"Stranger Things" is about colonialism

In both of its seasons, “Stranger Things” centers around the danger created when military personnel at a base in Hawkins, Indiana open an inter-dimensional gate into a dark, twilit shadow realm called the Upside Down. The sole inhabitant of the Upside Down, in the first season, is a humanoid monster dubbed the Demogorgon who feeds on flesh. It is animalistic, violent, and hungry. The Demogorgon, in short, could be a frightening “native” in a Tarzan serial.

The colonial parallels are accentuated in the second season, in which the Upside Down turns out to have additional inhabitants and more consciousness. It begins to reach into the real world with a series of quickly growing, thick, vine-like tendrils.

Jungles have long been used to evoke uncivilized, creeping barbarism, whether in Africa in the late 19th century or in Southeast Asia in the mid-20th.