Stranger Things 2016 Quick Review

Stranger Things 2016 Quick Review

Stranger Things Poster | Bad Horror Moves

Stranger Things is a Netflix original series centering around a middle school boy who goes missing on his way home after seeing something monstrous and sinister up head of on the road. There’s young mysterious girl on the run and a government agency conducting some very dark experiments. This is all takes place in a small town in Indiana back in 1983.

I only heard about Netflix’s Stranger Things a few weeks ago. It was released on July 15th according to the poster and the first season contains 8 episodes. From the moment I heard about this I was interested in it. However, I put off seeing it because I just don’t like soap opera’s and any TV show that doesn’t end it’s story in one or two episodes is a soap opera. If I am going to watch a soap opera, it really has to interest me. Further more, if I am actually going to like a soap opera, it better wrap itself up by season’s end. Thankfully, Stranger Things, did all of that. There were a few things it did that I didn’t like but nothing to the point of frustration. Just minor things I will discus later.

As the story goes, it’s in many very similar to the book I’ve written. Small town, strange things happening, a cop trying to figure out what’s going on, a group of friends, a mysterious lab. A mysterious girl. Thankfully, aside from that, the stories are completely different. And, thankfully, should I ever be able to afford an editor for my book and it gets made into an series, my book is registered so I can prove that I didn’t copy anything from Stranger Things.

Now that I have got that out of the way. Almost everything about season 1 of Stranger Things is great. The acting is phenomenal. The special effects, are great most of the time. A couple of CGI monster issues once or twice but the rest of it was simply spectacular looking. The writing was really good. There were a few times some characters did some really stupid things but I never found what they did to be so significantly stupid that it made want to root against them. And, if you’re on of my 2.5 readers you know once a character does something so stupid, I start rooting for the bad guy. Thankfully, there’s none of that in Stranger Things.

Talking about the acting, the stand out role to me is that of the character Eleven played so perfectly by Milli Brown. I couldn’t take my eyes off this kid. I don’t think she says more than 20 words in the entire first season and yet, her facial expression are so enthralling, so hypnotic. She can go from scared and helpless to “I’m about to fuck you up.” in a heartbeat. I mean I’m a grown a ass man I do not ever want to be on the receiving end of one of her glares. Damn! She reminded so much of a young Natalie Portman in The Professional. She has that same type of innocence and intensity. There’s no way she’s not going to be every bit as successful as Portman. Milli Brown is amazing.

Also it was good to see Winona Ryder again. I have loved her since Heather’s. I thought she was also excellent in this. She played being, timid and strong with such believability. There comes a time when no believes her character. I wanted to be mad. I hate it when one of our hero’s is telling the truth and no one believes them. But, under the circumstances, how could anyone. She was saying some crazy things, she was acting crazy. So well played. I could see the people around her wanting to believe her but at the same time, just knowing she’s a grieving mom and needs help. The denial of others never became so frustrating that it takes you out of the story. And, I think that has a lot to do with Winona’s acting skills. I felt for her character every second she was on the screen.

Stranger Things Kids | Bad Horror Movies

Also the group of middle school kids, they were amazing. I knew kids like that. I was probably like that. Never was a D&D player but mad props for their taste in movie posters and choices in horror movies. Finn Wolfhard, Caleb McLaughlin and Gaten Matarazzo as the the missing boy’s best friends were so good. They had a good vibe together and reminiscent of great movies like Goonies or Explorers but with a Stephen King kinda feel to it.

Then there was the feel of the 80’s. They managed to make it actually feel like the 80’s without going over the top in pop culture references and clothing. They kept it all confined into 1983 or prior for the most part and as someone that grew up in the 1980’s I would have noticed any huge inaccurate. The only thing that really stood out as an error was the choice of music they used to end episode two. Hazy Shade of Winter by the Bengals wasn’t released until 1985. But, in the series defense, the music was playing over the end credits, it wasn’t part of the story. Still it was enough to make me think, “Wait, that song wasn’t even out yet.”

Also, the score to Stranger Things. Brilliant! Once again Stranger Things managed to capture the feel and the sound of the 80’s. That low synth sound took me right into every early 80’s movie and TV show when it blended with the screen title, Stranger Things, and it’s design of glowing read boldface. If I didn’t know any better I would have thought that I was watching an early 80’s suspense or horror thriller like The Thing or Cujo or Christine.

I guess the only things I didn’t like about it was that at times I felt like it ran a little slow. But, it was never not interesting. I planned on watching the first episode yesterday just to see if I liked it. Four episodes later I turned it off to get some sleep. I tossed and turned. Then started watching the next episode on my tablet while in bed. After about 13 minutes into the fifth episode I said, “Screw it!” and got up and spent the rest of the night watching the final four episodes.

Then there was the older teen’s story-lines. Natalia Dyer played Nancy Wheeler, the older sister of Mike Wheeler, one of the missing kids best friends. Charlie Heaton played Jonathan Byers, the older brother of the missing kid gone missing, Will Byers. It would have been far more enjoyable seeing what these two would have done if they only could have come together sooner. More adventures, more monster hunting. Instead too much time is wasted on the love the triangle. Natalia’s badassery was simply wasted on the triangle story-line.

Stranger Things Teens | bad Horror Movies

The love triangle was just more of a distraction then an interesting part of the story. I will say that the “triangle” had a nice twist to it concerning the stereo-typical douchebag boyfriend but all that took away from the adventures that Natalia Dyer’s character could have had with Charlie Heaton’s character. This is a real shame because it slowed the pace down. I’m not saying the triangle didn’t need to be there. I’m just saying too much time was devoted to it.

If you were around in the 80’s I think the only thing that will disappoint you is that Stranger Things almost felt at times there wasn’t enough 80’s stuff in it. But, that’s also what made it so great. It wasn’t over done. It wasn’t filled with a ton of references that only 80’s kids would get. But, I did love the shout out Dan O’Bannon for example, just a small character named after real writer and sometimes director of such greats as Alien (writer) and The Return of the Living Dead (director). I am sure there were more shout outs that I didn’t catch because I was so into the story.

In conclusion, I highly recommend this. It’s fun, it doesn’t take itself too seriously, but at the same time it’s no joke. There are some top notch performances here. A more than descent story, good music, creepy monster and some really beautifully shot scenes. It’s well worth your time.

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Recommend

Friday the 13th Franchise Cast In Memorandum

Friday the 13th Franchise Cast In Memorandum

Friday the 13th Franchise Cast In Memorandum…

The other day I started think about all the great horror movies of the 80’s. I wondered what happened to all those actors. I thought it would be a fun article to research. I start with the most infamous horror movie series in history, Friday the 13th. The first actor I look at from the movie I discover is dead. I had a crush on this actress when I first saw the film. I thought she had that whole smart & sexy thing going on. I was saddened to learn of her death and she was so young when she died.

I decided to do something I don’t really look to do and that is to look up who have we lost this most memorable of horror franchise. These actors and actresses I grew up with in the 80’s. I watched these movies countless times at the theater and home on Beta and VHS! Now, I have them all on DVD. Well, almost all of them. These films were a big part of my coming of age in the 80’s. I didn’t want to look this all up however because in my eyes, it’s a Schrödinger’s cat kinda thing. As long as I don’t know, they are still alive and doing well.

The reality though is that life and death are real and my wanting to remain ignorant doesn’t change the fact they really have passed and I felt it more important that it be recognized. As I researched, I discovered that I am not the only one who has done this. Though I haven’t found any current lists. Most all seem to be from the mid to late 2000’s. In any case, below is what I have sadly learned as of February 2nd 2015.

I would like to do this for The Halloween Series and the Nightmare On Elm Street films but it’s just so sad.  I spent my teen years in the 80’s.  These films are like family to me.  Researching this wasn’t fun.  I feel like I know some of these people.  It was just sad to me.  I feel like I’ve lost old friends.  So I am not sure when I will get to the next 80’s horror franchise.  So, sad.

A very sincere RIP to my lost film friends…

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Friday the 13th 1980Laurie Bartram AKA Brenda Friday The 13th In MemorandumLaurie Bartram aka Brenda
Born: May 16, 1958 (age 56), St. Louis, MO
Died: May 25, 2007 died from pancreatic cancer on May 25, 2007

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Walt Gorney AKA Crazy Ralph Friday The 13th In MemorandumWalt Gorney aka Crazy Ralph
Born: April 12, 1912, Vienna, Austria
Died: March 5, 2004, New York City, NY of natural causes at the age of 91.
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Rex Everhart AKA Enos Truck Driver Friday The 13th In MemorandumRex Everhart AKA Enos (Truck Driver)
Born: June 13, 1920, Watseka, IL
Died: March 13, 2000, Branford, CT died of lung cancer at the age of 79.
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Sally Anne Golden AKA The Waitress Friday The 13th In MemorandumSally Anne Golden aka the waitress
Born: July 31, 1910, Dresden, Germany
Died: January 29, 1982, New York City, NY Died at the age of 71.
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Friday the 13th Part 2Tom Mcbride AKA Mark Friday The 13th In MemorandumTom McBride AKA Mark
Born: October 7, 1952, United States of America
Died: September 24, 1995, New York City, NY sadly died of complications from AIDS.

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Friday the 13th Part 3Steve Susskind AKA Harold Friday The 13th In MemorandumSteve Susskind aka Harold
Born: October 3, 1942, Springfield, MA
Died: January 21, 2005, Tujunga, Los Angeles, CA Died in auto accident in Sunland, CA

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Richard Brooker AKA Jason Voorhees Friday The 13th In MemorandumRichard Brooker aka Jason Voorhees
Born: November 20, 1954, Münster, Germany
Died: April 8, 2013, United Kingdom Died of a heart attack.

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Perla Walters AKA Mrs Sanchez Friday The 13th In MemorandumPerla Walters aka Mrs. Sanchez
Born: January 24, 1933, Florida
Died: May 19, 2007 at the age of 74 Los Angeles, CA

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David Wiley AKA Abel Friday The 13th In MemorandumDavid Wiley aka Abel
Born: 1929
Died: February 5, 2007 (age 78) in Northridge, California

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Friday The 13th Part 4Antony Ponzini AKA Vincent Friday The 13th In MemorandumAntony Ponzini aka Vincent
Born: June 1, 1933, Brooklyn, New York City, NY
Died: December 30, 2002, Moosup, Plainfield, CT

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Abigail Shelton AKA Woman Friday The 13th In MemorandumAbigail Shelton aka “Woman”
Born: May 3, 1932 in Wheeling, West Virginia
Died: December 11, 2006 (age 74) in Los Angeles, CA Died in her sleep.

 

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Robert Perault aka Medic (No Picture Available)
Born: July 31, 1946 in Vailsburg, NJ
Died: January 2, 1990 (age 43) in Los Angeles, CA

post-spacerFriday the 13th: A New BeginningMark Venturini AKA Victor J Faden Friday The 13th In MemorandumMark Venturini AKA Victor J. Faden
Born: January 10, 1961, Illinois
Died: February 14, 1996, Los Angeles, CA Died from leukemia on Valentine’s Day at the age of 35.

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Vernon Washington AKA George Friday The 13th In MemorandumVernon Washington aka George
Born: August 10, 1927, Hartford, CT
Died: June 7, 1988, Los Angeles, CA

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Ric Mancini AKA Mayor Cobb Friday The 13th In MemorandumRic Mancini aka Mayor Cobb
Born: April 16, 1933, New York City, NY
Died: May 26, 2006, Woodland Hills, Los Angeles, CA

post-spacerFriday the 13th Part VI: Jason LivesRon Palillo AKA Allen Hawes Friday The 13th In MemorandumRon Palillo aka Allen Hawes
Born: April 2, 1949, New Haven, CT
Died: August 14, 2012, Palm Beach, FL
Died of a heart attack at his home.

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Friday the 13th Part VII: The New BloodSusan Jennifer Sullivan AKA Melissa Friday The 13th In MemorandumSusan Jennifer Sullivan aka Melissa
Born: November 5, 1962, Massachusetts
Died: August 10, 2009 Randolph, MA at the age of 46

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Walt Gorney AKA Crazy Ralph Friday The 13th In MemorandumWalt Gorney aka Opening Narrator (uncredited) (voice)
Born: April 12, 1912, Vienna, Austria
Died: March 5, 2004, New York City, NY of natural causes at the age of 91.

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Jason XJames Isaac AKA Doctor Director Friday The 13th In MemorandumJames Isaac aka Doctor (uncredited) also directed the film.
Born: June 5, 1960, San Francisco, CA
Died: May 6, 2012, Sausalito, CA died of multiple myeloma.

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Freddy vs. JasonAlex Green AKA Frisell Glowing Raver Friday The 13th In MemorandumAlex Green aka Frisell (Glowing Raver)
Born: January 19, 1942, Australia
Died: July 20, 2010, British Columbia, Canada died from
liver cancer.

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Friday the 13th (2009)Travis Davis AKA Officer Lund Friday The 13th In MemorandumTravis Davis aka Officer Lund
Born: October 23, 1968, Oklahoma City, OK
Died: October 12, 2009 Died of stomach cancer

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