Truly in-the-know horror geeks have been waiting patiently at this point for more than 7 years for a sophomore film from director Leigh Janiak, whose 2014 debut Honeymoon (starring Rose Leslie) was one of the decade’s most genuinely disturbing and icky horror flicks. And now, after an interminable wait, we don’t just have one new movie from Janiak heading to Netflix—we have three, to be released within a span of three weeks. All three adaptations of author R.L. Stine’s classic Fear Street novels are directed by Janiak, and together the three films tell a single tale on the titular street, set across three different time periods that also serve as titles for each movie: 1994, 1978, and 1666.
Looking at the just-released first teaser, it’s plain to see how Fear Street differentiates itself from Stine’s better-known Goosebumps series. Where Goosebumps was intended for adolescents, with stories that typically revolved around monsters and paranormal experiences, Fear Street was a bit more grounded in reality, with antagonists more akin to classic slasher villains and roving psychos. Consequently, the Fear Street books were aimed at an older teen audience, and the film adaptations look to be more explicit horror films than the Jack Black-starring Goosebumps series. Still, we’d be shocked if any of these films approached the disturbing level of Janiak’s own Honeymoon. The films were originally developed for 20th Century Fox before the Disney merger, and were ultimately sold off to Netflix—evidence perhaps that they were too genuinely horrific to exist under the Disney banner. The premise is as follows:
The Fear Street saga starts in 1994, where a group of teens find out that a terrifying series of events in their hometown of Shadyside, Ohio, might be connected. Worse, the teens might be next up as targets. The films cover three different time periods, including the 1600s.
Looking at the first footage below, you can see Fear Street paying some obvious homage to its inspirations. Fear Street Part One: 1994 has a skull-headed killer that seems particularly inspired by Scream (Janiak also directed episodes of the Scream TV series), while the Part Two: 1978 entry is much more evocative of Friday the 13th, with a setting that sure as hell looks like a summer camp, and a bag-headed killer who looks like Jason Voorhees in 1981’s Friday the 13th Part 2. The final entry, Part Three: 1666 looks considerably more original, without as obvious a comparison to be made. The films are scheduled to each be released one week apart, on July 2, 9 and 16.
Fear Street stars an ensemble cast, which includes the likes of Stranger Things’ Maya Hawke and Community’s Gillian Jacobs, along with Kiana Madeira, Olivia Welch, Benjamin Flores Jr., Darrell Britt-Gibson, Ashley Zukerman, Fred Hechinger, Julia Rehwald and Jeremy Ford. Check out the full teaser below.