Entering the Discourse is a thrice-weekly column where we dig into who is saying what about new releases and upcoming projects. In this week‘s entry, we discuss a certain scene near the end of Fear Street Part 1: 1994. Yes, prepare for SPOILERS.
In the 1990s, king of YA horror R.L. Stine defined an entire generation of genre fans, whether they read Goosebumps, Fear Street, or both. Now, director Leigh Janiak (Honeymoon) has brought the spirit of Stine’s stories to life with a trilogy of Fear Street movies releasing on Netflix this month.
Fear Street Part 1: 1994 is the first installment. While not based on an existing book, it embodies the series’ ethos and brutality in a fun and terrifying way. And nothing represents that more than one particular kill involving a beloved character and a bakery bread slicer.
The Fear Street scene everyone is talking about
The movie follows depressed teen Deena (Kiana Madeira), her brother Josh (Benjamin Flores Jr.), her best friends Kate and Simon (Julia Rehwald and Fred Hechinger), and her ex-girlfriend Sam (Olivia Scott Welch) as they all battle the ghost of Sarah Fier, a witch whose malice they believe is causing a string of bloody deaths in Shadyside.
During the climactic showdown at the end of Fear Street Part 1: 1994, each character fights a reanimated serial killer from the town’s past in the local grocery store. Kate battles an ax-wielding, mask-wearing maniac. As she hides behind the bakery counter, he gets the best of her and throws her on a cutting board. He then revs up the bread slicer and slowly feeds her head through the machine.
Why the bread slicer kill is so distinctive
In an interview with IndieWire, Janiak reveals the bread slicer scene was her favorite kill of the whole Fear Street trilogy and that a lot of effort went into making sure it would work in the movie.
“We did so much research going into it because I was getting into all of these little arguments with my art department because they were like, ‘A head wouldn’t do that,’ and I was like, ‘I don’t care. We’re making a movie. This is fun. Whatever!’ Then they bought a bread slicer and we put watermelons through it, and the first watermelon that went through just got sliced perfectly. Then they were like, ‘Well, it doesn’t have hair,’ I was like, ‘We’re doing this. We’re doing it.’ That’s my favorite for sure.”
The director’s persistence completely paid off. This Saw-like moment feels particularly cruel because the core group of friends has been safe thus far. Janiak creates a false sense of security in their survival. And in the blink of an eye, that small place of comfort is sliced to ribbons. But that was all part of the plan. “We needed to have real loss in order to keep us propelling forward,” Janiak says.
With the bread slicer scene, Fear Street Part 1: 1994 sets an incredibly gory tone for the trilogy. With Fear Street Part 2: 1978 releasing this Friday followed by Fear Street Part 3: 1666 one week later, one can only imagine what else Janiak has up her gleefully demented sleeves.