Review: Fear Street Part One: 1994

The slasher subgenre has done for horror what Shakespeare did for playwriting. It’s that precise allure that accompanies the stalk and kill system, whilst revelling in motive, victim strategies, and exposing the cathartic sense of relief when a fatal conclusion is met, although the joyous reaction could be towards the killer just as much as the victim.

There’s a reason as to why the 1980s and early 1990s were indoctrinated with splatters, slashers, and schlock, it was exhilarating and constant, and now from a retrospective point these frameworks still exist, but it has become even more prevalent on the extension of tributes and commemoration

The Fear Street trilogy displays exactly that, a keen sense of nostalgia whilst still maintaining a fresh balance of new tactics and modern archetypes. 

Based on R.L. Stine’s Fear Street novels is Leigh Janiak’s ‘Fear Street Part One: 1994’ which follows an amalgamation of various books from the series to create one giant story that will be historically linked in the next two films. The basic premise follows a group of adolescents who must battle off Sarah Fier (Elizabeth Scopel), a ‘deceased’ witch who has put a damning curse on the town of Shadyside prior to being executed during the witch trials.

Although the collective outline relies upon an ancient curse placed in the 1660s, Fear Street: 1994 is very much alive and thriving. Beginning the film is a sequence that can describe the film as a whole. The opening shot sets up the atmosphere nicely, as we see book store employee Heather (Maya Hawke), working late one night in an eerily empty mall, with the only sense of life coming from beaming neon lights strewn across the food court (immediately reminding me of Stranger Things). In typical fashion, her loneliness is soon met with an alarmingly loud phone ringing, a fake jumpscare, shadows lurking, and then finally a masked killer wearing a Ghostface-esque gown appears and murders who we believed was going to be our final girl. If you thought that this sounded overly familiar to Casey Becker’s (Drew Barrymore) fatal opening scene in Scream (1996) then you’d be correct! 


Feeding off of horror’s most tactful tropes is Janiak’s somehow unique crafting of frankly overdone clichés, allowing for optimal attention-grabbing moments. Combine this rose-tinted nostalgia with exhilarating characters then we really have a go-getter of a film. It’s with this that I’ll move onto my next point, the cracking twists and turns. Without spoiling any sordid details I do have to admit that I was seriously impressed with the relationships amongst the characters, with Janiak not becoming too complacent in saving who the audience is naturally drawn to, nothing is sacred and no one is off-limits.

Our motley crew of teens consists of Deena (Kiana Madeira), and her brother Josh (Benjamin Flores Jr.), alongside her two friends Kate (Julia Rehwald) and Simon (Fred Hechinger) who must battle Sarah Fier and her army of killers to save Deena’s estranged girlfriend Sam (Olivia Scott Welch) from a dreadful fate. Together they make a mishmash group where none of them fall into the place of the jock, the blonde, the smart one, the skeptic, or the final girl. Yes, the tween Josh does have more criminal knowledge than the normal boy, and Deena does have some inner ruthlessness that embodies ‘the last one left alive’ emblem, but all in all, there is a clear and successful attempt at rustling up the unexpected and allowing everyone to shine, not just the ‘lead’. 

Fear Street: 1994 understands it’s alterations to the classic slasher, but it also comprehends what makes the film stand out from current ‘blockbusters’, which consequently originates in the harsh gore exposed throughout. I for one have a neutral outlook on the graphicness in a horror film, there are a plethora of tense films that only sparsely rely on bloodshed to affect the viewer, and then there are outstanding films that secrete slaughter from start to finish. However, Fear Street: 1994 definitely took the visually mature path, with Janiak dismissing any prior beliefs that this would be tame in any shape or form. 

The killers presented in this first entry are the Skull Mask Killer, The Camp Nightwing Killer, and Ruby Lane, all of who deliver noteworthy scares throughout. The cult-like culmination of very different antagonists could be messy if in the wrong hands, yet there’s that slight animosity that accompanies their very brief backstory that allows for their quick-paced appearances to be short and snappy, with the focus constantly remaining on the Deena and the gang.

As much as I’ve discussed this slasher aspect, especially in terms of the film’s inextricable character-based narrative, an unorthodox element that pushes Fear Street to feed off of the flexibility of horror is the inclusion of the occult. Shadyside has been jinxed by Fier’s wickedness and with that comes an interesting backstory that is nicely touched upon, but not fully delved into. However, instead of being irate over the briefness, we only end up more excited for the following two films. 

Fear Street Part Two: 1978 and Fear Street Part Three: 1666 will both be released one week after another, promising much more carnage, curveballs, and adrenaline-pumping scares.

This weeks article comes via Grace from Film Overload, you can check out more of her work here.


This week in horror – 10.07.21

First look: New images released from the Slumber Party Massacre remake 

Slumber Party Massacre is one of horror’s lesser-known trilogies, with its reputation still living on mainly via its cult status. Earlier last year news began to circulate about this slasher gem being remade, and it was not long until these rumours were confirmed as Shout! Studios announced that an official remake was in the works.

Recreating the sleepover based slasher is Danishka Esterhazy, known for The Banana Splits Movie (2019). Joining Esterhazy is writer Suzanne Keilly, who has written an episode of Ash vs. Evil Dead, and the screenplay for Leprechaun Returns (2018). The remake acts similarly to the original having been directed and written by women (Amy Holden Jones and Rita Mae Brown), but this is not the only essence remaining true to the original 1982 classic, as it has been revealed that the new slasher will follow a contemporary perspective, whilst still gorging in all the gruesome twists and turns. 

Scream Factory releases the Halloween movies on 4K Ultra HD 

Scream Factory is known for their ambitious and creative physical media releases, especially their exciting limited edition runs of horror favourites. Just this week it was revealed that the Halloween franchise would be joining the Scream Factory’s calibre as they release the first five Halloween films on 4K Ultra HD. The exclusive cover work hones in on Michael Myers terrifying look, accompanied with the autumnal iconography that makes Haddonfield’s on-screen appearances so timeless. Each film release comes with an array of extra features, including a 4K scan from the original negatives, audio commentary from Jamie Lee Curtis & John Carpenter, theatrical trailers, tv spot & radio spot footage, deleted scenes, alternative endings, additional commentary from Rick Rosenthal, behind the scenes action featuring location tours, and a brand new accompanying Dolby Atmos Track. 

Halloween 1-5 will be released on the 28th September 2021. 

Lovecraft Country has been disappointedly cancelled 

Lovecraft Country was an amalgamation of lovecraftian horror and mysterious drama, with craftful performances and innovative writing seeping throughout every episode. However, it seems that this was not enough to keep Lovecraft Country on air as HBO will no longer continue its development. After the commendable first series a second was already in the midst, titled Lovecraft Country: Supremacy, which would have delved deep into a fictionalised America where the country would evolve into a segregated sovereign state. There has been no news as to whether any streaming sites, including Netflix have picked it up for further continuation. 

 George A. Romero’s abandoned Goosebumps script has been archived

It is undeniable that George A. Romero’s legacy has continued long after his passing, with his previously unreleased film The Amusement Park only receiving a release this year. The presence of Romero’s continuing work has only been furthered as the University of Pittsburgh Library System’s Horror Studies group has unearthed an undeveloped script based on R.L. Stine’s Goosebumps novels. Of course, the material that Romero would use as an adaptation source was the zombie-based book Welcome to the Dead House (1992), which focuses on siblings Amanda and Josh Benson as they move into an old eerie house situated in the creepy town of Dark Falls. Romero closely followed R.L. Stine’s work rather than run with the basic outline, but in his archetypal style, he transgressed vital plot elements further, including the essences of hierarchy within work-towns, where townspeople’s independence withers to corporate superiority. 

More details can be found at the University of Pittsburgh Library System’s Horror Studies website:

Youtuber and film critic Chris Stuckmann set to direct upcoming horror ‘Shelby Oaks’

Chris Stuckmann is a pillar in the online horror community with his honest and entertaining reviews and film commentary captivating audiences, and amassing nearly 2 million YouTube subscribers. Stuckmann has recently made a deal with production company Gotham Group to develop a handful of horror scripts. His first project under them will be Shelby Oaks, which is based in the early 2000s and follows a missing group of ghost hunters named The Paranormal Paranoids. Aaron B. Koontz (The Pale Door) will be producing alongside Ashleigh Snead (Scare Package), and Cameron Burns (Camera Obscura). Shelby Oaks is quickly gaining traction as although filming has not yet begun, a viral marketing strategy has already started creating hype. A series of ‘found footage’ clips are being slowly released showing The Paranormal Paranoids in a mission gone wrong.

Production begins in late 2021. 

Scream 5
has wrapped production 

It seems that nearly everybody has been eagerly waiting for the new Scream movie release, now we’re one step further as director’s Matt Bettinelli-Olpin and Tyler Gillett have announced that production has finally finished after months of filming via an Instagram post showing Scream 5’s title screen card in an ultra flash editing suite. Although the stages of release are nearing we still have a little bit more to wait as the theatrical release date is scheduled for January 22nd 2022. The film will follow the franchise’s typical structure, with Scream 5 following on from its predecessor (Scream 4, 2011).

This weeks article comes via Grace from Film Overload, you can check out more of her work here.