Monday, September 1, 2008
College Weekend, or “Is This Really What College is All About?”
A high school girl going to visit her college-aged boyfriend for a full weekend – no parental supervision? This is pretty risqué for a Fear Street book. Normally we’d think Tina here is a big slut, but you’ll notice on the cover that she has the long hair with bangs, the Little House on the Prairie dress, the Anne of Green Gables carpet bag, so while she might behave a little trampy, she’s still a GOOD girl. I predict from the cover that she survives.
She’s going with her cousin Holly anyways, for Spring Fling weekend. We learn Tina is model pretty, and Holly looks like a sack of oatmeal. Things won’t go well for Holly. They arrive at the station late and it’s deserted – no hunky college boyfriend Josh. There is a drunk homeless man who mugs them, but he’s chased away by Chris, Josh’s roommate. What a hero. Apparently Josh is stuck in the mountains somewhere. Chris immediately wants Tina, and somehow likes everything Tina likes, down to her favorite band. Coincidence? And, he also offers to take pictures of her. For her modeling portfolio. Only tasteful shots. Oh, Tina honey, just say no.
Never fear, parents out there, because this college weekend is made hilariously PG, because Josh and Chris had planned to stay at Chris’ studio, and Tina would stay by herself in their room.
No comment. Chris’ side of the room in covered in fancy electrical equipment, while Josh’s is covered in rocks. Aww, he’s a dorky geologist. He actually gave Tina a corsage made out of rocks for prom. The things we do for our men. A girl comes in and starts shrieking, but when she calms down, it’s okay, she’s just a friend of Josh and Chris’, named Carla. She corroborates the stuck-in-mountain story, and tells them Chris’ girlfriend drowned last year. I think it’s pretty obvious Tina looks just like her. The girls decide to go to a party with Carla and Chris, while waiting for Josh to get there.
Chris immediately monopolizes Tina, and she gets all attracted to him. They slow dance and start making out. Whoa! It really didn’t take long for Tina to forget Josh, who’s probably cozying up to some rocks right about now. Tina is ashamed, and then gets scared because some older guys show up and start DRINKING ALCOHOL.
No comment. Anyways, she sees someone who looks like Holly being dragged off by bikers. I can’t tell you how many times that happened to me at college parties. They go home without Holly, because Tina is convinced she’s with a friend of theirs from Shadyside, and still no Josh. Chris calls her with a message from Josh, saying he won’t be back until the next day. But she keeps finding weird things, like Josh’s hiking boots and car keys. Holly never returns, although Chris and Carla keep telling her that she’s off with the drama kids who are pretty crazy. Like, abducting girls on their bikes crazy?
Carla announces she’s going to pick up the stranded boys herself, and Tina has to stay with Chris and wait for Holly. They decide to pass the time by taking pictures of her for her portfolio. Then they go to the carnival, where Tina finds out the drama girl Holly allegedly took off with actually lives in Seattle. Uh-oh! Tina imagines Holly tied to a chair, being tortured by drunken bikers, which is exactly what I thought! Tina deals with this by eating frozen banana and going on the Ferris wheel. They get stuck at the top and Chris starts forcing himself on her. I love how no one would consider staying in the dorm room with their long-term boyfriend, but sexual assault is totally okay in Fear Street.
Chris then says he’ll take Tina back to the dorm, but instead takes her to his studio to take pictures of her, where he has clothes she can dress up in. Holy crap, this reads like pedophile porn! Tina discovers a body lying on the bathroom floor, but it’s only a mannequin. At least it wasn’t a mop this time. They do a whole shoot, and THEN finally Tina clicks in to the fact that this is creepy. And then she finds out all the cloths and makeup belonged to Chris’ dead girlfriend. He goes crazy and thinks Tina is his dead girlfriend. He makes her put on a bonnet and crinolines. No joke. Then she finds photos of herself Chris took of her sleeping the night before. This looks ALL kinds of creepy. Tina, poor thing, finally tries to flee, but she’s locked in. Chris comes out with a – don’t make me kill you again. Oh, fucked up abusive boyfriends. He starts pretending to photograph her with an imaginary camera, then locks her in his developing room full of photos of herself. Regretting that little kiss with him yet, Tina? This is what we call consequences.
Things go from bad to worse when Tina finds Josh’s body in a cabinet. His face has been melted away by acid. She tries to pay Chris back for this by throwing acid in his face … but it was only water. Tina is so far out of her league, here. But she redeems herself by beating Chris with his tripod, then finding Holly still alive in a closet. Chris gets up and attacks them with scissors, but Carla rolls in just then with her boyfriend and tackles Chris. They just thought Josh was fooling around with somebody else that weekend, and were covering for them, since college is all about experimentation. They did not know Chris was a psycho pedophile, and apologize deeply for this.
For once a Fear Street book doesn’t end with a joke – Tina is pretty choked up about her murdered boyfriend. I’ll admit that would be a shitty weekend. I give College Weekend 7 clandestine sleeping-shot photos out of 11, because the abusive creepiness kinda got to me.
L. K. Stine