By VIANCA GAMBOA
With mysteries around Hawkins, Indiana and an alternate dimension that knows the answers, a set of really talented kid and teen actors, queer representation, and homage to ‘80s Hollywood sci-fi, it’s no surprise that Stranger Things quickly grew a cult-following among people of all ages. Netflix viewers are always screaming for more, yearning for a new season even after just bingeing on the latest one.
Well, it took a year and a half for the latest season of Stranger Things to air but it’s now here, and PLDT along with Netflix presented the show’s premiere the best way they know how—by bringing the fictional town of Hawkins to Manila. A four-day pop-up event held at SM Mall of Asia, Atrium from July 4 to 7 transported fans to an immersive ‘80s Halloweentown-esque fun fair that brought Demogorgons and the retro mayhem to life.
Themed booths included Dustin’s Toy Museum, a game of treasure hunt where you need to find some iconic vintage trinkets from the show; the Glamorama booth that lets you mix and match campy ‘80s looks; Scoops Ahoy Ice Cream Shop, where you need to figure out riddles to score free ice cream; the Slingshot Revenge Shooting Gallery that tests your shooting skills in under two minutes; and a VR game where you can dive through Upside Down and defeat Demogorgons, as many as you want (or can)
Everyone took home some exclusive Stranger Things items and ‘80s memorabilia including a classic 8-bit game console, a tote bag, t-shirt, and a printed fanny pack, after taking on the adrenaline-pumping challenges.
Celebrities who are fans of the show like Laura Lehman, Curtismith, Ava Daza, Paolo Valenciano, Katarina Rodriguez, and sisters Alyssa and Gabs Gibbs also joined in on the ‘80s carnival. Apart from enjoying the booths, they also got to test their show smarts with a live pop quiz game. Everyone grooved along to ‘80s hits and the third season’s OST, which played on loop throughout the event.
Third time’s got the ‘80s charm
Stranger Things seems to mend every episode’s complex plots but leave you hanging to patch with your own careful eyes the hazy beelines between the supernatural and the real.
In its maiden season, we witnessed a lab experiment “gone wrong” that opened a portal to a dystopian parallel universe, causing humanoid predators called Demogorgons—creatures who can roam the real world, controlled by an alien-looking entity—to cross realms and wreak havoc to the town of Hawkins.
At the end of the previous season, our heroine, Eleven (Millie Bobby Brown) was able to take down the Demogorgon who killed everyone at the Hawkins National Laboratory.
But, of course, a post-credits scene brought a cliffhanger for the third season—a shadow monster hovering over the city.
The third season is basically the same Stranger Things, except our kids are all kind of grown-up now. The producers seem unapologetical about intensifying the cast’s association with what teenagers are known for: Falling in love with hormone raging, malling, milkshakes, and falling in love (again). You’ll most likely find Eleven making out with Mike (Finn Wolfhard) at some point. After all, these teens are trying to live a normal teenage life in the not-so-normal world of Hawkins, Indiana.
In the latest season, you won’t just be seeking suspense, but rather the show’s nods to ‘80s pop culture. It has a lot of subtle and not-so-subtle obvious references that ‘80s babies would surely recognize, from Alien to Back to the Future.
It’s set in summer, so you can expect teenage mallrat culture to be prominent this season. Their new hang-out place—and possibly where the underlying horrors commence— Starcourt Mall, with its roller disco, neon-lit Dawn of the Dead vibes, is right smack in the middle of a Midwestern small town.
With a soundtrack brimming with funky hits from the likes of Madonna, Patsy Cline, Foreigner, Corey Hart, and The Who, let Stranger Things take you to a nostalgic trip back to the ‘80s.
You can watch Stranger Things on Netflix by linking your PLDT Home subscription to your Netflix account. Visit smart.com.ph/pages/Netflix to find out how.