September 19, 2019

"Strangers Things" and the Return of the Eighties

“To keep viewers immersed in their version of the 1980s, producers of the sci-fi horror series “Stranger Things” built their biggest shrine to the decade yet: a shopping mall.

To replicate a mall from 1985—the year when the third season of the Netflix show unfolds—the production team resurrected part of one outside Atlanta. They created the Starcourt Mall for the show’s fictional town of Hawkins, Ind., and filled it with shops like Radio Shack, Waldenbooks and Sam Goody. Season 3 will be released July 4.

Continuing the style “Stranger Things” used from the start, the eight-episode season mirrors ’80s movies, music and other touchstones. There are homages to “Fast Times at Ridgemont High” and “Weird Science,” period films with memorable mall scenes. When the teen characters in “Stranger Things” sneak into the Starcourt Mall’s cineplex, their glimpses of “Day of the Dead” (released in July 1985) foreshadow darker stuff. In this season they confront a new threat after beating back a spectral bodysnatcher dubbed the Mind Flayer. The kids pulled its name from, yes, their Dungeons & Dragons manual.”

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