newby, got his start as an '80s movie icon, playing Mikey in 1985's The Goonies. That movie, which featured a group of plucky kids getting in way over their heads on a huge adventure, is one of the most obvious sources of inspiration for Stranger Things. But it's actually one particular line of dialogue in episode 5, "Dig Dug," that lands Astin on our list. While helping Joyce, Will, and Mike try to find Hopper in the maze of tunnels underneath Hawkins, Indiana, he jokingly asks where the map leads. "What's at the X?" he asks. "Pirate treasure?" Goonies, as you may recall, revolves around Mikey and his friends' quest to follow a treasure map to find the lost loot of One-Eyed Willy.

Mad about Paul Reiser

If you thought that Stranger Things' '80s-themed stunt casting ended with Sean Astin, you obviously don't know your movie villains. Paul Reiser, who's probably best remembered these days for his role as Paul Buchman on the 1990s sitcom Mad About You, appeared as Doctor Owens, who's running the lab in Hawkins and trying to figure out what's wrong with Will Byers. But back in 1986, Resier provided one of moviedom's most memorable bad guy turns in James Cameron's action-sci-fi sequel Aliens

Reiser played Burke, a two-faced corporate goon who sends Ripley and the space marines to find more xenomorphs, despite knowing that they'd all probably die horribly in the process. Owens has similarly dubious motivations here, since neither Joyce nor the viewers can tell if the good doctor is really very good at all—at least not at first. We find out by the end of the season that Owens is more Buchman than Burke, though it costs us a Bob along the way. Not much luck if your name begins and ends with a B in Hawkins, huh?

Staying frosty

Want more proof that Reiser's appearance in Hawkins is a direct nod to Aliens? Among the many popular franchises Stranger Things refers to throughout its second season, the Alien saga might be one of the most prominent. In episode 6, "The Spy," Doctor Owens oversees a group of gun-toting soldiers who wend their way through the tunnels under Hawkins to try and confront the shadow monster the kids later refer to as the Mind Flayer. He watches on monitors as the soldiers are ambushed by the demo-dogs who've flooded the tunnels—a moment that takes its cue from a similar scene in Aliens, when Burke and Ripley watch the space marines investigate the alien-infested colony. Later in the movie, Corporal Hicks tells Hudson and Vasquez to "stay frosty" before they go out to confront the xenomorphs. As such, it wasn't too surprising to hear one of Owens' soldiers tell the other men to do the same as they started investigating the tunnels towards the end of the episode.

Do Raimi

One of the other major influences you can find all over season two of Stranger Things is the movie Evil Dead, the 1981 horror classic by Sam Raimi. For starters, when Eleven is home alone in Hopper's cabin in episode four, "Will the Wise," she discovers a secret door in the floorboards that leads to a hidden basement containing secret knowledge about Hopper and her own past. The shots that lead her there are pretty visually similar to the scene when Ash and his friends discover the Necronomicon in the basement in a woodland cabin of their own.

Then there's the abundance of "shaky P.O.V. cam" shots, which is when a camera zooms along the ground quickly to show the ominous movements of an evil force. Raimi used that technique to show the point of view of the evil spirits stalking Ash and his doomed friends in all three Evil Dead movies. Meanwhile, the Duffers bring a zooming P.O.V. cam to Stranger Things when Will sees the now-memories of the mind flayer, who's tunneling under Hawkins and spreading his own brand of evil. Add the abundance of creepy vines wrapping themselves around human bodies to hold them against their will, and the similarities are impossible to ignore. Still somehow not convinced the Duffers are paying direct tribute to Raimi with season two? Take a look at this Stranger Things promotional poster—and then look at this original Evil Dead movie poster. Raimi should maybe get a co-directing credit for Stranger Things season 2.

The Regan era

Finally, as if throwing Aliens and Evil Dead into a blender with Goonies weren't enough, the Duffers and the rest of Stranger Things' creative team threw in a healthy dose of the 1973 classic The Exorcist for good measure. We've got it all: young innocents subjected to a bunch of pseudo-scientific tests. Angry mothers demanding that a bunch of quacks be less terrible at their jobs. And possessed kids being strapped to a bed for their own good while the demons are being forced out. The only thing that's missing is projectile vomit—oh, wait. That's in Stranger Things too. Never mind.

Hail to the King

Matt and Ross Duffer, the twin brother creators of Stranger Things, make no secret of their appreciation for the works of Stephen King, and there are plenty of subtle and not-so-subtle nods to the guy whose work inspired so much of the show. For instance, Bob tries to tempt Joyce with the prospect of relocating her family from Hawkins, Indiana. Where does he suggest? Maine, which just so happens to be the creepy northeastern state that features prominently in so much of King's work.

Then there's the character of Eleven, whose psychic powers are pretty reminiscent of those we see in the 1984 King adaptation Firestarter. A little girl violently busting stuff up using only her mind? Yup.

Finally, there's the secret knock that Hopper uses to let Eleven know he's home. A post on Den of Geek points out that if you convert the knocks to Morse code—which Eleven and Hopper often use to communicate via the radio—it translates to dot-dot, dash, dot-dot-dot, which then translates to the word "ITS." That sure seems pretty similar to the title of Stephen King's legendary novel It, which features a group of outcast friends banding together to defeat a monster that's terrorizing their town. Actor Finn Wolfhard, who plays Mike on Stranger Things, also appears as Richie Tozier in the 2017 big screen adaptation of It, potentially making Hopper's knock one of the best-hidden Easter eggs in the whole series.

Candy, man

Stranger Things season 2 takes place around Halloween, and that means there's a few candy mentions throughout—some of which definitely seem to be hidden references to the show's inspirations. Take, for example, an early scene when Doctor Owens, examining Will Byers, asks him what his favorite candy is, and Will says "Reese's Pieces"—a candy that really became popular thanks to its tie-in with Steven Spielberg's 1982 hit E.T. Later on, Dustin befriends a tiny monster he calls D'Artagnan, or Dart for short, which he named for the Three Musketeers bars they both enjoy. Maybe this is a stretch, but the candy-based relationship between the two is more than a little reminiscent of a similar friendship between Chunk and Sloth forged over a Baby Ruth bar in Goonies, a movie we've already pointed out as having lots of influence on Stranger Things.

Remember ALF? He's back! In Easter Egg form.

Speaking of stretches of the imagination and Dustin's gross friend Dart, let's talk about the food the baby demo-dog eats after he's finished Three Musketeers. When Dustin comes home to spend time with his rapidly growing pet monster, he's shocked to discover that Dart has broken out of his cage and found a new favorite cuisine: Dustin's cat, Mews. In case you've forgotten, ALF—that irascible puppet from the planet Melmac who had his own sitcom in the late 1980s—also liked to feast on felines. Is it possible that this particular Easter egg is one hatched more of coincidence than intention on the part of the Duffer Brothers? Yeah, probably. But is it more fun to believe the Duffers and the rest of their team spent hours trying to think of a way to cram an obscure reference to ALF into their hit TV show that only super ALF nerds would recognize? Absolutely.