Fear Street, where your worst nightmares come to life.
Welcome to Shadyside, a nice, seemingly normal town. The town consists of your regular teen hangouts, including Pete's Pizza, Fear Lake, and the Division Street Mall. All the students go to Shadyside High.
Yep, it's a picture perfect town... Except for the curse.
That's right, a curse! Year's ago, the Fear family was cursed during the Witch Trials, and that curse has lived on through the ages, destroying lives and driving people insane. And by 'people', that is every teenager who ever lived in Shadyside, and anyone who comes in contact with the Fear family. The two most infamous members of the Fear Family were Simon Fear and his wife Angelica, who migrated to Shadyside from New Orleans following the Civil War and helped influence the town during its fledgling years. The titular Fear Street was named because they were the ones who financed it. The remains of their burned-out mansion were a staple in the early books, having been destroyed by a fire in 1900. The mansion was finally torn down in the Fear Street Nights miniseries and a shopping mall was built over it.
The origin of the Fear Family curse started during the Salem Witch Trials, when Benjamin and Matthew Fier had Susannah Goode and her mother burned at the stake. This was really an attempt to keep Susannah away from Benjamin's son, Edward. The two brothers then looted their home village and ran off. As it turned out, Susannah's father was the actual witch, and placed a curse on the family for destroying his family. It doesn't help that Matthew promised to get Susannah freed in exchange for most of the family's valuables. Ever since, the Fears and Goodes have been stuck in a Cycle of Revenge, which was said could only be broken by a marriage between a Fear and a Goode. In 1900, Daniel Fear (Simon and Angelica's grandson) and Nora Goode fell in love and got married. They tried to end the feud, and the curse, with their marriage. They announced the marriage at Simon's birthday party. It didn't end well.
The Fear name was originally spelled F-I-E-R, which could be rearranged to spell "fire". Fire has always been linked to the family, and in an attempt to escape it, Simon changed the spelling.
The protagonists of the books are usually well-to-do teenagers who deal with threats both supernatural and completely human. Since most of the books all take place in the same town, and isn't unusual for characters from one book to mentioned in passing in another.
Beyond the main series there were numerous spin-offs, either written by R.L. Stine or ghost writers. They include:
- Fear Street Super Chillers: Books that were usually longer than the normal ones, but the variety of horror and plot in these didn't differ that much from the main ones. However, they did have a tendency to have their chapters titled, and the point-of-view would sometimes shift between characters.
- The Fear Street Saga: The origin of Simon and Angelica Fear is revealed, the story of their demise, and the origin of the Fear Family Curse, dating back to the Salem Witch Trials and a feud between the Fear and Goode Families.
- Fear Street Sagas: These focused on individual members of the Fear Family in the past, or rather, someone who came in contact with them. The first book, A New Fear, was a direct sequel to the original trilogy, and the fourth, The Sign of Fear, revealed the origin of the family's power.
- Fear Street Cheerleaders: A three-book spin-off focusing on the Shadyside High cheerleading squad, specifically newcomer Corky Corcoran. The cheerleading squad would be pitted against an entity they referred to as "the evil", after their bus crashed into the Fear Street Graveyard and one of them landed on the grave of Sarah Fear, awakening an evil spirit that would routinely possess a member of the squad and cause her to commit mayhem and murder. The trilogy would get two sequel books in the Super Chillers title, and another in Fear Street Sagas explaining the origin of Sarah Fear.
- 99 Fear Street: The House of Evil: Three books focusing on a particular haunted house on Fear Street, which was built over a mass grave of victims of Simon and Angelica Fear.
- The Cataluna Chronicles: A spin-off focusing on a possessed car, alternating between the damage it causes, and the origin of the spirit possessing it, a witch girl from Puritan times and the boy whose family she murdered.
- Fear Park: A sequel to the first book in Fear Street Sagas, it details the bloody history behind an amusement park built on land that was cheated out of the Fear Family's ownership during the 1930s.
- Ghosts of Fear Street: Basically Goosebumps done on Fear Street, stories focusing on preteens living in Shadyside and not as bloody or violent as the regular books.
- Fear Street Seniors: A twelve-book series running the course of a year, as the senior class of Shadyside High are picked off one-by-one each month thanks to a curse accidentally cast by one its members. The books each contained a section with a "Shadyside year book", with descriptions of each senior. When one senior is killed, they have a "deceased" stamped over their description.
- Fear Street Nights: A three book series featuring the destruction of the Fear Mansion and a shopping mall built over it.
- Abhorrent Admirer: Mira Block in Fear Street Seniors.
- Aesop Amnesia: Reva Dalby excels at this. Three Christmases in a row she goes through a life threatening ordeal, promises to start acting like a better person... and then by next Christmas she is still the same spoiled brat she was last year, only to go through another ordeal.
- Alpha Bitch: Notable examples being Reva Dalby, as well as Greta Bradley from Fear Street Seniors and Laura Goode from Heart of the Hunter, although Laura never attended high school. Jade Feldman and Marla Newman from Seniors show aspects of these traits, too.
- Amusement Park of Doom: Fear Park. Duh.
- Artifact of Doom: The Fear Family has a silver pendant decorated with five blue jewels which is the source of their power, dating back to ancient Ireland. It has the words "Dominito Per Malum" carved into it, which translate to "Power Through Evil".
- Asshole Victim: Much more frequent in Fear Street Sagas.
- Becoming the Mask: The truth behind Sarah Fear, the member of the Fear Family whose death was a large plot point in the Fear Street Cheerleaders trilogy. Or rather, Jane Fear. The woman who would've become Sarah Fear, Sarah Burns, switched her identity with her best friend Jane Hardy, in order to get out of the arranged marriage to Thomas Fear. Jane was willing to comply because she wanted to get married. Unfortunately, Sarah, in Jane's identity, died in a boat accident, which would've claimed the actual Jane's life if they hadn't switched places. So, Sarah Burns returned as a vengeful spirit, the Evil which plagued the Shadyside High cheerleaders, to haunt Jane and ruin her life. Jane resorted to sacrificing herself in order to trap Sarah's spirit inside her corpse. No one was ever aware of the switch, so Corky Corcoran and the cheerleaders all assumed that the Evil either WAS Sarah Fear or was responsible for killing her. The truth didn't get revealed until The Evil Lives!"
- Bittersweet Ending
- Black Widow: In Door of Death, Jake Fear's wife Cassandra Ryan, who bilked him out of his belongings and revealed to him that she'd been slowly poisoning him since day one. Jake dies and becomes a vengeful spirit hellbent on punishing those he's deemed "cheaters" on Halloween, and Cassandra gets off scott free.
- Blessed with Suck: Margaret Fier has the power of psychometry, which the people of her town are both afraid of and are willing to use to their advantage should the need arise.
- Burn the Witch: Used in The Fear Street Saga and The Cataluna Chronicles. Averted in The Hand of Power.
- Christmas Episode: Silent Night 1, 2, and 3.
- Covers Always Lie: The cover of Door of Death implied that Jake Fier would be a headless corpse. It turned out that the headless man on the cover was really one of the main characters pulling an elaborate Halloween prank.
- Creepy Child
- Cute and Psycho: A good portion of the villains.
- Cycle of Revenge: The Fear and Goode feud.
- Dark Is Not Evil: Usually a twist in the books. Whenever there is a character who is darker and gloomier, contrasted with a character who is much nicer and normal, it turns out the nicer one is really the bad guy.
- Also noted with some members of the Fear Family who managed to avoid the hereditary evil or avoided being warped and turned rotten. Examples being Emma Fier Reade and Margaret Fier. Richard Fier also seems to have shades of this, being a fairly pacifistic vampire. However that manages to work.
- Dead All Along: Usually one of the twists in the book.
- Decoy Protagonist: The Best Friend 2.
- The Cataluna Chronicles opens with a prologue featuring an unlucky owner of the possessed car who is quickly murdered.
- Everybody Dies
- Evil Matriarch: Angelica Fear. Also counts as a Mama Bear. She might be a twisted bitch, just like her husband, but she'd do anything to protect her children. She'd even sacrifice kids to bring hers back from the dead.
- Flower Motifs: Roses are featured heavily in Forbidden Secrets and Dance of Death, the 3rd and 8th Sagas book.
- Gone Horribly Wrong: Occurs frequently. One notable example is the basis of Seniors; Josie Maxwell's attempt at cursing her math teacher doomed her entire class.
- Good Scars, Evil Scars: In Dance of Death, Justin Fear feeds off of the blood of beautiful young woman to extend his youth and immortality. But if his victim's beauty is tarnished it won't work. His attempt at a first victim, Honoria, cuts her face with a knife to stop him after he kills her fiance.
- Halloween Episode: Halloween Party, Halloween Bugs Me, and Door of Death.
- He Who Fights Monsters: Will usually happen to a protagonist who dies by the end of the book, only to remain as either a zombie, ghost, or vampire.
- I Just Want to Be You: Honey Perkins is desperate to be Becka Norwood in The Best Friend and The Best Friend 2.
- Infant Immortality: Averted in 99 Fear Street: The House of Evil trilogy, and some of the Fear Street Sagas novels.
- Karma Houdini: Quite a few. Carter Phillips of The Cheater springs to mind - she's essentially responsible for almost all of the bad things in the book that happen ( Adam blackmailing her, Adam's death, and her best friend getting attacked by a bunch of creeps at a bar). Not to mention she gets Adam to take her math SAT so she can get into Princeton... aside from some emotional turmoil, she gets off scot-free. As does her boyfriend, the one who killed Adam.
- Kids Are Cruel: Part of Honey Perkins' Freudian Excuse in The Best Friend 2.
- Lighter and Softer: Ghosts of Fear Street, which is aimed towards pretty much the same audience as Goosebumps"-children aged 8 to 12. While there is less death and violence, there is still a lot of horror and the antagonists are far more bizarre and grotesque than those of the main series.
- Love Makes You Evil: Amanda Goode from Heart of the Hunter.
- Ruth Manning from A New Fear, and both Simon and Angelica Fear in the first half of The Burning.
- Love Triangle: It wouldn't be a Fear Street book if there wasn't one of these to spice things up.
- Luke, I Am Your Father: One Last Kiss. Eleanor Rawlins learns that Priscilla Fier is really her dead mother, whom her father told her was killed by vampires when she was just a baby. In reality, Priscilla was turned and subsequently became the head of her colony, and Eleanor's father had been moving her around to keep Priscilla from getting her hands on her.
- Mama Bear: Angelica Fear. Later, Nora Goode who, unlike Angelica, isn't an evil matriarch.
- Older Than They Look: Justine Camerone from Halloween Party. She's a thirty year old woman who enrolled herself in Shadyside High and passed herself off as a teenage in an elaborate revenge scheme.
- Our Vampires Are Different: The ones in Goodnight Kiss compared to the ones in Fear Street Seniors.
- Papa Wolf: Daniel Fear comes back from the dead just to help his wife Nora escape from an insane asylum with their newborn son when it catches fire. At the same time, the asylum director was planning on selling Nora's baby to a wealthy couple.
- Playing with Fire: The Fire Game.
- Psychic Powers: As seen in the aptly named The Mind Reader, Runaway, and The Hand of Power.
- Rich Bitch: There are many throughout the series, but Reva Dalby of Silent Night takes the cake for all time bitchiness.
- Sacrificial Lamb: Danielle Cortez in Fear Street Seniors. The first senior to actually die in the third book, which is also her first appearance. On the first day of school. She doesn't even get a description in the yearbook section until it's updated with more seniors in the sixth book, and by that time she has a "deceased" stamped over it, making it impossible to read any information about her.
- Split Personality Takeover: Not completely, but in Fear Hall Hope's Eden personality is murdered by the Darryl personality.
- Straw Misogynist: One of the villains in the later book has a psychotic obsession who murdering girls he deems are not behaving properly. I.e, dressing in skimpy clothing, wearing make-up, making shameless come-ons. He's more attracted to the main character's sister because she dresses frumpy. It's hinted that this behavior was instilled in him by his mother.
- Take Up My Sword: Several of the books have the main character dying, usually making someone continue the story.
- Teens Are Monsters
- Through the Eyes of Madness: Used in Fear Hall. Hope Mathis' boyfriend Darryl begins murdering college students he believes he's seen her with. It turns out that he's been confusing her for her roommates Angel, Jasmine, and Eden. They keep trying to convince Hope to turn Darryl in to the police, but she's too loyal and indebted to Darryl to consider it. It's not until he murders Eden that she decides to do something. It turns out that Darryl and her three roommates are split personalities she developed as a result of a traumatic home life with her psychotic mother. She refuses to believe that her friends don't exist when one of the girls living in her dorm, Melanie, tells the police that they've constantly heard and seen Hope talking to herself, and that her room can only house one occupant.
- Tomato Surprise: Used in Switched. By the end of the book, the reader learns that Nicole had never actually switched bodies with her friend Lucy, as Lucy had been dead before the story began. Nicole was unable to deal with Lucy's death, so she imagined the whole ordeal.
- Town with a Dark Secret: Pretty much the whole point of the series.
- Trauma Conga Line: The Fraiser family gets this in spades in the first part of the 99 Fear Street trilogy. Mr. Fraiser is rendered blind, James and his dog Cubby are trapped in the walls of the house, crying for help for his parents, Mrs. Fraiser is emotionally devastated by the loss of two children, and Cally is killed and warped into a malevolent spirit by the house. The only member left in marginally okay condition is Kody, and she has to deal with having lost her twin sister and baby brother.
- Twist Ending: Happens almost in every story.
- Unfortunate Implications: Many.
- The Cheater finds the rich characters all being painted in a sympathetic light - even cheater Carter and her killer boyfriend, Dan; the poor guy, Adam, is a creepy, abusive blackmailer and winds up dead. His equally-poor girlfriend is also a blackmailer and is portrayed as a jealous, contemptuous extortionist.
- Ungrateful Bitch: Reva Dalby, due to Aesop Amnesia.
- Wax Museum Morgue: In Faces of Terror, the 13th Fear Street Sagas book.
- What Could Have Been: Two more books in Fear Street Sagas, The Raven Woman and Carousel of Fear, were planned but never released. A preview of The Raven Woman was included in the last Sagas book.
- What the Hell, Townspeople?: Happens in The Hand of Power.
- Where the Hell Is Springfield?: Where is Shadyside, anyway? The most information we ever get is that it's somewhere on the East Coast.