This article is 100 percent spoiler free, we promise.
We know, we know… we teased a bit about the new Netflix horror series, “Stranger Things”, and we know, we know the internet is purely abuzz with praise for Netflix’s newest foray into the weird and wonderful with it’s newest release. However, for you – for the sake of the internet, because we love all of our readers and hate ourselves (we’re selfless, really. The staff here at Tom Holland’s Terror Time probably deserve some kind of medal for our warm, kind-hearted generosity), took it upon ourselves to binge the entirety of “Stranger Things” and we’ve come to the unanimous conclusion that, well – you need to see it for yourself.
That said, it’s made us wish it was the mid-1980’s all over again and that is something too good to not talk about.
Some may argue that the mid-1980’s were prime time for horror and sci-fi. From groundbreaking greats like “An American Werewolf in London”, “Children of the Corn”, “Fright Night”, and “Day of the Dead” to schlock favorites like “Bad Taste” and “Halloween III: Season of the Witch” the 1980’s were a wonderful time to be alive and be a horror fan.
Netflix’s new series takes a lot of cues from the heyday of horror and spins it into new and frightening ways that provide viewers with a more-than- welcome nostalgia trip while still delivering a fresh storyline with some amazing scares.
From the opening title screen, which gives off some major “Tales from the Darkside” vibes, to the all-too- familiar rolling synth soundscapes, the show continuously plays on tropes and traditions horror fans have come to love. While some may see this as a major flaw, “playing it safe” and whatnot – it seems as though this biggest flaw might also be one of it’s biggest draws.
It takes cues from everything that made 1980’s filmmaking plastic and awesome and presented them in an updated format that’s not just enjoyable for modern viewers but it also feels like a big, warm, drooling, claw-handed hug to those looking for fond memories of days gone by.
Now, I can hear it now. I can hear you saying, “But wait – you guys – it takes place in 1983 so of course they’d play into the horror tropes of the time period.” While this may be true it’s also totally not. Being 2016, playing back to these filmmaking familiarities (alliteration is fun!) is a stylistic choice, not a coincidence of the era; and for this sci-fi horror spookfest, it works in almost every way.
The very first episode “Chapter One: The Vanishing of Will Byers” throw us into a deliciously Stephen King-esque story about a young boy that goes missing under mysterious circumstances. The characters, from appearance to dialogue, could have stepped right out of classics like “Stand By Me” and felt perfectly at home. Critics have described “Stranger Things” as being “like a combination between “E.T.” and “It” and I don’t think I could have said it better.
So whatever you’re doing right now, stop it. Log into your Netflix accounts, settle into a comfy chair, dim the lights, don your largest shoulder pads and widest of wide ties and enjoy the spooky walk down memory lane that is “Stranger Things.”
We’ll see you on the Dark Side, folks.
Oh, and Netflix – just so you know – “Stranger Things” has some killer music, however – your show takes place in 1983 and The Bangles didn’t release “Hazy Shade of Winter” until 1987.
Just saying. We know our Bangles.