HOLLYWOOD—“Stranger Things” is one of Netflix’s exclusive shows, and it is perfect if you are a horror film fanatic like me! The show is set in the 1980s and has all the cheesiness one could hope for from an 80s horror movie.
We begin with “Chapter One: The Vanishing of Will Byers” on November 6, 1983 in the Hawkins National Laboratory. A scientist goes running down dimly lit hallways as alarms sound in the background. He is able to enter the elevator without anything following him, or so he thinks. Unnatural creepy laughter sounds from above him and he is snatched up.
Onto four boys named Will, Mike, Dustin and Lucas playing a role-playing game in the basement. Mike’s mom tells the boys it is time to go home since it is a school night. As the kids prepare to leave Will tells Mike in the role-playing game he plans to use a dangerous spell instead of a protection one.
As Will, Dustin and Lucas separate to their different homes the audience is left alone with Will as he rides his bicycle past the Hawkins National Laboratory. All of a sudden, Will sees a large man-like creature in the road and crashes his bicycle in the woods. The creature menacingly follows him home where he is alone. He is chased to the shed out back and as he tries to load the gun the light in the shed grows bright, the creature appears behind him, and they both disappear.
In the morning, Will’s mom, Joyce, played by Winona Ryder, and his older brother, Jonathan, discover Will is missing. The boys arrive at school and also discover Will’s disappearance. Joyce shows up at the police station to confront Chief Hopper who is convinced that Will’s disappearance is nothing more than him hiding out at his estranged father’s home.
Not only does this TV show have 80s style horror, it has 80s style romance! Mike’s older sister, Nancy, is having some sexual tension with her “cool” boyfriend Steve.
Back at the Hawkins Laboratory some men in suits arrive, with the leader appearing to be an older man with white hair, and get dressed in radioactive suits before entering the quarantine area. They enter a room where a vine-like, pulsing thing is attached to a wall and apparently a mysterious girl is missing. The missing girl is barefoot in the woods dressed in a patient’s robe. She sneaks into a diner to steal some food, but the chef catches her.
Back at Hawkins Middle School, Mike, Lucas and Dustin are excited when their biology teacher surprises them with a radio to play with. Their excitement is short-lived when the principal and Chief Hopper pull them aside for questioning. The boys tell Hopper what road Will uses to get home, but they are not pleased when they are not allowed to help in the search for Will.
The chef makes some food for the girl and tries to get some information from her, but she won’t talk. The chef notices a tattoo on her wrist, “011,” and asks her about it. She says “eleven” and points to herself. As the chef calls child protective services, the girl stops a squeaky fan with her mind.
As the cops look along the road for Will they find his crashed bicycle and bring it back to Joyce and Jonathan. Hopper begins searching their property for Will and in the shed the light goes out, Hopper sees a shadow, but the light suddenly comes back on. Hopper sets up a search party to comb the forest that very night. During the search, we find out that Hopper once had a child named, Sarah, who died a few years ago.
Social services arrive at the diner for the girl, but we realize that these people are not actually from social services when they shoot the chef. The girl is somehow able to kill two of the men in suits and runs away as the white haired older man arrives.
At Will’s house, Joyce and Jonathan are trying to find a good “missing person” picture for Will. The phone rings and Joyce answers. She hears what she thinks is Will’s breathing, then that unnatural creepy laughter before electricity runs through the phone and shocks her hands.
Mike, Lucas and Dustin sneak out of their respective homes to search for Will as Steve sneaks into Mike’s home to try to get closer to Nancy. It starts to pour rain as they search the dark forest. Rustling scares them, but instead of coming face to face with the monster or Will, they find the mysterious girl.
Horror, mystery, romance and all the 80s nostalgia! What more could I ask for of “Stranger Things”? The recap for episode two will be here Friday.