Thursday, November 20, 2008

Goodnight Kiss, or “Even Vampires Need A Little Love”

So, apparently there’s some vampire movie coming out tomorrow? Not that I know anything about it, but in honour of Twilight’s movie release, I thought I’d recap R. L.’s answer to the classic vampire tale.

Once again this is a super chiller that does NOT take place in Shadyside. Instead, everyone from Shadyside apparently owns a beach house in Sandy Hollow. Because when you think beach, you think vampire, right? Jessica is a beautiful redhead, who’s getting ready for a blind date with a mysterious stranger. When they finally meet, she’s stoked because he’s tall dark and handsome … although a little on the pasty side. His name is Gabriel, but everyone calls him Gabri. Really? I think Gabri is the worst nickname ever. If someone asked me to call them Gabri, my response would be ‘… no thanks.’ Anyways, they cut out of the movie they were at early, to take a walk on the dark beach. They start making out, then Gabe goes a little bit further, bites her neck and starts drinking her blood.

Jessica pushes him away and is like ‘Dude! I’m a vampire too! Fool.’ Jessica and Gabri seriously don’t get along and get into an argument about being the Eternal Ones and the sweet ‘nectar’ they must drink. What I don’t get is that both Gabri and Jessica are supposed to be townies in this tiny beach town for several years. Have they never run into each other before? Discussed the pros and cons of being undead? Their argument escalates until they made a bet to see which of them can attract a human and turn them into a vampire first. What does the winner get? Nothing, they never get into it – worst bet ever.

Jessica’s victim chosen for her is Todd, a shy redhead who barely speaks. Gabri’s victim is April, a lovely blonde dating a guy named Matt. The three of them are all good friends and excited about spending the summer together. April wants Todd to start dating some, and wants her boyfriend to be less of a loser, since he’s kinda pudgy and is only interested in video games and horror movies. Uh-oh, a pudgy guy? The big girls are almost always killed off in Fear Street books, but what about the guys? K, if Matt survives, it’s sexist, but if he’s killed, it’s fattist. R. L. has written himself into a no win situation.

April gets her wish about Todd dating, anyways, because he meets beautiful Jessica. They are very into each other. Todd is super proud of this enormous hickey she’s given him. Matt is duly impressed. Is it normal for teenage guys to inspect each other’s hickeys and give low whistles? Is a hickey really something to be proud of? April has also met a mysterious stranger, who always seems to be around when her tubby boyfriend stands her up.

It takes three bites on three different nights to create a vampire. Jessica gets two bites in on Todd, who gets all pale and tired all the time. Gabri’s having a harder time with April because she doesn’t want to cheat on her boyfriend. Until Matt leaves her at night to watch some horror movies with his buddies, and Aprils like, whatever, I’ll go to the carnival with Gabri. They get on the ferris wheel and make out. Wanna know why? Because in Fear Street-land, the ferris wheel is the place to cheat. It happened in College Weekend, too. If you get on a ferris wheel, you will for sure cheat on your boyfriend.

April starts to get all pale and weak too, but Jess had too much of a head start. Despite Gabri’s attempts to stop them, Jessica gives Todd the third and final kiss … only she goes too far, gets carried away. Oopsies! Todd’s corpse is found floating in the ocean the next day, by Matt.

That would be traumatizing for anyone, but Matt starts obsessing about his friend’s untimely death, how it looks like the work of vampires. This has the effect of making April break up with him when he confronts her with the theory, leaving the way wide open for Gabri. Gabri and April go out a second time, when she shows him her cross she just got. He tries to control his freak out, and loosens the clasp, letting the cross slide away, so he can make his second move.

Matt quickly finds comfort in the arms of Jessica, who has decided she can still win the bet if she turns him. She’s all “broken up” about the death of Todd. She quickly gets over this by making out with Matt. Matt’s into this, because “her lips were so dry, hot and dry.’ I really must protest. What is UP with the hot dry lips? R. L. has used this one too many times, and I want to know if anyone actually finds this attractive? No, really, do you? Maybe R. L. does, has some kind of hot dry lip fetish or something.

So Matt starts to fall under the hot dry spell, and gets all tired and pale, until his friend Todd the corpse comes to visit him one night. Apparently Todd can’t sleep at night, although his body is still deteriorating. Ugh. That is so much worse than being a vampire!

Matt realizes Gabri and Jessica are both vampires, and tries to warn April. She doesn’t believe him, of course, so he gets this awesome idea to clandestinele take pictures of them, and develop the film to prove to April she’s dating a guy who can’t be photographed. Because perving on your ex and her new boyfriend with a camera is always going to be an awesome idea.

Only he’s too late. He catches up to April as she is rowing over to an island with Gabri, a mysterious dark island full of bats. Matt does the first thing he can think of and takes off after them in a stolen rowboat of his own. When he FINALLY gets to the island (because he doesn’t have vampire super strength, obviously) he finds April passed out on a chair next to a coffin. A chair next to a coffin? Because this is Gabri’s comfy place? I wonder if he uses the coffin was a coffee table during the night.

Gabri shows up, and he and Matt have the big showdown. It ends with Matt impaling Gabri with a boat oar. Now, I know, Matt’s supposed to be a big guy and everything, but I just don’t see him having the strength to push an oar through someone’s chest. Anyways, Gabri is dusted (like in Buffy!) Matt tries to wake up April, but just as she comes to, Jess shows up and tries to eat her. Matt sets Jess on fire and she melts. So, Matt’s the big hero in this one.

It ends with a chapter called ‘The Happy Ending,’ where Matt and April are walking home, and he’s like ‘there’s that cross you lost,’ and she’s like ‘cool, leave it there.’ When Matt’s all ‘that’s weird of you, why?’, April’s like ‘cause I’m a vampire!’ and eats him up. That’s my version of the last chapter, anyways. I guess that happy ending was sarcastic, unless you are a vampire. So pudgy Matt doesn’t survive the book. This proves R. L. is no sexist, but he shows definite signs of fattism.

This book was awesomely cheesy, the way a good vampire story should be. And extra points for having all of the main characters die. I give Goodnight Kiss 16 sweet, hot dry kisses out of 19.


L. K. Stine said...

I forgot to write about the cover, but April has some serious under-boob in that picture. I think the cover artist is a perv!

Anonymous said...

This is one of the few Fear Street books I could never finish. And the sequel is just as annoying. All that whining about 'the nector'. I hate whiny vampires.

Anonymous said...

Best Fear street cover ever

Anonymous said...

More like raunchiest Fear Street cover ever. Unless anyone knows of a worse one?

Re: "Because when you think beach, you think vampire, right?" I'm sorry to say that I have seen in bookstores a book entitled "Vampire Beach" which seems to be based on exactly this premise.

L. K. Stine said...

Haha, that's hilarious! I must find this series, to figure out exactly why people seem to link vampire and beaches. Guaranteed everyone in 'Vampire Beach' is under the age of 17.

LAK said...

Gabri? Isn't Gabe the usual nickname for a Gabriel?

I remember this book from my vampire teen years (Hello Chris Pike!)and now I see the error of my current ways. Twilight is a good book. If you don't read it critically.
But why does becoming a vampire seems so much easier and less painful here? Three bites! So easy! And the Buffy reference, I miss my Angel fix. Sigh.

I'm getting off my soapbox of vampire loving ADD now.

L. K. Stine said...

MAYBE Twilight is a good book in relation to the vampire fiction of our youths - The Last Vampire, anyone? But when you compare what Stephanie Meyer did to Joss Whedon? Come on, there's no question as to whose vampire bites harder

A. M. Stine said...

I LOVED the Last Vampire books! In fact, there is a stack of them on my nightstand, ready to go when I finally have time! Personally, I think Last Vampire rocks the socks of Twilight.

However... this is with a good months between me and first reading Twilight. Because when I first read Twilight... I shamefully could NOT get enough. So I'm stumped.

~*~BuFfY rUlEz~*~

Anonymous said...

Oh man, was your The Last Vampire the same as my The Last Vampire? I - I'm guessing it wasn't. *looks up* Nope.

Have to agree about Twilight being good when read non-critically. She got the idea from a dream, it's not meant to be complicated! And yet... has anyone ever read vampires who aren't whiny? They always whine. It's one of the great vampire traditions, like drinking blood, and ignoring the great vampire traditions.

Anonymous said...

L.J. Smith's The Vampire Diaries (also our generation) were better than the Pike and the Meyer (imho). And while one of the vampires is even whinier, the bad boy vampire never whines at all (compromise?). Eh, my fave anyway, I love it enough I would never read a parody.

As for Goodnight Kiss, (I hope I'm not misremembering) but I think I actually remember watching R.L. on an interview where he mentioned this book, and said that he named Matt after his son to poke fun at his son, like teasing. So I guess Matt Stine was a chubby girlfriend-losing boy. I don't know what this does to the book for me.

LAK said...

If his son was one of the characters, did he not like his son?
I'm just saying that if I was putting someone I liked/loved in a book I'd give them a wicked cool part,not the other way around.

Anonymous said...

I think it was like...his son was giving him a hard time or something, and so he did this to tease him. Like in a joking way.

L. K. Stine said...

That is harsh of R. L. - could you imagine if one of your parent's went on about how you're pudgy and soft in a book sold around the world. And then, they kill you off at the very end? I don't know how I feel about that either.

Anonymous said...

I read this book as a preteen! For some reason I thought it was written by Christopher Pike.

Anonymous said...

Because in Fear Street-land, the ferris wheel is the place to cheat. It happened in College Weekend, too. If you get on a ferris wheel, you will for sure cheat on your boyfriend.

Chuck Barris wrote a song saying the exact same thing.

MizFier said...

After reading your blog, I've started going back through these old books to jog my memory for myself... I can not believe you did not metion Jessica's flame engulfed "AAAAIIIIIIIII!" from the book. So lame.

RecallerReminder said...

I hate this books with vampires which identities are revealed practically from the beggining...Like Stine only try to make us guess when the killer is human or something else? But if its vampires, there is no mistery at all...