Fear Street trilogy writer/director, Leigh Janiak, opens up about her desire for the Netflix horror films to include plenty of gore. The films are loosely based on R.L. Stine’s novel series of the same name, a more mature approach to his unique writing style in comparison to his acclaimed Goosebumps franchise. The stories were generally set in the fictional town of Shadyside, Ohio as average teens encounter paranormal and malignant entities.
The first film in the series, Part One: 1994, centers on a group of teens who incidentally uncover an ancient evil responsible for a series of brutal murders that have plagued their town for over 300 years and seek to find a way to stop it. The film starred Kiana Madeira, Olivia Welch, Benjamin Flores Jr., Julia Rehwald, Maya Hawke and Gillian Jacobs. The trilogy is off to a solid start as reviews have skewed mostly positive for the film, which currently sits at an 87% “Certified Fresh” approval rating from critics on Rotten Tomatoes.
As the trilogy kicks off on the streaming platform, Janiak caught up with Indiewire to discuss Netflix’s Fear Street trilogy, namely its freshly-released Part One. Despite having occasional concerns regarding producers’ faith in the more mature execution, the filmmaker says she remained confident and revealed her thought process for taking this route. See what Janiak had to say below:
Right away, I was like, these have to be R-rated slasher movies. I was thinking about being 10 and 11 and sneaking to the video store and renting things I wasn’t supposed to rent, like Child’s Play and A Nightmare on Elm Street. That was an important part, always, for me. We shot the second movie last, and by the time I got to that movie, I was so tired. I was so tired. Every time we had a scene with a kill or an attack, I was just like, ‘More blood, more blood, fucking let’s do this!’ There was no more negotiation, it was just like more, just do more.
Whereas the Goosebumps franchise is generally better known for its more PG approach to terror, it was interesting to see Janiak and co. go for the R-rated territory with the first installment in the Fear Street trilogy. Though the body count wasn’t large, the kills on display in the film did prove to be effectively shocking, namely that of a bread-sliced head. Given that the opening scene itself was already a solid ode to Wes Craven’s Scream, what followed was a fun throwback to the gory slashers of old.
With Part Two: 1978 already confirmed to have an R-rating for similarly bloody violence, the Friday the 13th-esque follow-up is certainly looking promising. Janiak’s revelation that the next Fear Street installment was the last one shot and the one in which she demanded more blood for every attack and kill, it sounds like the bloody fun is only getting started. Fear Street Part Two arrives this Friday and Part Three arrives on July 16.
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