Friday, April 1, 2016

Point Thriller: Nightmare Hall #8: The Experiment (Diane Hoh)


The Experiment opens with the Professor sitting in his office and talking about some young woman. The Professor says she never even visited his office before and that she has no idea of the predators watching her every move. We then jump right into the action.

Professor Maximillion DeLure is the hottest teacher at Salem University. Caryl tells her best friend Anna all about how she thinks he's gorgeous, and Anna briefly mentions that there are some weird rumors about him on campus. We also meet Anna's love interest Nicholas and Carl who is the professor's assistant. Carl talks a little about the new class seminar called Poets and Scientists. Since Caryl really wants to be a writer, she wants in that seminar. She applied for a spot and rushes back to see if she got an invite.

When she reaches in her mailbox, a hand grabs her and starts tugging on her. Just as she starts screaming, she realizes it's the mail guy, Ben. Ben and Caryl have been dating, and he jokes for a bit before giving her the mail. She finds an invitation to the class and gets so excited that Anna takes her out for dessert to celebrate.

There, they run into Perri. Perri is apparently hot shit on campus. She's a gorgeous girl who every guy falls in love with almost instantly. Even the waiter rushes over to greet her and get her food as fast as possible. Perri reveals that she got an invite to the class and brags about how she's an awesome writer and way better than Caryl for a few minutes. She then acts super condescending about how Caryl obviously got in and decides to get some cute little treats to celebrate before flouncing away. She literally flounces!

Caryl hopes to find out a little more about the class and heads to the professor's office. She thinks about some of the rumors she heard, including that he murdered his wife and child and wrote a series of poems that have clues about their murders. Though his office looks empty, she lets herself in and sees a fish in a bowl going crazy. The professor's suddenly pops up, says something to the fish, and it stops dead in its tracks. He then starts screaming at Caryl that she needs to run, run for her life.

When she tells Anna what happened, Anna convinces her that it was just a fighting fish. Feeling better, she goes for a swim at the rec center but hears someone chasing her. Right before they catch her, she wakes up in bed. Caryl dresses up for her class and runs into Ben, who thinks she looks just awesome. She also sees Perri, who thinks wearing a six inch long skirt and a bodysuit is somehow appropriate for school. Perri has her eyes on Dare Winters, that is seriously his name. He's apparently the hottest guy in school.

The professor shows up, gives a short lecture, and then asks everyone to watch an animal in the wild for an hour and write a poem. No one in class understands the assignment at all, which makes me fear for the graduates of this school, but then Caryl explains it and everyone gets it. Dare chats with her, and when she tells him about the dog park nearby, he asks her to go with him.

Even though she's supposedly dating Ben, she totally agrees. Before their date though, she finds a dead fish in her mailbox and a bad yet threatening poem. She blames Ben, he says he didn't do it, and she decides that it was probably Perri. Perri actually shows up during their date to flirt with Dare. He spends most of the time flirting with Caryl and eventually refers to Perri as a friend before kissing Caryl and walking off with her. Buuuuuurn.

Caryl forgets about her next date with Ben until Anna reminds her. Ben, not realizing that she's losing interest, decides that this is the perfect time to announce that he loves her. When she turns him down and tells him that she hopes they can be friends (burn #2), he pretty much attacks her. She fights him off and runs off into the night with him chasing her down. Caryl manages to get to the nearest building, knock on the door, and get inside to hide from him. A girl named Giselle brings her a towel to dry off and gives her directions to the bus stop. When she goes to leave, Caryl turns back and sees Giselle suddenly changes into a bright white light and warn her that something is coming for her.

This should freak her out, but Caryl seems surprisingly okay with it. She takes a long hot bath, thinks about the weird thing with the fish, and decides that only Perri could write something so bad. Dare then calls and asks her out again. Caryl also finds out that the professor thought her poem was the best in the class and told a bunch of other teachers about her. One even suggests that she double major. Yes, because a double major in science and writing is oh so common.

Caryl decides that she can completely trust Dare and goes out with him to some random party. They do some more flirting and kissing before dancing. Perri interrupts them to taunt her about Ben in the hopes of making Dare jealous. When that fails, she announces that they once dated. He tells her it was in the past and that he doesn't like her now, which leaves her to hiss that Caryl is a teacher's pet before running away.

Anna doesn't know what to think about the whole thing. She does reveal that she was at the party on a blind date. Caryl then goes to class and gets asked to stay after. Nicholas, who is suddenly now the assistant, hangs around until the professor sends him away. He tells Caryl that she's one of the best students he ever had and offers to work one on one with her.

Later, Caryl goes to the coffee shop, opens her notebook, and finds that someone slashed her work. They left behind a threatening poem that called her a teacher's pet. She once again blames Perri before deciding to talk with the professor. Since he's not in the office, she lets herself in and finds a door she never noticed before. It opens and she finds a dark room filled with tarantulas, warning signs, and other weird stuff. Just then, the door slams shut behind her. Though she screams and throws herself at the door, it won't open.

Dare shows up to save her, and both the professor and Nicholas show up too. The professor is less than happy that she sneaked into his office. He tells her that she found his laboratory and that the lights are on a timer. Also, the door locks automatically to keep people from stealing his work. Nicholas tells her that she's lucky because one of the spiders in the room is the most poisonous one in the world. When she tells the professor about the threats she got, he takes the pages from her notebook and tells her that he'll personally take care of the problem.

This all leads up to Nicholas stopping by to see her and asking her to come with him. He says that he found something weird that he wants her to see. Nicholas takes her to the professor's office and shows her a picture of herself. It turns out that it's actually the professor's daughter Claire and according to Nicholas, the professor killed his own daughter. Caryl rushes off and hides out in her room. She also hears about the ghost of Nightingale Hall, which is the same building where she saw Giselle, and learns that Giselle is a girl who killed herself there and now haunts the dorm.

Anna wakes her up the next day to tell her she has a phone call, which is odd because Anna doesn't live with her. She says its Nicholas on the phone and keeps trying not to call. Nicholas wants her to meet him again to talk things through. Anna then explodes on her about how she keeps all these men for herself and can't even stay away from someone her best friend liked. Caryl tries to talk to her later, but Anna won't come to the door or answer the phone.

Nicholas tells Caryl that he did some research and found that the professor really did kill his daughter. It was supposedly an accident but the professor blamed himself for what happened. Nicholas believes he picked Caryl as his favorite student because of how much she looks like Claire.

Cut to their next class. Caryl is so worried about who's been stalking her that she spends the whole class thinking about all the suspects like Perri, Dare, Ben, and even Anna. When the prof calls on her, she can't answer because she wasn't paying attention. Then Perri starts screaming and literally falls out of her chair. The professor gets close to her and sees one of his tarantulas crawling on her. He pulls it off and orders Nicholas to call for an ambulance. Caryl suddenly realizes that Perri was sitting in her usual spot and that if she had sat there, she'd be lying still on the floor.

While asleep that night, she hears someone who sounds suspiciously like Anna whispering to her about spiders. She wakes and notices that her roommate is awful still in bed. When she pulls back the covers, she sees her dead roommate and a fat spider on her face. Just as she starts screaming someone pounds on her door, and she realizes that it was just a bad dream. That drives her to the realization that she needs to find out who is behind all this before she goes crazy.

Caryl gets yet another note that says she'll be the next one to die. Though she thinks this means Perri died, Dare shows up and tells her that Perri is actually okay. They hang out for a bit before he tells her that he's beginning to think what happened to Perri wasn't an accident. When he leaves, she calls and leaves a message for the professor to get in touch with her as soon as possible, which means she thinks it was him all along.

When he doesn't call, she goes to his office and finds his dead body sitting behind his desk. Nicholas then pops up and reveals he was behind everything. He tells her that he was a college professor who fell in love with the professor's high school daughter. As if that wasn't icky enough, they started sneaking around behind her dad's back. The professor followed them one night, Nicholas drove too fast to get away from him, and he crashed their car. He was disfigured, got reconstructive surgery, and looked so different that no one knew who he was. Nicholas stalked the professor and set him up as pay back. Nicholas tries to strangle her, but the professor comes to life and attacks him.

Caryl wakes up to see the prof and Dare standing over her. The prof tells her that he suspected Nicholas for a long time and set it up so the other man would think he was dead. Dare suspected him too, which is why he showed up at the office. Oh, and to cap things off, Nicholas was so shocked by seeing the professor come “back to life” that he fell into a catatonic state and may never wake up again. No worries though. Dare kisses her and apparently everything is fine!

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