Reminiscing about the 1980s culture


Notes from the Upside Down: An Unofficial Guide to Stranger Things by Guy Adams, US $16.00, Pp 240, August 2017, ISBN 978-1501178030

‘Stranger Things’ became one of the most watched seasons of Netflix soon after it was premiered in July 2016. It continues to dominate the pop culture and Season Two has generated the same level of excitement when the Season Two was premiered on October 27, 2017. In Notes from the Upside Down, Guy Adams takes you inside the world of ‘Stranger Things’ where you learn about the origins of the creepy premise and child auditions and see for yourself how the great music was composed. Guy Adams explains the techniques with references from all the best thriller, horror, and paranormal entertainment into the show that is a rage. In addition to taking you behind the screen of the season One, Guy Adams reminisces about the 1980s culture and puts the show in its historical context and gives the historical background of the music.

The creators of ‘Stranger Things,’ Ross and Matt Duffer are twins and were born in 1984 and grew up in the suburbs of Durham, NC. Guy Adams writes, as any fantasist knows, where you grow up is an easy place to escape from. Ross and Matt Duffer wrote in an essay for Entertainment Weekly that they were pretty ordinary kids growing up in the suburbs of North Carolina, and when they developed a love of the likes of Spielberg, Stephen King, and John Carter. They watched their films and read their books. They wrote, “It made us feel like our rather normal lives had the potential for adventure.” The Duffer Brothers were dreamers and wanted to make movies.

Ross and Matt ended up studying film in California at Chapman University. While studying, they continued making short movies, including ‘We All Fall Down,’ about bubonic plague in 1666, which won Best Short at the Deep Ellum Film Festival in 2005. For their senior thesis, they adapted the short story “Eater” by Peter Crowther, which secured them representation by the Paradigm Talent Agency. They sold a script for their first full-length feature, ‘Hidden,’ to Warner Brothers with both of them attached as directors. Soon noted director M. Night Shyamalan offered them a writer/producer job on the TV show he was developing, ‘Wayward Pines.’ They ended up writing four episodes of the show’s first season and learned a great deal about the process of making television.

The initial inspiration for ‘Stranger Things’ was the 2013 movies Prisoners, starring Hugh Jackman. They did not want their monster to be magical. They wanted the show to be rooted in science rather than the supernatural. This led them to discuss stories of weird scientific experiments conducted during the Cold War, a secret project such as MKUltra. They also came to the realization that setting the show in the eighties would not only fit the style of story they wanted to tell but also allow them to pay homage to their childhood loves. They wrote a pilot script. Now all they had to do was sell it. It was easy to find a production company but they met with rejection after rejection, fifteen to twenty in all. Then they pitched it to Netflix and they bought it within twenty-four hours of the pitch. Slowly the show we know came together, and with the casting, things fell into place even more.

Notes from the Upside Down is an effort to reminisce about the 1980s culture. Guy Adams brings the 1980s culture to life the same way as season ‘Stranger Things’ did. Notes from the Upside Down is as entertaining and enjoyable as ‘Stranger Things.’ Guy Adams is a brilliant writer. After working as a professional actor and comedian, he switched careers and became a full-time writer. Since switching to writing books, he has written more than twenty books. You would love Notes from the Upside Down if you enjoyed ‘Stranger Things.’ If you haven’t watched ‘Stranger Things,’ you will be tempted to watch and enjoy it after reading it. ‘Stranger Things’ will remain hugely entertaining, informative even if you don’t watch ‘Stranger Things’ at all.