Sure, the special effects in Stranger Things 3 were impressive, with exploding rats and a spider-y Mind Flayer and powerful Russian lasers trying to re-open the portal into the Upside Down. But…did you notice the endless stacks of bright ’80s clothes in The Gap at Hawkins’ problematic Starcourt Mall? The attention to detail in said mall, from the Orange Julius to the Jazzercise to the Burger King, was spot-on throughout.
The Los Angeles Times offers an in-depth trip on the mall time machine, explaining how “Gwinnett Place Mall, a shopping center in suburban Atlanta that has seen better days,” was transformed into the impressively neon Starcourt, which involved gutting and restoring about 40 different restaurants and stores. For a more sentimental exploration, though, check out eighetiesbaby.net, where writer John Bilancini compares Starcourt to the massive malls of his youth. Things that check out: JC Penney, Sam Goody, Hot Sam, Claire’s Boutique, and oh god, Esprit.
A little more suspect is Hot Dog On A Stick, which would probably be more of a West Coast thing than hot spot in midwestern Hawkins. We also never learn the name of the lingerie shop, and would there really be a store so unimaginatively named as Camera Repair? Scoops Ahoy, of course, is a fictional franchise, but we heard its best employees got hired away by a video store anyway.