Stranger Things is a pop-cultural juggernaut that traffics in supernatural mystery but when it released its season four trailer a month ago it presented those weaned on metal with a mystery whose answer was hidden in plain sight.
Indeed, just what was Hawkins’ resident outcast and metalhead Eddie Munson playing on his BC Rich in the trailer?
The hyper editing required mashing the YouTube pause button into the Upside Down to get a bead on what was going on, but musically, we called it at the time.
As internet theories propagated and offered as many answers there are characters in the show – Sweet Child O’ Mine, The Final Countdown! – it was obvious Munson was availing himself of one of metal’s most enduring anthems, Metallica’s Master of Puppets.
There will be no spoilers here; there’s not enough surprise in this world to reveal plot points to a TV show that has captured the imagination of a generation.
But it was clear this marathon of James Hetfield's militarized down-picking was setting the tempo of the helter-skelter scene – and as revealed on the official Netflix Philippines Tik-Tok account above, Munson makes good and pulls a double-shift by nailing Kirk Hammett’s solo. That one, if you have not yet tried to, er, master it, is a real doozy.
Speaking to Metal Hammer, Joseph Quinn, who plays Munson, says it was the show’s creators, the Duffer brothers, who reached for the title-track from the 1986 thrash metal classic.
“I just feel that it's the perfect song,” Quinn said, “a crescendo to take us through this crazy sequence. It’s an inspired choice for the show, definitely.”
Eagle-eyed observers might also recognize what Quinn is wearing in that scene as he plays what is quite possible the most-metal metal guitar to have ever been carved out of wood – that headstock, that silhouette! – is a jacket bearing a Dio patch. The patch reportedly was a gift from way from Ronnie James Dio’s estate.
As for what is happening in the scene, well, you’ll have to head over to Netflix for that, where the show is presently streaming in full. Stranger Things had long burst out of small-town Indiana and infiltrated pop-culture at large, but in recent months, the show has been creating viral moments that have shaped music as well as horror, sci-fi, and what people can expect from a franchise TV show.
There was its blockbuster set-piece set to Kate Bush’s Running Up That Hill, which sent the song rocketing back to number one with the buzz so loud that even Kate Bush herself had to break cover and give a rare interview. We recently profiled 7 guitar-led covers of the song and have just got it out of our heads. For now at least.
Netflix and BC Rich collaborated too on an Eddie Munson signature guitar, offering the Warlock in a pair of necro finishes, with a Custom Shop version joining a more affordable production line model, and a miniature replica for the collectors market.