Netflix show ‘Stranger Things’ gives retro vibes


Matthew Manfredi

There is a certain allure to Netflix’s new series “Stranger Things.From the very beginning it pulls at the characteristics of horror, sci-fi and drama. This combination results in the eight-part series and an unexpected weekend obsession.

(Don’t worry. I won’t ruin the rest of your year by spoiling major plot points, but seriously, just hurry up and watch it before someone else does.)

Based in the early 1980s, the series resonates nostalgia from the eccentric explorations of “E.T.,” the impending terror of “The Thing,” to the adventures of “The Goonies”—even the science lab experiments of “The Fly.”

However, the show does have some contemporary influences. The aesthetic of an alternate reality of horror titles such as “Silent Hill,” the uncovering of government conspiracies like “The Manchurian Candidate” and of course, the dark gloom of “Insidious.”

All these genres come together to create something special; they create something a bit different that can conjure irrelevant small talk in between classes.

Even the soundtrack showcases artists ranging from The Clash and Joy Division, to catchy, ethereal EDM synth sounds that make you want to grab the dusty BMX bike out of the garage and uncover some kind of local conspiracy.

And if anyone can play an estranged mother who just mysteriously lost her youngest child, Winona Ryder may be the best woman for the job.

In a world that has suddenly been torn down by the disappearance, Ryder, along with it, tries to find a way to bring back her son; even if she turns into the town’s crazy person in the meantime.

Ryder is one among many in the stellar cast.

Matthew Modine (who played Joker in Stanley Kubrick’s “Full Metal Jacket”) lends his screen skills as the sinister villain, adding to the neon retro feel of the series.

One of the most likable things about “Stranger Things” is how uniquely the creators and writers found a way to bend the content to reach a wide range of age groups, cinematic generations, genres and tastes.

There is a common thread holding the eclectic viewership together which looks like is going to continue to grow with sequential seasons.

Be sure to tell us your thoughts on “Stranger Things” by commenting below.

Matthew Manfredi can be reached at [email protected] or @matthewmanfredi on Twitter.