A newly founded word is circulating the world of film; Nostalg~itch of an unknown origin and still seeking final definition, as the current proposed definitions are of contradicting natures. The first a colloquialism referring to a nostalgic itch that needs to be scratched or the second an abbreviation motioning the unrelenting and harsh truth that nostalgia is an impossible and essentially incomprehensible ideal or notion of something that is in essence unattainable. Both of these meanings are rife within the industry and plague both viewer and creator alike and this month like most is a prime example of the two juxtaposing notions.
First up we had Ghostbusters, yes the most disliked trailer potentially ever, with instant backlashes from fans all over, as well as pointless misogynistic attacks on the films cast have tainted the picture. But cast and director stuck by their piece, passionately, yet they had a long uphill struggle ahead of them even without the small minded hate that had been inflicted upon it. A battle a many a current Hollywood films have also faced, thanks to execs constant need to revive or franchise bygone classics, which should remain unsoiled within their blissdom of nostalgia, one to which Ghostbusters should have remained buried to, undisturbed. However Ghostbusters tries very hard to create something new out of something aged, carving out it’s own path yet the original is ever present, even now within modern culture, it’s impact can still be felt. No matter how hard it tried it could never best the true beast at the heart of the films problems; nostalgia. The eyes mist remembering New York being rampaged by the Stay Puft man and finally having to cross the deadly beams to defeat the biggest of bads a flaming marshmallow, I can still hear Murrays indignant cry of disbelief. And Aykroyds struggling attempts at understanding. Nothing can beat it. The new Ghostbusters may evoke such feelings with a new generation and within a new audience but this will only become clear years down the line but the likelihood is it will be forgotten like many films of our time, as the true beauty of film is the ability to share and enjoy in moments together one which the original Ghostbusters will likely never stop giving us.
Nostalgia is a powerful thing and thanks to it it’s no surprise we are in a state of constant remakes and reboots teamed with a more culture savvy and nerd-gastic community of film goers and makers it only seems fitting. We secretly want to see old favourites brought to new light infused with our own delightful ideas, we want to live out our small notions or piece of fan fiction we once wrote and shut away in a book just to give ourselves more, all those adventures we played out with our ‘highly detailed’ action figures, we want to live out our childhood and share it with a new generation. Never has the desire been so great within a generation of film lovers from viewers to makers to go back to those times gone by and pluck away at those now misty eyed ideas we once had. Some of those ideas that were cooked up within our pillow forts, or in the tall towers of tree houses, or our not so secret secret dens, may have been complete childish nonsense but others genius just waiting to be tapped.
And Netflixs’ latest release this month Stranger Things is a perfect example of this, easily and perfectly infusing the ideas and notions of a true boys own adventure ripped straight from the 80’s complete with bikes, D&D, terrible house decor and a pitch perfect synth soundtrack this paired with a modern sci-fi horror filled with big complex ideas makes for a marriage made in heaven. The Duffer Brothers have dreamed up something special while the season climax lacks the conclusion we wanted it is still a prime example of how the idea and notion of nostalgia can be used to create something special, taking the familiar and injecting it with something new, fun and youthful. And most importantly, as soon as that 80’s Carpenter inspired synth title track kicks in we can scratch that burning nostalgic itch but yet sadly it only lasts for a brief moment. And we turn to the sad realisation.
Nostalgia can be a *itch.