'Stranger Things' kids growing up takes show 'from Goonies to horror film'

Sadie Sink as Max in Stranger Things
Stranger Things has a horror theme now the cast are older. (Netflix)

Stranger Things fans might have noticed the show's stars looking significantly older in season four - but its creators say the advantage to an ageing cast is that they can now make it much scarier.

The main cast of the Netflix hit played children in middle school when the series began, but now that the storyline has reached high school, many of the actors are in their late teens and early 20s.

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Creators The Duffer Brothers told a recent Netflix Geeked Week event that they were taking full advantage of their stars being older by going for more of a horror film vibe.

Ross Duffer said: "When we started this show they were so little, and so one of the big changes this year is that the 'kids' are not kids any more, they're in high school, and so suddenly it opened up a lot of doors for us.

Millie Bobby Brown in Stranger Things
The series has featured some terrifying moments. (Netflix)

"We can't do The Goonies fun adventure any more, but what we can do is go, 'Ok, well now they can be in a horror movie, we can put them in danger that is really scary and we can look at some of the movies we loved growing up like Nightmare On Elm Street and Hellraiser, the stuff that we were getting into when we were around that age in high school. We were just trying to scare ourselves constantly and so we could infuse some of that in their storyline.

"For the first time for them, we want it to be really's like let's just push this and be as scary as possible and put them in the middle of a true horror film."

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Matt Duffer added: "Them growing older forces the show to evolve, forces us to change the writing."

The young cast of Stranger Things
The young cast are looking a lot older in season four. (Netflix)

Talking about drawing on their own life experiences in writing the show, Matt admitted that he had some of his happiest times in middle school but found high school very difficult as he and Ross were into movies rather than sport "in a town that only cared about basketball".

A season four storyline shows Lucas Sinclair (Caleb McLaughlin) torn away from his close group of friends as a rising star in the school basketball team, while they continue to be treated as social outcasts playing Dungeons and Dragons.

Lucas wears basketball kit in Stranger Things
Lucas finds his loyalties divided between sport and his friends. (Netflix)

Matt said: "High school was horrible. I have nothing but terrible memories from high school, most stressful time in my life."

He added that the trauma had inspired this season's terrifying monster who preys on the students, saying: "This is where you can explore depression and anxiety and all of that can be represented by this monster, Vecna."

Netflix Geeked Week has been giving fans of the streaming service access to exclusive content and spoilers all week on a different theme each day, with Thursday devoted entirely to Stranger Things.

Stranger Things season four part one is currently streaming on Netflix, with part two set to drop on 1 July.

Watch: See the trailer for Stranger Things season four, part two