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The R.L. Stine-aissance Continues With (Bingeable?!) 'Fear Street' Movies

By Tori Preston | Industry | July 14, 2017 |

By Tori Preston | Industry | July 14, 2017 |

Everything old is new again, which is great news for fans of R.L. Stine who enjoyed his non-Goosebumps output in the ’90s. Fear Street, Stine’s more gruesome bestselling series of novels, aimed at older teenage readers, is getting a shot at the big screen thanks to Fox. But really, studios playing on our collective nostalgia and/or developing bestselling books into movies isn’t exactly an original idea. Nor is the plan to create as many as three Fear Street films newsworthy in and of itself, considering any franchise is launched with the expectation of sequels these days.

No, what’s newsworthy about THIS deal is the rumor, per The Hollywood Reporter, that the films would follow a novel new distribution plan: being released back-to-back, a month apart. That’s right, this time it’s movies that are taking their cues from television in the form of bingeable films! Sure, OK, Fox wouldn’t comment on it. But it basically matches the way the Fear Street books were originally published, with multiple entries coming out each year and some arriving on shelves a month apart.

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The films will be overseen by Leigh Janiak, the up-and-coming director behind 2014’s indie horror flick Honeymoon (making her one of the handful of notable female horror directors starting to crack the genre in recent years). She’s been tapped to direct as well as develop the scripts — there are writers working on them, but it sounds like she may pitch in to write/rewrite/guide them as well. Chernin Entertainment, who recently made War for the Planet of the Apes for Fox, will be producing.

The Fear Street series launched in 1989 with the publication of The New Girl, and the series (which spawned various sub-series like The Fear Street Saga, Fear Street Cheerleaders, and my fave, 99 Fear Street: The House of Evil) went on to sell over 80 million copies. R.L. Stine revived Fear Street in 2014, adding new novels to the series that currently has, oh I dunno, like 100 entries total if you count the offshoots? The dude writes A LOT. Fox will have no shortage of material to adapt, that’s for sure. The books were all set in the fictional town of Shadyside, Ohio, which had a street named — yup, you guessed it — “Fear”. Similar to Goosebumps, each book would introduce new characters, though some events and characters from previous entries might pop up or be referenced later on…almost like a shared universe! The stories were far bloodier than Goosebumps since they were targeted more toward the high school demographic. But we’re all just overgrown teenagers anyway, so please — take me back to Fear Street.

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Tori Preston is the managing editor of Pajiba. She tweets here. You can also listen to her weekly TV podcast, Podjiba.