VERY MINOR SPOILERS FOR A RECENTLY RELEASED FILM
One thing this blog lacks (as of writing) is an “About the Author” page. I’ve thought about it multiple times and even have a draft saved, but so far nothing has felt quite right. Early on I even considered doing a series of posts where I explain my history with the horror genre: from AOL public domain stories posted around Halloween by some guy named “Lovecraft” to The Fear Street Saga, three books that told the history of the cursed town Shadyside. I even still have those books! Well, imagine my surprise when they announced a trilogy of Fear Street movies inspired by the book series of the same name. Hell, they even got Mrs. Leigh Janiak–the director of Honeymoon, one of my favorite movies–to direct all three! These movies were specifically made for me, which is a bit sad cause the first one was… it was fine. It’s fine. It was fine.
Do I need to go over what the Fear Street series was all about? So you’ve heard of Goosebumps, yeah? Well, that’s not the only series RL Stine wrote. While Goosebumps was more or less targeted towards elementary school kids, the Fear Street series was more mature, basically targeted towards high schoolers. There was at least one death in every book which seems quaint now, but I went from Goosebumps to Fear Street at a youngish age, so it was a big deal for me. Recurring sagas included the aforementioned The Fear Street Saga along with Fear Street Cheerleaders, but most of the books were one-offs taking place in Shadyside, specifically near the titular Fear Street. There was also the Ghosts of Fear Street series which was sort of a bridge between Goosebumps and Fear Street for middle schoolers, but RL Stine didn’t actually write those books, so fuck ’em.
But almost none of that appears in Fear Street: 1994, AKA Fear Street Part 1: 1994. It’s an original story based loosely on the original series, and I don’t think anyone even mentions Fear Street? It may have been a road sign in the background, but the first film is more about how the spirit of hanged witch Sarah Fier still haunts the town, supposedly leading to a mass killing every generation. I’d go into the reasons from The Fear Street Saga as to why the family are known as “Fier” but the street named after them is “Fear,” but I want to give Fear Street: 1666 a chance to do that for me. But if they don’t, I’ll be ready with my trusty books on hand.
One question I had while watching this was: who was this movie for? It’s got a strong “teen scream” vibe, which tracks with the protagonists’ ages. The original plan was to release these films in theaters, which means a PG-13 rating would hit the target audience, but there were enough “fucks” to automatically make it an R, let alone the amount of blood. Then at one point, one of the many, many recognizable songs that plays is Radiohead’s “Creep,” but a censored version. “You’re so very special,” sings Thom Yorke in this ostensibly R-rated movie. Maybe once the deal with Netflix was inked they went back and upped the “adult content” knowing that just about anyone can stream it. It’s not like teens today don’t swear and all that. But I didn’t get the vibe that it was made for people my age, who grew up reading Fear Street books. It’s just another property that hasn’t been milked for all the money it’s worth, I guess.
As for the film itself, I want to keep spoilers light since this is a recently released film. I liked that it was a queer film, but I would constantly forget that this took place in 1994, a time before everyone had a cell phone. Not that having an easy way to call for help would matter when the adults are absolutely useless, if they even show up at all. And minor spoilers, but this movie ends on a sort of cliffhanger, which works this time because the second part, Fear Street: 1978, is coming out at the end of this week. That one’s going to be a “killer hunts camp counselors” movie, which has been done absolutely to death to the point we have parodies of it in things like The Final Girls, so my expectations are not high. Here’s hoping Fear Street: 1666 is good ending!
You know, I should reread The Fear Street Saga. I’m sure I can get through three books in the space of a week after spending years not actually reading anything longer than a short story or in depth news article! What could go wrong?
Next: Fear Street: 1978
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