Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Have Yourself A Fear-y Little Christmas

Isn't that title Christmas-y? Doesn't it just make your rattling bones glow with that holiday spirit? Yeah, me neither. I just stopped by to explain my absence...it seems as if I do this often. And I am sorry. But I do have a legitimate excuse: I have no farking computer!! It...it just fried like a runny egg monster from Mars (REFERENCE!). HP has shoved a broomstick up my ass on this one. And we all know Santa is an unreliable fat slob so I probably won't be getting one for Christmas. But I'll be back again soon...somehow. You'll never get rid of me! *cough* Happy Holidays, everyone.

Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Friday, September 14, 2012

Beach Party


Book Description:


Life is a beach...until you die

It's the ultimate party beach in California, summer fun in the sun to the max. And Karen, who's just broken up with her old boyfriend, means to enjoy every minute of it--especially having two new guys to choose between: one so handsome and one so deliciously dangerous. But the party summer takes a nasty turn when Karen realizes that someone is out to spoil all the fun. As the beach party gets wilder and wilder, Karen realizes that someone very close to her is too close--close enough to kill. Will the next beach party be her last?

My Description:


We begin this tale of hot summer woe with Karen driving like a maniac to pick up her friend Ann-Marie at LAX. Karen thinks she looks pretty good in her blue sleeveless shirt and white tennis shorts. "Not as pretty as Ann-Marie, but okay." Boo hoo. The problems of beautiful people! Karen arrives just as Ann-Marie is stepping through the gate. She's wearing jeans and a sweater even though it's presumably a thousand degrees outside. We get a short description of how beautiful and thin Ann-Marie is. She's like a model and Karen is like a turnip or something. Ann-Marie notices that Karen is wearing a necklace with a crystal on the end. Karen says that Mike gave it to her just before she broke up with him. Ann-Marie makes a smart ass comment about it and apologizes by saying "Sorry. It always takes me a while to lose my New York edge." New York is not to blame for your BITCH Ann-Marie. Now get in the trunk like a good girl and keep your yapper shut until the car stops. The girls talk about Karen's parents who are newly divorced. Mom dealt with it by sobbing while listening to The Beatles for months and Dad entered into a mid-life crisis of sorts. "He's driving a Corvette, for one thing. And he's blow-drying his hair." Horrible! When a man suddenly starts caring about his luscious locks, you know he's lost his damn mind! Anyway, Karen got a Mustang convertible out of the ordeal, probably because a certain someone with incredible Breck hair felt guilty. Karen tells Ann-Marie that Dad has a girlfriend who looks young enough to be Karen's sister who lives with him in an apartment in Venice. Dad and Girl are gone for a few days so the girls will have the apartment to themselves.

That night, the girls go for a walk on the beach which is deserted because of peoples' fear of gangs, according to Karen. Roving sand gangs are the worst. Do you know how hard it is to get sand out of your hair?!


Bastards

At the mention of gangs, one magically shows up. Five guys decked out in heavy metal T-shirts and jeans (a few even have earrings! NOOO!) with greasy hair and tattoos come out of nowhere. Why does Stine refuse to believe that hoodlums can indeed have good hygiene? His villains are always greasy. Did Patrick Bateman teach him nothing? Anyway, the leader, Vince, starts freaking them out, but they're rescued by two handsome strangers who pretend they've been looking for the girls. The greasers back off and walk away. What a disappointment. The guys, Jerry and Marty, take Karen and Ann-Marie to RayJay's, a coffee shop/pizza place because if you're under the age of 18, it's a requirement to eat pizza at least once a week. BY FEDERAL LAW. These assholes already have dates, though, who are waiting for them at the restaurant. The girls, Stephanie and Renee, warm up to the other girls when they hear about what happened on the beach. Later, everyone leaves and Renee grabs Karen's arm in the parking lot to tell her to stay away from Jerry. "I really mean it. Stay away from Jerry." Heard you the first time, pizza breath.

The next day, Jerry and Vince run into each other on the beach, but there's no conflict because Vince is actually a whiny bitch and Jerry is a muscular surfer dude. Renee is sunning herself on a blanket and complaining about how bored she is. Did I mention Renee is a rich, stuck up brat? Because she is. Jerry doesn't want to deal with her bullshit and they have a little argument before Karen and Ann-Marie randomly show up which Renee doesn't like. Karen gushes about Renee's snorkel stuff and that breaks the ice a little. Renee lets Karen use it and they both decide to swim out to a sandbar. When they're pretty far out, Karen surfaces and realizes Renee is far ahead. Then Karen feels something pushing her. It's the current which pushes her into some rocks and slices a hole in her wet suit. She calls for help and Renee, who has surfaced and is only a few yards away, ignores her. Karen realizes Renee probably knew this would happen and deliberately led her out here. The current tosses her into the rocks and she hits her head. Eventually Jerry sees her and swims out. Renee acts shocked when she sees Karen and swims over with Jerry. They drag a now unconscious Karen to the sand where Jerry gives her mouth-to-mouth. This whole thing is like a "very special" episode of Baywatch (minus the heaving jugs). Two Venice policemen show up and Karen explains what happened. Renee is stared at SUSPICIOUSLY but she's only guilty of being a major bitch and that's not in these cops' jurisdiction. A little later, Jerry invites Karen to come to a beach party (some come to party, some come to die...don't forget it!) on Friday night. She agrees, Jerry walks off, and Renee stares at Karen with a creepy grin on her face that can only mean one thing: DEATH BEACH!

That night, Karen whines to Ann-Marie about Renee and how she knows Renee could hear her yelling in the ocean. After they finish eating ice cream, Ann-Marie leaves to buy some milk because ice cream makes her crave milk. Yeah. Anyway, the moment she leaves, Karen gets the obligatory "threatening" phone call: "Stay away from Jerry." Or what? The caller is obviously new at this because they fucking forgot the threat! There must be consequences, creepy caller, if Karen disobeys your stupid commands! Ann-Marie returns a few minutes later and Karen tells her all about the call. Karen thinks it sounded vaguely like her ex-boyfriend Mike. She thinks she saw him on the beach yesterday, but why the hell would he call her about Jerry? The phone rings again and Karen answers it by screaming "Just leave me alone!" into the receiver. The caller turns out to be her dad. Oops. He called to tell her that he and his woman friend won't be back for another week which means Karen and Ann-Marie will be alone and completely vulnerable to the murder that is almost certainly coming their way. Nice timing, Father.

On Thursday afternoon, Ann-Marie is visiting relatives in Burbank so karen goes shopping. She runs into Mike on the sidewalk. "He was wearing white tennis shorts and a T-shirt that proclaimed in big green letters: GUMBY LIVES." Apparently Mike isn't aware that Pokey killed Gumby in a crack-fueled rage before turning his lethal hooves on himself...the day he found out this book was being published.

Never Forget

Mike is described as looking like Jim Belushi which is just so very unfortunate. Mike says he got a job selling T-shirts on the boardwalk. Karen's first thought is that Mike followed her here, but then thinks that's ridiculous. They talk a little and Mike asks her out. She says they're broken up, Mike replies that he thought they were friends, and Karen says that's just something people say. "But no-one ever really stays friends." Mike won't let it drop, but before he can say more, Vince pulls up on his motorcycle and tells Karen to get on. She does and Mike is, of course, furious.

Vince skids to a stop at the Promenade in Santa Monica. Karen says she wants to go home, Vince gets pissed because Karen isn't into him, and they leave. He drives like a maniac until he reaches her apartment where he lets her off with some parting words: "Say hello to your brother." Uhhhh...I'm guessing that's what he thinks Jerry is. Karen goes inside and is shocked to see words spray painted on the door to her apartment. "STAY AWAY FROM JERRY" The paint is fresh so the culprit is nearby...maybe. I don't care about who's doing these things because this person is lame. No originality, no murderous threats. I bet their lips aren't even dry! And that, my friends, is a crime against humanity. Karen enters the apartment and finds Ann-Marie inside. She didn't go see Aunt Freda after all and is blissfully unaware that someone spray painted the door. Karen shows her and says someone really wants to scare her. Ann-Marie's response: "Is it working?" Well, miss, you just shot to the top of the suspect list. And YES, it IS working!

It's now Friday night and Karen is telling Ann-Marie about her wild ride with Vince. Karen is strangely attracted to him even though he's kind of an a-hole. She wants to know why Ann-Marie isn't going to the beach party and Ann-Marie says she's too tired. "Aunt Freda wore me out." Wow. Just...wow. Then Ann-Marie gets all snippy about how Jerry seems into Karen and blah blah blah. Jerry shows up in a van with some other people and Karen leaves with them for the party. They build a fire on the beach and Karen and Jerry enjoy an intimate moment that I didn't want to be privy to. When they come up for air, Karen is shocked to see Renee watching them. Jerry calls Renee over and Karen actually says "We were looking for firewood." Oh Karen. You are truly a comedian...and kind of incredibly stupid. They all walk back to the fire, Renee clinging to Jerry's arm like the bloody little leech she is. A little later, Renee takes Karen aside to tell her an interesting tidbit about Jerry. "He needs special care." Jerry's brother Todd drowned last summer and something in Jerry's brain pan broke a little because he blames himself for Todd's death. Renee says she's only telling Karen this because she and Jerry have been through some hard times and she's not going to let Karen have him that easily.

Later, Karen goes home and Ann-Marie is out. Karen thinks that's a little weird because it's after 1 AM and Ann-Marie was whining about being tired earlier. Karen picks up some of Ann-Marie's laundry off the floor to put in her dresser where she discovers something strange. "It was a can of black spray paint." GASP...and such.

That night, Karen has a nightmare about getting her skin split open on some beach rocks. She wakes soaked in sweat at 7:30 AM and walks to Ann-Marie's room. Ann-Marie wakes up and tells Karen she hung out on Main Street with some people she somehow knows. Then Karen brings up the paint can and Ann-Marie predictably denies that the paint is hers and says she has no idea how it got in her dresser. She changes the subject and asks what they're going to do today. Karen made plans to rollerskate with Jerry so Ann-Marie rolls over and goes back to sleep because she's being ditched by her best friend for a guy they've known for a day. Good times.

Karen is now hanging out on the boardwalk waiting for Jerry who's over half an hour late. Then she sees Mike who hides behind a rack of shirts when he spots her. Jerry shows up a moment later and they skate off into the sun. Goodbye, Mike. You know we can see you, right?

At 9 PM, Karen says she should get home to Ann-Marie, but Jerry doesn't want her to go so they make out instead. FINALLY she goes home. Ann-Marie is gone and left a note saying she's out with friends. Karen crawls into bed...and jumps out screaming. She turns on the light and sees that the bed is full of jellyfish. "When Ann-Marie walked in a few seconds later, Karen was still screaming." The girls stay up all night. Ann-Marie keeps saying Renee has to be doing all these things even though all signs point to ANN-MARIE, JELLY LOVER.

In the morning, Karen walks to Renee's house to confront her. Except she can't because Renee is lying on the kitchen floor, dead as a doornail. Karen ends up at the police station waiting to be questioned. She called the LAPD immediately after finding Renee. Jerry has already been questioned and it's currently Ann-Marie's turn. Karen's mom is also there. Finally Karen is questioned and she keeps the jellyfish and black paint to herself. 20 minutes later, it's all over and Karen's mom wants Karen to come home with her. Karen refuses because she wants to make sure Jerry is ok. Barf. Karen and Ann-Marie are walking home when a girl claiming to be Jerry's sister pops out of nowhere, asks "Are you Karen?", and proceeds to beg Karen to stay away from Jerry before running away. Since Karen is an imbecile, she will do no such thing. Once they reach the apartment building, Jerry appears out of nowhere (are he and his sister magicians?). Karen mentions his sister and he says he doesn't have a sister. Of course. OF COURSE he doesn't! Why? Because it's Stine's way to make things as unnecessarily complicated as possible. The madness has descended!

On Sunday night, Jerry, Karen, and Ann-Marie are at RayJay's. They're eating pizza (do I even need to say it?) and talking about Renee. Jerry admits he intially thought Renee killed herself instead of being brutally murdered because she knew he was going to break up with her. Because you're so great, eh, Jerry? I spit on you and the ancestors from whose loins you were spawned, you self-absorbed twat. Anyway, Karen notices Mike looking through the window at them. Karen goes outside and Mike runs away because apparently that's literally the only thing he knows how to do.

The next afternoon, Ann-Marie goes for a walk and Karen suns herself on the beach. Vince shows up and he and Karen take a walk together. She asks questions about the police questioning him and blah blah. Then Vince grabs her and kisses her hard. She's confused and torn because of her feelings for both Vince and Jerry so she just walks back to her blanket. She finds a piece of paper stuck inside the blanket that has the words "STAY AWAY FROM JERRY" typed on it over and over. Seriously? Are we STILL doing this? Obviously the passive aggressive bullshit doesn't work with this chick, mysterious weirdo. Get a new M.O. or please feel free to fall off the face of the earth.  A second later, Karen applies some sunscreen and screams in horrible pain at the burning sensation.

At the doctor's office, Karen is treated for burns that resulted from the hydrochloric acid someone dumped in her bottle of sunscreen. She doesn't want the doctor to call the police or her parents because that would be the SMART thing to do and Karen is an idiot with a death wish. So she flees the doctor's office and once outside, comes upon Vince who waited after dropping her off on his motorcycle. As he drives her home, Karen wonders if Ann-Marie could be behind all this. HMM! When they arrive at the apartment, she sees Mike running out the door and away. Are you kidding me? Karen goes inside and finds Ann-Marie behind a chair. She says she was looking for her necklace, but she's bright red and looks like a liar. Karen brings up Mike and Ann-Marie looks embarrassed and says they've been seeing each other. She was never with "friends", she was always with Mike. Karen finds this hilarious because she was beginning to suspect them both of being psychotic maniacs! What a hoot! The phone rings a moment later and Karen answers. It's the girl who claims to be Jerry's sister so Karen hangs up on her.

It's now Friday afternoon and Karen is with Jerry at the beach. They're about to go snorkeling since that worked out so well last time. There are a ton of people around because it's a beach party. Yes, a BEACH PARTY so someone is gonna die. Right? Just let me believe. Karen and Jerry swim out a few yards, but Karen's burnt shoulder and hand start to hurt so she asks Jerry to help her to shore. "I'm not Jerry. I'm Todd." Aaaand we come to the end of the fuckery maze. Jerry is completely insane because he blames himself for Todd's death. He killed Renee because she was too close to Jerry (who now thinks he is Todd) and now he has to kill Karen for the same reason. He says "Jerry is bad." before grabbing Karen's snorkel mask and throwing it away. He swims off as Karen starts to go under.

Somehow Karen manages to get back to shore, though, where Vince helps her out the water. Jerry's sister runs up and asks where Jerry is. She explains that Jerry shut the rest of his family out and thinks he has no family. The three run off to search for Jerry who is close by. He's behaving normally now and allows his sister to lead him away. He tells Karen he'll call her later. Karen asks Vince if he's really someone she can lean on and he picks her up and carries her across the sand like a hero in a movie no-one ever wanted to see.

Conclusion?: This has got to be the dullest thing R.L. Stine has ever written. EVER. My brain cells are dropping like flies...

Next time: "Trapped" Shadyside High's nutty answer to The Breakfast Club.



Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Beach Party Rising

We will continue with our regularly scheduled programming soon with a review (if you can call what I do here "reviewing") of the illustrious, internationally praised Beach Party.


Some come to die indeed.

Friday, August 10, 2012

THE HORROR! (Part 2)

Seconds later, two women came running into the room from different directions. Ms. Hagen, who had just gotten home, and the other woman, who neither Derek nor Margot recognized, both ran towards the now bleeding and crying girl on the floor. The plump man stooped before her, now drawing his hand away as he saw that it had apparently terrified the girl.

“What is going on?” Ms. Hagen demanded in both fear and shock as she examined Margot’s hand. The teenager winced, but allowed her mother to pick a tiny fleck of glass from the red skin.

“Who are these people?” Derek demanded, still hiding behind the table. “He attacked us!”

The woman, who Margot decided was one of those women who looked a lot older than she really was, turned her attention to Derek, who instinctively crab walked away from her. A grandmotherly smile appeared on her face. “Oh, dear, I guess we haven’t been introduced properly, have we?” she asked.

Neither Margot nor Derek answered her, but stared at her disbelievingly.

“I’m Mrs. Nordstrom, the housekeeper, and this is the handyman, Mr. Hankers. We were hired by Mr. Lurie to keep the house looking nice until the movie starts being filmed later in the year. We met your mother the first time she visited the house, and well, I assumed she’d told you about us.”

Margot looked to Derek who looked to Ms. Hagen with a questioning glare on his face. “Well?” He asked.
Ms. Hagen shrugged innocently. “I guess it must have slipped my mind. I’ve been so busy looking for a house that I really must have forgotten to tell you.”

Mrs. Nordstrom opened one of the cabinets above the oven and pulled out a box of bandages that looked as if they had been there for a long time. She blew a layer of dust from atop the box and opened them, pulling one out. As she kneeled down in front of Margot, taking her cut hand in her own, she said “You might want to have a doctor look at this, but this bandage will do for now.”

Margot nodded almost suspiciously.

“Mr. Hankers, could you get me the hydrogen peroxide from the bathroom?” Mrs. Nordstrom asked as Hankers nodded and dashed off towards the bathroom. Moments later, he returned with a half-full bottle in his hand.

“You seem to really know your way around the place.” Margot pointed out as Mrs. Nordstrom wiped at the bleeding cut. Nordstrom hesitated only briefly, breaking eye contact with Margot and focusing on the bandage she was now applying. “Oh, well, Mr. Hankers and I have both worked at this house for a very long time. 99 Fear Street and I go way back.”

“So you know about all the horrible stuff that happened here?” Margot asked, not backing down. Mrs. Nordstrom stood, helping Margot back to her feet as well. Mr. Hankers cleaned up the mess around them as Mrs. Nordstrom seemingly ignored Margot’s question. “She’s as good as new. I doubt she’ll need stitches, but like I said, a doctor may want to look at the cut. Now, if you don’t mind, I’d like to get back to polishing the banister.”

Ms. Hagen nodded as Nordstrom scurried out of the room like a rat and disappeared around the corner. Ms. Hagen then turned to her daughter with a questioning look on her face. “What are you talking about, Margot? What horrible stuff?”

Margot paused. “Derek and I met a boy when we were walking Rupert. He told us about all kinds of weird stuff that has happened here in the past few years. People died here, Mom.”

“Margot!” Ms. Hagen said in disbelief. “Your brother is going to get scared again.”

“It’s all true! You can ask Parker yourself… since I asked him over for dinner.”

Ms. Hagen rolled her eyes, knowing full-well why her daughter had invited Parker over for dinner. She shook her head, unable to suppress a small laugh. “Derek, set an extra place at the dining table. And I guess I should get to cooking then.”

Margot smiled and turned to leave the room, stepping carefully over the pile of broken glass that Mr. Hankers swept silently.

An hour later the doorbell rang and Margot leapt in front of Mrs. Nordstrom before she could open the door. The woman stepped back, surprised by being cut off, and raised her hands in defeat as Margot pulled the front door open with a smile.

“Hi,” she said to Parker, who stood before her. His face had a nervous smile on it and he seemed hesitant to enter the house. He let out a small laugh and scratched the back of his head as Mrs. Nordstrom walked away from the couple. “I have to admit, I almost chickened out.” He said. “And I’ll honestly say I wasn’t expecting you to have a housekeeper.”

Margot turned to lead Parker towards the dining room where her mother had prepared a delicious meal with what little supplies they had in the house. This meant that they would be dining on a fine dinner of spaghetti, pasta sauce, and oven-heated dinner rolls. “There’s a handyman, too. They kind of came with the house.” She stated nonchalantly.

After Margot had introduced Parker to her mother and reintroduced him to Derek, the three four sat down at the dining table, digging into their spaghetti. At first, they made small talk, but seemed to quickly run out of trivial things to discuss after Parker asked what had happened to Margot’s bandaged hand. She quickly told the story and then changed the subject just as fast.

“So, is there anything else you haven’t told us about the house?” She was smiling widely at Parker. He thought for a moment, shaking his head. “I think I've told you the worst of it.” Derek instinctively let out a sigh and sat back in his chair, relieved. “But, I guess I didn’t tell you how it all started. I mean, none of the horrible stuff would have happened if it weren’t for the guy who had the house built.”

Ms. Hagen took a drink from her wine glass and sat it back down. “How do you know all this, Parker?”
“Well, Ms. Hagen, this house has become a legend in Shadyside. Everyone knows its history and how it’s… well, how it’s cursed. That is everyone except for new people in town like you.”

She nodded, choosing to accept this as a reasonable answer and motioned for Parker to continue his story. As much as she didn’t believe a word coming out of his mouth, she had been intrigued from the start and didn’t want him to end his campfire tales.

“This house is built on an old graveyard,” Parker began as Margot, Derek, and Ms. Hagen watched him intently. “They were such old graves that the guy who had the house built, had it built on top of them instead of moving them. Now, there are dozens of coffins just six feet under this house’s foundation and the spirits who they belong to are not too happy about it.”

“So, has bad stuff been happening here since this place was built back in the sixties?” Derek asked, twirling his fork in the plate of pasta before him.

“Oh yeah, the first family never even moved in. The man left his wife and kids for just a minute and when he came back… that was it, they were all dead. The story says that their heads had been ripped from their bodies. Mr. Lurie couldn’t handle that, so he killed himself right in that front room.” Parker finished, pointing over Ms. Hagen’s shoulder to the foyer.

Ms. Hagen choked on her wine and cleared her throat loudly. “What did you say the name was?”
“The people who had this house built? They were the Lurie family.”

“Mom, what is it?” Margot asked, examining her mother’s concerned and surprised expression. Ms. Hagen shook her head and smiled calmly. “It’s nothing, Margot, just a coincidence. The realtor who offered the house to us for the weekend was named Mr. Lurie.” As she spoke, Ms. Hagen stood from her seat and carried her empty plate into the kitchen. She called back to the dining room loud enough for everyone to hear, “I’m sure it’s just a distant relative of the man who had this house built thirty years ago.”

A look of concern washed over Parker’s face as Margot shrugged to him, silently asking what was wrong. “No one with the last name Lurie has lived in Shadyside since that happened. As far as I know, there are no other Luries.” He whispered to her across the table. Before Margot could answer, a shriek rang out from the kitchen, causing both Margot and Parker to leap from their seats and exit the room, leaving Derek frozen, terrified in his seat.

“Mom, what is it?” Margot asked as she stood behind her mother, peering over her shoulder. Ms. Hagen didn’t have to answer though, as a loud gurgling noise erupted from the faucet where what could only be described as rancid, green slime poured into the sink, covering the plate Ms. Hagen had just been eating off of.

“What is it?” Ms. Hagen cried, covering her nose and mouth with her hand.

“It smells like sour milk!” Parker called out, his face contorting as the smell invaded his nostrils.

“Turn is off! Turn it off!” Margot commanded, reaching for the faucet. She pulled her arm back quickly as the slime popped and fizzled, barely missing her arm as some seemingly leapt from the sink.

“It is off!” Ms. Hagen yelled.

The commotion went on for several more minutes as the trio tried to think of a way to make the sludge stop spraying from the faucet. The sink was backing up quickly and it wouldn’t be long before the goo was overflowing onto the counter and dripping onto the floor. It didn’t take long for them to realize that there was nothing they could do and that this might have been a job even too big for Mr. Hankers.

“Leave it! We’ll call a plumber!” Ms. Hagen bellowed, taking several steps away from the sink.
The three of them found themselves back in the dining room as Margot closed the door leading into the kitchen, hoping to block the putrid smell and noise of the groaning kitchen pipes that seemed to block out every other sound around them.

Ms. Hagen slumped into her chair and wiped a bead of sweat from her brow. “What would cause something like that?”

Parker, breathing heavily, shook his head at her. “It’s the house. The house is doing this!”

“Parker,” Ms. Hagen began. “Your stories were creepy and fun, but it’s just a house. Nothing like that can really happen. I’m sure there’s a logical explanation for everything that has happened here over the years… If any of the stories are even true.” However, Ms. Hagen seemed to question her own answer as she looked back at the kitchen door, where green slime was slowly beginning to seep out from under the closed doorway.

The group decided to move into the living room where Ms. Hagen could call a plumber, but stopped as a whole before exiting the dining room.

“Mom, where’s Derek?” Margot asked, noticing that his seat was empty, the chair lying on its side on the floor.

Before Ms. Hagen could come up with a fitting answer, a shrill, boy-like scream rang out through the house, sending chills down everyone’s spines. Ms. Hagen’s eyes went wide as she realized that the cry could only belong to one person, Derek.

The group ran into the foyer of the house, looking around for any sign of Derek and trying to place where the scream had actually come from. The house had two main floors, an attic, and a basement, meaning that Derek could be crying out from any of them. He was nowhere to be found and had yet to make another noise.

Ms. Hagen brought her hand to her mouth in fear. “Where is he?” She pleaded.

The house seemed to moan and creek around them, as if alive.

Another scream rang out, matching the one that had happened first. It sounded as if it were coming from the basement, whose door was standing ajar across the room. Out of pure instinct, Ms. Hagen, Margot, and Parker ran to the basement steps and trudged down them, ignoring the fact that they very well could have been marching to their immediate deaths for all they knew.

As they reached the bottom of the stairs, Ms. Hagen glanced around the dark room for any sign of her son. The room seemed to be empty, but it was too dark to tell. Margot reached for the light switch on the wall and flicked it on, illuminating the area in a soft orange glow.

What they saw terrified them, freezing them in a pose of shock and horror. Derek stood in the center of the room, and though he was not dead, as Ms. Hagen had half-expected him to be, he was surrounded by dozens of large, furry, hissing rats. His hand covered his mouth to keep him from crying out again and tears streamed down his cheeks.

“Derek!” Margot cried out, not daring to leave the bottom step out of fear that the rats would attack her or even her little brother for that matter. As of right now, the rodents seemed content, sniffing Derek and occasionally nibbling at his shoelaces.

Suddenly, loud bangs became to clamor through the house above them as if cannons were going off in the hallways. Ms. Hagen, Margot, and Parker all instinctively ducked as clouds of dust began to fall from the ceiling above them.

“This house is evil!” Parker cried, taking a step backwards on the stairs, back towards the main floor.
Margot turned to him and cried out, “Please, wait! We have to get Derek!”

Parker shook his head as he turned to run the rest of the way up the stairs. From the landing, he called down to Margot, “I’m not staying here! I’m not dying here like Cally, Brandt, and all the others! Forget this!”

And before Margot could beg him to stay, Parker was gone, vanishing from sight as he dashed off towards the front door of the house. Above them, as Ms. Hagen attempted to slowly walk her way towards Derek and the crowed of rats surrounding him, Margot could hear the banging grow louder and louder until another shrill scream rang through the house, this one almost definitely belonging to Parker. He cried out once more as the sound of shattering glass and breaking furniture filled their ears, and then all was silent.

As the noise ceased, even the rats seemed to calm down and back away from Derek, as if frightened of what was going on around them, as if they had been a trance the entire time.

Ms. Hagen took this lull in action as an opportunity to grab her son by the arm and lead him out of the basement and onto the stairs, where the three of them climbed to the main floor, hoping for safety.

“What happened here?” Ms. Hagen inquired as she took in the view around her. The living room had been seemingly ripped to shreds by an unseen force and blood was now splattered on the once-clean walls. Though no one would say it out loud, they all knew the blood belonged to Parker.

The entire house seemed to vibrate around them with a force more powerful than anything Margot had ever imagined. Pictures fell from the walls, the glass frames shattering amongst the already ruined furniture. The chandelier in the foyer swung to and fro as if strong winds were sweeping through the house. The green slime had now built up so much pressure against the kitchen door that it had buckled, allowing putrid green gunk to flow into the dining room.

“We have to get out of here before it’s too late for all of us!” Margot shouted as the banging noises returned with ferocity. She took her mother by the hand and began to walk towards the front door.

“What about your friend?” Ms. Hagen asked with a look of shock on her face.

Margot gestured towards the blood-stained living room and briefly considered the fact that though it seemed likely that Parker had been ripped to pieces in the room, there was no body to speak of, meaning there was a small chance he was still alive.

Before speaking, she turned to the main staircase, terrified by what she saw. Walking down the stairs towards them were several transparent people, all in various stages of gore. In the back of the crowd were Mr. Hankers and Mrs. Nordstrom, splattered with blood and smiling wildly. In front of them was Mr. Lurie, the realtor, or more accurately the original owner of 99 Fear Street, his neck bruised and a noose resting against his shoulder. Next to Mr. Lurie was a bloody, eviscerated mess that Margot could only assume had once been Parker. And in the very front of the pack was a young woman who Margot had never seen before. She had long blonde hair and wore an angry yet satisfied expression on her face. Cally Frazier.

“We leave now.” Margot commanded, reaching behind her for the doorknob and practically pushing her mother and brother onto the front lawn of the house. She then toppled onto the ground next to them as she lost her footing.

The air around them was cool and a slight breeze ran through the night as Margot pulled herself to her feet, breathing heavily. Ms. Hagen did the same, stopping to help Derek up, who seemed more in shock than any of them.

Margot expected the house to be crumbling in front of her, but was surprised to see that it looked exactly the same is it did when they had arrived earlier that day. No one could have guessed that only moments before, the house itself seemed to have come alive and chaotic destruction had ensued within its walls.

“What now?” Margot asked.

Ms. Hagen took a few steps towards the old Plymouth and fished around in her jeans pockets for her car keys. She pulled them out and dangled them in front of her two children who stumbled and limped towards the vehicle.

Once safely inside the Plymouth, Ms. Hagen started the ignition and buckled her seatbelt, smiling slightly.
“I hear there are some nice houses in Waynesbridge.” She said as they pulled out of the driveway and left 99 Fear Street behind them forever.

Saturday, July 28, 2012

THE HORROR! (Part 1)

 99 Fear Street: The House of Evil (The Second-and-a-half Horror)

A continuation of the 99 Fear Street: The House of Evil trilogy by R.L. Stine

By Christopher P. Waltz


*Note: The following takes place between the events of R.L. Stine’s The Second Horror and The Third Horror and is purely a work of imaginative fiction based on Stine’s works. This story does not fall into an official continuity in the 99 Fear Street: The House of Evil saga.*

1994

Margot stepped out of her mother’s beat up old Plymouth and stared at the house before her. It, like most of the other houses on Fear Street, had once been nice, but suffered neglect over the years and now seemed more creepy and menacing than anything. It wasn’t hard to believe though, as the realtor, Mr. Lurie, had told them that the house’s previous tenants had stayed only a short time, and the family’s stay before them had been even shorter.

Of course, this wasn’t the house they were moving into, just the one they were renting for the weekend while they tried to find a reasonably priced house in Shadyside. Aside from Fear Street, most of the rest of the town seemed pretty normal. And as long as they escaped all the scrutiny they’d faced in Edgetown, Margot didn’t care where they lived.

“Home sweet home?” Margot’s mother, Sharon, asked as she stood behind her awe-struck daughter.

“Hardly, but I guess it beats being called slasher-chick at school.” Margot answered, flipping her hair over her shoulder and glaring back at her mom, who answered her sarcasm with a saddened smiled.

Though no one in Shadyside knew, Margot Hagen’s family had become front-page news when her uncle decided to go on a homicidal rampage, stalking and murdering several teenage babysitters in their sleepy town. And while Margot hadn’t even spoken to her uncle in several years, not since his daughter had died, having the same last name had sealed the deal and she and her little brother, Derek, had been tormented in school so badly that their mother had made the decision to move halfway across the country to help them escape it.

“You won’t have to worry about any of that here,” Ms. Hagen said, squeezing Margot’s shoulder. Derek, who was eleven, ran past them excitedly and began peering through the house’s dust-covered windows. “What do you think you’re doing?”

“I want to see inside!” Derek called back, his hands still cupped over his eyes as he stared into the house. Moments later, he leapt back from the glass, almost toppling over his own feet, and let out a frightened yelp.

“What is wrong with you?” Margot asked. She was an average-looking girl with shoulder-length brown hair and hazel eyes. And while she hadn’t been the most popular girl at her old school, she had decided that missing her best friends June and Gwen was going to be the worst part of leaving Edgetown behind forever. At least in Shadyside, she might be able to meet a nice boy who didn’t have to worry about her insane uncle trying to kill him if he got too close to her.

“I… I saw someone inside.” Derek gasped, backing away from the window even further and glancing over his shoulder to his mother and sister. “There was a girl inside. She walked right past the window!”

Ms. Hagen let out a slightly annoyed laugh at her son. “Derek, no one is inside. All the doors are locked and we can’t even get in until Mr. Lurie shows up with the spare key.”

“No, I saw her, I swear!” Derek cried out, but Ms. Hagen paid him no attention as Mr. Lurie seemingly appeared out of nowhere, walking up the Fear Street sidewalk towards the family, dangling a set of keys in between his fingers.

“Good afternoon, Mr. Lurie.” Ms. Hagen said, shaking his free hand smiling at the aging man. “Thanks for bringing the keys by on a Saturday. I can’t believe I forgot to take them when we talked last week.”

Mr. Lurie smiled, his lips curling over his teeth. “It’s not a problem! 99 Fear Street and I go way back, and it’s my pleasure to help you out while you look for the perfect house right here in Shadyside.”

Margot turned away so that neither Mr. Lurie nor her mother could see her rolling her eyes. She knew full-well that as soon as her family left, a film crew would be setting up shop in the house, getting last minute details laid out for the horror movie that was to be filmed in the house a few months later. Lurie had sealed the deal with the production company and the real estate office, meaning that he would be making more than a pretty penny from the rental. Why else would he have helped her mother rent the house for a weekend at such a cheap price?

As Mr. Lurie and Ms. Hagen continued to exchange pleasantries, Margot made her way to the car and opened the back door and letting her golden retriever, Rupert, out to explore. As the dog started to trot away, she grabbed his leash from her pocket and hooked it onto his collar.

“Derek, want to come with me while I walk Rupert? It might be fun to explore the town.” Margot called to her brother as he continued to stare at the house as if studying it intensely. Margot stepped forward and bent down to eye level with Derek, snapping her fingers in front of his face. He snapped out of his apparent trance, startled.

“What?” He asked.
“I’m taking Rupert for a walk. Let’s go.”

Several minutes later the two were walking through the middle of town, taking in the sights and realizing how similar Shadyside was to every other town they’d ever been in when Derek let out an elongated sigh, catching Margot’s attention. Though the two were six years apart in age, they got along pretty well for brother and sister.

“What is it?” Margot asked, knowing she would regret it as soon as the words had passed her lips.

Derek hesitated as if her knew what he was about to say was ridiculous and impossible, but he answered anyway. “I really did see someone in the house when I was peeking inside.”
“Derek…” Margot began.

“No, I swear! It was a girl with long blonde hair! She went right past the window and looked right at me!” He argued, raising his voice. “She smiled at me, Mar!”

Margot was at a loss for words, as she knew there was no such thing as ghosts. But at the same time, why would Derek make something like this up? It was possible that he didn’t want to make the move to Shadyside, but that seemed pretty farfetched since he had been as much a victim of bullying back home as she had.

She put her hand on Derek’s head and ruffled his shaggy hair, smiling at him. “Even if you did see some kind of spook, we are only staying in the house for two nights and then heading back home until we move. You have nothing to worry about.”

“You promise?” He asked, contemplating her words.

“Yes, I promise.”

The two turned to continue walking but stopped immediately as they discovered a guy, about Margot’s age, standing in front of them. He looked at them suspiciously and bent down to pet Rupert. He had long blonde hair and piercing blue eyes; if these were the kind of guys that lived in Shadyside, Margot found herself suddenly more eager to move than she had been before.

“Nice dog,” He said nonchalantly. “’I’m Parker.”

Margot let out a nervous laugh. “I’m Margot and this is my little brother, Derek.”

“No offense, but this is a pretty small town and I don’t think I know you. Are you new around here?”

“Not yet,” Margot joked as Derek rolled his eyes. “We’re just visiting for the weekend while our mom looks for a house to move into. We should be moving into town within a month or two though.”

An expression of understanding appeared on Parker’s face as he crossed his arms over his chest almost nervously, breaking eye contact with Margot and now focusing on almost anything but her. With his eyes staring firmly at a nearby tree, he asked “Are you the folks staying at 99 Fear Street?”

Derek spoke up before Margot could rationalize how Parker knew this about them. “Yeah, we’re staying at that haunted old dump.” Rupert let out a low bark as if to agree with the statement.

Parker didn’t speak, but continued to stare at the tree. Margot waved her hand in front of him and he once again focused on her. “Is there a problem?” Her voice came out a little more condescending than she’d intended, a problem Margot had encountered more than once in her life. “I mean, my brother’s been acting a little silly since we got into town. He thinks the house is haunted and that he saw some kind of ghost-girl through the window.”

Parker didn’t seem shocked at all by the comment and only nodded his head.

“What, you don’t actually think it’s haunted too, do you?” Margot prodded. “It’s a creepy house, but most of the houses on that street look like they could use some TLC.”

“Yeah, Fear Street had a bit of a reputation in Shadyside. But that aside, 99 Fear Street has more than a reputation; it has a legacy.”

“What are you talking about?” Derek asked, both frightened and interested.

Parker continued even though Margot’s expression said she wasn’t buying it. “That ghost girl you saw was probably Cally Frazier. The house was empty for thirty years until earlier this year when the Fraziers moved in. They seemed like a perfect little family with a mom, dad, twin daughters, and a little boy, but things started turning really weird, really fast. I didn’t know the twins well, but rumors spread around school fast that something bad was going on in the house. And no one can say for sure, but one day, the whole family just packed up and left,” Parker hesitated now, letting the story sink in for Margot and Derek. “Only, when they left, Mr. Frazier was blind, Mrs. Frazier had a broken arm, and they left without Cally and the little brother.”

Margot scoffed and threw her arms into the air, aggravated. “Do you really expect us to believe this, Parker?”

“It’s all true, Margot. You can ask anyone in this town what they think of 99 Fear Street and they will tell you that it’s a house of evil.”

Margot had had enough, beginning to lead both Rupert and Derek away, but Parker’s voice stopped them again. “It didn’t stop with the Frazier family, you know. Crazy, evil stuff kept happening when the next family moved in a few months later. My ex-girlfriend Meg almost died when she was visiting the guy who lived there. She got impaled by some tribal hunting spear and almost bled to death. She said something evil was in the house.”

“So what happened to this next family, Parker?” Margot asked.

“Yeah, what happened?” Derek chimed in, his voice cracking slightly.

Parker let out a sigh and shuffled his feet momentarily. “Basically the same thing happened to them as what happened to the Fraziers. They moved out a few weeks later, but without their son.” Parker paused for a moment, letting Margot and Derek take in the information. Neither of them seemed as skeptical as before. “The rumor is that he died in the house, just like Cally and her brother. Of course, no one can prove it.”

Rupert tugged at his leash, snapping Margot out of her thoughts. “We really need to get going. But if you wanted to tell us a little more about the house, you could stop by for dinner. I don’t think our mom would mind.”

Parker hesitated, running his hand through his thick, blonde hair and letting out a nervous laugh. He’d never been inside 99 Fear Street and honestly had never wanted to experience the house for himself. After all, ghost stories were only fun when they happened to other people.

“What’s wrong?” Margot asked. “Are you scared?”

Not wanting to seem like a scaredy-cat, Parker scoffed at Margot’s question. “I’m in. I’ll come by the house around seven, if that’s okay with you.”

“Of course it is. Do you need directions?”

Parker shook his head. “No, everyone in Shadyside knows where 99 Fear Street is.”

Moments later, Margot and Derek were on their way back to the house while Parker was walking in the opposite direction. It had become suddenly overcast, though the weather report on the radio had called for sunny skies. The wind picked up and Margot found herself thinking about the things Parker had told them about the house. Was it possible that something had caused terrible things to happen to the people who had lived there before? And if not, what had actually happened to Meg, Parker’s ex-girlfriend?

“You’re being really quiet,” Derek said as they walked towards the front door of the house. By the looks of things, their mother was still out looking for a house. Yet, when the duo came to the door, Margot quickly noticed that it was not only unlocked, but standing just slightly ajar.

Margot couldn’t help but think about her crazy uncle in Edgetown and instinctively stopped Derek from walking into the house before her. “Wait here,” She said in a stern and serious voice.

Before Margot was three steps into the house, Derek stepped in behind her. “No way; I’m staying with you.”

Though they would only be staying in the house for two nights, it had been completely furnished, complete with beds. Margot wasn’t sure if it was furniture left behind by the previous owners, since they supposedly left in such a hurry, or if it was new furniture that had been moved in by the movie production crew. The movie wasn’t set to start filming for another couple of months, but Margot didn’t know how soon they started getting things ready beforehand.

As they stepped through the house, nothing seemed out of place. The house was in need of some repairs, but both kids could tell that it had been very nice at some point in time. Perhaps, thirty years ago, it had been the nicest house on Fear Street, or maybe even in Shadyside, but now the wallpaper was peeling back and a musky basement smell had overtaken the entire first floor. Margot didn’t want to think about what the second floor smelled like.

“Maybe mom left the door open. Maybe she didn’t want us to get locked out.” Derek shrugged, still holding onto the back of Margot’s sweater.

“You’re probably right,” she agreed.

Just as Margot turned to walk towards the kitchen, she and Derek both heard a creaking noise coming from behind them. Margot was about to pretend as if she hadn’t heard anything, but Derek froze, making eye contact with her and refusing to break it. His eyes were wide and frightened, as if he suddenly remembered that even if their mom had left the door open, he had still seen something, or someone, when he was peeking through the windows.

“What was that?” Derek asked in a hushed voice as if it would keep the blonde ghost-girl from knowing where he was in the house.

Margot’s mouth gaped slightly in disbelief. “It sounded like a door opening… or maybe closing. Let’s just go into the kitchen and get something to drink. We’re just overreacting because of the stories Parker told us.”

Derek was less than convinced, but followed his older sister into the kitchen where she went to the fridge and asked him what he wanted to drink. His options were limited though, as they had only brought with them enough food to get through the weekend.

“Pepsi or Coke?” Margot asked, peering into the fridge. “And let me give you a hint: Pepsi.” Derek laughed at her as she tossed him the glass bottle and closed the fridge door. However, the bottle slipped from between Derek’s fingers and crashed onto the kitchen floor, shattering into thousands of tiny, sharp shards and sending soda across the entire room. Margot groaned, ignoring the look of horror on Derek’s face as she reached for a towel that had been laying on the counter. “Way to go, doofus! This is going to take forever to clean up!”

Derek remained speechless, but managed to point his finger directly behind Margot. His expression of terror took his sister by surprise as she quickly spun around to see what had caused it.

Behind her stood a short, plump, bearded man in coveralls who had seemingly appeared out of nowhere. Letting out a yelp, Margot threw herself backwards, slipping on the spilled Pepsi, and came crashing violently to the floor. She let out another, slightly more agonizing scream as the palm of her hand made contact with several shards of broken soda bottle.

The man stepped forward, without words, and reached his large, dirty hands toward her as she let out another scream. Derek instinctively dove behind the kitchen table and covered his eyes. The last thing he wanted to see was his older sister getting dragged helplessly into the basement by an overweight bumpkin of a ghost.

To be continued...

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Guest Post #5: Drucilla (Redux)

Hello again! Thanks for the comments on my last guest post. While I was writing my first post, I kept getting ideas of other articles I wanted to write. This is one of them. These are my opinions not this website’s. Do not bash this blog if you don’t agree with me. With this guest post rather than my last one, I’m hoping to encourage more discussion. It would be awesome if someone else did a guest post agreeing or disagreeing with me. As before, my guest blog won’t be hilarious or awesome, but the real blog is and I can’t wait to read more of it.

R.L. Stine’s Fear Street Favs VS. Reader’s Reality…Ding, Ding!

Towards the beginning of this year, R. L. Stine created a Fear Street section on his website. On the page, he added his top eight favorite Fear Street books. Here’s the link to the page in question: http://rlstine.com/fear-street/. I was especially excited to see his favorites as I had been reading and re-reading the original Fear Street series over the past couple of months. For this guest blog post, I will look at each of his favorites, why they’re his favorites, and compare them to a reader’s perspective. There will probably be spoilers and I’m going to assume you know the basic story. I’m linking to this blog’s review/recap when I can so you can refresh your memory if you want. One more thing, if a book has sequels or is part of a trilogy, I’m assuming, for the most part, that Stine is referring to all of them. However, I will address the first book vs. its series in my analysis (yeah, right. Like any of this was done in an analytical way). As I said previously, I hope you guys will join me and discuss whether you agree with his favorites or not.

Silent Night
Silent Night 2
Silent Night 3




Silent Night chronicles ultimate mean girl Reva Dalby. Stine says that he loved writing this character because of her biting dialogue and mean attitude. As an author, it may be fun to write, but as a reader, it is annoying and frustrating to read. Main characters are supposed to be likable and if they’re not, they usually become so over the course of the book. Normally when we have a character as mean spirited as Reva, something bad happens to them as punishment. Throughout this book, we as readers are hoping and praying that Reva is killed or at least punished severely. This is one of only a few Fear Street books where we actually cheer the killer on. Well, I guess you can’t accuse Stine of following the masses. We are subsequently disappointed not once, but three times! Not only are we disappointed in that respect, but we end up reading the same book three times because, even though Reva says she’ll change, she never does. You’ve had at least three people try to kill you because you’re a bitch, maybe you should examine your life (again).

However, if we assume that Stine just meant the first Silent Night and not any of its sequels, I can see why it might be a favorite of his. He gets to have his cake and eat it too. He can write a horribly mean character and have her survive, but, at the end, it’s ok because she said she’ll change. And if we ignore the sequels, who’s to say she doesn’t?

The New Girl

There’s really not much to say for this book. The New Girl has the distinction of being the first published Fear Street novel. It’s interesting looking back because, nowadays, Cory would be considered a stalker and a dangerous one at that. I would have preferred it to actually be a paranormal story and not the same old crazy chick story, but it’s a decent, if somewhat repeated, Fear Street cliché. Stine says he loved the story, though, and I can see why he chose it to inaugurate the Fear Street series.

Switched

In an interesting turn of events, while Switched is this blog’s favorite Fear Street book, it’s probably my least favorite. This should be interesting. Stine says on his site that not many people mention this book to him…that’s probably because this book is TERRIBLE! He says he’s proud of the twisty and clever plot. Stine may be proud of it, but from where I’m standing it looks like he threw every plot device and writers convenience into it (everything but the kitchen sink, of course). While keeping your readers guessing isn’t a bad thing, keeping them guessing for the sake of keeping them guessing is. This book is just one of the (quite a) few Fear Street books where the ending twist actually makes the book worse. If it had just stuck to what the plot appeared to be, it would have been a much better and interesting book.

Fear Street Saga: The Betrayal- review/recap coming soon (I’m sure)


The original Fear Street Saga is great. I agree with Stine on this. Every reader loves back story and I love that we get an explanation why all of this stuff happens on Fear street. The trilogy is consistent and, frankly, is a good story. It’s horror, but underscored with a profound sense of tragedy. He says he loved going back to witch burning times and I think he nailed it. If Stine only considers The Betrayal one of his favorites, then I can only guess that it’s because the first one in the series has sentimental value, because the other books in the trilogy stand up to scrutiny as well. However, I can’t just let this examination end on a high note so let’s welcome Fear Street Sagas.

The Fear Street Sagas chronicle more of the Fear street curse and its repercussions down through the generations. I understand the idea behind the series and actually like that idea. It’s a way to give the readers more of what they want and to milk the Fear Street brand for all it’s worth. In the interest of full disclosure, I have actually only read two of the Sagas series, but, unfortunately, one of them was the VERY FIRST ONE. Now, this series is on R.L. Stine’s complete book list so one would assume he wrote it, but the savvy Stine fan knows that he (or more likely the publishing company) employs ghost writers occasionally. However, it is my (perhaps naive) belief that R.L. Stine did write the original Fear Street and Super Chiller books and if he didn’t, then I don’t want to know. *sticks tongue out* This favorites list actually helps me out because I don’t think he would pick a book he didn’t write and if Stine could write a terrible book like Switched and a really good book like The Betrayal, then who knows which books he wrote himself (besides the copyright page, of course)? Why do I bring this up? Because it’s clear from the VERY FIRST BOOK that whoever wrote it didn’t read the last book in the Fear Street Saga, The Burning. It clearly states that Nora and Daniel go to see Simon right after they are married. Unless they consummated their marriage on horseback or in the carriage, THERE COULDN’T HAVE BEEN A CHILD! I’d like to think that Stine would at least have re-read his work before starting on this new Sagas series so I’m going to say this series was ghost written.

Ok, now is the part where I apologize for that last part. I got extremely off topic and I’m sorry. I do want to say that not all of the Sagas are crap. The Awakening Evil tells the story of Sarah Fear of The Cheerleaders fame and it’s really good. Many of our questions about The Evil are answered and it stays in canon.

The Cheerleaders: The First Evil
The Cheerleaders: The Second Evil
The Cheerleaders: The Third Evil
The Cheerleaders: The New Evil
The Cheerleaders: The Evil Lives

Speaking of those crazy Shadyside High cheerleaders, guess who’s also one of R.L. Stine’s favorites? The Cheerleaders trilogy is probably one of the most recognized Fear Street titles. It attracted a myriad of readers and there’s really not much I can say about this series. It’s good. It’s consistent and, over the course of the series, presents some really interesting plot twists and shocks. Honestly, it’s kind of hard to gauge Stine’s thoughts on this series, though. He says he loved the reveal at the end, but that “reveal” seems to be in every Fear Street novel. Surprisingly, the original trilogy isn’t the only Cheerleaders to be good. The New Evil was good as well and actually was quite original. On the other hand, The Evil Lives was a hot mess. You could have been good, The Evil Lives! If only you had made good choices in life…mainly getting rid of the time travel and paradoxes that plagued your short, short life.

Again, if we were to assume that Stine only meant that the first was his favorite, it probably falls into the same category that The Betrayal does. The first in the series has sentimental value and so that’s why it was chosen above all the rest because the others are just as good.

The Secret Bedroom

R.L. Stine’s books are not very long. I think the longest book I’ve ever read by him hovered around the 300 page mark (Eye Candy anyone?). My point is that I wouldn’t have thought it would take very long to write one of his books. Indeed, if this blog is any indication he should probably spend more time writing his books. Nevertheless, Stine is particularly proud of The Secret Bedroom, a book that apparently only took him eight days to write. He says that the story moved really quickly and I’d argue that it moves too quickly. While the story is actually a really good story, I had so many unanswered questions at the end that I felt I must have missed some plot points (in case you were wondering, no, it turns out I didn’t). However, in all fairness had Stine actually answered those questions, it might have proved too gruesome for the YA crowd (wait…is there such a thing for a Fear Street reader?).

The Perfect Date

*Breathes deeply* Ok Drucilla, just like we rehearsed….R.L. Stine says that this book is special to him because his son Matt is on the cover. He doesn’t mention anything else….because….because….I CAN’T TAKE IT ANYMORE!!!!!!!!!!! THIS BOOK IS HORRIBLE!!!!!!!!!!!! I KNOW I SAID SWITCHED WAS MY LEAST FAVORITE FEAR STREET BOOK, BUT THIS ONE FEELS ME WITH SO MUCH LOATHING I FEEL THE NEED TO LEAVE EARTH TO GET AWAY FROM IT! *thump* *crash* Ok, sorry about that. I think I got my anger under cont-IF WE THREATENED THE WORLD WITH READING THIS BOOK, THERE WOULD BE NO MORE WARS! *punch* *crash* *kick* Ok. *catches breath* I think that time it worked. So….The Perfect Date. While the story is decent and does have some potential, it’s full of Fear Street clichés (Fear Street hardly making an appearance, guys two-timing there girlfriends, etc.) and don’t even get me started on the ending. Nothing is explained and random crap happens. I mean, super strength, really!?!? Where did that come from!?!? The twist is completely redundant as well. It adds nothing to the story.

Haunted

Well, let me go ahead and say it…I think Haunted is one of the better Fear Street books. Granted, it does suffer from some paradoxical problems, but the concept is great. I definitely see Stine trying something different with this novel and while he may not have necessarily succeeded, it’s different enough to stand out in the sea of similar Fear Street titles. He says he’s proud of the plot and tension and I have to admit that this was one of the few Fear Street novels that had me on the edge of my seat wondering what was going to happen next.

So honestly, I don’t know what I was trying to do with this article. I agree with Stine sometimes, but more often than not, his choices baffle me. I’m curious as to whether you agree with Stine or not. I guess to be fair here are my favorite Fear Street titles in no particular order (none got a five star rating so here are my four star ratings from Goodreads):

Broken Hearts
The Prom Queen
Double Date  (Because I loved that a Fear Street cheater finally got his comeuppance.)
The Face
What Holly Heard
Trapped -  review/recap coming soon (I’m sure)
Fear Park: The First Scream -  (Just the first book.)

* * * * *

My love for Switched...I will never be able to explain the unexplainable. Thank you for coming around again, Drucilla! 

The next guest post from Fear reader Chris W. will be a very interesting little twist...I'm sure you ghouls will love it.

Thursday, July 5, 2012

Guest Post #4: Sagan

Hello! My name is Sagan, a reader of your blog for about a year now. I got rather excited at the prospect of writing about my own journey through Fear Street, so here we are. (Sorry if I ramble).

So, like many of us out there, I grew up with the Goosebumps and Fear Street Books. I don't remember too much about the Goosebumps books, except acquiring a permanent fear of dummies, becoming obsessed with mummies, and hating how every book ended. But Fear Street? That's where the real magic happened. I was consistently told by my mother that I was too young for Stephen King books, so I had to settle for the next best thing, Fear Street baby. While reading each book, I would picture myself as the heroine, and read their dialogue out loud to myself, (much to the chagrin of my siblings). Each book provided a source of inspiration. After reading Dead End, I tried to be like Natalie, and tried writing poetry. (Such good role models, R.L. Stine provides).

 
I also tried writing my own horror stories a la The Thrill Club, which usually ended in my mom thinking there was something wrong with me. Needless to say, these attempts at writing were thrown away pretty quickly. I'm pretty sure these books made me awfully suspicious. I would spy on my neighbors, positive that they were up to something heinous. Also, I would get so thrilled for no apparent reason, when one book would mention a main character from another Fear Street novel. I guess I thought Shadyside High was just one big happy family. (Sob).

Though, I have to say, my favorite memory is from 7th grade, when I auditioned for Bridge to Terabithia, with April's "Why I Killed So and So" speech from Truth or Dare. By the time I was done, the director was in tears (from laughing so hard). But I got the last laugh, I was cast as Girl #2, thank you very much. As a freshman in high school, in theatre class, one assignment was to perform one serious monologue, and one comedic one. For my serious monologue I chose Alison's "Why I Killed My Sister" speech from Sunburn. Once I finished that gem, there was silence, and my teacher finally said, "I thought I said one serious and one comedic, not TWO comedic monologues." OK, how dare you insinuate that Sunburn's monologue was comedic.




By the time I was in High School, my mother commanded me to throw away all of the Fear Street books. "Mom, nooo, you don't understand!" I pleaded. "Fine, you can keep 10, but the rest have to be thrown away!" She snapped, and so I chose my precious favorites, which were pretty much all of the "historical" Fear Street Sagas. (I can't tell you how much I love all the Fear Street Sagas, especially The Betrayal, The Secret, and The Burning. Nora Goode, and Daniel Fear = my preteen idea of real romance, how I hoped my future would hold something so beautiful as their relationship, except for, you know, one of them dying. Ditto Susannah Goode and Edward Fier).



Anyway, after that, I pretty much forgot about their existence for awhile, until one day I found myself straining to remember how the Cataluna Series ended, Googled it, and found myself at this wondrous blog, and here we are. R.L. Stine shall remain in my heart forever, regardless of the fact that his books are quite terrible, because when I was young, they were like Dickens to me.

Currently, for some reason, all of my Fear Street novels have disappeared. I suspect foul play.

I suppose that's it! My beautiful personal history involving Fear Street. I hope everyone is thrilled to have read it.

* * * * *

Oh Sagan, this was truly awesome. I especially love the fact that you actually recited a whole passage from Truth or Dare in front of people. THANK YOU.

Thursday, June 28, 2012

Guest Post #3: Amanda

Fear Street and Goosebumps have always seemed a little shameful to me.  I never wanted to be seen reading them.  It was much cooler to say you were into Stephen King or Dean Koontz.  They wrote books for ‘grownups’ with sex and swearing and everything.  So even though I wouldn’t publicly declare my love of R.L. Stine’s books, I still coveted them in secret.  I used to try to force my much younger sister (who was not a reader at all) to buy all the Goosebumps books just so I would be able to read them myself.  Under the guise of spending ‘quality time’ together, I would greedily read while she played with Barbies in another part of the room.

The most shameful part of all of this was not how much I loved Fear Street and Goosebumps, but how absolutely obsessed I was with R.L. Stine’s one adult novel Superstitious.  I must have read this book at least 20 times and I have absolutely no idea why I loved it so much.  It is a terrible book.  The plot is intriguing enough, but the characters are poorly written and the dialogue is atrocious.  Shocking, I know.
For those of you who didn’t spend their childhood reading and re-reading this book, here is a short synopsis (This synopsis is actually from memory which is probably really sad. I can’t believe that this book’s plot is still taking up valuable space in my brain).  The main character is a graduate student in college named Sara.  Shortly after Sara gets to the school she meets and falls in love with a handsome Irish professor named Liam.  Liam seems like the perfect guy and Sara quickly marries him.  He has two slightly weird things about him though…he lives with his adult sister Margaret and he is extremely superstitious and insists that Sara abide by his very strict rules about his superstitions.  In the midst of this love story there is a string of grisly murders on campus.  The bodies are ripped apart as if attacked by an animal and a few people around town have seen fleeting glimpses of a weird creature.  And if you haven’t figured out who the killer might be yet, I don’t believe that you are truly a R.L. Stine fan.

It’s hard to say why I loved this book so much.  I was well aware that it was a guilty pleasure even when I was a teen.  It’s just so fabulously lurid.  From the opening scene where a girl is ripped apart while running drunk through a field and singing the song ‘Oklahoma’ to the fantastic reveal that yes, Liam is an actual monster and he has impregnated Sara with his monster baby.  Superstitious is just filled with gruesome murders (eyeballs being pulled out) and body horror (on Liam and Sara’s wedding day Liam’s tongue suddenly becomes all monstrous and extends four feet out of his mouth all yellow and throbbing).  And the sex.  Oh yes, this is the book where R.L. Stine write sex scenes.  And they are a sight to behold.  I’m sure they appealed to me as a teenage girl because they sound like they were written by a teenage girl.  Sorry, Stine.  Sexy you are not.   I’d like to think that he is writing this as a sort of cautionary tale for his teen readers…have unprotected sex with a guy you barely know and you will end up with a monster baby.  But most likely it’s just Stine letting us in on his particular bedroom kinks.  Shudder.

So there is my deep, dark secret.  I unabashedly love this book and honestly if I still had it I would read it right now.  That is definitely one perk to being an adult.  I can now proudly read any sort of cheesy 90’s book and just tell people I’m being ‘ironic’.  Bring on the Goosebumps!


*****


Thank you, Amanda! Quick note: I have a copy of Superstitious and yes, you will all be exposed to it here eventually. Can you feel the excitement? CAN YOU FEEL IT?

Sunday, June 24, 2012

Guest Post #2: Spongey

*Note: I know I said I was only going to do these on Friday, but I'm not going by that. I'm just going to post these erratically because SCREW SCHEDULES. Now, I command that you enjoy Spongey's Fear thoughts.*

*****

Hello, Spongey here.
  
Well, this is my first time being on a different, better blog. I saw that the best blog since Blogger Beware wanted guest posts, and I could not resist. So I think I shall tell you my experiences with both Fear Street and Goosebumps…well, mostly GB. Since all my FS know how comes from this blog and I’ve only read like…8 books. So the FS section is just brief  “reviews” of FS books, but I shall talk a bit about it.
 
How My Goosebumps Led Me to Fear Street

It was 5th grade and I had finished work. At that age, it’s the worst thing ever. I was too young to give a fuck about music so I had no iPod or any of that modern bullshit. So I had to look at the teacher’s bookshelf.
I looked through the crap until I found four Goosebumps books. I had known of the series, in passing. I thought it was like a hardcore horror thing. Silly 5th grade me. My first was Don't Go To Sleep. You know, the book with the awesome cover that had nothing to do with the book.


I liked it, so I read a few more, but Let's Get Invisible! turned me off cuz I wanted vanishing fun and not mirror double. Of course, now it’s in my top 13 GB books. Silly me! I put it off until 2007. Cartoon Network was showing the TV show. I watched and loved its cheesiness, so I was like “eh, I’ll read the books again”.
Now I have 42 of them. And that’s just the original series. I’d talk about how the 'so bad it’s good' bits of GB made me love it even to this day, and how Calling All Creeps is the best thing ever written…but I won’t.
 
Okay, let’s move on the main thing: Fear Street
 
Remember how I said I though GB was hardcore? Yeah, imagine how FS made me feel. My brother had one in the closet, Wrong Number 2. I passed on it since it was a sequel. After I found Blogger Beware, I saw someone mention a Fear Street blog. So I read this blog and loved it. I was like “I’ll finally read these”. I read Wrong Number 2 and liked it. Then I read the first one and saw how 2 copied 1 so much. I like FS ,in a way, for how dumb it can get. But GB is better to me since…well…Calling All Creeps > Wrong Number 1. That is all.


But I still find them to be interesting in concepts. I mean, they used zombies more than Goosebumps…which makes no sense, but whatever.
 
So now for My Thoughts on the Fear Street Books I’ve Read!
 
Missing



I really liked this one, actually. Good mystery, sweet ending, a freaking CULT?! Give me that shit. It was just good fun. But I didn’t get the dog killing scene. BIG LIPPED ALLIGATOR MOMENT much?!
 
Still, it works and I think its among my faves
 
Wrong Number 2 

   
Skipping 2 since it’s just okay, not much to say about it. First, I love the tagline drop. Never seen that done before! Anyway, most likely the best I’ve read, at least critically. A solid plot, a good villain, great suspense and A CHAINSAW MURDER! The most badass thing Stine ever wrote…besides any scene with Billy in Welcome To Camp Nightmare, but whatever. But the scene with the disguises was too sitcom-y for my tastes. But I still loved this one.


The Sleepwalker


I just read this one the other night. I like it, actually! Some decent suspense and we have a okay mystery. Not a great book, though, bogged down by some…Stine-ism. Yes, that is a thing. Walker (I don’t think anyone cares about spoilers, this book is like 20 years old) being the villain…was obvious. But in an odd way. I first pegged Link for it “excuuuse me princess!”
 
SHUT UP LINK.       
 
-because it seemed obvious in a Stine book. But he got me there. He created a character so obvious I didn’t think of the more obvious one! I like Walker being a bit too bossed with Myra, I have a thing for creepy fanboys. Always creepy! Despite some dumb moments, I like this one
 
Haunted 



Okay, I loved this one as much as everyone else!  Good mystery, ghosts, a Weird Al name drop, and a smart main character! What's not to love?! The twist shocked me. I mean, a ghost from the future? Never thought that would happen…not much else to say. I mean ghosts from the future! Can I add to that?! No. Good book.
 
The Stepsister and Ski Weekend


Not too much to say about either so I am combining them. The Stepsister was good and had a great killer. Not much to say...it just has a good killer. I OWN this one and have little to say! Ski Weekend was so dumb it rocked.


Lou said jackass. Love that. The only other swearing in a Stine thing is in the recent Haunting Hour show, where someone says “bitch”. No joke. Anyway, good killer and a cheesy yet awesome dude named Lou. That is all.
 
The Best Friend 1 & 2
 

Another crazy killer. I love killers that obsess over their victims. Okay, I love psychological horror, I admit. She counts, right? First book was mostly just alright, just with a good killer. Oh, and the ending? Love it. I know it’s unhappy, but it was great. Funny thing: people bitched about the downer so much they wanted a sequel. Goosebumps has downer endings all the time. No-one cared. What. The second one had a good first half and a crappy second half. I love how Sarah, the winner of  that contest, found this blog. Amazing. Okay books.

Final Grade


Confession time. This book scared me. No joke. Why? The villain. A guy who loves Lily to the point that he kills people to make her happy. I am scared shitless by ax crazy fanboys/girls. So Misery made me shit my pants, you see. I know this blog said this book sucks, but I was creeped out by the bad guy and thought it had a good story.

I’ve read some others (some of the Sagas, which I adore, Bad Dreams, The Thrill Club, which sucked hard. When a ghostwriter makes me miss Stine YOU’RE DOING IT WRONG) but I have little to say. Long, pointless blog here. But Stine’s books, even the awful ones, changed my life. I've made ideas for my own type of books, which read as parodies in a way. I had one that featured a robot working at a fast food place using the meat of his victims in the place of food. I had one with ghost pirates, one with a killer laptop, and other stupid shit. I mostly made this to help pay tribute to the blog that introduced me to Fear Street. Maybe it can be too harsh, but it’s still very funny and tells me which books to stay away from. I will never read Goodnight Kiss, but I may buy it to stare at its SEXAH cover. 



As for Goosebumps…over on my blog, my Wordpress one (look it up) I am doing a big Goosebump-A-Thon, looking at all the books. I’m on 52, so close to done. Shameless plug aside, this is my stroll down Fear Street. I will show these books to my kids and I hope you induct me into the Order of the Mole. See ya.

*****

Maybe I should revisit Final Grade. I do enjoy torturing myself. Hmm. Anyway, Spongey, I thank you and OF COURSE you have been inducted into the Order of the Mole for wanting to psychologically scar your future spawn with these paper tragedies.

Next guest post: Amanda F.