Horror is queer by nature, from cult classics like The Rocky Horror Picture Show to modern films like Jennifer’s Body, and one can’t discuss Netflix’s glorious Fear Street trilogy without mentioning how queer it is.
Horror continues to evolve and change with the times.
While other genres stay stuck in a loop (such as rom coms, which are seldom queer and often reinforce horrible ideas about romance), horror stops to ask what can be done differently.
Based on the series by R.L Stine, but with a twist, this trilogy can be enjoyed without loving the Fear Street books.
(Major spoilers ahead.)
Fear Street Part One: 1994 is a reminder of what makes slashers enjoyable.
It has a very Scream-like opening, with a phone call and a pulse-pounding chase scene that ends with the likeable girl being killed.
Set in the fictional town of Shadyside, the film then introduces our main girl, Deena (Kiana Madeira), a lesbian of colour.
She’s not revealed to be a lesbian right away, though – there’s some mention of her ex, Sam (Olivia Scott Welch), before the reveal that she’s a girl.
After a chaotic vigil and a verbal fight between Deena and Sam, everything escalates.
A slight car accident involving Sam results in her touching the bones of Sarah Fier, a woman accused of witchcraft in 1666 and executed, leading to a horrible chain of events.
Violence, death, and desperation ensue as Deena struggles to keep her loved ones alive, especially Sam, who is the main target of the spirits of the Shadyside Killers.
The kids try to contact C. Berman, a woman who survived her own ordeal in 1978.
In the end, Deena loses some people but gets Sam back, only for Sam to end up possessed.
Cue Fear Street Part Two: 1978 in all its camp slasher glory.
While the focus shifts to C. Berman (Gillian Jacobs), 1978 has its queerness.
Ziggy Berman (Sadie Sink) gives off lowkey bisexual vibes, and a connection exists between Cindy Berman (Emily Rudd) and Alice (played by non-binary Ryan Simpkins).
Cindy and Alice have obvious issues and underlying tension, noticed by fans and even acknowledged by some of the actors.
This part of the trilogy finally reveals that C. Berman isn’t Cindy, who by all accounts is a typical final girl – she’s Ziggy, the only one of the two who survived the camp massacre.
Fear Street Part Three: 1666 is the queerest instalment, despite the first half being set in 1666.
Deena follows through on reuniting Sarah Fier’s hand with her corpse and has a vision that reveals her past, showing that they have more in common than Deena could have imagined.
1666 wasn’t the greatest time to be queer (when is it ever though?), which Part Three reminds us as the true story of Sarah Fier is revealed.
She’s not the evil witch that history has made her out to be – she’s the victim of homophobic violence and betrayal.
She’s treated like scum for being queer and is outed by a horrible straight boy in the village, leading to her girlfriend, Hannah, being captured and awaiting execution.
The trust that Sarah puts into her friend, Solomon Goode (who happens to be the ancestor of sheriff Nick Goode), is almost endearing until it’s revealed that he’s behind the eerie events and violence in their village.
He made a deal with the devil in exchange for power and wealth, which isn’t surprising for a straight white man.
Solomon’s deal sets in motion generations of Shadysiders being possessed and killing people.
Later, it is revealed that every firstborn in the Goode lineage has contributed to the curse.
Sarah Fier has to take the blame for Solomon’s actions to prevent Hannah being executed.
Before she dies, she swears vengeance, and that in itself is very queer: giving a middle finger to oppressive systems and people.
Sarah Fier is the embodiment of queer rage.
With some help, Deena ends the curse, resulting in a happy ending for her and Sam.
A sapphic pairing not ending in tragedy is something special, and that’s something that Fear Street welcomely provides.