Monday, September 13, 2021

Fear Street Part One: 1994 or "No One Was Ready for the Meat Grinder"

Okay so, unlike L.K., I didn't take any notes. I have a newborn and didn’t think I could completely devote myself to a Fear Street movie series like I could have before.  But I wrote this down the next day before I forgot.  Just like old times - writing a recap completely based on my terrible memory! It's actually pretty long, but mostly just ramblings.

First thing to know: I don’t like horror movies. I’m okay with slasher flicks (love a classic 90s Scream movie) but I haaaate paranormal/ghost movies. So after the first scene, which is very Scream-y, I said out loud “Oh good, it’s a slasher movie!”  Readers, I could not have been more wrong. What followed was the most bat-shit crazy movie full of horrifying paranormal stuff, with a huge amount of gore thrown in. It was truly an on-point homage to Fear Street: Insane and grotesque. I both loved and hated it. Let’s get to my vague memories!

  • Starts with a massacre in a 90s mall (did they use the same mall as Stranger Things? Google says no, but The Watchmen and Zombieland 2 were recently filmed there!). The killer wears a skull mask and stalks the few people left in the mall after closing. Brutal, gory killings which ends with the teen murderee, ripping off the killer's mask to reveal her friend, who is immediately shot in the head by a security guard or maybe a cop, I forgot. Could have used him earlier, either way.

  • Cut to: intros of our main characters, Deena, and Josh, siblings with absentee parents. Deena is mega upset about a recent breakup with Sam, and Josh is a computer geek. Got it

  • So the girl that was murdered at the mall last night (Heather) went to Deena’s school. Deena arrives at school and is greeted by the most CALLOUS high school students of all time. While there is a little locker shrine, these kids are TERRIBLE. There are a lot of jokes about murder and the curse of Sarah Fier, a witch from the 17th century. Which actually tracks really well from the Fear Street books. Those kids were always so strange about the murders happening in their town. 

  • We meet the other main characters, Kate and Simon, who are delightfully weird and sell drugs to other kids in the hopes of leaving town after graduation (if you have read enough Fear Street, I think you know that’s a big ol’ red flag)

  • They go to a football game in another town and Deena confronts Sam - who is a GIRL!? I do not believe an LGBQT character appeared in any of the original Fear Street books so this was a pleasant departure from canon! In any case, they get into an argument. On the bus ride back to their town, Sam and her ultra-jock boyfriend follow the Shadyside bus and throw stuff at it - sure.  Deena and her friend open the emergency exit and are holding a giant cooler of ice out the door… then Deena gets a nosebleed. This distracts her, and she throws the cooler on the windshield of the car, which then crashes. She’s horrified but like… what was her plan? Weren’t they going to throw it anyways?

  • Anyways, Sam gets out of the car all woozy with a *nosebleed*. She wipes her blood on the ground and gets these crazy flashes of red, and scenes of a witch. Very spooky! Deena comes to check on her and the police come, yada yada yada.

  • We decided that the police chief looks like an older BJ Novak, and is very useless, just like in the books! Love the continuity. 

  • The next day, Deena and Josh are home alone (sidenote: there are almost no parents in this movie, which was also very on-point for Fear Street. Let these teens run wild!). They see the skull guy from the massacre outside, but assume it’s Sam’s new boyfriend trying to scare them because he’s a dick.They decide to go to the hospital to confront Sam about her shitty boyfriend (his name doesn’t matter).

  • Sam is pissed to see Deena there and tells her that her shitty boyfriend has been there all night. Shitty BF arrives just then, and is almost immediately stabbed from behind! He dies, and the girls take off with the skull killer chasing after them. They see he’s murdered a bunch of people, and in a fight, Deena rips off his mask to see… it’s the same mass murdered from the night before! But now he’s dead with a bullethole in his forehead. So that’s weird.

  • My recollection gets fuzzy here. Deena and Sam go to the police station and Kate, Simon and Josh steal an ambulance at some point. Incompetent sheriff/police chief doesn’t believe the girls (and somehow they haven’t heard about the second massacre at the hospital?! There were so many people who should have/could have called it in. He killed like two nurses. What about literally any other doctors/nurses/patients? None of them called 911??).  Anyways, the girls leave, and Deena steals one of the cops’ guns.

  • Which was good because Simon wandered off from the ambulance (WHY?) and is attacked by a creepy teen girl singing a real creepy old-timey song. Deena shoots her in the back/head, but she just regenerates, and they realize they are in deep shit. 

  • Josh is obsessed with all the mass murders of Shadyside (who wouldn’t be?), and realizes that was the zombie of a mass murder from ‘63. He tells them all about the other mass murders in a truly horrifying cut scene (“Deformed child bashes heads in” I think was one of the newspaper headlines). Josh puts it together: Sarah Fier possesses people every so often to commit mass murder. Sam bled on Sarah Fier’s grave the night before with her nosebleed of doom, and this disturbed her. They decide to go back to her grave to… I'm not sure what.  

  • Anyways, when they get there, they discover her bones essentially lying underneath a small layer of fluff and attempt to rebury her and whisper “sorry”, haha. This shockingly doesn’t work and a NEW mass murderer, the Killer from Camp Nightwing (hello movie part 2!) charges out of the forest to kill them. Except he runs past Josh, and goes straight for Sam. 

  • Side note: I enjoyed how each of the killers had their own creepy stalk. Skull Killer has the quick walk of 90s slasher killers, 60s girl does that broken-down doll walk, and Camp Killer just fucking all out runs (which is the scariest, obviously).

  • They put it together that the killers are just hunting for Sam and her blood. They decide to set a trap which was admittedly pretty cool! For unknown reasons, they go to the school, where they smear Sam’s blood on the floor in trails to the bathroom. 

  • Before the killers find them, all of them need to clean Sam’s blood off themselves so they won’t be tracked too. This leads to a steamy sex scene between Sam and Deena, a weird kiss between Kate and Josh, and Simon pleasuring himself in a bathroom. Gotta respect Simon’s stamina. 

  • Once all three killers conveniently wait until the teens are done getting off and arrive, they follow the blood into a bathroom. Once in, the other kids light the bathroom on fire. It works! The three killers explode into goo. Which is weird? Doesn’t seem like how fire normally works. 

  • But it doesn’t actually work, and the three regenerate from goo. Kate and Simon decide that they’ve tried enough stuff and want to throw Sam out to the killers. Deena is obviously upset but Sam agrees. But then! They discover that there was a survivor from the Camp Nightwing. The only way for Sam to survive is for her to die...and be brought back. Since she’s already given up on surviving, she’s into it. 

  • They go to Simon’s workplace, a supermarket, and Simon and Kate put their drug dealing knowledge to good use! They give her a bunch of pills and the order to take them in, and set off to distract the killers while Deena helps Sam die then hopefully revives her with some epi-pens.  It’s...a plan.

  • Josh, Kate and Simon are chased around the store by the different killers. Kate is caught first by the Skull Killer who stabs her and then SHOVES HER HEAD THROUGH A MEAT GRINDER. Holy shit was I not prepared for that. I know that Fear Street murders are pretty gruesome (hand in garburator, face being ripped off, etc.) but we just read those! Very different to WATCH the horrificness. Ugh. Also, we all knew poor Kate was going to die. She was too callous about death, and also had “big plans”. Never dream big in a horror film, guys. 

  • Then Simon suddenly is axed in the head by Camp Killer. It was also gruesome and horrifying! I did expect him to die too, but not quite so back-to-back with Kate. 

  • Deena and Sam are disturbed by one of the killers and Sam doesn’t take all her death pills. (note: she’s attempting to swallow like 30 pills at a time DRY. Couldn’t stop thinking about that. There must be bottled water everywhere there).  Deena has a better plan, and shoves her lover’s head into a lobster tank until she drowns. Jesus.

  • It happened at a good time though, because Josh was about to be taken out by the Skull Killer and Camp Killer was running down the girls as well. The killers just disappear.

  • Josh and Deena thankfully revive Sam, and the incompetent police come. They blame Kate and Simon’s murders on their drug dealing ways, saying that tweakers killed them. Harsh.

  • Also, I forget when this happened, but incompetent police chief goes to someone’s broken down house and slips a note in their door: “It’s Happening Again”. So he’s this incompetent WITH background knowledge? Dude. 

  • Sam and Deena are all loved up the next day when Deena gets a call from the woman that survived the Camp Nightwing massacre. She basically says it will never end and Sam will always be hunted by Sarah Fier. Deena looks up to see that Sam is in front of her… and has brutally stabbed her with a broken drumstick! The girls fight and Deena wrassles her up in the telephone cord. Deena gets Josh to come help and they both look down on an obviously possessed Sam writhing to get free and kill them. Deena promises her that she’ll “get her back” and the movie ends. 

  • What! 

  • Since the other two movies go back in time, I’m assuming we get no more resolution than that. 

  • But, again, pretty on-point for Fear Street. R.L. LOVED a good ending jump-scare with zero resolution and a million questions to be answered. 

I don’t think I have too many questions but there were some things I loved. 

  • Loved Simon - excellent random boy character and I would watch a full movie just about him, although he had way too much chest hair for a teen boy (he’s 21 in real life, so I guess just a hairy guy).

  • Loved that the teens didn’t look too old - they looked pretty high-schooly.

  • Loved Deena’s nose - so perfect! 

  • Loved that the opening scene was in a bookstore, and they had all the Fear Street books on display, written by a “Robert Lawrence”. So 90s! 

  • So these movies were actually supposed to be released in theatres, one at a time, with a month between them. That would have been super cool, although I’m glad I didn’t have to go to a theatre and watch this - a bit embarrassing to be a grown woman peeking through my fingers in public. 

  • Legit don’t know if I will be able to watch the other two. I definitely stayed up an extra hour or so, just reading happy things, and waiting for my husband to be ready for bed so I didn’t have to go to sleep alone. Will L.K. be on her own for the rest? Probably not. But we’ll have to see if I have any nightmares!

Final Score: 21 dry pills swallowed out of 30

Tuesday, September 7, 2021

Fear Street: 1994, or "Normal Bitches Don't Bleed Black Blood"

Hey guys. It's been a long time. I thought we were done with Fear Street. But every time I think I'm out, R. L. Stine pulls me back in …

It wasn't that long ago that somebody shared with me a Fear Street movie on Netflix. My initial reaction was, of course, you're joking, but turns out, not only is there a Fear Street movie on Netflix, there are THREE Fear Street movies on Netflix.

Of course, A.M. and I immediately decided we needed to have a movie party. We didn't watch all three movies, don't be ridiculous; we're super old now and have kids and stuff. Just sitting down for the length of an entire film is a luxury I haven't taken in years, so that was amazing. Together with a friend, we watched Fear Street Part One: 1994.

As the music started, I had a horrible thought. The thing is, I am a wimp when it comes to horror movies. Hocus Pocus is about as scary as I like to go. What was I about to watch? "Wait, is this movie scary?" I was reminded it was a horror movie. "Yeah, but like, Fear Street horror, right?" Fear Streets rarely scare me. Except sometimes.

I might be a lousy radar for this, but the answer is yeah. Like, pretty effing scary. Another question I had was: Is this going to be gory? 6 minutes 35 seconds in pretty much answered that. So buckle up; this was one hell of a ride. 

I haven't recapped anything in years, so I decided to take notes. I'm such a good student, right? Except all my notes look like this: Good Music! Old BJ Novak! Oh god, this is so disturbing. I am so scared. At one point, I wrote: NOOOOOOOOOO, meat slicer! It was like a stream of consciousness Blair Witch Project.

Just be aware, all of the spoilers are in here, so if you haven't watched yet, go do that first!

The opening scene starts at Shadyside Mall, and already I feel like I am back in my childhood, with the one crappy town mall. Heather is working in the bookstore there, and she is one disenfranchised youth. There is some amazing attention to detail – all the books on the shelves were from that year. A woman buys a Fear Street book (The Wrong Number) and calls it trash!

While closing up, Heather is drinking an Orange Julius. Is Orange Julius still a thing? I don't think I've had one since 1994. She's sorta flirting with the guy from the costume shop. Ryan, I want to say? Let's go with Ryan because half the boys from the '90s were named Ryan. And he seems normal, except a spider is crawling on his neck, which is not normal at all.

Cue creepy music and building tension, and then Heather is chased down by a creep in a skull mask and a big fucking knife. Then … massacre. She pulls away his mask to unveil Ryan, who was her friend up to a few minutes ago.

The opening credits are insane and brilliant. I think I'm into this movie.

We go to angry Garbage playing while Deena scrawls out a hate note to someone named Sam. Oh my goodness, I'm getting Elisha Dushka vibes from her. Does anyone else immediately think "Faith"? Also, comment if you know what the hell I'm talking about.

Sheriff Nick Goode! The struggle between the Goodes and the Fiers (aka the Fears) is Fear Street canon! PLEASE tell me this is going to be the basis for the movies. So, Nick Goode is evil, right? Also, tell me he doesn't look like an older BJ Novak.*

*Double checks Nick Goode is not, in fact, BJ Novak doing some weird career thing. Discovers actor playing Nick Goode is younger than BJ Novak. Also younger than self.

Flash to Deena's younger brother, Josh, huddled over his computer on an AOL chatroom, going over the conspiracy theories of Shadyside's history of mass murders. Every fifteen years or so, there is another serial killer. Each of them is suspected of being possessed by the spirit of Sarah Fier, the one-handed witch … Ryan is only her newest victim.

Nirvana, Sophie B. Hawkins, this music is amazing. Have I kareoked to Damn, I Wish I Was Your Lover? More times than I can remember.

Okay, so in school, the mass murder at the mall the night before, which included the horrific murder of one of their classmates, is treated as entertainment by the students of Shadyside High. Does no one care? Massacres are not fun? This is super disturbing. Deena's friends shove her into the bathroom, where they creepily recite a rhyme about Sarah Fier: 

She reaches from beyond the grave

To make good men her wicked slaves

She'll take your blood, she'll take your head

She'll follow you until you're dead

Simon, typical stoner, and Kate, overachieving drug dealer, think it's funny. But Deena reminds them that every Shadysider is cursed. Nobody gets out of the town.

That night is a football game between Shadyside and Sunnyvale. Ooh, Sunnyvale is the rich neighbouring town, where people are going places. Classic struggle between rich and poor. Sunnyvalers imply Shadysiders deserve to be murdered on the regular; Shadysiders threaten to share some of that murder around.

A full-scale riot during the candlelight vigil is underway when Deena spots a couple making out – a generic jock type with a cute blonde cheerleader. Is that Sam? He seems rather vanilla for Deena's obsessive teen angst, but you know. We were all there once.

Deena's moping outside the stands when Sam comes to find her, and … Sam is the cute cheerleader! I didn't see that coming. We've always said there was never an LGBTQ character in Fear Street, but the 2020s have finally updated the series! Also, I'm way more into this coupling, and it all makes sense. Deena calls out Sam for moving to Sunnyvale and pretending to be straight to get by in the world.

After the game, Sam's vapid boyfriend follows the Shadyside bus, honking and wearing a skull mask, which is super inappropriate. Sam looks extremely uncomfortable next to him. Deena goes berserk and starts to throw a water cooler out the back of the bus at them. Her nose starts bleeding, and the cooler is thrown of its own volition. The car goes off the road into the woods. 

Sam crawls from the car, bleeding and has creepy visions. Oh, man, is Sam going to be possessed? Everyone tries to help Sam, and she vomits blood everywhere. Things are not going well.

The next night, Deena and Josh are being stalked by a creep in a skull mask. Across the street, Kate and Simon are babysitting, and Kate uses her charges to count and baggie pills for her. I love her. I love that she uses My So-Called Life as a reward. Whatever happened to My So-Called Life, besides Jared Leto becoming a bit creepy? Is it streaming somewhere? I wonder how it held up … The problem with these fab '90s references is that I keep on falling down rabbit holes…

The Skull face creep is also stalking Kate and Simon and is smelling their laundry? This is weird. Everyone is on edge, and Kate brings the twins she's sitting over to the neighbour. This is, like, the first grown-up in the show. They decide to go to the hospital and confront Sam because it must be her boyfriend creeping them.

Kate, of course, has contacts at the hospital, as in, her supplier. But he gets them in to see Sam. Nerdy Josh is in love with Kate and impresses her with his drink machine hacking tricks.

Sam's boyfriend has been at the hospital the whole time. After some subtle oral sex entendres, boyfriend is knifed down by Skull Face. Chaos ensues. Are there no adults in this town? Zero adults is so classic Fear Street. Oh no, wait, they're all murdered. Our intrepid group steals an ambulance and goes to the Sheriff's Department.

Sheriff Nick Goode mocks them, then a constable throws them out with such a misogynistic insult I actually gasped: "Go find your boyfriends. Tell them you need to relax!" But, in the meantime, Deena stole his gun, so it's cool. Good police work, all around. And I'm convinced Nick Goode is Sheriff Motherfucking Evil.

At this point, the horror rackets up to a new level, as Simon finds a girl singing weirdly in a deserted street. Wtf is this terrifying girl. He just has enough time to process the ghoulish scars on her face before she goes after him with a switchblade. Holy shit. She has him down on the ground, about to slash his throat when Deena shoots her through the eye. Normal bitches don't bleed black blood. As they flee terrifying girl, she starts singing again as her eye regenerates.

Josh, who knows all the conspiracy theories, recognizes her as Ruby Lane, the Shadyside Killer 30 years ago. He explains about the repetitive mass murderers in Shadyside, how they are possessed by Sarah Fier. Now that they've seen for real that dead people are after them, the rest of the group are fast believers. They figure out that Sam disturbed the witch's grave when she bled all over the forest, so the witch is after her. Specifically, her blood, which they are all covered in thanks to last night's vomit fest. They unearth her body, and at that point, they realize all of her serial killers through the ages are coming for them.

Oh my god, now an axe-killer whose face is wrapped in burlap is after them. Holy shit. Everyone is going to die. They get to the ambulance, but for sure, everyone is going to die. Oh no, the dead serial killers just want Sam as the initial grave disturber. They set a trap, using Sam as bait, to get all the killers in one place.

They decontaminate from Sam's blood, and as they do so, they all have teenage sexy times. Kate doesn't want to be alone and asks Josh to inspect her for blood spatter; meanwhile, Deena and Sam have an intense makeout session. Also, Simon has one last hurrah with himself. The movies are much sexier than the Fear Street books ever were. Also, Deena and Sam have such heart. I want them to make it so badly!

So, they're in the school, and they set a trap to blow up the bad guys. And it works like a charm! After a horrifying chase scene, Sam crawls through a vent, trapping Skull Face, Ruby Lane, and Burlap Head in the bathroom, where they've built a bomb. And the three blow up with a screech. No time to celebrate, though; they immediately begin to regenerate in the most horrifying way possible. My nightmares thank you for that image.

Apparently, the dead serial killers aren't going to stop until Sam is dead. She bravely starts to sacrifice herself, but then Josh discovers that one person survived the last massacre … by dying, then being revived. They come up with a new plan. They also try to call the last survivor, but there is no answer.

Sheriff Nick Goode being shifty, writes someone a note that "it's happening again."

The new plan is they go to the grocery store, where they raid the pharmacy for pills. Kate and Simon have all the knowledge they need for what Sam needs to take to die, plus a gazillion EpiPens to come back to life. Then Sam starts swallowing. Only, they didn't give her any water? Why are they forcing her to dry swallow these horse pills? This is the most horrifying part of the movie.

Serial killers break up the party, and everyone scatters. There is a lingering shot on the meat slicer in the deli, and my stomach bottoms out. IN HIS BOOKS, R. L. Stine would write about really creative, gruesome deaths; see here. But they're not going to actually do that on film, are they?

Cue me with my hands tight to my eyes, screaming: NOOOOOOOO! Guys, they fucking went there. I knew it when the camera panned to a side shot of the meat slicer. You could see what someone looked like going in … and coming out. I fucking knew it. Good god, that is the most gruesome thing I've ever contemplated.

The stoner and the overachiever don't make it. Josh is about to be knifed, so Deena goes and drowns her girlfriend in the lobster tank. As soon as Sam dies, serial killers disappear. A sobbing Deena begs her brother for help as she stabs Sam over and over with EpiPens, trying to get her heart to start. She finally starts CPR, and Sam chokes and wakes up. Yay! Except for Kate and Simon, that's sad.

Deena and Sam agree they have to blame everything on Kate and Simon, even if it's actually tragic that two people who wanted so badly to get out of this cursed town were killed so epically. Deena makes an excellent speech about it. And Sam agrees she's going to come out and be Deena's girlfriend. They're cuddling that night when Deena gets a phone call – from the survivor of the last massacre. She tells her it's never over. That's when Sam stabs Deena …

Holy shit, guys, I thought this was too scary for me, but it turns out I have to know what happens. I give Fear Street: 1994 eight meat slicers out of nine. Stay tuned for the next recap …

Monday, July 16, 2018

Give me a K-I-L-L or “The Violin Death of the Decade"

I just wanted to say that it’s a trip that AM and I are still writing this blog, since we starting snarking on Fear Street nearly 10 years ago! (cue spit-take). I’m sure you Shadyside Snark fans can appreciate that we’re at different places in our lives, both physically and figuratively, but it’s awesome that I still get to sit down every once awhile and rip apart some fantastically cheesy teen horror books. As long as RL is prepared to pump out the rebooted Fear Street series, the Shadyside sisters will (eventually … after a very long time) blog about them. I should point out it takes less time for RL to write the books than for AM and I to blog about them.  I’m not sure who comes out looking worse in this scenario.

To the book. I didn’t hate it. Actually, it is definitely my favourite book of the Relaunch series so far. Obviously it has to do with cheerleaders, my favourite horror trope. To those new to our blog, AM insisted on taking all books that had to do with zombies, and I insisted on the Cheerleaders saga. Clearly we all have our triggers as to what we find the creepiest. For AM it’s zombies, for me it’s cheerleaders. Haha, guess who was less popular in high school?

Part One: We start with Gretchen Page, our heroine du jour. Btw, Gretchen? Such a great name. It’s becoming so much more popular now and is totally NOT what you would expect from a cheerleader (from the 80s-90s that is, because they were, like, all named Jennifer and Ashley). One of the characters even comments on this, all, I didn’t expect someone named Gretchen to look like you.

As for how she looks, Gretchen is cute and blonde and pretty stereotypically cheerleader, and she considers her overt cuteness to be tragic. She is on the phone with one of her friends from back home, Polly, and my Spidey-senses were immediately up because her friends wasn’t responding back in the dialogue, it was just Gretchen talking into the phone. Gretchen talking to someone who is dead/doesn’t exist? This is a very common Fear Street plotline. Except, then Polly did respond. So I was a bit spun. Also, Polly is described as looking about 12 with a deep sexy purr of a voice, which also spun me. Who describes their friends like that? Well, at 16 anyway. So, we’re going with Polly IS alive. But then Gretchen hides the fact that she’s talking to Polly from her mom, so maybe Polly is dead? I don’t know but I will expend all my energy while reading this book to try to guess before the end.  So actual suspense was created, well done RL.

Things to know about Gretchen: she’s new to Shadyside, desperate to make it on the cheerleading squad and a complete bitch to her recently-divorced mom. She goes to an appointment with the cheerleading coach at the school. While there, she meets Sid, the cheerleading equipment manager, who hits on her. Then right after she meets his girlfriend, Stacy, the cheerleading captain. Then she goes into the meeting with Coach Walker, only to discover she had just given the last spot of the cheerleading squad to another girl, Devra Dalby!

Redheaded Devra Dalby is clearly going to be the mean girl in this book. Fear Street aficianados will recognize the Dalby name – from Dalby department stores, and Reva Dalby, OG mean rich girl from the Silent Night Super Chillers. I was SOOOO hoping that Reva would make an appearance as Devra’s mom or something. But no such luck. All Devra talked about was how “Daddy” owned the biggest department store in town and that made her the shit. So, Devra IS Reva, with a very minor name change. (AM: Did Reva end up dying? Is Devra her rich father’s later-in-life replacement?)

Devra has the last spot on the squad, but the coach watches Gretchen’s highlight reel from her old school and sees that she’s great, so decides to pit the girls against each other. I know literally nothing about cheerleading besides you will probably be murdered, but couldn’t they just … add another spot on the squad?  Anyway, Gretchen is pumped she gets to try out because she’s sure she’ll win. Then she gets into a minor car accident – her tire blows out which OF COURSE sounds like a gunshot – and her reaction is major, and she talks herself down from the horrible nightmares that threatened to come. Some intriguing back story? Involving mysterious sexy-voiced Polly?

Then we go to Devra’s point of view where she is pouting to her Daddy that she would have to try out for the cheerleading spot. The whole point of the scene is that Daddy Dalby will make a call to the school to ensure her spot on the team, but I spent the entire time trying to find evidence of Reva.

Gretchen meets the girl next door, Madison, who is a fantastic violin player and they click, becoming fast friends. Gretchen runs into Sid, the cheerleader equipment manager/obvious adultering boyfriend at the mall. He looks at her intensely then they start making, which is a little quick but hey, teen hormones I guess. And Gretchen catches a glimpse of Devra glaring at them. Ooh, the drama!

Devra surprises Gretchen by joining her at a booth at the local diner and showing her the terrible acid burns she has on her hands. I immediately thought they were bonding over acid, but in fact Devra was just there to request that Gretchen back off for the year. Since Devra was a senior, Gretchen could be the alternate and would have an automatic spot next year. Gretchen declines the offer and makes a lifelong enemy.

The day of the tryouts, Gretchen is pumped and intense. Devra tries out first and Gretchen mentally tears her apart, saying she’s not terrible but certainly not up to her calibre. Then Devra goes in and nails her much more complicated routine. She then gets violently disgustingly ill, and the squad realizes her water bottle had been poisoned. Sid comes over to comfort her, and shortly after that she receives some threatening text messages – SOMETIMES CHEERLEADERS DIE and GIVE ME A K-I-L-L. The messages are from Devra, which is pretty ballsy, I have to say. Everyone else thinks so too when Gretchen shows the to the cheerleading coach. Devra immediately claims her phone was stolen and accuses Gretchen of sending them herself. Also super ballsy.

Fear tactics aside, Devra wins. The principal, Hernandez, calls the coach and the captain in to tell them that Devra’s dad called in a favour and insisted that Devra be on the team or else he would pull funding from the school. Money always wins and the cheerleading squad doesn’t have a choice. Gretchen was eavesdropping and heard the whole thing. She goes to drown her sorrows with Madison at the Cheesecake Factory, where Gretchen starts to murmur stuff about a knife. Weird.

She gets a text message from the cheerleading captain to meet at the gym for a night practice. Except it was an evil set up and someone just attacked her in the dark. Someone who smelled like Devra’s perfume. Also, her new uniform comes in covered in cockroaches, ordered from Dalby’s Department stores. Gretchen’s starting to get frustrated with the abuse since Devra already won.

And then we get to the fire batons. Do you think if you lived in Shadyside you would ever touch a fire baton? Or, like, set a fire ever? Fire means automatic horrific death or at least horrific maiming. If you gave me a pack of matches I would immediately hurl them from my body and cut you out of my life completely. And yet, Gretchen as the unlucky alternate will stand there and light kerosene-soaked fire batons for all the cheerleaders. NOTHING COULD POSSIBLY GO WRONG! And yet, at the next game, when Stacy takes the baton meant for Devra, she is almost immediately doused in flames. Yup, saw that coming.

Part Two: Stacy survived but her arms are covered in burns and her nerves are badly damaged (horrific maiming). Gretchen is now being questioned as to whether she sabotaged the baton, and is up in arms that Devra is acting like a victim in all of this. Gretchen is now on the squad for reals and that gives her a motive to have committed the sabotage. But the squad continues on with their cheers and want to use Gretchen’s superior skills to show off, which involves a double somersault something where Devra has to catch her. Gretchen assumes Devra will try to kill  her but it all goes well.

Meanwhile, Gretchen’s violin-playing friend Madison desperately wants to tell her something, but Gretchen never gets a chance to hear what it is. When Madison performs Mozart with a string quartet in front of the school, she starts screaming horribly and her neck explodes with blood. Turns out her violin had been dipped in hideous acid that ate away her neck and burned through her aorta. Madison does not survive. Holy crap, that is an explosive murder, RL! I am impressed and thoroughly terrified. I will also avoid all stringed instruments from here on out.

Sid (cheating boyfriend) and Gretchen get closer, and she learns his out of work dad is kind of abusive and also that he is poor (therefore will die and/or be the murderer). He helps her clean out her garage, and there he finds a jar of sulphuric acid, like the kind that killed Madison. But Gretchen knows that Devra has some kind of acid, so she makes a plan with Sid to break into her house and find it as some kind of proof that Devra is responsible for the murder. They manage to find the workshop where Devra had been working but she only got burned by Muriatic Acid, which was not the right kind. Hmm, still not sure who the murderer is.

And now there is the inevitable Cheerleading camping weekend in Fear Woods. DO PEOPLE NEVER LEARN! After Gretchen leaves for the trip, her Mom goes in to clean her room and discovers Gretchen left her phone behind. While not normally the snoopy type, her Mom goes through her phone and discovers something TERRIBLE! She immediately goes to Principal Hernandez to get him to stop the bus but it has already left. She tells him she discovered Gretchen has been making almost daily calls to Polly Brown … the girl Gretchen killed two years ago! I knew it! Polly was totally dead! And yet, sometimes she would answer Gretchen, which kept me guessing. Well played, RL.

Part Three: Gretchen’s Mom explains that Gretchen had been driving the car that was in an accident that killed her best friend Polly. Since then her grasp on reality has been tenuous. When she starts to call Polly, it means she’s slipping. And at her old school, she had picked out a girl on her squad and started to make it look as though that girl was harassing her, as if she was a victim. Also that she carried a hunting knife. Mom and principal quickly agree they have to get to the cheerleaders right away.

Meanwhile at the cheerleading camp, Sid and Devra are screaming at each other. Gretchen gets spinny and confused and goes to get her knife to put an end to things.

Mom and principal arrive at the camp in time to see Gretchen running into the mess hall with a knife.

Gretchen runs into the kitchen, brandishing the knife. She confronts Sid, who is holding Devra against him with a knife held to her throat. Gretchen warns Sid to let Devra go, while he screeches that it was Devra who was supposed to burn, not Stacy. Gretchen tries to keep him talking, so inevitably he exposits that he really loved Devra and thought they had a connection, but then she had his father fired at the shoe department of Dalby’s. Now Sid’s family is ruined and he snapped. Everything he had done to torture Gretchen was to make everyone hate Devra and ruin her too. And he killed Madison because she had a video on her phone of Sid clearly wiping kerosene on the offending fire baton.

Sid goes to slit Devra’s throat, but Gretchen tosses her knife away and dives across the floor, barreling into Sid. She elbows him in the stomach and uppercuts his chin. Kinda badass. Sid goes down and Devra is able to get away with only a cut only her neck, not deep. Gretchen and her Mom hug, then Gretchen goes to apologize to Devra for being a jerk to her. They make up because Gretchen did after all save her life.

After that, life gets better for Gretchen. Her therapist is on call to see how she is after the incident, to see if there’s any trauma, but Gretchen feels great. She’s feeling great. And then she gets a text from Polly …

Totally fun Fear Street book! It has some of the well-known story lines – like talking to dead people on the phone (or facetime or text), and poverty creating murderers. Also unbelievably creative murders. So, hope you liked this one too. Tell me why you thought it was cheesy. Six exploding aortas out of seven.

Monday, February 19, 2018

The Dead Boyfriend or "Just Don't Date Guys Named Blade"

Basically the entire time I was reading this book, I had Garbage’s iconic song “Bad Boyfriend” running through my head, except I had replaced the word “bad” with “dead”. I didn’t realize until later that Garbage probably didn’t write a song about a dead boyfriend, no matter how grunge they were. Bad boyfriend works in this instance too though.  Now enjoy that songworm in your ear for the rest of this recap :)

Anyways, The Dead Boyfriend was kind of a trip. A lot of times, I thought we were going to be faked out with a classic Stine dead-body-falls-out-of-a-closet and then it’s revealed it was a mop. True story: happened in our FIRST recap ever “The New Boy.  But most of the time, crazy stuff was actually happening! I always appreciate that. And then the end happened. You’ll just have to wait and see that insanity.

Our main character is Caitlyn and almost the whole book is a diary entry. She calls her diary her friend, which is a huge red-flag in my books.  Like all of the relaunch Fear Street Series books, she kinda discusses her family, and then they never have anything to do with the plot. She has an older sister named Jen! She is never mentioned again!

Anyways, Caitlyn emotes to her diary that she just hasn’t been happy since her boyfriend, Blade died. You guys. That name. OMG that name slays me every time I think about it! It’s like when Fear Street hunk Bobby Newkirk had a band named “The Cool Guys” and then he changed it to “Bad to the Bone”.  RL Stine is 74 but internally has been 104 since the 1980s. I love it.

Caitlyn takes us back to the first time she met Blade, at Lefty’s diner. She was hanging out with her friends Julie (her descriptor is funny and mean) and Miranda who *could* be attractive but has glasses.  Caitlyn runs into Deena Fear as well  and they have a very weird interaction. It’s the first time they ever meet and Deena seems vaguely...threatening? Must be the Fear in her. Caitlyn then sees a guy staring at her. Props to Caitlyn though, she puts an end to this mystery very quickly by going over and seeing what this creep wants. Except he’s not creepy, he’s dreamy. And named Blade, which also seems to be his given name, not a nickname. He says his parents wanted him to be “sharp”. No. Don’t do this, parents.  They get to talking and hit it off, so Blade asks if she wants to hang out and they leave together.

They are very teenage-y and just wander around talking until they come upon a house party and decide to crash it. They don’t know anyone and are trying to slip some beer (classic teens) but then Caitlyn sees Deena. And she is super pissed that Caitlyn is at the party with Blade! Deena hisses that she “saw him first” - a dibs! That’s more pre-teen behaviour I feel. Also, meaningless to Caitlyn since she met Deena that night and isn’t friends with her. Dibs don’t count if you aren’t friends, obvs. Deena makes this interaction even weirder by blowing on the silver bracelet that Caitlyn wears.

The host of the party catches on that Blade and Caitlyn aren’t real guests. Before they get kicked out, Caitlyn suggests they make out in front of everyone as a “joke”. It’s as weird as you are imagining. Once they are done “jokingly making out” (remember teen hormones?) they run out of the party laughing.  They don’t get too far though, before Caitlyn’s wrist starts hurting. She looks down and realizes that her bracelet is burning hot - and melted to her skin! WTF. This was one of those times that I thought we were in for a fake out, but the next chapter starts, and no, the bracelet actually melted and fused together - although I was unclear whether it was melted to her skin or just melted together...

A few days later, Caitlyn is working at her job at the movie theater, slinging popcorn, when Deena comes in. Deena wants to be friends because she’s worried something bad will happen to Caitlyn. Ummm… aren’t you the reason her bracelet is now fused to her body?  Deena also wants to talk about Blade, but Caitlyn isn’t really interested. Deena gets all creepy looking and then the machines in the concession go hay-wire shooting out popcorn and pop all over the place. Caitlyn wonders if this is a warning from Deena. Ya think?

Next is a really weird chapter where Caitlin is grabbed by a man in a parking garage and mugged, which I really thought would be an RL fakeout, but wasn’t! She was really mugged and broke his nose to escape! And then went and bought a knife for protection, which seems like a weird thing to do, and also, no one ever mentions this mugging again. I can tell you, if I ever got mugged and fought my way free, I would literally not stop telling people about how amazing I am.

What her friends do talk to her about though, is that she’s rushing into things with Blade. I guess they’ve been spending a lot of time together and things are moving quickly. Caitlyn throws out the classic teen line “yall are just jealous” and for some reason her friends don’t abandon her like I would have.

Right on cue, Blade starts acting shady. He cancels a date unexpectedly and when Caitlyn goes to hang out with Miranda instead, she spots his car on her drive over. She obviously decides to follow his car. She watches as Blade goes to the FIRE DANCE CLUB (another amazing name by RL) and sees he’s brought another girl! She watches them kiss outside the club and goes to confront him. She’s interrupted by Deena who’s all “Blade betrayed us!”.  Caitlyn actually pushes her out of her way - amazing.

Inside FIRE DANCE CLUB, Caitlyn confronts Blade.  He tells his date, Vanessa that Caitlyn is “nobody, a friend from school” and denies ever saying “I love you” to Caitlyn. Harsh. Caitlyn leaves and almost crashes her car. Then like a completely sane person, she goes to Blade’s house and waits for him to come home.

When he does, they get into an argument with Blade saying they were just “having fun”. You know what? Don’t say that to very angry girls - because they will lose their minds. Like Caitlyn does! First she attacks him with her big purse, and then threatens him with that giant knife she bought after her mugging. And then she slices his palm and stabs him in the stomach. WHAT!?

I really thought that would be a rage-blackout-fake out, but nope, Blade is dead. Caitlyn drives home and immediately thinks she’s caught because the police come to her door right away. But they were just coming to let her know she left her house door open. The first true fake out of the book. Weird!

Blade’s funeral is sometime soon, and Caitlyn attends with Julie and Miranda.  It seems like a dream since there are only 19 people in attendance? A high-school boy, MURDERED in his driveway? Yeah, right. That would be huge news in any town! I guess Shadyside has its fair share of murders, but I feel like the funerals described in other books had a lot more guests…

Anywhoo, the funeral gets a whole lot effing weirder when Blade suddenly blinks and sits up in his coffin. Everyone shrieks and rushes to Blade, calling for a doctor (at this 19 person funeral? Not likely.) Caitlyn looks around and sees Deena Fear is at the back of the room, and appears to be controlling Blade’s body with a spooky amulet. We know which one! She suddenly passes out, and Blade’s body also slumps over, apparently dead again. After a doctor has appeared and declared Blade dead again (doctor, or funeral home director?) the funeral continues. Over the protest of Blade’s parents, who obviously want to ensure that Blade is actually dead. Certainly the most awkward ending to any funeral that I could imagine.

Deena texts Caitlyn later that night and wants her help. Apparently Blade hasn’t been buried yet and Deena is keen on bringing him back to life - with the help of Caitlyn! Caitlyn isn’t that jazzed on the plan - mostly because she murdered him and doesn’t want to get caught. She ends up going to Deena’s place anyways. She tells Deena she’s crazy for thinking it’s possible to bring someone back from the dead.  So Deena shows off her necromancy skillz by killing her parrot in front of Caitlyn and then bringing him back to life. Poor bird! That has to be traumatizing.

We get to the real deal of why Deena wants Blade brought back to life. Deena thinks it’s her turn to be with Blade. Like… what? It’s very unclear whether Deena and Blade had ever even met before so what’s with this obsession? The guys name is BLADE for gods sake, he cannot be worth all this killing/reanimation. Caitlyn is equally weirded out by Deena and tries to run out of the house, but somehow gets lost. Is Caitlyn...a moron?

She ends up in a room with two middle-aged people, who she assumes are Deena’s parents. She’s half right since they are Deena’s parents, only… they aren’t alive. They’ve been taxidermied! Deena comes in and calmly explains that she murdered and stuffed her parents.  She also tells Caitlyn that she made Caitlyn kill Blade through mind control, and demonstrates her other talents by forcing Caitlyn to do cartwheels. For some reason, this convinces Caitlyn to go with Deena to reanimate Blade. Whatever.

They sneak into the funeral home only to discover his body is gone! Dun dun dunnnnn!

Caitlyn is picked up by the cops to answer some questions about Blade’s death. They know about the FIRE DANCE CLUB and the fight that Blade and Caitlyn had. Probably because it was directly in front of that other girl, who would have obviously told the police. They let Caitlyn go and seem to believe her story that she went right home.

Caitlyn meets up with Julie and Miranda to watch the basketball game at school. There are a bunch of fakeouts in this chapter: the cops arrive looking for her! No, they are just there to watch the game (in uniform?) and were pointing to open seats near Caitlyn. She sees Blade at the game and goes to chase him! Just kidding, he wasn’t there, and now Julie and Miranda kinda think she’s nuts.

But twist! Turns out Blade really was there, and now he’s waiting for Caitlyn at her car. She blurts out “You’re dead!” and he just shrugs. Ha! Such a teen. He also gives her an angry cold kiss which Caitlyn is horrified by. Why? Didn’t you love him so much you rage murdered him in jealousy? "He pressed his lips against mine in a hard kiss. An angry kiss. He held me there, held my face against his, pressed his lips, so hard and cold, against mine, grinding them against my lips until my mouth ached [...] And then I uttered a horrified gasp - His lips were still sewn together." Best kiss scene ever?

Caitlyn escapes from his gross make out and slams his hand in her car door. She drives home in such an adrenaline rush she doesn't notice that...his hand came off when she slammed the door! And she drove home with it in her lap. She thinks to herself “He’ll want his hand and he’ll want revenge!” which is pretty hilarious and probably true. Caitlyn throws the hand in her front yard, because that is a great way to get rid of evidence.

Blade does come up, and casually picks up his hand. He sees Caitlyn staring out the window and shows her a knife - then uses it to slice open his lips! (sidebar - I don’t think funeral homes SEW PEOPLE’S LIPS SHUT, but correct me if I am wrong) He yells out he’ll never leave her now, which is creepy whenever anyone says it.

Caitlyn tries to find Deena at school but can’t and then there is this whole undramatic scene when she find out Deena isn’t registered there! So she goes to Deena’s house who is like “yeah, I’m homeschooled” - cool subplot? I guess her parents taught her until she killed them? Anyways, while she’s there, Caitlyn notices that Deena somehow has Blade’s hand, and she is trying to necromancy that thing hard.  She says she’s going to use it to bring Blade to her house so “[she] can have a turn”. BLECH. The spell doesn’t work and Deena tells Caitlyn she’s on her own, now that Blade is kind of alive and also looking to murder her.

Caitlyn, who can’t seem to do anything on her own except murder, immediately calls Julie and tells her the whole story about Blade and how he’s now back from the dead. Julie tells her to stay calm and meet her house in 30 minutes. Of course when Caitlyn gets there, both her parents are there. Julie obviously didn’t believe Caitlyn and they have a little intervention about how worried they are for her.

Caitlyn quickly peaces out and runs away from the world’s weirdest intervention. Pretty soon she sees Blade walking with his back to her. She recognizes his sweatshirt. She comes up to him and stabs him in the back in a blind rage! I think you know where this is going… it’s not Blade. It’s some different teen boy that she’s just killed. WTF Caitlyn, get your life together!

She’s unsurprisingly upset that she’s killed the wrong person (or surprisingly? Caitlyn is kind of terrible), and yells about how Deena must be controlling her.  Real Blade picks this moment to come out of the shadows and say that it's time for them to go to the grave forever! I remember thinking at this point: Yeah, she’s murdered two innocent boys in cold blood. Thats a hard rap to beat. I think I’d just shrug my shoulders and go with Blade. So much easier. (I was very tired reading this, fyi)  

Caitlyn does not choose the easy way out, and instead starts to fight Blade and tries to kill him again.  That is until Deena comes up and Blade is slighted distracted, and Caitlyn obviously takes this opportunity to stab Blade, again. He just kinda slumps over - it was oddly anticlimatic. So was Deena actually controlling him?  Deena takes his body away to “bury”, alright, whatever.

Caitlyn comes home and manages to convince her parents she’s not nuts, she just told Julie a bad joke. She is really on edge and everything is freaking her out: woodpecker tapping on her window, can’t concentrate at school. She decides that she needs to go to the funeral home and confirm that Blade is really and truly dead. Only when she gets there… Blade’s body has been stolen! Dun dun dunnnnn!

Okay here is where the book goes from mildly weird to epically/amazingly confusing. Caitlyn goes home and finds her parents with her diary. They also call her Cathy Ann, which for a few seconds I thought was a really weird typo. It turns out… the diary was a novel! Cathy Ann wrote in her diary all this crazy stuff as a novel and she hopes to become a published author. With that above story. Girl, you need to write 100+ books over decades before someone will publish a story as batshit as that. R.L. put in his time!

Apparently Blade is a real boy who died drowning the previous year, and Deena Fear is made up. Everyone else in the story was real, but none of it ever happened. Caitlyn/Cathy Ann’s parents are concerned for a bit - it’s a really weird story and violent and why did she have to use a boy who really died as inspiration? But they get over it quickly, decide their daughter is a genius and send the diary away to be published!

A year later, Cathy Ann is at a book signing for her mega-popular book. She’s all happy and excited to be in Shadyside on her book tour until… BLADE shows up!

That’s it. That’s where the book ends. W.T.F.

So many questions remain, most pressingly: Did the stuff in the “diary” happen? Or did it not?! Cathy Ann’s parents said Blade the Real Boy, drowned so did Cathy Ann do that somehow? Is Deena Fear a real person or not? Who brought Blade back to life? Did Cathy Ann really stab a second boy and noone noticed? WHAT IS HAPPENING?

I was so annoyed by this ending. I typically love a twist ending in R.L.s books but this one was just too big of a leap. Four stabbed boys named BLADE out of eleven.

Tuesday, February 7, 2017

Can You Keep a Secret? or "Random Acts of Werewolf"

Okay, it’s definitely harder to blog when you are not doing it often, like once a week the way we used to. Now that RL has his new line of Fear Streets coming out, it takes me approximately the same time to write a blog that it takes him to write a novel. I’m not sure what that says about either of us.

So, we’ll start with the cover, definitely good and creepy, a knife jammed into a tree carved with a heart. It’s simple, it’s mysterious. It doesn’t have any goofy kids from the 80s in various states of open-mouthed astonishment, as per the old books, so the cheese factor is way down. Also the tagline is fantastic: “or are you dying to tell?” I love it! I’ll admit that I feel the revamped Fear Street got off to a rough start, but this one has already captured me. I’m always willing to give RL one more chance, but then again I am an eternal optimist.

Part One

There is a spooky dream with lots of moon and wolf imagery. Omg, is this book about werewolves? I think I LOVE werewolves, which were surprisingly underrepresented up until now in the Fear Street omnibus. I can only think of that one Super Chiller, Bad Moonlight. Come to think of it, that’s a shocking lack of werewolf books. I mean, vampires and zombies are everywhere, but where’s the love for the humble lycanthrope?

So anyway, in this dream, the girl and the wolf have the same startlingly blue eyes, then the girl becomes the wolf. The girl wakes up from her nightmare, then wakes up her sister, Sophie. Sophie goes to comfort Emmy, the shaken dreamer. Emmy is horrified to see her sheets are completely shredded.

Emmy is the elder sister, at 17, and Sophie is 15. I love a good sister drama, doncha think, AM? They have the same black hair and blue eyes, but Sophie cut her hair extremely short because she was sick of being constantly confused for her sister.

Emmy has been having wolf dreams since she was five, when she was visiting her creepy great aunt Marta in Prague and was bit by a dog, although she doesn’t remember it. Ooh, Prague, v. old world. Definitely about werewolves! On that note, there is a news report that a dog had been torn apart by a black wolf in Shadyside Park.

Enter Emmy’s new boyfriend, Eddie. Emmy’s mom doesn’t like him – he is the best friend of Emmy’s ex, and he is POOR. A fatal flaw in Shadyside. His stepdad is a cop but suspended from the police force for beating a teen, charming. Eddie works at a pet cemetery, which is awfully convenient.

Emmy goes to visit Eddie at his work and smells something evil in the air, feels strongly that Eddie should probably get a new job. Of course Eddie is at the moment burying the recently killed dog. Emmy sees the corpse and takes off running, as the thing had been skinned. Blerg. They then change the mood entirely and discuss doing something naughty that night.

Part Two

Ah, so naughtiness is an all-night party in the Fear Street Woods – always a terrible idea. Eddie is in a frisky mood, wants to play his favourite game, Can you keep a secret. Doesn’t sound like much of a game, you have to reveal your deepest darkest secrets for the other to keep. His secret is that he lost his drivers license (he tells her as he drives her mom’s car). They then start making out.

They are terrified when they are attacked – nope, just surprised by Emmy’s ex Danny and his new girlfriend Callie. Apparently Danny has a temper and Emmy really likes Callie and thinks she’s good for him. Riley and Roxie round out the crew. Riley is a huge football player and Roxie is tiny and cutesy, so they make a mismatched adorable couple. I like how Emmy is very open about how great the other girls are, no jealousies there. And my my what’s with all the names ending in -y or –ie? How bout we get a names book or something.

They unload the beer because this is Fear Street of the twenty-first century! Now Eddie brings out his next secret of the night. Oh look, he stole a gun from his stepdad. Well that’s not going to end well. Emmy questions her judgment at being with Eddie, because he has a temper and is poor. The gun would have done it for me, but whatevs. Then Emmy sees the black wolf and Eddie shoots it. Oh, it was only a raccoon. But Emmy is back to loving Eddie again.

Everyone else is fighting so they take off. Eddie pulls her to a clearing and calls it their secret place. He then creepily pulls out a knife … and carves Eddie heart Emmy. How sweet! The tree, of course, turns out to be hollow and housing a briefcase full of cash. Emmy is all: peace out, put it back, but Eddie thinks that she’s nuts. Before they resolve this, everyone else finds them. The boys are crazy happy with their luck, the girls are not and want to take the money to the police.

Inevitably, a fight ensues, Eddie and Danny grapple and the gun comes out. Danny gets shot … oh no wait he just crumpled in fear when the gun accidentally went off. They all vote, and since only Emmy and Callie want to take the money to the police they decide instead they should hide the case at the pet cemetery until they know where it came from.

Sophie calls Emmy just then in a panic, saying she saw the black wolf on her way home. Emmy gets all dizzy and wants to howl at the moon. Callie grabs her, breaking her out of her trance, but Emmy decides to go home. The sisters are emotional together, laughing and fighting, and Emmy feels guilty that she’s not more supportive of Sophie.

The guilt doesn’t last that long, because she goes to Eddie’s house for dinner the next night instead of Sophie’s track meet. Eddie’s stepdad tells them of the robbery. It was a few nights ago, a hit on an armored truck, one guy with a gun. Emmy and Eddie go for a drive where Emmy finally figures out the inevitable – the robber with the gun will come after them, since their names are carved on the tree where the cash was hiding.

Part Three

Eddie and Emmy freak out and decide to put the cash back in the tree. They go dig up the grave and of course the case is gone. They go to Danny’s, where Riley shows up and they all fight a lot about who took the money. Secrets and greed are tearing the group apart!

Sophie is still awake when Emmy gets in. Emmy caves and tells her everything. Emmy dreams that night she’s a wolf and wakes up howling. Also, there’s a letter from Czech Republic – Great Aunt Marta is coming to visit. She has some suspiciously convenient timing. I’m kind of feeling that this book is disjointed. There’s two entirely different things going on, sort of smushed together. There’s the werewolf thing, then the money/greed thing, which is actually a really common theme in Fear Street novels (along with crazy people taking over other’s identities). I’m just not sure that the two plots have anything to do with each other.

Eddie and Emmy go through the cemetery security footage the next day, and are surprised to find that it’s Riley who took the money. Their plan is to let everyone else know then all go to confront Riley. Emmy goes with Sophie, but starts to feel funny then blacks out. All of a sudden she’s in someone’s yard, and Riley’s body is draped over the hedges, clawed to pieces.

The official story is that he’d been mauled by a rabid wolf. There is a v sad funeral, everyone is traumatized but are still fighting about the money. Roxie finally gives Eddie and Emmy the briefcase and tells them she wants nothing to do with it, or them. Eddie reburies the case in the cemetery.

Great Aunt Marta comes. She is very old and mysterious, talking of the magic of the old country. She wakes Emmy up out of a wolf dream to tell her she’d been bitten by an immortal wolf creature in Prague and now she is wolfen. Emmy realizes she killed Riley.

Part Four

Emmy wakes Sophie up to ask her what happened at Riley’s. Apparently Emmy made Sophie drop her off and told her to leave, Sophie started to go home but then came back, and at that point the cops were already there. Emmy runs out into the night, where she is joined by wild dogs. They freak out when she stops though and turn on her. It’s Sophie who runs out and shoos the dogs away, saving them.

Great Aunt Marta leaves after a day. She literally just came to wake Emmy up in the middle of the night to tell her she’s a werewolf, with zero advice or anything. Great Aunt Marta sucks. She could have sent a letter. Or, like, a text. (Guess what, u r a flesh-eating werewolf, lol). That is the amount of useful she is.

After school, a man is waiting for Emmy and Eddie at her car, knows who she is and she figures he’s the robber. They take him to the pet cemetery. Eddie pulls his gun on the man, who asks him if that’s the gun he used to hold up the armored truck. Oh noes, looks like Eddie’s stepdad was very naughty and used his cop knowledge to knock off the truck. The man who took them to the cemetery by gunpoint is in fact a federal agent looking into the robbery. They dig up briefcase, but it is full of newsprint. Oops. They go to confront stepdad, because that’s how things are done officially in Fear Street, and he confesses and is arrested. The federal agent lets them know that the sentence will be reduced if the money is found, so the kids try to find it.

They figure it is the owner of the pet cemetery who has it. Sophie comes with Emmy and Eddie on this adventure. They search his apartment attached to the office at the cemetery, and find the money. Unfortunately, he surprises them. At gunpoint he forces them into a disgusting pit, filled with animal corpses. The guy had been taking people’s money, then just throwing the carcasses of their beloved pets into a pit behind his apartment. Gross, but also why did he hire Eddie to dig the graves then? Doesn’t make tons of sense.

Sophie turns into a wolf then. She leaps out of the pit and mauls the pet cemetery owner. She tells Emmy that she was the one bitten all those years ago, but started changing a few months ago. She’s the one who makes Emmy have weird dreams and blacks out sometimes. She basically blames Emmy for everything wrong with her life. Oh, yah, and she killed Riley because he knew her secret. Wha? That’s a little lot random. When did this come up? Why would he not have said anything? Anyway, Sophie runs away, and soon after Emmy and Eddie are rescued by some confused cops.

In the end, Mac survives the attack (will he be a werewolf now? This doesn’t come up at all), the money is returned and Eddie’s stepdad gets a lesser sentence. Emmy and Eddie get a $5000 reward, which just goes to show you that trying to steal lots of money really does pay, just less than you expect.

Emmy gets home exhausted, never expecting to see her sister helping to make dinner as always. Sophie says she doesn’t want to live in the woods forever (if I had been her, I would have taken all the money for myself and lived in the Bahamas forever, but whatever, I’m not a 15-year-old werewolf). Sophie approaches Emmy very intensely and asks her if she can keep a secret.

My issue with this book, besides the fact that RL seemed like he could not be finished quickly enough and threw in some random explanations at the end to just get out of it, is what I mentioned before, that it was kind of two unrelated books shoehorned in together. I would have loved to have something that focused entirely on the werewolf thing. I mean, Bad Moonlight was cheesy, but it was fun and loads better than this. I give this five gaping plot holes out of twelve.