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Fear Street Goes from Teenage Novels to Gory Trilogy
THIS ISN’T THE FEAR STREET YOU
MIGHT REMEMBER from your childhood. Although R.L. Stine’s series of horror novels contained some scary themes and violence, they were still young adult books targeted at teenage audiences.
Director Leigh Janiak’s new trilogy of Fear Street films, on the other hand, aren’t for the faint of heart. Tweens get brutally murdered, there are numerous graphic stabbings, and one particularly memorable scene finds a disgusting new use for a bread slicer. The three slashers — Part 1: 1994, Part 2: 1978 and Part 3: 1666 — were released on Netflix on consecutive Fridays in July, adding up to what’s perhaps the most memorable film event since theatres closed last spring.
Janiak tells Exclaim! that Stine has been a strong supporter of her gruesome vision for Fear Street. “He loved it and was so excited about it,” she says. “I think there was a comment of it being a little more brutal than the books, but he was happy about it.”
Stine initially expressed his enthusiasm to
Janiak via his representatives, but the filmmaker finally met the author when filming the folk horror segment of Part 3: 1666. “We were at this village in the middle of nowhere in Georgia, and it was this big fangirl moment for me,” Janiak remembers, laughing with embarrassment. “I remember I was just so sweaty and gross. I was like, ‘Oh no! This is moment when I’m meeting R.L. Stine!?’ But it was lovely. He was very nice, and since then I’ve interacted with him a few times and he’s been very, very nice about the movies. It’s a big relief.”
As a teenager in the 1990s, Janiak was a big fan of the Fear Street books (she says she was a little too old for Stine’s other horror series, Goosebumps). Those youthful memories inspired the Scream- worshipping nostalgia of Part 1: 1994, while her love of early slashers informed the summer camp bloodbath of Part 2: 1978.
Having established a seemingly boundless Fear Street cinematic universe, Janiak is already looking for new eras to explore. It’s not too much of a spoiler to say that the ending of her trilogy leaves the door open for further sequels.
“I think that there’s a lot of room for amazing standalone movies that maybe follow some of the killers that we’ve hinted at or didn’t have time to explore,” she muses. “There’s definitely a bit of open-ended room for the next thing.”