Bites

370309Published: July 1, 1998
Publisher: Archway Paperbacks
Author: Website
Info: Goodreads

They say that weird things always happen on that dark and twisting road. They say it’s a place to be frightened of – that those who go there never return the same. And some never return at all…

They say it’s a place where dark and evil things happen…even under the bright summer sun. Discover how dangerous summer vacation can be in the three FEAR STREET books of this special Collector’s Edition!

Contains “Sunburn” “The Dead Lifeguard” and “One Evil Summer”.  (goodreads.com)

Such cheesy summer goodness!  This is what I think of when I think of horror: poorly constructed caricatures of people with somewhat irredeemable qualities getting their asses handed to them.  Since there are three books in this omnibus I’m going to break it out accordingly.  All are of varying levels of absurdity.

SUNBURN

The story starts with the main character waking up and finding that she’s been buried in the sand up to her neck with the tide coming in.  How one sleeps through all of that I have no idea but we’ll just say Claudia’s an incredibly deeper sleeper and leave it at that.  It’s the first strange thing that happens, followed by a random electrocution, a near-drowning, and a dog attack.  These things are terrifying, people!  TERRIFYING!  Add to that there might be a ghost in the house that only Claudia seems to see and you’ll be shaking right out of your trousers.

Everyone’s scared out of their wits but instead of calling the police or going to stay at a hotel or something Claudia calls her mom who can’t come pick her up for a convenient amount of time because the plot still needs to unveil its twist.  What would summer horror be without a twist?  In proper Stine fashion what’s going on has a perfectly rational explanation (well, made not rational but at least non-supernatural) and those who wreak havoc get their comeuppance at the end and despite the fact that everyone nearly dies, and one person actually does, everyone gets over it pretty quickly and moves on with their lives.  Plus boys.  Because they make everything better.

THE DEAD LIFEGUARD

While it had it’s allotment of cheese I actually liked this one, definitely far more than SUNBURN.  It was more psychological and the plot played with the characters’ heads and it really kept you guessing.  Lindsay nearly loses her mind by the end of the book because she’s convinced herself what’s going on is one way but, of course, it’s another and it ends up all working out.

Except everyone is rather wholly accepting of the twist in this one, which is a bit of a reach, and for the body count in such a short amount of time no one seems all that disturbed by it.  Or at least they get over it rather quickly.  Sure, there’s tension and people are feeling on edge but cheer up, guys!  The summer can still be redeemed!  At least they try.  Until more people keep dying and the events of the past come back to haunt everyone.

ONE EVIL SUMMER

The one truly supernatural story of the bunch it’s creepy in its own right and I think it’s the shortest on cheese.  You still have the same rather shallow characters and the silly things that happen to them but I think Stine’s writing works best when not so grounded in reality.  The characters don’t appear so ridiculous and the things that happen to them aren’t so absurd when what’s going on could very well be something out of this world.  And I think it’s fairly obvious in his books when it’s something supernatural versus when it’s not.

Here Amanda is at odds with the new babysitter, Chrissy, who seems to have weird things happen around her.  Of course Amanda’s parents don’t notice, think Chrissy’s god’s gift and so on and so forth.  But the weird things that keep happening start amplifying and everything’s getting worse the closer Amanda gets to Chrissy’s secret until, well, the big reveal and everyone must die.  Low on the body count for a Stine book but, like all others, the dead are forgotten pretty quickly and the end is wrapped up with a neat little bow and everyone hugs and it’s all good.  No repressive therapy needed.

Overall SUMMER HORROR is a good smorgasbord of Stine’s writing, from the mega-cheesy to something a bit closer to the horror that I love, I’m glad I can add it to my collection.

4

Comments are closed.