Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Halloween Night

Book Description:

Brenda hates her cousin Halley. And Brenda isn't the only one. Because Halley keeps stealing other people's boyfriends. So Brenda and her friends decide to plan the perfect murder. Something to go along with Brenda's perfect Halloween party. Not that they're really going to kill anybody. It's just a joke. Right? Ha. Ha.

My Description:

To whoever wrote the description above--you could at least PRETEND to be interested! Anyway, Brenda and her friends Traci and Dina are sitting in Brenda's room doing absolutely nothing of interest. Brenda tries on an ugly Halloween mask and jokes that it looks like cousin Halley, lest we forget that she hates Halley. Dina (who is wearing a black catsuit. Meow.) says that she should give Halley a break. Traci replies that Brenda is just upset because Halley took her room and Brenda had to move into this room which is really more like a closet. "You don't even have room for your Luke Perry poster in here."

Yeah, that's a real tragedy. Anyway, Brenda says that Halley is only living here until her parents work out their divorce. Then she gets pissed at Dina the kitty kat for sticking up for Halley. Finally someone changes the subject to Brenda's upcoming Halloween party. Unfortunately, Brenda's mom comes in a few minutes later and asks where Halley is (no-one knows or cares). After she leaves, Brenda starts whining about Halley again. *sigh* Halley is two-faced, Halley is too sarcastic, Halley is a thief, Halley is an evil calculating bitch. WE GET IT. A moment later, the girls look out the window and spot Halley in the front yard talking to Brenda's boyfriend Ted. Brenda gets mad and goes on another rant which I'm just gonna ignore. Dina leaves for work (she scoops poodle poop at the vet's office) a minute later and Halley comes in, She is, of course, a blond. The predictability is making me sick. Ted is right behind her and Halley tells Brenda that he's gonna give her a driving lesson. I'll just bet he is. Sickos. Once Ted and Halley leave, Traci suggests that she and Brenda murder Halley. Sounds reasonable. Maybe that will shut Brenda up...

And now we're inside the little blue Geo with Halley and Ted the massive turd who seems to be incapable of hiding his boner for Halley. Halley is enjoying playing the dumb blond and Ted is really into being the macho man which is gag-worthy. Did I mention I hate Ted? Halley gives Ted a big sob story about her parents and how Brenda's family is so kind and SOB SOB SOBBITY SOB! A moment later, as they're heading home, Halley's DRIVER'S LICENSE falls out of her purse. She confesses that she just wanted to get him alone. They kiss and once they break apart, Ted says this is wrong. Halley thinks he doth protest too much and shove her goopy tongue back into his mouth.

It's now the next day and Brenda has just shoved her little brother Randy out of her room because he's interrupting her, Traci, and Dina while they're trying to work. And by "work" she means "trying to figure out why Ted has been acting like such a douche lately." Brenda says they went out last night, but it sucked because he was acting so distracted. Hmm. Traci doesn't care about Brenda's issues and changes the subject to her own date with her boy toy Noah. I can't find it in me to care about Traci whatsoever. She'll probably be dead by the end of the book anyway so why bother? Anyway, Brenda ignores Traci (tee hee) and goes on to say that Halley always has the strangest smile on her face whenever Ted is around. This leads to all three girls enthusiastically planning the murder of both Halley and Ted. Then they start yapping about an English assignment...yeah, they have to write a "murder mystery" and all this talk of hacking and slashing is simply brainstorming for their stupid damn ass hell homework. Grrr. Why must you torture me, Stine? I loved you once! *sob* The girls continue to talk about their story until Dina says they should all shut up because this is getting too real. Brenda wonders why Dina doesn't hate Halley as much as she does. Then she remembers that Dina's parents had problems like Halley's so that's probably why Dina is being so sympathetic. That's nice, but I came here for bloody carnage, not a heartwarming Hallmark story. Everybody shuts up when they spot Halley in Ted's car making out with him. Apparently they're dumb enough to think no-one will see them through the foggy windows. "I'll murder Halley for real!" Don't lie to me, Brenda.

The next morning is gray and gloomy which perfectly matches Brenda's mood. She goes down to the kitchen where she finds her mother (who's basically dressed in a denim tuxedo. What's the occasion?) making coffee. She tries to complain about Halley like she's done so many times before, but Mom refuses to listen. I feel sorry for this woman. She has horrible fashion sense, a daughter whose voice could peel the paint off the walls, and a niece whose personality rivals that of the Wicked Witch of the West. Where the hell is her husband? Probably at the local bar, getting shitfaced and wondering what he did to deserve a place in an R.L. Stine novel. Just kill yourself now, mister. It only gets worse from here.

At school (McKinley High) Brenda bumps into Dina who is having a craptastic day. She failed a Spanish test, spilled sloppy joe on her shirt, and now she has to look at Brenda's mug. It truly is a day in hell. The two make plans to meet up later and before going their seperate ways, Brenda asks Dina what she's dressing as for Halloween. "A monk." How creative. Although that will look odd next to Brenda's John Wayne Gacy costume...

Dina leaves and Brenda turns to go to her locker. She spots Halley getting a little too close to Traci's boyfriend Noah, a blond wrestler. Once Noah is alone, Brenda goes over to him and he starts babbling like an idiot about how he and Halley were only talking and he didn't even like it when she touched him! Brenda says she won't say anything. "I'm not a cop or something." Noah seems to find this absolutely, absurdly funny. "You don't LOOK like a cop!" Dude, chill out. Noah finally leaves. Hopefully he can get some Xanax off his mom. With a kid like that, she's bound to have a couple hundred bottles lying around.

At home that evening, Brenda tries to concentrate on her homework, but she can't stop thinking about Halley and how skanky she is. Earlier, Ted called, but Brenda slammed the phone down before he could get two words out. Good for her. Eventually, Brenda turns her lamp off and gets ready for bed. She turns to the window and sees a hideously deformed man's face staring in. No, it's not a perverted freak looking for a free show. It's a cardboard cut-out that someone taped to Brenda's window for some dumbass reason. Brenda's mom comes running in after hearing Brenda's skull shattering scream. Randy also comes in to laugh at Brenda because he's the only sane on in this house. Brenda rips the cut-out off the window and reads the message written on the back: "See you on Halloween." Brenda accuses Randy of doing it, but he swears he didn't so she assumes it was Halley.

The next day (or possibly the one after that...the writer doesn't understand the concept of a clear timeline) Brenda, Traci, Randy, and Dina are carving a jack-o'-lantern. Randy is making a mess, Brenda is freaking out over it, Traci wants to roast the seeds, and Dina is whining about how tired she is because of work. It's not like she has a full-time job or something. She's acting like she's breaking her back in the mines when all she does is shovel dog poop. She says she'd quit, but her family needs the money. I'm sure her crappy (pun intended) job is keeping the fam afloat. I'm glad you have a job, Dina, but shut the hell up already. Dina says her dad hasn't been able to send her or her mom a penny which leads to this amusing bit:

Randy: "I'll give you a penny."
Dina: "Is that your idea of a joke?"
Randy: "Yes."

I love you, Randy. Anyway, they finish carving the pumpkin and soon after, a gorilla enters the kitchen. "Before [Brenda] could cry out, the enormous animal lumbered to the table and grabbed a kitchen knife in its hairy hand, raising it menacingly over the pumpkin." That's hilarious. Of course it's just Halley in a costume, but she actually made these fools believe a gorilla broke in to murder their pumpkin. Halley takes off her gorilla head, says she found the perfect costume for Brenda's party (which is still two weeks away), and begs to borrow Brenda's car because she's meeting someone at the mall. Brenda agrees and Halley leaves for an illicit affair with someone else's man. Brenda tells Traci and Dina about the face taped to her window, but neither of them think Halley did it. Then they start talking about the murder mystery story which just gets lamer by the minute. Somehow Ted gets brought up and Brenda says she's been avoiding him and starts to cry a little because she can't believe that Halley did that to her. Both Dina and Traci comment on the stupid pumpkin instead of trying to comfort Brenda. Dirtbags. Brenda goes upstairs and notices the light in her room is on. She steps inside and sees the words "SEE YOU ON HALLOWEEN." written on her wall in what appears to be blood but is almost certainly red paint.

One cold windy night, Brenda and Traci meet at Mulligan's, "an enormous ice cream restaurant at the mall." Because all life revolves around the mall no matter where you are. The conversation is all about evil Halley and how the message on Brenda's wall was written in REAL blood (color me surprised). Traci wants to know where Halley got real blood (if it was halley. There's no real proof.) "What is she-some sort of vampire or something?" You're not too bright, are you, Traci? A moment later, Traci completely freaks out: she spots Noah and Halley in a booth. They're not doing anything but staring at each other with googly eyes, but it doesn't matter because Traci is ready to kick someone's ass. When she reaches their table, Noah starts stuttering like the bumbling moron he is and Halley just gives her a smug look and says she didn't MAKE Noah come here with her. Traci tells Noah it's over and storms out of the restaurant without scalping Halley bald. Brenda chases after her and in the car, Traci tells her they've really gotta do something about Halley.

At home, Brenda gets pissed because her parents let Halley borrow her car. Also, the dude who was supposed to come and take down the wallpaper and paint her room didn't show so she's still got the bloody writing on the wall. Halley just goes to bed because at least when she's asleep, she doesn't have to deal with her miserable life. As she's trying to fall asleep, she hears a noise. Remember the jack-o'-lantern she carved with Traci and Dina? Yeah, well, it's alive. "The jack-o'-lantern's mouth closed, making a disgusting wet sucking sound. Then opened. Then closed again as the eyes whirled madly, staring blinding across the room at Brenda. And then, as the hideous jagged lips began to move, the wet sucking sound growing louder, Brenda heard the jack-o'-lantern's voice, dry as wind, dry as death. The grin widened. The yellow eyes whirled. The mouth opened and closed. And the jack-o'-lantern rasped "SEE YOU ON HALLOWEEN." And it was all a dream. DAMMIT! Also, what the hell does "dry as death" mean? How is death dry? And why can't this entire book be about a talking jack-o'-lantern?!

Brenda and Ted are walking home from school the next day and Ted has the brass ones to say that they still have a date for the Homecoming dance. Brenda walks away from him, but he runs after her to apologize for what he did. Brenda doesn't buy it: "Halley broke up with you. Is that it? She's going with Noah now so you decide you'll come back to me. Your second choice." BURN. Ted is shocked that Halley is going with Noah and decides she's a slut who's not worth his time anyway. But he still wants to see other people. But he'll still go with Brenda to the dance because he asked her weeks ago. But he'll be thinking about other girls the entire time. And then they kiss. You people are brainless.

Later that evening, Traci and Brenda are hanging out in Brenda's room stuffing their faces with tiny Milky Way bars. I don't think Traci has a home of her own. I also don't think these two are capable of talking about anything else but Halley. A moment later, Dina comes in from work because she too has no home. They immediately start working on their murder story. Brenda's mom announces through the air vent (yes. The air vent.) that she and Dad are going out and Brenda has to watch the awesome Randy. Where's Halley? Once again, gone. The girls go downstairs to the living room to "work" because Brenda's room is smaller than a sardine can and no-one can breathe. They start talking about their Halloween costumes. Traci has decided to be a peacock and Dine whines about how creative Traci and Brenda are. Just to recap: Dina found old crusty brown robe of her mother's so she's going as a monk. And Brenda is going as an extra from Killer Klowns From Outer Space.

The next few pages are full of more crap about their murder story. I'm beginning to wonder if Dina will end up being the murderer. She's getting way too into the murder plots and every "character" is named after people she actually knows (Brenda, Halley, Ted, etc.) which makes it even weirder. Dina and Traci leave a few minutes later and Brenda goes upstairs. Inside her room, she realizes someone has lit the jack-o'-lantern. She also realizes that something smells like rotten garbage and it's coming from inside the pumpkin. "A headless bird. Its head cut cleanly off, tendons and blood vessels poking through the open cavity of its neck. The bird's body lay smouldering, stinking beside the low candle." It just HAD to be an innocent animal to go first! There's also a note inside: "YOU'RE NEXT. ON HALLOWEEN." Brenda leans over and barfs on the floor. A moment later, her parents along with Halley and Randy come bursting in. Brenda immediately accuses Halley of trying to drive her crazy. Her parents ignore her and tell Randy to clean up the mess. How dare they! Later, they all gather around the kitchen table to discuss the vandalism that's been taking place in Brenda's room lately. Mom and Dad desperately want to believe it's Randy and repeatedly ask him if he's been doing it. Then Brenda freaks out and starts screaming at Halley who screams back and ends up running upstairs in tears. What does the all knowing Randy have to say about this? "Can I have more Frosted Flakes?" Indeed.

The next afternoon, Brenda is still upset. Dina tries to talk to her about it, but Brenda just wants to complain about Halley. Dina leaves the lunchroom a moment later and stupid Ted comes over. Five seconds later, he's ignoring Brenda completely and staring across the room at Halley cuddling up to Noah. GAG.

That night, Brenda is trying to work on a paper, but as usual, Dina comes over wearing her "leopardskin-style jacket" and "straight legged black jeans and an oversized green cotton turtleneck sweater." Ew. They talk for a moment before being interrupted by Halley: "Brenda! I'm so sorry! There's been a horrible accident! A horrible accident!" Say goodbye to your car, Brenda. The thing is totally trashed and Brenda is FURIOUS. She jumps on Halley and attempts to beat the crap out of her, but her dad pulls her off. Her parents take Halley's side and Brenda silently vows to kill Halley for real. Yeah right.

The next morning before school, Dina calls Traci to discuss the fact that she's really worried about Brenda. After they talk about Halley wrecking Brenda's car and the "big fight", Traci tells Dina that she saw Ted and Hally making out in Ted's car even though Ted and Brenda are kind of together again. Do we really need to be beaten over the head yet AGAIN with the fact that Ted is a dog and Halley is his tramp? NO! Instead of wasting space on that junk, how about making something interesting happen, Stine? Yeah, yeah, I know...when pigs fly. *sigh*

Brenda is eating Wheaties (breakfast of champions!) and thinking about how quiet it is in her house. She's also thinking about Halley and how she wants to kill her. And I'm thinking about how there's a giant hole in the crotch of my pants that I didn't notice until just now. Anyway, the entire day consists of nothing but Brenda being all mopey. At dinner, her mom tells her that her car can be repaired which cheers her up a little. Then Traci and Dina come over (why doesn't she ever go to their houses?) and they talk about their story and blah blah blah. After they leave, Brenda goes to bed. Of course someone has left a nasty little surprise in the sheets: rotten chunks of meat coated in maggots. Delish. Brenda actually doesn't freak out as expected. Instead, she says "I know." which I assume means she finally knows what she's going to do to Halley. Great. Is something actually gonna happen now? Please?

It's now the evening of the Homecoming dance. McKinley High lost the football game, but no-one cares because LOOK AT THE PRETTY BALLOONS!!! Brenda is dancing with the tree stump that is Ted...until he leaves her and she has no clue where he's gone. Finally she spots him in the corner sucking face with Halley. Brenda watches as Noah comes up to them and he and Ted go outside to fight. Brenda follows from a distance and sees Halley screaming at them to stop. But that's just an act because two seconds later, Halley is watching with a crazed grin on her face like a bloodthirsty Roman watching two gladiators kill each other. Brenda runs until she gets home and immediately calls Traci: "You know our murder plot? You know our plot to murder Halley? Let's do it, ok? Let's REALLY kill her!" Ok, I've heard that about 47876685 times and NOTHING has happened yet. Which is why I hate this book.

One gray afternoon (absolutely no clue what day this is), Traci, Dina, and Brenda are at their usual spot, holed up in Brenda's postage stamp sized room. They're working on their Halloween costumes, but instead of describing those, we just get their outfits. Dina-black and white striped sweater with faded jeans. Traci-ragged gray sweats. Brenda-one of her dad's old white dress shirts over black leggings. Wow. Anyway, Traci and Dina want to know if Brenda is serious about killing Halley and Brenda really is. Dina makes the mistake of suggesting that Brenda simply talk to Halley and Brenda totally flips out. When she calms down, she explains her convoluted plan. At the party, Traci will wear Brenda's clown costume, Dina will wear Traci's peacock costume, and Brenda will wear a Frankenstein costume she bought yesterday so when she kills Halley, no-one will know it was her because everyone thinks she's a clown. Let me count the ways in which this will backfire. Does she honestly think it'll work? And why are Dina and Traci agreeing to be involved in this mess? Actually, Dina says she isn't doing it and leaves before Brenda can say anything about it. Which leaves Traci who will be wearing the clown costume while Brenda is the peacock. *sigh* Then Brenda changes her mind and says she'll sew a big baggy Frankenstein costume and wear it over the peacock costume. After she stabs Halley, she can go into another room and take off the Franky costume. This is so freaking ridiculous. Unfortunately for Brenda, Halley overheard the entire thing. Uh-oh.

On Saturday night, Brenda goes to the mall to shop for sewing supplies for her Frankenstein costume. She spots Ted and Noah hanging out in the mall like they're the best of friends. They can have each other. She imagines knocking Ted's teeth out, but walks away instead. But the jackass sees her and runs after her. What does he have to say for himself? "Listen, I'm sorry. I...messed up." Not good enough, lover boy. Brenda suddenly has an idea. She tells Ted he can come to her Halloween party if he dresses as Frankenstein. She lies and says she made a bet with Randy that there will be at least one Frankenstein at the party. Ted believes her and scampers off to buy a costume. Bad, Brenda, bad! Even though he kinda deserves it. Brenda finishes her shopping and heads home...where she finds Halley waiting in her room. "Come in, Brenda. I've been waiting for you." Ooooo. Halley says they've got to talk. Then she breaks down in tears and starts babbling about hopw she's so messed up and sorry for everything. I think she's a liar who's trying to get out of getting killed. Brenda decides to kill her anyway.

It's the day before the party. Halley and Brenda are being all chummy, carving jack-o'-lanterns and decorating and such. Afterward, Brenda goes upstairs to her room and finds Randy lying on her bed in a pool of blood. It's a joke, but Brenda thought he was actually dead. She can't tell the difference between real blood and fake PLASTIC blood and she's going to kill someone? Uh-huh.

It's FINALLY the night of the party and Brenda is really glad the party is going so well. Lots of kids have shown up and she's really excited about murdering her cousin in cold blood! No-one is paying attention as Frankenstein sneaks up behind the gorilla, plunges a knife into the hairy chest, and creeps away like nothing happened. Eventually some girl screams that there's blood beneath the gorilla's chair. Everyone laughs and says it's a joke, but when the gorilla doesn't move, they realize something's wrong. Someone pulls the mask off..."It's Brenda! And she's dead!" I like how the fact that she's dead is almost an afterthought. Everyone starts to freak out and Dina accuses Traci of killing Brenda. Halley says Brenda switched costumes with her (Halley) which means that Traci did kill Brenda because she thought it was Halley. Huh? But Traci denies it and says someone in a Frankenstein costume did it. It must have been Ted, but the only two Franks in the room are two guys named Brad and Tony. Ted has escaped! If you have no clue what's going on...well, neither do I. Anyway, Noah says Ted is home sick. Suddenly, dumbass BRENDA stands up and says "Happy Halloween." You. Suck.

Brenda tells everyone to get the hell out. After they're all gone, Brenda, Dina, Traci, and Halley meet in the kitchen. She says she knows which one of them tried to kill her. She rips open Dina's ugly robe and out falls a Frankenstein mask. To put it all together very sloppily: extra thick padding prevented Brenda's death, animal blood on the wall and rotten dog food in the bed meant Dina pulled those pranks because she works at a vet's office, and Dina wanted Brenda dead because Brenda was a shitty friend and wasn't there when Dina needed her most (i.e. when her parents were divorcing). Someone called 911 earlier and the police arrive to cart Dina's loony ass away. The book ends with Brenda and Halley drinking hot chocolate and laughing together. Because nothing is funnier than a person with severe mental problems trying to kill you. HAR HAR HAR!


Pros: Randy, Milky Ways, talking jack-o'-lantern
Cons: Everything else.

Next time: "Seniors #7 - Fight, Team, Fight!" Someone wants to kill Phoebe Yamura, the perky Asian cheerleader. Which means we're in for massive amounts of shitty cheers. Which gives me a serious case of the sads :(

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 ...