Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Lights Out, or “Do Not Date Someone Who Throws a Bucket of Leeches On You”

I decided in honour of the forthcoming long weekend, I would do some Fear Street books camping style. They’re like creepy Fear Street books, but not ACTUALLY at Fear Street … oh, that’s pretty much all of them. But there’s always somebody who LIVES at Fear Street, so that means they’re cursed no matter where they go. The cover is pretty good, that’s Holly, she’s so pretty. She’s screaming like that prolly because she saw a bug. “It all happens in the dark …” Sexy!

So, Lights Out is pretty cool because all the five page chapters are interspersed with creepy letters to somebody named “Chief”, written by somebody named “Me” (but not ME, actually – obviously to write down their real name would destroy the hard earned suspense built over this carefully crafted plot …) Anyhoo, they’re pretty insane, all about revenge and that. And you know, from the very beginning, that “Chief” is dead, and nothing is going to go well for anyone.

Holly is our pretty long-haired heroine of the book. Her Uncle Bill convinces her to help out at his camp, Camp Nightwing, as a junior counselor, because things keep on “happening” there and he’s about to go out of business. Things like lightning striking and causing fires, floods, measles outbreaks, accidental deaths … yikes! This place is as cursed as Fear Street – or is it?

Holly is suuuuuper whiny about it, because she hates all things creepy crawly, like bugs, snakes and bats. But she sucks one up for Uncle Bill. As soon as she gets there, though, it’s clear it’s going to be a bad summer. Her major arch-rival, Geri, is also a junior counselor there, and the senior counselor in charge of her, Debra, is a huge bitch to her. Actually, Debra is a huge bitch, everything Holly does she just yells at her and puts her down in front of everyone, counselors and campers alike. I just don’t think I would take it the way Holly does, which is to tremble her lower lip and run away. Grow up, Holly!

Her major fear is that everyone will find out Uncle Bill is actually her uncle, and treat her differently. Yes, he makes everyone call him Uncle Bill, especially the underage counselors. Yes, Uncle Bill is a pervert, I have nothing to back this up but I’m fairly sure he has a porn mustache. But everyone does find out he is her for reals uncle, and treats her like shit because of it … wtf? She’s helping out her uncle? Like, for free? Not exactly the kind of thing kids are usually ostracized for, but whatevs.

Things start poorly for Holly. One guy starts to like her, Mick. He’s really intense and thinks she likes him, because she had been looking at him all day. In fact, she was trying to figure out whether he was creating the accidents by undressing him with her eyes, but he took it the wrong way. He forces her to go for a walk with him at night, grabbing her arm in anger when she hesitates. I would say wtf, but this the Fear Street, where violence = sexy time, so of course she’s all over it. He tries to force himself on her, and even for Holly this is a little much, because she really hadn’t been eye-fucking him at all, so she pushed him into the lake. Awesome! Best scene of the book. As she walked away they, she felt her feelings conflicted – on the one hand, he had just assaulted her, but on the other hand, he was hot and she was flattered about the attention. Holly, honey, he just assaulted you! This is everything that is wrong with the message sent to teenage girls … you know what, I won’t get into it.

Also, these accidents keep on happening around the camp – a cabinet has it’s bolts loosened, and it almost crushes Uncle Bill, a bunk bed in a cabin collapses, all the canoes are sunk one morning. Each time, a red feather is placed at the scene of the crime, tipping them off that somebody’s been doing this on purpose. Only, nobody else thinks that a feather, TAPED, to an accident scene is suspicious – especially after it happens three times. Holly decides she must investigate, to save the campers or something.

Unfortunately, she’s also doing poorly with the other counselors. They all hate her, whether because she’s Uncle Bill’s niece, or because she’s whiny, or because she pushed them in a lake, or because they are friends with Geri, her ARCH-rival. This one time, a group of them, led by Geri and Mick, grab her, and push her into a muddy stream. As she’s lying there, they dump a bucket of leeches on her. They DUMP a BUCKET of LEECHES on her. They say it’s initiation, but it’s actually because they are psychotic and cruel. Holly laughs this off, like, no harm done! That would be enough to have me packing my bags. But she’s found a new love interest, Sandy, the generic Ken doll, who is actually nice and doesn’t throw gross things on her. Or does he? As her love interest, he is either a psychopathic killer, or about to be dead, so you never know. Any guesses for our Sandy?

Then, there is one of the grossest deaths I’ve read in a Fear Street book by now. Bitchy Debra is late for mess hall, and Holly goes to find her, and find nothing but death! Debra has been strangled on her pottery wheel, and the thing had been left on, rubbing her face off! There’s nothing left but pulp and yuckiness. R. L. has a huge thing about faces being torn or rubbed off – I actually think having your face RUBBED off would be worse, because that much slower. There should be a phobia for having one’s face removed, because I now have it. I mean, there’s a phobia for everyone else.

Holly is hunting for the killer, and as expected, everyone is acting suspicious. Everyone seems to be writing secret letters, but we don’t know if they are for “Chief”. Anyone who isn’t Holly forgets about the gruesome death IMMEDIATELY and they go on a wilderness trip to forget about it even more. All of Holly’s tormentors are going, but it’s okay because Sandy will be there – he’s so dreamy!

Sandy wakes her up in the early morning to go for a canoe ride. Once there in a canoe, he turns into a psychopath, and admits to killing Debra and causing accidents because his brother, affectionately called “Chief” was killed here last year, and they all have to pay! He actually liked Holly, and tried to scare her away by putting a garter snake in her bed (sadly, that almost worked.) But now she must die! He tries pushing her in the river, but she swims away, and climbs a cliff, where she comes across (gasp!) a snake nest. She overcomes her fear of snakes to throw one at Sandy, where he screams like a child, falls, and breaks his neck.

Then the best part ever happens. Mick runs up to Holly, asking her if she’s alright. Over the newly-dead body of Sandy, he tells her he thought a lot about everything, and thinks that throwing somebody in mud and covering them in a bucket of leeches is actually a kind of shitty thing to do. So … will you go out with me. Holly is charmed by this and says yes. Holly, he assaulted you, then covered you in leeches! This is not the man to go out … I’ll just stop myself here. I’m sure you both will have a happy life together.

I give this book 2 buckets of leeches out of 5, because I got pissed off again just thinking about the book.

L. K. Stine


A. M. Stine said...

HA! i knew there was a book that the pottery wheel thing happened... except I thought it was in "THE FACE"... which we don't have. is it possible... that R.L. used the same pottery wheel scheme TWICE? we have to get THE FACE!

Anonymous said...

What? Damn! I got the German Version of that Book... And here, Debra dies because her pendant stuck in the pottery wheel, caused her to choke herself to death. Holly even describes Debras face as 'blue and swollen'... Oh, and here, Sandy doesn´t die´s. He will get the 'help that he needs'...
I´m jealous
(Sorry for my bad englisch, btw youre awesome)

Unknown said...

I just found this site and combed through my own collection. I remember as a lil boy who loved horror movies going by the book jacket in which one to buy. I never got this one so it was a great read