Published by Feiwel and Friends on July 2nd 2013
Genres: Horror, Young Adult
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The master of horror takes on the master of theater!
Get ready for laughter to turn into screams in R.L. Stine's re-imagining of Shakespeare's classic romantic comedy A Midsummer Night's Dream.
Everyone knows that Mayhem Manor is cursed. After production on the horror film was stopped due to a series of mysterious deaths, it became a Hollywood legend--which makes it perfect for Claire and her family. If they can successfully finish the film, it should be enough to save their ailing movie studio.
Sure, the old haunted house is creepy, and strange stuff has been happening, but this is Claire's chance. Her chance to become the movie star she's always dreamed and her chance to finally convince her friend Jake that she is girlfriend material. Of course, the fact that Jake thinks he's in love with her best friend, Delia, who is crushing hard on Jake's friend Shawn, who insists on following Claire around, could be a problem, but Claire is sure she can figure it out. After all, the course of true love never did run smooth.
But once shooting starts, "creepy and strange" morph into "bloody and deadly," as the lines between film and reality begin to blur...
Where to even begin with piece of “literature”. The blurb painted the word picture that this would be a horror re-envisioning of Shakespeare’s best known comedy. I quote, “Get ready for laughter to turn into screams in R.L. Stine’s re-imagining of Shakespeare’s classic romantic comedy A Midsummer Night’s Dream”.
Yeah, this is utter BS. I’m sorry, but it is. The only way in which this waste of a tree even vaguely resembles Shakespeare’s work is in the title, the character ‘Puckerman,’ who is neither Sprite nor Fairy but rather just a lunatic, and the fact that it culminates on midsummer’s eve (which is apparently the longest night of the year, because obviously that makes total fucking sense).
For this yarn Stine, the supposed master of horror (whomever gave him that title has never, ever read a work of true horror I swear), has attempted to engage the YA audience. Although I swear the reading of this feels more middle grade to me, but hey, maybe I think teenagers are more intelligent than Stine does, because this book sure as shit dumbs everything down. Even the horror. Throughout the narrative we follow the lives of a handful of young people who are making a movie. Specifically the “cursed” movie Mayhem Manor (I can only assume that this is meant to be Stine reworking, or attempting to, the classic House on Haunted Hill) in which, during the production in 1960, 3 of the cast were gruesomely killed. Except the deaths didn’t play out as gruesome in the book, they play out as utterly unbelievable.
The tone of the novel is too jovial. There is no sense of menace, no depth to the foreshadowing. It is very much a case of ‘if you read the chapter titles you know exactly what will be going on.’ Then pepper those expectations with copious slut shaming and useless repetitive information and you have your novel. The most annoying thing about it, for me, is the fact that the events of the book are readily laid out in the first chapter with the run of the 1960 movie. Then the exact same shit happens again. Obviously so. There is no subtlety to any of it, and for me that detracts a lot. Everything is very ‘la-de-da.’ Our main character is a 16 year old girl from a wealthy family who owns a movie studio… Not just movie-makers BUT OWN A FUCKING STUDIO! And she’s meant to be relatable? To people outside of the Hollywood hills?
Fuck off. I don’t know anyone who can relate to having everything. I don’t know anyone who can relate to that. Not even my friends who grew up with money can relate to that level of wealth. And the tone of her narration struck me as one of a vapid airhead. The best comparison I can make is Cher from Clueless. She is that level of duh-doy. This is a girl who habitually slut shames a girl she has known since kinder. Then she and her friend go and do the exact same shit to other boys. The hypocrisy is rife. The character Puckerman (this tale’s Puck) rather than being the sinister creepy character I expect that Stine wanted him to be, struck me as a particularly lecherous version of Danny DeVito. But it was the death scenes that truly ruined this book for me, aside from the poor research and the repetition of little things that are, in all honestly, completely irrelevant to the story. Such as the fact that the studio is making a comedy entitled Please Don’t. We are told at least once a chapter that they are making this comedy, it’s called Please Don’t and they’re filming it in the studio lot and it’s fucking called Please Don’t. Here’s an idea Bobert, Please Fucking Do stop mentioning this bollocks every other fucking page as it is about as useful as a chocolate teapot.
*headdesk* I don’t need to know dat shit. It plays no part here. It’s as useful to know as the fact that after trauma happens the girls, i.e. Claire and her equally moronic slut-shaming cohort Delia, eat massive greasy cheeseburgers or insane amounts of cupcakes. What is the point of telling me that over and over? The book just goes on and on with no sense of which act you’re in. What I mean by that is tonally it never changes. AND IT DROVE ME FUCKING BATTY! I got to page 230 of 250 before it decided to change tone for 17 pages while the climax happened and then it just ended… no real post battle wind down, no mention of fairies or anything. This book is obvious and has fuck all to do with the title play… Much like AiZ had fuck all to do with Alice in Wonderland or zombies… The one good thing about it though is that it was like a car wreck: it was awful, it was pointless, but I couldn’t not read it. Which I suppose says more about me than it does the book considering I now will never, ever pick up an R.L. Stine book again.
And to any possible fans this reviewer has offended
Think but this and all is mended:
We’d as well be 10 minutes back in time,
For all the chance you’ll change my mind.
ARC was provided by the publisher.