When you hear the name R.L. Stine one of the main reactions is instant recognition and of course an association to the man depending on when you joined in on his writing whether you have been there along the way from Welcome to Dead House, or you joined in his teen books with the Fear Street series.
Maybe you even were a late bloomer and didn’t start until he branched into more adult books with his book Red Rain.
For others you may not have heard or read any of his work and honestly this would not be the article for you. R.L. Stine like many authors in the 90’s wrote horror in a way that captivated and gave the readers a taste of horror.
Horror & Scream
I will admit to him and Christopher Pike being my entrance into horror and while these authors shared the same category of “Teen Fiction”, had vastly different ways of telling their stories while still capturing attention. My days as a kid into a teen were filled with their stories and were better for having them in my world.
Flash forward to today, I am thirty and still love occasionally dipping into their books when I am at a loss and just want a good read that is quick. Recently I picked up A MidSummer Night’s Scream, it had come out in 2013 but I had never seen it being occupied with other authors.
Being a fan, I decided to grab it and see just what was up in some of the newer Stine work. The book has a decent premise, a Hollywood horror movie set becomes a real-life horror when accidents beginning happening on the set of the movie, leading to the sad demise of one of the main characters permanently halting the movie progress in its tracks.
No Scream For Me
Now 60 years later Claire’s,(our main character), parents who are producers have bought the rights and have set the movie to be remastered and completed. Claire and her friends are selected at casting to be part of the movie in the lead roles or in technical depending on their interests. Of course, everyone is wondering whether the haunted set will in fact claim more lives and given that this is a horror set, the fact that an accident will happen is almost cemented.
Upon first read I was excited to be delving back into the world of Stine and even if just for nostalgia sake, was ready for a scare (pun fully intended). At first the book opens like almost any other book, we meet the main cast and watch what happened on the set 60 years prior to halt it.
The accidents that led to one of the main actresses dying inside the set. Now to be fair, this book resonates with the updating of our society and it was almost like reading a work by someone completely different. Not that he doesn’t masterfully capture the changes in teens now versus teens of the 90’s but they are seriously smack in the face differences.
I personally couldn’t connect with the love forlorn Claire in most cases, the book plays on this concept allot as we watch her chance after a guy who shows no interest in her to the point of a mishandled love potion that doesn’t have the effect she wanted.
Now don’t get me wrong, almost everyone can relate to having someone they care for who doesn’t return the feelings, but this girl goes to absolute extremes and it almost feels like a romance instead of a horror novel.
When we finally get to the mystery of the events taking place it feels disjointed and not at all as put together as, for me personally, Stine’s previous works. I gave it the good try to understand what was happening but honestly not much of it made sense.
It was as though he hadn’t made sure of what the villains intentions truly were. I guess the best way to describe it was that it was almost an amalgamation of different horror tropes all mixed into one with none of them making sense and feeling as though they were on opposite ends of the spectrum.
Don’t get me wrong, I am still a firm believer in how good Stine can write and I have my personal favorites like The Cheerleader (The First Evil, etc.) series where you couldn’t tell me that they weren’t enthralling and a good overall story.
This one for me wasn’t that sadly. This one was the one that I just couldn’t connect with and honestly by the end didn’t care what the end result was going to be. Maybe for this reader it is time to go back to the well and see what I can discover that helps get the taste of this one out of my mouth.
Til then readers beware, always look for the scare!