Fear Street Part 3: 1666 reveals the full origin of Shadyside’s red moss, and it’s a beautifully tragic one tied to love.
WARNING: The following contains spoilers for Fear Street Part 3: 1666, now streaming on Netflix.
One of the most intriguing aspects of the Fear Street trilogy has been the red moss engulfing Shadyside. It’s all over, which first had fans thinking it’s a way of saying the town will always be marked for death after splitting from the Union, evidenced by centuries of slashers killing innocents and besmirching the town’s name. However, come Fear Street Part 3: 1666, audiences discover the full origin, and it’s a tragically beautiful one.
The moss didn’t really come into focus until Fear Street Part 2, as Cindy pointed out how gross it was as it covered a lot of Camp Nightwing in ’78. That drove fans to reconcile how far the spread had come in Fear Street Part 1: 1994, shaping the moss as a foreboding blight that heralded massacres to come.
But in 1666, the moss has a more sentimental meaning. While it’s not covering the lush Pilgrim settlement yet, it first appears as a red Midsommar-like headband that Hannah Miller is wearing. She’s quite a hipster despite being a pastor’s daughter. She’s also involved in a secret romance with Sarah Frier, the purported witch who cursed the town. Sarah’s a free spirit too, and as Deena lives through her memories, she recounts a sexual encounter between Sarah and Hannah at a fireside rave.
In the tryst, Sarah removes the headband, admiring it as an extension of Hannah’s elegance. However, it’s cut short by someone spying, causing them to flee and drop the headpiece In the morning, Sarah finds some of the red moss in her hair and keeps it as an endearing souvenir. She’s head over heels, and despite Solomon Goode insisting it’s a dalliance as rumors start spreading of their lesbian heresy, Sarah’s adamant it’s true love.
That’s why it is so heartbreaking when Solomon eventually engineers Sarah’s lynching to protect the fact he’s the real witch blighting the land and causing innocents to perish to enrich it. But as Sarah’s hanged, she warns him that the truth will haunt him forever, and her spirit will always be with the ignorant people who clung to bigotry to persecute innocent lovers. The fact she lies about bewitching Hannah so her lover isn’t sacrificed makes it even more gut-wrenching as she doesn’t want to be separated from her soulmate.
It leads to Hannah (an ancestor of Sam), Lizzie (who’s an ancestor of Kate), Isaac (an ancestor of Simon) and Abigail digging up her body later that night and burying the stone that’s marked with how the witch is immortal. It’s a symbolic middle finger to anyone who comes to desecrate her bones at the Hanging Tree and explains why Sarah’s body wasn’t there at the camp centuries later in Fear Street Part 2. They bury her at the romantic spot she and Hannah spent time at, and Hannah places the headband as they say goodbye to someone who stood against oppression.
The film ends with Deena and Sam, who Kate and Simon wanted to be together, having a romantic rendezvous off Highway 5 after Sheriff Goode is killed to break the curse. They carve a tribute in stone to Sarah as the first real Shadysider and an institution of justice. It’s their way of honoring what has bloomed from her fight while showing how grateful they are that they can get to be together while other lesbians, such as Hannah and Sarah, were kept apart in the past. As they kiss and the camera zooms out, the red moss symbolizes that their love will never die.
Directed and co-written by Leigh Janiak, the Fear Street trilogy is now streaming on Netflix.
KEEP READING: REVIEW: Netflix’s Fear Street Part 3 – 1666 Brings the Trilogy to a Satisfying, Bloody Close
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