Fear Street #8 – The Halloween Party

The Cover

The first cover (borrowed from this Fear Street blog) is fantastic. It is 100% why I wanted to read this. The girl running through the graveyard, the jackolantern skull, the gravestone, the mansion in the background. The only thing I don’t like is the white cape, but I guess it contrasts better with the red dress. The second cover (taken from the Simon & Schuster page) is pretty dull in comparison. The scarecrow motif doesn’t add anything, the background is nothing, and it’s a pretty ugly cover.

Tagline

There is going to be an uninvited guest at this Halloween Party on Fear Street…

It’s way too long, and isn’t true. I guess there is an uninvited guest or two, but the implication that they’re the murderer isn’t true at all. It’s really bad.

It’s an invitation to terror…

Much better. There’s a dramatic ellipses, the word terror is used. If only we could swap these two taglines.

Summary

Chapter 1 is really more of an unnecessary prologue, so feel free to mark that in your bingo cards. Terry and Niki are on their way to a Halloween party, walking through the Fear Street cemetery. Niki is deaf, though she reads lips, and at no point does she implement sign language, even when it seems useful. They hear a scream in the cemetery and see a dark, shambling figure move towards them, but it turns out to be their frienemy Murphy just trying to give them a scare.

Smash cut to two weeks earlier, where Terry is going through his messy locker. He and his friend Trisha discuss the Halloween party Justine Cameron is throwing, which is super elite and only nine people have been invited.It’s taking place at the Cameron mansion, just behind the Fear Street cemetery. Justine is beautiful, mysterious, and she transferred recently when she and her uncle moved into the old mansion. She’s known for traveling the world and for keeping a distance from most people. Terry recognizes how beautiful she is, but not as beautiful as his girlfriend Niki, who his devotion towards is genuinely sweet. I’ve had to read a lot of books full of garbage boys recently, and Terry was a breath of fresh air.

Lisa Blume is doing her job in the hallway of being extremely nosy and talking loudly about the party. Ricky Schorr is also invited to the party, and he’s still a dweeb. Alex Beale got an invitation as well, who Terry used to be friends with until high school, and there’s a lot of baggage there. Justine comes along and tells everyone how rad and excellent this party is going to be with the nine people she wants to be friends with. Two boys, Marty and Bobby, are upset they don’t get invited. They pester Justine some, and she brushes them off.

The group of kids invited to the party are divided, essentially one half of them being the jocks and the other half being the geeks. The jocks, which includes Alex, starts calling the geeks wimps and telling them they couldn’t survive the night on Fear Street. You could make a drinking game out of this book how many times the word ‘wimps’ is said. They decide to have a contest where the two prank each other and see who is less of a wimp.

At first the pranks are pretty basic. Rubber snakes, shaving cream in lockers, prank calls. Then Terry reaches into his locker without looking and finds a plucked chicken head staring at him. He goes to yell at Alex and sees Niki already talking to him. Terry gets weirdly jealous, but she lets him know she was just telling them to knock off the prank war. Someone leaves a threatening letter to Niki, Niki reads Justine’s lips as she’s talking on the phone and she says “They’ll all pay.” Everyone’s suspicious but no one more than Justine.

It’s Halloween night! Murphy is dressed as a zombie, Terry is dressed as a 1950s greaser (and is mentioned wearing a mask????), Niki is dressed as a “carnival reveler” which I think just means she’s wearing red velvet, Justine is dressed as a sexy vampire, her uncle Phillip is dressed as a sad clown, David is dressed as a scary basketball player, Angela like a biker girl, Ricky is dressed like a frog, Trisha is dressed like a 50s cheerleader, and Alex is dressed in a skin tight silver body suit and calling himself “the Silver Prince”. None of these costumes will play into anything later, they’re just exceptionally ridiculous.

Justine serves a lot of food from a lot of different countries, mentioning she learned to cook them while living there and also talks about being at the Carnival of Venice. She also flirts with everyone, including Terry, who very cutely keeps mentioning Niki his girlfriend. Justine sets off a few pranks of her own, surprising everyone. The lights go out, and when they come up again there’s a dead body in front of the fireplace. Everyone starts flipping out, and Les Whittle pops up, revealing it all to be a prank. The jocks versus nerds thing goes on a little long before Niki snaps at the boys. Terry and Alex have a moment where they remember being friends, and then they ruin it. Justine flirts a little more. She gets real close to Terry right as some motorcycle boys come through the door.

It’s Bobby and Marty here to crash the party. Justine gets real mad that they ruined her party. They throw her uncle on the ground. They’re both clearly drunk and are getting too rowdy, throwing things on the ground, drinking a bottle of wine they find, pushing people over. They also have like chains and stuff, because one throws it at Terry, who catches it with a candlestick, which is way rad. The boys fight the bikes enough that they get scared and run off. People start saying to call the police, but Justine tells them not to. She doesn’t want to ruin the party. It’s time for the treasure hunt!

They all run off in different directions. One girl finds a mummy’s hand, a boy finds a botle of blood, another a stuffed cobra. Niki is nervous though, remembering what she saw Justine say. She wanders into Justine’s room and finds it strangely empty. There are barely any clothes in her closet, no posters on her wall, no desk at all. In the closet, she finds a secret door and goes through, finding a wardrobe full of designer clothes, brand new, long gowns, high heels, cocktail dresses, all sorts of fancy things. She also finds a lot of fancy underwear and a picture of Justine kissing an older man, as well as pill bottles made out to Enid Cameron. Niki is convinced Justine is leading a double life and runs off to tell Terry.

Terry is in the middle of the scavenger hunt himself and finds Alex hanged, blood dripping from his silver costume. He goes to get the others, and when they return they find a dummy with red cellophane being used for blood. Alex jumps out at them. They go back downstairs, where the stair railing falls out from under Justine, and she lands on the couch below. She’s fine though, and she and Alex get chummy while Terry and Niki talk. She tells him what she found, and she’s worried about what Justine is planning. As the party continues, the lights go out, and Justine gathers them all around to play a game of Truth. The rules are you say the worst thing you’ve ever done, and everyone decides if you’re lying or not. If you don’t tell the truth, you have to pay the penalty. Surprisingly, Ricky goes first, and he hints at the events of the Overnight, though he refuses to tell because of the other people involved. In the middle of the game, Terry notices Niki is missing and goes to look for her, on the way finding Les’ body.

He runs into David going to tell the others, and they aren’t sure if they’re being pranked again. The body is gone when they return, but it’s been dragged outside onto the ledge. They decide not to say anything to the others until the police arrive, since someone at the party is a murderer, but when they go to the phones, they find the lines are cut. David’s convinced it’s Bobby and Marty, but Terry isn’t sure. They find Phillip’s blood covered jacket as well and decide to go back.

David runs out to get to a payphone, promising the others he’ll be back. He has to go through the cemetery, but I happened to be staring at the Fear Street map which has the Cameron Mansion on it, including to the second road right behind that does not require access through a cemetery. Maybe they can’t pull their cars through, but it seems easier to run to the next street. Anyway, all the cars have been wrecked by Bobby and Marty with the tires slashed. They’re still riding their motorcycles through the graveyard, and they chase after David. One of them takes a swing at him, and he cracks his head on a gravestone, and we leave him blacking out, with the two dragging him away.

Terry finds Niki stuffed in a closet after being knocked out. She grabbed an article from Justine’s shoebox, which talks about a couple that died in a fiery crash. The article lists every single teenager who was in the car that caused the crash, which I think is illegal, but otherwise we wouldn’t have this plot. The crash took place twenty-eight years ago, and they realize every single person at the party is a child of someone in that car, and Justine is actually Enid, making her 30 years old. They run downstairs to tell everyone. Justine plays it off, tells them Les is really alive, and drags them into the dining room, where she locks the door on them.

Justine shows them all a picture of her parents who died in that car accident. Les’ parents were driving the car, so he died first, but the others are just as complicit. She plays the sound of a car wreck, tearing metal, screams, tires squealing. Smoke starts filling the room, and they’re all screaming. Niki is immune to the horror since she’s deaf, and she manages to force her way into the dumbwaiter. She finds Phillip trapped and bleeding and helps him. They manage to get the windows open and pull the others out. They all run out to the yard, where David comes out of the Fear Street Woods.

As the police arrive, Philip explains. He was angry about his brother’s death in the car accident. He raised Justine and instilled that anger in her, but he didn’t imagine she’d actually kill over it. She left her adult woman life to fake being a high schooler and trap the kids in the house. Justine runs up to them, angry and screaming. She runs into the burning house, and both Alex and Terry run after her. She pulls Terry into the flames, but Alex helps him out, tackling Justine in the process. They have a moment. The sun comes up as the police arrive, and only one person is dead. The end!

Favorite Line

I have a really rad sound system, and I bought a lot of excellent CDs.

Fear Street Trends

They spend most of the book in costume so there’s no great fashion. Jade and Deena get a shoutout, as does Lisa Blume. There’s definitely a lot of weird old people stuff in this book, including a hot dog vending machine, and a lot of 50s references. Angela has a “fast” reputation, and half the party is dressed like they’re from the 50s, as well as the motorcycle bad boys feel very much like a 50s movie. At the same time there’s a lot of modern slang. Rad and excellent is thrown around, “dissed” is used including quotation marks, and some things are just really now.

Rating

I don’t know how I feel about this one. I liked a lot of bits of it, and the scene where David hits his head on the gravestone and blacks out is genuinely good, and I like the concept a lot. Justine’s a pretty obvious villain and she never really gets hammy enough for that to be wonderful, but she’s fine. I’ll give it two mummy’s hands out of five.

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3 thoughts on “Fear Street #8 – The Halloween Party

  1. Pingback: Fear Street Relaunch #1 – Party Games | Welcome to Fear Street

  2. This blog is LIFE! I just reread Halloween Party for a nice nostalgia kick, and it got me thinking of tracking down and reading my way through all of them in order. I thought to Google around to see if there were any other adults re-reading these things. I am now working my way through all your entries. I used to keep up a blog and did an actual diagram of an R.L. Stine book–I think we are on the same page. (http://unwrittenwordblog.blogspot.com/2013/05/book-review-red-rain-by-rl-stine.html) Thanks for all the work you put into this project. I’m really enjoying it!

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    • Aaah! I was considering doing Red Rain as a “special” post or something but clearly I don’t need to. I’m glad people are appreciating this excuse to reread all of the Fear Street books. Your chart is amazing.

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