Fear Street, a narrow street that wound past the town cemetery and through the thick woods on the south edge of town, had a special meaning for everyone in Shadyside. The street was cursed, people said.
(Fear Street #1 – The New Girl, page 18)
One of my earliest memories is sitting in the young adult section of the library and going down the stacks to read the books. This is before “young adult” was as big a genre as it was. There was I think two bookshelves dedicated to it, and I read Christopher Pike’s the Last Vampire and R.L. Stine’s Fear Street. I would sit on the floor and read them right there in the stacks.
Now I’m a librarian, specifically a young adult librarian. I spend a lot of time reading YA books and keeping up on the genre. YA horror has come a long way. For one, every YA book seems to deal with the inevitably of death and destruction. It’s no longer just in horror. Current generations are seeing the state of the world, of real life horrific events, of real fears come to life, that we’ve thrown up our hands and said fuck it the world is ending anyway. Monsters are real and we are they and suddenly axe wielding psychopaths don’t seem so scary do they?
I suppose that’s why I return to Fear Street. It’s such a simple idea of horror. People just want murderous revenge and monsters are relegated to a deadly street where hundreds of people have gone missing and no one will do a thing. Now with your Scream Queens and Teen Wolfs and Spooksvilles, I’m a little sad to see Fear Street hasn’t been translated to television. You could make it like American Horror Story but interesting or ease it down to a Spooksville for the kiddos (seriously go watch Spooksville it’s on Netflix it’s great) or make it some drawn out Dark Shadows type melodrama where the Fear Saga is happening in the background of all these other weird things.
My point is, Fear Street was formative for me, but I don’t seem to remember much about it. I’m sure the books are outstanding and hold up to my perceived image of them. I’m sure there’s nothing cringe worthy within them. I’m sure I’m not pushing myself down a wormhole of nostalgic horror fiction that will replace all my reading the next year.
So come with me down this road. Travel with me through the thick fog, listening to the wolves howl outside our window, avoiding our eyes of the burned out mansion that once belonged to the Fear family itself, and we’ll make it to Fear Street.
Who knows if we’ll ever leave again.