Monday, October 26, 2015

Ghosts of Fear Street #18: Camp Fear Ghouls (R.L. Stine)

The Waynesbridge Scouts are like totally the coolest group of girls around. That's why Lizzy and her best friend Caroline are so worried when they hear that the invitations just went out. While Caroline finds one of the tell tale pink envelopes in her locker, Lizzy doesn't get one. Arden, the daughter of the troop leader, hates her for not inviting her to her birthday party and set it up so she wouldn't get in. Lizzy tries to play it off like it's no big deal, but the two girls fight when Caroline decides to join anyway.

While on the way home, Lizzy sees a dark figure hiding behind a tree in her yard. The figure is actually Amy, one of the Camp Fear Girls, who wants her to join their troop. Lizzy finds an invitation waiting for her at home. A note on the bottom warns her to be there or beware and appears out of nowhere.

A bus comes to pick her up the next day, but the driver never stops for anyone else and takes her right to Fear Street. The woman then tells her that she needs to walk the rest of the way. Lizzy keeps freaking out because she thinks the address is for the Fear Street Cemetery, but then she finds the house. No one answers the door and then there's an icy cold hand on her back. It's really just Amy who shows her the secret knock and takes her inside.

The place is totally tricked out with both a Super Nintendo and a Sega Genesis plus lots of snacks. All the girls welcome her to their troop and tell her their leader had to run some errands. They then tell her the story of the original Camp Fear Girls. They went on an overnight camping trip in the woods and were never seen again. People say they turned into monsters and now walk Fear Street looking for new members. If you join, you become one of the undead and can never leave again. Lizzy looks around and sees that Amy is one of the undead.

Just as she goes running for the door, Amy pulls her back and shows her it was just a mask. They all have a good laugh and tell her it was her first initiation. Her next is an overnight camping trip where she can earn three badges. She gets a little worried when she sees that their badges have coffins, knives, and other creepy things on them, but she gets distracted when they tell her it's Prank Night.

As the newest member, she gets to pick who they prank, and she naturally picks Caroline. The other girls mix up a batch of weird green slime that makes Lizzy start having some gruesome thoughts. They sneak over to Caroline’s house and throw the slime on her when she comes out. They then run off laughing and giggling.

When Lizzy gets home, she has a message to call Caroline. It turns out that the girls actually slimed her brother and that Caroline didn't really like her troop. When she hears about the Camp Fear Girls, she begs Lizzy to get her an invitation. Lizzy does try taking her to the house the next day but it's gone, which makes Caroline think she just wants to keep the troop to herself.

They then run into Amy who tells them that the house really is there. She does flip out when Lizzy asks about Caroline joining the group. Amy keeps acting weird until Lizzy says she'll drop out if her friend can't join. They hear a scream that Amy denies hearing. She then goes from refusing to let Caroline join because it would take them past 13 members to agreeing she can join.

Lizzy then notices that all the other girls are standing under the nearby bridge. They tell her they were cleaning up the river to earn a merit badge. She notices that one of the girls, Pearl is missing, but no one will answer her when she asks what happened to the other girl. She heads home and gets a call from Caroline about how she got an invitation to join and go on the overnight.

The two girls take the same bus to the camping trip, which takes place in the Fear Woods. Caroline keeps whining and complaining, and they both freak out when they hear something in the woods. They have to use a map to find the other girls, and when Lizzy is about to give up, they find the rest of the troop. This time, everyone tells her that they never had a member named Pearl.

Amy tells Caroline the story of the Camp Fear Girls and what happened to them so many years ago. She then transforms into a ghoul, and all the other girls transform too. Lizzy and Caroline take off running with the girls chasing them. Amy tells them that the girls went camping and made a fire, but they accidentally used the bones of an evil man instead of wood and were cursed. They needed her because one of the other girls tried to escape and now they need Caroline because they destroyed Pearl. They have to earn three merit badges or become a ghoul like them.

Lizzy decides to try earning the rock collecting badge first. The girls take them to a clearing and tell them they have five minutes to fill a bag with glowing blue rocks. The rocks are actually burning hot, but they figure out that if they toss or move the rocks first, the rocks cool off. They get through the first task and do arts and crafts next, which involves making lanyard necklaces.

Caroline is the only one who knows how to make them, so she makes one for Lizzy and starts making a second. The ropes turn into worms and she almost fails because they crawl all over her. Though she gets through it at the last second, the worms in Lizzy's necklace come to life again and start strangling her. Caroline breaks the necklace to save her, and Amy gives them their last task: they must swim across Fear Lake in the middle of the night.

The water is ice cold, and something grabs Caroline and pulls her under. Lizzy winds up saving her from some huge monster with black tentacles. They almost freeze but manage to get all the way across the lake. That's when Amy says she lied and that if they passed all three tests and earned their badges, they'd actually become members of the troop.

The other girls start singing their troop song, which slowly transforms our two girls into ghouls. Lizzy remembers a best friend song they made up in second grade and starts singing it. Caroline joins in and slowly turns back into her normal self. She then gasps and points to Pearl who is now hovering above the campfire.

Pearl was apparently their leader and is very unhappy at what they did to her. She makes them count off and forces Lizzy and Caroline to count to 13 and 14. There's suddenly a huge bolt of lightning. Pearl tells them that they can't have more than 13 girls, smiles, and floats away. There's a noise in the woods, and Lizzy's parents show up. They heard a storm warning and came to find them.

The girls lie and say that the rest of the troop ditched them. Her mom gives her an invitation that came in the mail for the local drama club. Caroline takes it from her and rips it into pieces. Just as they get out of the woods, the bus driver shows up, tells them she'll them the next night, and smiles.

*Oh my goodness, a parent who actually gives a damn! Lizzy's mom won't let her join or get on the bus until she has the chance to talk with the driver first.

*I strongly, strongly dislike Caroline. She practically screams at her best friend for asking her to not join the one troop and then acts like a whiny baby when Lizzy doesn't want to share her new troop with her.

*Is it weird that I totally don't know how to make a lanyard? I even went to camp!


  1. If I had a nickel for every time I accidentally used the bones of an evil man to make a campfire...