Stranger Things' Lab to Stuff Co.: Which Evil Org Is For You?
During the first season of Stranger Things—which returns to Netflix this Friday—viewers were introduced to the Hawkins National Laboratory, a mysterious high-tech lair in which scientists conduct all sorts of top-secret mucking about with the space-time continuum. Sure, it was an effectively creepy setting—but what would it be like as a workplace, especially when compared to other sci-fi/horror institutions from TV and movies past? Herewith, our survey of the best and worst scary organizations, in case you're in the market.
Silver Shamrock Industries, Halloween III: Season of the Witch
Organizational Mission: To create and mass-produce a line of Stonehenge-powered children's masks that, when triggered by a maniacally catchy TV commercial, fry users' faces on Halloween night.
Pros: Thanks to its DIY manufacturing process, top-secretive staff, and remote Northern California location, Silver Shamrock retains a bespoke vibe that will delight artisans and consumers alike. And the company's all-android employees are more than just murderous henchman—they're also brutally effective brand ambassadors.
Cons: As Jack Welch so famously never said: "If there's one thing I learned at GE, it's that the easiest way to lose customers is to turn their brains into roach-infested piles of mush, and then have snakes crawl out of the spot where their eyes used to be."
The National Institute of Mental Health, The Secret of NIMH
Organizational Mission: To transform normal rats into super-smart rats. (To be clear, this happens in the fictional NIMN, not the real one.)
Pros: There are literally no pros here. You inject rats all day, and then watch them escape so they can go and build underground civilizations with better jobs. Maybe NIMH has one of those programs where employees get discount theater tickets, but then again, every time you use them, all that fatigue and grossed-out guilt will eventually turn every performers' face into some sad-eyed, sickly rat-like visage.
Cons: Sad-eyed, sickly rat-like visages.
The Stuff Company, The Stuff
Organizational Mission: To upend the staid ice cream industry via The Stuff, a creamy, highly addictive dessert that eventually turns eaters into zombie-like drones, and makes their heads explode … with flavor! (And also with goo and guts.)
Pros: Talk about disruption: The Stuff Company's trade-secret tactics—they pay off FDA staffers (including one that looks a lot like Danny Aiello), and kill anyone who gets close to learning their ingredients—may seem tough, but they're the reasons why supermarkets are stocked with the Stuff. And its glitzy ad campaigns and catchy theme songs allow it to cut through the clutter and reach its core user base (which includes, apparently, Abe Vigoda and Clara Peller).
Cons: As Jack Welch also famously never said: "If there's another thing I learned at GE, it's that the second-easiest way to lose customers is to make their mouths expand several inches, and then force them to spit out a gelatinous, tongue-like mass of white glop right before their faces blow up."
Unnamed Worldwide Organization, Cabin in the Woods
Organizational Mission: To appease ancient overlords through ritualistic, once-a-year human sacrifice.
Pros: With offices in the US, Japan, Sweden, and several other countries, the organization has a global reach, making resource-sharing a snap. And it boasts a diversified portfolio of creatures, including a merman, redneck zombies, and a giant snake.
Cons: The ritual's requirements—victims must be classifiable as either athlete, whore, virgin, fool, or scholar—are deeply problematic, making for a social-media nightmare. Merman maintenance, meanwhile, is costly and guilt-inducingly eco-wasteful.
Hawkins National Laboratory, Stranger Things
Organizational Mission: To use its connection with the Department of Energy as cover for its experiments in telekinesis and general inter-dimensional higgeldy-piggeldy.
Pros: The well-funded Hawkins has ample resources—from creepy white vans to creepy white guys—available 24 hours a day. And its government affiliation all but guarantees top-notch employee benefits and job stability, making for an engaged, dedicated workforce.
Cons: Long hours and stressful assignments might be responsible for a few gray hairs. Also, they kind of, like, torture kids?
More Strange Things
- Angela Watercutter on what 1984 oddities could be crossing over from the Upside Down next season
- Peter Rubin talks with Matt and Ross Duffer about what's in store for Season 2
- Brian Barrett on how Netflix turned Stranger Things into a global phenomenon
Stranger Things Cast Show Us the Last Thing on Their Phones
'Stranger Things' stars Finn Wolfhard and Caleb McLaughlin show us the last things they did with their phones. What was the last emoji they used? The last text message sent? What was the last thing they searched?