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Is Fear Street Connected To Stranger Things (Why They Look So Similar)

Netflix’s upcoming Fear Street has Sadie Sink, Maya Hawke, a small-town setting, and ’80s horror vibes, so is it connected to Stranger Things or not?

The upcoming Netflix horror movie event Fear Street is giving many fans of the streaming services serious Stranger Things vibes thanks to the trilogy’s small-town setting, retro era, and familiar cast, but are the two projects related? Debuting in mid-2016, Stranger Things soon became a word-of-mouth sensation for streaming service Netflix and the show’s creators, Hidden directors the Duffer Brothers. The series follows the story of a group of misfit kids who come across a mysterious girl with telekinetic powers and an inter-dimensional monster when the abduction of their friend (by said monster) uncovers a vast, secret government conspiracy.

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With season 4 of Stranger Things on the way, the enduring popularity of the series shows no signs of slowing down. It is easy to see why Netflix users gravitated toward the show, as Stranger Things marries a scary, suspenseful story and cute coming-of-age dramedy with a retro aesthetic drenched in everything ‘80s. Equal parts Stephen King and Stephen Spielberg, Stranger Things spearheaded an ‘80s horror revival that has since gone on to include the It movie adaptations, AHS: 1984, and the recent remakes Pet Sematary and Child’s Play.

Related: Why Granite Flats Was Netflix’s Forgotten Stranger Things Prototype

Stranger Things has been so successful that Netflix is cashing in on the hype. The streaming service giant recently released a trailer for its upcoming horror event Fear Street, an R.L. Stine adaptation that will be released in three parts throughout July. Fans have a long wait for Stranger Things season 4 ahead of them, so many have been intrigued by this new release promising similar thrills and chills. With both being teen horrors about a group of kids encountering a conspiratorial coverup that is causing killings in their small-town home, both starring Maya Hawke and Sadie Sink, and both being produced by Netflix, the question of whether Fear Street is connected to Stranger Things is a fair one that has appeared a lot online thanks to eager fans of the show. However, Fear Street is not connected to Stranger Things and is instead a three-part movie adaptation of Goosebumps author RL Stine’s ‘90s teen horror novel series of the same name. So, without a clear canon connection, why are the two projects so similar?

Fear Street & Stranger Things Similarities Explained

Max in Stranger Things

Like fellow horror blockbuster Stephen King’s It, Stranger Things and Fear Street are both set in small towns that seem normal but actually harbor dark secrets. Both Fear Street and Stranger Things are set decades in the past and feature young heroes who are tasked with saving their lives and the lives of everyone in their town by defeating an evil that they never even knew existed thanks to a conspiracy designed to cover it up. That said, the projects do diverge in a few important places. For one thing, judging by the scant evidence seen in the trailer for Fear Street, like many works by the prolific ’90s icon Stine, this adaptation’s villain will be a supernatural sort of horror. In contrast, Stranger Things features monsters more indebted to sci-fi. However, another commonality that the trailers illustrate between the two projects is a comic edge that offsets the scares, with both Fear Street and Stranger Things featuring comic relief moments that ensure the horror never becomes the viewer’s sole focus.

How Are Fear Street And Stranger Things Connected

Fear Street Trilogy trailer

While the two projects may not have any canon connection, they do share a lot of creative DNA in common. Both Fear Street and Stranger Things are Netflix productions that star Sadie Sink (who plays the rebellious Max in Stranger Things and stars in the second outing, Fear Street: 1978) and Maya Hawke (Robin on Stranger Things, and the star of the first movie, Fear Street: 1994). These casting choices could play into both actor’s existing images, with Sink playing another feckless rebel and Hawke playing another disinterested Daria-esque teen. However, their casting may also be a misdirect, and the big-name stars could be swiftly killed off to establish that no one is safe, a la Drew Barrymore’s doomed Scream heroine. As later arrivals in the cast of the show, Sink and Hawke were responsible for some of Stranger Things’ best scenes in season 3, so their inclusion in Fear Street is exciting news regardless of the nature of their roles.

Why Fear Street & Stranger Things Look So Similar

With no creators in common, the reason that  Fear Street and Stranger Things look so similar goes deeper than their cast and production. Both projects are built off their shared nostalgia factor, which uses the aforementioned Stephen King/Spielberg-influenced style to bring back the kid’s adventure-horror aesthetic popularized in the mid-‘80s. Epitomized in the likes of The Goonies, The Monster Squad, and the work of director Joe Dante, this sub-genre’s enduringly popular approach was revived in recent years by numerous television shows and movies to great effect. The recent popularity of ‘80s-style kid-centric horror-comedy-adventure movies seen in the likes of It, Goosebumps, Vampires Vs The Bronx, Are You Afraid Of The Dark’s recent TV revival, Summer of ’84, and many more proves that teenage horror-comedy remains a well-loved ‘80s artifact.

Related: Stranger Things Has A Fake Death Problem

What Makes Fear Street Different

Fear Street Killer

While Fear Street begins with a segment set in the ‘90s and a sequel set in the ‘70s, the series then jumps all the way back to 1666 for a more historical sort of period piece. Thus, the trilogy notably does not feature the ‘80s, even though a lot of the neon-drenched aesthetic seen throughout its advertising campaign is reminiscent of the decade. The colorful visual stylings of Fear Street owe their inspiration to the hyper color trends of the ‘90s instead of the ‘80s, a subtle difference that shows the nostalgia cycle among horror viewers is starting to leave the decade of Ronald Reagan and enter the era of Vanilla Ice. It remains to be seen whether Stranger Things season 4 will time-jump into the ‘90s while discovering Hopper’s fate or stay where the series has always been comfortable in the ‘80s, but for the time being at least Fear Street can set itself out from the crowd of ‘80s horror throwbacks by switching decades but keeping the nostalgic tone.

More: Stranger Things Fans are Focused On The Wrong Season 4 Trailer

  • Fear Street Part 2: 1978 (2021)Release date: Jul 09, 2021
  • Fear Street Part 3: 1666 (2021)Release date: Jul 16, 2021

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