How ‘Stranger Things’ season 4 does a great job of flipping a well-worn horror gimmick

By carefully characterizing its villain in a specific way, Stranger Things Season 4 subverts the hackneyed narrative in horror films.

Warning: SPOILERS for very strange things Season 4

Thanks to the clever characterization of his villain, very strange things Season 4 is able to subtly flip the hackneyed image of horror. very strange things turned out to be not only one of the most popular Netflix original series, but also a cultural phenomenon. Taking clear inspiration from classic Stephen King horror stories as well as the visual and thematic elements of horror films from the 80s and 90s, very strange things used excellent storytelling and breathtaking visuals to ensure huge popularity.

villain from very strange things Season 4 is Vecna, a distinctly humanoid villain with powers that span dimensions to curse and kill Hawkins’ teenagers. The use of Vecna ​​as a villain in Season 4 is a slight shift for very strange things, as the previous antagonists were more creepy creatures born from the Upside Down. Vecna ​​is revealed in very strange things Season 4 is actually Henry Creel, a man with powers not unlike Eleven, who uses them (and Upside Down’s power enhancement) to kill unsuspecting teenagers.


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Vecna, being a human villain (albeit a powerful, transformed one), is actually a clever way to subvert the image of horror popularized by those films that inspired very strange things. Although very strange things replete with horror movie references, the use of a human villain who appears to be a monster is a subtle reversal of the characteristics of some of the biggest horror villains of the 80s. Many of the most iconic horror villains appear human but are distinguished by their supernatural otherness, while Vecna ​​is in fact the exact opposite. very strange things Season 4 shows.

All the most memorable horror movie villains that inspired very strange things share similar stories with Vecna ​​in many different ways. Freddy Krueger, Jason Voorhees, Leatherface and the Candyman – just to name a few – all started out as humans before they struck terror into the hearts of viewers everywhere. This similarity is key because it helps very strange thingsVecna ​​feels like a true horror villain, but subtle details are key in helping the Netflix series flip the most common image of these villains.

Most horror films focus on the supernatural side of their villains due to their scarier elements, usually making them impossible to kill. In doing so, these villains begin to appear distinctly less human than they appear, essentially becoming supernatural beings in (more or less) human form. very strange thingsrevealing Henry Creel as Vecna ​​at the very end very strange things Season 4 Volume 1 works to achieve the opposite as the villain is first identified as a supernatural threat and then revealed to be human in origin. This subverts the image, as the odds seem insurmountable at first, and only later does the idea emerge that Vecna ​​is potentially more vulnerable than it seems.

In this manner, very strange things Season 4 corrects the mistake of previous seasons while distinguishing the series from horror film inspiration. Subtly reversing the ideas of the very films that inspired its atmosphere, very strange things can continue to feel fresh and innovative about its story and its villain. Making Vecna ​​secretly more human than he first appears is a smart way very strange things to improve on the overused horror film imagery it draws on.

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Stranger Things season 4 volume 2 premieres on July 1.

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