Three years before Goosebumps terrified young children with stories of abominable snowmen and tales of shrunken heads there existed a far more sinister evil in Fear Street. This cursed street was located in the fictional town of Shadyside, Ohio and accounted for a hefty number of teenage murders. Prior to this collection of murder mysteries, author R.L. Stine wrote several teen slashers for Point, a publishing company, such as The Babysitter and Beach House. However, it wouldn't be until 1989 with the release of the first Fear Street novel, The New Girl, that Stine would become prominent young adult author.
In almost three decades since The New Girl was initially printed, R.L. Stine has become a household name due to the massive 350 million Goosebumps books sold, his contributions to children's television, and his staple in teen horror. This past August the first live action adaptation of Goosebumps was released by Sony Pictures. The film grossed $23.5 million at the box office it's opening weekend and landed at number one. Undoubtedly nostalgia won over many viewer's and Goosebumps was a major success for the author and its distributor.
Because of Stine's popularity with audiences it was reported on October 9, 2015 that 20th Century Fox and Chernin Entertainment are developing a film adaptation of Fear Street. Although Goosebumps was an original concept that brought many of Stine's creations together in one meta-movie about the author himself, Fear Street is going to take a more direct approach and adapt the the source material. With 52 original Fear Street books, not including the sagas and spin-offs, Fear Street would work much better as a television show, much like The X-Files or Buffy the Vampire Slayer. Regardless, as a fan of the book series I will not complain. Still, the question remains: Which book would make a good first Fear Street movie?
The Wrong Number
It begins as innocent prank, when Deena Martinson and her best friend Jade Smith make sexy phone calls to the boys from school. But Deena's half-brother Chuck catches them in the act and threatens to tell their parents unless the girls let him in on the fun. Chuck begins making random calls, threatening anyone who answers. It's dangerous and exciting. They're even enjoying the publicity and the uproar they've caused. Until Chuck calls a number on Fear Street. To his horror Chuck realizes he has called THE WRONG NUMBER. The jokes are over when murder is on the line. The murderer knows who they are and where they live—and they have nowhere to call for help.
Like most of the Fear Street books, The Wrong Number is very flawed. However, its premise is promising and original. There is actually only one death in the book and very little gore, but at its core The Wrong Number is a whodunit murder mystery that continues to escalate as the puzzle is pieced.
The Secret Bedroom
Lea Carson can't believe it when her family moves into the creepy, old house on Fear Street. Most creepy of all is the secret room up in the attic. The room has been locked and boarded up for at least a hundred years. A murder was committed in that room, the story goes, and it has been closed up ever since. Lea knows she should stay away. But she thinks she hears footsteps inside the secret room. And voices. Someone, or something, is waiting for Lea in there. Should she open the door? Can she resist?
The Secret Bedroom is a paranormal entry that includes ghosts, murder, and even the return of the protagonist of The Wrong Number as Lea's best friend. This plot is somewhat convoluted and confusing, but it truly stands out due to the evil ghost with a hair fetish and the creepy feeling of haunted bedroom boarded up in the attic. Suspense is always thrilling. What is behind the locked door?
Every night Maggie Travers has the same horrible dream. Every night she is forced to watch the same murder. And every night the girl in her dream cries out for help. Maggie is afraid to go to sleep again. But when the terrifying dream starts to come true and the gruesome accidents begin, staying awake is the real nightmare!
This entry is about ghostly nightmares, haunted canopies, and underlying sibling rivalry. When the competitive Travers sisters move to Fear Street they begin to fight over everything. Including the canopy bed left behind in one of the rooms. Maggie wins and she begins having murderous nightmares when she sleeps on it, unaware that there is a killer secretly living in their attic. Bad Dreams is quite terrible and boring, but with the proper screenwriting team it could become suspenseful and imaginative.
No girl in her right mind would say no to a date with Bobby Newkirk. Not with those great looks, that easy charm, and the awesome way he plays the guitar. Of course, some people think he's just a bit conceited. But when it comes down to breaking hearts, that hasn't slowed Bobby down one bit. At least not until the beautiful Wade twins move to Shadyside. And Bobby brags to his friends that they'll both fall for him. And they do. Too bad for Bobby the twins never learned to share. One of them is jealous, murderously jealous. Is it quiet, shy Bree? Or bold, sexy Samantha? Bobby had better figure it out... or his double fun will turn to double terror.
Sibling rivalry is once again a prominent theme in the book. Threeways can be murder, especially when it's with twins. Except Bobby doesn't realize that these sisters always put chicks before dicks and he's in for a dosage of fear! Double Date does not rely heavily on murder but rather mind games and pranks. (One involving covering someone in honey and letting ants bite him.) It works still, with its seductive charm.
Carter Phillips is under a lot of pressure to ace her math achievement exam, so much pressure that she gets Adam Messner to take the test for her... in exchange for one date. But Adam wants more than a date, much more. Carter has no choice. She has to do whatever he asks. If not, he'll tell her secret and ruin her life. Adam's control over her gets more and more unbearable. Carter is desperate to get rid of him, but how? Is murder the only way?
The Cheater serves as a double purpose as Carter, the protagonist, chests on an exam and on her boyfriend Dan. Adam, a mysterious thrill-seeking math genius, begins to develop an uncomfortable obsession with Carter, but when she wont return his affection he begins to extort her for money. The book is lacking serious heat and even murders, however movies have never remained truly faithful to their source material anyway.
Fear Street has never been truly known for their depth or captivating stories. Truly, I prefer Christopher Pike and his violent novels about murder and teen promiscuity, but I am glad that Fear Street is finally coming to the big screen. This franchise could become the next Paranormal Activity or Saw, a Halloween event hellbent on killing teenagers and showing lots of mindless sex. Who can say no to a dumb slasher?