The other night, my husband and I sat down to watch “Stranger Things” on Netflix. As the title sequence played, something was nagging at me from the murky recesses of my brain. About ten minutes into that first episode, it hit me: the font they used reminded me of Stephen King.
When I was 10 or 11, I found a battered copy of “The Shining” on the school bus. I was hooked, and over the next decade or so, I read nearly every book the man wrote. Needless to say, I was familiar with his work, but more importantly, I was reading many of those novels when they first came out.
That’s why I pinged on the font used in the opening to “Stranger Things.” My husband, brilliant man that he is, Googled “stranger things font” and found this article, which talks about how that the show’s creators wanted the titles to be in the style of “those old vintage Stephen King books.”
Is there anything more satisfying than finding out you were right about something?
Typography is what happens when a graphic artist uses different font types and styles to create a certain look or mood and to bring otherwise boring text to life. On the opening sequence and chapter titles created for “Stranger Things,” the typography is as important to creating the atmosphere of a 1980s sci-fi horror film as the show’s set designs, costumes, hairstyles and makeup.
In a totally unrelated way, that first episode also brought me face to face with one of my biggest grammar peeves: the Oxford comma.
Jill likes reading, stargazing, and kayaking.
See that comma before the word “and”? That’s an Oxford comma. While some people firmly believe in its use, others regard it as superfluous. I believe it’s worse than that; the Oxford comma can actually cause confusion.
Case in point: while my aging brain was percolating on the title sequence of “Stranger Things,” I was met with another surprise. In one of the opening scenes, Winona Ryder enters, dressed in your basic cashier’s smock. I turned to my husband and said, “I thought she was a cop.”
He agreed, so I turned, as I so often do, to the IMDB app on my phone to see what the mix-up was and found this summary:
When a young boy disappears, his mother, a police chief, and his friends must confront terrifying forces in order to get him back.
See that Oxford comma before “and”? It made me and my husband read “a police chief” as what the boy’s mother did for a living rather than as a separate character (who, in turns out, is played very well by David Harbour). Without the Oxford comma, it’s crystal clear that the police chief and the boy’s mother are not the same person. The prosecution rests. Upon reflection, I probably should have known that a small town in Indiana circa 1983 would not have a female police chief, but (say it with me now)…stranger things have happened.