Sunday, July 11, 2010
Point Horror: The Watcher (Lael Littke)
Catherine Belmont is obsessed with her favorite soap opera, Lost River. We know this because right when the book opens, she and her best friend Liz are preparing to run across town to Anderson’s Appliances, to watch the show. She usually tapes the show and watches it later, but her VCR broke so she’s stuck running over everyday at lunch.
Apparently Catherine loves Cassandra Bly, the heroine of the show. As she runs off today, her friend/neighbor Kade decides that he really wants to see what the show is about. He picks on her, makes fun of her, but also makes it clear that he kind of likes her. That night, he even comes over and offers to fix her VCR for her.
Unfortunately, Catherine is also kind of a loser. She keeps imagining herself in the soap opera and practicing her smiles or walks, like people are watching her at home. At the same time, Lost River is doing a new storyline where Cassandra is stalked by a figure in a dark robe, who keeps leaving her red roses.
Catherine heads home from school and spots a box inside the park. When she gets closer, she falls in a hole and realizes that someone dug the hole and covered it with leaves so someone would fall into it. Then she realizes that the box is actually a makeshift tombstone with the initials CB on the front.
The next day, she wanders over to the appliance store to watch the show. Suddenly the very sexy Travis shows up. I like to picture him as a young Dylan McKay for some reason, but that’s just me. He tells her that he used to watch the show when he hurt his leg and got laid up for a year. He also tells her that she looks a whole lot like Cassandra from the show. They flirt for awhile until Britny (yes that’s how they spell it) shows up. She and Travis have been friends for years and she hates Catherine. Something to do with a cheerleading spot. She makes fun of Catherine, before dragging Travis off.
Catherine goes home, takes a nap and wakes up to find a red rose. Thinking it was Kade, she does a sexy little dance for him and tosses the rose over the porch railing. When she leans against it, it collapses and she nearly falls to her death. To make things worse, Kade says he didn’t leave the flower.
Kade fixed the VCR in his electronics class so now she can watch the show at home. She runs home and watches the first episode, drooling over Cassandra getting taken care of by the hot doctor. It switches to a commercial, the screen gets grainy and then it segues into her experience at the park.
Catherine freaks out and calls Liz, but when she gets there, the tape is fine. She decides that Kade must have screwed with it, so she decides to get him back. Liz cuts her hair short, like Cassandra’s and she mopes around the house. They pretend Catherine went off the deep end and scare the shit out of Kade.
Travis of course loves her new hair and invites himself over to her house to watch the next episode. They curl up on the couch, order pizza and not make out. What the fuck? Make out with Dylan already! I mean Travis! That night, she tells her mom about her new beau and mom kind of flips out. She starts freaking out over the name Travis, but then calms down and pretends it didn’t happen. In case you’re wondering, good old mom is a single parent and works long hours, so she’s rarely ever home.
Catherine goes back to school, where she has a special cheerleading meeting in the school auditorium. The lights go out, someone hits her from behind and she almost gets kidnapped. Not surprisingly, Cassandra is also in the midst of a kidnapping storyline on Lost River. She gets away and discovers that the other girls got a note, telling them not to meet her.
She goes home and remembers hearing her mom digging through the closet. She finds an old photo album, opens it up and sees a photo of Travis inside. She flips out for about five seconds before she remembers that the photo is probably twenty years old. Travis comes over and tells her that he had an uncle who was murdered years ago.
Mrs. Belmont shows up and kind of flips when she sees Travis. Then she calms down and tells them her story. Years ago she was friends with a guy named Joe, who thought they were more than friends. She met Travis’s uncle TJ and they fell in love at first sight (insert scene here, where Travis smiles at Catherine, remembering how he fell in love with her the same way). Joe freaked out, but they thought he was all talk. Then he showed up one night after a dance and shot TJ. She starts crying again and asks Travis not to tell his mom that she’s there. Um, if that shit happened to me, I’d be long gone from the town. Plus, is TJ Catherine’s dad? Because that makes things really yucky.
Catherine finally stops suspecting Travis, but then good old Liz shows up. She tells her that Britny told her Travis went off the deep end last year. He got really dark, started stalking people and acting funny. Eventually he was institutionalized. Kade pops up long enough to freak her out, saying that he’s been watching her and that he’ll keep watching her.
She goes back to the auditorium and talks to the stage manager. No one else was supposed to be there the day she was attacked, so she wants to know who had keys to get inside. Turns out that our guy Travis was on the list. Travis swears that someone stole his key and he thinks it was Britny because she was alone in his car, with his keys, before it happened.
Catherine goes home, where someone jumps out of the shadows and covers her head with a black cloth. They drag her off and when they pull off the hood, she sees Liz. Liz? No! She stole Travis’s keys when Britny had them and also stole his keys to his family cabin. She tells Catherine that they’re going to watch the episode tomorrow and see her fate.
Apparently the actress playing Cassandra wants to go do movies, so everyone knows that they’re going to kill off her character. Liz feeds her a TV dinner, giggling about what will happen. She also confesses that her mom was Joe’s brother. Ah, family revenge! Catherine’s mom ruined her mom, so she’s going to ruin her. Got that?
Catherine manages to cut through her ropes with an old nail, as they watch the show. The kidnapper is revealed as Cassandra’s ex and they have a fight to the death, only she manages to survive and kill him. Liz starts screaming, they fight and Catherine gets to the telephone. Just then, Kade and Travis arrive, having figured it all out. She hits Liz in the head with a poker and they subdue her further, while they wait for the police.
Travis makes a joke about watching the show tomorrow and she says she’ll never watch it again. They walk off holding hands and miss the end of the episode. They miss seeing the ex’s hand coming up, as he stares off after Cassandra….
Actually, not too bad given that I haven’t read this book since I was 14 lol