Welcome to The Queue — your daily distraction of curated video content sourced from across the web. Today, we’re watching a video essay that looks at why Summer of 84 is the scariest reimagining of our 80s nostalgia.
Let’s be honest, the modern 1980s nostalgia thing has run its course, right? Surely we’ve exhausted all possible metatextual nooks and crannies in the wake of Stranger Things. How many more synth scores and blatant nods to E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial can we really take, as a society?
Well, if you’re feeling fatigued by the retro-vibe horror phenomenon of the last decade or so, we do have one final recommendation before you throw in the terry cloth towel for good. If you think horror based on 80s nostalgia is a tired trend, but you haven’t seen Summer of 84, you might just change your tune. Not all 80s throwbacks are created equally, it turns out.
The film, codirected by François Simard, Anouk Whissell, and Yoann-Karl Whissell, follows Davey (Graham Verchere) a young boy whose love of conspiracy theories leads him to suspect that his extremely nice neighbor Wayne (Rich Sommer) is responsible for the recent string of disappearing children. Playing with genuinely dark notions of stranger danger and even the j’accuse perils of the Satanic Panic, Summer of 84 takes off the rose-tinted nostalgia glasses to bring genuine darkness and cruelty to a subgenre that often devolves into “hey, remember this movie?).
For more on why the film rules and deserves a place on your watchlist, check out the video essay below.
Beware light spoilers, and be warned that the end of the video goes into full plot summary territory. So if your interest is piqued, go check the film out and come back when you’re finished!
Watch “Exploring The Bleakest & SCARIEST Reimagining of 80s Nostalgia”:
Who made this?
This video on the 80s nostalgia of Summer of 84 is by Ryan Hollinger, a Northern Irish video essayist who specializes in horror films. Hollinger’s analysis usually takes the shape of a personal retrospective. Indulging in a healthy dose of nostalgia, Hollinger’s videos are contagiously endearing, entertaining, and informative. You can also check out Hollinger’s podcast The Carryout on SoundCloud here. And you can subscribe to Hollinger’s YouTube account here.
More videos like this
- Want to see more of Ryan Hollinger‘s work? Here’s his video on James Gunn‘s underrated and absolutely repellent body horror sci-fi film Slither.
- Here’s another sample of Hollinger’s work: a video on how the found-footage disaster picture The Bay unpacks the horror of inaction during a public health crisis. This video has floated into my mind about once a week over the course of the COVID-19 pandemic. Which, given the film’s parasitic subject matter, is…appropriate.
- And here’s one more video essay from Hollinger, on Dan O’Bannon’s tragic horror-comedy zombie film The Return of the Living Dead.