Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Focusing On Fear Street - Halloween Party


Book #8 in the Fear Street Series
Published: September of 1990
Cover Art by Bill Schmidt

Well first off let me say that this scene does NOT happen in the book but would be so awesome if it did! Being chased by a pumpkin-skull-ghost light through the Fear Street cemetery is our main heroine Niki in front of the Cameron mansion where the titular party takes place. Another disappointing thing about this otherwise great cover is the fact that in the book Niki's cape of her costume is NOT's black. Another fact about this book before we get started is that I did not read this book until the time it was reprinted in 2005 but it did have this original cover and not this one:

A jack-o-lantern headed scarecrow is just not scary to me and compared to the above one it is so boring. I grew up with the Bill Schmidt cover art on my Fear Street paperbacks but I have to say I also am digging some of the foreign covers a lot looking for pics to spice up my blog. Mostly the German ones speaking of which:

Now that's a jack-o-lantern to be creeped out by...especially with the tipped over wine glass (this is a high school party so underage drinking is kind of forbidden...I like it!) sitting on black material which to me looks like Niki lost her cape...but why? *dun dun dun!* My third favorite cover is this Portuguese cover art because I kinda like the Gothic feel of it:

The three people on the cover I assume are Niki and her boyfriend Terry in the foreground and party hostess Justine Cameron in the back with the blond highlighted dark hair (Justine is blonde in the book). This cover is very mysterious and I like the jack-o-lantern being held by the skeletal hand...the horror-lover in me approves!

Taglines: "There's going to be an uninvited guest at this Halloween party on Fear Street..." on the front cover is a little long winded and not exactly accurate to the story (little spoiler for you so sorry!). The little tagline on the back "Invitation To Terror" is succinct enough.

The First Line: "The tombstone loomed gray in the moonlight, its edges eroded into irregular shapes."

Fairly simple start as our aforementioned heroine Niki  Meyer and her boyfriend Terry Ryan head through the cemetery on Fear Street to reach the mansion where new transfer student Justine Cameron lives. See she's having an intimate Halloween Party that only a small few were invited to and this is where we get a larger cast than my past two Fear Street books. Also invited is friendly yet overweight Trisha McCormick, practical joker dweeb Ricky Schorr, linebacker Murphy Carter, basketball player David Sommers, the loose Angela Martiner, science whiz Les Whittle and Niki's ex-boyfriend and Terry's ex-best bud Alex Beale.

It's a grab bag of Shadyside High's cliques and that's exactly what happens the factions get divided in a prank war between the jocks (Alex, David and Murphy) and the wimps (Ricky, Les and Terry) even before the party happens! I guess Angela is on the jock team and Trisha is definitely on the wimp team but Niki doesn't chose sides because even though Alex is her ex she's above all the high school bullshit and is madly in love with Terry. Terry acknowledges that Niki is special and I hope it's the romantic in him and not the obvious because Niki is hearing-impaired (she is deaf but is an amazing lip reader that she doesn't sign or use a cochlear...pardon I watch a lot of Switched At Birth on ABCFamily...)

Terry calls Niki Funny Face so I assume it's because she looks like Audrey Hepburn after the film she starred in called Funny Face right?

Anyway, the night of the Halloween Party arrives and we have Terry as a 50s greaser, Niki as a medieval carnival reveler, Murphy as a zombie, Trisha as a 50s cheerleader, David as a basketball player who uses a human skull (how original *yawn*), Les as a skeleton, Ricky as a frog (by far the most creative with long-johns and diving flippers) Alex as some Silver Surfer knock-off, Angela as a biker chick and Justine as Elvira but blond. The party goes on with the normal tunes for dancing, a buffet of pizza and worldly cuisine, sodas and of course the prank war continues. Okay so maybe the front tagline wasn't that off because some party crashers (uninvited guests) do show up making a big Animal House kind of entrance on motorcycles.

These two guys are Bobby McCorey and Marty Danforth, the biggest bullies in school getting back at Justine for not inviting them to her Halloween Bash. Clearly drunk, these jerks begin destroying decorations, picking on the guests and even take to harassing Justine's Uncle Philip, the party's chaperone. Terry and David stand up to the bullies and they soon leave with threats to be back and even though they suggest letting the police know, Justine refuses and declares the party is still on! Soon, everyone is divided on a treasure hunt about the mansion and soon the pranks turn real, the house is swallowed in darkness and Les' dead body is found with a knife in his chest! Things get even worse when Philip and Niki end up missing and the guests realize they are trapped with a murderer as the rain pours outside! With a killer about it's safe to say the party is officially over...and the killer's fun has just begun.

As I am talking about all my Fear Street books, I realize that sometimes the endings and twists are pretty easy to discover. Even now you can probably guess who the killer might be but if you don't I definitely won't spoil it for you. Halloween Party to me is one of the better Fear Street books even if it has a kind of predictable plot and one that turns up a lot in later books and maybe even in earlier ones I have yet to read. I really like the characters of Terry and Niki mostly because Terry is a brave guy who stands up to bullies and loves Niki so genuinely.

Niki is one of the better Fear Street heroines because she is very mature for her age, doesn't take sides in fights, has a fun personality and cares about everyone...even her jerk of an ex, Alex. Okay so Alex is not that bad but he just has way too much arrogance that reminds me of all the awful guys I had the pleasure of going to school with but he gets better as the book goes along. My other favorite character is Ricky because he reminds me of the other guys I went to school with that were not jerks but funny and even dorky guys who were nice and the kind of guys I had lunch periods with.

Body Count: Poor Les is the only casualty of our cast :(

Cameo Time!: Jade Smith and Deena Martinson from The Wrong Number get mentioned being buddies of Niki's not invited to Justine's party and Lisa Blume of The New Girl is still trying to get the big scoop mostly on the exclusivity of the guest list for the same reason as the rest of the unlucky ones who didn't receive invitations...more like the lucky ones, eh? Also, Bobby McCorey just so happens to be one of the guys Chuck Martinson got in fights with in The Wrong Number so he's still bad ass as ever for all the wrong reasons.


One song played at the party has the lyrics "Pump up the jam" repeating over and over again and the only song I know like that is "Pump Up The Jam" by the group Technotronic so points for a nice early 90s dance song!

For ambiance, Justine has the film Bride of Frankenstein playing on her big-screen TV during the party and Terry sits down to watch a little bit of it. Good film it is something to be watched around Halloween or anytime for that matter.

So far in reading, Terry and Niki have to be my favorite couple so far. So to celebrate their loving relationship I have the perfect song for them from around this time. Not a popular release but another song from my favorite band of all-time:

NEXT TIME: We get to see what living on Fear Street is like with The Stepsister

No comments:

Post a Comment