Not since George Romero’s 1978 DAWN OF THE DEAD has a mall featured so prominently as the backdrop for a Horror story. (Unless you count 1986’s CHOPPING MALL, which we really should, since it’s a wonderfully cheesy 80s Horror “classic”.) Like too many malls today, Gwinnett Place Mall in Duluth, Georgia, wasn’t doing so well. Most of its stores had closed. Parts of it were completely vacant. Then it got transformed into Starcourt Mall for the third season of STRANGER THINGS. Recreated, reborn.
“Gwinnett Place Mall is a large, dying two-level mall with the majority of the storefronts vacant. Because of this the production crew for STRANGER THINGS obviously saw an opportunity to bring their vision of an 80s mall to life here. They took both levels of a large wing of the mall including the completely vacant food court and turned it into a fully recreated 1980s-style mall…By the second week of May 2018, the transformation was complete and filming began on the show.” (Note: I edited this quote from this website for grammatical purposes.)
Today there is a memorial bust of George Romero at the Monroeville Mall in Monroeville, Pennsylvania, where DAWN OF THE DEAD was filmed. Perhaps one day there will be a STRANGER THINGS memorial statue at Gwinnett Place Mall. I hope so. I hope the mall becomes a tourist mecca because of the show, and enjoys a renaissance, a return to its glory days of the 80s. Stranger things have happened.