Hello, Spongey here.
It’s time once again to look at RL Stine’s Ghosts of Fear Street. I have explained the “Ghost of Fear Street” books in the past. I even looked at the long lost TV pilot that was really weird.
In short, Goosebumps meets Fear Street. They are hit and miss but overall alright. Sadly, they’re ALL ghost written. No stine here. So if a book sucks, I cannot blame him. Crap,.
In the past, I looked at “Fright Christmas” which is still my fave version of A Christmas carol. Look up that review yourself.
..And now today’s presentation, which is….a mixed bag.
This, is Camp Fear Ghouls
Sadly, the title lies. This is not a camp book.
But wait, who is the ghost writer for this one? Well, it’s Jahnna N Malcolm. She wrote the aforementioned Granny book as well. But other than that, she did just teen books I guess, though with some horror on the side.
Whatever let’s REALLY start.
The book opens with our main characters, Lizzy Caldwell, and her friend Caroline. We are told of this scout troop called the Waynesbrigde scouts.
I’d like to mention that Waynsesbridge IS a known location mentioned a lot in the normal Fear Street books. This is the “coolest scout troop around’ and it’s an invitation only type thing.
Our main character wishes to be in it. Why?
“If you’re picked, you’re cool”
Lizzy isn’t into the silly girl stuff that these scouts may do, but she wants to be popular, so there. Caroline is into it, though.
Sadly, Lizzy gets none, while others do get one. She suspects it’s because the scout leader is a chick who does not like Lizzy. Why? Lizzy did not invite her to her birthday party. Yes, really.
Why did she not invite her? Never explained, like any good Stine boo-
I mean…non stine…Told ya it was hard to get angry at these books
“We’ll form our own club!”
With blackjack? And hookers?
Oh, and Caroline got one, though. Shit’s about to get real. This means a lot to Caroline. And then they argue over something fucking stupid. I get that it is the point, but it seems sketchy to me.
“How could you do this me?!”
“I’m just joining a club!”
Caroline has more reason to join than Lizzy does. Caroline has dreamed of this her whole life, while Lizzy wants to be popular. So Lizzy=bitch. Caroline=likable.
We’re only 7 pages in. That has to be a record for pissing me off!
Lizzy runs off, still really pissed. Suddenly, she bumps into a girl wearing black. She introduces herself as Amy.. She says she overheard their fight, and wants to invite Lizzy to join Amy’s troop: The camp Fear Ghouls.
Why camp? To make us think this is a camp book.
Their troop is located on fear street. Wonderful.
She blindly says yes and heads home. Upon arriving, she already finds an invitation there. It tells her they meet at a house, whose number is 333 (okay that’s kinda clever), that night at 8.
She sees words at the bottom of the letter.
“Be there…or beware!”
You’re in for a scare?
She tells her mom all about this, and she pay no mind. Sure why not? Later on, the Camp Fear Girls …van comes to pick her up. I’d talk about how this 12 year old girl is getting into a van, but I’’m above that.
Thankfully, the van driver is a woman, so I don’t need to make the joke. The Van drops her off at 333, a rundown looking house She walks into the house and sees the fear girls big room,. which has a VCR, Sega Genesis, and super Nintendo. ..cool.
There are 11 other girls there, and Amy makes 12,. So Lizzy is…the 13th,. Yeah, that’s not sketchy.
Trudy, Violet, Priscilla Lorraine, pearl, and others. Pearl is the leader. Okay, her mom is, but since Mom is out, pearl is ruler. So Pearl decides to do the one thing any book with camp in the title needs: tell a spooky story!
The story of the original camp fear girls. Said FG’s went for a campout and never came back. They looked, but they had vanished. There were rumors that they became monsters.
That’s it. LAME.
“Pearl’s story was really creepy!”
To a 1 year old, maybe
Wait, there’s more. These monsters still roam the streets. Looking for people to add to the troop. When you join, you become one of the undead forever.
Okay, now it’s neat.
Lizzy turns around. Amy is a monster! Oh wait, it’s a prank. Yeah, it’s as suspenseful as I make it sound.. Anyway, that was part of Lizzy’s orientation, and she passed somehow.
Lizzy is like “k” and they tell her about the cool badges they get. Lizzy sneaks a peek at some of the one’s Amy has and…one is a knife, one is a coffin, and one is a noose
So, now that Lizzy is welcomed into the Camp Fear Girls, Pearl announces that it is ‘Prank Night” where they go prank someone. They let Lizzy pick who gets pranked.
“Caroline, let’s get Caroline!”
Our hero, ladies and gentlemen!
So they go in the kitchen and cook a big pot of really gross slimy shit, so they can put in on Caroline’s porch and then when she walks outside…she’ll sit and walk around unless she’s an idiot.
They head to her porch, and Lizzy starts to spell out something nasty with the slime (again, our hero) when Trudy, one of the CFG’s, rings the doorbell.
‘We’ll get caught!”
Don’t you usually ring the doorbell in these kind of pranks? It’s easier than waiting for her to come out on her own. Lizzy hides and sees that the girls are actually planning to dump it on Caroline’s head.
Well, I was gonna nitpick the fact that just leaving the goo there was lame, but I knew this bit was coming up so there we go.
“What if the bubbling ooze does something horrible to her?”
It’s just ooze from slimy kitchen crap. I doubt that will damage her.
“I don’t want to hurt her!”
Oh, NOW you have morals.
The other girls dump the ooze on Caroline and they all run. Lizzy feels bad, even though she had the idea to prank her friend in the first place. What did you think was gonna happen?
With that, the meeting ends and Lizzy goes home. Lizzy is having 2nd thoughts about the Camp Fear Ghouls, and Dad tells her Caroline just called a 2nd ago, and Lizzy should call her break.
She’s afraid that she found out that it was Lizzy who dumped the slime, but once she calls Cara up, she finds it was her BROTHER that got slimed. It was dark outside, so I can excuse the girls for that screw up.
“I’m sorry about how I yelled at you this afternoon. ..I acted like a jerk”
“I’m sorry too. You were so upset, and I didn’t help at all. You should have been picked for the scouts too. It wasn’t fair”
Seriously, my biggest issue with this book just got fixed! Lizzy realized she was being a bitch, and after making the mistake of pranking her friend over it, she actually apologized for what she did. She actually LEARNED from her mistake! We got DEVOLPMENT!
…But Caroline shouldn’t be apologizing. Lizzy was being a selfish bitch and Cara did nothing wrong. But ah well.
So they make up, and Caroline reminds Lizzy of a best friend chant they made in 2nd grade.
“We’re the very best of friends.
We’ll be best friends til’ the end!”…Okay, now it’s getting cheesy.
After that, Caroline tells us that the first Waynesbride scouts meeting was dull. All they did was have the girliest meeting ever, and they INTRODUCED THEMSELVES! I know, introductions at a first meeting of a club!
Despite the girly thing, she just described any basic first meeting, but somehow that is super dull now.
Lizzy tells Caroline about HER club meeting, but without the prank part.
‘I guess I was still hurt about not being in the Waynesbridge scouts. …I want Caroline to think my troop was better than hers”
….I take my praise back.
Cara says that in her club, they will get badges for baking, housekeeping and gardening. This sounds like the most stereotypically girly club EVER. Now I see why she hates it but, but how is a club like THAT so exclusive and “Cool”?
After what Lizzy tells her, Cara wants to join the Camp Fear Ghouls. Lizzy tries to change her mind, but Cara gets pissed and thinks Lizzy is keeping away from the club out of spite.
So Lizzy now has to get her in to avoid another fight. Or you can mention the really creepy stuff, and the prank thing and hopes she understands. But that would make sense, so never mind.
Lizzy tries to take her to 333, but somehow that number/house has vanished. So of course, Cara thinks Lizzy made up but before a fight breaks out, Amy from the club randomly shows up, (she was walking home from school) and Lizzy explains to her that 333 vanished.
Amy says it’s still there and Lizzy introduces her to Cara. She asks if Cara can join, and Amy’s answer is no.
“Only 13 girls. No more”
Eh, that doesn’t sound suspicious at all.
Lizzy figures if Cara can’t beat ’em, quit ’em! She says she’ll quit if Cara join, meaning Lizzy will quit, her friend will deal with creepy kids, and Lizzy will be fine.
“Well, we can’t have you quit, can we?”
They hear a scream, but Amy says she doesn’t hear anything. Again, not creepy at all.
After that, they bump into the other members, who are cleaning trash under a bridge. Because these seem like the type to do that, right? But there’s a more pressing matter: Pearl is missing.
Lizzy asks them where she is, but they just ignore her and leave. Okay, as obvious as these bits are, this is starting to get good.
Lizzy and Cara go home, but Lizzy gets a call from Cara, who tells her she got an invitation to the Camp Fear Girls.
“How come there was room for her all of a sudden? How did the invitation reach her so fast? Even if Amy changed her mind, how could it have been at Caroline’s house fifteen minutes later?”
Hey, only I point out the plot holes around here!
Lizzy, like a smart person, points out how odd this is….but Cara just says Lizzy wants the troop to herself.
I’d call her out but she goes on to say she quit the Waynsbridge scouts, so if she doesn’t get into the CFG, she will have no club.
“And it will be all your fault!”
Now I can call her out even more!
I mean, really, there’s evidence pointing to this being a bad idea yet you still act like a bitch to Lizzy. Why did their roles in my eyes switch so fast?!
Lizzy says it is her fault, as she lied about the CFG being cool, so she owes it to her. Okay, now it kind of makes sense, and Lizzy is paying for her earlier mistake. ‘That’s all well and good, but if you just TOLD HER THE TRUTH, this could end here!
So, the Camp Fear Girls are having a big campout, which our heroes attend on a Friday night. The van from earlier takes them to the Fear Street woods, which is also not creepy.
They meet up with the girls at the camp site. Lizzy asks about Pearl again, but they girls say there is no Pearl in this club. Dun dun dun!
Cara brushes it off and Lizzy tries to forget about it. Amy then tells the story from earlier, as Lizzy waits for the monster mask scare. Indeed, monster faces scare them after the story….but something goes wrong this time.
Trudy pops up with her mask, and Lizzy tries to take off…but it won’t. It feels like skin.
“Trudy really was a monster!”
It’s funny how we’re 74 pages, and in we’ve had some build up, yet it still feels rushed once we get to this part. Though at 109 pages, this is a short book.
The other girls turn into monsters, and our heroes try to escape, but a force field thingy stops them. I won’t ask how ghouls can do that.
“You will remain with us…forever!”
Amy explains that they are the ghouls from the store, who went into the woods and became the 13 girls bounded by evil.
A girl named Rose who was with them tried to quit the group so they destroyed her, and picked Lizzy to take her place.
I could question why they want Lizzy and only her, but I guess I can let that one slide. Lizzy actually asks them to let Cara and take Lizzy, which is a pretty cool thing for her do. That gains my respect after what she did at the start.
But that won’t fly. See, since wanted Cara in, they destroyed Pearl to make room for her. Yikes, this book is getting dark fast.
So yeah, they need Lizzy and Cara for the group, and they are too lazy to find a new member if they leave, so they must stay. Why they NEED 13 is anyone’s guess.
But now Lizzy must do 3 tests to get badges. If either them fails to survive the tests, they will become ghouls forever. Why even give them a fighting change if you want them so bad?
First up, they must get the rock collecting badge. Sounds easy, right? Well, no because they must collect blue rocks that burn them. Yeah.
But they quickly find out that throwing the rocks a short distance cools them down.
DOOFENSHMIRTZ: That was a stupid design.
They fill the bag with rocks, but once the other girls return, they must get the Arts and Crafts badge. They have to make lanyards, which again, seems easy but the stripes they are using turn into worms. There’s no trick here, they just wrangle the worms.
But it goes a tad sour when the worms start the strangle them, because like idiots, they put the worm lanyard necklaces on. This almost kills them, and the ghouls brag about it, but Caroline just breaks Lizzy’s off. Common sense defeats dumb villains once again!
So now it’s time for the final test: The Swimming badge. They swim in the ice old fear lake. The catch here is that tentacles are in the lake, trying to snatch up our heroes. After this, honestly kind of suspenseful scene, they easily swim to the other side and get out of the lake.
So I guess that means the ghouls are defeated!
“Did we see say if you pissed all the tests we would let you go?”
“Oh, nooo. What we meant to say was—if you passed, we WOULDN’T let you go!”
This is just stupid. I mean, that is the kind of crap DOOF would try to pull! But either way, the evil ghouls start to sing the camp song, and turn our heroes in camp fear ghouls.
After some of that, the girls try to stop it by singing a different song. Wait, so singing is what turns them? These villains suck!
Anyway, what do they sing to stop them?
“We’re the very best of friends. We’ll be best friends til’ the end!”
Yes, you are reading that right. They sing a best friend song to defeat the evil ghouls. AND IT WORKS.
Yes, the ghouls are actually harmed by this. Are we really turning this into My Little pony?!
This thankfully ends when Pearl shows up. Wait, what?
“You have failed”
RED SKULL: YOU ARE FAILING!
Wait, that clip doesn’t work ….Fuck it, I love that clip.
Pearl tells the girl that they failed to destroy her.
“You destroyed my body, but you did not destroy me!”
So a bunch of ghouls didn’t figure that killing someone would create a ghost? Also, what is the difference between a ghost and a ghoul in this context?
Pearl is super pissed at Amy for making the choice to kill Pearl, so now they must pay. She does by…making them count off. They all do so, including Lizzy.
Cara shouts FOURTEEN, which breaks the balance and thus, defeats the ghouls for good.
“You can’t have 14, that breaks the rules”
RULES: Obey them or you die….again.
So the ghouls are finally gone and Lizzy’s parent conveniently show up to take them home. When they get home, they find an invitation for the Fear Street Drama club in the mail. They tear it up, since they have had enough Drama for one day.
Then they look outside to see the Fear Ghouls bus driver. What was her deal anyway? That was never explained.
“See you tomorrow night!”
The end. Eh, it’s a decent enough climax/ending I suppose.
This one was a mixed bag, but overall it was…fine. The first half kind of sucked, but the 2nd half got better. The biggest problem with this book is the main character. She’s kind of a selfish bitch in the first half and I had pretty hard time caring about her.
On top of that, there are a quite few dumb bits with fear Ghouls in the first half that most certantly feels Stine-ish. I don’t know, there is just something about the book I didn’t like.
But the 2nd half fixes some of this issues. Lizzy becomes much more likable once their crap is cleared up, and the story become very interesting. The Fear Ghouls become decent, if stupid, villains, that give us scary momens. The book gets genuinely suspenseful at points
It’s also…kind of sweet. The whole friend thing friend thing may have been cheesy, but it’s nice to see stuff like this in this series. The climax was a bit rushed, and yes, the daying being saved by THE POWER OF FRIENDSHIP is kind of lame, but it is sweet in it’s own way.
I have to give the writer credit for trying to put it complex charector stuff. At times, I felt like the “Lizzy is a bitch” thing was the point, and we have actual development. I stuff feel like the writing was weak for her, but it did have a point.
Also, the dumb moments get to be too much at some points. The villains are pretty dumb but again, they have their moments. Overall, this book was decent enough as a whole.
It does have some issues with character building, and the dumb stuff you would expect, but it also has some sweet stuff and some scary stuff. It could have been great, but it’s simply passable in it’s current state.
It’s not the weakest GOFS book (we’ll get to that one soon) but it’s not the best either. It’s fine.