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Stranger Things 4's Vecna Was Inspired By Three Classic Horror Monsters

After a years-long wait, the new season of "Stranger Things" is finally almost upon us. And if the series' just-released trailer for Season 4 of the smash-hit Netflix series is any indication, Eleven (Millie Bobby Brown) and the rest of the Hawkins gang are in for another horrifying adventure in The Upside Down and beyond. That adventure will, of course, unfold in two parts, with the first hitting the platform on May 27, 2022, and the second dropping a little over a month later on July 1.

While we still don't know much about what's to come in the new season of "Stranger Things," we do know the series' obvious lean into straight-up horror territory is very much by design. Indeed, series creators the Duffer Brothers admitted as much during Netflix's recent Tudum event, stating, "When we pitched it to Netflix all those years ago, we pitched it as the kids are ...'The Goonies' in 'E.T.' That's their storyline. And the adults are in 'Jaws' and 'Close Encounters' and then the teens are in 'Nightmare on Elm Street' or 'Halloween.' But, this year, we don't have the kids... And so, suddenly, we're leaning much harder into that horror movie territory that we love."

As it is, that "Elm Street" nod may be quite telling as the Duffers apparently drew on that film, and a pair of other classic horror flicks to create the new season's big Upside Down bad Vecna. 

The Duffers modeled their Season 4 big bad after some truly iconic horror creations

"Stranger Things" fandom, of course, got their first look at Vecna (named after a dreaded "Dungeons & Dragons" monster) in the latest Season 4 trailer. And if you felt he was giving off some serious Freddy Krueger (Robert Englund) vibes in the trailer, that's because the Duffers partly used the "Elm Street" baddie as inspiration. According to Ross Duffer's recent comments to IGN, the brothers also drew inspiration from "Hellraiser" icon Pinhead (Doug Bradley), and the clown-faced "It" creeper Pennywise (Bill Skarsgard) in creating Vecna. "Those were the monsters that really inspired us this season," he said.

Duffer continued by adding Vecna will be all the more terrifying because the crew largely opted not to use digital effects in creating him, "What you're seeing here is 90% practical [effects]," he explained. "And Vecna, throughout the season, is 90% practical. We wanted a presence on the set that our actors could react to ... We wanted something there that we could actually film, and I just think that makes this villain scarier and more real and tangible and we're just really excited for people to see him this season."

As it stands, "Stranger Things" fandom is no doubt just as excited to see what terrors Vecna brings to the story as the Duffers are to show them. And just based on what horror fans know of the vile creatures who inspired him, the Hawkins gang is in for nightmarish terrors the likes of which they've never seen.