Growing up in the ’80’s, we had horror and adventure movies like Stand By Me, The Goonies, It, Firestarter, and so many others. Each of them had elements in common: Distinctive synth theme music, iconic soundtrack, kids banding together against something horrible, mysterious powers, scary monsters, scary people.
The Duffer Brothers’ ‘Stranger Things’ hits all these notes and more.
The show is set in the 80’s, and features a band of Dungeons and Dragons playing geeky friends who lose one of their number to a monster and an alternate reality.
Conspiracies ensue as an escaped experiment named Eleven helps the boys find their lost friend and vanquish the monster.
The entire series, from the title sequences in their glowing red letters to the spectacular soundtrack beautifully riffs on lots of 80’s horror–and more specifically, Stephen King horror.
Parts of the misty ‘Upside Down’ evoke images of King’s The Fog, while some scenes, like this one with the boys walking along the train tracks, are a direct echo of Stand By Me.
Thematically, there are also nice little nods to movies like The Goonies as well–along with the band of intrepid young boys, there’s the slightly older teens’ parallel story–and side characters whose looks are style nods.
Here’s a video featuring more of the side by side references:
The tone and storytelling so beautifully mimics the era, with the benefit of today’s effects it makes the series one not to miss.
In a recent interview with Slash Films, the brothers Duffer answer the question of the same characters returning for another season:
“The answer is yes and yes. We definitely are hopeful to go several more seasons,” said Levy. “And the plan is to continue with this set of characters while introducing a few critical key new ones next season. So I’ll just say that a lot of the big mysteries get answered at the end of Season 1, but we are very much kind of unearthing new problems and questions that merit future stories and future investigation in the most enjoyable way.”
The show has earned definite critical acclaim, and is one on our list as a must-watch for the summer.
JL Jamieson is a strange book nerd who writes technical documents by day, and book news, reviews, and other assorted opinions for you by night. She is working on her own fiction, and spends time making jewelry to sell at local conventions, as well as stalking the social media accounts of all your favorite writers.