Stranger Things: The 80’s, Blood and the X-Men
Do you like the 80’s? Do you like sci-fi and horror? Are you even American? If you answered yes to any of those questions and have a working Netflix subscription, go ahead and treat yourself to the finer things in life: like a campy 80’s inspired sci-fi series that makes you feel like a kid again. [There are spoilers in this piece. Read at your own risk but don’t come at me with that bullshit]
The 80’s will always be the pinnacle of the horror genre while the 90’s had a decent track record of producing solid sci-fi flicks. Classics like: The Evil Dead, A Nightmare on Elm Street and The Terminator still resonate with me today as prime examples of what horror should and can do for the viewer: take us away. Growing up during the slasher craze of the 90’s, where films like Scream, I Know What You Did Last Summer and Urban Legends (I’m possibly trolling with this choice but who knows) more or less changed the status quo of horror in general, I’ve often times found myself longing for something a little closer to what kids in the 80’s got to experience: genuine horror. Even the super meta Cabin in The Woods is one of the better efforts to come out in the last 10 years and that’s only because it feels so familiar.
So after watching three episodes of the latest Netflix original series: Stranger Things (written and directed by the Duffer Bros) I can say that this show is what I fucking needed. Starring Winona Ryder and is set in 1983, the plot centers around the search for her son who vanished, however the story quickly becomes something much weirder than it sounds. What happens to Will after a night with his friends is still a little unclear, but I don’t expect all the answers just yet.
While the adults in this show seem to be utterly incapable of handling their shit, it’s the determination of Will’s friends in their mission to find him that I found to be more inspiring than anything. There’s even a creepy little girl who goes by the name of Eleven and has the ability to move things with her mind. She can basically fuck your world up – so the X-Men fan in me is totally on board for this. There’s even a few mentions of X-Men #134 from June 1980, which focuses on Jean Grey (a character who can also move things with her mind):
“Returning from a mission in space, Jean Grey is exposed to the deadly radiation of a solar flare, and briefly attains her ultimate potential as a telepath and telekinetic. Jean becomes a being of pure thought, and then reforms herself upon return to Earth with the new costume, identity and power of “Phoenix“.(Wikipedia)
This show is littered with callbacks to the time period: from Evil Dead posters to flashback scenes of Will and his brother Johnathan getting super turnt to The Clash. There’s even a character named Nancy that I’m 100% convinced is a reference to A Nightmare on Elm Street’s heroine and resident badass. It’s safe to say that my “Yaaasssss” meter is off the charts at this point.
At it’s weirdest, Stranger Things is dealing with other dimensions. There are literally moments in this show where all I can do is shut the fuck up and watch because what’s happening on screen is that much of a mind fuck. And also – Poor Barb. Like, seriously, what the fuck happened to her? Furthermore, what the fuck is going on in this show? I have no idea but I love it.