LINKS TO THE PORT MANTEAU OF HORROR

Friday, October 7, 2011

NIGHTMARE ON FEAR STREET



You’re too old for Fear Street. R.L. Stine is a hack. Why would you read that recycled, overly clich├ęd work of trite teen crapola? I’d expect to hear this from my peers who might be of a similar age and may have, at one time, found immense pleasure in reading Mr. Stine’s simple tales of adolescent terror but now are the first to cast stones. I say to the skeptical reader, to the reader who is need of reassurance that this is in fact the same Dr. Terror who just posted a gore appreciate blog, to the casual observer who just scoffed me into the corner as a waste of time (and perhaps rightly so) – You are never too old to appreciate the stories that scared you in your youth.





I think this week in Halloween Prep has been somewhat of a nostalgia trip. Horror fiends thrive on it with the exception of those folks who can’t appreciate that their slasher movie, yes, the one they cherish made in 2010… it was made in 1981 and they called it by at least three other names and had the best damn big box cover art Tipper Gore would allow. The best thing you can do to quell your horror burdened soul is to take a step back and enjoy what made you scared to begin with. Tired of the remake machine? Can’t get into the realism of Euro-Gore? It’s best to look back to your basic fears. Fear of the Dark. Fear of the Unkown. Fear for your children’s lives. And on and on. What better way to do that than find refuge in the classics. Mary Shelly works. So does R.L. Stine.





For those of you unfamiliar with R.L. Stine – how’s that Deloreon? Time travel fun? Did you miss the last 26 years and you can get rid of that Van Halen tape now; we have MP3 players and compact discs. R.L. Stine is the “Stephen King of children’s literature”. He writes pop novels with a formulaic method that gives the young reader a good jump scare combined with a few Nancy Drew murder mystery leanings without the prim and proper nicety of the 1950’s. For me his work begins with the Fear Street series of novels (which we will get into in a minute), but he responsible for Goosebumps, Rotten School as well as a hodge podge of spin offs and other children’s fiction. Goosebumps was a fun scare program from 1995 to 1998. The volume of work he has produced and the sales numbers certainly tell the tale of a successful writer, but he’s most successful beyond his career goals. Stine scares kids good.





Before we go into Fear Street I wanted to give you audience at the window of my life. My daughter, seven years old, is an avid reader when she isn’t engrossed in the boob tube or those pesky video games (I love them both and she can enjoy them as much as she god damn wants… they did wonders for me). She picked up of her own volition, The Scream of the Haunted Mask at a yard sale. She then proceeded to have me read it to her night after night almost without fail. Her attention was fixed. Her face half buried under her blanket and every time a chapter ended she’d jump or force me to read the next one – bed time be damned. Every night was read-to-me night. Now what parent could ask for more? I felt as though we were truly spending quality time together and it gave me a chance to test out my vocal chords on some character voiceovers. You know something? It was pretty darn creepy and a damn fine mystery. She’s already pushing me to find more of them. Mr. Stine, Thank you. Back to our regularly scheduled program.





FEAR STREET. Formula: Combine teen angst or social issues combine with strange mysterious murder or other macabre incident add in a few dead ends followed by a conclusion only Scooby Doo could fathom and you have Fear Street. It’s just that simple. What isn’t simply are the variety of plots, emotional lessons and absolutely heartwarming pieces of cover art that adorn each and every one. I can remember eating each book alive. I didn’t have enough of them to keep me entertained through even one way of our family vacations to Delaware. Fear Street speaks to kids. It scares kids. It knows kids. It’s as honest as the original Nightmare on Elm Street. At times, the series is just as gruesome as your favorite zombie or slasher film sans the visual gore. No sex. Sorry kids.



From our pal, Wiki:

“The Fear Street books take place in Shadyside, a fictional city located somewhere on the East Coast, and feature average teenagers, who are elder to the Goosebumps preteens, and encounter malignant, sometimes paranormal, adversaries. While some of the Fear Street novels have paranormal elements, such as ghosts, others are simply murder mysteries. Although the Goosebumps books have a few deaths, the deaths presented in Fear Street, particularly the sagas, are far more gruesome, with more blood and gore.”

Look at some of the covers. Look at some of the titles. These are REAL HORROR BOOKS. A few are almost perfect matches. The New Year’s story? Silent Night? How about the Bates’ House from Psycho? Prom theme? It’s everything you love about 80’s horror for teens. So maybe the 21 and over crowd needs to have a few cocktails or pass a fattie around before sitting down to some of the sudsier soap opera dramas, but I think you’ll be surprised. Don’t expect Jack Ketchum here. Don’t expect King. Guilty pleasure #113, yes sir.






We couldn’t go through all of the 50+ original Fear Street books or even the spin offs to follow, but we will definitely give you some cover art to enjoy. Do yourself a favor – If you’ve got kids in the house and they’re about nine or ten years old, hop on Amazon or EBay and grab the entirety of the series. 50 or so books… that’s a book a week for a year. Then there were the Super Chillers… Spin off afte Spin off… you’ll be entertained. $80 million in sales can’t be wrong. If toys are loyal (and that’s a fact) then the books you read in your youth are the boy scout oath plus one hundred. Oh, and that brings up one last item on the docket. Fear Street… just for girls? Then I’ll tuck while I read them sexist.



Fan made cover art slide show. This is impressive and you’ll get a great feeling for the series. Classic covers!



Here are a list of the titles:

1. The New Girl
2. The Surprise Party
3. The Overnight
4. Missing
5. The Wrong Number
6. The Sleepwalker
7. Haunted
8. Halloween Party
9. The Stepsister
10. Ski Weekend
11. The Fire Game
12. Lights Out
13. The Secret Bedroom
14. The Knife
15. The Prom Queen
16. First Date
17. The Best Friend
18. The Cheater
19. Sunburn
20. The New Boy
21. The Dare
22. Bad Dreams
23. Double Date
24. The Thrill Club
25. One Evil Summer
26. The Mind Reader
27. Wrong Number 2
28. Truth or Dare
29. Dead End
30. Final Grade
31. Switched
32. College Weekend
33. The Stepsister 2
34. What Holly Heard
35. The Face
36. Secret Admirer
37. The Perfect Date
38. The Confession
39. The Boy Next Door
40. Night Games
41. Runaway
42. Killer's Kiss
43. All Night Party
44. The Rich Girl
45. Cat
46. Fear Hall: The Beginning
47. Fear Hall: The Conclusion
48. Who Killed The Homecoming Queen?
49. Into The Dark
50. Best Friend 2
51. Trapped

-Dr. Terror-Stein (Cool Ghoul, He's a Fool).

Tomorrow we let AUDIO TERROR take control. Features will include a look back at the Creepshow Soundtrack, the music of Hammer, a musical selection of horror scores throughout the ages and a deeper look at the influence of Night of the Living Dead. We may also run into one of our genre favorite... Mr. Zombie.

Enjoy Ghoulies. If you want you 3D Glasses for the special night make sure to email me. Grindhousehorror@gmail.com. Have terror, will kill ya!

2 comments:

  1. As if talking about these books weren't awesome enough, you had to bring Tipper Gore and the PMRC into it.

    I love people who know things like this. I shall follow you now. Thanks!

    ReplyDelete
  2. Thanks for the kind words. Tipper Gore, Gene Siskel... MPAA... common enemies of all people who love unwatered down horror.

    ReplyDelete