Stranger Things has always been a scary show. After all, it’s a series that draws inspiration from nearly every major sci-fi, horror, and adventure movie from the 1980s, so it’s bound to include a memorable fright or two. Season 1 was all about fighting off The Demogorgon, while Season 2 introduced the dangers of The Mind Flayer to Hawkins, Indiana. The Netflix series has returned for a third season, and Elite Daily talked to the cast about how Stranger Things Season 3 is the scariest season yet. Warning: Spoilers for Season 3 of Stranger Things follow.
Stranger Things strikes a fine balance between fear and joy in its viewers. While the characters battle against forces from another dimension, they do so while cracking jokes and rocking colorful ’80s fashion. But, this season the show ramps up the intensity of the danger, and a lot of that intensity comes from the visual effects. This season’s villain shows up in multiple eery ways, from exploding rats to zombie-esque townspeople.
"On the page, there’s a lot of humor and stuff and you don’t really realize until you sit down to watch the show how graphic and crazy some of these effects and some of these scenes will be," Joe Keery, who plays Steve Harrington, tells Elite Daily. "There are definitely some really scary elements."
In fact, Keery warns that some younger viewers might want to take some precautions when watching this season. Priah Ferguson, who plays Erica Sinclair, tells Elite Daily that audiences can expect a "scary" and "demonic" villain.
The series’ scariness also gets ramped up this season in the way that the villain manifests. Instead of simply showing up on screen, the villain sneaks its way into the bodies of others, which makes it all the more creepy. Evil forces take over one character in particular: Billy Hargrove. The character becomes an even darker version of himself.
"The villain is appropriately chosen. I think it’s a good context to manifest all its villainy," Cara Buono, who plays Karen Wheeler, hints to Elite Daily. "I think it’s a good host."
Stranger Things Season 3 takes the characters into more dangerous territory with the villain, but it also pushes the characters into darker places emotionally. Season 3 picks up as the kids are coming of age and growing apart in some ways as they do so.
"There’s already the love you had toward the characters that have already been on the screen for a while. But there’s a new element to it this time around because I think it takes a different turn," Gaten Matarazzo, who plays Dustin Henderson, explains to Elite Daily. "It’s gonna be a really emotional season for sure."
Season 3 picks up with Dustin coming home from sleep-away camp only to discover that his three best friends aren’t always there to answer his radio calls. He ends up spending more time with Steve, Lucas’ sister Erica, and a new character named Robin (Maya Hawke). But his buddy Will Byers (Noah Schnapp) begins to feel lost as his friends become less interested in the games they played when they were younger.
"There’s that individual growth that Dustin has for sure," Matarazzo says. "But he always has [Steve, Erica, and Robin] to back him up. He’s always got these guys. And that’s what’s upsetting for Will is that he feels alone."
But even through loneliness and scariness, at its core, Stranger Things Season 3 highlights the unbreakable bond between its core characters. "[This season] kind of focuses so much on the love for each other that everybody has," Matarazzo says.
Season 3 of Stranger Things is streaming on Netflix now.
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