The Duffer Brother’s (Matt and Ross Duffer) breakthrough science fiction / horror masterpiece ‘Stranger Things’ was more a television event than just another TV series. The story commences with the disappearance of a young boy in a small town in Indiana in the US, while the three closest friends of the missing boy meet a young girl who presents with unusual abilities. Together they aim to find out what happened to their friend. The show was set in 1983 and the Duffer Brothers have managed to make the show look and feel like it was filmed in 1983. At times, it feels like you are re-experiencing E.T. the Extra Terrestrial, Stand by Me, Close Encounters of the Third Kind and The Goonies. Throughout the eight episodes there were countless references made to iconic films of the late 1970s and early 1980s, and it appears as if it is a tribute to this era. The dark and mysterious creature seems like a creation direct from Ridley Scott’s Alien, and at times, the young girl behaves and looks like Stephen King’s Carrie. The opening credits are haunting, with a dark and brooding analogue synth soundtrack, created by Kyle Dixon and Michael Stein, from the band S U R V I V E, with visuals of the words Stranger Things floating around the screen, as if created on an Amiga computer. The soundtrack is highly fitting with the popularization of synthwave music in recent times, with bands like Timecop1983.
Stranger Things has attempted to do what the film Super 8 could not. Both Stranger Things and Super 8 have attempted to recreate an early 1980s Steven Spielberg’esque science fiction extravaganza that sees young children faced with immeasurable encounters and challenges. When Super 8 was released, there was a lot of hype surrounding the film, that at the time, it was paying homage to the early 1980s Spielberg era, and while it was a good film, I don’t believe it lived up to the hype. On the other hand, Stranger Things has been praised world-wide for its ability to take viewers back in time to this period. For anyone in their late thirties or early forties, this was a magical time to be a child, and this nostalgia is the reason why this series is so exciting for anyone in this age bracket. Furthermore, the accessibility of Netflix meant that viewers were able to binge watch this show. I am waiting with bated breath for the second season, due some time in 2017. I hope that it delivers in the same way the first season did.
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