Thursday, December 20, 2018

The Stranger Things 2 Autopsy, Part II - The Weird



INTRODUCTION

Sorry for the delay. I had to move out of my castle! Fall was over and I was about to house myself from the public to usher in the new season by talking about Stranger Things 2 when there was a knock on the drawbridge. This weird couple shows up with a deed and it turns out they owned the place, but they graciously allowed me to stay the night while I packed up my stuff. Long story short, the lady died, it turned out she was the sister to the guy, he buries her in the mausoleum but she breaks out and kills him (because she wasn't dead) and then the whole damn castle collapsed and sank into a bog. I got out just in time.

So here I am back in the country, living in a house in California, and now it's time to talk about Stranger Things 2, Eleven, The Sheriff, Will, Kali, the Thessalhyrdra, the Mind Flayer, other dimensions, string theory, magic, conspiracy theories, quantum physics, government mind control programs and...wow, we have to talk about a lot of subjects. There's so much work to do! What are we doing, and why?

THERE IS NO THEORY

I watched the entire series, had a great time, and realized my whole conspiracy theory operation had been blown up because there wasn't really any theories to talk about. Stranger Things had deep roots in all sorts of scary, mysterious ideas about the government using science to tear apart the world and the human mind to study their contents to completely control it all. The Montauk Project, a conspiracy theory that's pretty big to believe, was the basis for Stranger Things, but the sequel didn't follow that theory all the way, although the work still transmitted other themes from the 70's and 80's regarding government abuse and the harmful effects of technological abuse on the individual.

It's enough to make you scream yourself horse.

Last time I talked about freaky myths that would turn any sane person nuts including theories such as MK Often, MK Search, The Philadelphia Experiment, etc. It's very important to recap at this point, so please be patient if you are already familiar with this material.

According to conspiracy theorists, whistleblowers, former deep state operators and even military veterans, the American government one day decided to take a large naval warship and hit it with so much electricity it would vanish from enemy radar. It didn't.

The story that follows is so scary even Chronenberg would label it as body horror. People vanished, melted, fused into the metal of the ship, and went crazy while the ship itself reappeared many miles away, creating a hole in spacetime that the government didn't know what to do with, which lead to Project Montauk.

BACK TO MONTAUK

It is important to once again mention that the original name for Stanger Things was going to be Montauk. This conspiracy theory is freakin' nuts. Wacky. Crazy. Total sci-fi stream of consciousness babble. What makes it worse is that the chief proponent of the story, Al Bielbek, basically claims to be the soul of another person transported through space and time into the past and then mind controlled to forget everything and...yeah, it's kind of like listening to a story about toys told by a small child who is playing with them.

One key revelation about Montauk that I kind of believe is how the government didn't mean to teleport a ship. They also didn't mean to carve a big battleship-shaped hole out of reality. Using science and psychics researchers supposedly sent people into this hole to find out what was going on, and then the shiznit got real. I'm talking cultural appropriation on a technological scale.

Even more Montauk for your buck.

Although the tunnel only seemed to go so far into the future, researchers (according to books written about the subject that have scary, ominous titles and feature images of bronze horses that mean nothing to people unfamiliar with the occult) found they could carve holes away from it, into the past and into alternate realities and timelines. Some people went insane. Some people died. Some vanished completely. The government kept going because what they got back was worth the body count.

On the other side of the tunnel was, decades into the future, the same operation going on, controlled by the American government sometime in the late 80's. Scientists from the future began to play a very strange, extremely ominous game of ping-pong. The Montauk Project from the future began to send technology to the past for study and improvement. This would affect the future, resulting in improved technology, which they sent back to the past. Over and over again, until the American government had stuff from the future they didn't even understand.

Whistleblowers who make a lot of money working the MUFON circuit claim that at one point, the experiment turned evil. Some powerful, shadowy force began to manipulate the experiment, forcing scientists to do very awful, extremely bad experiments and dark deeds that resulted in a few heroic types to band together and obliterate the entire place with a monster summoned from the very depths of one psyhic person's mind which wreaked havoc, killing people, shutting the portal down from both sides. Good times!

Do you think she could have done that in the first episode?

At the end of Stranger Things 2 (spoiler alert) Eleven confronts the Thessalhydra, shuts the portal and basically fixes the problem that necessitated the need for the existence of the scientific research facility. This is somewhat similar to the end of The Montauk Project, if you believe THAT story. Portal closed, no more tunnel, no more monsters.

Except that at the end of the last episode, it's clear that other dimension is still there, and the Thessalhydra is stll there, waiting to invade, corrupting the land, haunting Will. It's clear that in the world of Stranger Things, that other dimension is not the future, but a parallel universe. Characters that enter this parallel reality affect the real dimension on the other side. Christmas lights go off, they can be faintly heard, etc. So it can't be the future, it is now, just a terrible version of now, where everything is decaying, rotting and apparently sentient, trying to invade, corrupt and conquer.

Now we know why The Great Pumpkin didn't show up, Charlie Brown.

What happened in Stranger Things is obviously a rapid departure from the OG source material. Because of this I pretty much have to drop the whole conspiracy theory bit because it no longer applies. That's it! End of blog post. Bye!

Except that last time I did not just talk about conspiracy theories, I also talked about themes, the occult, string theory and on and so forth. One glaring aspect of the Netflix series is that at no place and time does anyone say, "Hey, I know a Catholic priest that could pull off an exorcism," or "Let's go to the library and find out if there are any books about the occult that can help us." No Shamans, no Wiccans, just people yelling "Jesus Christ!" and a whole bunch of D&D references combined with a little quantum physics.

Of course, one large reason we all like Stranger Things is the film references, including themes other films from the past also possessed. Hollywood has always had a dark obsession with American government military operations that explored other dimensions, extraterrestrials, and the occult. Do not attempt to adjust your television, I'm about to take you to the outer limits of The Outer Limits.


LESLIE CLARK STEVENS IV

In contrast to The Time Tunnel, where the government knows that the military and some strange agency was going back and forth into the past and is pretty cool with it, the stuff going on in The Outer Limits occasionally causes the people encountering the results of their scientific journey into the unknown to realize that it's time to pull the plug before the experiment destroys mankind or whatever. The origins of The Outer Limits are scary, in fact, it's a conspiracy theory into itself.

When you watch The Twilight Show anything can happen in that magic, The Devil, witchcraft, the occult and the supernatural exist side-by-side with stories about aliens, space travel, scientists and the like. In The Outer Limits, at least for the fist two seasons, deals entirely with science and the effects of studying other dimensions, planets and extraterrestrials, or in some cases extradimensionals. The groups doing this stuff are usually scientists working for the military, and therefore the U.S. Government, similiar to the main characters of The Time Tunnel. Over and over again, evil forces employ science to do something bad, and the military industrial complex is right there, either causing it, investigating it, or trying to shut the whole machine down.

Leslie Clark Stevens, IV was a lion in the Hollywood industry with deep, deep ties to the military. He himself was a military veteran who became a captain at the age of 20 in the Army, and his father was an Admiral in the Navy. Over and over again in books related to conspiracy theories (check out www.disinfo.com, it's great for well-researched occult and alternative science wackiness), the story is that Leslie Clark Stevens, IV was simply working for a group of shadowy deep state operatives that were trying to get the word out about what was really going on in the military bases funded by taxpayers but far, far away from their awareness, understanding or oversight.

The Outer Limits

My point is that in Stranger Things, Hawkins is always behind the bad stuff. They caused everything, when you really think about it. The show and it's sequel aren't just about other dimensions, people with powers and weird monsters, it is also about the Franz Kafka horror of a corporatist military industrial complex entity doing what it wants, spying on people, killing everyone and getting away with it. Paul Reisner does a great job of (spoiler alert) cleaning up the mess and helping to control the portal, but we still have no idea of knowing how loyal, or good, he really is.

This theme is prevalent in many other works in the 80's, such as The Entity, Dreamscape or Poltergeist where science studies the occult and runs away screaming, just as it was a theme throughout the decades shows like The Time Tunnel, Twilight Zone, The Outer Limits and other films where science encounters the dark side of reality and takes it on...only to agree that such great knowledge is too much for the public at large, leading to silence, secrets, rumors and finally conspiracy theories. This was a generation that had seen thousands of people die in The Vietnam Conflict after JFK got his head blown off. You are probably not going to trust the government if you grew up with that on the television, and never forget that JFK was an officer in the Navy, too.


By the way, have you noticed I keep mentioning The Time Tunnel, but I'm not really talking about it? Have you noticed the parallels between the story behind The Montauk Project and the premise behind that show? Did you also notice that the shows seems to take place somewhere in the desert, so it's probably Area 51? I don't have to tell you everything, you know. Sometimes you must think for yourself.

SILKWOOD

I watched Stranger Things 2 and thought to myself, "Silkwood." That movie was a big deal when I was growing up, and it is about the corporatist abuse of nuclear power that goes so unchecked it poisons the earth and kills people. To cover up their mistakes, the government entity kills Karen Silkwood and silences whistleblowers. When the media or the law tries to find out more about what's happening, the company simply says, "National security," and the crime goes unpunished. You can't really trust the government, in Silkwood, and you can't really trust the government in Stranger Things. Welcome to the 80's, The Vietnam Conflict had just ended and people were still paranoid. After all, The Cold War wasn't over, yet.

It was a hit and everybody knew it.

The nuclear power plant in Silkwood is not too much different than the Hawkins facility. Both are slowly poisoning the land, killing people, and Karen Silkwood decides to spy on the company within. The power plant destroys her life, and the government gets away with it. Of course, Will's mother is also similar to Karen Silkwood, but the theme remains the same. Incredible power requires incredible responsibility...and the final horror is that the government cannot be trusted to wield that power while at the same time respecting human life.

So that's one parallel. You can see it in many science fiction films throughout the 80's. Hell, Alien and Aliens also have the same theme running through them. You can't trust the corporation, they will sacrifice you to bring forth monsters to use as weapons of war and sell the technology to the military. When they were creating Eleven and studying her powers at Hawkins, it wasn't to make the world a better place through peace, love and understanding. It was to help destroy the U.S.S.R. 

Note the reptilian nature of the villain in Dreamscape.

Dreamscape is very, very similar to Stranger Things in this way. I highly suggest you watch it. Of course, Escape from Witch Mountain also features a simliar theme. As does Firestarter, another book by Stephen King, who is a huge influence on the show. "The Mist" deals with the aftermath of a research project gone bad, and that work was certainly a huge regerence to H.P. Lovecraft. The government is selfish, murderous and has a monstrous hunger for knowledge. It occasionally screws up, their mistakes escape, the word gets out, and somebody stops the scientific program before it does more damage. Yadda yadda yadda, etc.

Stay tuned next time (very soon), true believers, when I delve deeper into ST. We are going to talk about conspiracy theories and conspiracy theorists. You'll read about the path of the hero and how Eleven's journey is another theme from the past we can study to understand the present and predict the show's future. Until then, bye kids, and have fun storming the castle!


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