Stranger Things doesn’t just reference ’80s movies. It captures how it feels to watch them.

Stranger Things doesn't just reference '80s movies. It captures how it feels to watch them.

As I was watching Netflix’s spooky new drama Stranger Things, a friend asked me how the show was. "It’s scary!" I said, then quickly realized that wasn’t quite accurate and qualified the statement accordingly: "It’s scary in the way that Poltergeist is scary when you stumble across it on TV when you’re 8." And that response, I think, is the key to Stranger Things’ success. The show is an elaborate collection of homages and references to '80s movies, and most works made via collage can’t help but feel like fuzzy copies of the originals — perhaps made on a ditto machine (to nod toward the series’ '80s small-town setting).

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