“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!!
I’m always and I mean ALWAYS down for an Indiana Jones rip off movie! There are a few out there that reared their heads back in the 80’s and this week I had the pleasure to find “The Further Adventures of Tennessee Buck” on vhs and give it a watch. This one’s actually pretty damn entertaining, if you can get past some of it’s non PC-ness that would today surely have people in a wildly frantic uproar. Basically what we have here is a kind of Indiana Jones meets Romancing The Stone meets Crocodile Dundee with less of budget and a far more crude trashy style to it. That being said the flick actually visits some pretty awesome locations and it’s sets are top notch as well, which is always nice for a movie trying to rip off Indy!
This one has a little star power too with David Keith (An Officer and a Gentleman) in the lead swashbuckling role also directed this one and Sydney Lassick (One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest). Yeah Tennessee Buck is a crude dude alright, a boozing, womanizing jungle guide who’s hired by a young yuppie couple named (Barbie & Ken) to help them find and hunt a white tiger. The woman just happens to be Kathy Shower, former Playboy playmate of the year, so I knew there was going to be some senseless nudity in this one and boy is there a ton of that here! I also knew that she’d most likely leave her husband for Buck and though I was right the way it played out was like nothing i was expecting!
But the movie actually took some odd twists and turns that in a way shocked me a bit. Tennessee Buck starts out as a comedy but around it’s third act it gets pretty dark suddenly. Characters endure some things that seem quite out of place with the movies otherwise fun loving, wisecracking vibe. I guess it’s what you expect when they become pursued by a crazed band of headhunters with a horny chieftan as it’s leader.
This one kinda played out a bit like “The Last American Virgin” which started out like Porky’s and ended up a bit of perplexing shocker. Buck here is an odd movie that’s most definitely worth a watch if you’re a fan of the jungle adventure style movies, trashy 80’s schlock & weird out of place plot twists!