Around the corner and down a few blocks from the Hawkins Police Department building Team Steve’s next stop was actually a season 2 shooting location that we’ve all seen in the first Stranger Things 2 trailer released earlier this year at San Diego ComiCon. (By the way, I never know if it’s ComiCon, Comic Con, or Comiccon. Though I’m pretty sure it’s not the latter of those three.) This would be the first of two season 2 locations we would see. The second provided some levity and was actually the beginning of the end of my hope for those elusive jumbo wings and tenders. It’s the height of triumph, tragedy, and getting a really good look at just how much (or maybe how little) goes into dressing sets and making something feel bigger or or more spacious than it may actually be. This is the continuing story of the Stranger Things expedition….
Season 2 Locales
Let’s begin with a quick rewatch of that first Stranger Things 2 trailer we were given a few months back. In it, we are introduced to our heroes by way of their trip to the arcade and their attempt to defeat one of the hardest video games ever to grace an arcade – Dragon’s Lair. Before we watch though, has anyone ever tried to talk about the game Dragon’s Lair and the movie Dragon Slayer at the same time? In the south in the 80’s it could cause a bit of confusion. Here’s that great first look at Stranger Things 2:
The arcade set is a building located in Douglasville, GA not far from where the building used for the Police Station is located. Unfortunately, by the time we made our trek to the Douglasville the Arcade sign had been taken down and all that was left was the
pole upon which it once sat. The building itself however still bore the very 80’s paint scheme with colors that would attract kids to come inside and lose themselves one quarter at a time to flashing lights, screens filled with dots to eat and ghosts to avoid, and any number of heroic if not strange-looking characters all controlled with the push of a joystick, the press of a button, or the spinning of a control ball.
One of the features of the building’s paint scheme that is visible when Will steps outside of the arcade, even under all of the vines and stuff that are apparently a part of The Upsidedown, is the point where the orange and purple (some may say blue) lines zig zag in a very lightning bolt or eighties rock album type pattern. The design is very much in line with the feel of electronic gaming in the eighties. It makes one think immediately of electricity, or science fiction ray gun, or technology, or just a cool design that makes it perfectly acceptable to be seen hanging out at this place. Of course, in the early 80’s arcades were perfectly acceptable hang outs for everyone, and not the novelties that they are today. As previously stated, the paint scheme was still there and just standing by it made me feel like I was being transported back to a simpler…scratch that…MORE GLORIOUS time. (Let’s face it, the greatest decade in history was the 80’s.)
The interior was really interesting to me personally as it seemed that only part of the flooring was finished to look like it belonged in an arcade setting. The rest looked to be possibly untouched and where cameras would be located for filming the boys’ 8 bit (or was it 16 back then?) adventures. The part of the flooring that is finished though did receive a call from Chuck E. Cheese to be told it was needed back at work. Notice the shots of the boys playing video games are mostly filmed from the back of the arcade looking towards the windows that we were looking into. One of the fun things about this trip was figuring out where things would have been set up and how they would move around and film the scenes to make the areas feel a bit bigger in many instances.
On a personal note, one of the things that captured my imagination was the door that Will walks out in the preview versus the door that was actually in it’s place. In fact, the entire wall from the door towards the front of
the building was replaced with big windows and the door that Will walks out of is a typical “pull/push” door. (I believe that’s what they call them in the construction industry.) What is there now is more of a sliding glass door situation. It’s at this point that I began to check all the doors to see if there was a way inside. (This is a theme that is explored on the
podcast. I usually was the last person to feel comfortable in a place, but the first person in the team to
be willing to break a rule or two to see all that we wanted to see. Check out the upcoming episode of Geek Out Loud (Episode 221) recorded on the road and in the hotel room, and in some instances as things were happening during the expedition itself.)
Another fun thing we noticed that is evident in the pictures of the building itself is one of the poles holding up the front awning is bent. This was obviously done before set dressing on the building began for shooting as the bent pole can clearly be seen in the establishing shot of the front of the arcade. As the trip progressed, we all began noticing little details like this and comparing them to screen shots we had on hand, and then we remembered we live in a day and age where we can pull up high definition video on our phones and actually see the scenes being used by the actors in the show itself. It’s the little things. Click on all the pictures in these posts to see larger versions, zoom in, and have some of the fun we had comparing screen shots and footage to what we were actually seeing in person.
The arcade wasn’t the only season 2 filming location we visited. While the arcade was a day one visit, on day two we found ourselves on a country road outside of Jackson, GA to take some pictures of one shot from the above trailer. Head to the next page to read about that adventure and see the shots we got of the road leading towards Hawkins (which seems to be in a lot of trouble).
Note: to get to the next page, scroll below the comment box, and you will see the pages there…I’m not sure why it’s way down there.