We Figured Out Which Fear Street Books Netflix's Trilogy Is Based on So You Don't Have To
When the Fear Street movie trilogy was first announced by Netflix, I found myself wondering whether it would follow the lead of 2015's Goosebumps film or if it would be an adaptation of a specific book. The premieres of Fear Street Part 1: 1994 on July 2, Fear Street Part 2: 1978 on July 9, and Fear Street Part 3: 1666 on July 16 confirmed that the Netflix trilogy was drawing inspiration from a variety of the Fear Street novels. "They're not really based concretely in the book," director Leigh Janiak told Den of Geek. "Mostly, I think I would endeavor to stay true to the spirit of the books, which was kind of subversive and edgy for teenage readers. There's violence, there's blood, there's hints of sex . . . They're really, really fun to read."
Of course, I decided to cross-reference the entire Fear Street book series to see which titles served as inspiration for the films and discovered a lot more than I was expecting. Ahead, you can see which Fear Street books inspired the entire trilogy.
Fear Street Cheerleaders: The First Evil
Despite not being based on one specific book, Fear Street Part 1: 1994 draws heavily from the first book in the Fear Street Cheerleaders saga, The First Evil. When Shadyside newcomers Corky and Bobbi Corcoran join the cheer squad, bad things start to happen after an accident at the nearby Fear Street cemetery. It's up to the sisters to stop the mysterious killer while trying to stay alive themselves.
Much like The First Evil, the protagonists in Part 1 have an accident involving a bus that leads to cheerleader Samantha Fraser bleeding on top of Sarah Fier's grave. Eventually, Sam is possessed by an evil spirit and turns murderous because of it. However, The First Evil's Sarah Fear isn't a vengeful spirit that died after being accused of witchcraft in the 1600s. No, the book's version of Sarah is a vengeful spirit bound to her best friend's body after a tragic identity switch in the 1800s.
The Surprise Party
With The First Evil making up the bulk of Part 1's inspiration, The Surprise Party has more to do with character motivations. A year after Evan dies in the Fear Street woods and Ellen moves away, Meg plans a surprise party to get the gang back together. Eventually, Meg begins receiving ominous threats to cancel the party unless she's able to discover the truth the Fear Street woods hide.
Part 1's Sam is very much like Ellen, in the way that they both move away after a traumatic event. For Ellen, it's her boyfriend's death, and for Sam, it's the divorce of her parents. Ellen and Meg drifted apart after the move, while Sam and Deena broke up because of it. Then there's the character of Brian in The Surprise Party, Meg's cousin who is very into Dungeons and Dragons. In Part 1, Deena's brother Josh, who is very into video games and chatting on the internet, seems to take up the "weird" mantle that was given to Brian.
The Wrong Number
Alright, this might be a stretch, but The Wrong Number is one of the books seen in Heather Watkins's bookstore in the opening of Part 1. Deena Martinson and her best friend, Jade Smith, have fun by making sexy prank calls to boys at their school. Things take a deadly turn when Deena's half-brother Chuck calls a wrong number on Fear Street.
At most, The Wrong Number potentially inspired the name of Part 1's heroine, Deena Johnson. In the movie, Deena does seemingly answer a wrong number, only for it to be C. Berman calling to warn Deena and her friends, but that's about it.
You would think that Fear Street Part 2: 1978 would be primarily inspired by Lights Out, the book that takes place at Camp Nightwing, but that's not the case as it actually has more in common with Trapped. After getting detention at Shadyside High, a group of teenagers decide to explore the hidden tunnels under the school. They should've believed the stories about the deaths of the kids partying in the tunnels during the '60s, because history has a way of repeating itself.
From the never-ending tunnels under the school to the red mist that seems to mean danger, it's easy to make the connection between Part 2 and Trapped. However, instead of Shadyside High and red mist, the tunnels are now under Camp Nightwing and red moss is a warning sign for the movie. Both Elaine from Trapped and Alice from Part 2 find themselves battling ankle issues as they try to escape the tunnels after a cave-in, although Alice's are a bit more gruesome. Skeletons coming back to life are also a big and deadly issue for both sets of teenagers.
Also, a name being carved into a rock alerts the protagonists that something fishy is happening in the tunnels of Shadyside. Part 2's names are just signifiers of potential killers, while Trapped has a solitary name responsible for the deaths of the kids in the '60s.
Part 3 takes the moral of Trapped's story, which is "the truth will set you free," to the next level. Once Deena and Ziggy realize it's been Nick and his family who've caused all the pain and suffering in Shadyside, they're able to use the Shadyside Killers to their advantage. Deena, with the help of Sarah Fier, eventually kills Nick and sets the town free from the witch's curse.
It seems like Lights Out is the only mention of Camp Nightwing in the entirety of the Fear Street franchise, so I feel comfortable saying that's where Part 2 gets its camp name. With increasingly frightening acts of vandalism plaguing Camp Nightwing, junior counselor Holly Flynn is determined to solve a fellow counselor's murder. Told it's an "accident," Holly has to watch her back lest the killer comes back for her.
Holly has a lot in common with both Cindy and Ziggy Berman in the movie. Cindy and Holly are both counselors who want to keep everyone safe, while Holly and Ziggy want to be anywhere else but Camp Nightwing, where they're hated by sh*tty counselors and campers alike who ultimately try to kill them. Prior to the events at Camp Nightwing, Cindy had a falling out with her best friend Alice, like Holly fell out with Geri. Snakes continuously pop up in the book and movie, with Holly and Ziggy not being big fans. Oh, there's also the rule of counselors not being able to date campers, which isn't really an issue for Holly but serves as an obstacle for Ziggy and Nick Goode.
Turns out, the rule about not dating campers isn't the only obstacle for Ziggy and Nick. Although you think he's an ass for not believing Ziggy in Part 2, Part 3 sheds light on his actual motivations. Like Sandy in Lights Out, Nick is the one behind everything. However, it is entirely possible that he actually was in love with Ziggy . . . at least for a moment.
Fear Park: The First Scream
Who thought the potentially cursed woods would be a great place to have a camp or amusement park? Apparently, Part 2 and the first book in the Fear Park saga, The First Scream. Dierdre Bradley's father doesn't believe in the ancient Fear family curse and plans on opening his Fear Street theme park in a few days. This proves to be a deadly decision as the hopeful shrieks of joy soon turn to screams of terror.
Part 2's Camp Nightwing is nestled nicely in the woods that have grown since Sarah Fier's death in 1666. The curses in the book and movie aren't exactly the same, but they do involve the Fier/Fear family name. Eventually, it's this Fier/Fear curse that causes a somewhat innocent teenager — Tommy Slater in Part 2 and Richard Bradley in The First Scream — to pick up an axe and start murdering everyone in their path.
It's likely The First Scream is where Part 3 gets the idea for generational evil. However, instead of the Fear family passing down their evil knowledge, it's the Goodes. Unfortunately for Ziggy, Nick is the one behind the deaths at Camp Nightwing, and it's his family who continue to make sacrifices and cause terror in Shadyside.
The Fear Street Saga: The Betrayal
Much like Part 1 draws heavily from The First Evil, Part 3 takes inspiration from The Betrayal. As Nora Goode watches the Fear Mansion burn to the ground, her mind drifts to how the feud between the Goodes and the Fears first began. In 1692, Susannah Goode is accused of being a witch by the family of her beloved Edward Fier. Will he save her, or be her doom?
Part 3 sees a role reversal between the Goodes and the Fiers, with the Goode family being the accusers versus being the accused. Both the book and Part 3 feature soil issues due to the supposed witch, secret meetings between forbidden lovers that get interrupted, and a potential marriage between a Fier and a Goode that doesn't work out. Solomon Goode and his family also end up being secret warlocks, with access to a secret room for their evil deeds.