Over the past few weeks the RKH office has been taken over with talk of our latest collective obsession, Stranger Things. The few of us who hadn’t yet heard of it were already adding it to our Netflix queue halfway through watching the trailer, and it’s persuaded Matt to get an account just to watch it! With a team full of people who grew up watching the genre classics of the 80s, it’s no surprise that we’re all completely hooked on the heady nostalgia of it all.
What Stranger Things does so well, is take the best bits from some of our most treasured cult classics and blends them together to create something that’s both familiar and yet fresh. Set during the early 80s, it unapologetically runs with all of the classic movie clichés of this era. There’s the group of friends getting caught up in an epic adventure, the bookish girl who bags the football star, the struggling single mum, drunken police chief, top secret government research facility and the school yard bullies. From The Goonies to ET, Alien, The Thing, Carrie, Poltergeist and too many others to mention, it’s clear to see where the Duffer brothers drew their inspirations from.
This is made immediately apparent right from the off, with the brilliant use of typography and score in the title sequence. Designed by Imaginary Forces, it’s a masterclass in effectively building atmosphere and setting a tone with so little and it’s had all of our designers fawning.
Steph feels like if Stephen King, John Carpenter and Steven Spielberg were to have a lovechild, Stranger Things would be the glorious result. Dom commented that thanks to its retro sentiment and clever pop culture references, including the King inspired title, “it feels like you’ve unearthed a lost 80s original that you somehow missed the first time around.” He also points out the nods to more modern classics with a heavy 80s vibe, such as Super8 and Donnie Darko.
It doesn’t matter that the setting is unoriginal or that its inspirations are deliberate and obvious though, as the story is perfectly original and gripping. It leaves you eager to explore this strangely familiar world further and desperate to learn more about its characters and their fates.
Andy sums it up perfectly: “It’s so brilliant because it works on so many levels. The movie nerds can geek out over all the 80s references and brag about their movie knowledge and 80s fans get those wonderful pangs of nostalgia that we all love so much. Everyone else gets a high quality, well written and acted show with a great story. Not to mention the brilliant 80s soundtrack too!”
If you’ve already finished it, we love this supercut of movie references throughout the series. We’ve already spotted a few more to add to that list too!