Exploring the sinister secret the ‘Stranger Things’ mall hides
(Credit: Netflix)

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Exploring the sinister secret the ‘Stranger Things’ mall hides

Stranger Things is undoubtedly one of Netflix’s best productions. Created by the Duffer brothers, Matt and Ross, the show is a nostalgic ode to the 1980s aesthetic as it presents a fine blend of sci-fi and supernatural elements. Since its inception in 2016, the show has achieved meteoric success and won Emmys as well as broken records, most recently with its two-part fourth season, which premiered in 2022.

The showrunners have been loyal and faithful in their homage to the era. However, their most epic creation is the Starcourt Mall which retains the atmosphere of all things vintage in an impressive manner. A culmination of all the forgotten retro things, including neon signs, funky music, Scoops Ahoy, Sam Goody and many more, the Mall is a crucial element in the show, especially in the third season.

Starcourt Mall is where Steve Harrington meets his best friend, Robin, with whom he works at Scoop Ahoy. While most of the kids hang out a lot at Starcourt, it becomes a defining location when it is revealed that the Russians have been using the Mall as a secret base to gain access to the Upside Down. Towards the end, the Mall becomes the site of an epic showdown between the kids and the Mind Flayer, resulting in Billy Hargrove’s selfless sacrifice and subsequent grisly death.

Billy’s death is ominously and coincidentally tied to a sinister and gory secret that the filming location conceals. All the scenes at Starcourt Mall are shot in a real-life shopping mall called Gwinnett Place Mall which is located in the suburbs of Atlanta in a place called Duluth. Before Netflix leased parts of the mall in Georgia for shooting, it had long been abandoned following a horrific discovery in an empty Subway restaurant.

Five months before Netflix started filming, authorities discovered the body of a young 19-year-old college student from Georgia State University who had been murdered in Subway. Her body was discovered two weeks after the day of the murder. Silling A. Man had been reported missing prior to the discovery. Later, investigations revealed that her murder might have been a result of a romantic love affair.

Man was dating a Georgia local who compelled her to cut off ties with friends and family. They lived in hotels before she was discovered death. Although Davis escaped the state, authorities managed to arrest him on charges of assault and murder.

Billy’s death seems even more gruesome when analyzed with reference to the actual homicide that took place in the mall and adds to the chilling atmospheric tension. Stranger Things season four was itself quite dark and gory and sets the pace for an even more violent and epic showdown in the fifth season, which will hopefully premiere by the end of next year.

Stranger Things season four bid adieu to Eddie Munson and Dr. Martin Brenner, among others which implies that these actors, namely Joseph Quinn and Matthew Modine, will possibly not make a comeback. 

While Jamie Campbell Bower has heightened anticipation by talking about how he knows about the fifth season, creating ambiguity about his return, most of the main cast will make a return. They include Millie Bobby Brown, Finn Wolfhard, Winona Ryder, David Harbour, Noah Schnapp, Sadie Sink, Joe Keery, Gaten Matarazzo, Caleb McLaughlin, Natalia Dyer, Charlie Heaton, Maya Hawke, Priah Ferguson, Brett Gelman and more. 

Here is everything we know about Stranger Things season five.