Everyone and their mother has tuned into Netflix this summer to watch the highly anticipated Stranger Things Season 4. As as of July 5th, Stranger Things has been viewed for 1.15 billion hours in a 28 day window.
With all the buzz around the show, not many of the viewers know that the Duffer Brothers first iteration of the series was supposed to be based in Montauk, not fictional Hawkins.
There were many parallels to the original screen play and season one of Stranger Things, including the characters and plot line. The show opens up at Camp Hero in the fall of 1980, a few months before the base shut down by the government. A mysterious experiment has gone horribly wrong and on the same night, Will Byers vanishes into thin air. The small community of the summer town took notice. His friend Mike Wheeler, brother Jonathan, mother Joyce, and police chief Jim Hopper all investigate his disappearance, which takes many turns (as we already know).
So why Camp Hero?
The decommissioned military base was first used in 1942. Disguised as a fishing village but equipped with multiple gun batteries, it was the defense station to prevent any invasion of New York from the sea during WWII.
However, in the 80's, the base was "shut down". Or was it?
Christopher Garetano, the New Yorker behind the 2014 documentary Montauk Chronicles, investigated allegations brought by three men who claim they were brainwashed and forced to take part in experiments at Camp Hero. In the Preston Nichols book, The Montauk Project: Experiments in Time (1992), conspiracy theories believed that the US government conducted a series of projects at Camp Hero to develop psychological warfare techniques and research paranormal activity, time travel, mind control, and contact with extraterrestrial life.
Nichols claimed that the government was using the radar tower to create electromagnetic radiation to transmit ideas directly into people’s heads. He instructed his following to wear tin foil hats and solid metal pits, to block the microwaves. Nichols also said that the controls could change the weather and provide teleportation.
Hence the series revolved around Eleven, Dr. Brenner, and Cold-War mind control in the Netflix show.
The inspiration came from the base, but the show also aligned with the Duffers vision. They wanted the show to take place in a coastal town, to emulate the Amity feel of Jaws. It was changed to Indiana (Hawkins), because production was taken place in Atlanta.
They ended up agreeing and actually liked the decision because it reminded them of their childhoods in North Carolina and the feeling of "Anywhere, USA" in the 80's. It was also easier to create a story, because it was a fictional place and can do things that didn't't happen in real life.
I loved how the show came out, but maybe the government doesn't want us to know what went down at Camp Hero?