Friday, December 26, 2014

Fear Street: Switched (R.L. Stine)

Part One: The Switch

Nicole has the worst life ever. Her parents care about her so much that they ask her to call when she's going to be late and make her stick to a curfew. One of her teachers told her that she won't graduate if she doesn't turn in a paper that she didn't even bother doing. Even though it was due that week, he lets her have an entire weekend to work on it. What a drag. Oh and her boyfriend doesn't know what she's thinking so he breaks up with her. Poor girl.

At the end of the school day, she runs into her best friend Lucy. Lucy has a super cute boyfriend named Kent but her parents fight all the time and don't have time for her. Lucy comes up with a great idea: they'll switch bodies. She takes her deep into Fear Street Woods and shows her the Changing Wall that her grandfather told her about. They climb on top, hold hands, and jump over the side. When they open their eyes, they really are in different bodies.

Nicole heads to Lucy's house, only to find the bodies of her friend's parents laying dead on the ground. She rushes to her own house, but Lucy and her parents are gone. She then heads to Kent's house. Kent tries to calm her down and refers to her as Nicole instead of Lucy. When he goes to get her water, she hears him on the phone with the cops and agreeing to keep her busy until they get there. Worried, she runs back to Lucy's house and discovers that all of her clothing is missing and that there's a bloody knife on her desk.

Part Two: The Murder

While holding the big ass knife, she finds a note that Lucy left admitting that she killed her parents. That causes her to run out of the house, but then she sees two cops outside. They get in the house and come after her, but she rushes outside and manages to get through a fake spot in the fence that Lucy's dad put in for them when they were kids.

Nicole goes back to Kent's house thinking that Lucy might be there. Instead of finding her friend, she finds Kent decapitated with his body on the floor and his head on the couch. Since she still has access to her car, she runs back to school, grabs the car, and takes off. While driving around town, she sees Lucy in a car with their friends Margie and Hannah. By the time she parks her car and runs over, Lucy is gone. The other girls say she wasn't there, but she thinks she was. She runs all over the place and thinks she sees her in a store and then by her car. Margie grabs her, but she pushes her down, gets in the car, and races off.

Thinking that she just needs to switch back, she takes a picture of Lucy to the wall and jumps over the side. Of course nothing happens, so she goes back to her own house. After changing clothes and grabbing the only cash she has on hand, she goes to Shadyside High and hangs out in the locker room. Nicole convinces herself that Margie and Hannah know the truth about Lucy.

Margie hurts herself in gym class, and since she's alone in the locker room, Nicole pops out of a storage closet. She starts blathering about the Changing Wall and Lucy, while Margie pretty much just stares at her in shock. Margie finally admits that she does know where Lucy is and agrees to go to the wall if Nicole will come back afterward and wait for her parents. They hear someone coming in, so she jumps back in the closet. She comes out to find Margie's dead body on the floor. Assuming it was Lucy again, Nicole decides to go see Lucy's Grandma Carla who is the one person they both love and trust.

Part Three: The Reunion

Grandma Carla looks happy to see her, up until the point where she demands to know where Lucy is hiding. The older lady promises to get her food, but she then hears her on the phone with the police. Nicole takes off running outside and eventually finds Lucy. The only problem is that she says Lucy made her switch bodies with her earlier that day and that she's really Nancy.

After the other girl cries, Nicole believes her, but then she laughs and says she's actually Lucy. They fight, Lucy takes off, and Nicole runs after her. She sees Lucy fall over the side of the well, but then someone grabs her from behind. It's Kent! He tells her that he's fine and obviously not dead, and when she tells him about Lucy, he tells her to let Lucy drown in the well. She rushes over to the well and grabs her hand, but then she feels her hand slipping out and hears a loud splash at the bottom.

Lucy pops back up, grabs Kent, and tries to rip his head off. Nicole screams and closes her eyes. When she opens her eyes again, she sees her parents, Kent, Grandma Carla, and the two people she thought were cops who were actually hospital workers. We find out that Lucy died in a car accident and now Nicole has crazy hallucinations where she sees people dying in front of her. They thought it was over but she had another break down. The workers are there to take her back to the hospital.

The last chapter deals with Nicole being at the hospital and how well her recovery is going. She thinks it's pretty cool that she's getting better and that the doctors helped her so much, but she also thinks it's pretty cool that Lucy comes to see her every day...

Wednesday, December 24, 2014

Fear Street Cheerleaders: The Second Evil (R.L. Stine)

Part One: Where is the Evil?

Kimmy, Ronnie, and Debra are out driving around and talking about what happened in the first book. They mention how Corky dropped off the squad after her sister's death and how no one is really sure what happened that night. They then see Corky herself walking to the cemetery where her sister is buried. Corky sees a dark shadowy man and starts freaking out. The other girls find her and take her home.

Once she calms down a little, she offers them some hot chocolate. She thinks she sees the same man outside, but by the time she tells the others, there's no one there. They try to convince her to rejoin the squad and hang out for awhile before leaving, but Debra decides to stick around. She's the only one who believes something supernatural happened that night, and she wants to talk to Corky about it. When she gets up to check on the kettle for hot chocolate, she reaches for the kettle and something makes her pour the boiling hot water all over her hand.

Chip comes over to see her and see how she's recovering from her burns. He's a little uncomfortable about seeing Kimmy there, especially since he dumped her for Corky's sister. Left alone, the two talk about what happened, but he doesn't believe it's anything supernatural. Corky then asks him to come to the cemetery with her that night. He refuses at first, but they they make out a little and he agrees. What is this guy doing, working his way through the squad?

Corky previously saw her sister's dead body rise up out of the grave and come at her, so she's a little nervous when she sees a woman in the cemetery. She grows even more nervous when the woman seemingly rises out of the ground, but she calms down when Chip sees her too. Her name is Sarah Ann and she is a college student who seems to know way too much about the Fear family and Sarah Fear in particular. She takes them to a little coffee shop, and Corky picks her brain. When they go to leave, Corky can't help noticing that the other woman has an almost evil look in her eyes.

Cut to Shadyside High. Corky decided to return to the squad, but she claims she's in really bad shape and needs to practice some. While in the middle of practice, she suddenly hears a woman screaming in pain and fear. Corky freaks out and messes everyone else up. When she tells them what she heard, they all reveal that there was no one screaming.

Every time that they start up again, she hears the screams and freaks out again. After like 600 times, she finally gets up and runs screaming from the gymnasium. She runs right into the arms of the mysterious man she keeps seeing in the cemetery and outside his home. He reveals that his name is Jon Daly and that it was his sister who died in the last book. Though he doesn't believe in the supernatural, he does believe that Corky is responsible for his sister's death and he plans to haunt her until she admits it. Before he can do much, Chip comes along and saves her.

When she gets home that night, she thinks about how she lost a sister too and it's not fair that John would come after her. While staring out the window, she sees Sarah Beth in the cemetery wandering around by herself. As she keeps watching, she realizes there's someone else in the cemetery with Sarah Beth and that it;s Jon.

Part Two: Here is the Evil!

It's a few days later and Corky is back in school and taking a make up test at the end of the day. Her science teacher leaves her alone, but it doesn't take long before weird stuff happens. The lights flicker a few times and finally go out, and when she runs for the door, she can't open them. The hand of the skeleton in the room then breaks off and flies across the room. It starts choking her, and she has to fight it off and then break through the classroom door.

Since she needs to get help and knows Chip is still there, she runs for the shop room to find him. She sees blood on the floor and creeps around the room. She eventually finds Chip's dead body. The more she looks, the more she notices, like the fact that the saw took off his hand and it's now sitting on the table.

The ladies all decide to do some weird thing where they call forth the evil from before. All that actually happens is that they find a dog. Even though Kimmy wants to go home and take long bath, Corky convinces them all to stick around. They finally decide that they need to talk to Jon, find out what he knows, and ask him why he was with Sarah Beth. When they get to his house, his parents get all excited when they mention his name and then super disappointed. Turns out that Jon's been missing for at least two days.

Corky and Debra, who are the only two who believe in the supernatural, decide to go see Sarah Beth. Debra notices that she has an old lady voice, and Corky realizes that everything in her apartment looks like something an old lady would own. She accidentally knocks over a pile of mail and finds that it's all addressed to Sarah Fear.

When Sarah Beth comes back, she admits that she's actually a Fear. She also tells them that she was with Jon that night because he called her. They had known each other for years when he called her out of the blue. She also tells them the story of what happened to Sarah Fear, including how she was a on a boat in the lake when a squall popped up. They found her and everyone on the boat covered in marks that made it look like they were boiled alive.

Debra and Corky leave to talk about their concerns that Sarah Beth is actually Sarah. They don't get very far in their discussion before Kimmy pops up with news that police found Jon's dead body in Fear Lake. That doesn't keep them from cheering at the next game. While at the top of the pyramid, Corky jumps off. Kimmy is supposed to catch her but doesn't, which causes her to hit the ground, bruising her ribs and breaking her arm. Kimmy swears that something stopped her from moving.

When she gets home, all she wants to do is take a shower. By the time she gets to the bathroom, she can barely stand. That's when she sees a shadowy figure in the room who steps out of the shower and reveals herself as Kimmy. It turns out that the evil spirit jumped into Kimmy when it left Jennifer. The evil spirit also wants to kill Corky in the same way it did her sister.

Kimmy drags her into the shower and they fight. Corky fights back and manages to pin her to the ground. She holds her head under the water until a nasty green goop comes out of her face. Corky pulls the plug on the shower and the goop goes down the drain.

Kimmy wakes up and reveals that she can't remember anything after that night in the cemetery with Jennifer Daly. Corky promises to fill her in on everything and lets her know that the evil is now officially gone. Her mom comes in to ask why everyone is so wet, and they kind of ignore her. Cut to a few hours later and Corky finds an envelope with her name on the front. When she opens it, she finds a message warning her that "it can't be drowned."

Monday, December 22, 2014

The Unicorn Club #2: Maria's Movie Comeback

In case you didn't know, Maria Slater is one of the best actresses in the world. After a long career, she reached that awkward age when actresses can't find work, and she and her family moved to Sweet Valley. She also became a member of the Unicorn Club after they chilled out and the evil Janet went to high school. In the first book, they had a prank war and did some damage to the school. Now, they need to come up with money to replace the principal's toupee and paint the school lockers.

Mandy comes up with a good idea. Some new thrift store just opened, and the owner needs someone to watch it for a few hours every day, conveniently right after school. She and Maria go over after school the next day, and it turns out that Maria once worked with the owner. She was a big star but lost out on roles when she got older. She didn't have the money to live in Beverly Hills, but she had money to buy a house and open a store in Sweet Valley. Her granddaughter Evie was a big fan of Maria's and shows up at the store. The woman agrees to let them work in the store.

When going over to the center, where the principal made them volunteer to work with kids, they find out that the roof collapsed. They have to close down completely until they can raise the money to fix it. While working in the thrift store a few days later, Tom Sanders walks in. He's in town to direct a new movie and is conveniently a huge fan of hers. He offers her a role for double, she counters with triple scale, and he agrees before giving Mandy a job in his costume department.

Maria is telling everyone about how much money she'll make at school the next day when Evie shows up. She gushes about what a great actress she is and how she's just so amazing. The other Unicorns get a little surprised because Maria apparently never talks about her acting career. Mandy also turns out to be some big fan of the grandmother and gushes about her.

The Unicorns decide to start a thrift store trend in school, which will make people go to the store and buy more stuff. They all make up outfits and wear them the next day. They also agree to give Randy Mason a makeover. He supposedly looks like a cross between Elvis, Buddy Holly, and James Dean, but it seems lame to me. They put him in black glasses, a skinny black tie, a short sleeved white shirt, black pants and socks, and red tennis shoes.

Tom Sanders comes to school, sees everyone, and decides to film her scene at the school. He also lets her know that she's working with Brad Marshall. He's the hottest and latest big shot teen star. After her sister teases her about the crush she had on him when they worked together in the past and everyone laughs at her about how they have to kiss each other.

Maria decides that she absolutely cannot do it. Evie was super excited about seeing the cash coming in to the business because it meant they could get back on their feet again. She unfortunately wanders in and overhears Maria faking being sick as she practices for talking with the director. Evie explodes on her about how she'll disappoint everyone and lose the money that she promised. She feels bad but still plans to go through with it. She's also ticked because she found out that she lost the lead role in the school play to some other girl.

After spending a day at home "sick," her mom tells her that she needs to tell the director she can't be in the movie. Before she can, Evie shows up with the whole club behind her. They find her in bed with part of a mud mask on her face and a stack of magazines in front of her. When they call her out on her BS, she claims that she's really sick. Then they announce that they brought Brad with them, Maria screams and runs away, and they all laugh because it was a joke. Clara, Evie's grandmother, shows up and offers to help her get ready for the movie.

Naturally Maria does a great job, and the director only has to shoot it once. Jessica manages to maker her way into the scene too. He passes out film jackets for everyone, and Mandy makes a passing comment about how they need club jackets. At their next meeting, they announce that they took care of the lockers but still need to make money for the toupee. Mandy also shows them the purple satin jackets that the director sent for the club with their names and Unicorns on them.

Jessica notices an extra jacket in the box, which gives Mandy an idea. She thinks they need to add an extra member and she nominates Evie. They all agree and go to talk to her. She accepts even before they can ask her. Maria then goes to see her drama teacher and talk about the school play. He tells her that she can't get the lead role in everything and that others need a shot too. She kind of gets his point and realizes that she needs to calm down some.

*One of Mandy's super cool thrift store outfits is a ribbed tee with a string (?) vest over it, baggy pants, and a hat that Maria describes as looking like something a Smurf would wear.

*While thinking of fundraising ideas, Jessica suggests a bake sale, and Maria says Liz is the only one who knows how to bake. Then what the hell did they do in all those home ec classes?

*There's a throwback to a SVT Super Special book! Maria talks about a director filming a horror movie and the annoying pre-teen star of that movie.

*Mandy makes some thrift store outfits for her and Maria. One is cut off sweatpants, stockings, a beaded sweater, and lace up boots. Another is a metal belt made into a headband, seamed stockings, clogs, and a flapper dress.

*Maria says triple scale for a day's work will make more than enough to put a new roof on the center. Um, I beg to differ? I looked it up, and scale today is around $800 a day, which would be $2,400 and not enough for a new roof. Plus this was supposedly a small cheap film, so she'd probably earn less.

*Maria filmed a commercial for macaroni and cheese that set a new advertising record for the number of boxes sold after the commercial aired.

*Maria gets a big head and thinks she can rule the world. She then fails at using her acting techniques and experience to get people to buy a chair from the store and then at making her teacher change her grade on an essay.

*Her whole scene? She plays a nerd standing at her locker when Brad comes down the hall. They seriously each have 3-4 lines, he kisses her and then walks away. That was it!

*I'm not too crazy about Evie. She's really serious, all she cares about is her music, and she doesn't really have a connection with anyone else in the club except Maria.

*Given the way that Maria looks on the cover, I can see why she stopped getting roles. Whoever did this cover made her look a little man-ish. I'm not sure if that's Elizabeth or Jessica, but it does look a lot like the girls on the SVT books.