Stranger Things 3 dropped their first full trailer this week, which in my house was met with cheers of joy and delight. If you’ve not seen the trailer yet, click this link before you read further.
There’s so much to like and unpack from this trailer. I’ve watched it several times and I catch new things each go-around. Here are a few highlights from me.
Coming of Age
The kids are getting older and when you are 14/15 years old that can be difficult, especially when you’re not quite ready to grow up. The juxtaposition of The Who’s “Baba O’Riley” with images of the kids becoming teenagers and experiencing new relationships, like Max and Eleven looking at teenybopper magazines while singing along with the radio, Lucas and Max running off hand-in-hand while Dustin looks on, bad boy Billy catching the eyes of the community pool beauties, make it feel like a classic 1980s coming of age film.
I think the moment that really gets to me though is with Will, who seems not quite ready to grow up as fast as his friends, since he essentially had his childhood innocence stolen due to the trauma of the Upside Down.
These images give me an emotional gut punch, especially when we hear Mike say, “What? Did you think we were going to just sit in my basement all day and play games for the rest of our lives?” I think we’re up for a deeply emotional, coming of age roller coaster this season.
What is Stranger Things but a glorious exploration of nostalgia? We are getting so many details of mid-80s glory and there are a few that stand out to me.
First, we’ve got Sheriff Hopper sporting a Selleck ‘Stache and a Magnum P. I. Hawaiian shirt. Perhaps it’s due to my mother’s crush on Tom, there are few things that scream 1980s to me more than Tom Selleck’s Magic Mustache™. David Harbour has done a fine job in rendering its glory for season 3.
We also get a quick shot of an unnamed baddie who appears to be in a mirrored fun house at the fair. I’m dubbing this guy “Not Robert Patrick” because of the whole Terminator 2 look he’s sporting.
Now, what would a trip to the 80s be without a trip to a mall? Starcourt Mall seems to be a source of controversy in Hawkins, gathering from what we see of protesters in earlier shots. (Fun Fact: Starcourt Mall is actually Gwinnett Place Mall in Duluth, Georgia and is apparently on its last legs- hopefully the show will help give it a boost). Several of the trailer’s mall shots bring to mind George A. Romero’s Dawn of the Dead, and based on seeing a bloodied Steve, broken glass and more, perhaps we are getting something similar.
Next is a particular shot that is the most disturbing to me: Eleven is on a beach with the ominous red lightning, which signified The Shadow Monster from last season. However, the Shadow Monster wasn’t what came to mind for me– it was 1996’s The Craft with its iconic beach scene. This comparison was further supported with a later shot in the trailer of Eleven with her arms raised menacingly and, if I’m not mistaken, who also appears to be floating? Maybe it is just the camera angle, but we could be getting a season 1 call-back to Uncanny X-Men #134, “The Rise of the Dark Phoenix.”
There is so much I could keep rambling on about from this trailer, but I think perhaps the one thing that brought me back into the realm of Stranger Things is this shot towards the end. I’m calling this new creature “DemoThing.” This particular shot brought to mind the monster from John Carpenter’s The Thing, specifically the scene where the monster sprouts spider legs and runs off.
Other little 1980s nods I caught were Dustin ala Die Hard, Max and Eleven doing glamour shots, Cary “As you wish” Elwes as Mayor Kline and toned, aerobicized posteriors.
So, what 80s references stood out to you from the ST3 trailer? And if your 4th of July celebration is a little too hot then keeping cool with Stranger Things 3 sounds like a good way to beat the Summer heat. As for me, watching ST3 will be like celebrating my birthday a few days early, since I was originally due on July 4, 1985.