Fear Street Director Reveals Which Films & TV Shows Influenced The Trilogy
The director of Netflix's Fear Street trilogy, Leigh Janiak, reveals which films and TV shows inspired her movies. The films, Fear Street Part One: 1994, Fear Street Part 2: 1978, and Fear Street Part Three: 1666, are all currently airing on Netflix.
The final film of the trilogy, which premiered July 16th, ends the story with a bloody witch hunt building further upon the gore the first two presented to audiences.
The trilogy was inspired by the book series written by infamous horror author R.L. Stine, however, the series is aimed at audiences more mature than the ones who read Goosebumps. The films follow different groups of tweens and teenagers as they face the evil set upon them by Sarah Fier, a witch from the town of Shadyside, Ohio who was hanged by the town members. Fier performs dark rituals in order to keep control over the town, as well as bring death and destruction to its residents.
Janiak recently had an interview with Slashfilm.com to discuss which films and TV shows influenced her trilogy. For Fear Street, Part One: 1994, Janiak discussed how the "slasher renaissance" affected the tone she set for the film. Janiak goes on to discuss her influences for Fear Street Part 2: 1978, saying she wanted to highlight the more traditional slasher films. The film was even filmed at the same camp as Friday the 13th Part 6: Jason Lives. Read what Janiak said about the first two installments below:
So the first movie, ’94, I was very much inspired by and trying to hit the tonal sweet spot that the kind of mid ’90s slasher Renaissance. So I think Scream, obviously we steal shamelessly. We send a million love letters to that movie throughout ‘94, but also I Know What You Did Last Summer or The Faculty kind of…There was a reinvention of slashers that Scream ushered in and those movies felt fun. They felt kind of a little bit self-aware, a little bit subversive in a different way, kind of character-wise. Those were the movies that were really driving the ’94 conversation.
With ‘78, I certainly looked at like traditional slasher movies. ‘78 is kind of at the very beginning of what I would consider the heyday of slasher. Halloween came out in 1978. That was an influence. Friday the 13th, that franchise of course, was an influence. [A] Nightmare on Elm Street. But also movies like The Goonies were a big influence on ‘78. We talked a lot about making horror Goonies and that was kind of like horror Goonies is happening in the underground of this movie and then above ground we’re in the Friday the 13th camp world. We also, by the way, thought a little bit about It, and the book is what I’m referencing here, and the idea of like the spider in the book was kind of influential on how we would think about the growth [the strange pulsating mass seen in the second movie], which we called the Heart of Darkness, which first appears in the second movie. So, that was kind of an influence on that side of things.
Finally, Janiak revealed her inspirations for the final film, Fear Street Part Three: 1666. Her goal with the final film was to keep the story relatable and engaging, while set further in the past. Read what Janiak said about what inspired the final film in the trilogy below:
For movie three, going into the 1600s, I re-watched The Witch, The Village, The Crucible, kind of all of those of period movies that deal with versions of unseen monsters or witches. And then, also Terrence Malik’s The New World was a big influence for me tonally and also just how he creates this beautiful world and then destroys it slowly as these colonists come over and take over the space. Also, The Knick, which is this great TV show that Soderbergh created. It was on Cinemax a few years ago, and that has nothing to do with these movies other than the fact that I thought that it was a very effective way of keeping something that is very firmly set in the past feeling modern and vibrant and exciting.
After watching the trilogy and reading the interview, it is clear Janiak went into the project with a clear vision of what each film needed to bring to the table. Since they filmed all three movies at once, it could have been easy to fall into the same tone for each film. However, with the research of the hits of the era, paired with stories that matched the themes she attempted to convey, she was able to have the movies stand on their own while simultaneously giving them enough plot to interlock them together. Seeing how something was done before can help make it clear what needs to be done, or what should be avoided. Fear Street finds its path of the footsteps of the greats, making for terrifyingly good films.
Download the Fear Street Trilogy:
Will There Be A Fear Street Part 4?
Shadyside's curse may have been broken in Fear Street Part 3: 1666, but the blood-soaked town could return in Fear Street Part 4. While Netflix has yet to announce a follow-up to the Fear Street movie trilogy, the project was originally pitched as the start of a greater anthology franchise, and there are plenty of R.L. Stine books to draw from.
Directed by Leigh Janiak, Fear Street's story is told over three movies that take place in 1994, 1978, and 1666, respectively, and pays homage to horror classics like Scream and Friday the 13th. Set in the small town of Shadyside, the trilogy follows a group of teens as they try to survive a witch's curse that periodically causes a Shadyside to become possessed and go on a brutal killing spree. Their investigation takes them all the way back to the source of the curse in 1666 when a local witch called Sarah Fier was hanged and has supposedly kept her grip on the town ever since.
After some shocking reveals, an upsetting encounter with a bread-slicer, and a grand finale in which Shadyside's survivors lay a trap for the undead killers in the local mall, the Fear Street trilogy ends on a post-credits tease for future installments. Here's what we know about Fear Street Part 4's possible story, cast, and release date.
Will Fear Street Return?
Netflix hasn't announced any official plans for Fear Street Part 4. However, the first three movies were made with some kind of continuation in mind, and Fear Street Part 3: 1666's post-credits scene teases more nightmares to come in the future. Speaking to Den Of Geek, Leigh Janiak said that the movie trilogy was set up to potentially be the beginning of a larger Fear Street universe:
“I remember one of the first conversations that I had with my producers, when I was pitching what I thought was the potential of this series, I was like, ‘You have here the potential to have like a Marvel universe that is horror.’ We can tell the story of these other slasher killers in these other eras. We can build out the universe of Shadyside because evil doesn’t go away. So what does that mean? So I think that there’s a lot of opportunity here to continue just growing Fear Street."
Fear Street could return in the film of a standalone movie, another trilogy, or even a TV show. Sci-fi horror series Stranger Things has been one of Netflix's biggest success stories, and Fear Street shares Stranger Things' blend of nostalgic pop culture homages and its theme of a plucky group of kids standing up against an unspeakable evil (as well as cast member Sadie Sink). Following the cancellation of Chilling Adventures of Sabrina, there's a spot open in Netflix's line-up for a new supernatural horror show.