With over 50 books in the original series and many more in the attendant series (New Fear Street, Return to Fear Street, Fear Street Cheerleaders, etc.) from the uber prolific R.L. Stine, fans of Netflix three Fear Street movies have a lot to keep themselves busy. With the release of the Netflix films, Fear Street Part 1:1994, Fear Street Part 2: 1978, and Fear Street 3: 1666, interest in these great books has probably never been higher. With those three films setting a standard for the direction of this series (and with the Goosebumps series being awesome, but clearly geared to much younger demo), it seems only right that we should go through the litany of voluminous content, and find more Fear Street books that would make great movies.
The biggest problem is that they’re so many books, and there are so many good ones. Sure certain stories are a bit more well crafted than others, with so many books not every one is going to stay with you. However, the ones that stick in our minds do so because their story, or their characters, or both, are relatable in a way that our minds will not let us forget. So, as you attempt to unwind after having the daylights scared out of you by the new Fear Street movies, don’t get too relaxed as we’ve got “10 Fear Street Books That Would Make Great Movies”.
The New Girl
As the first book in this scaretastic series, “The New Girl” actually uses a trope that is fairly common across the Fear Street series. Cory is smitten when he first sees Anna Corwin. However, she quickly disappears and it is up to him to seek her out. Soon they start a passionate relationship, and in what seems like a few days Cory is all consumed with his new love. Then she goes away and Cory has to go to Fear Street to find her… even if it puts his life in peril. As I said, uncovering a mystery about a person, object, or thing is fairly common in these stories. Creator R.L. Stine makes no bones about the fact that with so much content, certain story elements are no doubt going to be recycled. However, the writing is so deft and engrossing, that by the time we realize we may have covered similar ground in another Fear Street book, we could care less. We, like our protagonist, have to find out what is going on!
What a great title, right? And who doesn’t love a horror story set in the woods? That is exactly what you get when we go to the forest setting of Camp Nightwing. There is a vandal on the loose who has been leaving a clue in the form of a red feather. Suddenly Holly Flynn starts to investigate and soon realizes that she is in the killer’s crosshairs. With a solid setting that is familiar to most horror fans (especially because of Fear Street Part 2: 1978), “Lights Out” is the kind of Fear Street book that resonated with readers before, and it should also do the same with new fans. We start off with a character who is scared of bugs, and in the end we see her facing down a killer. This is vintage R.L. Stine and the kind of material that would really benefit from a big screen outing. If there was someway to tie it to Fear Street Part 2: 1978(and there has to be, right?), that would make this whole thing even better.
The Secret Bedroom
A huge part of the reason why films like Halloween and The Exorcist resonate so much with viewers is because they take place in suburbia. Setting a film in a gothic castle or someplace we don’t always go is effective, but horror really works well when it can be brought home. In the “The Secret Bedroom”, Lea Carlson’s family moves into a home on Fear Street and as you can guess the place isn’t very welcoming. It’s creepy, odd, and gets even moreso when Lea finds an extra room upstairs in the attic. She does some research and there’s rumors that somebody was killed there! Suddenly, Lea hears sounds coming from the secret bedroom, and that is when the scares really begin. Can’t you just see this film in your head? Imagine a drab looking home, creaking stairs, and lots of dark blue and black colors. And, since it takes place in a house, “The Secret Bedroom” could be a contained horror thriller made on the cheap. Netflix, are you listening?
In all horror, nothing is sweeter than when somebody gets a comeuppance that they are so deserving of. That is the case in this Fear Street story, “Silent Night”. Reva Dalby is a girl who has it all and thinks she can have more. Her father owns a department store that bares the family name, and Reva has no regard for anyone but herself. Her perfect life gets upended when she gets stalked, and no amount of money in the world can buy her way out of this problem. As you can imagine Reva’s happy holidays soon turn deadly. It seems that at some point or another, all franchises start to dip into the holiday spirit. It’s almost a rite of passage as things like this naturally age over time. With it’s spine-tingling horror sequences, cozy holiday feel, and other “Silent Night’ books featuring this character, these books are ripe for the film or limited series treatment.
The Wrong Number
Horror seems to work best when it can incorporate a universal experiences into our lives. That is never more on display than in this delectable Fear Street offering, “The Wrong Number”. We’ve all been called by wrong numbers and chances are we’ve all made (or been involved) with prank calls in some way. That is the crux of this terrifying tale, when Deena and Jade decide to have some phone fun by calling boys and pretending to be people their not. Then Deena’s half-brother Chuck gets involved and he calls the wrong number… on Fear Street. Suddenly, everybody’s life is in danger as what started off as a prank goes horribly awry. Again, the shoot for a film like this would be fairly inexpensive since a lot of it takes place on the phone. That said, this book came out in 1990 before cellphones became as commonplace as front doors. So a movie might have it’s production costs raised if it went period, or maybe they keep it 2021 and figure out a way to do it with cellphones? Either way, “The Wrong Number” should be a movie.
This wholly unique story from the master would probably, like the Twilight films before it, reignite even more young adult vampire tales… and that is not a bad thing. This story sees Matt, April and Todd excited about a summer filled with time at the beach. However, R.L. Stine knows just how to make the best of times into the worst, and when April and Todd suddenly start acting like vampires, Matt has to do everything in his power to save his best friend and his girlfriend. Thankfully, for Matt and not the Vampires, there are rules to this game and that might just be the thing that saves everybody. The great thing about horror movies is that you don’t need a name cast. In fact not having recognizable actors and actresses is probably a benefit because you don’t bring the preconceived notions that you might in other films. Also, there are three “Goodnight Kiss” books, and, as we’ve seen with Fear Street Part 1:1994, Fear Street Part 2: 1978, and Fear Street 3: 1666, three IS the charm.
Fear Street Cheerleaders: The First Evil
Horror and cheerleaders go together like peanut butter and jelly. One needs the other and when they intertwine, good things, in this case scary stories, usually happen. Corky and Bobby Corcoran are two sisters who want nothing more than to make the cheerleading squad at Shadyside High School. Well, as R.L. Stine has a deft way of doing, he quickly makes our protagonists regret the wish they’ve been granted. Students start dying and now Corky and Bobby are legitimately living a nightmare. They’ve got to stop a killer, and somehow this will involve a trip to Fear Street. Youth in trouble, blood, a cheer squad, something tells me this has all the ingredients as a recipe for streaming success.
This Fear Street offering changes things up as it is more a psychological thriller than R.L. Stine’s other books. In this story, Emily looks up to her stepsister Jessie. However, Jessie has many problems not the least of which is stealing from Emily, taking over her room, and being highly untrustworthy. All of this takes another turn when Emily goes through Jessie’s diary and learns of an unspeakable evil. As Emily tries to rally people to the idea that Jessie isn’t who they think she is, this actually ensnares Emily deeper into her stepsisters web. R.L. Stine is the master of many things, but his ability to thread the needle of suspense in his stories is truly incredible and impactful. As much as a one-off movie of this Fear Street novel seems like the way to go, I am thinking that with the correct writing, “The Stepsister” could be a limited series.
The Surprise Party
What makes the Fear Street tales of terror work so well is how different all the books are from one another. Some are straight forward tales of terror where we see the characters living great lives and suddenly there is a change. Then there are those books that begin with a tragedy (one that has usually just happened so the characters can recall it), that casts a shadow on the entire proceedings. “The Surprise Party” is one of those books. It begins with a murder in the Fear Street woods (a place that if you’ve seen the Netflix show you know you don’t want to be), and things just go downhill from there. Meg, our main character, tries to bring everyone together for a surprise party for the return of a friend who left after some very chilling circumstances. Meg soon realizes that the road to hell is paved with good intentions, as her life starts being threatened over the soir&ée she’s trying to put together. Setting any story around a surprise party means that it can be contained, and that is something that would be welcome to any studio or streaming service interested in getting into the Fear Street business. With well drawn characters that leave actors a lot of room to create, “The Suprise Party” could be a quintessential R.L. Stine film.
One look at the book’s tag line “The perfect tan… or the perfect murder?”, and you know that Sunburn would make a great film. The story centers around Claudia Walker who is staying the weekend at her friend Marla’s palatial dream house. Things quickly got weird when there are series of accidents that throw Claudia’s weekend plans for a loop. As she digs a little deeper, Claudia soon discovers all these seemingly unrelated events might not be as unrelated as she thinks. Okay, the fact that this could be set in a beach house (and a beach house only) means that this would be an easy film to shoot. Also, given that this book is filled with tragic events, that means that we would surely be able to have some super scary events served up, right? Imagine this script in the hands of a really good FX house, and it seems that this tale of young adult fiction might actually achieve classic status (in cinema) if it were to ever be made.