weekend binge

This spooky weekend, dive into RL Stine’s gay answer to ‘Lord of the Rings’

FEAR STREET PART 1: 1994 – (L-R) JULIA REHWALD as KATE, FRED HECHINGER as SIMON and KIANA MADEIRA as DEENA . Cr: Netflix © 2021

Welcome to the Weekend Binge. Every week, we’ll suggest a binge-able title designed to keep you from getting too stir crazy. Check back throughout the weekend for even more gloriously queer entertainment.

The Epic: The Fear Street Trilogy

If Goosebumps author RL Stine ever tried to write Lord of the Rings, we have a feeling it would look a lot like Fear Street, the trilogy of Netflix screamers that became surprise hits this past summer. In an even more delightful surprise–especially to us–the sprawling story centers on gay love bonded through the centuries.

Part one in the series, 1994, introduces us to the story of Deena and Sam (Kiana Madeira & Olivia Scott Welch), a closeted lesbian couple from the rival towns Shadyside and Sunnyvale. As the two contend with life in the closet–and the class divide between their two small towns–a supernatural killer surfaces, slaughtering the locals of Shadyside, and fueling the longtime urban legend of a witch that cursed the town. As Deena, Sam and their friends do their best to elude the killer, they stumble on the shallow grave of a woman executed for witchcraft in the 1600s. Deena begins to show signs of demonic possession. Then, with the killer still on the loose, Same receives a call from another local woman, who warns her all this has happened before.

1978 picks up the story of Shadyside, albeit years earlier. Campers at a Shadyside campground begin to fall prey to a similar supernatural killer. Two of the campers, Cindy (Emily Rudd) and Alice (Ryan Simpkins) do their best to elude the killer and stumble on a witch’s cave…which leads them to a mass of pulsating organs that seem to grow up out of the ground. As the two conspire to end the curse, they realize the killer is targeting specific teenagers in the camp. Cindy and Alice manage to save several of the campers, but at great cost.

1666 unites the casts of both previous films American Horror Story-style, exploring the beginnings of the Shadyside curse–and how the souls of Deena and Sam have intertwined through various reincarnations over the centuries. The action then jumps back to 1994 to see characters from all three films battle it out to shatter the Shadyside curse once and for all.

Director Leigh Janiak and queer writer Phil Graziadei combine their talents to elevate this pulpy schlock premise into the realm of high art. Fear Street never quite gets there, but taken as a whole, the trilogy is a lot of fun, especially in the buildup to Halloween. Moreover, in a twist both bold and refreshing, the story is really one of queer love, and how power-hungry demagogues demonize LGBTQ people for their own aims. With spooky season fully upon us, we can’t think of a better binge to celebrate. It’s an epic tale of queerness, sorcery, teen angst, and murder chock full of horror movie ridiculousness told with unusual sincerity and characters we love.

Streams on Netflix.