Sunday, April 4, 2010

Fear Hall: The Beginning

Book Description:

A Special Message From R.L. Stine...

Dear Readers:

Come with me to Fear Hall. That's the creepy college dorm built many years ago by the cursed Fear family. Hope and her roomates live in Fear Hall. Hope's boyfriend lives there, too. They're all good students and best friends. Everything is going great...until one of them becomes a murderer! Now Hope is about to find out that life at Fear Hall can be a real scream! I hope you'll join me for Fear Hall. This story has so many scares, it took me two books to tell it all!

P.S. You'll never believe what I came up with for the next book...

Oh, Stine. *sigh*

My Description:

Part One - Hope

As the "Special Message From R.L. Stine" already informed us, Hope lives in Fear Hall. "Fear Hall is the biggest student dormitory at Ivy State. It's a tall, redbrick building. Sort of old-fashioned looking with a thick carpet of ivy running down the sides, curling into some of the windows. I'd guess that maybe 50 girls live in the rooms on my floor, the 13th floor. Fear Hall is only a block from The Triangle. That's the big grassy area in the middle of campus. But even though our dorm is so close to the center of campus, it's only half full. Know why? Because of its bad reputation." Thank you, Hope. She goes on to say that Fear Hall was built by Duncan Fear and the Fears are cursed or something, but she wouldn't know much about that because the family comes from Shadyside which is like 50 miles away. NOOO! I don't think I can survive a Fear Street book that doesn't take place in Shadyside! What will we do without the dead animal menagerie or the evil spirits or Dalby's Dept. Store or the homicidal teenagers or Gary Brandt?! Oh. Anyway, Hope goes on to say she shares a room with three girls: Angel, Eden, and Jasmine. Were they ever in a '90s girl band? Because that's what those names are telling me. Hope decides to tell us all about them even though we could probably find the same info in an old issue of Tiger Beat.

Yeah, baby. Check that vintage Beat. (Yeah, yeah, it's not from the 90s, but this one was too good to pass up.) Hope decides to describe herself first--she's a slightly chubby blond. Because if she were a brunette, the world would implode on itself. Angel is a skinny blond who likes to prance around in revealing clothing and giggle when guys drool over her. I may call her Bambi. Eden is our resident grunge girl. She has BROWN HAIR!! and wears plenty of plaid. Her hobbies include making jokes with her "hoarse, scratchy voice" and writing letters to her mother. Hope insinuates that Eden is possibly a lesbian: "Unlike Angel, [Eden] doesn't seem at all interested in the boys here at Ivy State. I've never even seen her talking to a boy." Now we come to Jasmine who is the shy one. She's also pretty, intelligent, and self-conscious. And there you have the girls of room 13-B.

Hope says that everyone is very happy until one night when her boozy boyfriend Darryl wakes her up. After blowing some beer breath up her nostrils, he tells her he did something reaaaaallll bad. Such as? Well, instead of telling Hope right away, he first informs her that he saw her with some dude named Brendan earlier. Darryl is the jealous type and this filled his head with rage. Hope says that wasn't Brendan (who the fudge is Brendan?!) it was Angel. Apparently Angel could pass as a man or a woman. How convenient! Either that or Darryl was so damn wasted he couldn't tell the difference. I want Angel to be a hermaphrodite so I'm going with that explanation. Anyway, back to Darryl's bad deed. He finally tells Hope what happened to good old Brendan: "I carved him, Hope. I carved him." Well, that could mean a few different things. Perhaps Darryl is a carpenter who carves likenesses of random guys out of balsa wood. Maybe he's a murderer who enjoys carving human flesh like Grandpa carves the Thanksgiving turkey. Either way, I'm glad that Darryl has a hobby besides drinking. After Darryl confesses, Hope screams loud enough to wake the other girls and probably everyone within a ten foot radius. Hope says something about Brendan and Angel tells deranged Darryl that SHE was the one with Brendan. It's too bad Darryl didn't have that bit of info earlier. Because he's pretty sure Brendan is dead. I would care a lot more if someone would just tell me who the hell Brendan is. Angel says they have to call the police, but before Darryl can carve her for even THINKING such a thing, someone knocks on the door. Hope shoves Darryl into the closet and answers the door. It's a girl named Melanie who lives across the hall. Mel is part of the three M's: Melanie, Mary, and Margie. They're nosy, smug, rich girls who Hope loves to hate. Melanie asks is anyone needs help and Hope says no and lies about the noise. As Melanie turns to leave, they hear a loud scream. Mary comes running up the hall and says a boy has been murdered outside. Everyone runs out and they find Brendan's mutilated body beside some shrubs. Darryl did indeed carve away. In the distance are sirens so Hope runs back upstairs for Darryl who is just sitting there on her bed like nothing is happening, like he didn't just carve out someone's intestines for no reason. Before he leaves, he has a message for Hope: "Just don't go out with another guy. Or I might do it again. I just might." Seriously. A few moments after Darryl stumbles out the door, a policeman shows up to ask some questions that no-one will answer honestly because protecting the drunken hosebag is more important than getting some justice for the innocent dead kid.

Part Two - Jasmine

Jasmine works at Campus Corner, the local coffee shop. She's practically the only person who works there so her job is about 500 times more stressful than it should be, all because her boss is a cheapskate who won't hire more people. Or something. Regardless of the hours she works, she likes the job mostly because it's helping her be less shy. "My mother always called me Fish. Isn't that a disgusting nickname? She called me that because she said I had the personality of a dead fish. My mother wasn't very kind to me." Scientists have a name for your mother, Jasmine: pontificus bitchicus (a.k.a. pontificating bitch). Sidenote: pontificating is the word of the day. Anyway, Jasmine starts thinking about Brendan's brutal murder. She looks up and spots the three M's sitting in a booth whispering and staring at her. I wonder if they're friends with her mom. Jasmine finally walks over to their table and directly asks them why they keep staring at her. Melanie says they wanted her to take their order. A little while later, Eden and Angel come in and Jasmine takes a break so she can talk to them. They immediately say they're worried about Hope and the fact that she won't let them tell the police about Darryl. Tell them anyway!!! He's a psychopath! Eden and Angel leave when they realize the three M's have been eavesdropping the whole time. Ugh.

Jasmine leaves work at 7:30 PM and she's relieved to go because her boss, Marty, is acting really strange. As she's walking home, she hears footsteps behind her and assumes it's Marty. But then the figure jumps out of an alley and grabs her. Who is it? If you guessed Darryl, you have no imagination, but you are completely correct. You would think this fool would lay low considering he recently KILLED someone but instead he's out playing stalker. He's all twitchy and weird and asks if she plans on turning him in. She says no and he replies that he won't kill again unless he has to. Is that supposed to be comforting?

Part Three - Eden

Eden is busy doing what she always does--writing letters to her mother. I'm not sure why she feels a need to write constantly. She's like a soldier pouring out her heart just in case she dies in battle or something. Hope teases her about this, but only because Hope really hates her own mom. Hope's mom is just as bad as Jasmine's. She calls Hope 'Buttertubs' because Hope is a little chubby. Again with the pontificus bitchicus. Hope wants to go out and Eden agrees to go with her. They make their way to Blue Tavern which is the college version of Pete's Pizza. What makes it college? The beer of course! The girls get a table next to a few guys. One of them is described as looking like a pirate. What a catch, matey. NOT. The other guy is cute and bearded and introduces himself as Dave (the old peg-leg is Gideon). Eden notices that Hope looks completely freaked out. She says Darryl is watching and she doesn't want any trouble. When the guys come over to their table, Hope disappears. Instead of going after her, Eden decides to stay behind and eat pizza with Dave because he makes her heart go pitter patter. LAME. Eden's excuse is that she really needs a man in her life right now. Eden, I'd like to smack you sideways. When your friend is depressed and struggling, you at least attempt to help. You don't sit around stuffing your face with pizza and beer with some dude you just met (and his best friend Blackbeard). So. Infuriating. Eden and the boys sit around making painfully stupid jokes and laughing like hyenas. Eden mentions that she lives in Fear Hall and the guys think this is so cool.

She leaves a few minutes later, finally thinking about Hope. When she gets to 13-B, she sees that Angel and Jasmine are asleep and Hope is cowering in her bed because there's Darryl in the corner. Eden is totally pissed that this creep is in their room and she gets even more angry when he holds up a letter she wrote to her mom about the murder. Darryl grabs her arm, twists it, and slams her against the wall. Someone knocks on the door and Angel and Jasmine wake up so Darryl dives into the bathroom to hide in the toilet like the turd he is. Melanie and Mary are at the door and Eden lies about everything just like Hope did the first time this happened. Before the M's leave, they tell Eden they're organizing a safety meeting and Eden assures them that they'll all be there.

The next morning, Eden runs into Dave on her way to history class. They make plans to meet later. When Eden reachs the classroom, she's already late. After taking her seat, her professor, Mr. Cumberland, asks if she's Hope Mathis. She says no, Hope is her roomate and doesn't take this course. Mr. Cumberland looks at his roster and says Eden isn't registered for this course. I want to say that Hope has multiple personalities and Eden is one of them, but the more I think about it, the less sense it makes. Then again, these books aren't known for "making sense". In fact, logic simply doesn't exist here. My brain hurts. Anyway, Eden leaves the room completely confused and runs into Hope on the Triangle. Eden explains what just happened and Hope says the teacher must have gotten mixed up because she isn't in that class. Well, that solves everything, Captain Obvious. Eden blurts out that she wants to call the cops about Darryl, but Hope begs her not to. WHY? Guess I'm not getting an answer any time soon.

That night, Eden and Dave go to a coffee shop called Murphy's to hang out. Eden borrowed an outfit from Hope (black shirt, black skirt, purple tights. Smokin'.) and Dave thinks she looks hawt. Eden thinks his beard is really cute. They were obviously made for each other. Wonder if Eden will tell him she's covering for a murderer before their wedding day. Eventually they leave the restaurant and some guy comes running up and body slams Dave into the wall. It's that stupid pirate who thinks himself hilarious. He takes off a moment later (Dave should've gouged his eyes out) and Eden and Dave go to the driving range for some reason. P.S. I hate golf. Eden sucks at it so Dave gives her some pointers. Suddenly Eden spots Darryl lurking in the shadows. He comes over and proceeds to rip Dave's ear off with a golf club. "The ripping sound...the horrible Velcro being pulled apart. And Dave's ear sailed up...up...into the bright glare of the spotlights." That's fucked up. Darryl goes on to beat Dave to death while Eden screams and runs away. How helpful.

Part Four - Hope

Hope is holding Eden while she sobs. Hope also helps Eden wash her blood encrusted hair and the clothes that Hope lent to Eden which are the cause of Dave's death--Darryl thought Eden was Hope because he's a frigging idiot. I mean, these girls look NOTHING alike. Eden keeps saying that they have got to call the police because Darryl will just keep killing people unless they do something. Then Hope tells Eden why she doesn't want to get rid of Darryl--because he is the only one who never made her feel bad about her weight. So people have to die horrible, painful deaths because you feel fat? Go to hell. Go directly to hell. Do not pass go. Do not collect $200. Just go to hell. Eden finally falls asleep and Darryl creeps out of the shadows (how does he even get in here?!) and tells Hope to strangle Eden. She tells him to get out and they argue. It's almost funny how they act like Darryl killing people is just some kind of personality quirk. "When Darryl gets nervous, he tends to disembowel the closest living thing. But it's ok because he only does it SOMETIMES!" That kind of thing (not an actual line from this book). Darryl leaves after telling Hope that he'll kill again if he has to. And of course he'll have to. He always has a reason. *sigh*

The next morning, Hope hears a report on the radio about Dave's death. Police want to speak with the young woman who was spotted with him on the driving range. Uh-oh. Hope wakes Eden and Eden says she's gotta call the police. Hope isn't going to let that happen so when Eden picks up the phone, Hope picks up Angel's hair dryer and cracks Eden's skull with it. Eden is still alive so Hope ties her up, tapes her mouth shut, and throws her in the closet. As Hope is thinking about what to do next, she spots Melanie standing in the doorway. Apparently she just missed the show because she just says she wanted to remind Hope about the safety meeting tonight. I don't think it's gonna matter if Hope is there or not. Melanie leaves and Hope happens to glance out the window and sees cops talking to Darryl. Naturally Hope freaks out and decides she's gotta get down there and rescue her shining prince! Then she remembers Eden. She actually feels guilty about what she did and opens the closet door...Eden is gone. Uh, HOW? Hope turns and sees that Eden is in bed, just waking up. What the hell is going on?! Hope runs to the window again and spots Darryl. The cops have left and he's staring up at her "with the most terrifying look of pure hatred on his face." I think I've fallen down the rabbit hole.

Part Five - Jasmine

Jasmine is heading for work and she's late and dreading what her lame boss will have to say. He ends up firing her because not only was she late today, she didn't even show up the day before. Jasmine realizes she doesn't remember anything about yesterday. Hope...multiple's gotta be! Or something. Anyway, "Jasmine" goes to the Student Union to have some coffee and try to remember the chunks of her life that seem to have slipped her mind. Unfortunately, the horse's ass known as Darryl shows up. What has he done THIS time? "I hurt [Hope], Jasmine. I hurt her real bad." Ok. You want a medal or something?

Part Six - Hope

Hope (or whoever she is) is on her bed sobbing when Jasmine comes in. When Jasmine asks her what Darryl did, Hope gives the response a 5 year old would give. "He didn't hit me. He did much worse, Jasmine. He called me names!" Is she serious? Hilarious! Darryl told Hope she was a fat cow which is the equivalent of stabbing her in the heart with a rusty corkscrew. A few minutes later, Hope tilts her head back, screams as loud as she can, and runs out of the room. I...I just...dude.

Part Seven - Angel

I've been really dreading this one. Anyway, Angel is making out with some guy...some guy named B.J. *giggle* Angel wants us to know what a slut she is: "I do this a lot. I find guys in restaurants and movie theaters and stores. And I end up in dark parking lots with them. But what's the harm in it?" I can sum up the harm with three letters: STD. I bet Angel smells like hot garbage and stale cigarettes. Anyway, Darryl shows up to ruin the fun. B.J. gets freaked out and drives off, leaving Angel with Darryl. Darryl cackles like an old hag because Angel is alone with him. Ew.

Part Eight - Hope

After Hope lost her mind and ran out of the dorm like a cheetah chasing a one-legged antelope, she eventually calmed down enough to return to the building. It's now 11 PM and Hope is waiting for the elevator with melanie who won't shut up about the murders and campus safety and blah blah blah. Finally Hope gets to her room and it's empty until a few moments later when all 3 of her roomates come in. They all tell Hope that something has to be done about Darryl. How many times have we heard this? The answer is simple, morons--call the cops! Quit asking Hope for permission and just do it! Hope surprisingly agrees with them and Eden calls the police. She tells them everything and they tell her they'll be there soon. Immediately after Eden hangs up, Darryl climbs through the freaking window from the fire escape. He heard Eden's phone call and lunges for her, wrapping his hands around her throat and lifting her in the air. Darryl ends up breaking her neck and throwing her corpse out the window. SHOCK! He leaps out the window and a moment later, the police knock on the door. Instead of answering the girls hide out on the fire escape. They hear the cops enter the room with Melanie...who informs them that Hope has no roomates, she lives alone. AHA! Darryl doesn't exist either. Hope is just a sad lunatic who spends her days alone talking to herself. Hope is enraged that Melanie (and now Mary and Margie, too) would dare say these things about her so she decides they'll have to die. The last line is from an eagle-eyed cop: "There she is! On the fire escape! Catch her!"

Conclusion? I'm interested in knowing what happens to Hope. But I've got to admit that I'm a little pissed that nothing in this book was real, that everything was just Hope's overactive imagination/mental disorder.

Next time: "Halloween Night" Because I wish every day was Halloween.

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