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Every Character That Died In Stranger Things Season 1

Stranger Things has killed off plenty of characters across its three seasons, but who were the unfortunate souls that did not even make it through season one? For a series starring a group of kids, Stranger Things has a pretty impressive body count. Since debuting in 2016, the Netflix hit has combined nostalgic coming-of-age dramedy with sci-fi horror to critically acclaimed effect but, despite its young cast, the show has never shied away from the gorier elements of genre fare.

Inspired by Stephen Spielberg and Stephen King in equal measure, Stranger Things features both the heart of the former’s movies and the crushed skulls, broken bones and gorily dismembered corpses of the latter’s oeuvre. Stranger Things has always had a darker edge, and even season one of the series boasted a sizable body count despite its story centering around one small kid going missing and another being found. Fortunately, both children make it to the end of the season, but they are some of the only Stranger Things characters to emerge with their lives.

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Season one of Stranger Things features a middling body count as far as the standard of the series goes, with season 2 having fewer casualties but season 3 boasting over twice as many. However, despite this irregularity, many viewers find season one to be the darkest Stranger Things outing so far, as the technically gorier season 3 added a much more comical tone to the series to make up for the added violence. Only time will tell whether Stranger Things season four will be even grimmer than season one or funnier than season three but until its 2022 release, season one remains the show’s darkest hour thanks to its many gruesome character deaths.

Seen during the cold open of the first episode of Stranger Things, the nameless scientist glimpsed in Hawkins Lab is dispatched offscreen within the episode’s first minute. He is pulled out of sight through the roof of an elevator, presumably by the escaped Demogorgon, and heard screaming afterward. Given that viewers never hear from the character again and the series then cuts to the Wheeler household for the first of many Stranger Things Dungeons and Dragons campaigns, it is fair to guess that this technician didn’t make it out alive.

Introduced in the first episode of Stranger Things, Benny Hammond is the likable owner of a Hawkins diner who is kind enough to shelter Eleven when he catches her stealing food from his establishment. This kind gesture does not augur well for him as Benny becomes the second casualty of season one, shot by Special Agent Connie Frazer for the crime of harboring Eleven. To add insult to injury, Benny then has his death staged as a suicide to cover the tracks of the shadowy Hawkins Lab, and it is Hopper’s reluctance to believe this cover story that soon leaves the whole convoluted cover-up falling apart.

Benny is pretty quickly avenged by Eleven, who kills a pair of nameless henchmen assisting Frazer during her escape from the diner. Offed offscreen, the duo is briefly seen with cutlery skewering their skulls, meaning this is likely the first hint viewers get of Eleven’s telekinesis. However, a few dead colleagues are unfortunately not enough to deter Matthew Modine’s Dr. Brenner from continuing to hunt down Eleven, resulting in a rapidly increasing body count.

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The first major character killed in the series, Stranger Things supporting star Barb is brutally dispatched by the Demogorgon during Steve’s pool party. The monster drags her into the pool and out of sight, with her decomposed body later being seen the Upside-Down. With Barb being the archetypical quiet, unassuming best friend of Mike’s older sister Nancy, many expected the character’s good behavior to ensure her survival and were shocked by this violent early exit.

Another Hawkins Lab technician killed offscreen, Shepard is the unfortunate lackey eaten by the Demogorgon after Dr. Brenner sends him into the Upside-Down to investigate. Why the denizens of this shady institution continue to follow their employer’s demands when it is clear that Brenner is not concerned about their safety is never made evident. However, Shepard’s short tenure in Stranger Things season one does serve to reaffirm midway through the season that the Demogorgon is a majorly dangerous monster.

Although this death is technically only referenced and never seen onscreen, it nonetheless makes the cut for this rundown as many of Stranger Things season one’s darkest moments take place offscreen and rely on the audience inferring the goriest elements for themselves. Henry and Dale are the locals who the Demogorgon hunts down while the pair are (ironically) on a hunting trip. Although the pair are minor characters, some have theorized that Dale is the unnamed store owner responsible for selling Nancy and Jonathan their Demogorgon hunting supplies.

A major antagonist in season one who doesn’t survive to see Stranger Things season two, Connie Frazer was the seemingly sweet special agent who was actually a cold-blooded killer hell-bent on returning Eleven to Hawkins Lab. She almost succeeds, too, tracking the heroine down to Hawkins High School and attempting to apprehend her just before the Demogorgon arrives. Unfortunately for Connie and company, the villain underestimates the extent of Eleven’s powers and has her brain crushed by the character’s telekinesis during the season finale alongside six fellow secret agents, all of whom are killed by the Stranger Things heroine at the same time.

Related: Why Eleven Looks So Different In Stranger Things Season 4

This does leave Eleven weakened and unable to dispatch Dr. Brenner (also the only Stranger Things character to survive a full-on Demogorgon attack), but the face-off leaves Connie and at least six of her henchmen dead in what remains Eleven’s most impressively lethal display of her powers even two seasons later. That brings the total body count of the season one up to fifteen by the finale's close, a respectable tally with a surprising breakdown. Despite being the primary villain, the Demogorgon killing only five Stranger Things characters, while Hawkins Lab is directly responsible for offing only one, with the show's young heroine Eleven killing the remaining nine.

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