And we’re back folks! I meant to spend November reading and catching up to my backlog, but I spent the whole time doing 50,000 words in NaNoWriMo instead, which can be read in its current state here. It’s alright, though, because this Christmas season we’re spending time with Reva Dalby, pampered department store princess and cruelest human being.
The cover (pulled from the Simon and Schuster page, replacing the previous version of this post). I guess she’s supposed to be looking in through a window, but for some reason I always thought she was trapped in a mirror. The holly jolly imagery mixed with her fear, and the finger streaks on the glass make a good, eye catching image.
Happy holidays — you’re dead!
Not terrible. A “Reva ends up on the naughty list” or something might’ve been better. This does have a certain punch to it though. The image is so solid I’m willing to forgive a lazy tagline.
We meet Reva Dalby as she’s working the perfume counter at the Dalby department store. She’s clearly cruel and doesn’t shy away from criticizing customers. Her boss is clearly done with her shit and Reva delights in getting away with things because her dad runs the store. She refuses to do simple work and avoids talking to customers. She ignores a customer to apply lipstick and is startled when blood starts pouring down her chin. She looks at the lipstick and realizes someone’s placed a needle in it, signifying the start of a terrifying holiday season.
Smash cut to the story proper. Reva is driving her boyfriend Hank and pulls over suddenly. I know I’m supposed to hate Reva, but she’s such a mean girl and genuinely unfeeling (there’s a line near the end where she comments on feeling emotions again) that her inner commentary is hilarious to me. She refers to her boyfriend as a phase she was going through and dumps him right there, fake cries in front of him, reacts coldly when he gets angry, and eggs him on. It’s mentioned Hank has some anger issues, even punching through a door because she wouldn’t see a movie with him. Like almost every boy in Shadyside, he seems genuinely dangerous, and it’s treated as though this is normal. She leaves him on the side of the road and drives away as Silent Night blares in her radio.
She meets her dad at the Dalby offices and is creeped out as she walks through the dark store. This is where mannequins become a major motif in the book, though I don’t think they’re played to their full potential. She’s scared by a man who turns out to be a mannequin and runs up to the offices, where she passes the security monitors, another reoccurring motif. As she walks in, a man named Mr. Wakely is storming out, fired for being drunk at work again and again.
This is where we learn about Reva’s family, possibly the only people she cares about. Her younger brother Michael she honestly cares for, and though she’s something of a bratty older sister to him, she goes through on her promises and makes sure he’s getting enough attention. Her dad is overworked for the Christmas season, and she goes out of her way to make things easier on him, even taking it on herself to fill holiday slots with people she knows, though she does this to her own ends. She talks with remorse about her mother’s death four years ago, and how sad it makes her, to the point that it hurts to look at pictures of her. The only close family she isn’t particularly careful of is her cousin Pam, who lives on the poor side of town. They used to be close, but they’ve drifted into different social circles, and Reva actively sets out to avoid her.
Reva sets her sights on a new boy named Mitch, who’s dating a girl named Lissa. She calls him on the phone, acting sultry and sexy to get her man. She lets him know there are jobs available at Dalby’s and hears Lissa in the background. Mitch asks if Lissa can have a job too, and Reva gets a brilliant idea that is clearly a recycled joke she does often, since it pops up a few times. She tells Lissa to dress as fancy as possible, as she’ll be working the perfume counter, with the intention of getting her a position in the stockroom. Pam calls asking if there are any jobs, and Reva tells her no, she just filled up all the positions.
Pam, of course, is instantly aware that Reva is lying, but doesn’t bother calling her out on it. She starts to call her boyfriend Foxy, but decides against it, since he’s got a research paper to finish. Instead she calls her friend Mickey Wakely (son of) and meets him and his friend Clay down at the 7-11. Pam lives on Fear Street and holds her breath as she passes the cemetery, probably a good rule of thumb there. She finds Mickey and Clay already inside. Clay is their criminal friend, illustrated by his greeting of, “Yo!” They talk about Zagnuts for like three pages, which was a thing I had to Google to see if it was real (it is), and then go to check out. The gas station clerk is hostile towards them, and demands they empty their pockets. Pam is insistent that her friends are clean, and Clay gets aggressive. The cashier is already threatening to call the cops, and then Clay straight up jumps across the counter to throttle him, before they hear police sirens, and all three run. Pam tosses Clay the keys to her own car which is weird, but he gets them out of there. He’s doing 90 as a police cruiser chases them, but through some sweet tricks they manage to lose it.
They’re all exhilerated from the police chase, even Pam, though she loses it once Clay reveals he had been stealing. She’s kind of mad, but Mickey goes off about how his dad was fired by Pam’s uncle, and Pam acknowledges how much she hates Reva. She tells them she wants to get her back.
Reva is driving home when she passes someone she knows on the side of the road. She pulls out to Robb, a guy she found nice and endearing but overweight so not worth dating. He has a girlfriend now and a jazz quartet and is out running errands for his mom, so we know he’s a good boy. She asks him if he wants a job, and he tells her yeah, money’s tight. She clearly wants him to be Santa but tells him to dress up in a suit. It’s the same joke twice but she’s pleased with herself. She makes it home, entertains her brother for a few hours, and then gets a knock at the door. Hank is there, not to win her back, but to beg for a job. She calls her attack dog on him, chasing him away, and laughs.
Saturday morning, all of Reva’s little plans come together. Lissa shows up in her best dress and is told she’s stocking shelves, making her super embarrassed. Rob does similarly, unamused that he’s Santa, and it’s claer this isn’t the first time Reva has done this. Reva loudly whispers to her supervisor that she wants Lissa and Mitch separated, annoying Lissa further and making her intentions on Mitch clear. She walks off, feeling pretty pleased about herself, until she’s dragged into a supply closet by Hank. She yells at him, and he lets her know he got a job all on his own working in the security booth. He tells her he’ll be watching her. I think this means all of our red herrings are set up, and it’s time to guess who is torturing Reva.
We cut to Pam visiting Mickey and Clay. Mickey lets us know his dad is drinking non-stop since being fired. They talk about how mad they are at all the Dalby’s, and Clay lets them know he’s worked out a deal with the security guard. He tells them the guard will open the door for them, letting them walk in and steal from the store. Pam flips out a little at the idea of a real robbery, but Clay assures her it’ll be an easy job. John Maywood will let them in, and they’ll walk out, no problems, no police, no alarms. They won’t take the money, just clothes and CDs and electronics. Mickey agrees reluctantly, and Pam is still unsure. Clay convinces her to drive the getaway car. Pam shuts them up when Foxy comes to pick her up, but she agrees to drive the car.
Reva gets into work and is ready to play with Mitch. She flirts with him a little and gets him alone, where they start making out. Reva’s delighted when Lissa walks in. Mitch tries to run after his girlfriend, and Reva plays it off. She walks back to the floor where she sees Robb getting sneezed on by children. She’s still laughing as she gets to the perfume counter, where she finds a Christmas present addressed to her. Its a perfume bottle, but as she opens it, she realizes its filled with blood. She drops it, and it shatters, splattering blood all over her sweater.
Reva flashes back to being five years old and developing a fear of blood, but she manages to clamp down on any emotion she’s having. She gets up, tells the costumers she’s okay, and then she turns to go to her father’s office. She assumes Hank did this and marches in to get him fired, only to run into Hank directly. He doesn’t really seem concerned at all, just more annoyed that she’s bothering him at work, and she snaps at him to let him know he did this. He clearly has no idea what she’s talking about. She marches up to her dad’s office and is stopped when she’s told he’s in a meeting. For once Reva shows an ounce of tact and decides not to barge in, but she also decides not to tell him even though someone has sent her a bottle of blood. He comes out anyway when it sounds like gunshots are going off and panics when he sees his daughter covered in blood. It turns out a string of lights shorted, and Reva calms her father down. They actually have a really funny, sweet moment together before he sends her off to change at home.
Reva drives back home, only to realize a car is following her. She speeds away from him, running a red light, swerving around, and the car follows. Finally she arrives home and jumps out to confront him, only for the man to tell her he accidentally smashed he tail light and he wanted to give her his insurance. This aside is totally meaningless, adds nothing, and is bonkers because she’s doing Fast and Furious style stunts to get away from him while he follows over a tail light, but I guess it adds some tension maybe?
We cut to Pam, Clay, and Mickey rolling up to Dalby’s. Honestly these three are my favorite. There’s something really endearing about these three nobody kids barely robbing a department store and doing it out of spite. They’re also incredibly bad at it. I’d watch a whole movie about these thrill seekers. A police car drives behind them for like a minute and they all flip out, and then laugh at themselves for being so nervous. Pam pulls up to the loading dock, and they consider what they’re doing. Bafflingly, Pam tells them she doesn’t want to sit out there, even though she’s the getaway driver. She goes inside the store with them.
They get inside, and Maywood isn’t there. Clay says he’s probably waiting for them by the electronics. Mickey realizes Clay brought a gun, and they all flip out, but Clay promises he won’t use it. They start grabbing stuff, and it’s legitimately funny how they run around the North Pole and steal their own presents. They hear something, Clay pulls out his gun, and a security guard who is not Maywood shows up. He also has a gun and demands they put their hands up. They start running, and then Clay’s gun goes off. They get in the car and drive off, passing police on the way.
In the morning, Pam hears the news that the security guard is dead. The news also reports that twenty-five thousand dollars was stolen from a safe. Pam’s confused and calls Clay, who lets her know his gun wasn’t even loaded, meaning he couldn’t have killed the guard. She says they have to go to the police, but he tells her the police won’t believe them.
Reva is talking to her little brother Michael before going into work. He desperately wants to go see Santa, but she tells him it’s a bad time. She drives with her dad into the department store, which is still in turmoil over the robbery. Reva’s dad is pretty suspicious of the whole robbery already, since there was no actual break in, and no one should’ve known about the safe, and the security guard was shot in the back. He then asks directly about the blood covered Reva, but she avoids telling him, thinking it’s not the time. I think her dad would understand, but this is the only place she shows an ounce of restraint, so it’s kind of nice she thinks of her dad first.
They get in, and Mitch tries to talk to Reva. He kisses her again, and she teases him about Lissa. He tells her they broke up, and Reva plays it cool, especially when he asks her on a date. She tells him no, and Mitch flips out. He throws a wooden bench and tosses it at the wall because every single man in Shadyside is aggro’d out possibly from all the evil that lived in the town. Reva returns to the perfume counter, where a call from Pam is waiting for her. She ignores it instead to receive a large package. It’s as tall as she is and wrapped with a red bow, and she’s like another practical joke haha even though the last one literally had blood spill all over.She goes to open it and sees a corpse! Others rush over and tell her it’s a mannequin, pulling it out of the box so she can see. She’s still shaken, and she looks around, trying to figure out who is sending her all these things. Reva is more shaken by a painted mannequin than the literal vial of blood, but whatever.
We cut back to Pam meeting up with Mickey and Clay. Clay says he called asking about Maywood, but he’s called in sick, which is not at all suspicious right after $25,000 was stolen. Right as Mickey assures them that no one knows anything, Pam gets a phone call, where a gruff voice says, “I saw what you did.” Smash cut to the future, where Pam is talking to Foxy. He asks why she’s been hanging out with Clay and Mickey so much. The phone rings, and she goes to answer it, where the voice says again that they want ten thousand dollars or they go to the police. She breaks down and tells her boyfriend everything. He’s surprisingly cool about it, and after they talk about it a bit, he says he wants to talk to Clay. Mickey and Clay are hanging out together, and they tell them they got another phone call. Clay gets really intense and threatens to kill whoever it is, which freaks Pam out more.
Reva comes into work again and tracks down Hank. She corners him and apologizes for being so mean to him, asking for a truce. He’s confused, and when she tells him what’s been happening, he seems genuinely concerned. She accuses him of hating her, and he tells him he feels sorry for her, that everyone hates her, that he can think of ten people who hate her enough to put a needle in her lipstick. She breaks down at the realization she doesn’t have any friends, and he holds her.
Pam is going home, annoyed that she can’t reach her boyfriend, on edge because of everything that’s happening. As she goes up to her house, she’s grabbed from behind, and her blackmailer threatens her again, demanding the money by tomorrow night. She pushes him off and sees his face, but they’re interrupted when a car pulls up. It’s Foxy, and she tells him who’s blackmailing them.
Reva comes into work, where she sees Mitch and Robb in his Santa costume fighting it out. They’re pulled apart, and Mitch snaps at Reva. We jump ahead to later in the day as Reva takes her little brother to see Santa. They wait in line together, and Michael comes back telling her the Santa was obviously fake, since he had a pillow in his belly. She drops him off with her dad and returns to work, where another large carton is waiting for. She’s all har har another prank, but when she opens it there’s Mitch crumpled up, a large knife sticking out of his back.
We cut ahead, and the chapter literally starts with no one saying, “Clay–did you kill Mitch?”. Clay promises he didn’t, and Pam says she’s the one who told him that Mitch was blackmailing them. Clay’s a little blase about the whole thing, saying he didn’t kill him in a really unconvincing way, but then gets really intense and calls him a worm and says he wouldn’t waste his time on that. Clay and Mickey scrap a little, and Mickey’s dad breaks it up, getting very protective of his son.
Reva runs to her dad and tells him she thinks she know who the murderer is, but she can’t know until they check the security tapes. She finds Hank and tells him to look at the tapes from Santa Land. The video shows it’s not Robb as Santa. Michael told her Santa was wearing a pillow, but she chose him for the job because “he’s a real chub”, so he wouldn’t need a pillow. He was fighting with Mitch too the other day, and he still hasn’t called in. Her dad calls the police.
The police then arrest Robb while he is Santa sitting on the Santa chair, which seems like a bad move but I guess he’s a murderer or whatever. Reva’s distracted as Pam comes running up, reaching for Robb and calling him Foxy. Robb does a dumb thing and shouts that he only wanted to help Pam, and he did it for her, to get back at Reva. Pam corners Reva after they take Robb away and tells her he couldn’t have killed Mitch. Pam tells her Mitch was blackmailing her, but that time he was gone, he’d gone to see Pam, not to murder anyone. Robb was the one doing all the “pranks”, which were actually life endangering and horrifying things to do to a person, and he probably would’ve been arrested for putting a fucking needle in someone’s lipstick anyway, but I guess back in the day that was a lot less dangerous.
Pam offers to drive Reva home, but Reva realizes she forgot her bag. She goes into the empty store, where Silent Night is playing. She hears something and calls out to Hank, but Mr. Wakely is the one who walks out, holding a pistol. He says something about Maywood, and Reva gets him talking. He babbles that Maywood convinced three kids to rob the store, and while they were doing that, he and Maywood would steal the money. He didn’t realize his kid Mickey would be there too, and when the security guard threatened his boy, he shot him. Reva asks him if he killed Mitch, and he said he overheard the kids talking and took care of it. The body was dumped in the same box the mannequin came in and got re-delivered to Reva. Mr. Wakely then points his gun at her, and she runs. She gets cornered on a balcony, and he lunges at her, but sails past, falling off the balcony. Hank runs in and grabs her, telling her the security cameras caught everything.
The police take Reva and Hank to the station where they see Robb. Robb apologizes for the mean things he did to her, and she’s like I deserved it, and I’m like he literally sent you a vial of blood and put a needle in your lipstick I’d be like Pam your boyfriend might be a serial killer but whatever. She jokingly says she’ll get him back, and he does get a little nervous. Pam comes out, only charged with trespassing, and she mentions that they don’t know what’s going to happen with Mickey and Clay. Their hearings are next week, and they’ll find out after that. It’s so odd to not have their story lines wrapped up neatly and they still may go to jail, but as long as the characters we really care about are okay, then who cares. Reva is surprised to learn that she has “real feelings” again, and she and Hank walk into the silent night.
I’m such a good liar, Reva congratulated herself. I sound so broken up, even I would believe me.
Fear Street Trends
Reva is, of course, the trendiest, illustrated by the fact that she reads Vogue. She dresses “conservatively” in a straight skirt, navy sweater, and pearls for her job. She changes into a white cashmere sweater right before getting blood all over her. The other preppy kids also dress like this, with Mitch in white shirt and chinos (seems bad for working stock room, but whatever), and Lissa shows up to the job in a silk blouse and blazer with high heels. These kids dress a thousand percent better than I ever did in high school. On the other side of the tracks, we know Clay is a bad boy because he has one diamond stud earring in and slicks his hair back.
There’s not as much pop culture references, though Oprah Winfrey is shown on the TVs in Dalby’s. As usual for Fear Street, what qualifies as a prank in this town would give you a prison sentence elsewhere. I’m just assuming that evil has absolutely corrupted everyone.
I was expecting a little more out of this one. I remembered Reva Dalby, and I know this is one of the most remembered series out of Fear Street, and for some reason I was expecting a supernatural bend to it as well. Pam’s storyline was sort of nothing for me (though I did enjoy parts of it), and the clumsy wrap up at the end came out of nowhere really. I have to give this two mutilated mannequins out of five.