Recap #74: Fear Hall Part 1 – A.K.A. “Fear Street: The College Years”

cover of Fear Hall The Beginning by R. L. Stine shows a white girl behind a window looking out and appearing scaredTitle: Fear Hall: The Beginning

Author: R.L. Stine

Cover Artist: Franco Accornero

Tagline: The first part of a shocking two-part special!

Summary: “A Special Message From R.L. Stine”

Dear Readers:

Come with me to FEAR HALL. That’s the creepy college dorm built many years ago by the cursed Fear family.

Hope and her roommates live in Fear Hall. Hope’s boyfriend lives there, too. They’re all good students and best friends. Everything is going great… until one of them becomes a murderer!

Now Hope is about to find out that life at Fear Hall can be a real scream!

I hope you’ll join me for FEAR HALL. This story has so many scares, it took me two books to tell it all!

P.S. You’ll never believe what I came up with for the next book…

Initial Thoughts

I only read this story once when I was in middle school, and I barely remembered what happened after I was finished. I did that sometimes, skimming through a book so that I read it but I didn’t retain anything. This didn’t leave much impact on me at first, but I still found and purchased the two volumes as part of my unfinished effort to collect all the Fear Street books. Then, in the summer of 2011 I decided to re-read the Fear Hall books. I remember that summer. I discovered “Jem and the Holograms” and DC Comics was in the middle of their “Flashpoint” event which ended up ruining the DC Universe for six years and counting. Imagine my surprise when I re-read these books and ended up falling in love with them.

I mean, don’t get me wrong, it’s not a perfect story. It’s basically “Fear Street At College” which Stine already did with “College Weekend,” and Stine’s take on mental instability is… well, it is what it is. But I enjoyed it because I really liked the main characters, Hope and her roommates, and the setting. I’ve re-read these books so many times over the last few years they’re all scruffed up and worn. I practically refuse to put them back on my book shelves. I even got Stine to autograph them at that signing last year.

The story is split up in several parts and is one of those books where the narration shifts between different characters.

[Wing: I’ve never read these before, and am, of course, always leery of how Stine (and the other Point Horror and similar authors) handle mental illness, but I love a good horror at college story. Stine is setting the bar for the next book pretty high with his little introduction note, though.]


Part 1 – Hope: Hope Mathis attends Ivy State University, which is about 50 miles from Shadyside. And she’s living in Fear Hall. Fear Hall, named after Duncan Fear of the (cursed) Fear Family, is a red brick, thirteen floor dormitory, and of course Hope’s living on the thirteenth floor. But Fear Hall’s only half full because of all the terrible stories, about ghosts and monsters and people disappearing. The college bookstores even sell sweatshirts reading “I Survived Fear Hall,” but lots of people don’t think it’s a joke. [Wing: Where can I buy one of those shirts? Asking for a friend. That friend is me.]

(Hope Mathis by maleksolh on twitter)

[Wing: That turned out AMAZING.]

Hope briefly describes herself, and her opinion of her self image is not a very positive one. She’s got “an okay face,” and blonde hair she doesn’t focus too much attention on, and “maybe” her eyes are too close, or “maybe” she could stand to lose a few pounds but doesn’t mind being a little chubby. Right off we get the feeling her self esteem could use a boost. She gives a more glowing analysis of her three friends, who’ve been sharing 13-B with her since their freshman year began even though the room is so small.

Hope’s roommates:

  • Angel: The sexy one. Slinks around in tights and midriff tops, slim and beautiful with straight blonde hair. Worries about everything she eats. Goes out with lots of guys. No one’s got a problem with that. Practically purrs when she talks.
  • Eden Leary: The snarky one. Kind of grungy. Curly brown hair, a scratchy voice. Always makes jokes and has a good relationship with her mom. She wears sweatshirts and chinos and flannel shirts from L.L. Bean (Because it was the 90s, you see!). Doesn’t give a shit about boys.
  • Jasmine: The smart one. Very shy and soft spoken, with wavy straw-colored hair and eyes that crinkle when she smiles. Hard for her to open up. Takes very advanced courses and considering pre-Med.

Honestly, I love all three of these girls for reasons I’ll get into as the review continues. They’re awesome. [Wing: They sound like a delightful group, and I already have quite a crush on Eden. Be my awesome queer girl rep, Eden. *heart eyes*]

Hope says she’s known them since high school, and the four of them are very close, good friends. Like a family, even. The Four Friends of 13-B. And there’s Hope’s boyfriend, Darryl Hoode. Darryl lives in Fear Hall, in the boys-only floor of the dorm. Darryl’s been dating Hope since high school, after he saved her from a bad relationship involving someone named Mark. Hope knows he’s got a dangerous temper, but he can supposedly be very kind and understanding. Darryl would do anything for Hope, including killing any guy who would go out with Hope.

Wait what?

Yeah, our story really begins one night in October when Darryl sneaks into Hope’s room. Hope can tell he’s anxious about something, and can even smell *gasp* beer on his breath! Alcohol in a Fear Street book? Scandalous!

Darryl says he Hope going out with some guy named Brendan. Hope is confused, because she never dated any Brendan, Angel did. A frantic Darryl reveals he did something awful. He let his jealous, possessive temper get the best of him, and he “carved” Brendan. Hope’s scream wakes up her three roommates, scaring Eden and Jasmine and annoying Angel, who needs her beauty sleep. Angel confirms she did indeed go out with Brendan, and borrowed a red outfit from Hope. When Darryl reveals to the girls what he did, he begs them for help. Angel takes control and flatly tells Darryl they can’t help him, or rather, they won’t help him. As Angel goes to call the police, Darryl threatens to kill her as well when someone knocks on the door.

[Wing: Well, this all escalated fairly quickly! Love the friends as family/found family thing that’s going on here with the girls.]

Hope tells Darryl to hide in their cramped closet, and opens the apartment door to find herself dealing with one of the nosy bitches from 13-A across the hall.

Hope now describes “The Three Ms.” Melanie, Margie, and Mary, three girls Hope can’t stand. She thinks they’re stuck up, snobby elitists who all went to private schools so they think public school gals like Hope and her friends are trash.

  • Melanie: Perfect, short brown hair. Wears a single silver earring. On the swim team with Mary. Once thought Hope stole a sweater from her.
  • Margie: Works at a dry cleaner’s. Has a squeaky, mouse-like voice. Loves to debate.
  • Mary: Curly red hair, from the South, something of a drama queen. Struts around with Melanie like they’re killer sharks or something.

[Wing: On the one hand, of course girls hating on girls in a Stine book. On the other hand, at least this isn’t over boys but over snobbery and public v. private school experiences, which is a thing that people absolutely do clash over during university for understandable reasons.]

Hope’s face-to-face with Melanie, who asks if everything is okay because she and Margie could hear lots of noise from Hope’s room. Melanie thinks Hope might be having a problem, but Hope, who doesn’t hide she’s not fond of Melanie, tries being evasive and assures her it was just a late night gab fest the girls were having. Melanie doesn’t seem convinced by this response, and once again asks if Hope’s okay before heading back to her room. At that point, Mary bursts onto the 13th floor, screaming about a dead boy outside the building.

Meanwhile, I’m wondering if Mary literally screamed all the way up to the 13th floor like some hysterical Paul Revere. [Wing: By god, I hope so.]

The entire dormitory empties out of the building to see Brendan’s slashed up, bloody corpse strewn over a nearby bush. Mary is freaking out screaming about Brendan while girls start crying, one girl vomits on the pavement, and Hope is standing there wishing she could shout that it was all a misunderstanding. Melanie makes the same mistake Darryl did when she asks if Hope was out with Brendan earlier, and Hope takes offense thinking Melanie’s been spying on her. As the police and ambulance arrive, Hope goes back to her room to confront Darryl. Hope asks if Darryl’s crazy, and Darryl responds by ordering Hope not to date anyone else before leaving. When an officer knocks on the door to ask questions, Hope tells Angel to give her statement while she figures out what to do with Darryl. [Wing: Ugh, of course Darryl must be crazy if he’s dangerous, that’s how it works. Fuck you, Hope, and even more, fuck you, Stine.]

Part 2 – Jasmine: Jasmine works afternoons at the Campus Corner where, from 4 to 7, she’s the only waitress on the job even though it’s really busy. She’s friends with a retired history professor, Mrs. Jacklin, who usually comes in for coffee and a pastry and tells Jasmine about the college in the old days.

As an aside, I too was friends with an elderly college professor. Her name was Patricia Thompson. She was a history and women’s studies teacher who taught classes at Lehman College. I took her class on Family Relationships my first semester at Lehman, and we became very good friends. She considered me her adopted grandson. So that’s one reason why I like Jasmine.

Jasmine thinks to herself how this job is helping her overcome her shyness by going up to people and talking to them. She remembers the nickname her mom gave her, “Fish.” Because she had the personality of dead fish, her mom would say. Charming. [Wing: Well goddamn. That is some shit parenting.] Jasmine doesn’t like being shy and having difficulty speaking to people, wishing she had the kind of power Angel does over guys. She sometimes even wears Angel’s clothes and pretends to act like her in private, but it just makes her feel uncomfortable. So she’s determined to be the best Jasmine she can be. You get it, girl.

It’s two days after Brendan’s death, and Jasmine can’t stop thinking of the blood spilled outside Fear Hall. She sees the Three Ms talking about Brendan and staring at her. Jasmine unexpectedly confronts the girls about why they’re staring at her, and Melanie covers by saying they wanted to give Jasmine their orders. Angel and Eden arrive and Jasmine takes a short break to talk with them. They tell Jasmine they’re worried about Hope. Hope won’t listen to reason and she refuses to give Darryl up to the police. They know she’s dependent on Darryl after he saved her from Mark, but the girls all agree Darryl’s dangerous and should be in jail. They need to do something before the police arrest them too for aiding Darryl. At this point the Three Ms, and Jasmine’s boss Marty, are staring at the girls, so Jasmine shoos them away so she can get back to work. [Wing: Ugh, I love the friendships between Angel, Eden, Hope, and Jasmine so damn much.]

At the end of her shift, Jasmine notes Marty’s been watching her the rest of the evening before locking up and heading home. Taking the back alley behind the diner, Jasmine’s cornered by Darryl, demanding to know if the girls have ratted him out to the cops yet. Jasmine tells him they haven’t, but begs him to keep his temper under control. Darryl growls that he’s working on it, only to turn around and tell Jasmine he’ll definitely kill again if he thinks he needs too. [Wing: Fucking hell, Darryl, at least pretend to mean it when you say you’ll change. The girls should have gone to the cops immediately, even though going to the cops can be a real shitshow and not safe for anyone. Far as I can tell, they’re all white, it should be fine.] Yeah, this is gonna be a theme with Darryl just so you know. No, I don’t like him either.

Part 3 – Eden: In 13-B, Hope spies with her little eye Eden writing a letter (Email? What’s that?). When Hope asks what she’s doing, Eden responds “Opening a speakeasy, DUR.” Hope bitterly laughs at what a good, devoted daughter Eden is with how she writes to her mom all the time, not at all like Hope’s relationship with her own mother.

Eden tries to focus on her letter and figure out what she should write to her mom, not wanting to worry her by mentioning Brendan’s death. While Eden writes and Jasmine studies (Angel’s out somewhere), Hope starts regaling them with a tale of her childhood. Eden recalls Hope previously telling the girls about how awful her mother is, but this turns out to be a story they haven’t heard yet. Hope asks if they know the nickname her mother used for her. Jasmine mutters “It couldn’t be worse than Fish.” It is. It was “Buttertubs.” Eden and Jasmine are genuinely shocked, and ask why her mother would do this. Hope says it’s because she’s always been a little chubby, and it pissed her mother off to no end. [Wing: Jesus, parents are terrible in this book. These girls desperately need each other.]

Eden mentions that Hope really doesn’t look good, most likely due to the stress from Darryl. Eden realizes whenever Hope gets worked up about Darryl, she talks about her mother. The two are linked, “Two bad news characters,” as Eden puts it. Hope ponders if maybe the reason her mother (who was totally skinny) had such an obsession with Hope’s weight was because she reminded her of Hope’s dad, whom Hope never knew or met. Hope starts talking about one bad experience when she was a child, but she’s more talking in general than she’s talking to her friends. Jasmine goes back to studying, but Hope’s got Eden’s attention.


One day when Hope was in elementary school, she invited some classmates to her house. It was hot that day, so the kids were eating chocolate ice cream in Hope’s kitchen. When Mrs. Mathis entered the room and saw what Hope was doing, she started screaming at Hope and the kids. She called Hope “Buttertubs” and forced her to finish off the ice cream her friends were eating. Hope was crying, her friends were terrified, but Mrs. Mathis forced them to stay and watch as Hope ate.

“You like ice cream so much,” Mom screamed. “Well go ahead, eat them all.”

After Hope finished what was in the bowls, her mother took the container from the freezer and forced Hope’s face into it. Mrs. Mathis wouldn’t let go until Hope ate was left of the ice cream, eating like a dog in front of her friends. [Wing: JESUS. Tell me someone has killed Mrs Mathis.]

A horrified Eden and Jasmine can hardly believe Hope’s mother could be so cruel, but Eden knows from the bitter, miserable look on Hope’s face that it happened. Suddenly, Hope declares they should go out and do something. Jasmine declines, but Eden goes with Hope so she can cheer her up. Eden asks what Hope wants to do, and Hope replies “Get into trouble.” Oh boy.

Eden and Hope go to the Blue Tavern, a pizza place that serves beer. After getting seated, Eden recognizes a couple of guys from her sociology course. Eden says hi, but notices Hope is looking more miserable and cracks a joke about her posture. Eden suddenly realizes Hope’s never laughed or even smiled at her jokes. Eden admits her way of dealing with people is by trying to be funny and sarcastic, but wonders what Hope must really think of her if she can’t even make her smile. Eden asks why Hope’s so anxious when their food hasn’t even arrived yet, and senses Darryl might be nearby. The two guys get up and introduce themselves as Dave (with auburn hair and a short beard on his chin) and Gideon (with black hair and a red bandana tied around his head).  Dave asks if they can sit with Eden, who’s about to politely decline for Hope’s sake when Dave tells her she’s sitting by herself. [Wing: … Hope is real, isn’t she? Because I’m going to be furious if not.]

Eden tries to look around the restaurant, wondering where Hope disappeared to, but calms down and figures she just saw Darryl and went to talk with him. Eden relaxes and lets Dave and Gideon join her when the waitress shows up with her pizza. The three spend some time eating and talking, exchanging bad jokes and just having a nice time. When the guys  bring up the horror stories about Fear Hall, Eden remembers Hope and decides to see if she’s back at the room. Eden hurries back to Fear Hall thinking about Hope and wanting to see Dave again, but mainly she’s worrying if Hope’s okay. In 13-B, Hope is huddled on her bed and Darryl is standing by Eden’s desk. Eden demands to know why Darryl’s here when he holds up her unfinished letter. Darryl sneers, threatening Eden for possibly telling her mom about what he did. Eden is outraged at Darryl for looking through her things when Darryl grabs her arm and forces her to tell him what she was gonna write. After Darryl lets Eden go he crumples up her letter and throws it at her. That’s it for Eden, who decides to kill Darryl. [Wing: WAIT WHAT.]

Except, no, she doesn’t kill him. Damn it, Stine. A knock on the door distracts Eden and Darryl saunters off through the window in the bathroom. Once again Melanie, with Mary this time, is asking if everything’s okay. Eden tells them she just had the radio on too loud. The Two Ms tell Eden they’ve been stressed and freaked out about Brendan’s death since it happened, and Eden says they’ve been feeling stressed as well. The Two Ms eye Eden suspiciously, mentioning they thought they heard a guy’s voice, but since it was the radio they apologize. Before leaving, Melanie lets Eden know they’re organizing a meeting to talk with the school about adding more security to Fear Hall. The one guard, Ollie, is always asleep at his desk. Eden and Mary joke Ollie might be a ghost, but Melanie’s not in the mood. Melanie asks Eden if she’ll make it to the meeting, and Eden assures her they’ll all come. Asking again if Eden’s okay, Melanie and Mary go back to their room and Eden’s left to ponder the weirdness of their exchange.

On her way to class Eden runs into Dave and asks if she’d like some coffee after her course is done. But Eden doesn’t attend the class because her name’s not on the attendance sheet, and for some reason, Hope’s is. For that matter, the professor can’t find any evidence Eden’s been enrolled in the class at all, even though Eden says she’s been there every day. The professor assumes it’s just a computer error, but since she’s not technically on the student list, he asks her to leave and get it sorted out with the dean. Eden departs the classroom feeling totally embarrassed. The stress from that scene and the stress of Darryl’s threats leaves Eden very confused and disoriented, so she considers calling the police and reporting Darryl’s crime. Unfortunately, she’s stopped by Hope. First Eden asks about the class mix-up, and then she tells Hope she was going to tell the police Darryl killed Brendan. Hope feels betrayed Eden would try that behind her back. Eden reminds Hope Darryl killed someone and needs to pay for it, but Hope begs Eden to wait and talk about it with the other girls first. Eden gives in, but knows Angel and Jasmine feel the same way she does. Eden goes to meet Dave for coffee and they arrange a dinner date in the evening, and Eden muses had she not gone out with Dave, he’d probably still be alive. Well thanks for the spoilers, Eden! [Wing: Saw this coming the second the guys approached her, and also, this is going into a multiple personality bullshit thing isn’t it, and finally, Stine, why are you spoiling your own book?]

In 13-B Hope helps Eden get ready for her night out, and lends Eden an outfit to wear. Boy, Hope’s roommates seem to really like her clothes, don’t they? Eden meets Dave on the campus, and they run into the Three Ms. Melanie confuses Eden for Hope, and Eden assures her she’s just wearing Hope’s outfit. The girls quickly leave and Eden tells Dave about the class mix-up when suddenly, Gideon pops up and scares the two as part of some dumb joke. Dave promises to one day get Gideon back for that, but, well, you know… anyway, the two lovebirds grab dinner and talk about themselves. Eden talks about her roommates, Dave discusses his brother, a former college basketball player who’s fallen into depression after graduating. Wanting to spice up the evening, Dave suggests they do something different and brings her to a local driving range. Well this guy knows how to keep a date interesting, doesn’t he. Unfortunately, while Dave is focusing on showing Eden the proper way to hit a golf ball, [Wing: What, not the proper way to hold his club?]  he fails to realize Darryl, the local buzz kill, has arrived. Eden tells Darryl to leave, but he ignores Eden, grabs her golf club, and proceeds to beat Dave to death. And I mean REALLY beats him to death. Darryl somehow manages to slice off a chunk of Dave’s scalp with the club and cuts off Dave’s ear. Yikes. Eden is unable to stop Darryl, and runs back to Fear Hall covered in Dave’s blood.

[Wing: WELL FUCK.]

Part 4 – Hope: Hope tries to console Eden, who is clearly traumatized from witnessing Dave’s murder. Hope helps Eden wash the blood from her body and puts her to bed. Eden tells Hope Darryl killed Dave just like he did Brendan, and Hope decides to reveal another anecdote from her miserable adolescence. Eden begs Hope to just call the goddamn police, but Hope ignores her protests.


Mrs. Mathis’ fat phobia was so severe she’d never buy Hope clothes that were big enough for her. This went on even when Hope was in high school. Hope never had a say in what she could wear, and was forced to wear clothes specifically two sizes too small. Mrs. Mathis would threaten to make Hope go to school naked if she ever complained about her clothes. So Hope spent all of grade school walking around in clothes that made her look ridiculous and uncomfortable, all because her mother wanted to keep reminding her she was “Fat.”

Eden asks what the point of that story was, and Hope explains it has to do with Darryl, because Darryl’s never made her feel ashamed of her weight or her body. So that’s why she can’t get rid of Darryl. Eden tries to protest but Hope shushes her and tells her to go to sleep. After Eden finally falls asleep, Darryl appears and tells Hope now they can kill her. Hope is outraged that once again Darryl murdered someone, and Darryl’s not even able to come up with a good excuse for why he did it. Darryl insists they can’t let Eden live or she’ll tell the police, but Hope tells him to stay away from her. Hope also tells Darryl to get rid of his blood-soaked clothes and she’ll deal with Eden. Darryl hypothesizes that if Eden tells the police, he’ll forever be separated from Hope, and that “I only did it for you.” And once again, before he leaves, Darryl turns around and says he’ll gladly kill anyone who tries to get between them.

The next morning Dave’s death is reported on the radio. Hope decides she has to talk to Eden now and convince her not to report Darryl. But once Eden wakes up and remembers what she saw, she’s adamant about siccing the cops on Darryl’s murderous ass. Hope pleads and tries to tell Eden another story, but Eden’s had enough. When Hope tries “If you knew how I feel“ Eden cuts her off, saying she thinks she understands Hope’s feelings but what she needs is a reality check. Darryl’s made it clear he won’t stop killing so he doesn’t deserve help. He deserves to spend the rest of his life locked away before he hurts someone else, and Eden won’t let Hope manipulate her with another sob story. You get it, girl.

Does Hope listen? Yes, if by “yes” you mean “Whack Eden in the head with a hair dryer, tie her up, and throw her in the closet.” Seriously, she does this with bath towels and tape. Hope agonizes about her next course of action when she realizes Melanie is standing in the doorway to 13-B, shocked speechless. Hope panics, worrying about what Melanie might’ve seen, but then tries to play it cool. Melanie stammers she wanted to remind Hope the meeting to discuss dorm security is this evening. The college higher-ups and local police will be there. Melanie mentions how nervous everyone’s been, and Hope agrees by gesturing about her roommates. Melanie asks if Hope’s okay before leaving, and Hope can breathe again. For a while, because she looks out the window and sees someone who might be Darryl being accosted by the police! Hope rushes to get dressed so she can alibi Darryl, but remembers the roommate she JUST assaulted and tied up in the closet. Only, when Hope opens the closet, Eden’s gone! There’s no sign she was ever tied up to begin with. Hope turns around, and Eden’s magically in her bed again, just waking up. Hope stumbles to the window trying to figure out what’s happening, when she sees Darryl staring up at her with the most frightening look he’s ever given her.

Part 5 – Jasmine: Jasmine rushes to Campus Corner, having lost track of time and worried Marty will dock her pay for being late. That’s not all Marty’s pissed about because he grills (He works in a diner, geddit?) Jasmine about where she was yesterday. Jasmine blinks, asking what Marty’s talking about. Marty wants to know why Jasmine didn’t show up for work the previous day when he needed her. Meanwhile, I’m wondering what idiot hires only one waitress for an entire diner on certain days when he knows it gets super busy. Jasmine is unable to answer Marty, having no memory of the previous day. Marty’s disappointed she doesn’t even have a good excuse, and fires her.

Jasmine stumbles into the student cafeteria, ordering some coffee and trying to recall her movements the previous day. She dredges up some bits about Hope being upset when Darryl drops in next to her. He tells her some cops questioned him and Hope wants him to hide somewhere for a while. Realizing Margie and some other girls are watching them, Jasmine asks Darryl what he said. Darryl says “Bitch I ain’t going nowhere” and argued with Hope, before he hurt her “Really bad.” [Wing: WAIT WHAT? Isn’t he allegedly doing all of this for Hope? Fuck, this story is going terrible places.]

Part 6 – Hope: Hope is in 13-B, crying and miserable, when Jasmine rushes in. Jasmine asks if Hope is okay, and she says she’s not. It turns out Darryl did the absolute worst thing he’s ever done. He called Hope names, making fun of her weight and calling her a cow. Hope declares she wishes Darryl had hit her instead, and Jasmine agrees with Eden they have to call the police. Hope remembers the dorm meeting, but the thought of being surrounded by people who don’t know what she knows, the thought of losing Darryl, Hope lets out all her emotions in a long scream before running out of the room and out of the dorm.

Part 7 – Angel: Oh so Angel FINALLY gets some focus just when the book’s about to end.

Angel’s all for the name of free love and is making out with some guy named B.J. by his car in a parking lot. Angel muses on her habits of finding guys to spend time with, where she can feel some warmth and tenderness if only for a little bit, because is that so wrong? Especially with how fucked up things have been lately. You get it girl.

But, surprise surprise, Darryl shows up and starts threatening Angel. B.J. gets spooked and leaves Angel to fend for herself.

And unfortunately that’s how Angel’s segment ends, her being cornered by Darryl.

Part 8 – Hope: Hope returns to Fear Hall, getting admonished by Melanie for missing the dorm meeting. Melanie reports they’ll be getting some extra guards tomorrow, and mentions how empty the campus has been since Dave’s death. Hope only barely pays attention to Melanie as she talks about doing some laundry to take her mind off the murders. Hope heads back to 13-B and her roommates arrive a few moments later. They finally discuss the Darryl situation.

Angel’s pissed because he ruined her make-out session, and as predicted, Angel, Eden, and Jasmine all agree Darryl’s got to go. There’s no amount of help they can give Darryl that will make him stop, he’s simply too dangerous and he’ll ruin all of their lives. Hope can’t convince them otherwise and finally caves in to common sense when they hear a loud banging on their door. But it’s all cool, it’s just Ollie saying someone dropped off Angel’s leather jacket. Using the way they all jumped at the sound of Ollie’s knocking as proof of their shared stress, the girls finally call the police. Well, Eden makes the actual phone call, giving the cops her information and where Darryl lives. The officer on the phone tells Eden to lock her door and someone will arrive to take her statement in person. And that’s when Darryl climbs in through the fire escape.

He’s all “Heeeey Eden, what’s up?” and backs Eden up against the wall. He asks if she’s made any interesting phone calls to any interesting police officers about any interesting murderers. The girls admit they reported him, and Darryl loses it, screaming at Eden and grabbing her with both hands. Hope and the others yell at Darryl to let her go, but he picks Eden up… and brings her down on his knee, snapping her back in two and killing her. And then he just throws her body out the fucking window! Angel and Jasmine are screaming at Darryl, and when the police finally do show up, instead of opening the door, Hope just shoves Jasmine and Angel out onto the fire escape. The police burst into the room, followed by the Three Ms, and Hope overhears them from outside the room. The officers tell Melanie they got a call from Eden about one of the boys living in Fear Hall. Melanie doesn’t understand what they’re talking about, because of two reasons:

  1. Fear Hall is a girl only dormitory.
  2. No one named “Eden” lives in 13-B, it’s only big enough for one person and Hope’s the only one living in it.

Oooooooooh! So here’s how things were looking from the perspective of the Three Ms. They always see Hope having loud arguments with herself in public, and can hear her arguing in her room by herself all the time.  At Campus Corner she worked as a waitress, and they once saw Hope sitting in a booth and talking to herself. Margie saw her arguing with herself just that afternoon. Melanie’s always asking if Hope needs help but Hope always brushed her off.

So the Four Friends of 13-B are really One Friend. Hope’s roommates and her boyfriend are imaginary friends/split personalities. Which means Darryl never killed anyone, Hope did. All this time, whenever the Three Ms got weirded out whenever Hope or one of her “roommates” made comments about how they’re “all” worried, it’s because Angel, Eden, Jasmine, AND Darryl weren’t real. They had no idea who Hope was talking about, and this is why people kept confusing Angel and Eden for Hope.

The police conclude Hope is most likely the killer, and describe her as “Possibly loony.” [Wing: FUCKING COPS. FUCKING STINE. FUCKING ABLEISM BULLSHIT I HATE EVERYTHING.] Margie and Mary admit they always knew Hope was crazy, but Melanie wonders if she’s really capable of hurting someone. Hope gets so mad she decides she wants to make the Three Ms suffer for telling such lies about her and her friends. She even gets Darryl to agree, mentioning how he always appears whenever she thinks of him. But then the police see her on the fire escape!


Final Thoughts

So that was our first trip to Fear Hall. Surprised? I know I was when I re-read this. All I could remember before 2011 was Hope going on the run because of Darryl’s crimes but not really understanding why.

Stine manages to create a legitimately horrible take on parental abuse that’s not accidental. Hope’s mom is a monster, and she only gets worse in the next part even though she only appears in Hope’s stories.

Even though they’re not real, I think I love Hope’s roommates more than Hope, because they’ve got more going in the personality department than Hope does. But I can relate with that kind of loneliness Hope’s been forced to endure. I didn’t have any friends until after I got out of high school. But Hope’s not a good friend, even to her imaginary ones. She’s so obsessed with Darryl she’ll throw the others under the bus so she doesn’t lose him. And she’s the one talking about how happy everyone is.

I wish Angel got more focus time, and Jasmine too. I’m glad Eden simply wasn’t interested in dating guys instead of hating them and talking about how they suck, and at the very least she found a guy who wasn’t a douchebag (as these stories tend to go). And hey, the guy she falls for is a scruffy redhead, just MY type (well kind of. Look through my art collection and you’ll see what I mean).

The Three Ms were a nice aversion to the typical Alpha Bitch characters. It’s very clear Hope doesn’t like them, but they aren’t actually nasty or going out of their way to make fun of Hope. So you know this isn’t a high school story because there’s no talk about them being popular or anything.

The one really frustrating thing about this is Darryl:

Hope/Eden/Angel/Jasmine: Darryl, don’t kill.

Darryl: Kay.

Hope/Eden/Angel/Jasmine: Good.

Darryl (covered in blood): So guess what?

Hope/Eden/Angel/Jasmine: DARRYL.

[Wing: Okay, that is legit funny. Even while I’m raging at the ableism and bullshit split personality storytelling, that startled me into an actual laugh. Speaking of the split personality bullshit, have some criticism of a recent story that used it terribly, too: What “Split” Gets Wrong About Disassociative Identity Disorder (CNN).]