“Stranger Things” is the series to binge on this summer, I absolutely loved it. Secondly it’s very obvious that The Duffer Brothers are fans of The Goonies, E.T., Poltergeist, Gremlins, Close Encounters and fully succeeded in replicating the nostalgic vibe of those movies for the Netflix series this summer. They gave us that special feeling we’ve all missed for so many years, especially if you grew up in those times. People are already clamoring for a second season, so what are we all supposed to do in the meantime? Well I’ve put together a list of some movies that I think likely were an inspiration to the hit series that you might have totally missed out or haven’t seen in a while!
Most of these flicks follow the “Amblin” formula. Amblin cranked out a lot of the spooky 80’s Speilberg style movies. It was a formula that seemed to put kids on dangerous adventures, most often supernatural ones, usually in small towns or the suburbs and most often trying to prove to their parents some crazy story to be true with often times unlucky results. These stories were filled with wonder and most of all they were so undeniably fun to watch that to see a series like Stranger Things in this day and age is a breath of fresh air. So here today in response I’d like to honor 10 of the lesser known movies you’ve gotta hunt down if you dug Stranger Things as much as I did.
1. The Gate (1986) To say they weren’t influenced by this movie when making Stranger Things would be a crime!!
Ok so check this out, here’s two of my favorite movie covers /posters for two of the coolest 80’s movies ever! Dreamscape and A Nightmare on Elm Street, now I know that probably everyone is very familiar with the artwork of both of these BUT I found out recently something when I was trying to figure out if these two movies shared the same cover artist. They do not but they share something else quite sinister I found out. It turns out that the artwork of a Nightmare on Elm Street features a familiar face from the Dreamscape movie universe- OR perhaps it’s the other way around?! If you look closely first at the Dreamscape art done by Drew Struzan take note of the snake creature above the title, who makes several appearances in the movie:
Ok now let’s take a look at the equally incredible artwork by Matthew Peak who did the artwork first five Elm Street flicks. Look closely above the blade of the pinky finger on the right, do you see it? It’s the snake creature from Dreamscape…..
Here’s it blown up a bit…
Both of these movies came out in 1984 and as I did more research on it it was indeed added by Matthew Peak as an homage and this could be proof that maybe just maybe Dreamscape and A Nightmare on Elmstreet are shared universes- Now if this took place today I’m certain you’d likely see Dennis Quaid in an Elm Street sequel where enters the dreams of Freddy’s victims and takes on Mr. Krueger himself! Damn what a missed opportunity-how awesome would that have been?!!!
A lot of people may have forgotten about Maxx FX from the eighties, or most likely never heard of the guy at all- and what a shame that is! Maxx Fx was the guy that Barbie would have ditched Ken for if she wasn’t a total lame-o back in 1989! Unfortunately Maxx had a short lifespan, and the special fx action figure / doll only had one official costume, that of horror icon Freddy Krueger!
But if you’re a little confused let me put it this way the Maxx FX doll came with the clothing, the mask and accessories to transform him into Freddy. This awesome idea was not supposed to stop with Freddy, it was supposed to continue on with many more movie monsters, unfortunately Matchbox put the kibosh on the action figure early on.
As the awesome Maxx Fx website states Maxx Fx was a make up artist and a crimefighter and could become anyone he wanted! I highly suggest getting the whole story and taking a look at what could have been with the entire toyline, it was a brilliant idea and Matchbox totally dropped the ball!! In the meantime enjoy this cool ass Maxx FX commercial from 1989! Eat it KEN! And Barbie you BLEW it!!
This one too!