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The inspiration behind Eddie in Stranger Things is ‘tremendously honoured’

Metro logo Metro 7/21/2022 Sabrina Barr
Eddie was wrongly judged by the majority of Hawkins after Chrissy’s death (Picture: Getty/Netflix) © Provided by Metro Eddie was wrongly judged by the majority of Hawkins after Chrissy’s death (Picture: Getty/Netflix)

Damien Echols, the person who provided some of the inspiration behind fan-favourite character Eddie Munson in Stranger Things season 4 has expressed how ‘tremendously honoured’ he felt by the parallels.

Ahead of the release of the latest episodes of the spectacular sci-fi series, the official Twitter account for Netflix Geeked confirmed that Eddie (Joseph Quinn) and the storyline concerning his Hellfire Club took inspiration from a documentary called Paradise Lost.

The film, which was released in 1996, follows the trials of the West Memphis Three, three teenagers who were convicted of murder in 1994, with the prosecution claiming that they were part of a Satanic cult ritual killing.

After years of campaigning, with support from celebrities and musicians and new forensic evidence released in 2007, the three men were finally released from prison in 2011 after serving 18 years behind bars, with Echols having previously been sentenced to death, and Jessie Misskelley Jr and Jason Baldwin having originally received life sentences.

In Stranger Things season four, after Chrissy (Grace Van Dien) is brutally killed by Vecna in the camper van where Eddie lives, the metal enthusiast quickly becomes the prime suspect in the case, with Chrissy’s boyfriend Jason (Mason Dye) rallying the town to hunt Eddie under the belief that the Hellfire Club he runs – a Dungeons and Dragons group at school – has Satanic roots.

In a post shared on Twitter, Echols, who is now 47, spoke about how much he appreciated ‘all the new eyes and hearts’ the show has brought to his story.

The West Memphis Three, Jessie Misskelley Jr., Damien Echols, and Jason Baldwin, spent almost two decades in jail (Picture: Stephen Lovekin/Getty Images for HBO) © Provided by Metro The West Memphis Three, Jessie Misskelley Jr., Damien Echols, and Jason Baldwin, spent almost two decades in jail (Picture: Stephen Lovekin/Getty Images for HBO) Eddie quickly became a beloved character among fans (Picture: Tina Rowden/Netflix) © Provided by Metro Eddie quickly became a beloved character among fans (Picture: Tina Rowden/Netflix)

When asked how he felt about a character being based on him, he replied: ‘In case anyone else is wondering, I was tremendously honoured by it. And I greatly appreciate all the new eyes and hearts it has brought to our fight.

‘I was watching it at 3am in the morning, and when I heard the very first chords from Master of Puppets, my heart exploded.’

Metallica, whose song Master of Puppets received a surge of global attention after Eddie played the track in the Upside Down in Stranger Things season four volume two, were one of the bands outraged by the convictions of the West Memphis Three.

The group lent their music to the Paradise Lost documentary, with drummer Lars Ulrich telling Rolling Stone: ‘It was the least we could do. They were outsiders who didn’t fit into what that community wanted. I could definitely identify with them. We all could.’

The Duffer brothers, who created Stranger Things, opened up about the influence of Eddie’s storyline in the show, saying during Netflix’s May Tudum event: ‘Something we really wanted to get into this year was the “Satanic Panic”,’ referencing the era of moral panic that began in the 1980s.

‘That brought us back to the Paradise Lost documentary series with the [West] Memphis Three, and it brought us back to Damien Echols.’

Speaking about Eddie, they said: ‘We really wanted that character who’s a metalhead, he’s into Dungeons & Dragons, he’s ultimately a true nerd at heart. But from an outsider’s point of view, they may go, “This is someone that is scary.”’

Stranger Things is available to watch on Disney Plus.

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