Wednesday, April 18, 2012

All-Night Party

Book Description:

The night time is the right time - for murder.

Gretchen Davies and her friends all know Fear Island is an awesome place to have a party. You can dance all night, share secrets with your best friends, fall in love... Or die. Because there's a madman loose on the island. A killer who plans to spoil the party. The birthday girl gets to go first, of course. Who's next?

My Description:

Gretchen and her friends Hannah, Gil, Jackson, and Patrick are in Gretchen's blue minivan waiting for the light to turn green. I think we can all agree that minivans kick ass. Maybe this party won't be so bad after all! (It will.) They're on their way to "kidnap" their mopey friend Cindy who thinks they completely forgot about her birthday. Little does she know that she's about to be dragged off to Fear Island against her will for a party everyone will soon regret. Happy birthday, Cindy, you poor pathetic wretch. Gretchen looks at Jackson in the rear view mirror and thinks about how creepy he is and how she's only known him for a short time. She's been receiving weird calls where the caller immediately hangs up when she answers the phone. She thinks it's Jackson because of his creepy ways, mostly his shifty eyes. And yet she allowed him to enter the sacred realm of her blue minivan and tag along on a suicide mission to Fear Island. It must secretly be love...or something that doesn't even remotely resemble love. Either/or.

So they show up at Cindy's house in the middle of the night like sneaky bandits, let themselves into her house, and snatch her off her bed while she completely freaks out. Patrick pulls out a gun and points it at Cindy's head. Once she screams bloody murder, he starts laughing and says it isn't even loaded. Asshole. They blindfold Cindy and she calms down when they tell her they're taking her somewhere for her birthday. These people seriously SUCK. Couldn't they just take her bowling or something? Anything would be better than frigging Fear Island. They may as well shove her head in a toilet or make her eat dog food. Anyway, they all get in the van and Gretchen asks Patrick why he's carrying a gun. He says a prisoner escaped from upstate and was recently seen in the Fear Street Woods. Since Shadyside cops are absolutely useless, the guy is probably still wandering around. Hell, he could camp out in front of the police station and they still wouldn't catch him. They'd probably bring him coffee and crumpets. Patrick goes on to say the guy killed three teenage girls...just like the ones in the van right now! OOOO! The group considers going somewhere else just to be safe, but of course they decide to go to Fear Island anyway because they're not afraid of dying at the hands of a madman. Plus, they worked really hard at getting the cabin ready. Meaning they swept the floor and dusted for cobwebs.

The idiots take a rowboat across Fear Lake to the cabin. On the way, Patrick pretends they're being chased by Jaws (who would never lower himself to this) and the girls talk about Gretchen's boyfriend Marco who she didn't invite because she secretly can't stand him. They finally reach the shore and Gretchen gets to the cabin first, just as it starts to rain. The lights aren't working and as Gretchen enters the dark cabin, someone grabs her. It's Marco who decided to surprise everybody by butting in where he isn't wanted. Gretchen is pissed because he scared her--she thought he was the psycho killer. Don't we all wish?! Gretchen admires Marco's hot body and thinks about what an ass he is. Everybody else enters the cabin and no-one but Cindy (who's a little blonde harlot according to Gretchen) cares that Marco is there which she shows by running into his arms.

The group cook hot dogs in the fireplace. Hannah and Cindy are bitchy with each other over Gil who is currently dating Hannah but once dated Cindy for six months. Gil blatantly flirts with Cindy in front of Hannah. Instead of roasting Gil's chestnuts over the open fire, the girls just bicker with one another over stupid shit like whether Gil likes ketchup or mustard on his hot dog or if Gil prefers Coke (THE MASTER) or ginger ale. WHO THE HELL CARES?? Hannah flees to the kitchen and Gretchen follows. Hannah can't stand Cindy and hates her even more since she won a scholarship Hannah desperately wanted which is a bitch because Cindy's family is pretty rich and she probably doesn't need that scholarship like Hannah does. Hannah tells Gretchen that she wishes Cindy was dead. Good news! In a few hours, she probably will be!

Cindy decides it's time to open her presents which is a lesson in futility for all of us. No matter what you buy for a rich girl, she'll treat it like it's a steaming pile of dog doo because she's got better or can get better. Anyway, Gretchen bought her earrings ("Great earrings."), Hannah got her a bottle of perfume ("Too bad it makes me break out."), Gil and Jackson chipped in together and bought her two tickets to a rock concert ("Cool gift." She drops them to the floor like they're covered with boric acid.), and finally Marco's gift, a box full of slasher movies which sounds pretty good to me, but not to Cindy: "Ohhhh. Gross! Yuck! Ugh! How can any normal person watch that stuff?" Go to hell, Cindy. Patrick says he'll take them and Cindy gives them to him right in front of Marco who is rightly pissed. Almost everyone is appalled at how rude Cindy is being. Except for Patrick who said he didn't wrap her gift so he'll give it to her later. Just admit you didn't buy her anything. No-one will blame you, trust me.

Next, they all decide to put on a CD and dance instead of sitting around thinking about what a little shit Cindy is. Gretchen thinks for the 365866372th time that Jackson is acting creepy because he's staring at her again. Shut up, Gretchen. After dancing, Gretchen goes outside for more firewood and Gil and Hannah walk to the dock. Gretchen goes behind the cabin and overhears Jackson and Cindy talking in the kitchen. She can't make out what they're saying, but they sound pissed off. Then she hears a SLAP which can only mean Cindy finally got SERVED. Don't worry, Cindy. Your face will feel better when it stops hurting. Gretchen decides to ignore this because if it's serious, Patrick and Marco will break it up. And because everybody hates Cindy so who the hell cares if someone pops her in the mouth? Gretchen bumbles through the darkness until her flashlight goes out. Then she starts to panic, rushing back to the cabin. Some doucher pops out of the darkness and grabs her. It's Marco, but Gretchen was positive it was the escaped prisoner and she's angry at Marco all over again. Apparently the dummy didn't learn his lesson the first time he pulled this crap. Gretchen takes the opportunity to tell him she doesn't want to see him anymore. He responds by pulling out a switchblade and hacking at the bark of a tree. "I'm angry." You don't say! The two walk back to the cabin which is totally empty. It starts raining again so Gretchen assumes everyone will show up soon. She goes into the kitchen and finds the slashed body of Cindy on the floor. The party has begun, children.

Marco comes running at the sound of Gretchen puking all over the crime scene. Then Patrick enters with blood all over his shirt. He says he cut his hand and then wonders aloud how the escaped prisoner got in. They go into the living room just as Gil and Hannah come in. Gretchen tearfully tells them that Cindy is dead. They're shocked and Hannah starts crying. Why are these people acting so sad? We KNOW they're smiling on the inside. They discuss calling the police, but Patrick informs them that there are no phones on the island. How convenient. They decide they can't go home because the storm has gotten worse. Would you rather face a damn thunderstorm or a homicidal maniac who might make a lampshade out of your supple skin? Exactly. Jackson comes in with a load of firewood, then heads for the kitchen to make sure Cindy is really dead and it isn't just a joke. The girls insist that they all need to get help, but Patrick keeps contradicting them with excuses. He thinks they should stay in the cabin until morning because he has a gun and can defend them. No comment. Then they all scare themselves shitless with the idea that the killer could be inside with them. I get the impression that the cabin is pretty small so where would he be hiding, in the walls? Plus, Gretchen has been in here for a while. Wouldn't she have noticed if he were there? Wouldn't he have already killed her? Anyway, they search the house and find nothing. A few moments later, Gretchen sees movement on the porch. She steps out and it turns out to be Jackson who went out earlier to prowl around making sure the killer isn't close. As if he could do anything if he actually found a hardened killer in the bushes. Gretchen goes back inside with yet another reason to think Jackson is a weirdo. Marco and Jackson go into the kitchen to make sure the murderer isn't hovering about. They're gone for about 1.5 seconds when Gretchen gets worried, puts her ear to the kitchen door, hears nothing, and screams "The killer IS in there! He killed Marco and Jackson!" Is she completely insane? Silence doesn't automatically equal death. Maybe they're just sharing an intimate moment. Jackson and Marco come running and explain to the stupid Gretchen that they were just checking the cupboard. Gretchen asks Marco about the fight he had with Cindy earlier and he says he never fought with her. Gretchen never actually saw who it was. She heard them and thought it sounded like Jackson. So she assumes he's lying and he's the killer because he's a freaky creepy weirdo who keeps giving her LOOKS. Did she ever think that maybe she has something nasty stuck in her teeth and THAT'S what he keeps staring at? Never mind. Shut your rusty trap, Gretchen.

The night drags on a little longer. Gretchen continues to be paranoid. Hannah and Gil fight about Cindy. The fight ends with Gil screaming that he was going to break up with Hannah to date Cindy again to which Hannah screams "I hate you!" Then they both scream that they wish the other were dead. Gretchen finally tells them to stop. Then the wind blows the door open and EVERYBODY stops. Jackson accidentally left it ajar. They all talk more about killers and Cindy and Jackson tells them to follow him to the kitchen because he wants to examine Cindy's body closer. They follow and Gretchen notices that Cindy is (was?) clutching a baseball cap in one hand. Jackson asks who it belongs to and Patrick says it's his. KILLER! Patrick doesn't know how it got there. LIAR! Hannah cries some more. SOB FACE! Gretchen theorizes that maybe Cindy was going outside and grabbed Patrick's hat so her hair wouldn't get frizzy in the rain. IMBECILE! A few moments later, Gretchen finds a bootprint on the kitchen floor in some flour that Detective Gretchen assumes was spilled when the killer lunged for Cindy. She checks the bottoms of Patrick's boots which are by the door...they've got a coating of flour. KILLER!!! Patrick continues to swear up and down that he did not kill that teenage girl, but no-one believes him this time. They tie him to a chair and prepare to search his things for evidence. Gretchen finds a note from Cindy in Patrick's backpack that proves absolutely nothing: "Patrick, I can't keep our secret anymore. I'm going to tell my parents--no matter what happens. Don't try to stop me. Cindy" They're convinced that Patrick killed her over their little "secret". Then they find a big bloody knife in his sleeping bag. Well, damn. I guess Patrick killed her after all. This party sucks.

The group confronts Patrick with the evidence. Predictably, he denies being a stone cold killer. He says someone is trying to frame him and the killer must be one of them. The only solution is EVERYONE KILL THEMSELVES NOW. Please? Fine, be that way. Didn't know living was so important to you... Also, I thought the damn killer was supposed to be that "escaped prisoner". Patrick is a terrible liar. Anyway, these idiots are now unsure that Patrick murdered Cindy which is why Patrick is definitely the killer--he's smarter than them and can get away with it. He asks to see the note that Cindy wrote and he claims it's a fraud because the 'i' in 'Cindy' isn't dotted with a heart and Cindy always did that. Of course she did. I'm not going to bother with the rest of this unbearable and completely useless conversation because it solves nothing. They continue to question themselves and whether or not Cindy wrote the note and blah blah blah. They end up untying Patrick and then Hannah goes missing. She left...a note. "I can't stay here one more second with a killer. I'm too frightened." You have got to be kidding. Or shrooming. Gil, Marco, and Patrick run outside to look for her. Gretchen has to pull on her boots and Jackson stays behind with her. She considers bashing him the head with a log if he tries anything, but he speaks before she can make a move. "I guess you suspect..." Gretchen freaks out and flees before he can finish. She runs blindly through the forest and falls down a hill. Jackson falls on top of her. He helps her up, she confesses to being afraid of him because he looks at her too much, and he says he only does that because he really likes her. They hike back up the hill and suddenly hear Hannah screaming her head off. They run to the cabin where Gil, Marco, and Patrick are dragging Hannah inside. They accuse Hannah of being the killer and she *sigh* denies it. Gretchen decides all this is making her lips quite dry and she digs through her purse for some delicious Chap Stick. She spills the purse's contents and spots an old note. She reads it and is suddenly positive that she knows who the killer is. Obviously it's Patrick. Gretchen's note is an old one from Patrick and the handwriting matches the Cindy note. Patrick weakly attempts to deny it yet AGAIN which nearly causes my head to explode into bloody chunks, but he finally realizes this is pointless. He calmly pulls out his pistol and says he just might kill them all. He rambles crazily about how Cindy knew a secret about him and teased him over it, but that wasn't really why he killed her. He stabbed her to death because she didn't return his feelings about her and wouldn't date him. "I gave Cindy a birthday party to die for." Yeah...but why did you do it with so many people around, dumbass? And you left so much evidence. You are the worst murderer in Shadyside history, Patrick, and that, sir, is truly pathetic. Truly. Patrick killed Cindy after she slapped him for trying to kiss her.

A moment later, Patrick turns the gun on Gretchen, but he doesn't get the chance to shoot because a police officer magically appears in the doorway. He and his partner get the gun away from Patrick and cuff him. He asks why the cops are here and one of them tells him that Patrick's father told them that Patrick stole his gun and the cops came to get it. Patrick was in trouble once before for setting a fire in Waynesbridge. That was his BIG secret. Cindy didn't even know about it. She used to tell him he looked dangerous, though, and he assumed she was talking about the fire. The book ends with Jackson and Gretchen watching the sunrise and not thinking about the fact that if those cops hadn't shown up, their guts would be nothing but splatters on a wall right now. "Party's over." I hate you, Gretchen.

Conclusion?: This is just a fucking abomination. A plague. A disease. I'm pretty sure reading this thing has taken years off my life.

Next time: "Twisted" Sorority sisters + murder = a hell of a mess.

Thursday, April 5, 2012

The Babysitter III

Book Description:

Jenny just wants to forget the man who murdered all the babysitters. The man who almost murdered her. He's dead now. And Jenny's gone to visit her cousin Debra. But Debra has a babysitting job. And now she's getting those phone calls, too. Just like the ones Jenny used to get: Hi, Babes. I'm back. Company's coming...

My Description:

BABES. Just call me BABES. Anywho, Jenny has just taken a job at The Doughnut Hole in the mall for the summer even though she really doesn't wanna. Her mom just got laid off from her job as a legal secretary and Jenny will need to help out. Jenny, baby, $4 an hour just ain't enough...I don't think it was enough in 1993 (when this sucker was published) either. R.L. Stine has no concept of the working (wo)man's plight. Mr. Larson, Jenny's boss who resembles a big luscious doughnut himself, tells her to be there at 6:30 AM on Monday. Jenny practically vomits at the thought of having to be exposed to doughnuts all summer. "What a summer, Jenny thought unhappily. Staring at a wall of greasy doughnuts at six-thirty every morning." What the hell is wrong with her? I've got a heart full of doughnut love and I don't understand the repulsion.

As Jenny leaves the mall, she thinks about her horrifying past as a babysitter. To recap, a crazy man named Mr. Hagen tried to murder her, but he got his skull cracked open at the bottom of a rock quarry and died instantly. Anyway, Jenny comes across her friends Rick and Claire. Rick is pretending to be a bad ass in his METAL MANIACS T-shirt and Claire is a damn bumblebee (that's what you get when wear black leggings with a big yellow shirt. BUZZ.) Jenny whines about her new job and says the only good thing about it is that she's working morning shift so she'll be able to see Cal in the evenings. I'm assuming Cal is her crusty lipped flavor of the week. Rick runs off for an ice cream and as Claire and Jenny are waiting for him, Jenny spots a guy in a red windbreaker that looks an awful lot like Mr. Hagen even though he's supposed to be a mouldering corpse. Why the hell would a homicidal resurrected dead man wear a RED WINDBREAKER? Anyway, as Jenny stares on, the man pops the head off a baby doll. Jenny nearly soils her drawers because she thought it was a real baby. The guy actually stops to explain that the doll is defective so he's returning it to the toy store. Jenny is relieved to see that it isn't that dead guy that tried to kill her after all.

A few days later, Jenny stares in the mirror and thinks about how shitty she looks. Before she can annoy us any further, her mom pops in to tell her that Jenny won't be a doughnut handler this summer because she's going to stay with her cousin Debra and aunt Julia. Mom thinks Jenny is losing her damn mind and might need a little "rest". Jenny whines about how perfect and competitive Debra is and about how she won't be able to see Cal over the summer. MEMO: Shut the hell up.

Jenny agrees to go, though, and decides to gallop off to Cal's house to say goodbye (i.e. make out). She parks across the street from his house and as she's crossing, she hears someone lurking behind her. It's just some guy walking his dog and trying to give Jenny her bag which she dropped in the street in her rush to get away from this "murderer". A few moments later, Cal lets her in and Jenny tells him that she'll be gone for the summer. He says maybe he could come visit, but she shoots him down by claiming that she needs to be alone or something. And yet five seconds ago she was bitching about how to she wouldn't be able to see him for the whoooooole summer. This chick is daffy.

Meanwhile, cousin Debra is somewhere far away harassing some dude named Terry over the phone. I think she's attempting to be coy and cute, but she's coming across like a completely pathetic psycho. She keeps giggling and telling him to guess who it is. She also says she wants him, she's been watching him, and she's his secret admirer. After frustrating the hell out of the clueless Terry, she hangs up and laughs her ass off. Like her cousin, this girl has fudge for brains. Debra looks up and sees her creepy (is everyone in this book completely mental?) ex-boyfriend Don who apparently just can't get over her. Don politely let himself into her house so he could pout in the shadows and beg Debra to talk to him even though there's really nothing to say. Debra tells him to get out and he threatens to tell her new boyfriend Mark that she's been making weird and lusty phone calls to the forever confused Terry. After Debra throws a stuffed dog at him, Don grabs her and kisses her. Jenny show up, though, and Don quickly leaves. The girls catch up a little and Jenny is impressed that Debra has had three boyfriends since Jenny last visited. All of whom were worthless...their lips probably weren't even that dry. Then Debra's mother Julia comes in talking a mile a minute (but is she really saying anything? No.) Julia leaves and Debra says she's late for her a babysitter. NOOOO! Jenny silently panics because Debra wants her to come along, but Debra insists it will be fun so Jenny puts her psychological issues aside to go with her stupid idiot cousin.

As Jenny and Debra walk to Mrs. Wagner's house, Debra complains about her annoying mother. She manages to shut up about that long enough to tell Jenny that Mrs. Wagner is divorced. So Jenny has no reason to be nervous about a Mr. Hagen look-a-like trying to cut her face off. Mrs. Wagner lets the girls inside and leaves for an evening class at the community college. "Don't get married too early. That's what I did. I never got to go to college. So now I have to do it two nights a week." Thank you, Mrs. Wagner. Debra is there to babysit little Peter who is asleep upstairs. The girls get Cokes (YES) and Debra flips on the porch light which is her signal to Mark that it's safe to come in. The girls sit in the living room (Mark is running a little late) and Debra coaxes Jenny to tell the story of Mr. Hagen. Jenny tells all including the plot of the second Babysitter book that I had completely forgotten about until now because it was so unbearably ridiculous. Jenny confesses that she still has nightmares about Mr. Hagen and sees him wherever she goes. She thinks he might still be alive. Apparently Jenny doesn't understand the mechanics of the human body. When your brains pour out of a gaping hole in your skull, YOU DIE. Jenny and Debra stop talking when they hear a cough and some scuffling in the kitchen. It's just some bloated old drunk chick named Maggie rather than a congested dead man. Maggie used to be Mrs. Wagner's housekeeper until she was fired. For some reason, Maggie still has a key to the house so she can come and stalk as she pleases. "I'm back." Yeah, you are. Now get the hell out. Maggie is too damn drunk to take my advice. Seriously, the old bag is wasted. "You can't just turn Maggie off like a faucet." Maggie eventually leaves after finding an old shopping bag she claims is hers and telling the girls that things disappear around here so they should probably get gone. Neither girl pays attention to Maggie (a most rusty faucet) and runs to answer the front door where Mark is waiting.

Mark is a hot, tanned lifeguard who doesn't take his job of GUARDING LIVES very seriously. "Mostly you just sit there. It's almost like watching TV. Except you blow a whistle a lot." You go into the pool...but you don't come out. Jenny mentions that she wants a summer job so she can buy shit and Mark says his dad's friend owns a riding stable and always needs help. He says Jenny could be a "wrangler", someone who helps the kids who come to ride. He never once asks if Jenny has any experience whatsoever with horses. Also, WRANGLER? What the hell is she wrangling? You insult the world with your existence, Mark. The conversation is over when Mark and Debra start kissing. Jenny decides to check on Peter instead of watching these two tongue wrestle. Jenny freaks out because she thinks Peter isn't breathing and screams for Debra. Debra picks him up, sees that he's still alive, and places him back in his crib. Jenny keeps crying and apologizing, Debra comforts her, and Mark has to flee because Mrs. Wagner's car just pulled up.

A few days later, Jenny is on the job at the riding stable. Her job is to put the kids in the saddle and send them on their way. They have a counselor (is this a camp? I don't know anything...) so why couldn't that person do this? Me thinks this job is a convoluted plot device to get Jenny into some sort of horror. Anyway, once the kids are off riding with their counselor, Jenny chats with Gary, a guy from Wyoming who's a REAL wrangler. Not impressed. Not in this town. Jenny does some horse stuff, thinks about some stuff, and as she's leaning against a fence rail (this is a JOB?), she spots a man on a horse riding closer. "Hi, I'm back." Yep, just a dead guy on his trusty steed.

The next night, Debra is on the phone with Mark, telling him about Jenny freaking out the day before because she thought she saw Mr. Hagen AGAIN. Debra hangs up when Jenny comes into the room and tells Debra about her day at the stable which was blessedly normal. Debra has to babysit and says she might call that guy Terry before she leaves. "I have to admit, I get pretty turned on by these calls. What does that say about me?" It says you're a dumb ass. Those calls are the unsexiest things on the planet and since that honor once went to my lopsided boobs, you can rest assured that I know what I'm talking about, woman. Debra decides it'll be so much more amusing if Jenny makes the call. Jenny doesn't want to, but she's a spineless rag and finally agrees. The call is short because Don told Terry it was Debra making the calls and he hangs up pretty quickly. Debra is embarrassed and leaves for Mrs. Wagner's house.

Mrs. Wagner rushes off after telling Debra that Peter is teething and if he gets fussy, just rub some rum on his gums. Don't worry--Peter's father is Captain Morgan so his blood is already 50% rum. Debra has a Coke (HER LIFE) and thinks about calling Jenny. But before she can, she receives a call: "Hi, Babes. It's Mr. Hagen. I'm alive. I'm back. Company's coming, Babes." Get your ass back in the grave where you belong, devil!

The next night, in between kisses in Mark's crappy car, Debra and Mark talk about the call and how Deb can't tell Jenny because Jenny already has one foot in the insane asylum and this will just send her over the edge. They talk about who the culprit could be and Mark admits to telling the Hagen story to some of his friends. He mentions telling TERRY so Debra assumes he made the call to get back at her. The next night, Debra confronts Terry at the Dairy Freez where he works, but of course Terry didn't make that call. Debra is disappointed...then she thinks about how cute Terry is and tries to set him up with Jenny. He says he'll think about it. There's nothing to think about: SAY NO. Poor stupid Terry...

On Friday night, Debra, Mark, Jenny, and Terry (who obviously has no brains at all) go to the movies and to a coffee shop afterward. When Debra and Jenny get home, they see something pale lying in the bushes. It turns out to be a baby doll, but Jenny was convinced it was Peter's lifeless body poking out of the bushes. The little doll comes with a little note: "Hi, Babes. I'm back. See you real soon. Mr. Hagen" Inside the house, the girls go up to Debra's room where Jenny proceeds to cry that it's really Mr. Hagen this time. It doesn't matter that his head barfed out his brain in that rock quarry! He's ALIVE! Not. Debra tells her that it's just a joke and it's probably directed at her, not Jenny, because someone called her at Mrs. Wagner's. Debra says it's got to be some crazy creep playing a sick joke because the dead don't come back to which Jenny replies "Don't they? Don't they, Debra?" Seriously, why isn't someone getting her some help? Her brain is more broken than Mr. Hagen's ever was. Debra asks if Jenny told anyone from home that she was coming here and she mentions Cal. Debra thinks he could be the caller and makes Jenny call him. She does and Cal's mother tells her that he ran away. Of course he did.

At the stables, Jenny comes across Cal. He pulls her onto a horse with him, they gallop off, and suddenly his skin falls off and she's riding with a skeleton named Mr. Hagen. "At last I'm going to take you to the grave with me!" No you're not. Because this is all a dream.

Monday night, Debra is at Mrs. Wagner's, waiting for Mark to show up. She's about to call Jenny when she hears a noise upstairs and goes to investigate. It's just the baby tossing in his sleep. He settles down and Debra goes back downstairs where she calls Mark who is totally pissed. He found out about her calls to Terry and when she tries to explain it was a joke, he hangs up on her. Then "Mr. Hagen" calls. "It's Mr. Hagen, Debra. I'm alive. And I'm coming for you. Real soon." Debra thinks it's Mark, but she also thinks the voice sounds as if it's coming from far away...from BEYOND THE GRAVE! Mwahahaha! "I'll be there. Wait for me, Debra. Wait for me. I've come from so far away to get you." She screams and throws the phone down which wakes Peter. She holds him until he falls asleep again. She goes back downstairs to find freaking Maggie rooting around in the cupboard. Maggie is drunk again and insists that SHE'S the babysitter. Eventually she leaves after telling Debra "I'll come back for what's mine." Later, Mrs. Wagner says she'll change the locks, but I doubt it. I think Mrs. Wagner likes allowing a crazy wino into her home to roam like a free grazing goat.

That night, Debra is awakened by Jenny's screams of terror. She had another nightmare. Debra's parents run in, but they go back to bed after Jenny insists she's fine. Debra tells Jenny she got another phone call last night which just leads Jenny to start all over again with her claims that Mr. Hagen is alive. GAHHH!

At the stables the next day, Jenny doesn't put a saddle on correctly and Gary yells at her. She's distracted by thoughts of Cal. Jenny goes on a break just as thunder and rain start in. She decides to go for a ride on a horse she just named...Thunderclap. On the trail, another rider is behind her and she flips out because she's certain it's Hagen. "I know it's Mr. Hagen. Coming to collect me." Jenny, please, just SHUT UP.

That evening, Debra is babysitting again. She calls home and her mom tells her Jenny still isn't home. They assume she went somewhere with Gary. They never once think she's riding hysterically through the woods in a thunderstorm trying to get away from a dead man on a horse. Hm. Debra calls Mark's house and his mom says he's out. Debra thinks it's weird that he'd be out in this storm so she gets herself a Coke. Because Coke is medicine. Coke doesn't hurt you. Coke just wants to be inside you. Uh...never mind. Anyway, the phone rings, but it's just a wrong number. Debra is feeling paranoid and thinks she hears footsteps upstairs. Then Mrs. Wagner calls and says she'll be a little later than usual. Hoo rah. At 11:00, Debra goes upstairs to feed Peter. She notices that the front door is ajar and convinces herself that Mrs. Wagner simply forgot to close it. In Peter's room, she finds the crib empty. She panics, notices wet footprints on the floor, and rushes downstairs to call the police. Good job, Debra. Usually the idiots in these books try to solve problems themselves without realizing they're too stupid to do so. Unfortunately, the cops are usually just as dumb, possibly dumber. Debra runs downstairs and finds a soaking wet Cal who apologizes for letting himself in but he's looking for Jenny (how did he know to come here?). Debra explains about the baby and asks for his help. Predictably, the phone is dead so the two run next door to use the phone. A couple lets them in, Debra calls 911, and screams "A dead man stole the baby!" Dammit, Debra.

Later, Mrs. Wagner and the cops are at the house and Debra thinks about the fact that Jenny's nightmare is coming true. Speaking of Jenny, no-one knows where she is. Debra actually mentions Mr. Hagen to the police who think she's insane. Mrs. Wagner is afraid Maggie took Peter and is pissed at Debra for not making sure the door was locked even though Maggie has a key and SOMEONE never changed the locks. The phone rings a moment later and the cops tell Debra to answer it. "I got rid of Jenny and I have the baby. Now do you believe me, Babes? Now do you believe I'm really back?" Debra tells everyone she knows where this freak is so they all leave. She leads them to the stables because she's pretty sure that Jenny is behind all this. And she is. Jenny comes out of the barn on a horse. She has a crying Peter in her arms and keeps talking in her Mr. Hagen voice. "I'm not Jenny! I'm Mr. Hagen and I'm back!" Wow. "I'm alive! I'm back from the grave! And I have my baby!" Lightning cracks and scares the horse that Jenny is on and she falls, still holding the baby. (Debra thought the cops shot her.) The rain stops, the baby is safe, and Jenny is presumably hauled away to spend the rest of her life in a padded cell.

Conclusion?: This is some tasty (although slightly moldy) cheese.

Next time: "All-Night Party" Back to the land of murdering teens! (Also, why is "All-Night" hyphenated?)

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 ...