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​'Stranger Things' opening credits dig deep into the '80s

Learn about the inspiration behind the title credits for the popular supernatural series on Netflix.

The retro-looking title sequence for "Stranger Things" warms analog hearts.

Video screenshot by Bonnie Burton/CNET

If you've been binge-watching the first season of horror TV series "Stranger Things," chances are you'll notice the shout-outs to everything from "E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial" to "Aliens."

The series is set in the 1980s, complete with Trapper Keepers and Dungeons & Dragons parties. One of the most obvious references to the time period happens to be the minimalist opening credits with neon-red letters against a black backdrop.

The show's theme song is an instrumental synthesizer score composed by Kyle Dixon and Michael Stein of the band Survive that hearkens back to old episodes of "Tales from the Dark Side."

To give the opening title sequence to "Stranger Things" that authentic retro vibe, the show's creators -- twin brothers Matt Duffer and Ross Duffer -- hired Imaginary Forces, a company known for the "Mad Men" opening credits.

Imaginary Forces, led by creative director Michelle Dougherty, decided on a font called ITC Benguiat. The font was designed by Ed Benguiat and released by the International Typeface Corporation (ITC) in 1978. Many horror fans recognize it as the typeface used on many Stephen King book covers, as well as on many Choose Your Own Adventure kids books.

As Imaginary Forces worked to create the opening credits, it used Richard Greenberg -- known for his animated titles to "Superman" and "Alien" -- as a muse, as well as "Star Wars" title animator Dan Perri.

"We really tried to tap into that haptic quality that film has, because you're seeing light pass through film," Dougherty told Wired. "We looked at title sequences from the past. We were looking for the inconsistencies. That's what makes it feel tangible and warm."

The result is a gratifying glimpse back at cinematic title sequence history.