Thursday, November 20, 2008

Fear Park #3 - The Last Scream

Book Description:

Final revenge. Robin Fear has waited decades for this moment--this evil plan is in place and Dierdre Bradley, her father, and Fear Park will be destroyed. Nothing can stop Robin now. Except one person. Who's been watching, finding out Robin's secrets, and waiting for revenge.

My Description:

Dierdre is watching the Hatchet Show and cringing at how gruesome and real it looks. She wonders why people insist on reenacting such a horrible event. Because this is Fear Street and everyone loves a good murder! Dierdre gazes down and sees Robin joining the show. He starts swinging his hatchet like a maniac and Dierdre screams "Robin! Robin--look out!"

And that was just a daydream. Curses to you, Stine. CURSES. Dierdre is actually in her room, sitting at her desk. To calm down, she plays with a Koosh ball. I loved those things when I was a kid. Now I just associate them with Rosie O'Donnell. Anyway! Dierdre's mind turns to all the horrible things that have happened at Fear Park: Paul's death, Mr. Gunther's lion tragedy, the House of Mirrors explosion that killed 12 people, and Jared and his friends dying "mysterious" deaths. The park has been closed for a month while the police investigate, but Mr. Bradley plans on opening as soon as possible because he's an idiot. Robin Fear should have killed him and spared the innocents who had to die instead. Seriously, what will it take for this jackass to realize that these horrible things are NOT going to stop? Dierdre doesn't think the park should reopen EVER and goes downstairs to tell her father. As if he'll listen. She calls for him and walks from room to room, but there's no sign of him. Then she hears a strange noise coming from the bathroom. Don't interrupt--the john is a sacred place! Her father bursts out of the bathroom, making choking noises and clutching at his throat. Dierdre is a little slow on the uptake and just stands there like a deer caught in headlights. Finally she asks her dad if she should call 911. Like he can answer! He's choking, you moron! As Dierdre stares in horror, her dad opens his mouth and pulls a long brown worm out of his throat. And another and another. Sick. These books are notorious for making me gag.

Of course the little worm stunt was the devious work of Robin Fear. He's sitting at home in his beloved library, laughing at the thought of Mr. Bradley choking. Robin is pissed as usual because Fear Park is reopening in a few days and he's feeling pretty defeated. But not to worry--he'll be up to his usual bullshit shenanigans soon enough. Meghan enters the room and asks him what he's doing. He lies and says it's a protection spell. Meghan says she's tired of him constantly worrying about the Bradleys. Is she a fool or is she a fool? Robin puts on the innocent act that he has become so skilled at: "So many innocent people have died because of my father. I feel responsible, Meghan. I feel that I have to do everything I can to make sure that more innocent people dont die at Fear Park." Yeah, that's right...go ahead and blame it all on your DEAD father. Meghan sighs and says she's sick of being immortal; she wants to age like a normal person. Wow. A lot of people would kill for immortality. Robin is sick of something, too--Meghan's complaints. He wraps his hands around her neck to choke her, but realizes that she can't die. So instead, he tells her that as soon as he's sure the park is safe from the Fear curse, they can grow old together. You're both 80 years old so I think it's safe to say that ship has already sailed. Meghan is satisfied with that, but Robin doesn't plan on doing anything he promised her: "At least she still believes me, still trusts me, he thought, returning her kiss. But I no longer need her. I'll find a way to kill her--after I destroy Fear Park forever." Harsh. And I don't think he's ever going to destroy the park. If he really wanted to, he would just burn the damn thing to the ground. Or kill Mr. Bradley. I don't know why I'm suggesting things to a fictional character...

It is now Friday night and Fear Park has reopened to the public. Dierdre is sitting in the office trailer with her dad who is still traumatized from his worm ordeal. He refuses to see a doctor because he doesn't want to tell anyone that a dozen foot long worms crawled out of his mouth. I don't really blame him. Anyway, the night before, Dierdre talked to her father about not reopening the park. Looks like he listened reaaaaaaaal well. Must have had worms in his ears, too. Mr. Bradley says there's a very good reason why he can't close this park: "You see, I've put every penny into this park. Every penny. If the park goes under, we don't have enough money to buy a hot dog." Dierdre asks about savings, but her asshole father sank all of it into the amusement park that is doomed to fail. I know I've said this about a million times, but seriously, who the hell builds an amusement park deep in the woods? And in Shadyside! It doesn't make any sense. If he wanted to make money, he shouldn't have chosen this remote location. Mr. Bradley goes on to say that they're dead broke and he took out several loans to keep them going. He also cleared out Dierdre's college account which upsets her pretty badly as it damn well should. He goes on to say that if Fear Park doesn't pan out, they are totally screwed. Dierdre cheerily says that things will be ok just as a girl outside screams bloody murder. Well, that isn't ironic. Dierdre peers outside and sees a girl being dumped into a fountain by two guys. Ok? Robin stops by to wish them luck. Dierdre tells him that they plan on making this the most popular amusement park in the world (I sincerely doubt it) which wipes the grin right off Robin's face. He tells Dierdre to meet him later and heads off to begin his shift. A few minutes later, the phone rings. Dierdre answers and hears this: "You don't know Robin. You don't know the truth about Robin. You'd better find out about him. Before it's too late." Click.

Robin is walking along lost in thought: "He pictured himself landing a sharp punch on Dierdre's jaw. Pictured her shocked expression as she sank to the ground, her pretty face swelling. Ruined. Her teeth scattered at her feet." Pleasant. He then realizes that all along he should have killed Mr. Bradley. FINALLY! He takes his place at the Ferris wheel and decides to play a little joke on the people riding. He pushes the control lever forward which speeds the wheel up. Way up. The wheel spins faster and faster until it's just a blur and everyone on board is screaming. Robin just laughs, but his laughter is cut short when two guards come running up. He pretends to be horrified and says the lever is stuck. The guards attempt to help, but Robin screams at them to get Mr. Bradley instead. Why are they listening to him? What can Bradley do? They fetch Mr. Bradley and he tells Robin to get the hell out of the way so he can stop it. Robin simply tells him he can't stop it. When Bradley asks why, Robin says "Because you're dead." Robin then shoves Mr. Bradley into the wildly spinning wheel. One of the cars cracks Mr. Bradley in the head and he drops to the ground in a puddle of blood. Robin is overjoyed: "Mr. Bradley, you're history." Dierdre comes running up, sobbing over her father's body. Robin tells her he slipped and Dierdre runs to the office to call an ambulance. As soon as she's gone, Mr. Bradley blinks and Robin immediately starts to choke him. What the hell? Then freaking Meghan shows up before Robin can get the job done. He tells her he was just trying to revive Mr. Bradley and since Meghan is almost completely brain dead, she believes him. She pulls him aside as the ambulance wails in the distance and tells him that he's just too good and he can't save everyone. Robin is disgusted by her, but tries to keep calm. This scene is so uncomfortable. Just before they leave, Meghan spots a red-haired boy staring at Robin like he knows him. Robin says he's never seen him before in his life. This will probably add up to something later on. Then again, this book is so random, it may not mean anything at all.

Dierdre is in the office a few days later when the anonymous caller rings again: "You don't know the truth about Robin Fear. I'm coming to see you. I'm coming to tell you about Robin." Stop tying up the damn phone line, freakshow! Either tell her "the truth about Robin Fear" or shut up. I hate creepy unknown callers. Her father is still alive, but in a coma. And Fear Park is still up and running; everything except the Ferris wheel, of course. Speaking of the wheel, what happened to those people that were trapped on it? Oh well. Guess they're not important enough to mention ever again. Robin bursts in and asks about her dad. She updates him and says she's on her way to the hospital now. She also tells him that the park has to stay open because the Bradleys don't have a dime and she mentions the anonymous caller. They finally part ways and as Dierdre leaves, she spots the red-headed boy. He's just standing there grinning at her like some maniac. Interesting. *sigh* Not really.

So Robin is freaking out--he can't figure out who could possibly be calling Dierdre. He thinks that somehow someone from 1935 followed him to the future. I don't get it either. As he's preparing to leave the park, he spots Dierdre hugging that red-haired guy and automatically assumes that red hair (I'm going to refer to him as Red until I get a name) is the one who has been calling her. Red and Dierdre are about to leave and Robin decides he has to follow them. Unfortunately, his face is falling off again so the spying will have to wait. Being an 80 year old teenager sucks. At home, Robin repairs his busted face and worries some more about Red and Dierdre. He calls Dierdre, but she's sounds pretty frosty which only gives Robin even more incentive to believe that Red told her something negative. Later, he goes back to the park. He heads to the office trailer and peeks into the window--Dierdre is inside with Red. He hides as the two exit the trailer and follows them. He hears Dierdre call the boy Gary. Robin can't remember ever knowing anyone named Gary. He continues to follow them and since he has paranoia flowing through his veins, he thinks everything they say is about him. Dierdre and Gary get in line for the Twirl 'n' Swirl (i.e. the big swings) and when they take their seats, Robin decides he's going to find out if Gary truly is immortal. How? By trying to kill him, of course! He starts chanting a spell as the ride spins. Dierdre notices that ominous purple smoke beginning to form and seconds later, a boy's swing breaks free and he's sent flying into the powerlines. Dierdre watches as the boy is electrocuted and she starts to scream. Robin thinks that the boy was Gary, but he goes to inspect the body and realizes that it was another kid. Damn you, Robin, how many innocent people have to die?!?! An ambulance comes and takes away the fried corpse and Dierdre gives Robin a death glare.

Dierdre is at the hospital visiting her father. It's been about two weeks since he arrived at the hospital and has shown no signs of improvement. She's shocked when she glances up from her post beside Mr. Bradley's bed and sees Robin standing in the doorway. He's just as surprised as she is--he wanted to be alone when he murdered her father. Dierdre is still pretty cold toward him which pisses him off because that never would have happened if Gary hadn't entered the picture. Robin leaves a few seconds later and in the parking lot, he sees Gary. Oh great. "Gary, in a pale blue muscle shirt and denim cutoffs, leaned casually against the car hood. His long red hair caught the light of the sun. His whole head glowed as if on fire." Is that the uniform of every guy in Shadyside? Always with the denim cutoffs! Robin uses this opportunity to cast a spell. A construction crew is on site and Robin's plan is to use his magic to cause one of the huge dumptrucks to shower Gary with a heavy mountain of gravel. Robin hears screaming and assumes it worked even though his vision was skewed by the purple smoke. But no--Gary is perfectly fine and when Dierdre exits the building a moment later, they leave together. The screaming Robin heard was two workers arguing with one another. Yawn. As Robin is about to leave, a bulldog-ish man grabs him and accuses him of trying to steal his car. Robin finally convinces the guy that he wasn't doing anything and the guy lets him go. But Robin is pissed and wants to pay him back: "I'll glue his skin to the car so that it cannot be removed. He and his car can stick together for the rest of his life." Wow. What a psycho. But Robin doesn't go through with it and leaves.

At home, Meghan is complaining again about not being able to grow old. Shut up! She says that he can stay young forever if he wants, but she's sick of it. Robin just thinks that he's tired of dealing with her shit and pretty soon, he's going to get rid of her for good. She notices that he's smiling and she gets furious. She runs to him and starts hitting him and tearing chunks of his cruddy skin off. In retaliation, Robin punches her in the face, effectively tearing a huge chunk of her skin away and exposing gray bone. They basically tear the skin off one another's face and end up wrestling on the floor. Sounds like my kind of day.

"Dierdre's new friend" has told her all she needs to know about Robin Fear. Yes, the book just says that it's her new friend; it doesn't mention anyone specifically which means that it isn't Gary. Unless Stine is screwing with us. Oh well. Dierdre is horrified at the thought of all the terrible things Robin has done. She can't believe she ever let such a creep near her. And then this chapter ends. What a waste of space.

Back at Robin's mansion, he and Meghan are repairing the damage they did to one another. They apologize for tearing each other's faces off and then Robin says ONCE AGAIN that after he is finished playing Superman and protecting the Bradleys, he will make Meghan mortal again. They discuss what happened earlier with the fighting and Meghan says "I'm a pretty good wrestler." For an 80 year old, yeah, you're pretty good. Robin says that he is going to the park and just before he leaves, he asks Meghan if she remembers anyone named Gary from their past. She does--Gary Barth. And he had long red hair. SCORE?

Dierdre is sitting in the office when Robin pops in. She has a sudden urge to stab in the chest with a letter opener, but manages to control herself, much to my disappointment. He wants to go for a walk, but she really doesn't want to. He persists and she finally relents. They end up on the path that leads to the animal preserve which just can't be good. Dierdre breaks away from him in a panic and runs which pisses Robin off. He runs after her for a bit, but gets tired and sinks to the ground. As he sits there, he thinks about how he fell for Dierdre and those feelings are the only thing that has kept him for burning the park to the ground. Romantic I guess? He suddenly feels very old and disappointed in himself because he failed his father. He looks up and spots Dierdre nearby so he takes his chance and grabs her. She's freaked out, but pretends that they were just racing and she won. Liar. She buys some cotton candy and eats while Robin chants and the purple smoke appears. She offers him some of her cotton candy and he responds by shoving it in her face. Manners much? She laughs it off, but stops when the sticky candy spreads over her entire face. It covers her entire head, tightening until she can't breathe. Robin says "I'll get help!" and runs off laughing. He stops and turns back to watch Dierdre die. But that doesn't happen--Gary comes up, throws some water on Dierdre, and helps her up as the cotton candy dissolves. Ok then. Robin runs up and pretends that he was so worried and ran to get help. He really is a fabulous liar. Then he looks at Gary and demands to know who he is. Dierdre speaks up and says that she and Gary dated last year and broke up, but now they're back together. Robin doesn't believe a word of it and skips home to find a spell that will eliminate Gary. Oh happy day!

At home, Robin finds some interesting things in an old spell book. "An immortal cannot be killed by anyone living. An immortal can only be killed by the dead. And the dead person must be someone the immortal knew." I didn't know there were rules. Anyway, upon reading that, Robin decides that he will bring back all of the kids who died in the hatchet incident; at least one of them should be able to remember Gary. Uh, these kids have been dead for a very long time, sir. Don't you think their brain meat has deteriorated and WILL NOT work? Ok, fine, whatever! He reads that he can become the master of these dead kids and will easily be able to control them. I'm so sure this will work perfectly.

The next morning, Robin confesses over breakfast that he's been neglecting Meghan. He tells her that he wants her to meet him at the park tonight at the Hatchet Show. She doesn't want to for the obvious reasons (i.e. painful memories). She says she thinks it's very sick that people find it entertaining. Those kids who were killed were her friends and she doesn't like the memory of them to be degraded. Meghan's mood changes when she asks Robin if it was his father who caused those kids to kill one another and Robin confesses that it was. She asks if that's why he feels guilty and he says yes. Whatever. But she eventually agrees to meet Robin later. Of course. Later, he convinces Dierdre to meet him at the show also. He tells her to bring Gary because he has a big surprise for both of them. I'll just bet he does...

That night, Dierdre and Gary make their way to the Hatchet Show. Gary doesn't wanna be there, but Dierdre says that Robin has something to show them. Oh God. Robin comes up a few minutes later with Meghan in tow. There are introductions and they all take their seats. Unfortunately, this particular show isn't being performed by actors. The dead kids are stumbling around the set in a cloud of purple smoke. "Dierdre could see every detail of their decaying faces. She could see the rotting green skin. The dark, empty sockets that once held eyes. She could see the worms curling out of the open nostrils. The swarms of bugs crawling from the holes where the ears had been. The matted hair. The gaping rips and holes in the scalp where gray bone poked through. And the smell! The foul, putrid, sour smell. The smell of dead rotting meat. Of insects and decay..." Death ain't pretty. Dierdre freaks out and grabs onto Gary. Meanwhile, the dead kids are falling apart. A boys arm falls off, someone else's head falls off and bounces against a tree. They start to move toward Robin, Dierdre, Meghan, and Gary. Meghan starts crying because she's afraid they're going to kill her. But they kill Robin instead! They chop him to bits and pieces with their hatchets. Afterward, Meghan jumps up and hugs Dierdre: "Thank you! Thank you, Dierdre for helping to set me free at last! I couldn't have done it without you." Good one, Stine. Turns out Meghan was plotting against Robin all this time; she wanted revenge for what he did to her friends back in 1935. And to think I thought she was a moron!

Dierdre gazes at the dead kids who are now riding the rides. Yes, there are corpses climbing on the rides. Wow. Sadly, they don't get to enjoy it for long. The purple smoke forms and when it clears, they're gone including Meghan. Dierdre explains everything to Gary. She's relieved that the curse is finally broken. The last few lines: "What was that soft sound behind them as they walked? Was it the whisper of voices thankfully, peacefully, returned to their graves? Or the echo of the calliope--soft happy music from the carousel?"

Conclusion? The ending actually shocked me. I was on Robin's side! And I'm not as ashamed of that as I feel I should be...

Conclusion About The Trilogy As A Whole? Not bad. Much better than most of these books albeit ten times more violent.

Monday, November 17, 2008

Fear Park #2 - The Loudest Scream

* If you didn't catch the first installment: Fear Park #1 - The First Scream *

Book Description:

Something is very wrong at Fear Park. People keep getting hurt - or killed. Dierdre Bradley knows this is the worst time to fall in love. But she can't help herself. Robin Fear is so intense and mysterious. He always acts as if he has a big secret. He does. Robin wants to destroy Fear Park. And he has a plan - a plan that will cost Dierdre her life!

My Description:

This book picks up almost immediately where the first one left off. Dierdre and Rob have just attended Paul Malone's funeral and are now staring down at the grave in which he was buried. *sob* Dierdre has obviously moved on incredibly quickly. I guess she's managing her grief by spending every waking moment with her OTHER lover. Some people would call you a horrible wench, Dierdre. And in case you're wondering, yes, I am one of those people. As the two walk away from the grave, Dierdre carries on about how awful this whole situation is and how she'll never be able to enjoy Fear Park again. Who the hell cares about the stupid park?! Your boyfriend was decapitated and all you can talk about is how you'll never be able to ride the roller coaster again? You're hard to like, Dierdre. Rob then brings up a curse that is supposedly on the land that Fear Park was built on. He says he doesn't think the park should reopen. Unfortunately, no-one cares what he thinks. Dierdre informs him that her father, Jason Bradley, is definitely reopening the park which pisses him off. Rob stands there thinking about what he'll do if the park reopens: "I'll do whatever it takes to ruin things for Jason Bradley. To make his life miserable. I'll kill again if I have to. After all, I already killed Paul. And all those kids back in the '30s. Why not someone else?" Such a villain. Something I'm wondering: how does he still look so youthful after all these years? A good skin cream or just some wicked strong black magic? Oh well. Anyway, as Rob (I think I should start calling him Robin) stands there holding Dierdre in his decrepid arms, he thinks "She's so trusting. She has no idea I'm responsible for Paul's hideous death. She thinks I'm her friend. She thinks I'm more than a friend." Is it wrong of me to find this guy extremely likeable? Dierdre rambles on about Paul while Robin rolls his eyes. Suddenly Dierdre cries out: "There he is! It-it's Paul! Here he comes! It's Paul!" Robin looks up and sees someone coming toward them that certainly looks exactly like Paul. They both stare in horror at the figure and then Dierdre bursts out laughing when she realizes that it's just Paul's brother, Jared. Damn. I so wanted a zombie revenge scene.

Turns out Jared is pissed off; he blames Dierdre's dad for Paul's death. Robin is quite pleased with this news because it takes the heat off him. No-one actually suspects him of anything YET, but who cares? Jared tells Dierdre that he's going to have a little chat with her father and then takes off running. Robin assures Dierdre that Jared is all talk and continues to walk with her down the sidewalk. As they pass a parked car, Robin sees something nasty: "That face! That face reflected in the car window! One half of it was his. Robin Fear's pale, young face. Straight brown hair. Intense dark eyes. The other half was his, too. But the sight of it sent a shiver of horror down his spine. Wrinkles like cracked, dried-up gullies twisted through the sagging flesh of his cheek. Deep lines at the corners of his eye and mouth looked as if they'd been gouged with a knife. His cheekbone jutted out from under the skin. His eye was sunk deep behind a ridge of bone. And his skin! The deep bluish-purple of a bruise, his skin sagged and rippled and seemed ready to slide off his skull. Staring into the car window, Robin could almost smell the stench of decay." That's gotta be the best passage I've read in a while. I mean, can you imagine looking into the mirror and seeing THAT? Robin silently freaks out because he's afraid that Dierdre also saw his reflection. But when he glances over at her, she's staring straight ahead, lost in thought. Robin realizes that he has to get the hell away from her before she sees the rotting half of his face. He covers the nasty part and pretends he has a terrible headache and has to get home quick. He races home to ye olde mansion to perform the immortality spell that has kept him young and strong since 1935. He begins chanting in the library and the purple smoke fills the room. As he chants, he spreads some cream from an urn on his face and immediately feels his skin begin to tighten and smooth. So it WAS a skin cream. A nasty smelly one from a damn urn, but a skin cream nonetheless. As he finishes the spell and the purple smoke fades, he hears a shuffling noise at the library door. Uh-oh. He nervously opens the's Meghan Fairwood. What the hell?!? Turns out Meghan was the one person he decided to "bring into immortality." Oh good. I'm just faking happiness--Meghan was annoying as hell. They kiss which must be revolting--corpse breath! They also take a trip down memory lane, remembering the hatchet murders. I know you're dying for some visuals: "And then Richard Bradley spotted Robin. Jealous because Meghan liked Robin, Richard picked a fight. Out of control, Richard swung the hatchet and just missed Robin's head. The glistening silver blade whistled as it swept through the air and sliced into another boy's throat. Richard's next swing finished the job. The boy's head flew off. Blood spurted like a fountain from the boy's ragged neck. His head rolled onto the leaves and wood chips." And we can't possibly forget the classic moment when all the kids become bloodthirsty killers: "The kids shrieked in a murderous frenzy as they whipped their deadly blades at one another. Blood and hunks of flesh flew through the air, spattering the tree stumps, the ground, the faces and arms of everyone in the clearing." Gruesome. I think Stine took a lot of pleasure in writing this...

The next day, Dierdre finds herself at Fear Park. She walks inside her father's trailer and discovers it's empty. She takes a seat and a few minutes later, she hears the door open behind her. She turns thinking it's her father, but it's that cuckoo Jared Malone. *sigh* Thankfully, he just wants to talk. He apologizes for all the things he said the day before and tells Dierdre why he came here today. He wants to take Paul's old job. I need a moment to process this because it makes no fucking sense. Why would he want to work in the exact spot where his brother was brutally murdered? He could take a job at Pete's Pizza or as one of R.L. Stine's numerous ghostwriters. We get inside Jared's head a moment later: "Not that anybody could take Paul's place, he thought to himself. But if I can just get a job here, I'll be on the inside. The perfect place to cause trouble. Major trouble for Jason Bradley." Ah, yes. Should've seen that coming. Jared just wants to screw everyone over. Mr. Bradley comes in a few seconds later and Jared asks about the job. Unfortunately, good old Robin Fear has already snatched that job up. Jared begs to be hired for any position, but Mr. Bradley says every position is filled. Jared loses his cool: "If you're so sorry, how come you replaced Paul so fast, huh? I know why. Because you didn't care about him. All you care about is the lousy park! Don't even bother making any excuses. They'd all be lies!" Oh the pain! Jared storms out like the whiny little piss he is and once outside, throws a rock and cuts a monkey's head open. I'm serious. The rock flew through a cage in the Monkey Preserve and cut a poor monkey's head. May I ask why an amusement park has a Monkey Preserve in the first place? Oh well. Some guy in a uniform comes running toward Jared and he's totally pissed off. Jared apologizes, but the man just says "Tell that to the monkey!" Would that really make a difference? Are these monkeys intelligent enough to understand the English language AND the concept of regret? Why am I even bothering to ask? Jared finally takes off a few minutes later without apologizing to the bleeding monkey.

Robin Fear saw all of that monkey business and catches up to Jared. Robin tells Jared that he knows how to get back at the man in uniform (whose name is Mr. Gunther). Robin points to a cliff and says that it juts out over the lion pasture. You've got to be fucking kidding me, man! A LION PASTURE?! An amusement park that has lions and monkeys? WHY? None of this makes sense! Even more so than usual! But I'll ignore this little transgression for now and move on before that throbbing vein in my forehead explodes. Robin goes on to say that at 9:30 every evening, Mr. Gunther goes up to the cliff and drops meat down to the lions and that would be the perfect time to scare the shit of him: "The four of you (referring to Jared and friends) sneak up on Gunther, surprise him from behind. Get it? You let him think you're going to push him off that cliff straight into the lions' jaws!" Well, Mr. Gunther, it's been real. We hardly knew you. I can't believe Jared is THIS pissed off. After all, HE was the one who conked the monkey! Gunther was only doing his job!

That night, Jared and a few of his friends sneak into the park and hide, waiting for Mr. Gunther to show up. They finally spot him heading up the cliff with two big buckets of meat. The boys head up to taunt him in an effort to scare him. Why couldn't they just slash his tires or something? They back Gunther against the railing, but stop when they see that damned purple smoke. As it gets thicker, the boys freak out and start to run away. Gunther has become a minion of Robin Fear...he's no longer in control of his mind. He climbs the railing and dives over the cliff. "The crack of bones breaking against rocks rose up through the billowing purple smoke." Ouch. Jared hears other things as well: "A lion snarled. A ferocious roar. Beneath the snarling, he could hear the sickening, wet sound of flesh being ripped from bones as the lions tore into their dinner." After the noise stops, Jared makes the mistake of glancing over the railing at what's left of Mr. Gunther and promptly pukes in the dirt. His friends drag him away. They're almost to the gate when they turn and see two security guards barrelling toward them. Busted. The guards come up, but they're not angry; they're worried because Jared looks like hell and his friends are dragging him around so he must be pretty ill. The boys lie and say Jared is a big fat pig who couldn't resist stuffing his snout with carnival food and now he's sick. The guards buy it and the boys make their escape. I suppose we're all ignoring the fact that someone was just ripped to shreds by lions? Ok then.

Robin Fear and Dierdre are also at the park taking a leisurely stroll around the wild animal preserve. A wild animal preserve. In an amusement park. In the middle of scenic nowhere. It still blows my mind. Anyway, as they near the lion section, Dierdre spots her dad. He tells her not to come any close, but Dierdre no listen! She peeks down and sees poor Mr. Gunther's remains. Her dad says he probably lost his balance and fell. Has anyone noticed the big puddle of vomit belonging to Jared? It has to still be there, right? Maybe they think Gunther slipped in that nasty mess. Dierdre tells him he should give up on opening the park because it's obviously cursed, but Mr. Bradley is a stubborn asshole who will never NEVER give up no matter how many people die! I don't get why Robin doesn't kill Mr. Bradley. He's slaughtering all these innocent people instead of going directly to the source of the problem. Suddenly Dierdre is startled by noises that sound like gunshots, but Daddy explains that it's just the wildlife officials shooting the crazed lions with tranquilizer darts. Guess these lions have never tasted human flesh before which is strange considering these are Fear lions. Dierdre and Robin walk away and as he's walking, Robin thinks about the fact that Mr. Bradley STILL hasn't given up. But that's ok because Robin has plenty more "accidents" up his sleeve. They walk past a workstation where someone left a hammer out and Robin can't help but think "...perfect for bashing skulls" so he reaches out and quietly grabs it with plans to use it on Dierdre. He's so nonchalant about murder! He swings, but hits only air because Dierdre has run across the path. There's a dog stuck in the fence and since Dierdre is a good samaritan, she wants to help it. Since Robin is a blood fiend he wants to kill it, but he can't because there are workers nearby. *sigh*

The next night, Meghan is alone at Robin's house. Robin left an hour ago for Fear Park because he HAS TO PROTECT THE BRADLEYS. Yes, that's what he told Meghan he's been doing--protecting the Bradleys from the Fear curse. I may laugh until I die. Meghan has a bad feeling and wants to go to the park to make sure everything is ok. She's hesitant to go because she's only left the mansion a few times since Robin made her immortal and a lot has changed since 1935. But she forces herself to leave because she loves her wittle wuv muffin. *barf* Once at the park, she immediately begins searching for Robin. She looks at the Ferris wheel, but someone else is running it. As she turns away, she spots Robin across the walk and cries out--he's kissing Dierdre. Meghan starts to cry and runs back home. She can't believe what a two-timing backstabber he is. He's a Fear, dear. What did you expect? She vows to pay him back. Oooo.

Meanwhile, Dierdre and Robin are busy exchanging sweet nothings and gazing longingly into one another's eyes. No, I promise not to barf. I already barfed at Meghan and that's enough for one day. *barf* Damn. Anyway, Robin wants to go on the Ferris wheel and Dierdre is hesitant at first, but he convinces her. Of course he has other plans than just a nice ride. His thoughts: "I'll be up on the Ferris wheel with you, Dierdre. Way up in the sky, in that little, swaying car. And I'll send you flying right off the top. You'll make a lovely puddle when you land, Dierdre. A lovely puddle at the doorstep of your father's office! I'm ready to get rid of you." If you aren't genuinely creeped out by this guy, you should be. I think what makes him so damn freaky is how CALM he is. He has a plan and he's going to carry it out no matter what you do to try and stop him. So they get on the Ferris wheel. As soon as Dierdre says "We'll be on top of the world. Together." Robin thinks "The second our car stops up there at the top, you'll be on your way to the very BOTTOM of the world!" Classic. Just classic. I can't help but quote almost everything he says or thinks...forgive me! Unfortunately for Robin, Dierdre decides that she just can't ride--too many Paul memories. She can't ride the wheel, but she can make out with someone else without guilt? Bullshit! Dierdre kisses him and says they'll go on it later after Robin finishes his shift.

Jared is at his house with his friends watching the news. The story being covered is the Gunther mutilation. Jared is feeling pretty antsy even though it wasn't technically his fault. One of his friends turns off the TV and mentions that Robin Fear is the only other person who knew they were up there that night. Jared immediately stands, grabs his car keys, and says they have to find him and make sure he doesn't tell anyone. You can't reason with someone like Robin Fear! When they get to the park, they tell the man at the ticket booth that they don't want to buy tickets, they just need to talk to a "friend". Do they honestly expect this guy to just let them in for free? He tells them they have to buy a ticket which causes Jared to unleash his berserker rage: "How many times do I have to tell you? We don't want to use the stupid park. We only came to talk to Rob Fear. We're not paying!" Then he grabs the man by the shoulders and starts violently shaking him while screaming "Are you going to let us in now? Huh? You going to let us in?" in his face. His friends pull him away because they think Jared killed him. A couple guards come over and ask the man what the hell just happened. He says Jared tried to break his neck. Uh-oh. The guards kick the boys out and they head back to Jared's house, defeated. Once there, Jared drags a green metal box and says he has a way to get into Fear Park. I'm sure this will be incredibly amusing. Or incredibly lame. Probably the latter...

Back at the park, Robin is just finishing his shift. He notices Jared and friends sneaking into the House of Mirrors. He walks over and spots Jared planting a firecracker next to one of the mirrors and then a dozen more. Jared sees Robin and takes off running. Robin spots Dierdre over by the hot dog stand and tells her she really should go through the House of Mirrors because it's totally awesome. Robin, you sneaky little devil! He says he has to run back to the Ferris wheel to grab his jacket, but she should go ahead without him. But OF COURSE there is a reason why she can't--she has to run an errand for her dad. He just can't kill her--everything is working against him. Robin uses the opportunity to chant a spell...and the entire House blows up. Robin enjoys the screams of pain that emanate from what's left of the House of Mirrors. We get the gory descriptions that have become commonplace with these books: "A body with no head landed with a thump at Robin's feet. Blood poured from the jagged open neck, darkening the ground. Robin stepped aside so he could keep watching the deliciously gruesome spectacle. An arm. A leg. A hand. Ragged pieces of flesh. Legs chopped off at the knee. People stabbed and bleeding. Crying and moaning. Screaming for help." This book is a cancer! A sickness! Yet I keep coming back for more. Go figure. Robin smiles when he sees Mr. Bradley and Dierdre come running to the scene. He puts on his best sad face and jogs up to Mr. Bradley: "Mr. Bradley! Listen to me! I got a good look at the guys who did this! There were four of them. And I can describe them to the police!" He's going to frame Jared and friends! Will it never end? I don't know why I ask--there is a third book after all.

Dierdre asks her dad why the police have surrounded Robin and he announces that Robin saw the guys who did it. The police are taking him to the station to speak with a sketch artist. Mr. Bradley tells Dierdre to go on home and when she gets there, she spots a white envelope that's been shoved beneath the front door. She dismisses it and makes herself some cocoa. A few minutes later, she picks it up again and opens it. Inside is an article dating back to 1935. The headline reads "Bloodbath! Shadyside Youth Hatchet One Another To Death!" Oh 1935. I do not miss you. Dierdre looks at the photo accompanying the article and reads the caption: "Seconds Before The Tragedy, Doomed Teens Smile For The Camera" Lo and behold, she spots Robin Fear directly in the foreground. How much does she love him NOW? The chapter ends there so I can't answer that.

After Robin is done at the police station, an officer drives him home. Dear old (and I do mean OLD) Rob is feeling pretty damn good because he's sure Mr. Bradley will close the park now. He goes inside the house and finds it dark which is strange because Meghan always leaves a light on for him. Cheating, murdering bastards don't deserve to have a light left on, sir. Robin goes through the house searching for Meghan who is nowhere to be found. Suddenly he hears a loud voice coming from the living room. He enters the room and sees that the voice was coming from the TV. He turns and spots Meghan in the doorway. But this isn't the sweet Meghan he once loved. She's now a homicidal maniac brandishing a large kitchen knife. She charges toward him and stabs him in the chest while screaming "I'll never forgive you! Liar! Liar! I'll never forgive you!" But the wound doesn't affect him. He draws the knife out of his chest and says "There's no blood, see? No blood and no pain. Did you forget that I'm immortal? That we both are? What's the matter with you anyway? What did I do to deserve this attack?" Like you don't know! Meghan says that she saw him kissing another girl and Robin is ready with another lie: "I got close to her to protect her family, don't you see? I figured if I got close to Dierdre, I could get her to persuade her dad to shut the park down. That's what I'm working for, Meghan. To get the park closed before more innocent people die." Liar! What a blatant, bold-faced lie!!! He drives me crazy! Robin comforts Meghan, but he's thinking about how boring she is and how she clings to him like a leech. Well, who the hell else does she have? NO-ONE. Everyone else she knows is old or dead so shut up, Rob. He thinks about killing her also. Of course.

Jared and two of his friends are hanging out in a delapidated mansion watching the news on a tiny portable TV. The sketches of Jared and friends pop up on the screen and Jared silently freaks out. He and his friends are in hiding now, trying to get out of Shadyside. Why are they still there? They're waiting on the fourth friend (Steve) to meet them. Unfortunately, he's late so they're sitting ducks. I say leave his ass. One of the boys (Joey) says his uncle has a secluded cabin upstate that no-one ever uses so they can crash there for a while. Sadly, the police have set up roadblocks all over the freaking place so they probably won't be able to get all the way upstate without getting caught. Jared suddenly has an idea that cheers him up. Robin Fear knows that Jared and friends only planted firecrackers, not a bomb like the news is saying. So Robin can vouch for them. Oh Jared. Little do you know, my friend! Out of the blue, the boys hear a pounding at the door and someone shouting "Open up! It's the police!" Squee! Run! Oh, never mind. It's just Steve. Jared is pissed off at the little joke, but gathers the boys around so he can tell them about Robin Fear. They all agree to head to Fear Park later to find Robin. No comment.

Robin is busy cleaning up rubble from the explosion. He's interrupted by Dierdre who comes up to him holding the article. Ooo...this is gonna be good. Wonder what lies Robin will tell? Robin panics a bit and realizes that it must have been Meghan who slipped Dierdre the article. Robin simply tells Dierdre that the boy in the picture is his grandfather. And that's it. No big deal. Dierdre tells him to call her later and leaves. Robin runs to a payphone and calls Meghan. He pretty much rips her a new one even though she keeps protesting that she knows nothing about any article. Robin hangs up the phone and makes up his mind to kill Meghan very soon. As he's about to walk away, someone grabs him and says "Don't make a sound." Is Robin finally about to get some overdue justice? The person drags Robin into the equipment shed and shuts the door. It's only Jared and the boys. Jared explains the situation and Robin plays nice, saying he'd be glad to help them. HA. He says he'll put a padlock on the outside of the shed so no-one can get in and he'll run and call the police. Those poor idiots aren't going to know what hit them.

Dierdre is sitting in her father's office as she rips up the article and tosses it in the trash. The phone rings and when Dierdre picks up, she hears "Stay away from Robin Fear. He's not your friend. We have to talk. Do you hear me? We have to talk before it's too late!" Then the person hangs up. Mysterious...or something.

Robin bursts back into the shed and tells the boys that he called the cops and told them everything. He says the cops didn't believe any of it and they're coming to kill them. Damn! The boys freak out and want to leave NOW, but Robin tells them running would be the worst thing to do. He convinces them that they need to take a hostage. And the hostage should be Dierdre Bradley. These boys are eating right out of his hand and he knows it which is why he's screwing with them! This is painful. He tells them to stay put while he lures Dierdre to the shed. He spots Dierdre coming out of the office behind her father. Robin has a momentary lapse in which he questions whether he should kill her or keep her. And we don't know what he's going to do because Stine has to end every damn thing on a cliffhanger! Although I'm pretty sure Robin will attempt to kill her.

Robin and Dierdre are walking along through the park even though it's starting to rain. She says maybe they should go inside the office, but Robin has an idea that he thinks is much better: seek shelter in the equipment shed. Guess he decided to kill her after all. Was there ever any doubt? Anyway, they go inside the shed and the door slams shut behind them. Rob falls on the floor and pretends to be unconscious for some reason...I guess just to freak Dierdre out which it does. She sees Jared and the boys and realizes who they are: "You're the ones! You killed all those people! You set the bomb! You killed Robin, too!" God, she's dumb. She struggles toward the door, but they knock her out with a blow to the back of her head. When she regains consciousness, she's tied and gagged. She gazes down beside her and sees Robin lying there with his eyes closed and she starts to sob because she believes Jared killed him. *sigh* Dierdre manages to get out of her ties and removes her gag. Robin pretends to come back to consciousness and Dierdre motions for him to be quiet because the boys haven't seen them yet. She leaps for the window, but Jared spots her and pulls her back. As she sits on the floor beside Robin, the dreaded purple mist floats into the shed. It wraps around Jared and the boys and stretches their skin over their bones so tightly that their skin tears apart. Jared's neck stretches until his head pops off. The smoke fades away once it's done with Jared and the boys. Dierdre gazes around in horror at the bones and eyeballs and such that litter the room. She tells Rob that she HAS to convince her father to shut this place down. Rob simply replies "I'll help you, Dierdre. Then I'm going to take care of you. Real good care of you." I bet he will.

Conclusion? I'm speechless. This thing is crammed with so much crazy junk that I don't even know what to say about it. I'm shellshocked!

Next time: "Fear Park #3 - The Last Scream" Let's finish this sucker.

Monday, November 10, 2008

Cheerleaders: The First Evil

Book Description:

Newcomers Corky and Bobbi Corcoran want more than anything to make the cheerleading squad at Shadyside High. But as soon as the Corcoran sisters are named to the team, terrible things happen to the cheerleaders. The horror starts with a mysterious accident near the Fear Street cemetery. Soon after, piercing screams echo through the empty school halls. And then the ghastly murders begin... Can Corky and Bobbi stop the killer before the entire cheerleading squad is destroyed?

My Description:

Part One: The Cheers

It's early morning and Bobbi has been struck with an idea that's pure genius (note the sarcasm). She's going to stick a fake rat outside her brother Sean's room because he's terrified of rats and she wants to hear him scream. Lame. That shit is entertaining when you're 10, not 17. The girls head downstairs to the kitchen where they complain to their parents about having poached eggs for breakfast AGAIN. We're only four pages in and I'm already really irritated with these two. Anyway, just as their mom asks them if they woke Sean up, they hear a loud scream. Poor Sean. Damn cheerleaders. Conversation turns to cheerleading tryouts that afternoon and Mom uses the opportunity to carry on about how WONDERFUL GLORIOUS TALENTED her girls are. Puke. Bobbi heads upstairs to get dressed and Corky soon follows. She freaks out when she sees Bobbi dangling halfway over the stair railing. But of course it's just another one of Bobbi's stupid jokes. Bobbi DOES die in this one, doesn't she?

School has just let out and Jennifer Daly, captain of the cheerleading squad, is waiting in the gym psyching herself up for the Corcoran's tryout. Stine gives us a glowing description of Jen which makes me think this is his list of traits for his ideal woman: energetic, nice laugh, soft-spoken, and looks like Julia Roberts. Kimmy Bass, the squad's assistant captain, is also hanging around: "Kimmy buzzed around Jennifer like a frenetic bumblebee (I would compare her to a pesky gnat rather than a bee) . With her round face topped by a mop of crimped black hair, her full cheeks that always seemed to be pink, and her slightly chunky shape, she proved to be a striking contrast to her friend." That's just a polite way of saying that Kimmy is the ugly one that makes all the other cheerleaders look better by comparison. Anyway, Kimmy is pissed because the Corcoran sisters are trying out; she thinks the squad is perfect the way it is. But Jennifer insists the Corcorans are perfect because the squad they were on at their old school won a national competition. Who the hell cares? Less talking, more pyramids! cartwheels! murder!

Corky and Bobbi start their cheer which the other cheerleaders think is great for some reason:

First and ten,
Do it again!
First and ten,
Do it again!
Go Tigers!

Sounds like major suckage to me. Seriously. That's crap. After they finish the routine, Jennifer tells them they were awesome. Define 'awesome', Jen. All the other cheerleaders think they're great, too, except for Kimmy and her friend Debra (an icy, blond bitch. Pardon my French.) But it doesn't matter what those two think because Bobbi and Corky are now officially on the squad. After the Corcoran sisters leave, Miss Green (the incredibly manly advisor) tells Jennifer that they only have funds to add one more girl to the squad. Rather than eliminate one of the amazing Corcorans, Jennifer decides to make Ronnie, a freshman, an alternate. Kimmy, as usual, gets all pissed off and fetches Ronnie so Jen can break the news. Ronnie cries (BOO HOO!) and angrily tells Jen that she doesn't really have to do this and then runs away.

In the showers, Kimmy, Debra, and Ronnie bitch some more about Jennifer, Miss Green, and the sisters. Get over it, crybabies. I don't get why Kimmy and Debra are so upset. Maybe they see the Corcorans as a threat? What do you think, Debra? "If only the Corcorans would go back where they came from. With their long blond hair and their big eyes and phony smiles. Yuck." Thank you, Debra. Now kindly shut the hell up. Kimmy turns on the shower and starts screaming--the water is scalding hot! The HORROR! The girls turn off the water and leave. Guess Kimmy wasn't hurt too badly. Darn.

Two weeks later on a Friday night, the Shadyside cheer squad is headed to their first away game. WOOO! If my enthusiasm seems false, that's only because it's false. The girls are all extremely excited and even do a cheer on the bus:

Tigers are yellow,
Tigers are black.
Push 'em back, push 'em back,
Push 'em waaaaay back!

Wow that's horrible. A thunderstorm has just begun and I'm almost certain it's a direct result of those cheers--God doesn't want to hear it anymore! Bobbi and Corky tell Jennifer that they forgot the fire batons at their house so the bus driver needs to make a stop on Fear Street so they can get them. Are they serious? The bus drivers around here would tell you to sit down and shut your trap; it's a one way ticket with zero stops. The driver turns on Fear Street and opens the door so he can see better (the windshield is fogged). Suddenly the bus starts speeding out of control and Jennifer, who was standing beside the driver, flies out of the bus. Then the freaking bus skids a little further before tilting over on it's side. This is what shitty cheers will get you. The girls and the driver manage to escape through the windows and are shocked to realize they wrecked in the Fear Street cemetery. Spooktastic. They soon spot Jennifer's body lying at the foot of a tombstone belonging to Sarah Fear. They run over and discover that Jennifer is dead. Someone must have seen the wreckage from their house and called 911 because an ambulance shows up and paramedics attempt to revive Jennifer. And they do! Bobbi was the one who checked Jen out and pronounced her dead before the ambulance arrived. Idiot. Kimmy is also pissed at Bobbi. Why? Because Bobbi insisted that the driver turn on Fear Street so everything that just happened is her fault. Ok, I'm not Bobbi's biggest fan, but Kimmy is such a ridiculous piece of crap. Step off already!

Part Two: The Fall

It's two weeks after the bus accident and the squad is at the most unholy and pointless of all high school events--a pep rally. Even Ronnie (who is now back on the squad) and Kimmy (who believes she is about to become captain) are happy. After the cheerleaders end their routine, Jennifer comes out on the floor in a wheelchair and gives a short speech to which everyone responds by screaming and cheering. The sweetness is clogging my arteries. Then Miss Green announces who she has chosen to become the new captain. Kimmy is all smiles because she just KNOWS it will be her. But her hopes are totally smashed when Miss Green says Bobbi Corcoran. *laughs maniacally* In your face, Kimmy! Bwahahahaha! Naturally, Kimmy is sad and angry and decides on the spot that she quits the squad. She's not gonna be stood up by a perfect blond princess who's only goal is to destroy her life! Has no-one ever told this girl that nothing you do in high school really matters in the long run? Kimmy flees the gym with thoughts of revenge. Give me a break.

Bobbi is on cloud nine and as she walks home from school, she can think of nothing but her new position as captain. Oh, she thinks of Kimmy momentarily, but don't worry--thoughts of that hag won't ruin the good mood! Her thoughts are broken when someone touches her shoulder and says hi. Bobbi turns to see a cute guy: "He was handsome with friendly dark brown eyes that crinkled at the corners, a shy smile, and lots of unbrushed brown hair that seemed to be tossed around on his head." His name is Chip Chasner and he's a quarterback. Of course he is! He just wanted to congratulate her, but the conversation turns to football. After some really boring chit-chat, Chip cuts to the chase and asks Bobbi if she's seeing anyone. When she says no and asks if he is, he replies "No. Not anymore. Want to meet me after the Winstead game? We could go get a pizza. You know. Hang out with some other guys?" Bobbi agrees and they part ways. Do these people ever do anything else for dates? It's always pizza! Only the psychos are ever creative with their dates. But we just won't go there...

The next night, Bobbi goes to Jennifer's house to study. Ever since the accident, the two have become good friends. Nothing like unbearable tragedy to bring people together. The girls talk about Kimmy and Jennifer says that she convinced Kimmy to come back to the squad. Why the hell would you go and do a thing like that? Kimmy is just awful. The conversation then turns to the wonderous Chip. When Bobbi mentions that he asked her out, Jennifer gets a little defensive and asks "You didn't say yes--DID you?" Bobbi asks why and Jen explains: "Don't you know that Chip is Kimmy's boyfriend? I mean, he WAS Kimmy's boyfriend until a couple of weeks ago. Then he dumped her. Just like that. After two years." Why would a god date a troll? Oh well. Bobbi is upset because she thinks Kimmy will think Chip broke up with her to date Bobbi. Who cares?!?

The next afternoon (I THINK it's the next afternoon anyway) Kimmy is being her usual bitchy self at practice. She wants to get home to prep for the game later. You can't improve your level of crap, Kim, don't even try. Bobbi says they'll meet back here at seven. All the other cheerleaders leave, but Bobbi needs to get something from her locker first. As she's walking down the hall, all the lockers start swinging open on their own. As if that isn't enough, a girl's shrill scream rises over the noise of the banging lockers. Bobbi races around the corner, but there's no-one there. So the school is haunted much like everything else in this town. Big deal. She goes back into the hall of swinging lockers and finds the lockers now closed. She opens her own, grabs her things, and flees the school.

At home, Bobbi and Corky are sitting in their room. Bobbi has just finished telling Corky about the lockers and the scream and Corky is ready with that age-old explanation that we've all seen about a million times in these books: "You've been under a lot of pressure." *sigh* Bobbi is upset because Corky doesn't believe her. Suddenly, both girls gaze across the room at the closet door that is opening by itself! NOO! If you thought it was anything but little Sean then you really shouldn't be reading this. He bursts out and then the girls tickle him. Hard. But they have to cut the fun short because it's time for the game. Sean follows them downstairs saying "Shadyside's going to lose. Shadyside stinks." Undoubtedly true.

At the game, the cheerleaders are giving it their all:

Tigers growl! Tigers roar!
Do it again-more more MORE!

I don't know who made the cheers up, but that person should be tarred and feathered because the cheers are hella lame, man. Bobbi watches Chip on the field and thinks to herself "Was he thinking about the Winstead linemen staring at him from under their helmets, about to come charging toward him? Was he thinking only about the play he had called? Was he nervous? Was he scared to death?" This isn't a battlefield and you're not a war widow, Bobbi, chill out. A few minutes later, Bobbi glances over at Kimmy and notices that she's staring straight ahead as if she's in a trance. Bobbi's attention turns back to the game because who really gives a crap about Kimmy? To make a short story shorter, Chip ends up getting buried under a pile of sweaty football players. When they haul their asses off him, he's unconscious. He's taken away on a stretcher and I'm blaming Kimmy! The Tigers lose the game which proves that Sean was correct--Shadyside stinks.

After the game, Bobbi hangs around the door to the boy's locker room and asks the first guy who comes out if Chip is in there. He is and he'll be out shortly. Oh good. Chip comes out a few minutes later and tells the worried Bobbi that he's fine, he just wants to go home and lie down. She offers to drive him home and they head for her car. On the way to his house, Chip tells Bobbi that when he was on the field, just before he got hit by the players, it was like he was totally paralyzed. It's Kimmy's cheerleader voodoo! Bobbi pulls over to the curb and they start to make out. Stine makes it a point to tell us how steamy the windshield is getting. Don't make me gag!

Just before practice on Monday afternoon, Kimmy comes running over to Bobbi. I don't even have to tell you that she's ticked off. She wants to talk about Chip. Oh shit, here we go. Kimmy says that Chip is HER boyfriend and Bobbi replies that Chip is the one who asked her out which causes Kimmy to pounce on Bobbi like a dog on a juicy bone. Miss Green and Jennifer come over and the fight is over before it really started. Miss Green says practice won't start until they apologize to one another. At first they refuse, but Miss Green threatens to suspend them both from the squad so they finally give in. Finally the actual cheering begins. They're preparing to do a stunt in which Kimmy will stand on Corky's shoulders and dive off into Bobbi's waiting arms. Unfortunately, as Bobbi is waiting, she's totally paralyzed just like Chip was. Since she can't speak, she silently prays for Kimmy NOT to jump. But prayers go unanswered in these parts and Kimmy jumps, landing with a crack on the floor. Let the bitching commence! I have to admit, though, that Kimmy has good reason to bitch because that had to hurt like a motherf!@$er. She landed on her elbows and knees and cracked her forehead against the floor. Damn. As Kimmy lies there, Ronnie and Debra really let Bobbi have it: "You didn't try to catch her! You didn't even try! You just let her fall! We saw you! It was deliberate." Then Kimmy gets her turn and I don't even wanna go there. Miss Green says an ambulance is on its way and she'll have a long talk about this with Bobbi. Uh-oh. Bobbi finally breaks down and runs out of the gym and the school. She only stops when someone grabs her shoulders. It's Chip who wants to know what's wrong. Bobbi sobs that the paralyzing thing happened to her, too. Chip is headed to the doctor for tests and recommends that Bobbi do the same, but she ain't gonna. *sigh*

Later, Bobbi heads to Jennifer's house to vent and complain. Yes, please throw your problems onto the paraplegic. I'm sure she doesn't have any of her own or anything. But like a good friend, Jen listens...and listens...and listens. Shut your freaking yap, Bobbi. Bobbi finally asks about Kimmy and Jen says she has a broken wrist. But Bobbi doesn't really care and immediately switches the conversation back to her issues. Boring. Dull. Zzzzz. Bobbi finally decides to go home at 11:00. As she's getting into her car, she sees Jen WALKING back and forth in front of the window. What the hell?!? Not so crippled after all! Bobbi walks to the front door and rings the bell. But when Jen answers, she's in the wheelchair which makes Bobbi believe that she's going crazy. It isn't that you're crazy. It's that Jen is a liar. LIAR! Bobbi makes some excuse and leaves. Once at home, she wakes Corky to tell her about seeing Jennifer walk. But Corky doesn't believe it. In fact, she brings up a few things she believes to be lies on Bobbi's part: the slamming lockers and Bobbi's paralysis. Bobbi calls Corky a traitor and Corky responds with "You're crazy, Bobbi! Crazy!" Nice.

Part Three: The Evil

So we're at practice again. Stifle your yawns. Corky had to stay late in the science lab so she's missing all the cattiness. Kimmy is being a royal bitch to Bobbi even when Bobbi asks how her wrist is. Bobbi just ignores the attitude and gets practice started. At least she tries to. Everyone is being uncooperative with Kimmy at the lead saying they should wait until Miss Green arrives. Bobbi argues with the chubby little slimeball until Miss Green shows up and asks to speak with Bobbi privately. Then she cancels practice. Sweet relief. Kimmy turns to give Bobbi a smug smile before leaving. Hate! Miss Green tells Bobbi that the girls on the squad obviously don't trust her anymore after Kimmy's accident and she'll have to step down from the squad. It's the first sign of the apocalypse! Bobbi just says "I understand" and heads for the showers where she promptly bursts into tears while undressing. She's momentarily startled because she thinks she hears someone, but dismisses it. A few seconds later, she hears a loud clanging noise as the shower doors close. This isn't gonna be good. Bobbi doesn't think it's anything to worry about so she turns on the shower...and immediately starts screaming. The water is scalding hot. She dodges away, but ALL of the showers are now spraying unbearably hot water. Holy shit! She runs for the doors, but they're predictably locked. The steam is so thick that she can't breathe and eventually passes out.

Corky comes to the gym at around 4:30 and is confused to find it empty. She checks Miss Green's office and the locker room before deciding to try the showers. Heeeerrreee it comes. She goes inside and sees Bobbi's cheerleading uniform lying on a bench and hears all the showers running, but finds it strange that none of the other girls' things are there. She steps toward the showers but stops when she spots something shiny on the floor. It's Kimmy's silver megaphone pendant. Oooo! Corky pockets it and continues toward the showers. She pushes open the doors and is shocked when a flood of steam and a rush of hot water come pouring out. She tiptoes inside calling Bobbi's name. Sadly, she finds Bobbi lying facedown under the showerheads. Her skin is as red as a lobster. Corky turns her over and sees this: "Bobbi stared back at her with vacant, wide-eyed terror, her flesh swollen and red, her mouth locked open in a silent scream." Corky simply sits there holding her dead sister in her arms. *sob*

Two weeks later on a cold moonlit night, Corky takes a trip to the Fear Street cemetery. She finds Sarah Fear's grave, the grave Jennifer landed at when she flew out of the bus. And then she looks upon Bobbi's grave and can't help but cry. She thinks about the funeral, how it was raining that day. Corky starts talking to her sister's grave: "I know you can hear me, Bobbi. I just wish you could answer. I just wanted to tell you the news. They made Kimmy captain of the cheerleaders. You probably guessed that would happen, right? Well, everyone seems real happy about it. Especially Kimmy. The news sure made her wrist get better in a hurry." Damn that stupid Kimmy! Corky goes on to say that she wishes she hadn't been so mean the night before Bobbi died. She starts crying and repeating "I'm sorry" People, this is seriously depressing. I'm sinking, man! She reaches into her pocket for a tissue and Kimmy's pendant falls out. It suddenly dawns on Corky that Kimmy could possibly have had something to do with Bobbi's death. "Yes, Kimmy was there. Kimmy was there when Bobbi died and I have the proof in my hand." YES! Torch Kimmy's ass!

Corky rushes to Kimmy's house and just barges in like she owns the place. YES! Debra and Ronnie are there, too. Yuck. Corky thrusts the pendant in Kimmy's face and says "You were there. You were there when Bobbi died. Here's my proof. I found this in the locker room." And Kimmy, that unbelievable piece of shit, says that the pendant isn't even her's: "It isn't mine anymore. I gave it to Jennifer." No fucking way! Ok, MAYBE it's true. Kimmy goes on to say that she gave the pendant to Jen a month ago because the clasp was loose and she didn't like it anymore. She says it probably came loose and fell from Jen's neck, but that doesn't make Jen a murderer. Corky knows better, though--Jennifer never changed in the locker room so she couldn't have dropped it there unless she was in there to mess with Bobbi.

Corky runs out of Kimmy's house and drives to Jennifer's house. The house is dark, but she sees a car pull into the driveway and then turn around. Jennifer is driving! Corky decides to follow her. Jennifer turns on Fear Street and stops when she reaches the cemetery. Corky gets out of the car and hides behind a tree, watching Jennifer's every move. Jen starts doing this crazy dance with a Shadyside Tigers penant. Weirdo. Corky realizes that Jen is dancing around Sarah Fear's tombstone. After Jen curtsies before the grave, Corky's curiosity gets the better of her and she steps out from behind the tree: "Jennifer, what's going on?" Jennifer's reply? "I'm not Jennifer!" Oh no. Don't tell me she's possessed by Sarah Fear's spirit or some shit. Jen raises her hand and suddenly Corky is trapped in a swirling tornado of dirt from Sarah Fear's grave. Corky begs to know what's going on so "Jen" explains: "I am not Jennifer. Jennifer died weeks ago. Jennifer died in the bus accident. She was dead that night in the rain. She died on top of Sarah Fear's grave. I waited so long, so long... Buried down there for a hundred years with Sarah Fear." What the hell is going on? When Corky asks if she's Sarah Fear, the thing replies "Not anymore." Ok, so she's Sarah Fear in Jen's body. Why can't evil spirits say what they mean? Then Sarah/Jennifer tells Corky that it's her turn to go down into the grave.

Sarah/Jennifer tells Corky to look at her new home. Corky gazes into the open grave at an old wooden coffin with a hole in it through which she can see a nasty ass skeleton crawling with worms inside. Sarah/Jennifer shoves Corky into the grave. NOOOO! Thankfully Corky manages to land on her feet and drags herself out of the hole. Sometime throughout all of this, Debra, Kimmy, and Ronnie showed up and Sarah/Jennifer is distracted for the time being. Corky grabs her and attempts to throw her down into the grave. Sarah/Jennifer opens her mouth and out flows some dank, nasty breath that chokes Corky. Spirits have no sense of hygeine. Somehow Corky manages to choke Sarah/Jennifer. As she does, a vapor pours out of her mouth and into the grave. Corky realizes that it's all the evil pouring out of the body. The vapor goes into the coffin and dirt rains down, filling the grave once more. Wow. That was fucked up. The girls crowd around one another until some Shadyside officers show up out of the blue because they have nothing better to do than troll cemeteries.

Corky finally gets home at 3:00 am after spending quite a bit of time at the police station. In her room, as she's changing for bed, she cries out "Bobbi, I miss you so much!" Aw. Poor little lamb. She climbs into bed and freaks out when she feels something against her leg. She turns on the light and reaches for the mystery item. It's Jennifer's cheerleading penant. The book ends with Corky screaming.

Conclusion? I hate cheerleaders. Especially ones with evil vapor breath.

Thursday, November 6, 2008

Ski Weekend

*Sorry about the blurry pic. Not much going on there anyway. Just some frightened teens and a nutjob in a ski mask.*

Book Description:

"Red" Porter was a stranger they'd met on their ski weekend. But Ariel Munroe, Doug Mahr, and his girlfriend Shannon Harper were grateful he was there when they set out for home on the icy roads. Thank heaven for Red! He spotted the hilltop lodge when they were stranded by the blizzard. He took charge when they stumbled into strange surroundings, scared, tired, and looking for refuge. But can he save them when their refuge becomes a trap? Suddenly their hosts are acting very sinisterly. Doug's car is gone. The phones are dead. And the house is full of guns. If they steal one, maybe they can escape! Until a shot is fired and the REAL terror begins...

My Description:

The gang is headed home after a stay at Pineview, an expensive ski lodge. Doug is driving on an icy road like a frigging maniac and the rest of the gang is completely freaking out. He eventually realizes it isn't funny to play around with other people's lives and slows the damn car. Ariel is relieved, but nervous for another reason--she has to sit beside Red in the backseat and he's practically a stranger. They met him two days before at the ski lodge where he asked for a ride to Brockton, a city which isn't far from Shadyside (where everyone is unfortunately headed). But it's ok because he's really cute! Typical Shadyside reaction. You'd think these people would learn that really cute usually means really homicidal. Ariel's thoughts turn to her absent boyfriend, Randy. Randy left the lodge early because of some basketball game instead of riding home with them. Oh well. More room for Red! Anyway, snow is blowing everywhere and suddenly Doug loses control of the car and they're all going to die! AHHHHH!

Oh, never mind. It's ok now. I think I wish Doug would fall off the side of a mountain. They all start to whine and complain about the heater being busted which leads to April playing meteorologist for some reason: "Did you know that snow has ten times the volume of rain? That means every inch of rain is equal to ten inches of snow."

A few minutes later, Red says he knows the area and there's a county road coming up soon that Doug should turn on even though it won't get them to their destination (they're headed to Fear Street. I think they'd be better off burying themselves in a snow bank.) any quicker. Why? "The county guys get the snowplows out a lot faster than the state highway guys." I find it to be just the opposite around here. But whatever Red says must be right because he's a handsome stranger! So Doug makes the turn and everyone except Red immediately starts complaining about the scenery: "It's all woods and farms." WAHHHH. Shut. Up. Fortunately for me, they're nearly ran off the road by a red moving van and that mercifully shuts their traps for a second or two. Doug cheers "We're gonna be ok from now on!" because they narrowly avoided the accident, but he spoke too soon. The car inches forward a few yards and completely dies. Well, that's what they get for complaining so much. Karma is a real bitch, kids. Doug keeps turning the key until the car starts back up and Red says they won't get much further because the engine is overheating. He also points out that there is a house a little further in the woods and it's really huge so they might be able to stay the night. A house in a remote location where no-one will be able to hear you scream if the owner turns out to be a homicidal maniac? Great idea! Ariel mentions something about a phone, but I think we all know there won't be a working telephone in that house. Don't you know your horror clich├Ęs, Ariel? Doug parks the car and they all grab their overnight bags and begin walking to the house. I guess they just automatically assumed that the people living there will allow a bunch of strangers to stay in their home. Ariel has a feeling of dread, but she ignores it because that house looks so warm and inviting...

Doug knocks on the door a few times and a damned dingbat answers. The way this guy talks makes me want to slice my ears off. A sample: "Whoooa! Well, well--look what the cat dragged in! Get your buns in here. Whoooeee! You guys looks frozen. Eva! Eva! Get in here, gal. We've got unexpected company!" He sounds like an extra from "Deliverance" . Seriously, reading this shit is making me insane. The things I do for you people! He introduces himself as Lou Hitchcock. He tells them that they can wait out the storm there, but quite frankly, I'd rather freeze to death than listen to his crap for one more second. When the long suffering Eva enters the room, Lou says "Well, there's her nibs." Can someone please explain to me what the bloody hell that even means? Anyway, Eva is a lot younger than Lou and sounds as if she could do a bit better: "She had very fine, curly blond hair that looked bleached and she wore metal-rimmed glasses over blue eyes." Lou is described as "tall and broad shouldered. He had scraggly brown hair that looked as if it hadn't been combed in days and a short brown beard." I don't want to think about this man anymore.

Everyone makes themselves comfortable on the sofa and Lou gets his creep on, continuously telling Shannon that he just looooooves her red hair. Hitting on a teenage girl while your wife is in the next room? Go stick your wiener in a meat grinder, Lou. Doug goes to use the phone to call his parents and surprisingly, it isn't dead. Then Lou brings up the subject of hunting, telling everyone that one of his friends got his head blown off by a hunter. Of course he laughs his ass off at this. Creep! Doug laughs along and then Lou utters a word that I have never seen in a Fear Street novel. Yes, ANOTHER ground-breaker! "The Sleepwalker" had the word 'sex' and this book has 'jackass'. I know--crazy! Who knew that R.L. Stine curses?! Ariel, disgusted by Lou's story, heads into the kitchen and asks Eva is she can have a cup of tea. Ariel thinks it's weird that Eva doesn't seem to know where anything is in her own kitchen. Doug comes in a minute later and Eva goes upstairs after telling Ariel to pour the water when it's done boiling. I think she could've figured that out on her own, Sherlock. Suddenly a gunshot rings out. Did someone finally take the initiative and kill Lou??? No. It wasn't a gunshot at all. It was a freaking MOUSE TRAP. These people are paranoid as hell. Doug tosses the suicidal mouse and the trap into the trash. Then he and Ariel start talking about Red, but they're interrupted by a loud noise outside. Lou opens the front door and finds that a tree limb has crashed through the porch roof. He, Doug, and Red go out to remove it. They come in a few minutes later and Lou is pissed at Doug because Dougie doesn't follow directions. Or something. I kind of tuned out because I hate Lou.

Later, they all gather in the living room with bowls of chili. Lou ruins the good mood by telling a story about the time he was trapped in a cabin with three beautiful women. *barf* This guy is more repulsive than all of the Fear Street murderers combined. Once again, Ariel gets grossed out by Lou (hahahaha) and asks Eva to show her where she'll be sleeping. A little while later, Ariel is awakened by the sound of the front door opening and closing. She looks out the window, sees no-one, and hears footsteps downstairs. She can't resist the urge to play Nancy Drew so she creeps to the staircase and peeks over the balcony. She hears a crash as a lamp falls to the floor and her imagination begins to run wild: "Horrifying thoughts flashed through my mind, pictures of masked men carrying bloody hatchets and chainsaws." In this case, that's actually probable. Ariel turns to go back to her room, but freezes when she hears someone coming up the back staircase. A dark figure heads right toward's Red. All that suspense for absolutely nothing! Red follows her to her room and tells her that he heard Lou and Eva fighting and he's pretty sure Lou hit Eva. Ariel finally says what we've all been thinking: "Lou gives me the creeps. We've just got to get out of here!" Amen. Red says he took a walk outside after he heard them so he's not sure what's going on now. They chat for a little while longer and inevitably end up making out. There's a woman in danger! You two can tangle tongues later! This ALWAYS happens! When the going gets tough, the morons start kissing. Ariel breaks it off and Red goes back to his own room and I guess we're all going to ignore the fact that Eva could be hurt. Ok then.

The next morning, Ariel wakes up to the smell of bacon cooking and dresses hurriedly. She finds Lou cooking in the kitchen and when he notices she's there, he says "Hey, there's Blondie. Good morning, Bright Eyes!" *sigh* Shannon, Doug, and Red are already at the table eating eggs so Ariel joins them. She asks Lou where Eva is and he responds "I'm giving my better half a treat. I'm letting her sleep in." Yeah right. Liar! A few minutes later, Doug announces that he's going to check on the car and Lou tells him there's really no point in worrying about it until the road crew comes. But Doug insists and Lou says "You are the stubbornest jackass. Glad I'm not your father." Again with the jackass! And 'stubbornest' isn't a word. Red and Ariel decide to go with him, but Shannon elects to stay behind and risk molestation by helping Lou with the dishes.

When the three get outside, they realize that the car is gone. Things couldn't get any better, could they? Red walks around the area where they parked the night before and spots the car. Unfortunately, it's lying on its side at the bottom of a ravine. They trudge back to the house where Lou greets them at the door with a mutilated mouse in a trap. "Hey, my little snow bunnies. Look--I caught us some lunch!" *barf* Doug explains what happened to the car, but Lou doesn't seem to give a shit. He does go over to the phone, though, intending to call a tow service. The phone is dead OF COURSE. I was wondering when that would happen. These kids are screwed. Lou flips out over the phone and tells everyone that he has a 4-wheel drive Jeep in the barn, but he's not taking them anywhere in it because the snow is too deep. Then why the hell did you bring it up, asshole?!? Stine, you should be deeply ashamed of yourself for creating this character. After some pleading from everyone, Lou finally agrees to at least TRY to get into town with the Jeep. He tells them to pack up and wait for him outside. Before he walks away, he leaves them with this piece of wisdom: "Just remember--don't eat the yellow snow!" Har har har.

They all gather their things and head outside to wait. They spend this time having a snowball fight. Yee-haw. After a bit, Lou comes out and tells them to get in the Jeep. Ariel notices that the license plate is from Alabama instead of Vermont (does that mean Shadyside is also in Vermont?) but Red says plenty of people have out-of-state plates. Besides, Ariel is a paranoid, suspicious freak. Lou gets in the front and Ariel cracks me up with her thoughts: "He was standing close enough for me to smell the beer on his breath. It's not even lunchtime and he's already started to drink." I always feel safe when a drunk is driving. Lou looks at Shannon and says "Why don't you squeeze in next to me, sweetcakes?" Ew. Anyway, Lou turns the key and the engine sputters and dies. It keeps doing that until Lou gets completely pissed off and storms back inside. Everyone else also piles out, disappointed because they're trapped with Lou for another night.

Later that afternoon, everyone is gathered around the fire. Red is out trying to fix the Jeep. There's still no sign of Eva and no-one seems worried about her at all. For all they know, Lou could have chopped her up and buried her in the snow. Speaking of Lou, he enters the room holding a beer and slurring every word he says. Nice. He tells them to make themselves sandwiches for lunch and walks off. Ariel decides to go upstairs and find Eva while everyone eats. She finds her lying on her bed and she's not looking too good. Her cheek is swollen and bruised and her right eye is almost swollen shut. She tells Ariel "You shouldn't be here." and Ariel leaves the room wondering what Eva meant. She goes downstairs and makes herself a sandwich while Lou pulls the phone out of the wall in a drunken rage. Shannon, Doug, and Ariel play cards for a while, eventually growing extremely bored. Suddenly Ariel looks up and sees someone in a ski mask looking into a window at them. I can't take this seriously because people in ski masks make me laugh hysterically. I don't know why. Anyway! Doug and Shannon see him and he disappears soon after. They tell Lou, but he just laughs it off because he's totally shit-faced and EVERYTHING seems funny. Red comes in a second later and no-one assumes for a moment that it could have been him in the ski mask messing with them. Out of the blue, Lou asks Doug if he works out and Doug replies that he's on the wrestling team. Lou also used to wrestle before he got his beer belly and challenges Doug to a match. Oh, this should be good. Doug agrees to it and pulls off his sweater. I pray that Lou leaves his clothes on. The match doesn't last long; Doug ends up winning. He starts to walk away, but Lou grabs his leg and pulls him down. This book just took a turn for the homoerotic. Lou starts slamming Doug's head into the carpet until Red pulls him off. Doug says his leg is killing him and everyone assumes it's sprained because he can still move it ok (this amounts to nothing later on). Lou just walks off for some coffee. I'm speechless.

Doug, Shannon, Red, and Ariel gather in Ariel's room to talk about Lou and figure out a way to get the hell out of this house. Red says he overheard Lou tell Eva that he's going to rob them all and leave them there with no way to escape. That's laughable. What the hell do they have that he could possibly want? Ski sweaters? And they've got no way to escape whether Lou is there or not. Red walks out and comes back with two photos that he found in a drawer in his room. They're of a man and a woman. Ok. I guess that'll be important later? Red says he noticed that pictures used to be on the mantle downstairs: "The house hasn't been dusted in a long time. I could tell. But there was no dust in the spots where those pictures had been. That means they were recently removed and hidden in my dresser." Good going, Scooby Doo. That one deserves a Scooby Snack. They all come to the conclusion that the house belongs to the people in the photos. How do they know? Because Eva doesn't know her way around the kitchen! Lou's jacket doesn't fit! The photos are hidden! All of that can be explained: Eva isn't domestic, Lou drinks too much fucking beer, and everyone has pictures of relatives that they don't feel like looking at sometimes. Anyway, Red says he lied earlier when he said he couldn't get the Jeep working and they just have to figure out a way to get out without Lou noticing. Just do it! They agree to wait until Lou passes out from all the alcohol to sneak out.

Lou finally heads to bed at midnight, but they all wait until 12:30 to go out to the Jeep. They go downstairs and Doug fetches a revolver out of Lou's gun cabinet before they head out into the night. They're all so happy to finally be going home and that makes me sad because this isn't gonna work the way they want it to. They go inside the barn where the Jeep is parked and hear a strange noise in the rafters. They all look up and when their attention turns back to the doorway, they notice a man standing there. They all assume it's Lou and Doug shoots him for the obvious reasons. But when they turn on the light, they realize it's a total stranger that Doug just killed. Ariel is the first to realize that this is the man they saw in the photos. Doug says they need to call the police yet refuses to go anywhere in the Jeep even though the phones in the house don't work. Moron. Suddenly Lou comes running in, alerted by the gunshots. He spots the corpse and surprises them by saying "Jake! What have you done to Eva's brother?" Uh-oh. Lou says that Jake must have come ro rescue them from the storm. He finds a ski mask in Jake's coat pocket and realizes that it was Jake that Ariel spotted in the window. None of this really makes sense. Why didn't Jake just come into the house rather than peeking into the windows and running away? Lou proceeds to freak out: "Whose idea was it to steal my gun? What are you suckers doing out here anyway? You stealing my car, too? Is that the idea? You fixed my car and didn't tell me. Then you take my gun and my car and leave me and Eva here with a corpse? I can't believe I let you murderers into my house!" Uh, does this mean they can't stay for another night? Lou tells Red to help him drag Jake to the cellar. So I guess they are indeed staying another night. Damn.

Inside, they gather and talk while Lou is upstairs breaking the news to Eva. Ariel wants to examine the body so she goes down to the cellar after everyone else has gone to bed. WHY? She looks at the bullet wound and notices that there is hardly any blood at all. She also realizes that Jake is completely frozen and that seems odd considering the fact that he's only been dead for about six hours. But before she can come to a conclusion about this, she hears footsteps. It's Red. He's always lurking around. But that's ok--he's a cute stranger! She runs upstairs with him and they wake up Doug and Shannon so Ariel can inform them of what she found out. Enlighten us. She says that Doug did NOT kill Jake--Jake was already dead! How does she know? "Because Jake didn't bleed. Only a trickle. If he'd been alive, the blood would have gushed. And when I examined him just now, he was stiff. Much too stiff to be dead for such a time." How does April know these things? She wants to be a doctor when she grows up. Yep, if I were shot by a renegade teenager, I too would want someone who MIGHT be a doctor someday to treat me. You're a lucky one, Jake. Ariel goes on to say that Jake must have been propped up inside the barn. She thinks that Lou murdered him and is now trying to frame them. Everyone except Red wants to leave NOW. But Red thinks they should simply confront Lou with their theory. I don't care how handsome you are, Red, you're an idiot. They all run outside and Ariel notices Red trailing behind holding a pistol. She tells him that they don't need it and he replies "I do. Sorry. You're nice guys. But Lou and I worked too hard to set this whole thing up. I can't let you go now." Damn him! Never trust the handsome stranger! He WILL lie to you and you'll believe him because of his cute smile and his stupid red hair and dimples. I think we all learned a lesson here.

Red forces them back to the house where Lou comes outside to greet them. Red tosses him the gun. We quickly find out a few things: it was Red in the ski mask, the phones are now conveniently working, Eva is quite upset about everything even though she was in on it all, and Jake was also Red's brother. My brain hurts. Eva comes out then and tells Lou she can't do this anymore. "I hated Jake for what he did to us. Jake was detestable. Stealing our inheritance over the years, cheating us out of what was rightfully ours. But you didn't have to kill him, Lou." Eva also states that she called the police and Lou is screwed five ways to Sunday. I don't care if that made no sense. Ariel throws a hard snowball at Lou's forehead which stuns him so he drops the gun and Doug grabs it and heaves it far away. Ariel, Shannon, and Doug make a run for the Jeep. They make it, but realize that Red has the keys. NOOO! Damn this book! Damn Stine and his neverending plot twists! Damn the song "Pretty Woman" for taking up residence in my brain! Ok, I'm cool now. Moving on...

Ariel hops on the snowmobile just as Red and Lou bound in the doorway. She plows toward them, but they dive out of the way just in time and run after her. She ends up flying off the snowmobile and landing on the icy surface of a lake. I think we can all see where this is headed. Red and Lou grab Ariel as she slips and falls on the ice. Is it over yet? Of course not. Fortunately for Ariel, the police have arrived. Red and Lou argue over how they should get out of this and Red decides he'll use Ariel as a hostage: "They're not taking me unless they want to see her dead!" So dramatic. Somehow Ariel gets away and Red chases her which leads to his demise. The ice cracks and he falls through. Darn. Can we all go home now? Ariel almost falls through, but Doug saves her ass and Lou surrenders to the cops and it's all back to good.

A tow truck drags Doug's car out of the ravine and it actually works so they can drive themselves home. As he's driving, Doug looks at Ariel and says "I have something for you." He opens the glove compartment, takes out a snowball, and shoves it in her face. The end.

Conclusion? Stine at his predictable best. So very similar to "Truth or Dare". If you like white trash psychos and overly dramatic red haired strangers, this is the book for you.

Next time: "Cheerleaders: The First Evil"

Attack of the Jack-O'-Lanterns (Goosebumps #48)

PUMPKIN POWER! Nothing beats Halloween. It's Drew Brockman's favorite holiday. And this year will be awesome. Much better ...