Sunday, April 26, 2009

Fear Hall: The Conclusion, or “Blame My Imaginary Friend”

Fear Hall continues in this dramatic conclusion blog. To catch up, see Fear Hall: The Beginning blog.

We return to Hope and her imaginary friends, grouped together on the fire escape outside her room in Fear Hall. She is spotted by the cops and flees, vaulting over the fire escape (and apparently falling several stories). She runs to an abandoned sorority house and decides to set up camp there. Angel, Jasmine and Hope all pool their money – it’s trippy how Angel and Jasmine are there, but aren’t, and each is carrying separate cash (??) It’s also trippy that Eden is dead – like, it’s really possible to kill of imaginary friends.

Hope starts thinking about how much she hates the 3Ms, when Darryl appears in the doorway. He tells Hope he’ll take care of her – by taking care of the 3Ms. Hope grows a pair and tells her (potentially imaginary) abusive boyfriend to get out and leave her alone. He mutters threats, then kicks a cat that Hope just dubbed Lucky. Not so lucky, then. I think the cat is okay, but I still found that disturbing. Jasmine and Angel have disappeared, and Hope is left alone to her thoughts.

Which turn to her mother, who tortured her throughout childhood, locking her up and starving her for that horrible crime of being chubby. When Hope finally got a boyfriend in high school, Mark, her mother did everything in her power to keep them apart – including handcuffing Hope to herself whenever she planned to go out with Mark. It was around that time that Jasmine, Angel and Eden showed up, friends to make Hope happy, who were so close to her, like one person. And when Hope received a scholarship for college, she was able to leave mother dearest behind forever.

Ooh, fun, now we go to one of the 3Ms perspectives – Melanie’s. Melanie is the perfect one, Margie an opinionated bitch from Boston, and Mary is a sweet little girl from South. They discuss what happened with Hope a week ago, and how it was creepy she hadn’t been caught yet.

Darryl has been watching Mary for days, stalking her. He plans to get them back for getting him in trouble with Hope, by slaughtering them of course – that’s how Darryl functions. He follows Mary to her swim practice, then slips into the training room and pours six gallons of chlorine into the Jacuzzi, which Mary uses after practice, then slips into a hiding place.

Mary jumps into the whirlpool and starts shrieking, as her skin turns red and starts to blister and peel off. The coach comes into the room, and looks right at Darryl.

Hope is woken up by Darryl pounding on the door of the sorority house. She doesn’t want to let him in, but he barrels in anyways, telling her he killed Mary and knocked the coach over to get away. Hope freaks out and kicks him out again – or does she? Is Darryl really there? Hope finds a note then, on the floor, in a familiar handwriting: I’m coming for you, Hope. You can’t run away from me.

We go to Chris’ perspective. Who the fuck is Chris, you ask? Well, Chris is apparently the new boy in Fear Hall, moving into the lone boys’ wing after his apartment burned down. He’s pretty nonchalant about the apartment burning down, more nervous about meeting new people because he’s so shy. His new roommates Will and Matt are kinda nice (help him move) and kinda not (put red Jello in the showerhead and laugh as Chris shrieks like a girl). So Chris is undecided about them for the moment.

He attends a mixer at Fear Hall, but finds it a real downer as the only thing anyone can talk about is the death of Mary by chlorine overdose. Yikes, that would be a disturbing evening. So he goes to the coffee shop on campus and meets the girl of his dreams. She’s all sketchy and tells him to stay away from her, then tells him to meet her in two days in the coffee shop. Without giving a time – I hate it when people do that. How are you magically going to show up at the same time?

Hope runs home to tell Angel and Jasmine she just met the guy of her dreams. She’s been hanging around campus with the perfect disguise – she dyed her hair brown and calls herself Karen. This disguise reminds me of Party Summer – she probably walks with a limp too. At least she doesn’t have an eye patch.

Darryl follows Margie to her job at Marv’lous Dry Cleaners, where he’s been stalking her for awhile. He sneaks into the back, and when Margie comes to grab something, he knocks her out with a staple gun and shoves her into the steam press. He steam presses her body over and over, which has to be pretty gruesome, thinking the whole time how much he loves Hope.

Hope goes to the coffee shop, terrified Chris won’t be there. Magically, he is there at the same time as her, but he’s not too happy – he’s really freaked about the new murder on campus, ashe had met Margie at the Fear Hall mixer. He notices Hope has a line of bright red bruises, but it leads to a romantical hand-holding moment, and they start talking about everything and anything in life. Soulmates! Too bad Chris thinks her name is Karen, and that she’s sane. They kiss at the end of their date, and Hope is flying high when she gets home – only to crash when she finds Darryl there waiting for her.

Darryl tells her Chris will hurt her … like Mark did, when Hope was in high school. Hope went to Shadyside High (squee!) and was unpopular and fat, but was over the moon when Mark asked her out. They dated, and things were perfect until she received an unsigned anonymous note that Mark only went out with her because he lost a bet. That’s about when Darryl showed up, as Hope’s abusive knight in shining armour. Darryl ran over Mark, like, 7 times, so that could be perceived as romantic. Hope is worried Darryl is going to hurt Chris – unless she can control “him.”

Darryl has other plans, though. He is stalking Melanie now, the last of the 3Ms. He sneaks into Fear Hall and into her room – you think they’d up security since several students had recently been murdered, eh? He goes into Melanie’s room, ready to smother her, then notices the girl asleep in bed has long hair, not short like Mel’s. He pauses, confused, as another girl in the room wakes up and starts screaming. Did he go into the wrong room? This part confused me. Anyways, the girls are screaming for someone to stop HER – aha! So Darryl is another aspect of Hope’s multiple personalities. I find that disappointing, I had been hoping Darryl was real. Hope creating herself into her own boyfriend is really sad. And super disturbing that she created in herself a boyfriend who’s a monster – as if she believes she doesn’t deserve genuine love. Enough psycho-babble – Hope/Darryl escape Fear Hall yet again, and runs until everything fades.

Hope finds herself running across campus with no memory of the evening – where had she been? She’s freaking out because she’s lost time again. She rushes back to the sorority house to find the place trashed, a knife pinning a note to the wall: You cannot escape me. At this point, I kinda think the notes are being written by Hope's psychotic mother. Poor Hope, nothing’s working out for her. She goes for a walk, only to see Chris out on campus, talking with Melanie seriously. Uh-oh, looks like someone’s about to be outted as a psycho!

I’d be worried if I was Hope, but she’s crazy, so she goes to grab a coffee, then home again to find Chris leaving the abandoned sorority house. What was he doing there? When asked, Chris gets all bashful and tells Hope he just wanted to see her again. Really? No commentary that she lives in a boarded-up abandoned house? I’m impressed by Chris’ lack of judgment here. This moment doesn’t last long, because “Darryl” shows up and starts to strangle Chris.

Chris gets away from Darryl/Hope, and looks up all hurt and confused: “Why, Karen? I don’t understand!” is his general thought, before he flees. Hope is left alone, sobbing at the front door. She disheartenedly goes back into the house, to find another mysterious message in that familiar handwriting. There is no escape, Hope. No escape from yourself. And that’s when it clicks for her, why the handwriting is familiar – it’s her own.

Hope tries to figure out what’s going on. She discusses this with Jasmine and Angle, and they all get into a fight with Darryl, whom everyone agrees ruined everything. That would be a very interesting conversation to watch. Chris comes back and starts banging on the door. Hope slowly gets up and goes to him.

And is greeted by Chris, Melanie, and four police officers. Hope, Jasmine, Angel, and Darryl all fun for it, going upstairs to the bedroom, then running onto the balcony, over the decrepit railing. Chris turns his head just in time to see Hope land on hers. Hope finally comes together in one broken body.

Chris and Melanie head back to Fear Hall together, shaken by what they just saw. They find Hope’s note to herself: There is no escape, Hope.

Um, awesome! I loved this two-part book, there was just the right amount of gruesome deaths and multiple personalities to make it both fun, and super disturbing. I give this 5 personality aspects out of 5!


Anonymous said...

Whenever other characters appeared, I found myself thinking "I bet they're imaginary too." The three Ms? Two-thirds maginary. Chris and his room-mates? Two-thirds imaginary. It could still be true. I mean, if Darryl was imaginary, he could be killing imaginary people.

R.G. Quimby said...

Nice recap. This book sounds surprisingly creepy. I don't think I'll ever watch "United States of Tara" the same way ever again.

M.H Stine said...

wow just wow i love this....

L. K. Stine said...

I was totally thinking about "United States of Tara" while reading this!

Anonymous said...


frosty 69 said...

Man I love this book