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It's the Booze Talkin': Genre Nostalgia proves rewarding in Stranger Things!

08.03.2016by: JimmyO
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Nostalgia can be a tricky thing when it comes to entertainment. If you rely too heavily on it, audiences can turn on you very quickly. However, like it or not it has become a huge part of the movie going experience as of late. With countless remakes, sequels and television shows based on popular films from the jpast, it’s impossible to escape good old familiarity. However, for genre fans, there are strong cases as to why a trip down memory lane isn’t such a terrible thing. A recognizable face, a story that evokes the joys of youth, all of that can sometimes remind fans why they loved going to the movies or turning on a great television series. And when it comes to the small screen, there is currently no better example than the Netflix series Stranger Things.

The series centers on the disappearance of a young boy in a small town. Full disclosure, I am only recently delving into the critically acclaimed, 8-episode series. In fact, I just finished the second episode and I will no doubt immerse myself fully into what lies ahead. You’ve probably heard the term “Speilbergian,” and I will try and not repeat that anymore than I have to. Aside from that, there is a real sense of heart with the predominantly young cast. Offering as much in the wonder department alongside the mystery, there is a reason so many are moved by the series. Taking place in the Eighties, it certainly doesn’t hurt that the score offers up a beautiful synth sound. And for me personally, the brilliance of casting Winona Ryder as a mother desperate to find her son is absolute perfection. So many of us grew up on her work that it’s thrilling to see her return to a wonderfully odd world.

The series, created by Matt and Ross Duffer, is a fascinating mix of horror, humor and even a few thrills. In one episode, Ms. Ryder’s character remembers telling her young son that she would agree to take him to see POLTERGEIST in the theatres - his first horror flick it seems. The Duffer Brothers are very aware that they are creating a timepiece that deliciously captures the wonder and fear of a that particular decade. From the music to the costumes, this tale of a small town in the Eighties facing a terrifying foe is a wonderful treat. With impressive reviews, Stranger Things has managed to connect with audiences young and old, whether they remember the 1980’s or weren’t around to experience the years of Reagan, Madonna, Prince and awesome slasher flicks. Yeah, I’ve already fallen hard for this series.

Yet Stranger Things is not the only time we’ve been asked to entertain in the past. For genre, you could count J.J. Abrams SUPER 8, as well as a number of remakes and sequels. Over the past two years we’ve seen the return of MAD MAX with FURY ROAD which was simply fantastic. We've also had a sequel to INDEPENDENCE DAY with RESURGENCE and all girl GHOSTBUSTERS. To list every single genre remake and reboot would be a ridiculous task. However, it is clear that everything old is new again. Fans of THE BLAIR WITCH PROJECT should look forward to an Adam Wingard/Simon Barrett sequel with BLAIR WITCH. Ridley Scott is getting closer and closer to a full on ALIEN sequel. And Blumhouse along with John Carpenter plan to give us a brand new HALLOWEEN flick. Will it be good? I sure hope so.

Aside from the obvious, there are a few films that have been released that have given fans something to remember and to celebrate. THE FINAL GIRLS from director Todd Strauss-Schulson was a delightful tribute to the golden age of slasher flicks. The underrated THE TOWN THAT DREADED SUNDOWN was an inspired mix of sequel and remake, expertly handled by Alfonso Gomez-Rejon. And I’d be crazy to not mention the return of Ash courtesy of the Starz series Ash vs. Evil Dead. Of course there are a huge number of reboots that are just plain horrible, but whenever something comes along reminding us of our youth in a unique and original way, it is absolutely refreshing. In the case of Stranger Things, it is all the more wonderful given the fact that this is an original story rooted in memory of another decade.

Maybe it’s the booze talkin’, but Stranger Things is a perfect reminder that nostalgia can be rewarding if done right. To create an inviting story that happens to give you fond memories of all things Eighties is something to celebrate. It's also a delicate balance because too often the reminders are just polished carbon copies of what came before. Thankfully, there is enough out there that has the ability to celebrate the past in a glorious way. Perhaps the magic will wear off for me as I near the end of the series, but from what I’ve heard, I doubt it. And quite honestly, my love for Winona Ryder will never disappear. In no way am I embracing all attempts at hitting a heartfelt nerve when making science fiction or horror. However, when it comes in such a delectable package, you really can’t help but fall in love with another time all over again.

Extra Tidbit: What are your thoughts on Stranger Things?
Source: AITH

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12:51PM on 08/07/2016
For me, Stranger Things got it right on so many level. It may play on the nostalgic factor too much but it paid off greatly. It's everything you love about 80s horror movies all rolled into one awesome series.
For me, Stranger Things got it right on so many level. It may play on the nostalgic factor too much but it paid off greatly. It's everything you love about 80s horror movies all rolled into one awesome series.
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