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The Synthwave Revival and Nostalgia Filmmaking

Synthwave, you might not know what it is , but you have definitely heard it before. Sometimes known at Electro-wave it emerged in the 80's as a sub-genre to New-Wave, most notable artists would be bands such as Depeche Mode and of course the legend himself John Carpenter.

Carpenter would often score his own movies with haunting and classic themes such as Halloween, Christine, and his masterpiece The Thing which is still unmatched to this day in my opinion. He has since focussed more on his music more so than film in recent years (for the best really, Vampires was just the worst) and has released a few albums of his signature sound such as Lost themes (linked above) , Classic Themes Redux EP and Lost Themes II. All of which i recommend. 

Nowadays in the culture of rebooting everything we have seen a resurgence of the genre , the first film and soundtrack that really caught my attention was It Follows (2014). A film about a group of teens in what seemed like a Detroit from an alternate dimension where the 70's, 80's, and 90's all got mushed together are forced to deal with being haunted by the worlds worst STD. This film not only borrowed heavily form the works of Carpenter in terms of theme, tone and over-all look but took that "big synth sound" into the 21st century with the soundtrack provided by the American composer and musician Disasterpeace ( a fantastic stage name i might add) who really amped the intensity and over all production quality in comparison to the films it was derived out of. 

Another such film to borrow heavily from the look and sounds of the 80's and early 90's is Turbo Kid (2015) which takes a more fun adventurous sound , more video game / synth-pop like than the dark ominous tones in the films mentioned above. This makes sense because the film is an action adventure thats kind of like a mash up Mad Max 2 and Goonies.

The Netflix hit Stranger Things is a great example of taking the best of genre films from previous decades and creating something quite amazing. If you haven't seen it ( go right now and watch it!) it's pretty much Firestarter + Stand by Me + E.T. + Poltergeist all rolled into one, punctuated by another Synthwave soundtrack by the Austin band  S U R V I V E. Unfortunately the soundtrack isn't available to buy yet, I don't know what the hold up is, but they are missing a real good opportunity to take my money. 

I should mention that by talking about these movies and soundtracks being derivative it is in NO WAY a criticism. I love each and every aforementioned films and fully enjoy a good reboot when done well. I would be a hypocrite as someone who made a career DJing , taking my favourite artists work and filtering it thru my brain to attempt to crate something new and different.  Someone once said "Good artists borrow, great artists steal" there is some debate on who said this, but im sure he or she stole it from some one else.