Back To The ’90s
I love the 90s. I say this in the present tense, because I still enjoy the same books, movies and TV shows that I was obsessed with back then. I even decided to set my debut novel, Mina and the Undead, at a vampire festival in 1995 New Orleans. I’ve always known there were people like me who seem unable to let the 90s go, but lately the decade seems to have hit the mainstream. With the Fear Street remake due to premiere worldwide on 2nd July, and rumours of Interview with the Vampire and Point Horror small-screen offerings, the 90s are officially making a comeback.
In Fear Street, Part 1: 1994, a group of teens accidentally encounter the ancient evil responsible for a series of brutal murders that have plagued their town for over 300 years. The adverts have a killer 90s soundtrack, stunning set pieces and deliciously dark flashes of horror, with the teens delving into the past and banding together to fight the villain.
Three Fear Street movies will be shown over three weeks, and I’m so ready for them! I’d usually regard a remake of something I love with suspicion and tentative optimism, but this looks like a perfectly slick and scary reinvention of my Fear Street favourites.
So why is it that production companies are reinventing 90s source material, and authors are still drawing on Point Horror and Fear Street for inspiration? I have a few theories.
For me, a lot of it is definitely nostalgia. I was a teenager for the second half of the 90s, so I love revisiting books, songs and movies that transport me to different times in my life. I remember listening to ‘All the Small Things’ by Blink 182 in the car on the way to my GCSEs and being utterly terrified watching The Blair Witch Project, believing the media spin that the movie was pieced together from real found footage. My dad used to own a video shop, so I spent a good chunk of the 90s in the horror section reading the backs of videos and pleading to watch horror movies. Point Horror, Fear Street and those iconic films were my introductions to horror in the 90s, and I’ve never looked back.
Another thing I love about the 90s is that it felt like a really distinct moment in time, with TV and movies in particular. There was a slick, smart brand of slasher horror that became my favourite genre, and I still think holds up to modern scrutiny. Movies like Scream and I Know what You Did Last Summer and TV shows like Buffy the Vampire Slayer have mostly aged well in my opinion, still somehow feeling fresh, dark and twisty enough to make my head spin. They’re the qualities I hope to bring to my own writing and what I incorporated into Mina and the Undead.
I also feel that Point Horror and Fear Street have lasting appeal. A lot of Bookstagrammers and BookTubers still reference them, such as @TalesPointHorrorBookClub and @DustinCanRead on Instagram and Cameron Chaney – Library Macabre on YouTube. Fear Street and Point Horror books compress a fast-paced, engaging plot into a short volume, with outlandish characters and dilemmas, lots of pranks gone wrong and some truly questionable fashion choices. They’re quick, fun reads that provide the perfect escapism. Some elements are a bit questionable through the lens of a modern reader, but overall I’d still pick up most Point Horror or Fear Street books for some immersive, dramatic horror.
People often ask me why I set my book in the 90s. I think they wonder if I’m trying to cash in on the 90s trend or add a 90s setting as a novelty. It was actually a deliberate choice that came about for a couple of reasons. When I was doing initial research, I discovered that more people were murdered in 1994 than any other year in New Orleans history up to that point. It was also the year the Interview with the Vampire movie came out. I was really fascinated with what the aftermath of that would look like. Vampire-obsessed tourists descended on a city with a high murder rate, so I introduced my own murderous character into the mix. It was really fun adding pop-cultural references linked to movies, songs and other things that grounded the book in 1995.
It’s been great seeing the 90s resurgence, and I can’t wait to wait for the new Fear Street films and other exciting content coming our way.
Amy McCaw is a YA writer and blogger. She’s the author of Mina and the Undead, a YA murder mystery set in 1995 New Orleans
Her main interests are books, movies and the macabre, and her debut novel has elements of all of these. If Amy’s not at a book event or reading, she can usually be found scribbling away in her writing room, surrounded by movie memorabilia and an out-of-control signed books collection. Unsurprisingly, she’s a huge Buffy the Vampire Slayer fan and has gone to conventions to meet James Marsters more times than she cares to admit.
Amy also loves travelling and has a particular affinity for America. She’s visited 29 states, 13 Man Vs Food restaurants and many bookish locations, including the cities where Twilight, Interview with a Vampire and Vampire Diaries were set.
If you want to talk with Amy about books or 90s movies, you can find her on Twitter.
Preorder links: www.amymccaw.co.uk/pre-order
Goodreads: Mina And The Undead
Mina And The Undead
New Orleans Fang Fest, 1995. Mina’s having a summer to die for.
17-year-old Mina arrives in New Orleans to visit her estranged sister, Libby. After growing up in the town that inspired Dracula, Mina loves nothing more than a creepy horror movie. She can’t wait to explore the city’s darkest secrets – vampire tours, seedy bars, spooky cemeteries, disturbing local myths…
And it gets even better when Mina lands a part-time job at a horror movie mansion and meets Jared, Libby’s gorgeous housemate, co-worker and fellow horror enthusiast.
But the perfect summer bliss is broken when, while exploring the mansion, Mina stumbles upon the body of a girl with puncture marks on her neck, clutching a lock of hair that suspiciously resembles Libby’s…
Someone is replicating New Orleans’ most brutal supernatural killings. Mina must discover the truth and prove her sister’s innocence before she becomes the victim of another myth.
You can buy Mina And The Undead from Amazon UK