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Jay

STRANGER THINGS - Beware Season 2 spoilers!

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11 minutes ago, Jay said:

I literally thought it was a male actor not a female one in the very beginning, and was confused when they said "her" at first

 

Really? I guess the gender debate raging in the US is really starting to take its toll.

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Done!

 

Really fun series. Certainly not Golden Age TV, but hugely enjoyable. I like the innate silliness of it. Trying to fight of a monster from another dimension with a baseball bat, a bear trap and a jojo. Making a sensory deprivation tank out of a rubber pool and bags of salt.

 

The series homages some of the great directors from the 80's. Spielberg, Carpenter, Cameron etc. But it's actually the direction in this show that kinda lets the side down a bit. Especially when it comes to action. There's a neat homage to the ET bike chase, but it completely lacks the energy of the Spielberg version (never have bikes seemed to move slower). And in the last episode there's a few elaborate action scenes taking place at the Byers house, the upside down version of it, and the middle school. And it all feels kind of disjointed.

 

Nevertheless the performances are good. It's clever. Very sweet at times and holds together quite well despite is being something of a hodge podge (the warm humanist world of Spielberg and the coldness of Carpenters isnt a perfect match, which is probably why the last 5 minutes is a bit weird)

 

Best thing in is is the girl playing Eleven. With minimal dialogue and very little exposition she manages to create a full bodied character and give an actual dramatic performance. It's cheesy as fuck, but I would actually like to see her back for season 2.

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She's the new Rey then! ;)

 

On 31-8-2016 at 3:07 PM, Jay said:

I enjoyed the performance of David Harbour as Chief Jim Hopper in the show.  Actually, at first he kind of turned me off, but I warmed up to him as the show went on.

 

I took me a while to realize he was one of the CIA guys in Quantum of Solace.

 

Thank you! That was bugging me all day. Yeah I liked that character. One of only 2 adult characters worth a damn. The Wheelers are pathetic.

 

On 31-8-2016 at 5:05 PM, Jay said:

I LOVE the main title music - its awesome, completely appropriate for the show, and gets me pumped about the episode every time.

 

Other than that, the music did nothing for me.  Often times it was "just there", but at others it was a distraction.  There would be some kind of emotional scene, but it was scored by synth plodding.

 

The music was most effective in the scary/suspense scenes, but wildly out of place in a lot of other scenes, imo.

 

It's effective, if very simplistic music which doesnt always work with the aestetic of the show, and least of all when Stranger Things is at it's most Spielberg.

It's better to have a TV budget version of a Carpenter score then them trying to hire someone to attempt 80's John Williams though.

 

On 1-9-2016 at 0:45 PM, Quintus said:

Let me tell you there's nothing so potent in Stranger Things. 

 

I have to agree with you. If anything it lacks of suspense is one of the shows weak spots. It's never really scary at all. It tries to be, with the dark houses and scary flickering lights, but I wasnt really at the edge of my seat.

 

On 1-9-2016 at 3:28 PM, Thor said:

The issue isn't really if the horror was more 'scary' or 'potent' in the 80s in general (I don't think it was), but if you could find any similar 'adult intensity' in the type of sub genre it tries to emulate. I certainly can't think of any.

 

Parts of E.T. are genuinely scary though. The shot of the guy in the astronaut suit entering the house is terrifying. Also there's quite a bit of Poltergeist in Stranger Things.

 

On 2-9-2016 at 7:37 AM, Alexcremers said:

Spielberg had a seemingly nonchalant way to presents kids family life but the show never was able to capture that. Sadly, it's a style Steven forgot or unlearned in his later career. 

 

Alex

 

Spielberg essentially lost that insight into the family dynamics he portrayed so well in Close Encounters and ET once he became a father himself. In his earliest film he was remembering what it was like in his family growing up.

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On 9/1/2016 at 5:20 PM, Nick66 said:

 I'd put Man in the High Castle (despite the last episode) way ahead of this. And I say that as someone who's a sucker for 80's nostalgia. 

 

EDIT: Well, yeah...I guess Man in the High Castle was last year. Still. :)

 

Doesn't help that it was some disappointingly tame malarky.

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Oh I was referring to Man in the High Castle actually. Had high hopes for that one, was met with a load of blandness instead. I'd rank Stranger Things above that for its entertainment value.

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13 minutes ago, KK said:

Oh I was referring to Man in the High Castle actually. Had high hopes for that one, was met with a load of blandness instead. I'd rank Stranger Things above that for its entertainment value.

 

I wasn't immediately hooked by the pilot of HIGH CASTLE, which was around for a long time before they actually made a whole season out it, but once it was out, it was quite good. Looking forward to season 2. But yeah -- STRANGER THINGS is superior and more "addictive".

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I wouldnt say addictive. Very easy to watch though.

 

Btw, is is me or did the Nancy/Jonathan/Steve arc never really go anywhere. It seemed at first like that was a homage to the dead teenager movies of the 80's. With Nancy being named after the final girl from Nitghtmare On Elm Street etc.

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7 hours ago, Stefancos said:

I just finished ep 4 and I agree. Winona's character might seem batty, but her actions in this one are perfectly logical. Her kid seems to be calling to het from her living room wall, so what does she do? take an axe to it and look genuinely stumped when it turns out nothing is there.

 

Her acting strange and doing weird things to her house seems to be the CE3K bit of the show.

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3 hours ago, Stefancos said:

The series homages some of the great directors from the 80's. Spielberg, Carpenter, Cameron etc. But it's actually the direction in this show that kinda lets the side down a bit. Especially when it comes to action. There's a neat homage to the ET bike chase, but it completely lacks the energy of the Spielberg version (never have bikes seemed to move slower). And in the last episode there's a few elaborate action scenes taking place at the Byers house, the upside down version of it, and the middle school. And it all feels kind of disjointed.

 

I'm not sure how much the direction could have done there. I've always had the feeling that the score isn't up to supporting those scenes. It's nice enough music, but it's holding the show back.

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2 hours ago, Thor said:

 

I wasn't immediately hooked by the pilot of HIGH CASTLE, which was around for a long time before they actually made a whole season out it, but once it was out, it was quite good. Looking forward to season 2. But yeah -- STRANGER THINGS is superior and more "addictive".

 

Superior how? People say they like it but I never hear why. I would like to know what I'm missing. Why don't you put me in the right direction? Where is the passion and all the love based on?

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2 hours ago, Marian Schedenig said:

 

Her acting strange and doing weird things to her house seems to be the CE3K bit of the show.

 

2 hours ago, Stefancos said:

"This means something! This is important!"

 

Like a kind of mix between Richard Dreyfuss and Teri Garr's character....hmmm

 

Could be. 

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44 minutes ago, Sharkus Malarkus said:

Am I the only one here without Netflix?

 

Netflix is great.  You should try a free month and see if you enjoy it.  You don't spend a penny if you cancel before the month is up.

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I've enjoyed every Netflix original show I've seen, but for me this was the best. For one thing, as good as the Marvel shows have been they always feel like they go on a little too long. Not the case with this show. Eight episodes was the perfect length. 

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11 hours ago, Alexcremers said:

 

Superior how? People say they like it but I never hear why. I would like to know what I'm missing. Why don't you put me in the right direction? Where is the passion and all the love based on?

 

If you read back in this thread, you'll find that we have discussed this at length previously.

 

2 minutes ago, Quintus said:

Of course it is, Thor. Of course it is. 

 

It absolutely is. I think this is the first forum or thread I've encountered with so many negative or lukewarm responses to this show. It's absurd! Everywhere I go -- online or among friends -- it's rightfully lauded as the gem that it is. But then this has always been a weird place.

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One doesn't have to look very far for people who love Britain's Got Talent and I'm A Celebrity Get Me Out Of Here either, great swathes of them exist. What's your point? 

 

I just think you're very easily pleased, to be perfectly honest.

 

Also, your JWFan is weird narrative is fucking boring now. And again based on nothing but your biased agenda; plenty here loved Stranger Things.   

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13 minutes ago, Quintus said:

Also, your JWFan is weird narrative is fucking boring now. And again based on nothing but your biased agenda; plenty here loved Stranger Things.   

 

I don't know what thread you've been reading, but that's certainly not the impression one gets from reading this one.

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12 hours ago, Jay said:

Netflix is great.  You should try a free month and see if you enjoy it.  You don't spend a penny if you cancel before the month is up.

 

Your electric bill will go up and you'll wonder why you bought a gym membership. But no, not a penny. 

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6 hours ago, Thor said:

 

If you read back in this thread, you'll find that we have discussed this at length previously.

 

 

Not really. That's why I asked in the first place ... sigh.

 

6 hours ago, Thor said:

 

Oh, yes. VERY addictive. And very brillliant.

 

Again, why? Help me see the light! I shouldn't be too difficult for someone who feels so passionate about it.

 

2 hours ago, Stefancos said:

Why is it brilliant Thor? Because it references the works of people who were brilliant? Is that all it takes?

 

IMO, making references does not automatically make the hodgepodge or the pastiche good by itself. If anything, because you start to compare, it makes the original shine even more.

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OK, I'll copy and paste some things I said earlier:

 

Quote

[I think] it DOES bring something new to the table -- i.e. the mixing of pastiche and more contemporary horror stuff. No way you would see this kind of realistic, gruelling, intense horror of the creature sequences in something like GOONIES or EXPLORERS or E.T. In those films, the suspense was always more tongue-in-cheek and 'kiddie scary'. That aspect of the series has more in common with stuff like THE CONJURING, INSIDIOUS or the TV series WAYWARD PINES.

 

Quote

[In one way, it emulates the "Kid Hero" genre] -- E.T., THE GOONIES, EXPLORERS, SPACE CAMP, MAC AND ME, FLIGHT OF THE NAVIGATOR etc. This is the MAIN sub genre that the series creators tried to emulate. But then they sprinkle it with other things; some Carpenter, some Stephen King and -- most importantly -- contemporary, adult horror intensity which was NOT present in either of those movies. That's what makes the series appeal to younger audiences who didn't grow up with the movies, and that's what -- IMO -- makes it so great; what gives it that little something "extra".

 

 

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I'll say again, Poltergeist! Stranger Things has quite a bit of Poltergeist. The Wheeler family is essentially a parody of the Freeling family. They even wear similar clothes, hairstyle etc.

 

A lot of the "contemporary" horror from Stranger Things can be found in Poltergeist, Carpenters films and the works of Steven King. If you state that as it's claim to brilliant then I must assume its simlly arrogrance on your part.

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2 hours ago, Stefancos said:

I'll say again, Poltergeist! Stranger Things has quite a bit of Poltergeist. The Wheeler family is essentially a parody of the Freeling family. They even wear similar clothes, hairstyle etc.

 

A lot of the "contemporary" horror from Stranger Things can be found in Poltergeist, Carpenters films and the works of Steven King. If you state that as it's claim to brilliant then I must assume its simlly arrogrance on your part.

 

I don't see any such stuff in those films you mention. It's more operatic and tongue-in-cheek. OK, maybe something like THE SHINING, but that's an exception (and not really within the frames of reference in this case). Some of it can be found in King's literature, for sure, but not really in most of the movies.

 

As I said earlier, the 'horror intensity' in STRANGER THINGS has more in common with various newer forms of horror -- a little bit of Asian yurei (THE RING, THE GRUDGE), a little bit of burlesque (WAYWARD PINES, Del Toro) etc. To mix this with such a rigid "80s Kid Hero" aesthetic, and then actually have developped, nuanced, realistic character arcs on top of that (also a legacy from the TV revolution these last 15 years) is pure genius, IMO.

 

IT FOLLOWS was a film two years ago that nurtured a similar sense of hybrid aesthetic -- yes, there's Carpenter in its base, but it's also contemporary coming-of-age and Asian 'sticky ghosts' on top.

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Wow, it didn't remind me of newer forms of horror at all, and certainly not from a narrative point of view. The style was unmistakably retro Spielberg and American '80s movies and not new Asian horror. I like It Follows and I would have loved it very much if the tone of Stranger Things was similar to that movie but it wasn't.  It Follows is 'cold' and 'distantly' told from a director's or narrator point of view and not from an 'emotional' character's point of view like in Stranger Things. They couldn't be more different.

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Whether one "feels" the contemporary horror intensity in STRANGER THINGS or not is irrelevant, really. The point is that it was NOT present in the original movies in the sub genre that the series tries to emulate (if you think it was, you either misremember these films or haven't seen many).

 

Not only did I think the series had in it spades, it's also THE major ingredient that makes it MORE than just a 80s pastiche. To be perfectly honest, it's rather disappointing to see so many reduce it to just a pastiche, and that's that. They're obviously missing a whole lot of extra layers here. If it were only a pastiche, it would only be popular among people my age. It clearly isn't.

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I thought that the monster was in part inspired by Slender Man. It's obviously a modern reference and I think the creators used that to pander to those people who have played (or watched others play!) that game some years ago, when it was hugely popular with people around my age. It was most obvious in the scene where Will cycles home, and when the characters who had seen the monster described it as having "no face". That immediately reminded me of Slender Man. :D 

 

 

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30 minutes ago, Thor said:

 (if you think it was, you either misremember these films or haven't seen many).

 

 

 

True, the 'horror' itself wasn't typical Spielberg-ish but the style in which it was told was. Tone and style define a films or series, not the type of alien or monster. I think you are confused because of the Carpenter-ish soundtrack and that you therefore think that It Follows and Stranger Things are the same.

 

 

Quote

Not only did I think the series had in it spades, it's also THE major ingredient that makes it MORE than just a 80s pastiche. To be perfectly honest, it's rather disappointing to see so many reduce it to just a pastiche, and that's that. They're obviously missing a whole lot of extra layers here. If it were only a pastiche, it would only be popular among people my age. It clearly isn't.

 

It's mostly a pastiche, even the fans say that. The Carpenter-ish score (instead of a neo-romantic Williams score) makes it watchable/digestible for the latest generation. The synths did not put my notions on a sidetrack. This was Spielberg but they exchanged Williams for something they knew newer audiences love. They did they same thing with the monster. They mimic the Spielberg style but replaced the things they deemed necessary for it to work today.

 

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17 minutes ago, Thor said:

Whether one "feels" the contemporary horror intensity in STRANGER THINGS or not is irrelevant, really. The point is that it was NOT present in the original movies in the sub genre that the series tries to emulate (if you think it was, you either misremember these films or haven't seen many).

 

Are you seriously just ignoring me! Poltergeist, Carrie, the films of John Carpenter arent horror? IT isnt horror?

 

Because thats what the horror, or attempts at horror of Stranger Things draw from. not anything recent.

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12 minutes ago, loert said:

I thought that the monster was in part inspired by Slender Man. It's obviously a modern reference and I think the creators used that to pander to those people who have played (or watched others play!) that game some years ago, when it was hugely popular with people around my age. It was most obvious in the scene where Will cycles home, and when the characters who had seen the monster described it as having "no face". That immediately reminded me of Slender Man. :D 

 

 

 

See here:

 

 

On 9/2/2016 at 2:02 PM, Jay said:

Here's a cool list of the influences for the monster in the show

 

http://hellogiggles.com/monster-stranger-things/

 

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27 minutes ago, Thor said:

Whether one "feels" the contemporary horror intensity in STRANGER THINGS or not is irrelevant, really. The point is that it was NOT present in the original movies in the sub genre that the series tries to emulate (if you think it was, you either misremember these films or haven't seen many).

 

 

For the sake of argument I'll say that it's entirely relevant, actually, since that's the whole point you're trying to make. Your saying it wasn't present in older original movies is no different whatsoever to my saying it wasn't present in Stranger Things either. 

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I've got to go with those who are arguing that the horror in this series is more a throw back than contemporary. In fact I can't think of any "contemporary" horror Stranger Things resembles, except perhaps those things that were influenced by the same things it is. And I don't think it's popularity with younger viewers is really evidence that its horror sensibilities are more contemporary...perhaps they're just happy to see something different (at least, for them).  Good storytelling is good storytelling.

 

Yes, it's more than just 80's pastiche (though that's a lot of it). It has decent characters and is pretty well written.  But I think its modern sensibilities lie more in its pacing and characterisation than its depiction of horror.

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