United States: Stranger Things
Two super fans of Stranger Things took the logical next step: creating the Upside Down podcast.
Adventures in Hawkins
Super fan sisters Ash and Tori have visited many of the locations from Stranger Things and run the Upside Down Podcast.
What made you decide to start a podcast on Stranger Things?
"We moved to Atlanta right as the show was premiering and learned that we lived really close to where they filmed Hawkins High School and Middle School. Finding these two places was really cool, so we decided to see if we were near any other locations, and we totally were! About 30 minutes away was the location for downtown Hawkins which is the town of Jackson in real life. Think Melvald’s where Joyce works, the alley where Steve and Jonathan fight, the Hawkins Library..."
"A family member noted that we were spending so much time driving to these places and talking to locals about what it was like during filming, that maybe we should record it for other fans to experience with us, so we did. Our first few episodes are so bad! It took some time, but it feels like maybe we have the hang of it now. We were very lucky in that the local film and TV community really stepped up to support us in an epic way. Our podcast is generally us visiting and talking about set locations (so you hear our reactions as we first see the locations), reviewing episodes, and interviewing cast and crew."
What’s the best film location you’ve visited so far?
"All of them because each time was a first and as super fans, it is really exciting. We've been to almost every location that we can legally get to. The Starcourt Mall was really amazing though. It felt like we were walking back in time. We were very fortunate to be given an official tour during filming, so we saw everything in all its 1980s glory."
"The Hawkins Community pool was really neat too. It's actually open to the public for swimming during seasonal hours. The Palace Arcade was amazing. Locals actually thought a cool arcade was coming to the area while it was being built."
Tell us about your interviews with the cast of Stranger Things.
"We've met almost everyone in the cast, but have not interviewed everyone... yet! We’re more excited that they take time to come talk to us. It’s not really nerve racking to talk to guests, it’s more about hoping our equipment doesn’t fail. We have a really DIY set up on a tiny laptop, so not fancy at all. Ha! It's always really cool, but then, you know, they're just people in the end. It's fun to connect."
On your website, you have a section called Fellow Strangers. What's that all about?
"These are fans of the podcast that love following our adventures. They do fan art, go to cons, etc. Anytime we get something from them we like to highlight it or give it to a cast member we interview. That's always fun."
Do you have any additional tips for the fans who are keen to visit some of the locations?
"The best place to visit for a Stranger Things fan is probably the town of Jackson. The locals love fans. Also, their Downtown acts as the Hawkins Library, Hawkins Movie Theater, Melvald's Drugstore, and more. About 25 minutes away is the high school and they are really kind to Stranger Things fans too. Merrill's Farm (where Hopper's Cabin is) is also epic to visit."
"The sad thing is a lot of the locations are something else now. For example, the small town drug store they used is becoming a CVS. The Hawkins Police Department used to be there to view, but the city (Douglasville) just completely remodeled the building. The Palace Arcade was an old laundry mat, but it's up for sale. A lot of the locations are still around, but it's becoming harder and harder to see them in their Stranger Things glory."
To see all the Stranger Things locations you need to take a tour with an experienced company (we had fun with Atlanta Movie Tours), or plan for a couple days. They are all in Georgia, but all over the place, so it takes awhile to get around. Plus, you have to be sure it is a public area and cool to visit."