Friday, January 30, 2009

The Last Scream or "Sheer, Effing MADNESS"

The Last Scream starts off pretty soon after The Loudest Scream ended. Rundown of characters, shall we?

Deirdre Bradley
: Our “protagonist” if you will, known best for cheating on her boyfriend, then making out with her new boyfriend on the day of the funeral. Her father owns Fear Park.

Robin Fear: Sorcerer extraordinaire, Deirdre’s new boyfriend, 80 year old man in the body of a 17 year old. Creepy!

Jason Bradley: Deirdre’s father, hellbent on opening up the damned park!

Meghan Fairwood: Robin’s girlfriend from the 1930s who he also made immortal, thinks Robin is protecting the Bradleys but we all know he’s actively trying to kill them.

And that’s pretty much it! Most of the other characters we’ve met before this have already died. Which is awesome.

The cover is a little disappointing since they seem to have traded models, and Deirdre is no longer a Mila Kunis look-alike. The tag line is great: "It's closing time ... for Deirdre." But I can't figure out what the heck is going on on the cover! Deirdre is escaping Robin... from a cave? Which a ride runs though? They don't go spelunking in this book, do they? O well, the craziness just goes uphill from here!

The book starts with Deirdre having a nightmare but I’ll skip over it since that’s kind of a cop out. When Deirdre wakes up, she runs into her father, Jason, choking on something in the hallway. And it turns out he’s choking on… WORMS. Huge, foot long, brown, slimy WORMS. BLECHHHHH! That is super gross, especially because he keeps reaching down his throat and pulling more out. (This also happens to Ron in one of the Harry Potter books. Was J.K ripping off R.L.?)

We see that Robin is conjuring these worms from across town in his mansion. Meghan barges in and interrupts so Robin says he was doing a “protection spell”. Meghan tells him that she hates immortal life and wants to grow old with him. Robin is all “I’ve grown old OF you!” and chuckles to himself. Real witty.

Deirdre talks to her dad about closing down the park, but Jason reveals the REAL reason why they can’t close. He’s sunk all their money into it, including the college money for Deirdre that her dead mother left behind. Yeouch! That’s rough. Deirdre is surprising calm, and is all “We’ll just have to be a success then!” I think I’d be more pissed. Robin walks in and hears them discussing the future great success of Fear Park and is hella pissed enough for the both of them! He goes to his job at the Ferris Wheel, and decides on his latest devious plan. While people are riding the Ferris Wheel, he cranks up the speed so they’re whirling really fast. And that’s it. Admittedly, it would be kinda scary, and some people threw up, but like… it’s a wheel. Turning fast.

Robin pretends the lever is jammed and sends the security guards to get Jason. Because of his Bear-Man strength? Anyways, when Jason gets there, Robin pushes him into the spinning wheel while saying “You’re dead!” in front of a crowd. But no one noticed. Right. Jason’s SCALP (!!) gets caught on the wheel and he’s dragged up high then drops to a crumpled heap on the ground. (Jason is really getting the shit end of the stick this time around) He’s not dead though, and Robin briefly considers strangling him right there but decides against it. Uh, Robin? If you’re magic, why don’t you kill him, like, MAGICALLY? I just didn’t (still don’t!) understand WHY the murder had to be so complicated! Just send that purple fog in his room when he’s alone! What’s the big deal!? Meghan shows up and they go home together, but not before they notice a red-haired boy looking over at them. Yikes! A Ginger!!

Deirdre and Robin talk about her father a few days later (he’s in a coma) and also discuss how Deirdre is still receiving phone calls from a mysterious person warning her about Robin Fear. Both Deirdre and Robin are nervous about these phone calls, for different reason obviously. Robin is thinking to himself later and comes up with this gem: Someone from the past FOLLOWED him here! Hmmm. Since Robin didn’t time travel nor did he even MOVE, I can only assume he meant someone AGED? And then came back to the same spot where Robin has been the past 60 years? Diabolical! Is he worried about an attack from the Shadyside Legion?

Robin spots Deirdre talking to the Ginger that look familiar to Meghan and him. He assumes Ging has to be the time-traveling-immortal-space-cowboy-genius that is turning Deirdre against him. Later that day, Robin spots Deirdre on a date with Ging, and overhears his name is Gary. O look, Deirdre’s cheating on another boyfriend! (albeit an evil one) Hey, Deirdre? You know a good place to bring an illicit lover? Any place BESIDES where both you and your current boyfriend work! How did she not get caught sooner than this?! Anyways, Robin isn’t jealous, he just wants to see if Gary is immortal. When Gary and Deirdre get on the big swing ride (so fun!), he works his purple mojo and sends Gary’s seat a-flying! Luckily for Gary, Robin sent the wrong seat into some power lines that are just hanging nearby, but it’s kinda unfortunate for the innocent kid who was electrocuted.

Robin isn’t one to dwell on the murder of innocent children though. He’s back at murderin’ the next day! He tries to take out Jason Bradley, who is lying defenseless in a coma, but can’t because Deirdre’s there. Not really a bad-ass sorcerer hey? He then tries to crush Gary in the parking lot with some purple fog-mystified construction equipment but misses Gary. Robin is left wondering whether Gary is immortal or just lucky, and then gets run off by some guy who was mad at Robin for kneeling by his car. HA!

Robin is upset at home and is not in the mood when Meghan comes in to demand that Robin find a spell to make her mortal again. They end up scrappin’ and I mean that they literally tear scraps of each other off and wrestle around on the floor. Like most 80 year olds.

We finally hear Deirdre’s side of things, and it turns out that she knows all about Robin Fear and his evil plans. A “friend” has let her in on Robin’s secret, although we don’t know who it is (hint: either a Ging or Meghan Fairwood, who I think also might be a Ging). Anyhoo, Deirdre knows that Robin is an immortal, trying to kill her and her family. Robin stops by the managing trailer in Fear Park and demands that Deirdre go on a short walk with him. She doesn’t want to but doesn’t see how she can get out of it.
When he starts leading her down a dark path she finally freaks, and boots it outta there. She runs all the way to the midway before Robin catches up, but since she didn’t REALLY have an escape plan, she tries to play it off all cool. “Beat you! You run like an old woman!” (Yes, insult the murderous sorcerer). Deirdre buys them a cotton candy and thinks that she needs to stall until Gary can get there. She’s eating the cotton candy, when the purple smoke billows around her, and then the cotton candy forms a seal over her face, suffocating her. Robin is all “I’ll get help!” (while snickering) and runs off. He looks back in time to see Gary splash water over the candy, dissolving it. Wait. Why the EFF wouldn’t Robin have made the cotton candy magical, like have it stronger than WATER? GAwd, nothing Robin does makes sense!!

Robin confronts Deirdre and Gary, asking Gary who he is. Deirdre says Gary is her old boyfriend and they’ve gotten back together. Which is about the worst way to break up with someone, evil sorcerer or not. Cold. Hearted. Robin is pissed (for different reasons, since he thinks Gary is the time-traveling-immortal-senior) but discovers a spell to kill immortals in one of his spell books! He invites Meghan (hitting two birds with one stone) as well as Deirdre and Gary to the Hatchet Show the following night.

Deirdre and Gary inexplicitly show up. The theater is mostly empty, except for around 20-30 people. Meghan and Robin show up, and Robin seems really excited. He can’t even hold in his glee. The show starts. The purple fog rolls in. The teenagers come into view…

I feel like I need to stop here. Because what you are about to read are a few of the ass-craziest scenes in Fear Street history. Like, for real. This makes immortal-seniors and killer Ferris Wheels sounds normal. Just… soak it all in.

…and they’re the ZOMBIES of the original dead teenagers from 1935!! Robin is SO pleased with himself for conjuring them up, as they shuffle towards the group of four sitting in the front row. They come closer and closer, as Meghan, Deirdre and Gary are frozen with fear (that’s what zombies will do to you!) They reach the group… and grab ROBIN! They drag him onto the stage and force him to his hands and knees. The first kid, chops off his head! The rest of the kids each take their turn chopping him to little bits, but it seems anti-climatic after his head was sliced off on the first try. Why aren’t these zombies into torturing? (Let’s discuss for a second. What the EFF do these other 20 to 30 people in crowd think is going on? A new show? Did they flee? Or did they stay to watch a live decapitation? I reeeeeally wish that would have been explained)

After Robin’s death, Meghan leaps up and thanks Deirdre for helping her and setting her free! PLOT TWIST! It was the girls doing magic! Woot woot! Meghan and her “friends” the ZOMBIES walk out into the park… and proceed to go on the rides. Like, the decaying kids from 1935, “shriek and howl in wild joy” (or horrific pain from being reanimated?) as they ride the INFERNO ROLLERCOASTER. Now you tell me. This is the most ridiculous scene in Fear Street history, isn’t it? I can’t think of anything that made less sense. What about the OTHER PEOPLE there?! The park was open! There were other patrons! That being said, it was the BEST scene in Fear Street history.

Deirdre ends the book by explaining everything to Gary, who really was an ex-boyfriend who had no clue what was going on. After zombie night though, I doubt he’ll be calling that much. There’s no lingering kiss over top of Robin’s corpse though. So the book’s not that perfect.

It’s pretty perfect though. I mean, really. I loved this mini-series. And having zombies in the last book? Bliss! Now I need to go read the Babysitter 4 or something and remember that not ALL Fear Streets are this awesome. 38 Ferris Wheels spinning REALLY fast out of 39. Which reminds me… what ever happens to Jason Bradley?

Thursday, January 29, 2009

The Best Friend, or “Whiny Teenage Girls ... That’s All”

I swear the only good thing about this book is the cover. Classic Fear Street. This scene NEVER happens, and Becka looks just awful in it – did she somehow turn into her mom? Also, the tagline. “Sometimes friendship can be murder.” I love it. When, WHEN, is friendship murder? What were you thinking, person who wrote the tagline?

Becka starts this book by making out with her boyfriend, Eric, trying to figure out how to break up with him. Sigh, how often we find ourselves in that position. Tarty, cruel behaviour – I think I may like Becka, but the rules of horror say things won’t end well for this girl. Oddly enough, she’s dumping him for being too needy. This concerns me, as most girls in Shadyside get off from needy, douchey behaviour in their men. Becka’s all nervous about telling him, but Eric takes it completely cool. In fact, he’s so nonchalant that Becka gets all hurt and upset. Um, bitch, you broke up with him. Who’s needy now? Forget what I said about liking Becka, she’s annoying.

Next day, Becka is chatting with her besties, Trish and Lilah, in her room. Becka just chopped all her hair, and thinks she looks like a boy. If she only knew the mortality rate of girls with short hair in Shadyside, she may have reconsidered. A short-haired tramp? She has a 50-50 chance of making it through this book. We all know the only short-haired tramp allowed to live in Shadyside is my favourite, Suki Thomas. We find out that Becka actually broke up with Eric not for his non-apparent neediness, but to reunite with her ex Billy. Billy is a potential bad boy, into some trouble so Becka’s parents won’t let her see him.

As the girls are gabbing about boys, a strange girl bounces into Becka’s room, hugging her enthusiastically and shrieking. Becka and her friends have zero idea who she is. The strange girl is described as “not pretty,” with abnormally large hands. Um, what a weird descriptor. Large-handed girl introduces herself as Honey, and she just moved in next door. Honey goes on and on about being Becka’s best friend forever in grades 3 and 4, but Becka is confused, as she’s pretty sure her bff was Deena Martinson back then. Honey talks all about the good old days, of which Becka remembers nothing – neither do any of her friends or family, but they all go along with it. Honey is so gushy, everyone gets uncomfortable. She finally leaves, after making Becka promise to be her best friend forever and ever.

The girls reminisce about the 4th grade, and get out the class picture to look up Honey. They finally remember her as a strange and lonely girl with no friends. Becka is starting to feel sorry for her, then realizes her “stylish” parrot pin Honey was just admiring has gone missing. Becka storms over next door, to see that the house for sale still stands empty, and no one has moved into it. Creepy.

Next day at school, Becka and Lilah are being SUPER catty about the tramps at school – so high school! Becka describes her outfit for Trish’s upcoming Christmas party – a short silver skirt over a black catsuit. Nice! I love how much catsuits are worn around Shadyside in the 90s. Becka gets home to find Honey in her closet, trying on her clothes and talking to herself. She comes to the realization that Honey is completely delusional, and what are you going to do about that? Well, how about confronting said delusional person over a stolen cherished parrot pin? Honey responds completely normally, as in she starts to choke Becka. As Becka struggles away, Honey shrieks “Gotcha!” and laughs hysterically. Then she insists that Becka gave the pin to her and starts sobbing. Oookay, crazy. This is pretty much Becka’s reaction. She finally gets Honey to leave.

Next day at school, Becka and Lilah go for a bike ride, after telling Honey she can’t come with them. That’s not high school, that’s elementary! Lilah takes a tremendous spill down a hill, ending on the front end of a truck. Lilah is alive and taken to the hospital, as Becka discovers Lilah’s brake cable was removed by ... someone. Who may or may not have been pissed about being told he/she couldn’t go on a bike ride.

Becka’s pretty traumatized by seeing her friend being hit by a truck, so she calls on-again, off-again boyfriend Billy. He is trying to comfort her, but actually pressures her to sneak out and park at River Ridge on Saturday night. Honey comes in and embraces Becka, telling her that she’ll be there from now on instead of Lilah, sending Becka into hysterics. She’s unable to speak when Honey tells Trish to piss off and leave them alone.

Saturday night, at River Ridge, Becka and Billy together at River Ridge steaming up his windows. And she goes on about other people’s trampiness! Billy thinks that Honey is nothing more than a pest, but Becka is convinced she’s being single-white-femaled. She sees Honey peering at them outside the car and starts yelling – Billy just thinks she’s losing it.

The next week, Becka comes down with a terrible flu, and can’t make it into school. Honey spreads rumours about her all over school, that she’s had a mental breakdown. In order to induce said breakdown, Honey cuts her hair identically to Becka’s short do, which Becka finds less than humorous. To make matters worse, Honey is spotted making out with Eric, Becka’s cool-as-a-cucumber ex. Becka tells Honey off, telling her to stay away from her, no more copy catting her life. Honey dashes off in tears.

So when Becka finds her locker trashed, it’s pretty logical to assume the number one psycho in her life is responsible. She finds Honey and reams her out. In a moment of sanity, Honey pulls a gun on Becka. Just kidding, that’s not sane at all. And, it’s a water gun, but it looks real. Like THAT would ever be allowed in American school nowadays – clearly the 90s were an innocent, more light-hearted age pre-Columbine. Anyways, Honey thinks she’s hysterically funny, and Becka thinks she’s insane.

Later in the day, though, Becka finds out that someone else was trashing lockers, it wasn’t Honey, and feels bad for being a bitch. No, Becka, Honey is a psycho whether she trashed your locker or not. Everyone downplays Honey’s delusions, like Billy, who thinks people treat her unfairly. Then he drops the bomb that he thinks she’s cute, and Honey keeps on coming on to him. Becka freaks out on him, and I gotta say, pretty rightfully so.

That weekend, Trish’s Christmas party. Becka is there, in her sexy silver skirt and catsuit. Her night is ruined when Honey crashes, wearing the identical outfit. Come on, Honey, be slightly less obvious in the crazy! Becka is getting ready to lose it at Honey, when Trish is pushed down a flight of stairs. With Honey standing at the top of the stairs, all: “I don’t know what happened.” As Honey rushes down to comfort Becka, B loses it completely and passes out.

She wakes up two days later at home. Trish is alive, but broke her neck, and Becka has been put on tranquilizers to deal with the shock of all her friends having vicious “accidents” in front of her. Becka is left alone, and Honey calls her to come over to see a surprise. Becka’s all doped up, but think she hears Billy, so stumbles next door to see Billy in Honey’s kitchen, smiling and happy. Becka’s already somewhat fragile in the head area and goes into a blind rage (fuelled by her tranquilizers?) She grabs a kitchen knife and goes after Honey, but is too weak and passes out. Bill and Honey start to scream at each other.

So, at this point I’m pretty confused. Why is Billy with Honey? Are they hooking up, and Honey wanted to destroy Becka by letting her see it? Or, did Honey actually arrange a nice surprise, to see her off-limits boyfriend, and Becka misunderstood. This is never explained, as Honey takes the knife and stabs Billy in the chest. EXTREME overreaction. Realizing that actually killing people is bad, Honey puts the knife in Becka’s hand, and lets her wake up that way. Honey embraces Becka once again, telling her she’ll never tell anyone what Becka did. Becka is so thankful that she has a true friend in Honey.

This book was BORING. I apologize, since this blog was probably really boring too. Who cares about Becka? She’s mean and neurotic. And Honey is a hot mess, but besides her abnormally large hands, I don’t give a shit about her either. And Becka isn’t sinking into madness, like the awesomeness of Switched. Really, it’s more about some whiny teenaged girls. This book gets a big FAIL – 3 bad haircuts out of 17.

In related news, I actually said the word *sigh* out loud in a conversation. Am worried that blogging may be taking over my life.

Monday, January 26, 2009

House of Whispers, or “When Did the Fears go South?”

This is the second book in the Fear Street Sagas. A. M. And I have decided to blog these out of order, since we have very few of them, and there is no context building between them. As far as I can tell, they’re old-timey Fear Streets, focusing on the Fear family throughout history. Should be fun, right?

On the cover is our lovely heroine, Southern Belle Amy Pierce. She is wearing a modest but attractive dress appropriate to the period this book is done in ... just kidding. That thing is awful, hey? And I bet you could find very similar styled dresses nowadays, in malls across the land, and probably some junior high school grads. Blech, cover artist. Interesting, though, the inscription of this book is: “R. L. Stine would like to thank Wendy Haley for her contributions and efforts on this manuscript.” !!?? I haven’t seen such an obviously ghostwritten Fear Street before. It does make me wonder how many Fear Streets are in fact ghostwritten. Is R. L. just a cheesy-horror-book genius? The answer, my friends, is of course yes.

Anyways, let’s turn to the Deep South during the Civil War. The year is 1863, and Amy is fleeing to New Orleans to sit out the war in safety with her second cousin, Angelica Fear and her husband Simon. Wait ... the Fears lived in New Orleans?


So, I just went back to re-acquaint myself with the Fears from an invaluable source (A. M.’s blogs of the Original Saga series) and indeed, the Fears lived in New Orleans. Angelica is in fact from the south. I tell ya, you learn something every day. At this point in time, the Fears have been married for about 20 years. So they’ve had lots of years to get up to all kinds of creepy evil stuff.

Simon is actually absent during this book, doing his war work, which involves selling supplies to the highest bidder. The man clearly has no morals! So young little Amy Pierce is hanging out with Angie (I imagine Angelica fear to look exactly like Angelina Jolie, so she’ll just be Angie in this), along with the children. Their eldest is Julia, then spoiled Hannah, then the 3 little boys who are too unimportant to be given names (by me). Hannah is the lovely child that her parents prefer, Julia is disliked because she is ugly. Things won’t go well for Julia in the long run (no really, trust me).

Amy comes into the Fear mansion to find the staff chilly and frightened. Julia is creepy and awkward, constantly standing around in the way, silently. Amy takes pity and befriends her, giving her a good luck bracelet. After being given a pretty present like that, Julia gives Amy a warning: that people die awful deaths in the house. She tells Amy that there are shadow people that creep the halls late at night, and she once saw a servant devoured by the shadows, eating bones and drinking blood. You should probably take that lucky bracelet back, Amy.

Amy’s first morning there, Ang takes her to the library and reads her tarot cards. But of course – black magic people have no other interests than things that have to do with the occult. Amy feels some odd power, knowing that she could read the cards too. Her hands begin to shuffle the cards of their own accord, and the cards begin to literally FLY around her. Her natural reaction is a big Southern wtf, but Ang is unsurprised. She admits some Pierces are “uniquely talented” and wanted to see if the cards spoke to her. She wants Amy to learn, but Amy will have none of her unique talent, running outside.

She meets the children playing hide and seek, and joins in. While she’s searching through the massive grounds, Amy hears someone screaming in a neighbouring yard. She runs to help and sees an older woman, trying to get away from a water moccasin (which I had to look up, is a snake.) Amy, entreprising girl that she is, takes a hoe to it and chops it in half. Neighbour lady falls over herself to thank her, as does her son, who comes out. The son is apparently blindingly handsome, goes by the name of David Hathaway. He’s dark, and chiselled, and HAS AN EYEPATCH. Clearly he belongs on the cover of a romance novel somewhere. I imagine he has long flowing locks as well. Just as Amy falls head over heels for neighbour boy, Ang comes running and bustles Amy away.

Amy makes friends with her maid, Nellie, and they girly gush about how cute David is. Ang bustles in once again, deciding that Amy needs a makeover so that she can go to the ball – how very fairy godmother of her. On an aside, Ang tells Amy that David is a stone-hearted killer. Amy does not take this to heart, as she goes over to his place the very next day to have tea with his mother, Mrs. Hathaway. David joins them very reluctantly, and Amy realizes he’s just embarrassed about his patch. She blurts out that she thinks it’s hot, and they all get along awesomely.

Amy leaves David’s place all twitter-painted, only to see Nellie falling out of the 3rd story window. Nellie actually survives, but her face has been scraped off. Oh, ick. Faceless mess tells Amy to be careful of ... then dies. So she’s unsure of who’s the danger, although dark-magic second cousin might be a very good place to start.

Amy goes through some traumatic shock, then 5 minutes later goes upstairs to change out of her blood-soaked clothes. As she walks upstairs, she feels compelled to keep on going up, to the room that Nellie fell from. Here she finds the tarot cards, and impulsively reads them, pulling up the Death card three times. Whatever could this mean?

One week later. All is well in New Orleans, and Amy is attending the Harvest Ball with Ang. Amy sees David dancing with pretty girls and is pretty cut up. It doesn’t help that Ang and this other woman, Chantal, are being completely catty to her as she is a back-water hick (although the book never did specify where Amy comes from). Things turn around for her because David comes over and snubs Chantal, asking Amy to dance. Delight! He then speaks to another woman. Despair! Reading about Amy’s emotions is very like being at a high school dance, and as a result very boring. Until the room catches fire, as does the girl David’s talking to. Her face melts off like candle wax, and she dies. Amy nearly doesn’t make it, as the burning wooden banquet falls on her, but she is thrust out of the way by David, who is both tender and angry at her. Swoon!

That night, Amy sneaks out of the mansion to meet David by the koi pond. He tells her not to trust anyone – even him. Then he kisses her hard. Double swoon. This reads like a harlequin. They arrange to meet at the pond in two nights, which Amy can barely wait for. When the time arrives, though, David stands her up, which is reprehensible behaviour. The reflection of the pond starts showing Amy a vision, of Chantal being drowned by David, under the surface. Scary, sure, but only a reflection, right?

Well, the next day, as the children are playing near the pond, they find Chantal’s corpse. Fish have eaten out her eyes. Ick again. Amy now suspects David is a vicious murderer, even though Chantal’s corpse was found on Fear property. She goes to read the cards at night, and she’s given a vision that Mrs. Hathaway will be drowned, tonight. Btw, why do the cards give her visions? Why couldn’t she get all this stuff by actually reading the tarot cards? Anyhoo, Amy rushes off to Mrs. Hathaway, to find her sleepwalking, but it’s David that rescues his mother.

Amy realizes that he could never be a vicious murderer, he’s only suffering from post traumatic stress disorder from seeing all his friends killed at war. She runs in and explains everything (my second cousin is magic?) David wants to keep her safe, to take her away that night, but Amy wants to do things the proper way, and won’t leave with him unless her parents give permission. Seriously, propriety must have been a bitch back in the day. She goes back to the Fear house, but only after David tells her he loves her.

While seriously in danger, Amy’s all floating on a cloud, until she finds a half-destroyed letter sent by her mother to her. Not cool. She wants to run back to David to let him know, and to send word to her parents, but she sees Ang is already outside, talking to David. She calls up some huge beast with shiny eyes to guard the gate between their houses, so Amy can’t get to him. I hate it when parents do that!

She slips the letter to David the next morning, because apparently giant beast thing is gone. He runs off to find her parents, and Amy acts like nothing’s wrong, helps Ang decorate the house for an All Hallow’s Eve. What were Halloween parties like back in 1863? I’m thinking there weren’t many paper skeletons or plastic pumpkins full of candy. Amy’s dancing around, until she realizes everyone in the house is gone except for her. And why would Angie send all the servants away the night of a party? Well, it’s not that kind of party. Amy reads the cards, and all of them now are Death.

Amy tries to flee, but Angie catches up to her, working her voodoo. She brings up a column of black smoke – Julia’s shadow people. The smoke is full of the faces of Ang’s victims, tortured and bloodied for eternity. She is enveloped in it, and they claw at her as she hears Ang’s perfect tinkling laugh. Amy gets mad, using her own power she’s come into, killing the shadow people. She flees the Fear house then, and crashes into David. Rescued! Only her knight in shining armour starts carrying her back into the Fear mansion, in a zombie-like trance.

Amy tries to get through to zombie David with love, and he hesitates. Ang is keeping him around as a husband for Hannah, and pretty little Amy is getting in the way. Ang orders him to kill Amy, and he pulls his revolver ... on Angie, shooting her. David and Amy run through the woods, which become alive and try to stop them. Everything calms down once they reach the Hathaway garden. They grab momma Hathaway and get the hell out of New Orleans, propriety be damned, apparently. The vow never to speak the name Fear again.

Yay, happy ending! This totally was a harlequin romance, but with less bodice-ripping passion. More’s the pity. There should definitely be a harlequin horror series, if there is not one already. Somebody should get on that. I haven’t read a lot of these sagas, but the cheese level has definitely been ramped up. Like, a lot. I love it. I give House of Whispers 7 out of 12 southern belles, for the love story that actually turns out nicely.

Sunday, January 25, 2009

*Gasp* Non Fear Street Post!

For those of you who have been reading since the beginning, or who have read all the archives, this announcement will probably not come as a surprise. I, A.M. Stine, love zombies. LOVE zombies! Post-apocalyptic Zombie movies? All over them. When R.L. uses his creative genius to work zombies into Fear Street books (ala Second Horror)? I go ape shit. They are truly monsters of campy genius. You cannot go wrong with zombies.

So imagine the excitement I felt when, strolling the shelves of Chapters, my eyes landed on this little gem: "World War Z: An Oral History of the Zombie Wars" YES!! I was all over this book like a zombie on brains. So for all you zombie aficionados out there... this is a must read.

Be warned though, this is not campy goodness. This is a serious zombie book. This is not a book for people who enjoy their zombies to be hilarious confused or in any way campy. This is a zombie book for people who love zombies ... just the way they are.

Thursday, January 22, 2009

Trapped or “Breakfast Club Horror Show”

Holy. Crap.

Ever since we started blogging Fear Street books, I have had a vague recollection of a book that really disturbed me when I was younger. I actually seemed to think Fear Street was kind of scary, because of this book. Something about being underground. When I found Trapped, I got excited, because I realized it may be that very book.

Was it ever.

Have you people read this book? Did it scare the bejeezus out of anyone else? Because I have to say, this was a really good HORROR book – it reminds me of Stephen King’s short novels.

So, enough of a lead up. Needless to say, I liked it. And felt the need to sleep with stuffed animals after reading this.

Trapped starts off as R. L.’s answer to the Breakfast Club. Goody goody Elaine is stuck at school on a Saturday for detention, with a motley group of kids. There’s the geek, Jerry, who’s only there because he refused to dissect his frog in biology on ethical grounds. Max, the badass artist, who apparently uses graffiti as his major means of expressing himself. Bo, the badass badass, who is clearly Judd Nelson’s character from the Breakfast Club. To the point that I feel no need to describe him, as in my head he looks like Judd Nelson. And Darlene, his stoner girlfriend. For the purposes of this blog, Elaine will be played by Molly Ringwald.

Everything begins exactly like the Breakfast Club. 5 students who would never hang together thrown into a classroom for a full day together. Bo keeps harassing Elaine, but it’s pretty clear he’s into her, while Elaine finds herself inexplicably turned on by this good looking but troubled punk. They are being watched over by their principal, a Mr. Savage, whom everyone agrees is a very strange man.

It doesn’t take long for the kids to rebel. Since Mr. Savage is not around, they go to the cafeteria to raid the kitchen. They stuff full of iced tea, and old doughnuts, I guess, and all have a very good time. Look at the delinquents getting along together! On the way back to the classroom, they hear Mr. Savage coming down the hall, so they duck into the auditorium. The badasses of the group start defiling the stage, which Elaine disapproves of, so she wanders a little behind the scenes. At the very back of the theatre is a long dark sheet tacked to the wall. She rips the sheet down, revealing a long dark passageway that she’s never heard of before. What else can a girl do? She starts walking along it, until the floor gives way beneath her.

Elaine falls far enough to hurt her ankle, and looks up to see she’s in a tunnel under the school. Bo finds her and comes down to join her, via a very rickety old ladder. Elaine is secretly very happy to be alone with Bo in the rat-infested tunnel, and is a little choked when the others come down to join them. Bo uses his lighter to illuminate the walls, which are covered with graffiti saying: LET’S PARTY.

Everyone is momentarily awestruck as they realize they are in The Labyrinth – a tunnel system under Shadyside created in the 1950s under the threat of nuclear holocaust. When the inevitable end of the world proved to not be forthcoming, students would go down there to party, getting really fucked up and pretending it was the end of the world. The whole tunnel system was blocked off years ago after something bad happened. No one knew what, only that a bunch of kids died.

So you’ve accidentally discovered a mythic party tunnel, what else are they going to do? Of course they go exploring, detention was so 10 minutes ago. Bo makes some torches with the handy lighter fluid he keeps in his pocket. Yes, he keeps lighter fluid in his pocket. Everyone thinks this is psychotic, even Elaine who’s ready to strip him the second his back is turned. There’s no reason for the lighter fluid, it’s a “just in case” kind of thing. And, turned out to be danged useful today, so what’s everyone going on about? They take off down the dark tunnel.

Repressed Elaine feels excited and liberated, until she remembers she’s afraid of the dark. Oops. They quickly get lost, although Bo, being male, refuses to admit it. They finally come to a new tunnel, with a deep body of water blocking it (no idea where this deep body of water comes from, it’s just a really deep stagnant pool). They cross it using the thin ledge at the side, but Elaine loses her balance after stepping on a rat and falls in. Bo pulls her out and she drapes herself all over him. Darlene is super unimpressed and tries to decide when the best time to stab Elaine will be.

They continue on and find another oddity – a patch of wall that has been bricked over, potentially covering a passageway. As they stand there, the bricks start to move of their own volition, as if being pushed on from the other side. Before anyone can really panic about that, the whole wall explodes outwards, knocking everyone down, although the torches fared okay.

A red dust seems to pour out of the now-exposed tunnel, swirling and thickening as if it was alive. It turns into a red cloudy mist, and moves over to Max, engulfing him. As he screams, the red mist lifts him off the ground, and breaks every bone in his body, contorting him in ways that humans cannot be contorted, blood spurting everywhere. Once everyone got an eyeful of Max’s crumpled corpse, the mist speeds down along the tunnel with him.

Bo, the lighter fluid carrying psycho, runs after the mist. Jerry and Darlene, being rather more sensible, run in the opposite direction, leaving Elaine and her hobbled ankle behind. She only catches up to them as they realize they’re lost again. They are all starting to fight when they come across a decaying body, just as their torch goes out. In total pitch darkness now, Darlene thinks the body was wearing Bo’s clothes. Elaine realizes that Bo had the lighter, so they had to go through the body’s clothes to get it to make a new torch. She’s about the feel up the corpse, when Bo comes running towards them from another tunnel, torch still in hand.

Reunited and lit again, everyone seems very happy. They make new torches and head off again, trying to find another exit from the Labyrinth. They find several creepy chambers, one which is graffitied over and over again Let’s Party, which has a really disturbing effect.

As they take it in, the red mist finds them, creeping into the chamber. They run for it, but poor Elaine is the last man out because of her ankle. She collapses, but right in front of the rickety ladder that exits to the Shadyside theatre. They all clamber to get up, Jerry at the back. He doesn’t make it. The red mist grabs him and Elaine is trying to hold on to him, but has to let go of him to save herself. The mist snaps Jerry’s back in half, then grinds him up a bit before hauling him away. The ladder collapses, causing Bo and Elaine to fall. Elaine is thrown into ecstatics about Bo being on top of her. I’d say girl has a poor set of priorities, but in life or death situations, you have to get your kicks somehow, right?

Darlene didn’t quite make it to the top, and falls back down on top of them. The three of them regroup, trying to figure out what to do. Elaine brings up a controversial suggestion: going through the bricked-off passageway, the only one they know they didn’t take already. Perhaps it leads outside? Having really no other ideas, they head back to the brick wall, following the passageway through to a cave-in. The passageway is nearly entirely blocked off, except for a small hole up at one corner they squiggle through. The hope is that a sunny exit is on the other side ...

Nope. Just one more creepy Let’s Party chamber, completely blocked off. Except this one is full of human skeletons! The skeletons are arranged as if they died sitting around, or holding each other. They are the skeletons of the kids who died down here, apparently trapped by a cave in. On the wall, beside all the Let’s Party signs, are six names – the names of the dead. Inscribed next to the names is: SCOTT SAVAGE KNOWS. As in, Mr. Savage, the principal? Darlene and Elaine are arguing whether the kids died because of the red mist, or because of the cave in, when the red mist finds them, pouring into the room. They can hear it breathing, as if it was a person.

Bo mans up again and tried to get the mist to come after him, allowing the girls to escape. As the girls run, the mist re-incorporates the skeletons, going after them all at once. As one skeleton goes for Darlene, Elaine dives through the hole in the cave in, hearing Darlene’s screams behind her. She struggles through and waits on the other side.

Someone grabs her from behind – Mr. Savage has joined them. At that moment, Bo pops through the hole, and Elaine goes to pull him away from the mist. There is a cave in behind them, causing them all to believe the red mist is trapped. Time to sit around and reminisce about the past.

Mr. Savage explained that he had partied there years ago with a bunch of kids, when one night there was a cave in. The dirt separated them, with Savage on one side, everyone else trapped on the other. So little Savage did the only explicable thing to do – the next day he came down and bricked up the exit of the passageway, so nobody would know about his dead friends, or how they died.

Only, they weren’t dead. The six trapped managed to crawl through to the other side, only to run into a freshly made brick wall, which very efficiently ended their escape attempts. They went back to their little chamber, accepting their death, and inscribing their names on the wall as victims, and Savage as their murderer.

As Savage comes to the end of his story, the pile of dirt blows out, releasing the red mist. As it buzzes around them angrily, Elaine can see faces within the mist – the kids who died in the cave in. The mist was them, and their rage and despair. All of them are staring at the mist, as Savage calmly tells Elaine and Bo that they can get to the boiler room by taking 6 consecutive left turns (otherwise known as a big circle). The mist surrounds Savage, and breaks him, turning him in on himself until he’s nothing but a ball of flesh and blood.

At this, the red mist dissolves, having finally gotten its revenge. Bo and Elaine shuffle along the tunnels until they reach the school, where they smile at each other. No, there’s no inappropriate kissing or cute quips here, they just agree to get the hell out of there.

Maybe it was just me, but I thought this book was SCARY! And well done. Was it my favourite Fear Street ever? No. Because I find I really like the cheese. I like letter opener slashing abusive boyfriends, and the women who love them. I read Fear Street to snark on outfits from the early 90s, and the inappropriate kissing at the end. That being said, this book was AWESOME for entirely different reasons. I give it 55 clouds of rage-mist out of 55.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

The Loudest Scream or "Avoid Rooms Full of Mirrors"

I’ve muddled my way through another one of these Fear Park extravaganzas! There are only three books in this particular series but I’m gonna be honest with you. I wish there were more. These are the goriest, craziest Fear Street books! As I write this, I’m also trying to remember the last time I DIDN’T enjoy an R.L. Stine book… I’m pretty sure this website is slowly progressing into a very long love letter to R.L. Marry ME you crazy old man! Whisper stories about murderous teenagers in my ear every night before we go to bed!

Ahem. The Loudest Scream cover depicts our contemporary protagonist, Deirdre. And she’s falling off a carousel horse? Well that’s just bad. Not only did that not happen in the book, it also seems like she would have to be a huge spaz to do that. The horses in the book do not come alive. There were so many creepy parts to this book, I don’t understand why they would make up one that doesn’t make sense. I do enjoy that the cover artist appears to have used the same model for The First Scream and The Loudest Scream. One of our intrepid commentator’s noted last week that she has an uncanny resemblance to Mila Kunis! I would say that she actually was the model, if she hadn’t have been like 9 when this book was published. Anyhoo, the tagline is good: “Buy a ticket to terror.” Kinda nonsensical but also reminiscent of “Ticket to Ride”. Try getting that song outta your head all day. You’re welcome.

The Loudest Scream picks right off after Paul’s funeral, who was Deirdre’s trusting boyfriend. She’s feeling a little guilty because she was cheating on him with Robin Fear (who we know is from the magical 1930s, but we’re not sure if he’s still evil). Deirdre doesn’t feel THAT bad though, since she’s still with “Rob”, making out after the funeral. Class. Act. Okay, we find out really fast that “Rob” Fear is totally still evil and it is his life’s mission to make sure the park never opens. He’s been at it for like 70 YEARS. The new couple runs into Jared, who is Paul’s younger brother that looks identical to him. Jared is super pissed off at Deirdre’s dad for letting Paul’s head be chopped off by the Ferris Wheel (that seems like a feat in itself).

While Deirdre and Rob are walking home, Rob notices that half his face has become the stinking, rotting flesh of the elderly/and or dead. Thank goodness he wasn’t facing Deirdre! He runs home and applies gunk while chanting. This is the key to immortality? You’d think more people would know about this. Someone interrupts him… and it’s Meghan Fairwood, his crush from the 1930s! Unfortunately, she’s not elderly, come to get her revenge just before she dies. She’s a young teenager, just like Rob so apparently she works some mojo too! Is she evil? …No, she thinks Rob became immortal to protect the “cursed” Fear Park. And she became immortal to … keep Rob company. Since he won’t let her outside. Alright, they never mention it but: these two HAVE to have sex. Right? They’ve been horny teenagers, living in the same house for 70 years. Case closed!

Jared comes back to Fear Park to talk to Deirdre’s dad. He wants to take over Paul’s job running the Ferris Wheel. Which… really? That would not be my first pick for employment. The thing that killed my brother. Anyways, Jason, Deirdre’s father refuses to give Jared a job because there are no openings. Jared is SO angry after this, he throws a rock at a monkey! What?! Oooo there is an animal sanctuary at the Park. Well, it’s not really a sanctuary if people can just throw shit at the animals. Poor monkey! The guy in charge of the animals, Gunther, comes over and kicks the kids out. Rob sees this and decides this is a good opportunity to cause havoc. He convinces Jared and his friends to sneak up on Gunther while he’s feeding the lions and scare him into thinking they’re gonna push him in. Foolproof plan!

I think you know what happens. The boys sneak up on Gunther after dark, only to have the crazy purple smoke surround them and Gunther leaps into the lion pen on his own free will. Jared and his friends are startled, then nauseous and then in a hurry to get their asses outta there! Rob and Deirdre were on an after hours stroll through the park I guess and come across the madness in the lion pen. Rob hopes that this is the final straw that makes Jason Bradley shut down the park but he’s all “Ha ha ha. What a ridiculous idea! This was just an accident!” Kinda blasé if you ask me …

There is a big re-opening night and Meghan Fairwood is pacing through her lonely house of solitude. She finally decides that Rob needs her help and she doesn’t care if she gets hurt! She treks to the park, marveling at all the new sights and fashions (Seriously, Rob didn’t let her out in SEVENTY YEARS?! How did she not clue in that he was evil!?). She’s a little miffed however when she comes across Rob kissing Deirdre! O noes! She rushes back to the mansion, finally realizing that she’s a prisoner in her own home. She vows to pay him back. Go Meghan!

Jared and his friends decide that they need to talk to Rob Fear, since he knew about them going up to scare Gunther the night he died. Do they want to silence Rob Fear? They’re progression to murder came awfully quick. Anyways, when Jared and his minions try to get into Fear Park to talk to Rob, they refuse to pay for tickets since they don’t want to go on any rides. The ticket guys says no (duh). Jared shakes him so hard it almost kills him and the four boys get thrown out again. Seriously Jared? Cough up the 5 bucks next time. Jared is no longer scared about being caught for murder, but wants revenge for being thrown out of the park! What?!

So Jared and his friends sneak into the park through a hole in the fence and plant firecrackers throughout the House of Mirrors (seems dangerous on its own). Rob sees them, and they see him. Jared and his gang of thugs skedaddle. Rob tries to convince Deirdre to wait for him in the House of Mirrors because he is up to no good! She can’t but Rob decides to go through with his plan anyways. A purple fog fills the room and all the mirrors shatter. And rip the people inside to shreds. Blech! There is a very long description of the body parts and limbs that litter the ground but let’s not go there. When Jason Bradley arrives to assess the damage, Rob triumphantly tells him that he saw the perpetrators and can describe them to the police!

Deirdre goes home after a long day of almost being dismembered and finds a mysterious package waiting for her. It’s a photo of the kids from the 1930s who hacked each other up. And she recognizes the cold, serious eyes of one Robin Fear. Dun Dun Duuunnnn!

Cut to Robin and his common-law wife, Meghan’s house. Rob can’t find Meghan anywhere until she leaps out from a dark corner and stabs him in the heart. He’s all “Ummm, we’re immortal, what the eff are you doing?” while removing the blade from his cold, unbeating heart. What, did Meghan forget for a little while? She’s pissed that he was kissing Deirdre until he explains that it was the only way to get close to her to protect her. O, who hasn’t heard that line a few times! Rob thinks she buys it. I’m not so sure…

Jared and his friends are hiding out in an abandoned mansion. With Rob’s help, their sketches have been released to the media and they are on the lamb! They don’t know it was Rob who turned them in though, so they decide to talk to him because he saw them put FIRECRACKERS in the House of Mirrors, not bombs! Rob Fear’s knowledge would set them free! Question: Wouldn’t the police just assume that the firecrackers had somehow caused the explosion? I wouldn’t be coming forward with that kind of explanation anytime soon…

This part is really good. Deirdre comes up to Rob while he’s clearing debris from the House of Mirrors (body parts?) and shows him the picture from the 1930s. And accuses him of being in the picture. What did she think was going on, time travel? Why on earth would she jump to that conclusion?! Rob is like, that’s my grandpa, duh. Even if Deirdre was correct in her assumption, who in their right mind would assume time travel/magic BEFORE considering look-alike relatives? Especially in Shadyside, where everyone seems to have a doppelganger. Rob goes home and accuses Meghan of sending the photo but she claims innocence.

Jared and his friends abduct Rob on his way back to the park. They explain their situation, and Rob’s all “O yah, I’ll go tell the cops right away! You wait here!” He goes away, thinks of an evil plan, then comes back. He tells the boys that the police are on their way to kill them! Their only chance is to take Deirdre hostage and demand the police listen to them! Rob will go get Deirdre, then pretend to be kidnapped beside her (because he doesn’t want his pretend girlfriend to know that he’s using her as bait). Foolproof! Once again, these characters need to review the definition of “foolproof”.

Rob leads Deirdre to the maintainence shack the boys are hiding in, and reconsiders his desire to kill her. He thinks maybe he’ll kill Meghan and keep Deirdre so he’s not lonely. That’s nice… I guess… Anyways, they go to the shack and are taken captive. Deirdre wakes up and actually escapes her ropes. She unties Rob and together they try to escape the building by climbing out the window. Just then… a purple fog rolls in! It surrounds Jared and his three friends. And then rips them apart. BLERG. Deirdre watches this, then feels the fog surround her, then decide against it. I guess Rob is killing Meghan! The book ends with Rob and Deirdre embracing in a room full of body parts, and Rob promising to take real good care of her. …At least they didn’t make out?

Once again the disgusting gore in this book made it a favorite of mine. And also… Rob is kinda like a zombie right?! I mean, if he didn’t take the potion, then his skin would rot, but he would still be alive… walking dead! I love it. 44 bodies cut to pieces by mirrors out of 47.

Saturday, January 17, 2009

The Stepbrother or “The 50s are Creepy”

This is another New! Fear Street Super Chiller, the first of a series of four. This was published in 1998, so getting close to the end of Fear Street publications. As with the last one I blogged (Camp Out, back in July), it was disappointingly like any of the other Fear Streets – nothing too overwhelmingly scary. This does have a lot in common with the Point Horror I last blogged, Beach House, in that there are a million characters, two different time periods, and a lot of confusion. So bear with this.

The cover is more modern, and creepier than the original Fear Street covers, but I miss the campiness of the early 90s pictures of people looking alternatively frightened or evil. Oh well, I guess we have to move with the times. This book also promises a bonus letter: Dark Secrets from R. L. Stine! More on that later.

Our main character is Sondra, a typical Shadyside teenager in a broken home. Her life has gotten a little more complicated as her new stepfather and stepbrother, Eric, moved in with her and her mom a week ago. As she’s trying to adjust to the new living situation, she hangs out in her room with her friends Beth, Jess and Mallory. I feel like they should be having a Babysitter’s Club meeting, but instead Mallory brings out a book on hypnotism and wants to hypnotize one of them. I for one think that teenage girls trying to hypnotize each other is WAY more age appropriate then running a child-care call centre, but that’s just me. Anyways, Sondra is used to Mallory’s obsession with occulty or psycho-babbly type things, and lets her hypnotize her. Surprisingly for everyone, including Mallory, it works. Sondra gets the sense she’s trapped in a burning mechanic’s garage (which is super specific for a feeling) and starts screaming: Make her stop! until her friends shake her awake. Somewhat disturbing, I’d say. That’s why I stopped going near the Ouija board, it would always freak me out.

Zach is Sondra’s boyfriend, and he’s dreamy. That evening he comes over for dinner with Sondra’s new extended family. She goes on a bit about how Eric and Zach look alike – yikes. One thing your family should never remind you of is the person you engage in canoodling with. Never mind there’s no biological link, it’s icky. I never got over Clueless and the step-siblings hook up. Ruined the movie for me. Anyways, Zach and Eric don’t seem to get along that well, and Zach leaves probs because of him. Meanwhile, Eric is being super friendly with Sondra, so she doesn’t get the problem Zach has with him.

Sondra has a nightmare that night, similar to her hypnosis-induced vision of the fire, and Eric is there in her room to comfort her. I think Zach is worried about being replaced, but no worries, that’s as far as the incest goes in this. The next day Sondra introduces Eric around at school, and he immediately begins flirting with Mallory hardcore. Mallory’s into it, peering sexily over her glasses at him. (Note: peering over your glasses is sexy to no one.) Sondra isn’t worried over the new flirtation, as she has new worries of her own. She goes to take a book from the Shadyside library, and signs it out as Penny Hansen, in different handwriting then her own. The librarian is super weirded out by her, which is an appropriate reaction. Even more disturbing, someone calls Sondra Penny, and shoves her down a flight of stairs at school.

Luckily, Eric is right there and rescues her from her fall. Nice guy, but Sondra is now suspicious that he was around at the time of her attack. Later that day, Sondra goes to make a snack in the kitchen, and Eric is there hanging with Mallory. They seem to be quite the tight little pair, despite the fact that Eric think hypnotism is bs. Anyways, Eric suggests Sondra makes some coffee, but when she goes to plug in the coffee maker, the cord is frayed and it catches fire. Sondra has an inappropriately intense reaction to the fire, and once again Eric rescues her. Suspicions increase all around.

Mallory convinces Sondra to see a real hypnotist on Fear Street. The hypnotist thinks these visions Sondra has been getting are ‘leak-throughs’ from a past life. As she’s hypnotized, Sondra becomes Penny, a 17 year old in Shadyside in 1958. Penny is dating Paul, and has a new guy friend Gary. She seems to be somewhat frightened of Gary.

Coming out of the trance, Sondra is starting to believe this past life thing, as it leaks more and more into her day to day life. She’s driving along the interstate one day, and gets a craving for burgers. She tries to drive to the Burger Hop, only to be told by an old man it shut down in 1960. Weird, Sondra knew exactly where it was and how to get to it. She also starts singing a song from the 50s she doesn’t know. That reminds me of an episode of Buffy, where Buffy is reliving moments of a ghost’s life from the 50s, and they keep playing the song “Only Have Eyes For You.” I always thought it was creepy, and since then 50s love songs usually creep me out.

Back to the book, Sondra gets into another accident. Her garage door somehow comes down onto her car, narrowly missing her and crushing her hood. Does anyone have an uber powerful garage door like that? I don’t think my garage door has crushing power. Zach, her boyfriend, is convinced Eric is behind the crushing. And there could be something to it. Mallory hypnotizes Eric at a party, and he has a seizure and tells everyone that Penny is going to die again. Good lord, Mallory, stop effing hypnotizing people. Clearly it isn’t working out well!

Sondra is freaked out by the death wishes and gets Zach to take her home. But not before Eric tries to run him down on the road, claiming faulty brakes. Sondra and Zach think this is unlikely, and begin to investigate the stepbrother. Sondra snoops in his room and finds that everything he owns is from the 50s. Creepy! Zach starts to get caught up in the hypnotics stuff, and has a dream that he’s burning, with that same creepy 50s song playing. He sees Penny and they try to jump out a window together. Apparently, Zach died in the fire with Penny, and they both think someone else was there at the time.

The investigation continues. Sondra tries to find an article of two teens killed in a fire in 1958. In Shadyside? Pfft. Teens die every weekend, it would hardly make the news. Sondra goes back to the old man on the side of the road who told her the Burger Hop was closed. Apparently, he just hangs out on the side of the road, because he’s there again. As luck would have it, he does remember a fire in a mechanic’s garage that killed two teens in 1958. Also, a boy committed suicide shortly after, overcome with guilt over killing the two. Apparently, he was also in love with Penny, and couldn’t live with her being with another man. Hmm, the pieces are all coming together.

On Sondra’s 17th birthday, she, like Penny, seems to have two men in her life. Eric gives her a necklace, which is a little romantic for a brotherly gift. Zach gets her all dressed up and takes her to a mechanic’s garage, where he’s prepared a candlelit dinner. He turns on the old 50s song they’ve both been thinking about. A little insensitive, I’d say, since Sondra believes they were killed 40 years ago exactly like this in a past life. She freaks.

Eric randomly shows up at the garage, saying he did find an article about the deaths 40 years before. It was Paul, Penny’s boyfriend, who set the fire. Eric thinks Zach is trying to kill Sondra, and they fight. Keeping up yet? Sondra goes back in time, somehow, and becomes Penny again. Penny was having dinner with Gary, the other man. Paul, her ex-boyfriend, finds out about this and kills them. Back in the future, Sondra blames Zach/Paul for her most recent death, as he denies it. Eric gets the upper hand and they tie up Zach.

Just then, Mallory jumps in, claiming that SHE was Paul all along, meaning Zach was in fact Gary. Penny/Sondra and Gary/Zach were soul mates who kept finding each other every life. Paul/Mallory wants revenge on them, and wants to kill them, this time WITHOUT guilt and subsequent suicide. In an attempt to do this, she sets the garage on fire, as well as herself. As arsons go, poor form. Sondra struggles to untie Zach. As she does, they become Penny and Gary, and run through the flames to safety. Eric gets away, and Mallory/Paul die in the fire. All is as it should be.

I guess The Stepbrother was okay. Rectifying past lives is a good idea, and there was some actual suspense in this book. I hadn’t even guessed that Mallory was in fact an evil ex-boyfriend from the past, so points for surprises. Despite all that, I spent too much time trying to keep track of who was who and what time period they were from. It just didn’t do it for me, I crave my original Fear Street series. The give the Stepbrother 8 hypnotists out of 12.

As for R. L.’s dark secrets, they were a bit of a let down. When I think dark secrets, I think “I killed a man” or some other such thing. Instead, some of his shocking confessions include: he can’t dance, scary movies make him laugh, and he has a poor memory. Um, okay. Hardly the dark world of an evil horror book mastermind. Mainly he’s pushing the Seniors series, which I have never read. A. M. and I want to do the series in order, as it is a cute concept and should be followed through, but we’re still working on acquiring the series. Hopefully we’ll get to that sometime soon!

Monday, January 12, 2009

Beach House, or “Let’s Do The Time Warp Again”

Since once again I am running short on Fear Street books, I thought I’d take a look at something that predates the series –Beach House, a Point Horror novel. This book was ... trippy, like acid on the beach. It takes place in two different times, the first being 1956, and the second being “present” summer, so I guess that could mean today, but it was published in 1992, so you do the math. I’ll just break it down the way it is, and hope it’s not too confusing. There are so many f’ing characters in this, I thought I’d help you out with a little character list as well.

Maria – dating two men, therefore doomed to die
Amy – dating Ronnie, looks like a mouse
Ronnie – dating Amy
Stuart – douchey guy with a T-bird
Buddy – mysterious guy with nudity, rage issues
Cops from the 50s – inept

Ashley – dating Ross, and Brad, looks like a model
Ross – dating Ashley, wishes he was having angry sex
Brad – rich guy with mansion, tennis courts, etc.
Lucy – dating a townie
Kip – townie
Denny – no apparent role in plot
Mary – elderly intense housekeeper
Voice on phone – mysterious, claims to be dead


Maria and Amy, best friends, are on the beach, listening to some kickin’ rock and roll records. Shhbop ... They are talking about their best beaus. Amy, who looks like a mouse, is going steady with Ronnie. Maria is single, but things are looking up for her since she’s already met two cute guys in the seaside resort town of Dunehampton (the desert cousin of the Hamptons?) Stuart is friends with Ronnie, so is always around. But there’s something about shy, mysterious Buddy that makes her think twice ... Then there’s the fact that he lives in the creepy old beach house built over the ocean that always looks empty.

The other guys think Buddy is “square,” so they de-pants him and leave him in the ocean, because boys have always been that mature. Hilarity ensues, unless you’re Buddy, who has severe rage issues. Maria goes off with the other kids, and ditches Buddy that night to “take a ride” with Stuart in his “Thunderbird.” That apparently pushes Buddy over the edge. The next day Maria runs into him, and awkwardly tries to explain where she was the night before, but he’ll have none of it. He makes her go for a swim with him in the ocean, and takes her far away from the shore until she can’t see it anymore. Now, I’m just saying, but if some random guy was like: we should swim into the middle of the ocean right now, I might not follow. But what can you do? Maria is a follower. Oh, ya, and the ocean is shark-infested (anyone getting a Sunburn flashback?)

Anyone could guess what happens next. Maria has a panic attack, and Buddy starts to stab her enough to make her bleed, but not to kill her. He leaves when the sharks start arriving. Death by shark is fairly creative, I’ll give Buddy that, but to do so over a little public nudity? Overreaction, Buddy. As the police investigate Maria’s disappearance/death by shark, everyone realizes that no one actually knows anything about Buddy. The kids tag along on the police investigation to the beach house, because that’s how things are done back in the 50s. They’ve read their Hardy Boys and Nancy Drews, and know teenagers are more likely to solve murders than anyone. And now ... to the future.

“Present” Summer

Ashley and Ross are the it couple on Dunehampton beach. Ashley is a beautiful, could be a model, flirt, and Ross is super jealous. I imagine they do a lot of breaking up/making up. Lucy is their single friend, but at the moment she’s dating a townie named Kip. Ashley thinks Kip is icky, and I’m pretty sure it’s entirely a townie thing, as he doesn’t seem so bad. There’s also some big beefy guy who has a crush on Ashley, Denny. He starts the summer by grabbing Ashley and throwing her in the ocean. And then he pulls her hair or something. Maturity reigns in Dunehamptom, as it seems to be an overgrown sandbox. No, actually he asks her out, and she tells him not in a million years.

A man of much more interest for her shows up – Brad, a delightfully rich guy with a mansion. He seems nice, or so Ashley thinks. Ross predictably gets jealous and has some rage issues. Ashley is all afraid of him, but is also happy that he cares enough to be abusive. So, abusive boyfriends aren’t just a Fear Street thing? They make up by sneaking into the old 50’s style beach house to make out, but are interrupted by Lucy and Kip. Kip goes into a gory story about a group of teenagers that were murdered around the beach house. Ashley feels that murdered people do not put her in the right mood, so her and Ross leave. The next morning she gets the news that Lucy and Kip didn’t come home from the night before, and haven’t been seen since the beach house.


Meanwhile, the investigation is still going on re: Maria. Buddy hasn’t been seen for days, until Amy and Ronnie see him in the beach house, covered in blood. He’s like: That’s so weird! I cut myself with a knife! Making a sandwich! And I told Maria not to go swimming that day by herself. Suspicions arise, though, when Amy and Ronnie soon after find Stuart’s body, his head smashed in by a log.

Buddy, meanwhile, is thinking his psycho little thoughts, largely that it’s super exciting that murder is so easy! In Dunehampton, it seems to be. He goes to change his shirt, then is questioned by the police. Amy (just like Nancy Drew) remembers that 5 minutes ago, Buddy had blood on his shirt. And then (just like Nancy Drew) she decides to lie out on the beach and try to forget about the deaths of her two friends, and just enjoy her summer.

A storm blows up, so Amy thinks it’s about time to leave her rest and relaxation, when she sees Buddy running towards her. She tries to flee, but goes nowhere and he tackles her. She assumes he’s just being playful. Buddy confesses he’s been sad since Maria disappears, and wants to talk about it with someone – he asks Amy to go to the beach house with him. She is nervous ...

“Present” Summer

Okay, Lucy and Kip are still missing. I think the official line is that they ran away together, no biggie. Ashley and Ross are arguing over Brad, because Ross thinks Ashley wants to be with Brad. He’s right, but that appears to be beside the point. In his anger, he trips over a crab (a constant hazard!), and then pulls Ashley down to kiss her angrily, as it starts to storm around them. And ... no, they don’t have angry sex in the rain, although that’s very much what this story is missing. They run to the nearest shelter, which happens to be ... the beach house. While there, Ashley finds Lucy’s scarf in an overly large closet. She does nothing about it.

Next day, they go to Brad’s to play a little doubles tennis on his private court. He also has an elderly housekeeper, Mary, who seems just a little too intense. Brad is all over Ashley, and Ross stomps off in a huff. Ashley is through with him, with little dollar signs in her eyes, and tells him to get away from her at the beach. Soon after, she gets a call from a mysterious person, whose voice she can’t quite recognize. The voice tell her to stay away from Brad. The logical assumption is that Ross is calling, but the voice explains to Ashley that it (the voice) is actually dead.

Ashley ignores warnings and ex-boyfriends to be with Brad and his money. She finds him to be shy and serious, and maybe a little boring, until he starts to kiss her needily. Well, that will do it for any girl in a horror book, right? They go to the beach house together.


Amy goes to the beach house with Buddy. Once in, though, he gets pretty over the top menacing, saying no one lives in the beach house, they all die. He confesses to killing Maria, Stuart, and Ronnie as well, and was going to kill her, because they hurt his feelings. Like I said, an overreactor. Amy plays the good little blond-in-horror part, and flees. Buddy comes after her with a shovel, and makes contact. When Amy comes to, she’s tied up in the ocean under the beach house, waist deep. And the tide is coming in ...

“Present” Summer

Ashley, as a modern girl, doesn’t actually really want to go the beach house with Brad, due to the bad vibes she gets from it. They sit on the steps and he goes into some really long boring explanation about how everyone in his family had at some point been an explorer, so he’s an explorer too, and he found something in the beach house. He starts kissing her needily again, to the point that he’s assaulting her. Then he forces her into the overly large closet in the beach house.

Ashley is freaking out, as this is all prime serial killer behaviour, but it’s going to get so much weirder. The closet seems to go on forever, it’s actually a tunnel. Someone is coming along from the other side, carrying a kerosene lamp – it’s Mary, the elderly intense housekeeper. Mary rips off her clothes, revealing an (elderly) body covered in scars from a shark attack, and calls Brad Buddy. That’s right – Mary is actually Maria. The big secret of the beach house is that ... there is a tunnel in it that goes back in time to 1956! Brad (aka Buddy) discovered this in the “present” day, and went back in time to murder a bunch of people. Apparently it’s super easy to walk back in time (obvs), but much harder to go forwards. The implication is that Lucy and Kip walked back to 1956, and are now stuck there forever.

Maria finally figured out how to come through, but in the process she aged 30 years. (Note: I think this would have been much cooler if she didn’t figure out how to come through, but rather spent 30 some years stewing about this, waiting for the right time and place to get revenge on Buddy. But that’s just me.) Maria wants to force Brad back to the 50s, to face the consequences of what he did.

She tries to do this by setting him on fire, which I’m quite sure will not have the intended effects. Ashley manages to get away and run the right way, out of the beach house and into Ross’ loving arms. The beach house is destroyed by the fire, along with Maria and Buddy/Brad. Ashley and Ross drive off into the sunset together.

Now while I love (LOVE) the total trippiness of this entire concept, my concerns lie with Lucy and Kip. What happens to them, stuck back in 1956? Are they doomed to a life of Elvis and sock hops? Do they purchase shares in IBM and live the good life? Does Lucy ever get over the shame of ending up with a townie? I want to know their story. For the time warping story alone, I have to give this book 17 out of 18 tunnels of time.

Friday, January 9, 2009

Shameless Self Promotion!

Alright Fear Street fans! We have officially expanded to Facebook! What does this mean for you? Now you can not only comment ON our blog but on our webpage ABOUT our blog! Just hit the link in the hideous white box on the lower right hand column to become one of our fans. Don’t be shy! Let’s spread the word of R.L. throughout the lands!

Gekommen zu uns!

P.S. I forgot to mention the actual reason to join... it will let you know via Facebook when we add new posts. So there is a reason!

Thursday, January 8, 2009

Fear Park: The First Scream or "Don't Give Teenagers Hatchets"

While reading the first book in the mini-series “Fear Park” I came to realize I remembered this book to a frightening degree. Frightening in the sense that it’s incredibly gory and scary (frightening, if you will) and in the sense that I could not believe how many details I remembered. I practically knew the story off by heart, and I can’t have read it in at least 10 years. So apparently, this book made a big, creepy impact on me.

The cover: I’m a tad disappointed that the cover artist chose to depict the “modern” Fear Street dwellers, rather than the 1935 characters that the book actually focuses on. I assume the girl is Deirdre Bradley, who doesn’t actually appear in the book until 113 pages in. The strapping denim clad man is her boyfriend Paul (who she is cheating on! That can’t end well) Anyways, while Deirdre and Paul DO ride the Ferris wheel, Deirdre isn’t terrified like she’s depicted. But I feel that’s a being a bit nitpicky. So, well done cover artists for not completely fucking it up!


The book starts in the year 1935 where we meet fiery redhead Meghan and her complete asshole boyfriend Richard. Meghan’s lockermate happens to be a member of our favorite family: Robin Fear! Things to know about Robin: he’s pale, with lank dark hair, hangs out by himself, hates sports and anything recreational, never smiles… an Meghan has a big crush on him. What, is he Professor Snape? (FYI: This never happens in real high school. Even if the fiery redhead had a crush on the misanthropist, there is no effing way she would admit it. Did R.L. even go to high school?) We learn pretty quick that the Fear household is a wee bit different than the rest of Shadyside folk: Robin comes home to see his father floating in the air, surrounded by purple smoke. Robin thinks about how his mother died a long time ago, and wonders if he’d be well adjusted if she was alive. Answer: No.

Four of Shadyside’s leading men come to the Fear’s household to visit Robin’s dad, Nicholas (He has safely landed by now). One of the men is Richard’s dad, Mr. Bradley. They ask Nicholas to use some of his huge Fear land so they can build an amusement park. Nicholas says no. Which, to be fair, if someone asked me to donate acres of my land to build an amusement park? My answer would totally be no. Doesn’t that seem like the dumbest idea? They seem to think the Park will pull Shadyside out of the Depression. Anyways, the men don’t like that Nicholas Fear said no, and vow to get the city council to take the land away! Wait, what? Do city councils have that kind of power? I feel like they shouldn’t.

Robin runs into Meghan in the Fear Woods. There’s lots of mooning over each other, and wondering whether the other person likes them. They are ultimately interrupted by Richard while Robin is attempted to get something out of Meghan’s eye. O noes! Richard doesn’t actually beat Robin up but yells a lot until Meghan intervenes. While Robin is leaving, Richard actually trips him and then laughs when he falls in the mud. Real winner there, Meghan.

Robin goes home and finds his father dead on the floor. Just kidding, he’s not dead, he had just left his body for a little while. What? Robin should stop walking in on his father. It apparently never ends well. Nicholas asks Robin if he saw his mother. Yikes! That’s a little … delusional. Just then there’s a cough at the door and Robin spins around to see… his mother! Floating into the room, surrounded by purple smoke. The ghost of his mother … uses the door? Interesting. Nicholas is overjoyed, saying he’s being trying so long to bring her back! Robin is a little pumped too… until they see her face. Which is a rotten skeleton. Traumatic! Robin starts to scream.

And wakes up screaming two days later! He can’t remember what made him scream, but his father tells him it was a nightmare. That lasted two days? Robin inexplicately buys this explanation. It’s never explained by I really want to know how Nicholas got rid of the Ghost-of-Wife-Past. Did he just shoe her out the door?

We cut to Richard’s dad, Ken, who is surveying the Fear Woods with a man and a boy. The boy is pounding stakes into the ground when he accidentally drives a stake into his own foot. That’s a mistake that probably doesn’t happen that often. The other man takes to boy to the hospital, leaving Ken alone to finish up surveying. Which leads to him being eaten alive by invisible bugs. Awesome! He’s actually found by Richard and Meghan, who met up in their secret spot in the woods. When they walk to leave the woods, they run into a skeleton, with its bones picked clean… expect for the head. The head is still fleshy and easily recognizable to Richard. Which kinda sucks for him.

Robin puts two and two together and actually asks his dad whether or not he killed Mr. Bradley. Nicholas admits nothing, but Robin is still super creeped out by his behavior and the coincidence. Robin goes for a walk (is that all these kids do?) and runs into Meghan again. They chat for a while (Robin apparently has ZERO interests. Awesome?) and suddenly, Meghan leans over and kisses him. And they are predictably caught by Richard. Richard proceeds to beat the crap out of Robin while Robin lies down and takes it. Literally! Meghan also does nothing. When the asskicking is over, Robin realizes how weak he just looked in front of Meghan, so he stands up and screams “Noooo!” while fleeing the scene. Hmm… that’s probably not helping your image, Robin.

Richard calls Meghan to apologize for beating up Robin. He seems pretty unconcerned that Meghan was kissing another boy though. He begs Meghan not to leave him, and she feels bad for him because his dad just died. Richard has good news for Meghan though: The town council decided to go ahead with the Park and they’re going to hire all the high school students to chop up the tree stumps. Meghan is overjoyed at the mere thought of a dollar a day of her own! (Gawd, the thirties must have sucked) Later that week, Robin meets up with Meghan and tells her that he’s going to join the tree stump crew to screw over his father!

The first day of work. Meghan wears pants and is happy! Robin shows up and they are both happy! They swing hatchets at the same stump! Richard is not happy. He rushes towards Robin’s back, hatchet raised and slices his head off! Just kidding, Robin dodged it (from the back?) Richard keeps swinging at Robin until some other kids intervene. So Richard slams his hatchet into one of their chests. Yikes.

This is the super disturbing scene that always stayed with me. The teenagers suddenly turn on each other and start hacking away. Arms, legs, heads and torsos fall to the forest floor and cover it with blood. The forest is also filled with a purple fog. For some "weird" reason, no one attacks Robin and Meghan. Robin tells Meghan to run for it, and flees towards his house. He needs to stop fleeing all the time. He rushes home and … tells his father that the spell went perfectly! Robin is his father’s protégée!

This Year (Pssst: 1996)

Deirdre Bradley’s father is finally opening up Fear Park. Which means that the Bradley family failed to open an amusement park for SIXTY years. Seriously guys, the Depression is over. Give it up. Deirdre is hanging out with her boyfriend Paul, who is so loyal he decided to give up an awesome job out of town to work at Fear Park so he could be near her. So Deirdre feels a little bit guilty about cheating on him. After Deirdre ditches Paul, she meets up with her male-mistress. Rob. That’s his name. Rob. They make out, and then she goes to catch the Hatchet Reenactment. Which is exactly what you think it is. Insensitive?

Paul is in the show, which consists of teenagers hacking at each other with rubber blades. After the show, everyone gets up and takes a bow. Except for Paul, who remains limp over a tree stump. Deirdre freaks out and rushes to his aid. When she gets there he moans... “Cramp in my side”… What?! He had a CRAMP? That’s why he lay completely still, with eyes closed, onstage, while everyone was taking bows? That’s the least plausible event of this entire book. Including Robin believing his dad’s crap.

The next day, Deidre goes to meet Paul at the Ferris Wheel, which he is running for the summer. As she walks up, she notices that the ferris wheel isn’t running very smoothly. It seems to be hitting something… which turns out to be Paul’s headless body! His head is resting nearby. So the ferris wheel decapitated him and then continued to hit the body? I’m not sure how that would work…. Anyways, Paul is dead, so are Deirdre’s boy problems over? Considering that Rob rushes up to Paul’s dead body and takes Deirdre into his arms I would say yes. Heartless bitch.

The next week, we find out that the police are almost done their investigation and the park can open soon. They’re aren’t many people to work there though, as most of the workers quit since the Park is obviously cursed. Deirdre introduces her father to her friend Rob (or “penis partner” as I see it) and he volunteers to work at the park. He introduces himself as RobIN FEAR (gasp!) and says that he’s been waiting a long time for this job! Bwahaha!

And that’s the end of the first Fear Park book. This book was super gory. And also kinda ridiculous. But the gore/ridiculous ration was pretty good so therefore The First Scream = Awesome. I give it 13 decapitations out of 13! (There were a lot of decapitations hey?) Hope you all are looking forward to Fear Park: The Loudest Scream. Who am I kidding? I know you are :)

Monday, January 5, 2009

The Thrill Club, or “Revenge of the Ghostwriter”

Alright, Shadyside fans, we’re up and back to blogging. My post-Christmas indulgence has gone on far too long, so I really need to get to work about now. I thought I’d start the new year with a basic Fear Street, The Thrill Club.

First things first. Omg, look at their outfits. The blonde is clearly wearing her grandmother’s patchwork quilt. And a neon checkered vest paired with a purple … bowler hat? This has to be the best outfit ever. Also, the tagline is absolutely classic: “They’re dying to join.” I bet a club that actually had the motto: Dying to join? would do fabulous. Teens love to pretend they’re dangerous.

And the six crazy kids in this club are no different. Because is there anything MORE like pretending to be dangerous than sitting around on weekday nights and telling ghost stories to each other? That’s not a thrill club, that’s a Girl Guide’s meeting! (Or, for all you Canadians out there, Brownies! I was totally a Brownie). Anyways, this book actually starts with one of the girls, Shandel, walking down Fear Street alone on a chilly night, after fighting with her friend. She’s freaking out, hears someone behind her, and before you know it, her throat has been slit. Chills!

Actually, this is a story that Talia wrote, as the Thrill Club’s resident horror writer. Just like R. L.! But wait, it gets better. Talia hasn’t been up to writing her famous horror stories lately, so she got her boyfriend Seth to write them. Just like R. L.! Yes, this is a Fear Street book about a ghostwriter. Could it get any better?

Shandel thinks it could, because she’s kinda disturbed that her friend slit her literary throat. And since being the bestest horror writer out there is SUPER important to Talia, she can’t tell Shandel it’s actually her boyfriend who fictionally offed her. Everyone gets into a totally bitchy fight. Nessa, the one who is completely unimportant to the story thinks it’s funny, while Maura, the chubby redhead, sides with Shandel. Because Maura HATES Talia because Talia stole Seth from her. Talia (in her head) is like, yah, well look at me, you chubby red head (because Talia is beautiful). So, just a heads up, this book is big on the teen drama. Aka, awesome! Also, Maura’s boyfriend Rudy sides with Talia because he is not-so-secretly in love with her.

Talia starts to feel a little too picked on by the group, so she responds by stabbing Shandel in the chest. Panic ensues. Turns out it was a fake collapsible knife, but for reals, I feel like Talia has some issues. And if I were Shandel, I’d watch my back.

Trouble in paradise with the new couple Talia and Seth. She stole him from Maura 3 months ago, which is years in high school land, and is sad and bored because he’s been all distant. She worries that she’s tiring of him already. Le sigh. Then, later, she reveals his dad died, like, a month ago, so why doesn’t he get over it already? In Shadyside-land, a death of a loved one is gotten over in about 2 weeks, if not before hand, so we assume Seth took this sudden death really hard. She also reveals Seth found his father’s body, listening to some weird chanting tape. His dad was an anthropologist, studying tribes in New Guinea. Oh, man, I hope there’s a zombie in this! Seth plays the tape for Talia, and he starts to go into a weird trance.

That’s enough for Talia, who’s had enough of her boring depressed boyfriend for one night. She decides that she’s done with Seth for good, and starts avoiding him. Then she gets in trouble with her math teacher, who accuses her of cheating. Seth has been doing all her homework for her, but she can’t understand why someone would tell her math teacher this. Besides the fact that they met you, you bitch. I can’t understand why a high school math teacher would care, but perhaps my math teachers were a little more jaded than those at Shadyside High.

At the next Thrill Club meeting, pretty much everyone is late. Talia stumbles in, feeling weird and groggy, with bloodstains on her sweatshirt. Seth comes in not long after her. My first thought would be to ask Talia whether she’d consumed any unattended drinks given to her by Seth, but then everyone discovers that Shandel is missing. They all pile into the car to look for her, and find her in the Fear Street cemetery with her throat slit – just like in Talia/Seth’s story. Things do not look good for our bratty heroine. Seth drives her home and starts making out with her, and then basically kicks her out of the car. Ooh, I so do not like this story line!

Talia’s feeling of weirdness continues on that night, especially after she finds a blood covered knife in her dresser. Like the blood on her sweatshirt. She has no recollection of where she had been or what she had done before the meeting, but begins to think it may have been something nefarious.

The club members go to Shandel’s funeral, which I believe may be one of the first funerals I’ve heard of in Shadyside. I thought they were just going to do, like, mass memorials every Tuesday or something, but apparently Shandel gets her own funeral. They must have full clothing stores for “Fashionable Funeral Wear” everywhere around there. Talia during this time totally changes her mind about Seth, and gets all clingy and needy, as he becomes more distant and not into her. He breaks a date, so Talia decides to write a horror story to make herself feel better. Because horror is known for giving warm fuzzies to people who may have just killed their friend. She spaces out in front of the computer, and only comes back to herself when two detectives show up at her door. They say Shandel’s mom just got a call from Talia, confessing to Shandel’s murder. That’s just mean and fucked up, whether you did it or not, but Talia has no recollection of making this call.

However, some anonymous person (Maura) told the entire school about this, so everyone at Shadyside assumes she’s a murderer. Pfft, big deal, so are half the people there. Talia’s having a terrible time, until she runs into Rudy, and they go to the secret rendezvous of the open gym to kiss. Then they decide to stay with their respective people, so that’s that. Only … Talia sees Nessa and Seth openly flirting. When she confronts them in anger, Nessa’s pretty much – wtf? You called me last night to tell me you were dumping him and it was okay. Talia is pretty shocked because she’s done nothing of the sort, and doesn’t talk to Seth for a week. Then all of a sudden Seth wants to get back together. (See? Total teen drama!) He shows up at her door wearing a tribal mask and gives her a horror story for their next Thrill Club, which they have not disbanded since the untimely death of their other friend.

The story is of Rudy hanging a gag puppet in his basement (like he always does) but somehow entangling his own neck in the noose and offing himself. Fictional Rudy is not super clever. Talia thinks it’s in poor taste, after what happened last time, but Seth is convinced it will prove she has nothing to hide. Yah, right. Talia goes over to Rudy’s early to help him set up his gag puppet, and what do you know. The horror gang shows up to find Rudy, hanging from the ceiling, Talia cowering in the corner with rope burns all over her hands.

So Talia’s admitted to a mental institution, which is pretty fair, all considering. Even Talia is convinced she killed her friends, the evidence is that convincing. During her time there, Seth gets back together with Maura, which Talia finds out when she’s released into the care of her parents pending her trial.

Seth celebrates Talia being released from the loonie bin by giving her another story he wrote, about how she kept Shandel’s and Rudy’s heads as trophies, then attacks Seth with a hacksaw. Um, fairly insensitive, dude. He wants her to read it at a club meeting (which she is for some reason still invited to?), and Talia really needs to learn her lesson. He pretty much makes her read it, and while she intends to change it while reading, for some reason she can’t. This buzzing starts up in her head, then a voice, telling her to get the hacksaw and kill Maura. Sooo, Talia is for reals crazy, right? Nessa, Maura and Talia all struggle over the hacksaw, as Seth sits there listening to his Walkman. Talia all of a sudden comes back to herself, having no memories what just happened.

Seth then gets up, saying they all were going to die. He explains that his father didn’t die, but rather escaped. The weird New Guinea chanting is some magic transfer chant that allows you to leave your body and take over someone else’s. His father just didn’t return. Now, I understand abandonment issues, but Seth took this too far. He comes after Talia, hating on her because she was only using him and was going to leave him like his father. He had entered her body (metaphysically only of course) and made her kill Shandel and Rudy. Seth then starts chanting with the weird tape, and leaves his body and doesn’t come back.

After this all charges are dropped against Talia – because the excuse my boyfriend possessed my body with a New Guinea transfer chant and made me do it always go over well – and everyone is happy. But didn’t Seth, a total psycho murderer, just take over someone else’s body, and is walking around in their life now? That’s not cool, and I’d be watching my back.

So, my favourite thing about this book is that it is totally a horror story written by a ghostwriter, ABOUT a ghostwriter of horror stories who goes crazy and tries to destroy the writer’s life. R. L., should you be worried? I loved it, except the ending lacked plausibility. And you know how I look for plausibility in my Fear Streets. I give it 26 ghostwriting ghost stories out of 29.