I promise I am moving on from Fear Street after this.
Clearly, I’ve been obsessed with Netflix’s slasher horror trilogy. I reviewed and I ranked, I rewatched and I gushed; I basically turned this blog into a Fear Street Tumblr page for the past month. I kept going back for more because Fear Street hit that perfect apex of nostalgia, subversion, and (summer) campy fun. For a saga that throws it back to the past in the form outright imitations and recycled genre tropes, Fear Street turned out to be a surprisingly unpredictable odyssey for me. I had no idea where the story was going, how big it was going to get, nor who would survive by the end.
And I have no idea where Fear Street is going next. Director Leigh Janiak says she wants to make the MCU-version of horror and I say LET HER DO IT. Now, I’m not in the writers’ room per se, but I have some thoughts on where this thing could go based on what we’ve seen so far. If any of these winds up coming true, you heard it here first, folks.
1. Continuing Deena & Sam’s Story
This seems to be the next logical chapter seeing as stars Kiana Madeira and Olivia Scott Welch have carved out their own legions of stans. Don’t believe me? Read the comments on any Fear Street press video. (Never underestimate the power of fancams.) Deena and Sam, of course, now have the benefit of being well-established characters, and it’s always easier to build upon an arc than to start all over again. This would include bringing back the rest of the surviving players like Josh (by default, since he’s Deena’s brother), the scene-stealing Martin, and Ziggy.
I’m VERY interested to see what a Ziggy-focused saga would look like, or just more Gillian Jacobs in general. Ziggy’s horror story isn’t over, really. She became agoraphobic after the events of Camp Nightwing, so to see her contend with being out in the world again and perhaps interacting with other survivors of that night seems like plenty of dramatic potential. What if there was a Nightwing copycat lurking about in the form of Nick Goode’s brother Will (or other surviving family members) seeking revenge? And what if this time it was Ziggy seeking Deena and Josh’s help?
My one concern is that this would risk undoing Part Three’s happy ending, especially Deena and Sam’s. They’re the Final Girlfriends who survived the cutthroat trip to hell and back. Seeing as how Fear Street has established that “no one is safe,” it’s hard to imagine Deena or Sam making it out of another trilogy in one piece— and dooming Ziggy for a worse outcome in opening old wounds. Of course, this reckons with the bigger question of who the hell stole that book during the end credits of Part Three and whether this ties to the same story, or is perhaps a winking nod from the filmmakers that the story will continue in another form.
This is something I’ve been thinking about a great deal. Take the entire Fear Street cast and reuse them in a totally different story surrounding Shadyside. American Horror Story has churned out plenty of mileage doing this, and Netflix’s superb horror anthology series The Haunting achieved something totally unique with both Hill House and Bly Manor. This would be a walk in the park for Fear Street as the trilogy reused the 1994 and 1978 cast in its 1666 flashback, cleverly hinting at ancestry, or simply giving us a sense of character dynamics in the settlement without having to reinvest in another ensemble.
An anthology would be a resetting of the table, but I like the idea of maintaining familiar threads. What if Gillian Jacobs and Ashley Zuckerman actually got to play the star-crossed lovers that Ziggy and Nick could never be? What if Kiana Madeira and Olivia Scott Welch were the villains next time around? Shit, let’s keep it going. What if McCabe Slye (Tommy) was two-timing Emily Rudd (Cindy) and Ryan Simpkins (Alice) and incurred double the wrath – a setup that gets A LOT of replay in R.L. Stine’s serials. Moreover, what if Julia Rehwald survived in the next saga? (I just want what’s best for you, girl.) The campy potential here is endless.
3. The Book
Who grabbed the book at the end? It seems like this very question could be the focus of the next trilogy. So far, we only know of the incantations Nick used to broker his deal with the devil. That’s a big ass book tho; there could be so much sorcery and dark magic hidden in the rest of those pages. I’m not talking restricted sections and horcruxes here. I’m talking the Necronomicon Ex Mortis from Evil Dead. I’d LOVE to see Leigh Janiak go full Sam Raimi with Fear Street, dialing up the camp, the gore, and the frantic no-holds-barred terror of demonic possession.
My one nit-pick about Fear Street currently is that it’s more shocking than it is scary. It’s shocking to see who dies and how grisly they bite the dust, but halfway through Part Two, there’s less and less buildup. There’s a particularly chilling sequence that Janiak paints in Part Three with the Pastor, one achieved through the simple but effective staging of the Pastor’s victims. I’d kill to see more of that sustained tension. Finding out what’s behind those pages sounds tense enough, or the demons that the book calls to. What would a Fear Street devil look like I wonder? 👀
4. Slasher Movies in Other Eras
I think we’re all dying to see a Ruby Lane chapter told in brutally vivid fashion. Lane’s murder spree happened in the 60s. If I can recall, there are no slasher movies set in the 60s, and this could be Janiak’s ticket in if she wanted to deepen Fear Street’s mythology. I’m excited by the mere question: what the hell would a 60s slasher movie look like? There’s also the saga of the Milkman who murdered housewives in the 50s, as well as Billy Barker’s Purge-like fable set in the 20s. (I’d be very curious as to what the needle drops would be.) There’s entire centuries worth of serial killers to mine from courtesy of the Goode family’s witchcraft so, really, take your pick.
I don’t see Fear Street introducing zombies or becoming a full-on creature feature; the saga feels very at-home in the slasher subgenre so I’m thinking this is where Janiak and crew are carving up some prime real estate. She mentions this in the interview linked above – being able to create slasher movies in eras that never had any. Why limit yourself to the 20th century? What would a 19th century slasher look like in the vein of Jack the Ripper? Or an 18th century slasher like a remix of Sleepy Hollow and the Grimm Brothers fairy tales? Ooooooo this thing is writing itself.
Without the Goode’s to protect them from mortality, it seems like Sunnyvale is doomed to get a taste of real-life violence and horror. It’d be interesting (satisfying?) to see Sunnyvale’s privilege and prosperity come tumbling down. To see them now experiencing crime, chaos, and death tolls soaring—though not because of the devil plaguing their community, but because of human nature. Then again, whoever stole the book could easily flip the curse to Sunnyvale, so anything goes, really. But what would Fear Street look like contending with genuine psychos as opposed to possessed ones? Is there a difference? And which one would be preferred if you had to choose?
As much as I’d love to get this viewpoint through Deena’s eyes, or Sam for that matter (whom technically relocated to Sunnyvale with her mom), I think it’d be quite affecting to see this told through a spoiled Sunnyvaler. Perhaps it could be a poignant redemption story for a morally bankrupt town that finally takes a good long look in the mirror.
6. Fear Street – Present Day
We know now what a throwback slasher would look like in Janiak’s hands. Now, I wanna see what her take on the modern slasher would be like free from nostalgia. (Think of THOSE needle drops!) Blumhouse Studios has given us plenty of modern slashers to gush over with fare like Happy Death Day and Freaky, not to mention independent stuff like You’re Next and Ready Or Not. With Halloween Kills and the revived Child’s Play coming this Halloween, and Scream 5 set to release next year, the genre feels very much like it’s having a renaissance at the moment— Fear Street now having a hand in that.
I’d be curious to see if Janiak would take any modern cues in a present-day tale of Fear Street or if she’d say to hell with it and craft something radically ahead of the curve. R.L. Stine also revived the book series over the years with “Return to Fear Street” and “Fear Street Nights,” so Janiak and crew have no shortage of material to sift through and adapt/remix as they please. I’m for any of these, or all of the above seeing as how Fear Street condensed whole genres and eras of horror AND paid homage to Stine’s books in the span of three movies. In Leigh Janiak I trust.
And there you have it. I am closing the book on Fear Street… until Halloween. It’s past time for me, obviously. I rewatched the trilogy every which way (forwards, backwards, chronologically by time periods) and I still couldn’t get enough! The worst thing about mainlining an obsession is becoming so sick of it that you never interact with it again, so I am saying adieu to this bloody and fucked up fictional corner in Ohio. It’s been real, Shadyside. This isn’t goodbye, it’s see-you-in-2-months-time.
Long live Fear Street ✊