13 Best Fear Street Novels
Article By: Tyler Doupe
R.L. Stine’s Fear Street novels were a hot commodity to budding horror fans in the ‘90s. They were spooky (by the standards of their target audience) and it seemed that there was always a new one being published. It was the closest a lot of us would come to a slasher film in our formative years. But they served as a great introduction to the world of the macabre.
The stories from Fear Street may be tame by today’s standards and perhaps don’t hold up to fans revisiting the series in adulthood, but the core concepts (in many of the novels) are solid and with some tweaking could be great on the big screen. And seeing as how the Fear Street audience has grown up, it would be much easier to explore some slightly more adult themes than those that transpire in the novels.
Keep reading for our top 13 choices for Fear Street novels we’d love to see adapted as feature films. And be sure to let us know your thoughts on our Facebook Page!
1. The Silent Night Trilogy
The Silent Night books are among my favorite entries in the Fear Street series. It probably helped that they were Super Chillers and allowed Stine a little more time to develop his characters and tell a story. I love horror that transpires around the holidays and I like to see a nasty person get their comeuppance. Reva Dalby never remembers the lessons she has learned from book to book. But that’s part of the fun. Taking the best elements of the three separate novels would make for a very enjoyable feature film. Watching Reva get what’s coming to her on the big screen would be a pleasure.
2. Party Summer
Like the Silent Night books, Party Summer is also a Super Chiller. And it, once again, benefits from the longer format. This tale of a group of teens staying at what might just be a haunted hotel for the summer is ripe with potential. A feature film based on the concept could follow a similar trajectory to the book and deliver a twist ending or it could delve more into the supernatural. Either way, it would make for a nostalgic trip down memory lane and if done right, could translate to a captivating viewing experience.
I remember reading Missing sometime after I read the first installment in the Silent Night series. It is interesting in the sense that it is more of a mystery than a horror story. But the idea of two children being inexplicably abandoned by their parents is plenty chilling on its own. Also, the book makes the reader develop a sense of paranoia when the police will not give Cara or Mark the time of day and their cousin begins behaving strangely. There is certainly plenty to work with here. With a little tweaking, I think that the storyline behind Missing would make for a very enjoyable flick.
4. The Prom Queen
I am a fan of the cheesy 1980s slasher pic Prom Night. But I think it would be a lot of fun to see a slasher film where the candidates for prom queen are being murdered one by one. There are a multitude of different scenarios in which that premise could work. Also, the twist at the end is not bad (for a Stine book). It would be nice to see a film that took a similar (but less predictable) approach to the identity of the killer. Perhaps giving him or her a stronger motivation for plucking off the members of the prom court.
5. The Wrong Number
Anyone that went through early adolescence prior to the advent of Caller ID likely remembers how much fun it was to prank call unsuspecting strangers. The idea of potentially paying for some (mostly) harmless fun with your life is pretty terrifying and could make for a great feature film in the right hands.
6. Halloween Party
I’ve said it before: I love holiday-themed horror. Almost any concept tied to a holiday instantly becomes more enjoyable for me. So, not surprisingly, I dig the premise behind Halloween Party. Although it does bear certain similarities to films like The House on Haunted Hill, the core concept of a group of teenagers attending a Halloween party and finding that they are being hunted by something or someone intent on killing them is a concept I cannot imagine tiring of anytime soon.
7. The Rich Girl
I enjoy a story about the power that money has over us and The Rich Girl is just that. This novel sees a pair of good friends happening upon a bag of cash and then all hell breaks loose. Things take a series of implausible turns and go in directions that would probably be even less believable onscreen. But the core concept of friends finding a bag of cash and swearing to keep it a secret, only for one of them to spill the beans, leading to unintended consequences could very well make for an interesting feature. Like with many of Stine’s novels, a straightforward adaptation probably would not be the right approach but a flick loosely inspired by The Rich Girl would definitely pique my curiosity.
8. The Thrill Club
‘They’re dying to join’. Who comes up with these taglines? That aside, the premise behind this novel is a winning one. Talia writes horror stories that frequently feature her friends as main characters. And everyone thinks this is great fun until Talia’s friends start turning up dead in a twist that can only be described as life imitating art. That concept could be imagined for the screen in a variety of ways and I would gladly take in a feature film about almost any of them.
9. The Dead Lifeguard
And another Super Chiller makes its way onto this list. The Dead Lifeguard is such a charmingly blunt and terribly unimaginative title that I couldn’t help but fall in love with it right away. Surprisingly, the story behind the tome is more imaginative than the title suggests. It’s pretty standard stalk and slash fare but it features a reasonably imaginative twist and who doesn’t love the idea of a slasher film set on the beach? I don’t think there are nearly enough of them. I recall Welcome to Spring Break being set against the backdrop of a beach but it was really awful. I think it would be good to see a well-made slasher pic that primarily unfolded on the seashore. And the rough outline of The Dead Lifeguard might be the perfect inspiration for such a thing.
10. One Evil Summer
I love this book for the cover alone. The image of a young woman being attacked by a cat doesn’t really strike me as sinister but it sure does give me cause to chuckle. Aside from the larger-than-life cover art, I think that the concept of a killer babysitter is an interesting one and one that we don’t see often enough. In most cases, the babysitter is the victim, being tormented by some creep (usually in a mask). It works brilliantly in Halloween and When a Stranger Calls had some success with the concept. But I think that flipping the paradigm and making the babysitter the creep is a nice twist. It’s been done before (most recently in Emelie) But I am all for seeing it again.
11. The New Year’s Party
Here we go again. The New Year’s Party is yet another holiday-themed novel and better yet, it’s a Super Chiller. The idea of a prank gone wrong has certainly been done before. We’ve seen it in Terror Train, The House on Haunted Hill, April Fool’s Day, Killer Party, Slaughter High, and more. But if it isn’t broken, don’t fix it. I think that there is still mileage left in the premise of a group of teens accidentally killing a friend and covering up the evidence. It is an enjoyable (albeit frequently used) setup and I would gladly go see a feature based on the premise of The New Year’s Party.
12. The New Girl
The idea of a man in love with a ghost is a little farcical but a prerequisite of reading a Fear Street novel is suspension of disbelief. So, just go with it. The New Girl is one of the rare instances where a Fear Street novel has a male protagonist and that difference was a nice change of pace from the typical formula. The book blends supernatural elements with a narrative shrouded in mystery. I can’t say for sure how well the concept would make the leap to the screen but I would sure like to see it attempted. I think that with a creative screenwriter and a director that grew up reading Fear Street books, The New Girl could come (back) to life in an interesting and unique way.
13. Broken Hearts
The last entry on the list and it’s another Super Chiller. There aren’t enough Valentine’s Day-themed horror films. The only two that come to mind are My Bloody Valentine and Valentine. While I enjoy both of those, I would love to see another memorable horror film that focuses on Valentine’s Day. It’s such a magical time for couples in love but it’s also the perfect backdrop for a rage-filled killing spree. The rough outline of this novel would make for a great feature film in the right hands.