Fear Street Part Three: Part One
Here we are then, with the story building up over two previous movies, across a period of fourteen long
years days, we finally have the origin of Sarah Fier – horror cinemas latest iconic bogeyman. Reactions have been mixed to Fear Street Parts One and Two but for those of us that have bought into these films, it is impressive how well they have established the mythology of this vengeful undying witch over such a short period of time.
Fear Street Part Three: 1666 is initially very different to its predecessors due to its historical setting. All three films are demonstrably period pieces, it’s right there in the tiles, but whereas the others revisit significant eras of horror cinema, this one predates cinema, by some stretch. When we left de facto protagonist Deena at the end of the previous movie she had just touched Fier’s witchy bones and Quantum Leaped into the body of the woman herself in the specified mid 17th Century date.
This conceit mostly works, I won’t tell you what’s going on here but there’s a whole spoiler discussion coming up at the end of this piece so I’ll pick it up there. What is curious is that several of her friends, and some from the events that occurred in the 70s, are also there and this is never really explained. It could be that Deena is projecting her own reality over this new existence or it could be that these families all go way way back in this area and that the ancestral similarities are really really strong but it is more than just the same actors playing these parts; their characters are essentially the same too. You can decide it is a reincarnation thing if you want to but I’m going with a simpler explanation; it’s magic – sorted, moving on.
It may be because we’ve already met these people in the modern day but I’m not sure how convincing the depiction of the mid 1600s really is. Certainly it doesn’t feel as authentic as it does in The Witch or even Sleepy Hollow, or interestingly even The Village. A lot of the established actors are marginalised in this set up too, particularly Sadie Sink.
What this movie does manage that the others in the series do not, is to actually be quite frightening. It is significant I think, that when before we have seen ghostly figures chasing down innocent teens is has not been scary at all but here, where it is very human attackers turning on a young girl because they believe her to be in league with Satan it’s genuinely unnerving. Mob paranoia is more terrifying than any supernatural evil.
It is also of note that the cause of the initial upset among the townsfolk and the reason they first point the finger at Sarah Fier is because she is gay. This is a contrast to the 1994 narrative where Deena’s own sexuality is entirely irrelevant. It is accurate of course that this would be a cause of prejudice in 1666, even if it may not be that it wouldn’t in 1994 but it does emphasise how it isn’t in 2021. The extremes Sarah then goes to fight the bigotry also have strong feminist undertones.
I may have taken a while to tune into the shift with Fear Street Part Three: 1666 but it is the perfect end to this story. The experiment of telling this tale over three weeks has really worked as there is no way they could have done this in a single movie but it still feels like one central, if varied, narrative that needed to be told in one go. Each instalment feels like a proper feature film too, not just episodes of a TV show. In the beginning Fear Street built heavily on what cinema has done before but by the end it might just have shaped what it will do in the future and that is exciting.
Either way, it is all there now it be boxsetted or triple billed and it is fated to be the mainstay of teen sleepovers and mini movie marathons for three hundred years.
Fear Street Part Three: Part Two
Beware all ye who enter here, there be spoilers.
Fear Street has played wonderfully with filmic convention and audience expectations. Ever since those first ten minutes when Maya Hawke got chased around the book shop (if only she’d thought to fashion a stab vest out of the paperbacks), we have thought we knew where we were only to regularly find that we didn’t. There have been masked murders introduced then immediately unmasked and killed, said mortal murderers have then proved immortal, characters we are told are going to die have lived, those that we were promised would live have died and plot points and plans have been explained before they occur – like the Scooby Doo scheme to catch the monsters at the end of this one.
What better way to end it then, than for the legendary character who has been built up as the ultimate evil, to turn out to actually be the good guy. No sooner had they established Sarah Fier as a truly powerful demon and set her up as a figure to rival Freddie, Jason, Michael Myers, the Fisherman, Sadako and Chucky than they told us she wasn’t like that at all.
The person who was revealed as the villain may not have been the biggest surprise but they still turned things around pretty neatly and it also undermines the patriarchal notions of monstrous femininity that it seemed to be playing into.
Unless of course it didn’t. Maybe the vision Sarah Fier somehow bestowed on Deena (as I say; magic, whatever) was engineered to present an alternate truth. Maybe the random inclusion of Deena’s friends, especially Sam, was all part of the deceit to make her believe the lie, perhaps that is what they are doing there. We just don’t know anymore.
Incidentally did you notice that Sarah’s father was played by Randy Havens, the one time science teacher at Hawkins High School? Each of these three films has cast someone from Stranger Things, is that a coincidence I wonder?
Maybe we will find out the answers to all of this in the next sequel set up by that final shot, or maybe that was just a last nod to the recurring book motif.
For my part, I think we are returning to this place, and this time it will be in theatres as originally intended. Fear Street Part Four: 2023 anyone?