Content warning: This article contains spoilers for “Fear Street.” It also discusses gore, violence, and sex.
With its ability to combine campy retro slasher elements and a compelling narrative that touches on socio-political issues, it’s no wonder “Fear Street” has been the talk of the town this past month. Based on books written by R.L. Stine, the trilogy is composed of three different films (“Part One: 1994,” “Part Two: 1978,” and “Part Three: 1666”) linked by a looming curse that has been going on for centuries. In the span of these three films, “Fear Street” gave us queer romance, generational trauma, and systemic oppression, among others.
There are a lot of horror films that inspired the “Fear Street” trilogy, and it even directly paid homage to “Halloween’s” killer and “Scream’s” opening sequence. But if you’re looking for more horror flicks to watch that don’t only indulge in the horror but also in its sensibilities, then we have just the list for you!
As one of the most popular horror films of all time, “Carrie” is often referenced as a landmark film for women and queer people alike. Like our “Fear Street” leads Deena and Sam, “Carrie” follows a 16-year-old teenager, Carrie White, as she deals with the inevitable societal pressures of puberty and growing up.
Soon enough, Carrie discovers that she has telekinesis, a metaphor for the angst and anxiety many teens experience at an age when we’re simultaneously losing and finding control. The film culminates in an iconic scene that is heavily referenced throughout the entire “Film Street” trilogy.
“Friday the 13th” (1980)
Hailed as one of the OGs that started the Golden Age of slasher films during the 1980s, “Friday the 13th” serves as the blueprint for summer camp thrillers. The film focuses on a group of counselors unknowingly spending their summer on the cursed Camp Crystal Lake.
Unlike its more restrained predecessors, “Friday the 13th” isn’t afraid to revel in gore, something it shares with the trilogy, especially “Part Two: 1978.” Besides that, there are also a lot of direct references to the locations used in many of its scenes, such as the prominent use of cabins and bathrooms as the site for murders throughout the entire film.
Directed by Mike de Leon, “Kisapmata” is a psychological horror film based on the short story “The House on Zapote Street” by Quijano de Manila, better known as Nick Joaquin. Based on real-life murders, it follows the daughter of a retired police officer, Mila, who is played by Charo Santos, as she longs to escape from the confines of her father.
Often regarded as one of the best Filipino films of its decade, “Kisapmata” is one of the first local films to explore taboo subjects like incest and suicide. Like “Part Three: 1666,” the film also touches on patriarchy, sexuality, and power.
“Shake, Rattle & Roll” (1984)
“Shake, Rattle & Roll” is a Filipino anthology horror film that spawned an enduring franchise, with each film consisting of three different episodes populated by different casts just like “Fear Street.” Though episodes “Baso” and “Manananggal” are great in their own right, it is the unexpected thriller “Pridyider,” directed by Ishmael Bernal, that serves as the pièce de résistance of this film.
In this episode, the Delfin family faces an old, malevolent refrigerator that mostly victimizes women, chopping up body parts, in an allegory to the still pressing issue of rape cases in our country.
“A Tale of Two Sisters” (2003)
“A Tale of Two Sisters” is a Korean psychological horror film inspired by the classic folktale “The Story of Janghwa and Hongryeon.” It follows a teenage-girl, Su-mi, who is recently released from a mental institution. Once home, she encounters disturbing events that haunt their house and their family, especially her relationship with her stepmother.
Known for its more tragic and absurdist mood, “A Tale of Two Sisters” remains to be a staple in Asian horror cinema. It’s a twisted tale that tackles issues related to sexuality, coming-of-age, and especially mental health.
“It Follows” (2014)
“It Follows” is a 2014 horror film that centers on Jaime “Jay” Height, a college student on the run from a supernatural entity that only she can see, following her all around after a sexual encounter. Written and directed by David Robert Mitchell, it premiered in the Cannes Film Festival to critical acclaim.
Much like “Fear Street,” Jay enlists the help of her friends in order to evade the entity, only in this case the curse can only be passed through sexual encounters. The film grapples with the nature of teenage sexuality, exploring themes related to voyeurism and sexual politics, with critics interpreting the film as an allegory to HIV/AIDS and other sexually transmitted diseases.
“Get Out” (2017)
“Get Out” is an Academy-award winning breakthrough film that brought mainstream success and universal acclaim to director Jordan Peele. Applauded for its socio-political commentary, “Get Out” addresses issues related to modern racism and slavery as Black photographer Chris Washington meets the eerie family of his white girlfriend.
“Part Two: 1978” explores the politics of storytelling, with police officers bending and twisting cases in order to maintain the status quo and benefit only one side of the scale. The same issue is explored by “Get Out” in a thought-provoking scene that urges its viewers to discern the truth and ask themselves who the real monsters are.
Photo courtesy of Netflix
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