Features and Columns · Movies

What ‘Summer of 84’ Gets Right About 80s Nostalgia

Hahaha, wait, where are the fun synths and cute nods to E.T.?
Summer Of Milk Carton
By  · Published on August 15th, 2022

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.

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Meg Shields is the humble farm boy of your dreams and a senior contributor at Film School Rejects. She currently runs three columns at FSR: The Queue, How'd They Do That?, and Horrorscope. She is also a curator for One Perfect Shot and a freelance writer for hire. Meg can be found screaming about John Boorman's 'Excalibur' on Twitter here: @TheWorstNun. (She/Her).