I am thrilled to present what is probably my favorite Fear Street trilogy of the entire series: 99 Fear Street! It really is the house of evil…
Long ago, Simon and Angelica Fear had a secret graveyard in the woods near their mansion, where they buried the victims of their evil. The graveyard was undisturbed for several years, even as Fear Street was paved and homes were built around it, it remained an empty wooded lot, untouched for 100 years. But then the lot was cleared and a house was built. The evil seeped into the floorboards and walls of the house… the address is 99 Fear Street.
*This probably goes without saying, but just in case. There are spoilers starting in the first book. Since this is a trilogy each book builds on the other. You have been warned! 😉
“The First Horror”
Fear Street Scale: 5 out of 5 Fears
Pick Of The Bunch Rating: First Place
Twin sisters Cally and Kody Frasier are not exactly thrilled when their family moves to Fear Street. They have heard the strange and terrible stories about the street. What they don’t know, however, is that they have moved into the one house that even their neighbors on Fear Street refuse to enter – 99 Fear Street. The house has stood empty for the past thirty years under mysterious circumstances and has never been lived in. But now they must learn the secrets of 99 Fear Street or they will become the next victims of the house of evil!
The book is told from the point of view of Cally Frasier who probably the ‘lightest’ member of her family. She is fun, flirty and a socially at ease while her twin sister Kody (they are fraternal, not identical) can be sulky, pessimistic (though I would call her realistic more than anything), skeptical and can get jealous of Cally. Then they have a little brother James who is the typical annoying little brother. Their parents are also fairly average, nice, but not necessarily memorable. Cally’s parents put all of their savings into buying this house and are excited despite the work it obviously needs (James is excited too). After all, it has to be better than living in a cramped apartment…
The horror begins before they even enter the house when Cally is almost severely injured by a falling branch. If only Kody wasn’t the only person in the family who believed in omens… In the first few days one of them is stabbed (the knife just flew out of Cally’s hands), they are attacked by rats and other small things happen that make all of them uneasy – Kody insists the place is haunted. Then Cally meets a local boy named Anthony who tells the twins about 99 Fear Street. The house was built thirty years earlier and during construction a lot of unmarked graves were found. The man building the house for his family told them to keep working and didn’t seem to mind. When the house was finished he took his wife and two children to see the house and left them alone for a few minutes to check on something upstairs. When he returned he found the three of them dead, their heads missing. He hung himself in the house a short time later, and since then the house has remained empty.
Cally thinks Anthony is just messing with them, but can’t shake the story. Then their dog disappears. Everyone can hear him barking, but no one can find him and James is seriously losing it. Then there is the incident with the garbage disposal and then they find the heads… From bleeding ceilings to green slime that smells wretched coming from the pipes, the Frasiers soon realize they need to find a way to leave the house (remember they spent all of their money on the house, so they can’t even move back to an apartment).
R.L. Stine pulled out all the stops for the first book of this trilogy. First of all, not all of the family makes it out alive (and if you don’t want to know who dies stop reading now). James disappears, much like their dog did and the family hears his frantic cries for help, begging them to find him. In the search, their father is blinded by a strange dark cloud. One would think this would be the time to leave, but Mrs. Frasier refuses to leave James behind, clinging to the hope they will find him alive. And then comes the death that really matters – Cally. I like the fact that Stine wasn’t afraid to kill off the narrator. It was a ballsy choice, but still not a first for R.L. Stine in this series (keeps things interesting). Even more interesting is how she stays on as the narrator after her death, but obviously changed and corrupted by the house’s evil. I have to say that Cally’s death scene is the best supernatural death I have ever read, period – not just in a YA series. It was epic. After Cally’s demise, the family does leave – they have no choice. But Kody sees Cally looking down at them from her bedroom window as they are getting in the car and Kody promises that she will return for Cally.
This is by far the best book out this trilogy. It was the first book I ever read in one sitting and in under ninety minutes. I was that into it (I was nine, so this was quite a first for me). This is a book even the Fear Street curious should read. It will get you hooked! 😉
“The Second Horror”
Fear Street Scale: 4 out of 5 Fears
Pick Of The Bunch Rating: Third Place
At first, Brandt McCloy thinks moving to Shadyside is great. He is having fun at Shadyside High, despite his parents’ warnings about his mysterious condition. He has already attracted the attention of three beautiful girls – Abbie, Jinny and Meg. But Brandt only feels at ease because he hasn’t heard the terrifying stories about his new home – 99 Fear Street. He doesn’t know about the headless bodies, the bleeding walls or that the ghost of Cally Frasier is watching his every move. But soon Brandt knows something is out to get him. Anyone who comes to his house has gruesome and deadly accidents and a shadow keeps following him around wherever he goes. Will Brandt be able to save himself from the evil or will he be fated to join Cally, haunting 99 Fear Street forever?
Brandt and his family are very different from the Frasiers. Before the move, they lived on an island for several years, where Brandt’s father studied local magic and ritual, so all three of them are believers. Just like the first book, the house doesn’t wait when it comes to giving them a 99 Fear Street welcome and the first victim of the house is their cat. Then Brandt finds Cally’s diary in the attic and finds out all of the horrifying things that happened to her family, before realizing that Cally died in the house. When Cally was killed by the evil, it consumed her and now she is a part of it, so she is very different than the girl in the first book (apart from being dead of course) and this book is not shy about showing just how different she is.
When the girls he brings over get hurt: slit wrists, punctured neck wounds and other nearly fatal occurrences happen, Brandt begins to worry that the house’s evil will consume them if they don’t leave. Then he finds a child’s skeleton in the walls, holding a dog’s skeleton in his arms (poor James) and Brandt’s father thinks that will be the end of it… if only! Meanwhile, a shadow keeps following Brandt around school and he thinks it is related to the house instead of his mysterious condition. (His parents bring it up every chance they get, worrying about him doing normal things and warning him to be careful.) Of course, just like with the Frasiers, not everyone will make it out alive, but the person who dies, dies in a plot twist that no one will ever see coming!
Still, no matter what happens or doesn’t in this book, the evil here seems tame. Maybe Cally is completely changed after all?
“The Third Horror”
Fear Street Scale: 4.5 out of 5 Fears
Pick Of The Bunch Rating: Second Place
Kody Frasier always swore that she would come back to 99 Fear Street. She promised Cally, the day their family left the house, two years ago that she would come back for her. Kody knows Cally’s spirit is trapped in the house, waiting to be set free. Now Kody is starring in a movie about the evil that murdered Cally and destroyed their family, and it is being filmed in the house itself: 99 Fear Street. If Kody can just find Cally, she knows she can help her… But Cally doesn’t want to be saved and she intends to give Kody the surprise ending of a lifetime. When the filming begins, so does the horror. As each accident becomes more gruesome than the last, Kody realizes the evil in the house is still at work. Does Kody have the power to conquer it or will she be destroyed by the spirit of her sister?
Kody returns to 99 Fear Street just as she promised Cally the day her family left. Cally notices that Kody has grown her hair out and looks a lot like Cally used to. Kody seems to have everything Cally ever wanted (a movie career, a cute boy fawning over her, the ability to breathe) and vows to make her sister pay for her unhappiness. The movie that Kody is starring in (she is playing Cally instead of herself, which I don’t get) about the horrors their family faced never begins filming. They try of course, but in rehearsals people lose hands, are killed in horrifying ‘accidents’, stabbed… you know the usual in the House of Evil.
Kody tries desperately to find and help her sister, but when she finally finds Cally, Kody realizes that Cally isn’t Cally anymore. Cally takes Kody’s place and does horrible things, smashing someone’s face in with a light and stabbing someone else (as Kody). When Cally returns to let Kody go so she’ll live her life out imprisoned like Cally is, Kody helps Cally realize she is being controlled by the house and that this isn’t her. In a moment of clarity, Cally rescues her sister from the other vengeful spirits in the house and just as Kody gets away, Cally manages to blow the house up (there were explosives in the basement as part of a planned stunt in the movie).
The final chapter of this trilogy was not as hardcore as I thought it would be, but closes everything up and ends with a big finish. My only real issue is that Cally does these horrible things as Kody, and yet Kody is fine and no one is pressing charges in the final chapter. That it just a little too clean compared to what would really happen, especially since one of the people Cally hurt, hated Kody’s guts. Otherwise though, I loved this book. In the end Cally still reaches out to Kody to say goodbye, not unlike what happens between the Corcoran sisters in the Cheerleaders trilogy. (Which brings me to another off-topic point, what is it about R.L. Stine and sisters. One of them either dies or tries to kill the other one. Anyway…)
This is the book where Hollywood meets Fear Street, so you know you have to give it a read. 😉
Best. Trilogy. Ever. At least in terms of Fear Street trilogies! 🙂