As the polar vortex veers down on the United States, let’s take a fantastical escape to the beach where vampire and vampire bats linger near the throats of unsuspecting Shadyside teens.
Their first kiss could be her last…
Shadyside teens, Matt, April, and Todd, are looking forward to a summer vacation away from the terror of living near Fear Street, but little do they know that you can never escape Fear Street! Oh, and vampires.
All I can see here is underboob…
Before we venture on, let’s take a moment for storytime. Picture it: Small-town, Texas, 1996. It’s reading time in my 6th grade homeroom class, and I am hunkered down reading Goodnight Kiss. The teacher, an insipid woman who would substitute “silly” for “stupid” and “bottom” for “butt,” asks us about our book of choice. When she comes to me, and I share the title, she asks if it was a romance. I am aghast. I would never read romance, and I resent the assumption that as a girl I would. In my driest tone (which as an oddball kid in the Bible Belt, I mastered early on), I reply, “it’s horror.”
I cannot look at this cover without recalling that time. It was one of the worst times in my school life. I was bullied not only by the students, but also by a teacher who didn’t approve of my unconventional ways. But thank goddess for my mother, when this teacher had the audacity to request a conference with my mother to discuss my reading preferences, my mother had my back. Unlike many weird kids growing up in small town Texas, I had a home life that supported intellectual curiosity, exploration, and rebellion.
Let’s carry on.
Goodnight Kiss is a Super Chiller which sounds awesome, but is really just a longer Fear Street. To be honest though, I think Stine ups his writing game in the Super Chillers.
Our story begins with rival vampires, Jessica and Gabriel who frequent the beach side town Sandy Hollow. Apparently, all the Shadyside residents have beach houses here. First of all, two things you should know about our antagonists: Jessica is a redhead, of course, and Gabriel chooses to go by Gabri. “Gabri” must not have many friends to tell him how stupid that nickname is. I will refer to him as Gabriel throughout this article.
But before we launch into the deets, you should know a few things about Fear Street vamps:
- They can hypnotize humans as well as other vamps.
- They call themselves “Eternal Ones” and human blood “nectar.” Which, LOL.
- They can levitate.
- They can turn into bats.
- They can transform humans into vamps by sipping a little bit of the human’s blood on three consecutive nights.
- They are “allergic” to garlic and crosses.
- They don’t have reflections.
- They sleep in coffins and must rest in native soil.
Jessica goes out on a blind date intending to find her newest victim, but winds up with fellow vampire Gabriel. They swap witty one-liners like “shut your fangs” and bemoan their need for the “nectar.” Irritated, Gabriel turns into a bat and flies off. But, wait, his transformation is described as:
Then, raising his arms above his head, he began to spin.
I picture something like this:
Or maybe something like this:
So Gabriel tries to get his vamp on with some unsuspecting young woman, but Jessica, all bat-ted out, interferes. The two decide the best way to resolve their dilemma is with a bet: find a human, seduce them, and transform them into a vamp. I’m not really sure what the winner gets out of this bet, but the book gets a plot, so that’s something.
April Blair is our heroine. She’s dealing with the inevitable disappointment of dating teenage boys. She spends all her time with her boyfriend Matt and his BFF Todd. They think they are safe away from Fear Street, but little do they know of our auteur’s glee for killing fictional teenagers.
Poor Todd is the carrot-topped third wheel.
So Jessica zeroes in on Todd while Gabriel zeroes in on April, but Jessica keeps fang-blocking him. Additionally, since April is dating Matt, she’s a bit of a harder target for Gabriel, despite his incredibly good looks (because all vampires are good looking). Jessica almost wins with Todd, but accidentally drinks too much and kills him. See, first victim, like I said. Jessica decides to move on to Matt.
Meanwhile, zombie Todd visits Matt in the middle of the night to warn him about the vamps. It all makes perfect sense to Matt because he watches horror movies much to April’s chagrin who thinks they are “sexist.” Yes, she actually uses the word sexist. Color me intrigued. Anyway, Matt explains his theory to April who just thinks it’s because he watches to many horror movies. Quick, somebody call Tipper Gore, if you watch the horror movies, you will start to believe it’s all real! But the joke is on April because if she had watched those horror movies with Matt, she would have known. At least that’s what you think at first.
To prove his theory, Matt decides to follow April when she is on dates with Gabriel in order to take pictures. Creeper. When the pictures come out, Matt’s theory is proven, Gabriel has no reflection. Matt rushs off to the island where the vamps hang out. You may wonder why vamps would hang out on an island, but I am getting a bit of a Lost Boys vibe here which I entirely approve of. Anyway, Matt and Gabriel showdown, and Matt impales Gabriel with an oar. Then Jessica shows up, but Matt sets her on fire. And April is all, “OMG, my hero, you rescued me!” But, ha, joke is on you patriarchy — April turned and ends up biting Matt.
Moral of the Story
Who cares, just go watch this episode of Eureeka’s Castle:
This outfit description:
She was wearing snug-fitting white leggings, and a black T-shirt under a bright banana yellow shirt tied in a knot at her waist.
The only thing that could make this better is if she was wearing one of these:
4 out of 5. Jessica and April are badasses and as about as complex as you can get in a Fear Street book. And mad props to Stine for, in classic horror fiction fashion, turning the tables on the unsuspecting dude.