When Arnold Schwarzenegger said "I'll be back," in 1984's The Terminator, he wasn't referring to resurrecting his role in the sequels. However, 2003 seems to be the next installment of the 1980s, and not just because the Terminator is now the governor-elect of California.
The '80s are everywhere: on fall fashion runways and toy-store shelves, in film and on television, in the new wave of synthetic pop music, and in a revival of interest in now-ancient video games.
VH1's I Love the 80s retrospective series was such a hit, it's back with still more big-haired nostalgia in a new series, I Love the 80s Strikes Back, which airs frequently.
Fashion houses such as Versace, Dolce & Gabbana, Gucci and Tommy Hilfiger have taken to the Reagan era by adding punk and graphic prints to their fall collections. The styles worn by Pat Benatar and Jennifer Beals two decades ago are back in retail stores across the nation. Shoppers can't escape leggings and tapered pants, bangle bracelets, black jeans, miniskirts, thick and colored pantyhose, and endless chains and zippers.
It's not just high fashion that's jumped on the craze. Isaac Mizrahi, who became a renowned fashion designer in 1987 under the watch of Chanel, is designing a moderately priced clothing line for women at Target.
So why the 1980s _ and why now?
"Because there's nothing else. We sort of eat things up and spit them out so quickly that we've run out of trends and culture to satiate our endless appetite," said Randy Barbato, co-producer, co-writer and co-director of the '80s-themed film Party Monster.
The movie explores the dangers of excess in the 1980s, based on the true story of Michael Alig, a Midwesterner who made a name for himself in Manhattan's club scene. He and his friends were known as Club Kids, 14- to 30-year-olds who spent their days creating glam outfits and their nights showing them off.
Eventually, the drugs and the attention led Alig, played by Macaulay Culkin, to kill a friend.
"It's the story of our country's intoxication with celebrity, of someone who so badly wants to be someone important that he's driven to do something horrific," Barbato said.
Another appeal of the '80s, Barbato said, was its unabashed focus on consumption.
"Consumerism was a good thing; greed was good. . . . We're all wanting so much for America to be as heroic and as strong and as rich as we remembered it. The '80s was it, when everyone was swooshing around, consuming caviar and champagne," he said.
And wearing loud '80s clothes.
Melissa Wdowiak, women's clothing manager for Urban Outfitters, said wide leather belts and plastic, circular earrings are popular. So are T-shirts with large logos. Big for fall, she said, are tight pants cinched near the ankles and zippers all over pants and jackets.
The vivid colors popular 20 years ago are a must-have once again, said Keith Wagner, a Nordstrom fashion manager.
Wagner said the sweaters are a modern version of the Flashdance look, not asymmetrical, but just slightly off-the-shoulder. Jennifer Lopez may have fueled the craze for the Flashdance look with her recent video for I'm Glad, an homage to the movie.
The music '80s artists created is still alive, thanks in part to a movement called electroclash, a late '90s reaction against the house music featured in clubs. Bands like Duran Duran are bigger than ever.
Hair and makeup trends for the '80s have also returned. All the female models on the Versace and Chloe runways had big hair, either wavy or textured in some way. Celine models sported matte lips and Versus models wore very colorful eye makeup.
Also returning: Care Bears, the colorful teddy bears that first appeared in 1983. In January, American Greetings re-released Strawberry Shortcake, the red-headed doll that smelled like strawberries and debuted in 1980. Both lines are hot sellers.
Other companies have resurrected classic '80s toys, including Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, Transformers and Garbage Pail Kids. My Little Pony and Rainbow Brite figures will return to store shelves later this year.
"The 1980s are back! How much do you remember?" is the tagline to a new board game called the 80s Game. Players challenge their memory with 3,000 trivia questions about Wham, the Brat Pack, Miami Vice and Madonna. Current TV shows, such as The Real World and the new Two and a Half Men, are jumping on the trend's bandwagon and featuring the board game.