Fear Street trilogy director talks adapting R.L. Stine's series for Netflix

Fear Street on Netflix
(Image credit: Netflix)

Things are about to get very scary on Netflix. The streamer's preparing to launch the Fear Street trilogy, three movies based on R.L. Stine's series, that will launch across three weeks. 

Titled after the distinct time periods in which they are set, the Fear Street films each tell a stand-alone story with links to a larger narrative. Part One: 1994 sees teenagers Deena (Kiana Madeira), Sam (Olivia Welch) and Josh (Benjamin Flores Jr.) attempting to unmask a serial killer who is preying on Shadyside. Part Two: 1978 takes place in Camp Nightwing, where fresh mayhem erupts for campers and counselors alike. Finally, Part Three: 1666 jumps back to the time of a witch hunt, and reveals the secret history of Shadyside. 

"There's an arc that carries across these three movies," director Leigh Janiak explains to SFX magazine in the new issue. "The big difference between the movies and the books is that none of the books were connected. The movies are all connected, and they have a clear ending to the story."

Although the films don't directly adapt any particular Stine book, there are nods aplenty. "I would say that we're more channeling their spirit," Janiak says. "You'll recognize Shadyside and certain character names, and you'll recognize tropes that we see in the different Fear Street books. The thing that I loved about the books when I was a teenager is that it was this edgy world that had blood and guts and craziness, but was also really fun. It didn't ever dip into doom and gloom or anything, and that spirit is at the core of these movies. We're still on this fun ride, even when the worst possible things are happening to these characters."

Janiak's ambitious approach sees each film's timeline adding something new to the overall mythology, while the past and present collide in tantalizing ways. "I'm kind of obsessed with the idea of the mistakes of history repeating themselves over and over again," she says, "and what it means to get out of that cycle. So that's one of the things driving the movies. It was really exciting to be able to do them all at once and reflect that in the filmmaking."

You can check out the full interview with the team behind Fear Street in the current issue of SFX Magazine, which features The Tomorrow War on the cover. For more from SFX, make sure to sign up to the newsletter, sending all the latest exclusives straight to your inbox.

Josh Winning has worn a lot of hats over the years. Contributing Editor at Total Film, writer for SFX, and senior film writer at the Radio Times. Josh has also penned a novel about mysteries and monsters, is the co-host of a movie podcast, and has a library of pretty phenomenal stories from visiting some of the biggest TV and film sets in the world. He would also like you to know that he "lives for cat videos..." Don't we all, Josh. Don't we all.