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What’s So Scary About the 1980s?

Olivia Barone

Anchor Contributor

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The ‘80s: An era where curfew was dictated by street lights and texting was nothing more than an idea. The thought of this distant time has apparently terrified the current generation, fueling a resurgence in the 1980s aesthetic within the horror genre of the film industry. The ‘80s takeover is showing no sign of slowing down since creating a new audience hooked on this new kind of eerie nostalgia.

In recent years, several projects pertaining to this ‘80s theme have risen to popularity; including the world-dominating, “Stranger Things.” Producers Matt and Ross Duffer have since set a stage built in 1983, when an other-worldly force begins to seep into the little town of Hawkins, Indiana. The misfit heroes of the story, a group of young teens, are known to conquer evil with the help of walkie-talkies, riding into battle on their bikes. With a complete lack of instant-messaging, the main characters encounter communication troubles in dire situations and often struggle to coordinate plans. The lacking technology of the decade allows for easy-access to these heart-lurching situations, as television sets fade out into static, and flashlights flicker on and off in the face of danger. The 1980s was a decade unlit by screens, a time where answers couldn’t be accessed by clicking a series of buttons, leaving the adventurers of the film scene lost in the horror of mystery.

The 2018 film, “Summer of ‘84” suggests a familiar theme where a group of adolescent boys investigate the disappearance of their neighbor. Having found out about the missing boy via the back of a milk carton, the group is tasked with spending their nights spying on their primary suspect: a local police officer. During this, the situation grows dangerous for both them and their lost friend. The film is veiled behind the excitement of an impending summer in the ‘80s for a group of teens left unattended by their parents. 1980s culture encouraged childhood independence, creating a time where kids ran unsupervised through their neighborhoods. This freedom encourages a perfect setting for the horror genre: an environment where the villain of any story can haunt their victims, a recurring theme in most horror and science-fiction films.

As the ‘80s make a grand return within the realm of fiction, a subculture of the horror genre is being shown in a new light. Mirroring the incredible thrillers of the ‘80s like “A Nightmare on Elm Street” and “Friday the 13th,” this new resurgence in ‘80s horror-culture has reminded generations both new and old of the terrors that lie in the dark. Ultimately, the distant world of the 1980s has proven again and again to be an ideal place for nightmares to thrive, opening the floodgates for a whole new realm of horror.



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