The Surprising Sounds Used To Create Stranger Things Season 4's Brutal Vecna Murders

Spoilers ahead for "Stranger Things" season 4, episodes 1-7. You've been warned.

There is so much that goes into creating a TV series, from camerawork to casting, set decoration, and costumes. Everyone knows about them, and very often, we focus on what we can see. What I find most fascinating about a production, however, is the sound. Not just because it enhances the mood, tells us how we should be feeling, and punctuates emotional moments, but because how it's done is so wild. 

If you look up how certain sounds are made by the magicians that call themselves foley artists, you're in for a surprise. For instance, we have 1999's "Fight Club," where they used chicken carcasses full of walnuts and smashed them with a baseball bat for punching sounds, or the sound of crabs walking in sand to create the soundscape inside Riley's mind for "Inside Out."

When you're working on a show like Netflix's "Stranger Things," there is a lot of room to play with the horror of it all. Many of the sounds are supernatural, but in season 4, we have brutal murders involving the breaking of bones and snapping of tendons by Vecna. /Film's Jack Giroux spoke with Emmy Award-winning lead sound effects editor Angelo Palazzo about working on season 4, and some of the weird ways he came up with the soundscape around Vecna, and it's creepily awesome. 

Crunchy vegetables

Angelo Palazzo said he got a lot of visual information early in the process for the season, so he had time to come up with some fun stuff. He said:

"We knew that his body would always be moving with the vines, and then there was going to be a whole other thing at the Creel house with the vines. So, I went ahead and started recording a bunch of vegetables, and cabbage, and twisting fibrous vegetables to create a whole new palette of gory, fibrous stuff that sounds like tendons: carrots snapping, peppers twisting. Also, I would wrap them in a wet cloth so it sounds like bones cracking underneath skin. We would just kind of twist those and get just a whole palette of wet vegetables, anything that's fibrous, and tomatoes."

I am shuddering right now. It's crazy that the idea of cracking vegetables can sound like Chrissy's bones snapping. Of course, any kids who have put together a haunted house know the sound of squishing tomatoes next to a box full of peeled grapes you put your hand in can simulate eyeball smashing. See? I've given you something less(?) gross to connect it with. I did that because Palazzo is about to ruin pumpkins for you:

"And then, with that whole palette, I was able to get layers going whenever we'd see Vecna to kind of build his body movements. A lot of that material ended up helping with the vines at the Creel house, where there's all these crazy vines that attack the kids, and they tighten up around the neck and all that kind of twisting stuff.

Also, Lee Gilmore, one of our editors, had an awesome recording of these pumpkins that he had recorded crackling, cracking sounds. We used a lot of those, too."

Yup. Breaking open pumpkins this Halloween is going to sound extra sinister.

"Stranger Things" season 4 vol. 2, which is episodes 8 and 9, will hit Netflix on July 1, 2022.