Fear Street Director Talks the Importance of an R Rating and the '90s Soundtrack
Author R.L. Stine's Goosebumps book series is considered a staple of kid-friendly horror that helps craft an interest in the genre among young readers, though his Fear Street novels took the terror to slightly higher levels, as the books were geared more towards teen-aged readers. Based on the source material, many fans thought Netflix's new Fear Street trilogy of films would likely be targeted towards the PG-13 crowd, only for the films themselves to all earn R ratings. Leigh Janiak, who directed all three installments, detailed how she had always known from the earliest talks of the project that it was necessary to fully embrace the slasher genre, including the expected gore. Fear Street Part 1: 1994 hits Netflix on July 2nd.
"For me, they were always R-rated, that was always part of my vision of what the movies should be," Janiak explained to ComicBook.com. "I think it's important that slasher movies are very violent and very crazy with blood and gore and all of that. Also, just thematically, for me, I wanted the experience of the movies to be really fun and scary, but I also wanted the moments of violence to be real and disturbing and remind the audience that there's a real evil happening in Shadyside."
She added, "It was always part of it, even though the books are a little more PG-13, I thought it was important to push us over into R. There were certainly conversations that happened, where people questioned and wondered, 'If we had a PG-13, would our audience be bigger?' Ultimately, everyone creatively understood that this is what makes sense and I feel really lucky that it was never a battle or anything, it was just a conversation that we would have."
In 1994, a circle of teenage friends accidentally encounter the ancient evil responsible for a series of brutal murders that have plagued their town for over 300 years. Welcome to Shadyside.
Understandably, to effectively immerse the audience in the '90s, the production design went all out in regards to replicating the look of the era, with Janiak also noting how her approach to selecting the music also required her to embrace evocative songs from their respective times.
"There were a few that were definitely baked into the script. 'The Man Who Sold the World,' both the Nirvana version and Bowie version were immortalized on the page before anything else," the filmmaker pointed out. "The Pixies were built in, they were in there, also, weirdly, the song that Josh is listening to at the end of movie one, the Soundgarden song, was also in the script. There were a couple others here and there that I can't remember off the top of my head. Other ones just came and evolved. One of the things that I really liked was to be able to find -- obviously the Nirvana and Bowie is a good example of it, but 'Sweet Jane' from the Cowboy Junkies in '94 and then The Velvet Underground version in '78, so it was fun to find those things. For me, it was important to find music that thematically spoke to the moment that the characters were in, which can immediately bring you back to that place."
Fear Street Part 1: 1994 hits Netflix on July 2nd. Fear Street Part 2: 1978 hits Netflix on July 9th and Fear Street Part 3: 1666 debuts on July 16th.
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