Fashion, film, and culture are cyclic. Every twenty years or so we’re bound to hark back a previous era. In the 1970s we saw this with 50s films like American Graffiti and Grease, in the 80s we were obsessed with the 60s – Dirty Dancing being a quintessential example – and in the 90s we couldn’t get enough of the 70s, at least if Dazed and Confused, that 70s Show and Boogie Nights are examples to go by. And of course in the 2000s we saw, like clockwork, a growing nostalgia for the 80s. Only, it didn’t really stop. This covered all aspects of culture from mainstream fashion, the synthwave that was a staple music genre of the time, and of course film. The appetite for 80s media has continued to grow indelibly, thanks in part to the rise of streaming services such as Netflix and Amazon, and the ease and speed with which we can consume movies and series at home. And it shows no signs of slowing down.
Below we’ll look at some of the most recent films and shows that continue to contribute to the prevailing 80s zeitgeist.
A sci-fi horror television series that took the world by storm, Stranger Things is a peerless pastiche to 80s genre films and culture in general. Based on the disappearance and investigation of a missing child during the early 1980s, the series draws influences thematically and aesthetically from the works of John Carpenter, Stephen King, Steven Spielberg and many other master storytellers of the decade.
Speaking of Stephen King, the remake of his infamous clown miniseries is just dripping with 80s nostalgia. The original story took place in the late 50s, but director Andy Muschietti chose to bring the story into a (relatively) more modern era. The result is a story that takes place in the late 80s but is still brimming with small-town eeriness, childhood spirit and of course the sheer terror that comes from the malignant being known as It – this time played by Bill Skarsgård instead of Tim Curry.
Who are you gonna call? Paul Feig, that’s who, the director behind the much anticipated (and sometimes slated) Ghostbusters remake. Instead of Bill Murphy at the helm of a ghost-catching team of guys, the 2016 reboot features a mainly female cast led by Melissa McCarthy, with many of the original cast making cameo appearances. While the film takes place in modern-day New York, the fact that it’s even being remade speaks volumes for the demand for 80s sentimentality.