What Vecna’s Red Smoke Area Really Is (It’s Not The Upside Down)

WARNING! Spoilers ahead for Stranger Things season 4.,When Max and Nancy enter a terrifying trance in Stranger Things season 4, they enter Vecna’s personal red smoke area – but it’s not the Upside Down. In past seasons of Stranger Things, possessions by the Mind Flayer or captures by the Demogorgons brought the victims to the Upside Down where the monsters resided. While Vecna still lives in the Upside Down’s version of Creel House in Stranger Things season 4, his possessions of Max and Nancy see them enter a different location filled with red smoke and floating pieces of the house.,Vecna’s red smoke area and the Upside Down are more clearly established as different places in Stranger Things season 4, Vol. 1’s finale, which saw Nancy transported to the location while still in the Upside Down. Unlike the Upside Down, only one’s mind or essence can be sent to the red smoke area rather than their physical being. When Max is cursed by Vecna and possessed, her body is still in the Hawkins dimension at Billy’s grave, with the same being the case for Nancy, but in the Upside Down. When considering Dustin’s theory on Vecna’s curse, it seems the red smoke area doesn’t tangibly exist at all.,Related: Stranger Things Season 4 Raises 12 Questions That Volume 2 Must Answer,After Max is possessed in Stranger Things’ season 4 episode “Dear Billy,” Dustin theorizes that she invaded Vecna’s mind, which is why he was so surprised by her appearance. This means that Vecna’s red smoke area isn’t the Upside Down or another dimension, but rather a location inside his mind. Vecna had also mentioned that when he kills, each of his victims becomes part of him, with the Stranger Things villain pointing at his head. This suggests that once Vecna/Henry Creel has taken a victim, he absorbs their trauma into his mind, making him stronger as he creates an “army” in his own red smoke-looking subconscious. When Max is placed on a tree in the red smoke area, her body isn’t actually there, but rather is placed in the mental location as a memory for Vecna’s strength.,However, not all victims can reach the red smoke area, as Max and Nancy had infiltrated his mind. This is why Chrissy, Fred, and Victor Creel’s possessions saw them transported into traumatic moments within their own minds, suggesting Max and Nancy had a significant power when being able to see the personal lair of Jamie Campbell Bower’s Vecna. Max and Nancy had discovered a backdoor to Vecna’s mental world that could allow them to escape their possessions, with the answer to defeating Stranger Things season 4’s villain perhaps being in his own traumatic connection to Creel House.,As Dustin mentions, Vecna’s red smoke area is comparable to Freddy Krueger’s boiler room in A Nightmare on Elm Street’s dream world, which served as Freddy’s lair both in life and death. Like Vecna, Freddy became stronger through the memories of trauma and emotions of his victims, with Freddy’s victims also becoming part of him in the dream world. The boiler room in the dream world isn’t tangible and simply serves as a place for Freddy to trap and murder his victims, similar to the powerful Henry Creel’s mental red smoke area in Stranger Things season 4. Just as the only escape from Freddy’s dream world is to be woken up or injured by a non-sleeping person, Vecna’s possessed victims in the red smoke area can only escape through their favorite song blasted into their ears and the happy memories of those they love.,Unlike the Upside Down, which may be impossible to destroy since the full truth of its history is unknown, Vecna’s red smoke area will be eliminated alongside Henry Creel/Number One, as it only exists within his own mind. Since the physical body of Vecna still resides in the Upside Down’s version of Creel House, it seems the reason why the home’s pieces float in the red smoke world is that this location is a major source of the Stranger Things season 4 villain’s power. If the characters destroy Vecna’s connection to Creel House and, of course, the villain himself, his mental red smoke area would cease to exist.,Next: Stranger Things’ Number 1 Fully Explained