Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Cheerleaders: The Evil Lives!, or “It Just Won't Die”

Ready? Okay!

Roll Call!
Amanda: Captain of Shadyside cheer squad
Janine: Kinda chunky
Keesha: tiny, funny
Natalie: stuck up bitch
Victoria: energetic, boyfriend-less

Brandon: funny guy, goes with Janine
Andrew: personality-less, goes with Keesha
Luke: stuck up dick, goes with Natalie
Dustin: overly intense, goes with Amanda
Judd: adorable, Amanda wishes she went with him

There’s a new cheer squad at Shadyside, presumably because time has actually passed, and Corky Corcoran has moved on to become a coed at a state college somewhere. (To get caught up on the entire Cheerleaders saga, see The First Evil, The Second Evil, The Third Evil, The New Evil, and The Awakening Evil). The cheer girls all conveniently have boyfriends on the basketball team. Or maybe not so conveniently – Brandon and Luke are rivals on the team, which makes Natalie and Janine hate each other. Amanda contemplates how HARD it is to be captain, while contemplating Judd’s form and thinks how she needs to switch things up boy-wise for the New Year.

After practice, Amanda goes to the new locker she was assigned. At the back she finds an old duffel bag. The tag on the duffel say “Corky Corcoran” – omg, this is totally her legacy. It is filled with an old Shadyside cheer uniform, not the new ones they wear in modern 1998 (think, pompoms and short striped skirts), along with a picture of some old cheerleaders. There is also a small wooden box as well, labelled: DO NOT OPEN. EVIL INSIDE.

Pfft. Like that’s going to stop anyone. My first reaction would be to immediately open it, saying “Evil? Cool!” Amanda waits at least until she’s sitting at The Corner, the new cool place to hang out in Shadyside. Victoria feels exactly like me and opens the box. If you were expecting evil mist (I was) you are going to be disappointed, because all that is in the box is an old letter and some papers. The letter is from Corky, explaining the Evil, using the word approximately 8 dozen times, and then says all contents of the box must be destroyed.

Just then Amanda’s boyfriend shows up, and she goes outside to break up with him. He takes it pretty well, actually, considering he’s a boy from Shadyside. When she comes back, her friends are gone – as is the evil box.

That night, Amanda gets a call from the Evil – but actually it’s just Keesha. Apparently the contents of the box include instructions to call up the Evil. Way to go, Corky. Why the hell you’d leave that hanging around? Instead of slapping a warning label on it, why didn’t you just burn it yourself? Irresponsible idiot. The girls decide to raise the Evil for shits and giggles.

Once Amanda talks to her older sister, though, she has her doubts. Older sister went to school with Corky, and remembers all the gruesome deaths that surrounded her. Although, as a Shadyside High student, how could you keep track of them all? Anyways, there def was SOMETHING up with Corky Corcoran, and her shit should not be disturbed.

Amanda goes to the cheer meeting determined to destroy the box. She is accosted along the way by Dustin, who tells her he doesn’t agree with them breaking up. Ummm ... I am not an expert, but I’m not sure that’s how relationships work. I don’t think you need to come to a mutually satisfying ending, but Dustin is looking for some satisfaction. Amanda runs away from her creepy ex.

She gets to the cheer meeting, to see candles everywhere, everything set up to invoke the spirit of evil. No wonder cheerleaders have such a bad reputation – they seem to embrace evil pretty easily. Amanda warns them all against it, but then agrees to do it. Sigh. Peer pressure raises its ugly head. Everyone lights candles and starts to chant.

At first nothing happens, then a bright flash of light, and all the lights go out. In walks Brandon and Judd, to everyone’s relief. Laughter all around about how they freaked themselves out, until Judd faints dead away. Oh, he’s fine. He’s just a bit of a fainter.

At the game on Friday night, cheerleaders are in top form. The only person who’s kind of off is Janine, because Luke was chosen over her boyfriend Brandon for a starting position. And by “off”, I mean crazy zombie-like, repeating Brandon will play over and over. Maybe something bad will happen? Like, Luke will go berserk, run into the bleachers, fall into them and have his scalp completely torn off. Because that’s exactly what happened.

Now, how the eff did that happen? How on earth can you crash into the bleachers with the force/torque to take off your scalp? Don’t think it’s possible. Luke tragically dies of his injuries. The girls start to question why this happened ... could it be Evil? Natalie is beside herself, and accuses Janine of being happy Luke’s gone – although Janine continues to be more “zombie” than “happy”. Amanda starts to wonder about Judd’s bizarre behaviour. He comes over to her place one night, and begins to kiss her passionately, but he just doesn’t feel RIGHT somehow. Lips weren’t hot and dry enough for you? Amanda assumes he’s possessed by evil.

Because this is Shadyside, they decide to hold a memorial basketball game a week after Luke’s death. Because it’s classy to do stuff like that. The cheer squad has a hell of a time getting the gloomy crowd into it, after the gruesome death that occurred in front of them just one week ago, but they manage to do it. Just as everyone’s getting into it, though, things take a turn for the worse. Natalie lands in the splits, then her arms fly up over her head and snap off at the elbows. Then her face splits apart as her skull cracks open. She, also, tragically dies of her injuries. Yikes, what a way to go. There’s no mention that this was a natural death, because come on. Everyone is convinced the Evil is back.

There is a general stampede out of the gymnasium, which I would be leading if I had witnessed that. Amanda notices that Janine continues to stare in a zombie-like trance, and wonders if she’s possessed. She gets pretty ancy when Janine shoves her into the locker room to confess ... that she’s terrified they really did raise some awful evil that’s killing them one by one. Sigh of relief from Amanda. They decide to visit Sarah Fear’s grave, to see if they can get any clues as to the Evil.

And clues they get when they go up to visit the Shadyside Cemetery AT NIGHT. First, they get a scare when Dustin stumbles on them because he’s an inept stalker. Then, they discover that Sarah Fear’s grave has been dug up, and the coffin lies empty. Dustin accidentally shoves Amanda into the coffin, because he is an extremely inept stalker.

Amanda is wrapped up in warm air, and is taken back in time, to the point when Sarah Fear and Jane Hardy decide to switch identities. Okay, yes this is weird, but it kind of reminds me of Harry Potter, and the Pensieve that lets him eavesdrop on things that happened in the past. Nobody can see or hear her. Jane would go in Sarah’s place to marry Thomas Fear in Shadyside, and Sarah would go in Jane’s place across the Atlantic to party in London. Things fade to black, and Amanda wakes up on board a sinking ship. Sarah Fear is on deck, shaking with fury that she is dying in Jane Hardy’s place. She’s so angry that as she dies her last thoughts are of bitter unfairness. She’s so angry that even as she dies, her anger lives on, causing the ocean to boil, and putrid green slime pour out of her corpse’s mouth. Presumably the angry green slime makes its way back to Shadyside.

Amanda comes to inside the coffin – it was all a dream. Or was it? She starts babbling about how this is actually Jane’s grave, since Sarah died in the Atlantic. Dustin gets creeped out and takes off. As Amanda points out, that’s one way to get rid of a stalker. She goes home after her creepy coffin experience, still wondering why it was dug up and empty.

Only to find a nasty surprise waiting for her at her house. A set of grave-muddy footprints walking right up to her window. Who, or what, is waiting for her? It’s the corpse of Sarah Fear! Oh, no, that was just a hallucination. But there is a muddy letter on her dresser:

You and your friends have awakened a great Evil. The Evil takes pleasure in killing. You are next, Amanda.


The Evil

Okay, I made that last part up. It was signed by Sarah Fear, but don’t you think mine would be better? Just as Amanda starts to freak out, Judd comes to her door. He is also remarkably covered in what looks like graveyard mud. He wants to talk about Natalie’s death, but Amanda is certain he’s possessed and tries to slam the door on his face. Of course he does what any Shadyside man would do, and grabs Amanda, forcing her into his car to talk. I’m convinced he’s not possessed, just a jackass. Amanda convinces him to drive her to Janine’s, but when they get there, Brandon and Janine are driving away. So they follow them … to Shadyside Cemetery. She runs towards them, standing at Sarah Fear’s grave, pleading for help from Judd, who is possessed. Unfortunately, Brandon’s eyes are all glowy and green, which is the first sign that someone is actually possessed. Oops, shoulda stayed with Judd. Brandon tries to kill them all, and an epic fight ensues. Judd is knocked out, but so is Brandon. Amanda tries to shove Brandon into the coffin, but has trouble shutting the lid.

Just then, a newcomer shows up. It is the corpse of Sarah Fear – or rather, Jane Hardy. She goes after Brandon/the Evil. Another epic fight ensues, between rotting corpse and Brandon/the Evil, that involves the flesh on Brandon’s face being stripped away. As they fight closer to the grave’s edge, Amanda dives at them, pushing them all into the grave.

She wakes up once more on the capsizing ship, except this time Brandon and Jane Hardy are there as well. Jane and Sarah struggle at the edge of the boat, Jane effectively yelling “Why won’t you die, bitch!” They both are tossed into the ocean, and Jane holds Sarah down as they both drown. Things fade to black.

Amanda wakes up in the hospital. Janine is there in the waiting room. She said her and Brandon were found unconscious in the cemetery, soaking wet. Janine has no memory of anything that happened – in fact, Luke and Natalie were fine. There was no Sarah Fear’s grave. So … did going back in time stop the Evil from ever existing? Does this mean that Corky and Bobbi Corcoran live long and happy lives? Well, we never really find out. Amanda goes to visit Brandon. He remembers everything, saying they saw them drown. Sarah and Jane can rest peacefully for ever after.

But Brandon and Amanda can’t rest … as their eyes glow green at each other. Sarah and Jane may have drowned, but the Evil didn’t …

That ending made my day. I was afraid it would be a lovey-dovey happily ever after thing, like nothing bad every happened to anyone (ahem, Christopher Pike and The Last Vampire, anyone?) But R. L. doesn’t play that way, the Evil will go on and on. This was an excellent final Super Chiller – gruesome deaths, random timetraveling flashbacks, and an ending that can leave everyone feeling kind of uneasy. 14 eternal evils out of 15.


Chad Walters said...

I think points should be taken off for using the exact same tagline as The Awakening Evil, and maybe even for using the picture of Sarah Fear on that cover as the ghost of Sarah Fear on this one.

A. M. Stine said...

Ack, I totally forgot I have the Last Vampire series on my bookshelf, ready to be read! Thanks for ruining the ending, L.K.

L. K. Stine said...

Like you didn't know.

M.H Stine said...

wow too many Cheerleader books but this or the new evil have 2be the best plz do Superstitious by R.L. Stine or The Girlfriend by R.L. Stine

Anonymous said...

The nutso ending lost points in my mind because I've now seen too many of them. They need to be screwier than that to earn my delight. Like Natalie's crazy death, for instance.

HelenB said...

So this was the last Evil book? I'm not sure I can survive without any more Evil. It's really fun to capitalise Evil all the time, BTW.

Anonymous said...

There should be another one to tie it all up. Now, years after, when people have forgotten.

Anonymous said...

Who cares about Chris Pike.

Unknown said...

R.l stine should do a sequel now where corky and her daughter move back to shadyside and corky's daughter has to battle the evil with the help of corky. Corky could have no memory of what happened in shadyside after she moved away.