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Fear Street Part 1: 1994 - 10 Ways It's Better Than Goosebumps

Based on the acclaimed book series by R.L. Stine, Netflix's Fear Street Part 1: 1994 instantly shot to the top of the streamer's most-viewed new movies since debuting on July 2nd, 2021. In addition to the built-in book following, the teen horror film has become popular for a number of reasons, not least of which is its comparison to Stine's other fun famous book series, Goosebumps.

RELATED: Fear Street - 10 Things New Horror Movies Can Learn From The Series

Fear Street and Goosebumps have several similarities and differences, inferior and superior stories, as well as horror movie tenets and tropes that work much better than the other.

10 It's More Adult

While Fear Street has always been marketed to a slightly older crowd of teenagers than Goosebumps, the movie version features a far wider chasm of adult-themed material than its literary inspirations. As such, Fear Street is able to conjure a larger fan base by not going with a safe, family-oriented story like Goosebumps.

The hard R-rated Fear Street doesn't just feature more adult, explicit language, but it also treats its teenage characters with more maturity as they navigate a witchy curse while dealing with typical adolescent drama. This allows teenagers to identify and sympathize with the characters.

9 It's A Lot Scarier

As a PG-rated family horror film, Goosebumps has only a modicum of anodyne scares that never truly disturb its viewers. On the contrary, Fear Street Part 1: 1994 is a much scarier overall experience full of one heart-pounding moment after another.

RELATED: 10 Best Episodes Of R.L. Stine's The Haunting Hour

This is a significant improvement over Goosebumps for the simple fact that the first objective of a horror movie is to induce fear in its viewer. While Goosebumps is funny and playful, Fear Street approaches the horror genre with a much more serious dedication to genuinely unnerve its viewers.

8 It's More Violent

Part of what makes Fear Street Part 1: 1994 so much scarier than Goosebumps is its vicious onslaught of hyper-gory violence. Rather than the cartoonish imaginary demons in Goosebumps, Fear Street boasts a menacing serial killer known as Skull Mask who exacts a baleful bout of butchery with an array of weaponry.

The extreme violence and concomitant gore ensure that the movie is both more adult and much scarier than Goosebumps. Moreover, Skull Mask does his bidding on behalf of an even more terrifying Fier Witch, who also dolls out doses of deadly violence.

7 Ensemble Cast

One aspect of Fear Street Part 1: 1994 that marks an improvement over Goosebumps is its stellar ensemble cast of young and adult actors alike. While Goosebumps featured a remarkable turn from Jack Black as R.L. Stine, the cast of Fear Street is much more inclusive and diverse.

By featuring such an eclectic cast of likable characters as Josh (Benjamine Flores Jr.), Deeana (Kiana Madeira), Kate (Julia Rehwald), Martin (Darrell Britt-Gibson), and more, the filmmakers present a much more authentic world full of racially diverse characters that allow the audience to relate, emphasize, and root for them to succeed and survive.

6 Meta Homages

While Goosebumps may feature a more original horror story, Fear Street does a much better job at paying homage to several of the iconic slasher films that came before it. The most obvious is Wes Craven's Scream, namely due to the likeness between Ghostface and Skull Mask.

RELATED: Scream: 10 Things It Got Right About Being A Teenager

However, Fear Street also tips its cap to many other notable horror films, including the 1989 supermarket slasher Intruder. At one point, Sheriff Goode sarcastically refers to George A. Romero's Night of the Living Dead and Dawn of the Dead. A summer camp massacre headline also calls to mind Friday the 13th, while Skull Mask's out-of-focus stalking parallels Halloween's Michael Myers. These hidden gems help endear the film to horror fans much more than Goosebumps did.


Whether intentional or not, Goosebumps fostered a silly tone and family-friendly vibe by creating a series of cartoonish computer-generated demons and monsters. Given its more adult story as well as technological advancement of the past six years, Fear Street showcases much better CGI and VFX work.

The slasher portion of Fear Street does not rely on any CGI to scare its viewers. Therefore, the only supernatural character that depends on digital visual effects is the Fier Witch. By relying on less but more convincing CGI, the film becomes way more believable than Goosebumps.

4 The Tempo Is Revved Up

One of the most praised aspects of Fear Street Part 1: 1994 is its breathless pacing and breakneck tempo. Even at 107 minutes, the film breezes by with nary a dull moment. By contrast, the 103-minute Goosebumps can feel a bit slow and plodding.

RELATED: 10 Creepy Characters From Goosebumps That Will Still Make Your Skin Crawl

By keeping the pace of the film tight and fast, director Leigh Janiak ensures greater audience engagement throughout the entire plot. Credit also goes to editor Rachel Goodlett Katz, who brings a wealth of fast-paced TV experience to both this film and its sequels, Fear Street Part 2: 1978 and Part 3: 1666.

3 Lighting & Cinematography

Fear Street Part 1: 1994 has drawn several comparisons to Netflix's supernatural hit drama Stranger Things. One of the smartest choices Janiak made was hiring cinematographer Caleb Heymann, who shot six of eight episodes of Stranger Things Season 4.

The result is a marked improvement in lighting and cinematography than as seen in Goosebumps. Fear Street is imbued with a creepy-cool neon lighting scheme that calls to mind the halcyon horror days of Dario Argento and Mario Bava, which goes a long way in winning the hearts of hardened horror heads everywhere.

2 It's Socially Conscious

Due to the current times and mature source material, Fear Street Part 1: 1994 is much more socially conscious than Goosebumps. As a means of telling stories that reflect the modern mores of society, a deliberate effort was made to include sensitive LGBTQ+ issues.

By including characters and storylines such as the one between Deeana and Sam, Leigh Janiak ensures a much wider audience of marginalized viewers who can identify and feel seen and heard in ways Goosebumps made no real effort to champion.

1 The Soundtrack Is Better

While the Fear Street Part 1: 1994 soundtrack has been criticized for being anachronistic, the music featured in the film is still lightyears ahead of what Goosebumps had to offer.

With nostalgic tracks from Radiohead, Garbage, Cyprus Hill, Pixies, Nine Inch Nails, Soundgarden, Bush, Portishead, Snoop Dog, and more, the movie taps into the collective memory of those who were teenagers in 1994. The result makes for a much more pleasant overall experience, which is necessary considering the horrific plot.

NEXT: Goosebumps: 10 Things The Show Does Better Than The Movies

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