Fear Street: A Trio of Masterpieces

Image Source: Dread Central

Many millennials grew up reading R. L. Stine’s Goosebumps books. He had a way of capturing stories just creepy enough for middle-grade and young adult audiences while maintaining a lighthearted tone that promised a satisfying ending, if not necessarily a happy one. A number of his books have been adapted to film, including The Haunting Hour, which began as a direct-to-DVD film that spawned an anthology show of the same name; a TV series loosely adapted from the Goosebumps books and two films starring Jack Black as Stine; and most recently, Netflix’s slasher trilogy based on the more mature Fear Street books. And it’s certainly been a very, very long time since a decent slasher film graced our screens. Thankfully, Fear Street delivered in the goriest fashion.

The basis of the Fear Street trilogy is simple: the town of Shadyside is plagued by a curse. Every few years, a random person suddenly goes on a murderous rampage – normal, everyday citizens become possessed by the evil that keeps Shadyside in an endless loop of bad PR and an even worse reputation. Fear Street: Part One takes place in 1994, following a quartet of teens who find themselves the latest targets of the curse. The film concludes with only a piece of the ancient puzzle uncovered, but it’s just the beginning.

Fear Street: Part Two flashes back to 1978, focusing on the recounted tale of the sole survivor from that generation’s slaughter-fest. Arguably the most solid of the trilogy, 1978 builds upon the tension, mystery, and bloodletting standards set by 1994 to deliver a truly enjoyable film that still manages to make us empathetic to the characters, even if we know most of them won’t survive. Even though it’s just the second of three films, it does not feel like filler by any means. 1978 ends with a promise – to go back to the beginning and discover the origin of the curse… and perhaps how to stop it.

To do that, we travel back to the burgeoning town of Shadyside in Fear Street: Part Three – 1666. As the era would foretell, two young girls fall in love with each other and find themselves labeled as witches, blamed for the plagues that suddenly befall the town shortly after they share a kiss in the woods. Through twists and turns, betrayals and revelations, we discover the true reason the curse began and how to stop it in the present. The first half takes place in, of course, 1666, but flashes back to 1994 to conclude the trilogy in an extremely satisfying wrap-up. No spoilers here, folks. Go unravel the mystery for yourself and show Netflix that we most definitely want more. The final shot of 1994 isn’t necessarily a cliffhanger, but a tantalizing promise that if audiences want more, the creative team behind the Fear Street films is more than ready to deliver. And the best part? You don’t need to have read the books to enjoy the movies.