The recently-concluded fourth season of Stranger Things was, in many important ways, the best yet. The series managed to stay true to its roots while also pushing the story in new and, it must be said, far more frightening, directions.
In particular, this season featured some startling deaths, many of which were designed to stay with the viewer long after the season concluded. In fact, there are a number of scenes from this most recent season that deserve to be seen as among the most frightening it has yet produced. This is horror television at its very best.
When Chrissy Is Killed
Very early in this season, it becomes apparent that Stranger Things is going to provide some new, more visceral thrills. When the unfortunate Chrissy is killed in a truly horrendous manner, it is designed to terrify not just Eddie (who bears witness to it), but also the viewer.
This new entity that has emerged from the Upside Down is far more powerful than anything yet seen. Thus, this scene helps the viewer to understand that the stakes in this season are going to be higher than they have ever been, and the consequences of failure even direr.
When Vecna Nearly Kills Max
Max is, of course, one of the most beloved characters on Stranger Things. For this reason, her vulnerability to Vecna’s influence casts a pall over the season, and it reaches one of its climaxes when she is brought under his malevolent influence.
Though she does manage to escape, the lead-up is truly terrifying. The series skillfully manipulates the viewer’s emotions, leading them to wonder whether, in fact, this character they have come to love and appreciate will escape at all. The scene allows the audience to feel both with and for Max, inculcating the same sense of terror that she experiences.
When Nancy Is Taken To The Phantom Pool
Nancy is one of the Stranger Things characters who have grown the most over its four seasons. However, she is still haunted by the death of her friend Barb, which is what makes her Vecna-influenced vision so frightening. When she bears witness to the dead body of Barb, it’s frightening both for her and for those sitting in the audience.
It’s a call-back to the first season, and a reminder of just how terrible the power of the Upside Down is. In addition, it is quite simply viscerally upsetting to see the decomposed remains of a beloved character.
The Fight With The Demogorgon
One of the things that makes Stranger Things one of the best Netflix series is the skill of its visual effects. Even now, the Demogorgons remain terrifying beings, and this is particularly true when Hopper and the other inmates are forced to battle with it.
As has always been the case, the creature’s sinuous movements are so realistic that it is impossible not to feel the same sense of terror as the characters do. The fact that the Russians are foolish enough to think that they can control such a monstrosity makes this particular sequence even more disturbing.
The Flashback To Vecna’s Childhood
Vecna is one of the most compelling and fascinating villains on 21st-century television. In part, this stems from the fact that, beneath his terrifying appearance, he is in some ways still a human being.
When he shows Nancy visions of his childhood, in which he killed his mother and sibling and drove his father mad, it’s frightening because it shows that he was both like and unlike his fellow humans. Much as the audience might like to think that he is no more than a creation of the Upside Down, he is a human, which makes him all the more terrifying.
When Steve Is Sucked Into The Upside Down
Steve is arguably one of the most likable characters in Stranger Things. It’s thus particularly distressing to see him subjected to pain, but this is exactly what happens when he is pulled into the Upside Down and almost killed. It is the type of scene in which the fourth season of this series excels.
Though part of the viewer no doubt realizes it is highly doubtful that Steve will die, there is just enough doubt present to imbue this scene with a great deal of weight and significance. When any character can die, these moments become even more frightening.
Eddie was one of the best characters introduced after the first season of Stranger Things. Bizarre though he might have been, he cast a very strong spell over many viewers (as well as the characters). He also proved to be a true hero when he sacrificed himself so that others might escape.
Even though his death scene is imbued with a great deal of significance, it is still uniquely terrifying to see a fan favorite character killed by the malevolent denizens of the Upside Down. One can’t help but wish that he might have survived.
When Henry Reveals Who He Truly Is To Eleven
Vecna is one of the most haunting horror villains to date. Full of hatred and power, there is little that can stand in his way. If anything, he is even more terrifying in his human guise as Henry, and the moment when he reveals who he truly is and what his intentions are is incredibly unsettling.
It is rendered all the more so by the fact that he was charming and convincing enough to be able to persuade Eleven to go along with his schemes. He exuded a sinister charisma in these scenes that seems designed to make the viewer quiver in their seats.
The Discovery Of Upside Down Creatures In The Lab
Hopper is obviously one of the bravest characters in Stranger Things. He deserves special credit for being able to survive so long while in prison among the Russians.
Arguably one of the most understated, but still very frightening, moments occurs when it’s discovered that the Russians have many creatures from the Upside Down in their lab. It’s a potent reminder that they do not entirely grasp the enormity of what they are dealing with and that they are willing to risk the fate of the world.
Even though she manages to elude death at Vecna’s hand the first time, she is not nearly so fortunate the second time around. It’s disturbing enough to watch other characters meet the grisly fate that Vecna has in store for them, but it is even more frightening to see the beloved Max go through the same thing.
This is one of those scenes that helps to elevate Stranger Things into the realm of true horror. Though Eleven seems to pull her back into the world of the living, viewers can’t help but be aware that she may never be the same as she was before.
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