Sunday, July 20, 2008

Halloween Party or “Overcoming Disabilities and Prejudices in Society”

“There’s going to be an uninvited guest at this Halloween party on Fear Street …” and it’s a pumpkin skull! No, that never happened, although the pumpkin skull looks very cool. Well done, cover artist. Also, the house in the background looks cool too, exactly the way a haunted house in New England should look (I always think Shadyside is in New England, but I may have made this up.) The girl on the front is Niki, and she looks pretty accurate, except her cape was black, not white. Other than the fact this scene never happened, I say well done.

This is told from several people’s perspectives, I think because they are all separated so much it’s the only way to tell the story. It starts with a party invitation for a Halloween party put on by the mysterious transfer student, Justine who is model-pretty. She invites a very specific group of people, most of whom never hang out together. There’s Terry, our main protag, who seems to be an absent-minded nice guy, and Niki, his girlfriend, who is deaf. Terry describes her hilariously as not the prettiest girl in the world, but the most special. He means it in the nice way, though. Niki can read lips, so no one notices her handicap. Alex is Niki’s ex and Terry’s former best friend, now arch-rival. There’s Ricky the dweeb with hygiene issues, Murphy the generic jock, Tricia the overweight nice girl (watch out Tricia, fat = death!), David the less generic jock, Les the shy smart guy, and Angela the slut.

No one knows why these people are invited but they immediately pick sides for a weird contest as to which side will stay the whole night at the party, jocks vs. wimps, who can scare the other side the most. Terry leads Tricia, Les and Ricky on the wimp side, and Alex leads Murphy, David and Angela on the jock side. Niki abstains because she thinks they’re all super immature, and ‘fast’ Angela joins the jocks for obvious reasons. They play tricks on each other and it is boring until the Halloween party.

The party takes place at an old abandoned mansion on (dun dun DUN!) Fear Street that Justine is mysteriously renovating. They have to walk through the Fear Street cemetery to get there, and chills abound. The mansion itself has been totally decked out Halloween-wise, with each room fully decorated. This would be a fantastic Halloween party, and I would love to go to one like it. Except, obviously, without being murdered or set on fire. Anyways everyone is having a great time, thinking they’ve totally lucked out, and continuing to play tricks on each other. They went all out with the costumes, too. Terry is a greaser, Niki made a Venetian carnavale costume. Tricia comes as a cheerleader (allowing R. L. to make some more comments on her weight), Ricky a frog, Les a skeleton, Murphy a zombie, Angela a biker chick, and David wearing his basketball uniform, but with a skull for a ball (lame!). Justine is dressed up as a ghoulish Elvira, and Alex comes late in a silver body suit to show off his muscles and calls himself the Silver Prince. I know this is supposed to make him seem macho and swoon-worthy, but when I think sparkly unitards, I’m not thinking swoon …

Anyways, they all have to go on a treasure hunt throughout the house by themselves, to find creepy items hidden like mummy hands, shrunken heads, and dried tarantulas. Awesome! I maintain this would be the coolest Halloween party ever. However, the tricks get meaner, like when Terry finds Alex’s body stabbed and hung in a bedroom. Just kidding! Oh, R. L., you’ve used the hanging practical joke before. Or when Justine plunges off a balcony onto the dance floor – nope, that was planned too. Or when Les’ body turns up slashed … oh wait, that one was for reals. But nobody believes David and Terry when they tell everyone. Cry wolf much? David runs to get help, slips in the Fear Street cemetery and knocks himself out. Oops!

Meanwhile, Niki used the treasure hunt time to search the mansion for clues because she doesn’t trust Justine. She has lip-read her a few times saying disturbing things, like ‘they’ll all pay,’ and so on. She finds weird things in Justine’s room: prescription meds for an Enid Cameron, a secret closet containing a woman’s wardrobe from the 60s, and a newspaper clipping about the couple who used to live in the mansion, the Camerons. They were killed in a car accident caused by a group of teens drag racing, 28 years ago. They left behind a baby girl, Enid. Oh, and every person invited to the party had a parent involved in the accident. How convenient! Niki is knocked out and taken to the basement in a dumbwaiter (houses with dumbwaiters are cool!)

Terry goes searching for his girlfriend and finds her in the basement. They try to warn everyone that Justine is a lunatic thirty year old murderess, but everyone thinks it’s a joke. Besides Justine is hot, she can’t be named Enid.

Well, joke’s on them, when Justine locks them in the dining room, sets the house on fire and puts into the stereo system the deafening sounds of a car crash and people screaming, which admittedly would be terrifying. Everyone loses their heads with the noise, except for Niki, because she’s deaf. Turns out her ‘handicap’ is really a strength after all! She escapes through the dumbwaiter and rescues everyone. Justine runs into the fire, and Terry follows her to save her. He catches fire, but Alex saves him, and throws him in the mud, covering his body, slathering it on … I think Alex has a secret.

Justine is carted off to get the help she needs, Terry and Alex decide to no longer the arch-rivals and instead be ‘very good friends’, and everyone is happy, except Les who is dead for reals. I learnt that friendship should be valued above all else, sometimes our supposed weaknesses are our greatest strengths, and someone should have a wicked Halloween party and invite me to it. But not, obviously, to murder me and/or set me on fire.

L. K. Stine


Anonymous said...

I Would also like to be invited to this party, sounds like fun...well not for Les, but for everyone else.

Chad Walters said...

Is it just me, or does this sound A LOT like House on Haunted Hill? The remake probably hadn't come out yet and I don't know if the original had a similar premise, so it could just be coincidence, but still...awfully similar.

Unknown said...

Poor Les, he died for reals.

RecallerReminder said...

One thing I like on the classical FS books are how Stine keep using some characters in the following books. Too bad this got lost in the end (making us think if they already gratuated or just got killed off page).