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– by Joseph Jammer Medina

Long before the Duffer brothers hit it big with their Netflix series Stranger Things, they attended a little school called Chapman University. For their senior thesis, the pair made a pulpy film about a shapeshifting cannibal called “Eater.”

For a student film, “Eater” stood out from the rest as an exceptional short. With its stellar sound design, production design, and overall atmosphere, it really was an indicator of just how far the pair would go in Hollywood. The film even had some interesting telltales that would become their trademark.

Obviously, the first big one here is that this is something of a supernatural horror, and with their work on shows like Wayward Pines and finally Stranger Things, it really is clear where their influences came from. Like Stranger Things, “Eater” feels an awful lot like a Stephen King novel, with the latter more willing to go into gory territory.

 

And of course, it wouldn’t be a Duffer brothers project without a great use of a song. Perhaps the first indication of this in Stranger Things was in the first episode when the song “White Rabbit” played as Eleven escaped from a Hawkins diner. In “Eater,” the duo opted for the equally classic song “Piece of my Heart” by Janis Joplin.

Of course, back in film school in 2007, other students wondered how in the hell the pair managed to lock down the song for the film, to which they replied with a cheeky “no comment.”

What do you think of “Eater,” and do you notice any other filmmaking tells from the short that can be found in Stranger Things? Let us know down below!

Stranger Things 2 hits Netflix this Friday.

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SOURCE: Chapman University

Joseph Jammer Medina is an author, podcaster, and editor-in-chief of LRM. A graduate of Chapman University’s Dodge College of Film and Television, Jammer’s always had a craving for stories. From movies, television, and web content to books, anime, and manga, he’s always been something of a story junkie.