SPOILERS FOR A RECENTLY RELEASED FILM
Okay, so I didn’t actually reread The Fear Street Saga as I suggested I might while talking about Fear Street: 1994, the first in this trilogy of horror. I’m going to try again this weekend, but I make no promises. It’s not like it really matters anyway, since these films are more inspired by the Fear Street series, as evidenced by Sarah Fier being a central character in the films who isn’t in the books. With that out of the way, I do have something positive to report: my expectations for Fear Street: 1978 were pretty low, and this movie sailed over them! It’s not perfect, but it’s better than most Friday the 13th films, so it gets thumbs up from me. Prepare for full spoilers this time, cause I want to talk about that ending twist.
Picking up right where 1994 left off, Deena and her brother Josh head to the house of C Berman (Ms. Gillian Jacobs) to find out how she survived an encounter with reanimated serial killers possessed by the spirit of Sarah Fier, so that the siblings can save Deena’s girlfriend, Sam. If you didn’t watch the previous film, there’s your summary. So this film is a flashback to the summer of 1978, where siblings Ziggy and Cindy Berman are attending a summer camp. You know, the kind with no adult, staffed exclusively by horny teenagers? Classic summer camps. This is the time when a maniac with an axe and a bag over his head murdered a bunch of kids, and it turns out that it was a guy named Tommy Slater, the boyfriend of Cindy. His name is Tommy? I see that Friday the 13th: The Final Chapter reference. And a bag over his head? Don’t think I don’t remember Jason’s look pre-hockey mask in Friday the 13th Part 2. Anyway, while Tommy goes from a super sweet guy to a silent killer of children, Cindy and her ex-friend Alice find out that the nurse of the camp (literally the only adult in sight) was the mother of a girl who also suddenly turned into a serial killer, and believed that if Sarah Fier’s severed hand could be returned to her body, her curse would be lifted. Deena and Sam found the body in 1994, and through some luck the hand is found in 1978. Cindy kills Tommy in order to save her little sister, but a giant beating heart hidden in a cave–I don’t know how better to describe it so this is getting tagged “eldritch abominations”–resurrects several past killers, Tommy included. Cindy and Ziggy are killed, but Ziggy manages to come back with the help of Nick Goode, future sheriff. Turns out the “C” in “C Berman” stands for “Christine,” which is Ziggy’s real name (more on that later). Using this new knowledge, in the present (of 1994) Deena reconnects Sarah Fier’s hand with her body, and then… she’s transported back to the year 1666, now in the body of Sarah Fier herself. To be continued in Fear Stret: 1666.
What a twist, right? We spent all this time assuming that prim and proper Cindy Berman would survive, not her rebellious sister, Ziggy. And while there was a hint early on–in the present she has a dog named Major Tom, “Major Tom” being a famous song of David Bowie, and one of Bowie’s stage personas was as Ziggy Stardust–it’s a reference more for the older crowd. But it turns out to be a twist for Deena and Josh, too? “Wait, you’re Ziggy?” Josh asks, which makes absolutely no sense if you spend more than a moment thinking about it. C Berman told this entire story to people, presumably in the first person since she, you know, lived through it, but somehow never revealed which sister she actually was? It’s a line that’s supposed to back up what the audience is just now finding out, but it’s bad writing.
As for the rest of it, I liked it! The explicit supernatural horror elements really made it shine, especially that giant beating heart that makes you see ghosts if you touch it. This film also stands out among “camp slasher” movies in who gets killed: a lot of children. Sure, a few teens bite the dust as well, but most of the “camp slasher” stories take place before the kids show up, so the body count tends to come exclusively from teenagers and the odd adult. Now, I’m not saying that this movie is immediately better by killing children, but it was a minor twist in itself to subvert the idea that children in movies are generally death proof. But the supernatural elements come back in when we see the possessed killer step over a wounded Nick Goode to go after another target, because all the victims came from Shadyside while the Sunnyvale preppy kids seemingly all made it out intact. Sarah Fier’s curse really does target Shadysiders exclusively… assuming the curse is from Sarah at all.
I hinted at it a little bit in the Fear Street: 1994 post, but The Fear Street Saga books explain the origin of the curse that caused so many horrible things to happen on Fear Street, and it is tied directly to the Fier and Goode families. But again, I want to give Fear Street: 1666 a chance to tell its story before I chime in with how it happened in the books, because just going by memory there are already a bunch of elements that are widely different. And hey, maybe I’ll actually read those books this time! Don’t hold your breath on that, though.
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