You probably saw my tweet about this, but its something that I started thinking about. In our society, a lot of concern has started with the way many of our schools and the children that attend them are heading in a negative direction. When we don’t have School Administrators that abuse their powers and persecute children trying to deal with their own problems with their peers, bullying, corruption, and school violence against other students rear their ugly heads.
It made me look back on the Fear Street books written by R. L. Stein.
I’m not bashing on him or his work, I love the Fear Street stories and got a good scare out of them as a young teenager. In fact, I still kept many of my old Fear Street books to this day. But I can’t help but look back on this and ponder to myself….
Most of the stories usually were written for young adults in mind (tweens and teenagers) so a lot of the characters were teens that readers could relate to, and identify with. Though, I have to admit, in my personal opinion, some characters were hit and misses, appearing more as archetypes then actual three-dimensional characters. But what drew some of us fans in was the stories about these teens discovering weird creepy situations they wanted to explore, and take initiative in solving the problems surrounding these haunting or slasher scenarios. Which is great and as a kid I got into that, I would have rather face a horror scenario head-on and save the day then cower in fear or let the grown-ups handle it while I screamed helplessly.
And naturally, since teenagers have more of their life experiences in High School, there were a lot of stories that took place in high school and dealt with the teen slasher genre/cliches. A possessed teacher or cheerleader going on a vicious bloodbath, a crazy psychotic student, or a “unnatural evil force” that picked off both teachers and students one by one.
Looking back I thought…How many lawsuits has this one school gone through?
And I looked back even more at the books in the series and realized how many of them were more fit into the teenage slasher genre and how few there were on paranormal activities that occurred. And comparatively there were probably more teen slasher stories than paranormal horror stories. The “Evil Cheerleader” saga being an approximate close example of a combination of the two.
And “The Homecoming Queen Is Dead” played up as a vengeful ghost story until it revealed to have a psychotic killer as the antagonist of the story.
So, all this, and how our media jumps on any news regarding school violence it comes across, made me think how this particular High School in Fear Street is still standing with all the money it loses with its court trials?
Parents, families, and loved ones of both Teachers and Students that end up dead in these stories would probably be in the right to look into legal action and there would be more police investigations other than “Some lone cop visits and speaks to the close friends and you never see him being followed up on.” Also as I said before on twitter, imagine the major news networks fighting over a story where all the “supernatural/slasher” killings happen in this one school which many contribute to “A Curse Brought on by an evil family.” It would be reported 24/7 until even the news networks got sick of it. With certain schools you’ve heard about in real life, some legal action against the Administration usually its brought on by an alleged incident that depending on the situation, can either be proven with evidence or dismissed unfortunately. But here in the case of murder these allegations cannot be swept under the rug so easily, particularly since in some of these stories, the horror is that the main character comes upon the murdered victim in some grisly way. If you’re lucky you get a prototypical “You’re Next” written in the corpse’s blood.
(But that is just if you’re special 😉 )
That aside, finding your loved one be it a student or a teacher murdered by some psychotic killer in broad daylight, isn’t something that is set aside. So naturally if the news doesn’t get there first, you’re most certainly going to have a huge law team on the scene drafting up some legal course of action, particularly if the murders both slasher and paranormal happened on school grounds. With the length of the book series, it makes me wonder how parents are even sending their kids there. Unless the parents know and doing this as punishment for mouthing back at them or not cleaning their room. Nah, that is not likely….
But still… >.> <.< >.> <.< >.>
Also, take in mind, for the book series called “Evil Cheerleaders” (as it says on the cover) involves young, pretty, popular cheerleaders. CHEERLEADERS possessed and murdered left and right at this school, some of which by what outsiders could foresee as “mysterious circumstances”. Say what you will about it, the laws of “Missing White Woman Syndrome” will not allow it to be contained to only this small city and its mere local newscast.
Now I always found this whole thing interesting and a good story concept to consider when deconstructing the tropes of these Young Adult horror stories series. Having these stories faced with actual outside influence that would take notice of this factually and as realistically as most situations regarding murder and young teens would outside the school or town which it takes place. How would actual law enforcement deal with this instead of having just the characters allude to just one cop that is sent to their house to “have a talk with them” and then that is it. Legal investigations into the teenage character’s death if it was found on school grounds.
Now in the name of simplicity and the reading comprehension the author was writing for, we probably won’t get anything as complex as that, and we can’t ask him anymore than what he has already given us over the years. But for future writers inspired to write their own teen horror story series in the name of a writing challenge and breaking out from some of its cliche writing tropes, its a interesting thing to look into and discuss when looking back on these stories other than through nostalgic goggles.