It’s definitely come up on some of our podcast episodes and last year when we were doing our month of Halloween Recommendations, but I love ridiculous horror. Most of the time I’m not here for the award winning kind of horror films, I want the dumb stuff, and I mean that in the best way possible. I spent far too much of my teenage years watching slasher films and whatever the Horror Channel could throw at me. I’ve cited Behind The Mask: The Rise Of Leslie Vernon and Tragedy Girls as two of my favourite horror films from recent(ish) years and Fear Street as a trilogy is definitely something close enough to those films to immediately appeal to me.
Fear Street tells the tale of Shadyside, the killer capital of the USA. Plagued by a history of just about every horror killer you can think of.
The first instalment 1994 sets the stage for everything that’s to come, giving us a solid basis to the town’s history and introducing the rivalry with neighbouring town Sunnyvale. What better way to introduce that rivalry than with good ol’ American High School Football amiright? It’s a bit of a cliche but it does work well as an introduction to the two different towns and the animosity between them.
What’s important to know about Shadyside’s backstory is that way back there was a witch named Sarah Fier that was killed by the townspeople, but in death she placed a curse upon the land. A curse that causes certain members of the population to turn into cold blooded killers.
What really stood out to me about this first instalment is that it manages to do something not many horror films do, giving us a set of protagonists that are entirely likeable, so much so that when they’re actually in danger, you’re legitimately scared for them. Honestly this really took me by surprise and feels like a great positive step as there’s so many horror films that pad out their cast with characters you have no investment in.
1978 gives us a flashback to the Camp Nightwing massacre, which gets a mention in the previous film and takes on clear Friday The 13th influences as it goes.
We follow Ziggy Berman, a misfit girl being constantly harassed by the predictably dickish group of popular kids at camp, while her sister Cindy works as a camp counsellor alongside a recognisable name from the previous instalment, her boyfriend Tommy, childhood friend Alice and her boyfriend Arnie and…okay there’s quite a lot of cast members, I suppose that’s kind of the deal with slasher films, you have to include a lot of characters to really build up that body count.
The bulk of our plot takes place during the latter days of the summer camp and their ‘Colour War’ event…I’m still not entirely sure what that is, some kind of capture the flag deal? It’s not really important, everyone’s busy, that’s what matters. Coinciding with Colour War, Ziggy plots for revenge against her main bully, while Cindy, Tommy, Alice and Arnie get wind of the location of Sarah Fier’s house and decide to go and check that out. Much as was true in the first film, getting involved with the witch tends to lead to some new kind of evil arriving in the small town.
The final instalment of Fear Street shows us exactly how Sarah Fier’s legend began, going all the way back to the days before Shadyside, when the town was just a few houses in a clearing going by the name of Union.
As you might expect from a 1666 village, when food starts going bad and animals start eating their offspring there’s an eagerness to blame anyone who doesn’t fit in with the villages expectations for the dark times they’re experiencing. That’s where Sarah and her would be partner Hannah fall afoul of the villagers. With few options left Sarah quickly finds herself turning to the ever reliable outcast in the woods Solomon Goode for help.
Although the first half of the film is grounded in the past and does a great job to inform the events we’ve seen so far, the latter half of the film brings a conclusion to the events we’ve seen unfold in 1994.
To wrap up…
It’s nothing short of a mammoth task to tell such an ambitious, time jumping story in around about six hours, but I’m pleased to say that Fear Street delivered on exactly what I wanted.
Each film offers up something pretty different, and while it’s clear the trilogy is never taking itself too seriously, there’s some great ideas along the way. With plenty of nods to the films which have clearly served as an inspiration, I think most horror fans are going to have a good time.
I also really like the casting and, as I mentioned earlier, it’s great to have so many likeable characters in a horror series. It’s also really rewarding to see cast members from 1994 return in 1666 to play their own ancestors, which also works as a good visual demonstration of the ways the two narratives compare.
I’m also a huge fan of the soundtrack, 1994 and the latter half of 1666 features a lot of my favourite 90’s artists and 1978 features some classics I’m particularly into too. So both the horror and music fan in me is appeased.
So that’s just about everything I have to say on this, I’d very much recommend checking out Fear Street if you’re into quite ridiculous horrror, or if you’re here after watching the trilogy, I’d recommend checking out The Silver Coin from Image comics. The Silver Coin occupies a very similar space as a series, feeling like a whistle stop tour of horror in the form of an anthology drawn by Michael Walsh, who’s working with a selection of killer writers.