The cover (pulled from First Echo) isn’t quite as good as the first one. Reva’s far less fashionable in this one, losing some credence to her big money chic looks lifestyle. The santa is creepy, and I like playing with the Christmas imagery, but Reva herself is killing i for me. Her fingers also look way too weird on the left hand. Someone needs to fix that.
Jingle Bells… Santa kills!
Bad, bad, bad. It doesn’t rhyme, it doesn’t make any sense, it kind of plays into the cover, but it’s real bad.
We open not with Reva or her cousin Pam, but with two people down on their luck. Paul is a high school dropout fired from his job at the Dalby department store, whose girlfriend Diana hangs out at his apartment and calls him Pres, because he has Elvis Presley’s ‘sneer’, which I think Stine meant to say grin because he switches to that later on. They don’t have any money, but Diane reads the paper and watches movies, and she tells him about a couple that made off with six million dollars in the worst sounding armored car heist in the world. Pres is willing to be a stockroom employee but not a delivery boy because of his weird standards, and they talk about robbing Dalby’s house. He tells her about the antiques he has in there, but then he gets a better idea. They may not know anything about antiques, but they do know Dalby’s most precious possession is his daughter. They decide to kidnap her.
Meanwhile, Reva is reliving the past year’s events at her job. She’s woken out of her flashback by a man asking for help choosing a perfume for his wife, and she slips back into mean old Reva. She’s very rude to him, gets chewed out by her manager, shouts mean things at the costumers, pours some water on a boy who’s hitting on her, and says she’d be a lot nicer if she was on a beach somewhere instead of stuck in Shadyside. She runs into her cousin Pam who’s seeing some boy named Victor Dias. (I include his last name because I think this is the second explicitly brown character in any of these books.) No mention is made of Robbie/Foxy, who I guess after sending her cousin a vial of blood was probably dumped, or of Clay and Mickey, who I guess are probably in jail now. The other girls don’t even think about them at all, not when Victor is around.
Pam tells her cousin the thing between her and Victor feels so real. Reva is dismissive and shows off her nails, and Pam stabs a letter opener into her chest, only to reveal it’s fake, because again this is what passes for a prank in Shadyside. Pam tells her it’s the bestseller in the stationary department. Of course it is. Reva goes to see her father, who tells her as a reward for sticking it out through Christmas, he’ll take her somewhere warm in February. She leaves, he stops her, letting her know the employee elevators are broken. She drives home and notices a car following her and tells herself not to be paranoid.
Pres tells Diane that he did in fact follow Reva all the way home. He tells her he’s been watching them, and that Dalby leaves the house at seven in the morning, and Reva leaves at nine. There’s no one else in the house at that time. There’s a guard dog that should be locked up by morning. Diane insists they kidnap her the next day, even though they’ve only seemed to be planning this for about a week, but I guess Christmas is coming fast.
Smash cut to Victor in his car, making out with a girl, and it’s revealed to be Reva. He expresses doubt about cheating on Pam well after the fact, and Reva insists that he’s too good looking for a loser like Pam. These scenes are really unimportant except I guess to prove Reva is still a bitch. I was sort of waiting for Victor to do something, like be part of the plan or secretly be scouting for the kidnappers, but he’s just there to drive tension between Reva and Pam.
We cut back to Diane and Pres sitting outside Reva’s house, waiting for her dad to leave. Diane keeps saying this feels just like the movies. After Dalby’s out of the house, Pres goes around the back, but the guard dog is back. He tries to feed it bacon, and it bites him like a champ, and so he choloroforms it instead. He takes out his pistol but decides not to shoot the dog, since it would be too noisy. He goes upstairs, and Diane is sitting in the car. She starts to hear sirens and panics. If the police catch up, she’ll leave Pres behind, but she’s waiting as long as she has to. Meanwhile, Pres manages to find Reva’s room, but when he pulls of the sheets, he finds the bed empty. He hears the sirens too, panics, and runs back to the car, telling Diane to gun it. It stalls to add some tension, but then she gets it going.
There’s a nothing scene between Reva and Pam, and then we cut back to Diane and Pres deciding to kidnap Reva right as she got back from work the same day, which is the most boneheaded thing these dummies could think up. As soon as they drive up, they see cops all over the place, and they’re stopped by the police. It’s okay, though, because they’re just letting them know they have a headlight out. They go to a restaurant and sit down, trying to work out a new plan. Pres suggests kidnapping her from the department store, a terrible plan, but they realize they need three people for it, one to distract, one to grab her, and one to drive the car. Kidnapping a teenage girl from a crowded department store is a breeze! Diane suggests his brother Danny, and Pres is nervous, since he pops off all the time, but they decide to do it the next day.
Of course Reva comes in late, and I enjoy her systematically destroying each of their plans on her own whims. She sees who we know as Pres and Diane walk in. Diane drops to the floor and starts screaming about her contact, and it’s clear they’re expecting Reva to come over and help, but they don’t know Reva. Pres grabs her, dragging her out, but then Ms. Smith arrives. Diane and Pres scamper off.
They meet up with Danny, who demands they kill her, but they tell him that sort of goes against the ‘getting money’ portion of their plan. They start talking new plans, and Pres suggests maybe hiding out in the stockroom and just grabbing her in the morning. The Dalby standards for security guards sure hasn’t changed in the past year. Danny insists they split the million dollar ransom three ways, and then says if Reva screws them one more time, he’ll kill her.
Reva gets a phone call from Pam saying Victor broke her date, Reva sort of lets it slip that she’s been seeing Victor, Pam flips out, bla bla bla. We find out Pres got arrested, and Diane and Danny have to pull off the plan on their own, ensuring this is going to go spectacularly wrong. They’re at Dalby’s the next morning. As Danny goes in, Diane gets talked to by a cop, who tells her she has to move, and she begs him to let her stay, even though he’d probably be there too and see them dragging Reva out. He’s distracted, she stays, and Danny comes out dragging a girl with him. They take her back to their apartment and gag her, but when they call Dalby, he tells them they didn’t get Reva, that his daughter is sitting right next to him. Of course the person they grabbed is Pam.
Reva’s comforting Victor as he boohoos about Pam being kidnapped. She’s clearly already bored with him and deeply uninterested in this conversation. She tells him her dad won’t pay the ransom, since it’s not his daughter, she fakes some boohoos of her own, and then tells him a dream she had where she’s running through the dark and empty department store, and Santa grabs her to kidnap her. She hangs up on Victor as someone arrives, and opens the door to find Pam on her driveway. She looks dead for a moment, but she starts to move. Reva helps her inside and gets her some water. They hear noises outside, but it’s only Victor, who runs into Pam’s arms.
This does seem to be a turn around for Reva. She feels like she’s being followed and sees a young man who then disappears, but she runs into Pam, who asks if she’ll come over for a traditional Christmas at her house. Reva is reluctant but fakes enthusiasm for her cousin. She drives out to Fear Street where Pam lives and brings out some presents. Pam walks out to help her, and they’re both grabbed from behind. They’re tossed into the backseat of Pres’ car, and Danny threatens to kill them some more. They put blindfolds over them, and they’re dragged somewhere. Reva recognizes it almost immediately as her dad’s department store. They’re tied to some chairs on the fifth floor which apparently has no security guards and no one goes into. Reva yells at them for hurting her, and Danny breaks her arm.
Diane goes to make the phone call, and they all leave them. Pam starts flipping out and yells that they promised her, and it’s no surprise that Pam is part of the plot now. For being let go, she’d promised to help them get Reva. Pam’s still pretty salty about the whole Victor thing, and she gets a pretty good burn on Reva before Danny gets mad and slaps her. The girls are left alone after that as they go plan to pick up the money.
Pam and Reva both have a moment where they apologize, and Pam notes they didn’t tie her as tightly as they should have. She manages to wriggle free and unties Reva as well. This whole keeping them in the department store Reva’s dad owns plan falls apart pretty quick when they get out, and they’re able to navigate their way through the store. They split up as the kidnappers chase after them. Reva feels hunted and pursued, and runs into a Santa mannequin, flipping out when she feels herself being grabbed. Pam grabs her next, and they hide by the elevators. Reva remembers that they’re broken, and they hide, hoping the kidnappers will step in and fall to their deaths. It’s as good as any of the kidnappers’ plans, and if this were Home Alone they’d amusingly fall to their deaths. Only Diane and Pres enter the elevator as the doors ding open, and then step out safely. It looks like they were fixed.
But they now assume the girls aren’t by the elevators and run away. They click the button again, and this time when the doors open, a man is standing there with a pistol! Except he’s the FBI! He’s been following Reva hoping the kidnappers make themselves known! He tells the girls to wait there, and he chases after the kidnappers. But now Danny jumps out and grabs the girls. He tries to keep kidnapping them, even though the jig is up, and the elevator door opens. He decides fuck it, runs, and then falls, not at all comically, to his death. It seems only one elevator was fixed. The other still opened to an empty shaft. The FBI agent helps them out of the store, where Silent Night is playing overhead, traumatizing Reva for another year.
Reva took another sip of her coffee before answer. “Sorry. I’m on my break.”
Fear Street Trends
Not as many in this one. We don’t need to re-establish that Reva is rich and Pam is poor. Pres is the only one described in any kind of detail, and it’s the drive home the fact that he kind of looks like Elvis Presley. Reva comments on this as well. No one wears one earring or says yo so we know they’re street smart, though these thieves are not that. Chinos are mentioned, and Reva does drink Evian water. Reva’s nails are described at one point, and she’s def at the forefront of the wild nail designs.
Unlike other trilogies in the Fear Street series, these don’t feel like they were written one right after the other, which makes them stranger reads for it. The crime plot this time around was less interesting with characters I didn’t really care about, and Reva’s character development feels less than before, possibly because she already should’ve changed as a person. I’m going to give it two mall santas out of five.