Four Fear Street Novels Netflix Should Adapt Next
Anyone that grew up in the ‘90s with an affinity for the macabre likely has fond memories of the R.L. Stine series, Fear Street. The YA horror series routinely featured teenage protagonists in delightfully dark situations. Stine frequently tested the limits of what was acceptable in a series marketed to young adults. This makes the novels feel something like forbidden fruit to impressionable readers.
Though the books don’t quite hold the same weight for me in adulthood, I still enjoy revisiting them from time to time. I was also a huge fan of Leigh Janiak’s Fear Street films for Netflix. The trilogy took loose inspiration from the mythology established by the novels and then created original stories from there. With that said, I think it could be an interesting endeavor to adapt some of the best stories from the series for the screen. And with the recent rumblings about more Fear Street films on the way, what better time talk about which installments might translate well to the screen.
The Wrong Number
Kids of today will never know the inherent joy associated with making prank phone calls from a landline. Calling strangers for kicks was particularly amusing prior to the advent of *69 and Caller ID. Through about the mid-90s, when someone called your landline, it was a mystery who was on the other end. And that made prank calls far easier to execute than they are today.
The Wrong Number starts out with some harmless fun. But it quickly delves into a full-blown horror story when a group of teenagers place a crank call to a murderer. The skeletal outline of this tale of telephonic terror could make for a chilling period piece set in the ‘90s. And with the nostalgia boom for that era in full swing, I suspect there is an audience for such an endeavor.
The Silent Night Trilogy
Reva Dalby is so bad. She is the definition of a selfish creep. And she isn’t afraid to step on the less fortunate to get what she wants. But seeing her get her (well-deserved) comeuppance is part of what makes her arc in the Silent Night trilogy so much fun. The series is vaguely reminiscent of the Dickens classic, A Christmas Carol, with Reva always learning an important lesson around the holidays. However, the lessons she learns never seem to stick long; she’s always back to her old tricks when the next installment begins.
Each subsequent book sort of recycles the same narrative from the first installment in the trilogy, so I’m not sure there’s enough there for three features. But a single film that combined the best elements from the novels could be quite effective. And there’s certainly an audience for it. The Silent Night books still seem to have a fanbase after all these years.
This tale of fun in the sun has a great setup that sees Claudia waking up on the beach, buried in sand, with no idea exactly how she ended up in that predicament. Additionally, the novel features a summer camp backstory. That’s (almost) always a welcome addition to any horror movie with a teen cast. Even better, the bulk of the story isn’t set at camp. So, it wouldn’t necessarily feel like a retread of Fear Street: 1978. The camp backstory would be well-realized as a series of flashbacks, similar to the approach the book takes.
While we don’t (initially) know exactly why Claudia finds herself in such a precarious situation, we do know it likely pertains to an accident that occurred one year prior at camp. And though Claudia believes what happened is in the past, someone else is still fixated on it and keen to collect their pound of flesh.
The concept of seeking revenge for an historic wrong has played well in slasher films like Slaughter High, I Know What You Did Last Summer, and Terror Train, to name a few. And I think a similar approach could work rather effectively with the setup outlined in Sunburn.
The Prom Queen
I am a big fan of horror films set at a school dance. I dig Dance of the Dead and Prom Night II. And I even have a soft spot for the original Prom Night, which has the makings of a good slasher picture, even if it doesn’t always nail the execution. So, for that reason, I would be very eager to see The Prom Queen adapted for the screen.
The idea of a killer picking off candidates for prom queen is a great jumping off point. There are several different directions a screenwriter could take the narrative from there. It would be nice to see a storyline that avoided the well-worn tropes of an obsessed admirer killing the nominees. And I would also hope the writer could circumvent the inclination to make one of the nominees the killer. Both of those scenarios are pretty obvious and have been done in some form or fashion plenty of times.
There are, however, are a number of (slightly) less obvious options. One such option might see one of the teachers at the school sacrificing the potential prom queens to a deity in exchange for eternal youth. The possibilities are endless. And the source material provides a great setup that could go in a number of chilling directions.
What are some of your favorite Fear Street novels? And which series installments do you think would translate well to the screen? Find me on Twitter and let me know!