You Can Get Me to Believe Vecna is Real, but It's Highly Unlikely Eddie Munson Knew How to Play Master of Puppets
DOL DISCLAIMER: It's been a little over two weeks since episodes eight and nine of Stranger Things 4 dropped, but it's summer, and we're all busy. I get it if you haven't found the time to watch episodes that are respectively 85 and 150 minutes long. I'm just giving you a heads up. As a hashtag good guy, if you still haven't seen them and don't wanna get spoiled, this is not the blog for you. I hate turning readers away, but I'm not a spoiler guy. That's not my swag and never will be. If you're sticking with me, let's dive in.
I've never really been much of a sci-fi or fantasy fan, whatever label you wanna slap on Stranger Things and shows/movies like it (are there even any? I'm not sure because it's typically not my bag). I didn't watch the first two seasons in real-time. Instead, I binged them before Stranger Things 3 dropped back in 2019 and LOVED IT. Admittedly, I'm more interested in the character development and 80s references. I kinda just deal with all the weird Upside Down stuff my brain isn't used to in my usual entertainment choices.
I can totally get past all the creepy shit when watching ST. I get sucked in like everybody else and accept that as a reality for the sake of the show and its plot, blah, blah, blah, but as a historian, I can't let continuity errors and anachronisms go by without acknowledging them. If you're unfamiliar with those terms, a continuity error is a lapse in the self-consistency of the scene or story being portrayed. It could be something minor, like someone's wearing a green hat in one scene, then the camera cuts back to them, and suddenly the hat is gone or another color. There are plenty more glaring mistake examples like these if you wanna watch a 12 minute video mid-blog:
Anachorisms are a chronological inconsistency in some arrangement, especially a juxtaposition of people, events, objects, language terms and customs from different time periods (h/t wikipedia). It'd be like if you were watching a movie set in the 90s and all the characters were using iPhones, which didn't come out until 2007 and weren't the phone that like 85% of people had until the mid-2010s. If a film or television program took place in the 1960s and the characters were listening to grunge bands like Nirvana or Pearl Jam, that would be an anachronism since that genres wasn't a thing until the late 80s/early 90s. One more example, sure? This image is an anachorism, but I'll let you figure out why!
That topic won't be covered as much in this blog, but it's in the same family tree as continuity errors, so I figured I'd give brief explanation.
Stranger Things 4 starts on March 21st, 1986 in Lenora Hills, California (I loveeee the use of Beach Boys cover of California Dreamin in this scene) but bounces between a Russian Gulag and fictional Hawkins, Indiana.
Apparently, there's already a major continuity error that I didn't notice because hand up I didn't remember this little nugget from something I watched over three years ago. They totally forgot about Will's birthday!
TBH, I'm a little surprised I didn't remember that because it's one of my two ex gfs birthdays, and she did some Vecna-like damage to my brain, but not retaining this information is a good thing because it just proves that I am soooo over all of that shit (but would obvi smash for old time's sake if the opportunity ever presented itself).
So in Stranger Things 4, we are introduced to some new characters.
There's Argyle. I'm a long hair guy, but even I was like bro this is ridiculous. TBH my hair would go that far on my body if I wasn't morbidly obese. These rolls are like mountains, my hair has to climb to reach my ass, as Argyle's does.
But everybody's talking about Eddie Munson, a 6th-year senior at Hawkins High and leader of the Hellfire Club (a D&D group). He also plays guitar for a band called Corroded Coffin.
Apart from his dead eyes and affinity for the freshmen members of Hellfire, Eddie ends up being a pretty lovable character as long as you aren't a Satanic Panic idiot like this piece of shit plucked right from Reagan's interns.
Jason Carver's death is easily the most satisfying moment of Season 4, but this blog focuses on the late Eddie Munson.
Eddie was an outcast because of his long hair and dead eyes, but as the season progressed, we see the softer side to Eddie and that he would be a hashtag good guy (had that term existed in 1986). His character truly resonated with fans.
After Vecna kills Chrissy during a drug deal at Eddie's uncle's trailer, Eddie runs away and hides, causing Jason and other idiots in Hawkins to blame him for her death. Eddie goes into hiding for the remainder of the season, but in episode 2, Steve, Nancy, Robin, and Dustin find him. They explain what's happening with Vecna and that they're on his side.
So far, we've established that Stranger Things 4 starts on March 21st, 1986. That's the same day Eddie tries to sell Chrissy some reefer, and she ends up looking like a human swastika, thanks to Vecna.
The remainder of season 4 takes place from March 22nd to March 27th. Apart from a brief scene where Eddie touches a guitar, we never see him practicing or playing his ax until March 27th, 1986. That night Eddie ultimately sacrifices himself, but not before playing an EPIC guitar solo from a recently released Metallica album that would go on to sell 6 million copies.
I've had this conversation with my friends a million times, but as shitty as times may be, we're lucky to live in a time where music is super readily available. I can listen to any song I want on multiple devices in my room as I type this sentence and discover artists from across the globe thanks to the internet. We all know how this works; I think we get the point.
That was not the case in 1986. Sure, you had radio, MTV and magazines to learn about musicians. Still, I'd have to imagine finding new music was much more challenging, especially if it wasn't commercially successful or promoted. Even though I like a wide variety of older music, I feel like if I were actually alive at the time, I wouldn't have listened to all the stuff I like from that era just from how much more difficult it was to keep up with everything when information wasn't immediately at your fingertips.
I will gladly concede that Master of Puppets came out on March 3rd, 1986. That is an indisputable fact.
But Metallica was not exactly a household name in 1986. Master of Puppets is considered their masterpiece and breakthrough record, but it wasn't even three weeks old when Season 4 began. It's not impossible that a metal head like Eddie knew about Metallica, but again, the internet was still years away. It's not like he could look up the tabs. I've searched the internet far and wide about when Metallica released tabs for this album, but I'm willing to bet it wasn't within the first month of its release.
Metallica's Master of Puppets was released without singles (although the title track was released as a promo single in JULY of '86), radio play, or music videos to help promote it. Yes, it was technically out while season 4 took place, but I have a hard time believing people in fucking Hawkins, IN knew about Metallica in early '86. This was when Metallica was on their "come up." Even Lars Ulrich said that smaller towns were less familiar with Metallica at the time.
Master of Puppets didn't reach the Billboard Charts until March 29th, 1986 and when it did, it debuted at fucking #128, but according to Billboard it sold 300,000 copies in the its first three weeks. Maybe it is plausible Eddie had a copy?
Now just because Eddie was a 6th year senior, it doesn't mean he was stupid. He was more so misunderstood and likely didn't take school as seriously as he should've. Academic and musical intelligence are two different things, perhaps even had Eddie been exposed to Master of Puppets before his untimely death he could've heard and recognized all the notes/chords being played and learned it by ear, but that would make him some kind of musical savant, which based on the track record of his life seems improbable. You'd think they'd mention that at some point if he had this ability. Like Dustin would've definitely bragged about it had it been the case. Eddie was his fucking guy! It's a challenging ass song, it's not like he played "Smoke on the Water."
There's no denying this scene is bad ass.
And I get it, it's an internet TV show. It's not real; it's entertainment. I can believe the Upside Down is real and that Hopper can defeat Russians and Demogorgans with a severely broken ankle, but one thing I cannot get past is historical inaccuracies. You might've been able to get this continuity error past millions, but not by Ole Dozo.
I like Metallica and am happy for guys got some recognition by younger people that don't know about them because they haven't experienced enough success in life. This video is pretty cool though.
But I'm sorry, there's just no fucking way Eddie Munson MASTERED "Master of Puppets" in the 18 days between its release and the start of Stranger Things 4 or in the few days he was in hiding before his death on the 27th without access to a guitar. He would've had to purchase an album with almost no promotion in a little podunk town in Indiana that recently had its mall DESTROYED.
Is it technically possible? Sure, I guess, but hopefully with this blog I've shown you all the factors that make it highly unlikely. I love Stranger Things and enjoyed the season, but I just had to say my piece on your favorite niche blog. R.I.P. Eddie Munson. I hope Jason is burning in Hell for eternity.
"Running Up that Hill" is okay at best and if you use it in a TikTok or IG reel you fucking suck, especially if it's like a cooking video. There's no point. Shit like this is HELLA CRINGE!