New Marvel-style universe? 'Fear Street' is just the beginning, says director

Leigh Janiak has said she hopes to create a horror spin on MCU with slasher killers from different eras

US director Leigh Janiak arrives for the Netflix premiere of the 'Fear Street' trilogy at the LA Historic Park in Los Angeles on June 28, 2021. AFP
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Fans of horror and R L Stine books will have avidly been watching Leigh Janiak's Fear Street trilogy, which was released over the past three weeks on Netflix.

The films, which tell the story of witch Sarah Fier and the cursed residents of Shadyside, are based on Stine's young adult book series of the same name. The stories span centuries, starting in the 1990s, before moving to the 1970s and finally ending at the beginning: in 1666.

Watch the trailer for the final instalment here:

With this trio of hits, released each Friday morning, director Janiak has found an unusual but so-far-successful formula: gore and gruesomeness with a side of nostalgia and romance. She has revived the "scream teen" genre for a binge-watching generation, and she has no plans to stop here.

“One of the exciting things about Fear Street is the fact that the universe is big and allows for a lot of space,” Janiak said in a recent interview with IndieWire. “One of the things that I talked about before I was hired was that we have a potential here to create a horror Marvel [Cinematic Universe], where you can have slasher killers from lots of different eras. You have the canon of our main mythology that’s built around the fact that the devil lives in Shadyside, so there’s also room for everything else.”

Janiak said it depends on how audiences react, but if the positive critical reviews are anything to go by, we can expect more. What that will be, however, is a little less clear.

“I don’t even think about it like TV or movies exactly any more," Janiak continued. "That’s the great thing about Netflix and about what Fear Street is, which is kind of a hybrid new thing. I’m excited about the possibility of what else can happen.”

Janiak, who is married to Stranger Things co-creator Ross Duffer, is a self-admitted gore and 1950s slasher flick fan. “Horror is kind of like the weird stepchild of kind of the film world," she told AFP. "And I think it’s ridiculous. Horror more than any other genre offers these opportunities to kind of make big popcorny, fun movies and have them still be about something.”

Updated: July 18, 2021, 7:14 AM