In the 1980s, the only way to skip past the commercials was to walk to the fridge to get a can of Tab. As such, advertisers didn’t have to be too creative with their ad campaigns and yet, we still got some pretty iconic commercials from that era. Naturally, my favorite were the Halloween commercials. So stroll down the lane of television commercials from Halloween past, would you?
Before Spirit Halloween and Amazon, there was Woolworth’s and Ben Cooper costumes. Come October, the shelves would be stacked with neatly organized boxes that promised a plastic mask and apron in sizes S, M and L. If you’re lucky, you might also happen upon a copy of “Sounds to Make You Shiver.”
While this was technically 1990, it’s still a relic of the era.
Another one from the very early 90s (1991), this one is, like the Easter Seals commercial, one that very much holds true to the spirit of the 80s. Honestly advertisers, if you put more Frankenstein in your ads, you’d probably have less folks hitting that “skip ad” button these days.
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By the time the fireworks started popping on July 4th, most of you Strangers had finished bingeing Stranger Things season 3. My plan had been to hop right on here and write up my own review and have it in the queue to publish in the morning.
What I wasn’t expecting was to be emotionally drained when the credits rolled. Each season of Stranger Things has left me bouncing off the walls, giddy as all get out and ready to rush into tons of discussion. This season left me “needing a moment” to get my thoughts together.
So before I jump off into spoilers, I’ll give you this quick spoiler-free nugget: Stranger Things Season 3 is a triumph of storytelling. It’s on-par with the first season and, in some ways, surpasses the perfection of season one in its scope and themes.
Now, if you haven’t watched Stranger Things Season 3, you might want to stop here and go watch it, because beyond here, there be spoilers, matey.
Whatever qualms I may have had in my first review about The Chilling Adventures of Sabrina being too “cute” for its atmosphere melted away with this episode. What began as awkwardness with Sabrina and her friends is turning into charm as we get to know the characters better.
And with episode 2, the series also crossed into that land that all Netflix series yearn to travel to: it became bingeworthy. Had I not promised myself I would write each post before going to the next episode, I would have sprinted right on to episode 3.
As we step into Episode 2, Sabrina is hurtling toward her 16th birthday, Halloween and her dark baptism. If you’re keeping score, that makes for one helluva Halloween party.
Sabrina has a choice to make. Her aunts, particularly the nightmarish Aunt Zelda (portrayed perhaps a bit too convincingly by Miranda Otto), would seem to have Sabrina believe there is no choice. But it’s clear from the fretting these two are doing and the attempts of the high priest Father Blackwood to convince her that she must sign the Book of the Beast that there’s a lot of worry that Sabrina will make the wrong choice.
The fun thing about this series is that there’s no clear-cut villains or heroes. For instance, it’s clear that Hilda loves Sabrina, but she’s also terrified of her sister (and with good reason, you’ll see). Even Madam Satan and the Weird Sisters wind up exacting much needed justice against those who deserve it (granted, it serves them to do so).
The other truly fun thing about this series is that it’s a series out of time. I love anachronistic settings, as I’ve mentioned before, and use them in my own creative endeavors. And Greendale is obviously a place out of time. The 1960s have a tight hold on the aesthetics of the town, but Ambrose has a laptop. He also is familiar with Neil Gaiman, Alan Moore, and Grant Morrison.
Perhaps it’s just Ambrose that’s out of time. Though, with Ros mentioning modern social concepts such as the “patriarchy” and “intersectionality” and those terms being met with familiarity and not confusion, it can’t just be Ambrose that’s out of time.
And speaking of Ambrose, he is HANDS DOWN my favorite character. Which makes me fear for him. When he confronted Father Blackwood, I feared for him. STAY SAFE, AMBROSE.
The Halloween party was a thing of beauty. From the lighting to the decor to that fabulous cake, which I’m so going to make. And having all the kids dancing to Monster Mash? Well, friends, we have a winner.
Obviously, the pinnacle of this episode is Sabrina’s Dark Non-Baptism. A beautiful spectacle that eventually culminates in Sabrina becoming enemy #1 on Satan’s list and a young girl going up against the Dark Lord Lucifer? Honey, I’m here for it.
There is one thing that I could truly live without when it comes to TCAOS and that’s the freaking focus tricks.
We get it. Something is off about Greendale. Sabrina is in a maze of mystery. Yep. Got it. How about not making it hard to view just to get that point across?
I’m all for artistic license but not at the expense of making your art less accessible.
Still, for all its weird and (in my opinion) unnecessary visual tricks, Sabrina is a series that’s shaping up to be a fun, spooky diversion for those who like their Halloween served all year long. Like me.
Also if you abbreviate TCAOS, it’s almost “TACOS”. Can we just call it tacos? Because I like tacos and I also like this show.
Recently, I was able to take a trip down to the Atlanta metro area and check out some of the filming locations for the hit Netflix series (and one of my favorites), Stranger Things. I haven’t had many opportunities to visit the locations of shows or movies that I love, so it was a surreal experience. Let me show you around.
I’m a pretty meticulous travel planner. I suffer from anxiety and traveling can sometimes trigger it. One thing I’ve found that makes it much easier to deal with is just planning the crap out of my trip. That’s what I did here and it worked out splendidly. Given our route in, it made the most sense to make our first stop Hawkin’s Police Station.
Hawkin’s Police Station Location 8499 Courthouse Square West Douglasville, GA 30134
I’m honestly not sure what the actual purpose of this building is when it’s not being used as a filming location. I’ve since learned that it was also used in Stan Vs. Evil, which I had started a good while before taking the trip, but never finished.
The building itself is directly across from a busy church, so keep that in mind when you go. You may want to avoid Sundays when visiting this location.
Palace Arcade Location 6501 Church St. Douglasville, GA 30134
If you’re planning on taking the tour in the same order that I did, be aware that the arcade isn’t far from the “police station” location. The police station location is just off Church Street, so once you’ve finished visiting the police station, you can get right back onto Church (take a left from Courthouse Square West back onto Church) and you’ll eventually run into the arcade on the left.
As of 10/06/2018, the exterior facade was still mostly intact on the arcade, save for the signage. Looking through the window, I could see the interior matched as well, though it had been gutted and was a bit messy. If you stand near the arcade door and look to your slight left, you’ll see the same view Will sees when he steps outside the arcade (sans Mindflayer).
Tiffany’s Kitchen aka Benny’s Burgers 7413 Lee Rd Lithia Springs, GA
By far, this was the highlight of my tour. Tiffany’s Kitchen, the location of Benny’s Burgers, is a working restaurant that’s open to the public 7 days a week. While there have been some changes to the interior since Season One was filmed, you’ll find that there’s still a lot of similarities to Benny’s.
I sat right at the table pictured in the right corner of this photo. Technically, the chairs were not the same, but it did not spoil the surrealness of the moment. It actually felt as if I were sitting in the world of one of my favorite TV shows and, I’m sure some will think me a total nerd for saying it, but it was absolutely amazing for me.
As far as the food, Tiffany’s features pretty standard greasy spoon diner fare along with a surprisingly large selection of desserts. I typically don’t eat beef, but I had to make an exception and order what I have termed an “Eleven Special.” It’s not listed that way on the menu, but it wouldn’t be a bad idea.
For a cheap burger and fries? It was pretty darn tasty. The staff was friendly and invited me to take as many photos as I liked. I also had a slice of Key Lime Pie, which was also nothing to sniff at.
Most of those dining were locals and/or regulars, so don’t be surprised if you feel a bit “off” at first when you start looking around and taking photos. As we tucked into our meal, we noticed another group come in and start taking photos, so there’s also a good chance you’ll run into other fans.
Seeing Tiffany’s aka Benny’s gave me a lot of “wow” moments as a fan. It seems like a pretty simple thing – a simple, non-descript diner not far off the interstate – but if you’ve watched the series as many times as I have, it will be a truly rewarding experience.
Bradley’s Big Buy 504 Center St. Palmetto, GA 30268
After Tiffany’s, we made for our hotel and got some much-needed rest with the intention of getting up early and hitting this location as soon as it opened. In Stranger Things S1, Bradley’s is where Eleven causes a stir by stealing some Eggos. You’d think that Hawkins was pretty low key with how much attention this gets from the cops, but then, it’s fair to say that only one cop truly knows about the whole Demogorgon problem.
Like Tiffany’s, the interior and exterior are much the same as they are in the series. Of note is that Bradley’s is actually a Piggly Wiggly. I came to Bradley’s with two goals in mind: get some pictures and get some Eggos.
As you can see, the location looks pretty much the same. What wasn’t the same was the location of the Eggos. They were actually on the opposite side.
According to their Facebook page, this location also has some pretty famous shoppers from time to time, including Andrew Lincoln, Jeffrey Dean Morgan, and Norman Reedus.
Bethany Cemetery (Location of Will’s “Funeral”) Rivers Road Fayetteville, GA
In the South, it can take a long time for fall to take hold. As such, in early October, the trees and grass were still in full bloom when I visited this location, so it looks somewhat different from when it was filmed. I don’t know exactly when this scene was shot, but I suspect it had to be close to January given that the trees were completely bare and the grass was brown.
While I did explore some, I took care to mind my step out of respect for the families of those buried here. If you go, there’s a paved pathway that you can use to walk into the cemetery. Likely where Jonathan was parked when he shows Nancy the gun in the glove compartment.
Hawkin’s Middle School 109 S Lee St Stockbridge, GA 30281
So this was fun. When I arrived here, there were three cop cars camped out. I immediately felt nervous. Had someone been caught trespassing and they were camped out trying to ward people off? I took my chances and pulled in.
I’m still not sure why they were there, but I talked to them and let them know why I was there and that I was a huge fan of the show. They were very nice and told me it wouldn’t be a problem to let me look around so off I went.
What might not be immediately apparent when watching the show is that Hawkins Middle and Hawkins High are actually the same location. This does explain why I sometimes found the interiors confusing while watching, however.
I was disappointed to discover, upon looking into the window of one of the doors, that the interior has been painted. Boooooo. The area behind the “Hawkins Middle School” building where Mike, Lucas, and Dustin confront the bullies has also been painted.
I loved seeing the painted “Hawkins Middle School” lettering on the building when I drove up, even with the cop cars parked outside. I wasn’t expecting it to still be there, so it was a nice surprise.
Melvald’s General Store (and pretty much all of Downtown Hawkins) 4 2nd St Jackson, GA 30233
Of all the places I visited, I think this one was the most jarring. When watching Stranger Things, I always got the sense that this was another one of those out of the way small downtown areas that populate the highways of America.
In reality, Jackson, Georgia, the location of the downtown filming locations, is still pretty close to Atlanta and, as a result, there’s a lot of busyness surrounding it. It’s almost as if it exists in spite of itself.
I was surprised to see that the facade on Melvald’s was there. Having seen photos after filming, it appeared to have been removed at some point, but I know they had recently filmed a lot of scenes for Season Three, so it makes sense that it would return.
Bob Newby’s Radio Shack is also there, abandoned. Melvald’s, which was once “Jackson Drugs,” but closed shortly after Season One premiered, is also vacant. Across the street from Melvald’s is the building that’s shown as the exterior of the library where Hopper goes to research Terry Ives.
What’s interesting is that there’s a vaping shop near the square, which can be seen in several shots during the altercation between Joyce and Jonathan following the scene at the morgue. I can only assume that the shop owners didn’t want to cover their sign during filming and the production just went with it, hoping people wouldn’t notice the anachronism.
One of the pivotal scenes that takes place downtown is the altercation between Steve and Jonathan. I knew that the alleyway was just down the road from Melvald’s so after taking a stroll past Joyce’s workplace and Bob’s Radio Shack, I set out to find that alleyway.
There’s no theater here, however. The theater exterior where “All the Right Moves” was playing was simply a facade that was removed after filming. Bummer.
There were a few places I wanted to check out that I didn’t have time to get to such as Hawkin’s Laboratory (located at Emory), the quarry (which is closed) and the railroad tracks where Steve and Dustin drop the meat to lure the Demodog. I’m definitely going to have to take a trip back to see these places as well.
Planning a trip to see any famous movie or television locations soon? Let me know in the comments where you’ll be headed.
This post contains affiliate links from which I may receive compensation. For full disclosure, please visit my disclosure page.
It may be that we’re in a creepy television renaissance. For years, there was a bit of a drought with only a few series populating the landscape, such as The X-Files.
But lately, there’s been no shortage of good, creepy fun thanks to the rise of streaming services such as Netflix, Amazon Prime, and Hulu. While The Chilling Adventures of Sabrina isn’t new, having debuted a few months back, it’s still pretty fresh and I hadn’t had the chance to watch it yet. Having finally settled down to do an episode by episode review of the new series, I can say that, as of episode 1, I am intrigued.