Following this week’s elementary school shooting in Uvalde, Texas, Netflix acknowledged that the opening scene of Stranger Things season four, released Friday, could be painful for many fans of the show.
The streaming service added a warning screen for US viewers before “Chapter 1: The Hellfire Club” because it graphically shows the bloody bodies of dead children early in the first episode.
“We shot this season of ‘Stranger Things’ a year ago. But given the recent tragic school shooting in Texas, viewers may find Episode 1’s opening scene unsettling. We are deeply saddened by this unspeakable violence and our hearts go out to each family mourning the loss of a loved one,” the message read, before a recap of Season 3 is shown.
The streaming service also added “Warning: Contains graphic violence involving children” to describe the show and “disturbing imagery” to the rating notes of Stranger Things, Variety reported.
The gory horror montage was first released last Friday in a YouTube preview of the first eight minutes of last season, but has since been taken down after the shooting, which the Wrap said claimed the lives of 19 children and two teachers.
Nevertheless, many only discovered the gruesome scene today.
“If the Texas shooting is still really triggering you, avoid it. I mean it,” wrote one viewer on Twitter.
Even viewers who are normally callous to terrifying television said the scene hit them hard.
“I thought I was pretty desensitized and it’s a tough watch”, tweeted one viewer.
“It’s harrowing to see something on a show when real events were happening in Texas.” said another user who also added that while they “couldn’t be easily triggered,” the first 10 minutes “triggered the f–k.” [them].”
Other fans, who saw the show as a respite from the many sad headlines that surfaced this week, were also deeply disappointed.
“I opened Stranger Things 4 to protect myself from the black hole of sad news from Texas for a while, but the first few seconds of season 4 starts with that.” wrote one user.
A Twitter user was furious with Netflix for not excising the scene.
“You must be f–king kidding me @netflix how can you show this opening of @Stranger_Things Season 4 after what happened to these kids in Texas????? This opening should have been removed!!! Will cancel my subscription as soon as possible!” they write.
But others appreciated Netflix’s gesture.
“Stranger Things begins with a reference to the Texas school tragedy. That’s great”, tweeted another.
“Netflix warned about the opening scene with Stranger Things after the Texas shooting, which was correct. It’s not about encouraging people to desensitize, it’s about making trauma-informed decisions.” wrote one user.
This final season of Stranger Things, now streaming episodes one through seven, will be split into two volumes. The last two episodes will be released on July 1st.