Something rare ensues when you see horror films. On their own, slashing films like Friday, the 13th, or Halloween can appear like nothing more than bloody entertainment.
But when you see a ton in a row, the relationships and myths become much more obvious; Jason Voorhees changes from a brutal monster into something more emotional. Some of them even star “previously on” portions to make these connections more apparent.
The movies are established loosely on the R.L. Stine novels of a similar name, following a city called Shadyside that’s been plagued for centuries, uttered profanity by occasional — and horrible — murders that have reaped its stature as the killing capital of the US. The films track this past across three-time intervals.
Part one is set in 1994, pursued by 1978 and 1666. However, they’re all tightly related to the Shadyside mythos. You’ll want to see them in order.
The 1994 movie onsets, as several horror films do, with a youthful woman being murdered. From there, you understand that the city of Shadyside has long been troubled by an extinct witch called Sarah Fier (uttered “Fear,” naturally) and that, every so often, someone goes on a brutal spree, seemingly due to her impact.
The vibe is kind of like Scream traversing with the chilling expeditions of Sabrina, as a group of misfit high school students collaborates to understand Fier and end the murders once and for all. (You can get a feeling of the main film by seeing the first five seconds here.)
It has all of the hallmarks of slasher films — inventively horrible losses, single-minded murderers that never give up, gratuitous intercourse events — but it’s buoyed by the indication of a deeper dilemma. I won’t spoil anything, but the way the early movie relates to the series makes them excellent for close viewing.
When I completed part one, I shortly had to know what happened next. And even though each one has a very different vibe — fraction two takes place at a summer resort reminiscent of Friday the 13th’s Camp Crystal Lake, while the third goes back a few centuries to the early days of Shadyside — they all realize a fraction of the exact whole.