is a special two-book story as part of the Fear Street
series by R.L. Stine
The story was released in 1997 as two books, The Beginning
and The Conclusion
, within the main series.
Fifty miles from the town of Shadyside there is Ivy State University, a pleasant little school with students from all over the country attending. However, there's one dormitory on campus whose reputation has added a colorful twist to the school's history: Fear Hall. Named after Duncan Fear, a rich supporter of the college, Fear Hall is a thirteen story brick dormitory, rumored to be the site of numerous hauntings and murders.
The story told here concerns Hope Mathis, her three roommates, and her boyfriend, who've been living in Fear Hall since September. Despite everyone being so close and happy together, things take a turn for the worse when Hope's boyfriend Darryl viciously murders a boy he believed he saw Hope going out with. Only, it turns out it was Hope's roommate Angel, wearing Hope's clothes. Regardless, now Hope and her friends have to hide Darryl from the police and the prying eyes of their nosy neighbors, all the while Darryl continues to kill people in a jealous rampage. Hope pathetically tries to get her boyfriend under control despite the protests of her roommates. Needless to say, it proceeds to get worse. The Conclusion
follows Hope on the run from the police because of Darryl's crimes, all the while Darryl sets his sights on killing Hope's neighbors. Hope, meanwhile, tries to find the strength to get rid of Darryl for good and build a relationship with a new boy she meets named Chris.
The story is notable for its switching perspective from Hope to her roommates, to Darryl, to one of Hope's neighbors, and to a new character introduced in The Conclusion
, and its shocking twist ending. However, the story relies much on It Was His Sled
and Walking Spoiler
by the end of The Beginning
, when the reader learns that Hope has no roommates and there is no boys floor in Fear Hall. Angel, Jasmine, Eden, and Darryl are all split personalities that manifested as a way for Hope to deal with growing up with a monster for a mother. The shifts in perspective were demonstrations of one of the personalities becoming dominant for a while. A lot of the tropes mentioned here are subverted due to the fact that they are applied to imaginary people.
This series provides examples of:
- Abusive Parents: Helayne Mathis. Embarrassing her daughter to the point of traumatizing her friends, addressing her as "Buttertubs Mathis" on letters to camp, specifically buying clothes that are smaller than she needs, and handcuffing herself to Hope to stop her from seeing a boy, then grounding her for two weeks. All because Hope was "a little chubby". Bitch is messed up.
- She also used to lock Hope in her room for a week on end and starve her.
- Adults Are Useless: The police fail twice to capture Darryl/Hope and the only guard in Fear Hall is constantly asleep.
- Ax-Crazy: Darryl.
- Badass Bystander: The other girls of Fear Hall in The Conclusion try to subdue Darryl after a failed attempt on Melanie's life wakes up the whole thirteenth floor, to the point that Darryl only barely managed to get away.
- Bad Date: Subverted. Eden and Dave's date was enjoyable, until Darryl showed up.
- Bastard Boyfriend: Darryl is definitely this in regards to Hope.
- Big Bad: Darryl, or rather the Darryl personality.
- Bigger Bad: Helayne Mathis. Everything that happens was because of her.
- Big Fun: Chris's former roommate appropriately named Big Al and his current roommate Matt. Though Matt's got a warped sense of humor.
- Bittersweet Ending: Chris and Melanie survive, but Hope was chased by the police and eventually fell off a balcony. She could've saved herself if she had just let go of her friends.
- Body Horror: Darryl kills Mary by emptying gallons of chlorine into the Jacuzzi bath at the gym and waiting for her to go in. She completely submerges herself save her head before she begins screaming in agony as her whole body starts to peel.
- Broken Bird: The Beginning gradually shows that Hope is this.
- Butt Monkey: Hope.
- Cat Scare: This being an R.L. Stine book there are plenty, including one with an actual cat.
- One such example has a chapter ending with Eden stating "and that's when I decided to kill him" in regards to Darryl, followed by the next chapter opening with Eden clarifying she didn't.
- Crazy Jealous Guy: Darryl.
- Cruel and Unusual Death: Darryl operates on this big time.
- Disappeared Dad: Hope doesn't know anything about her father.
- Does Not Like Men: Eden has no interest in the opposite sex when the story begins, but that changes when she begins going out with a boy named Dave. And then he's killed by Darryl.
- Dumb Blonde: Averted. Jasmine is the smart one, and Hope and Angel both have rather normal intellects.
- Embarrassing Nickname: Jasmine's mother used to call her "Fish" because she "had the personality of a dead fish". Hope was called "Buttertubs" by her mother.
- Ethical Slut: Angel. She dates multiple guys all for the sake of feeling a little warmth and love once in a while.
- Evil Has a Bad Sense of Humor: Darryl.
- Four Girl Ensemble
- The Generic Guy: Hope. She's the main character, but the most we have towards her personality is that she is incredibly bitter about her childhood, completely indebted to Darryl, and slightly high strung.
- The Chick: Angel. She has a reputation for frequently going out with different guys every night. She is the part of Hope that longs to be loved.
- The Smart Guy: Jasmine. A pretty and intelligent wallflower. The part of Hope that longed to be smart but crippled by Hope's doubt.
- Deadpan Snarker: Eden. A sarcastic joker with no interest in boys. The part of Hope not hindered by fear and completely at ease with herself.
- Evil Redhead: Hope and her friends think Mary is this.
- The Friend Nobody Likes: Darryl. Hope is the only one who likes him while the other girls are either trying to convince her to get rid of him or cowering in fear of his psychotic streak.
- The Generic Guy: Besides Hope, there's her second love interest Chris in The Conclusion. We only know that he's trying to overcome his shyness from high school now that he's in college.
- The Ghost: Helayne Mathis, who never actually appears but her influence is the cause of all the suffering in the book.
- Haunted House: Haunted dormitory. However, Fear Hall is implied to be this but never actually clarified as such, although there are numerous stories about it.
- Hope Spot: Chris is the living personification of the Hope Spot trope, as his only function seems to be to let Hope know a little seemingly genuine happiness, which doesn't last long.
- Imaginary Friend: Hope's roommates and boyfriend when one isn't currently dominate.
- Imaginary Love Triangle: Darryl goes after boys he thinks Hope is going out with. The one time he actually gets it right is after Hope dumps him.
- Improbable Weapon User: Darryl manages to use chlorine and a laundry press as murder weapons at two separate occasions.
- I Reject Your Reality: The Conclusion operates on Hope refusing to believe her roommates and boyfriend are split personalities.
- Jerkass: Darryl, Helayne, and possibly Mark.
- Karma Houdini: Hope's mother is pretty much the instigator of the entire story and all the carnage that follows. But she never actually appears in person, and gets away with abusing her daughter to the point of madness.
- Killed Off for Real: The Eden personality stays dead after Darryl kills her.
- Love Makes You Crazy: Or rather, the overwhelming need to feel loved after being denied it for so long will.
- Love Makes You Evil: Darryl is completely convinced that he is killing people to make Hope happy.
- Love Martyr: Hope. Her roommates are constantly trying to get her to get rid of Darryl because of what an asshole he is, but Hope is too indebted to him for "saving her" from a bad relationship and never mocking her for her weight. Even after she tries to break up with him, Darryl constantly tells her "you can't get rid of me that easy". Fitting, since he's a split personality.
- Love Redeems: No it doesn't.
- Meaningful Echo: "There is no escape, Hope. No escape from yourself." There really wasn't.
- My Beloved Smother: Helayne Mathis was this big time.
- No, Except Yes: Darryl has the infuriating tendency to say he'll get help, only to back paddle and say he'll kill again if he thinks he needs to.
- No Name Given: Hope's possible fifth personality.
- The Pirates Who Don't Do Anything: Similar to Undergrads, almost no one in this school seems to be going to class. The only time a classroom is seen is when Eden tries to go to a history class only to be told her name isn't on the roster, but Hope's is.
- The Power of Friendship: Subverted numerous times. The imaginary friends Hope subconsciously created got her through her mother's abuse, but come college life that friendship leads to Hope's world spiraling out of control until she finally falls to her death.
- Psychopathic Manchild: Darryl.
- Really Gets Around: Angel.
- Rule of Three: The Three Ms.
- Sanity Slippage: In both The Beginning and The Conclusion there are plenty of indicators that Hope doesn't have a tight grip on reality. Ultimately though, this is subverted. Hope cracked long before the story began, and everything after the beginning is just Hope cracking further.
- Satellite Character: Mary and Margie can be consider this to Melanie.
- Second Love: Darryl was this to Hope after a boy named Mark Grazer, but later Darryl is replaced in favor of Chris. The Darryl personality manifested after it appeared the boy Hope liked, Mark, only went out with her as a joke. Darryl proceeded to run Mark over while he and Hope laughed about it.
- Shrinking Violet: Jasmine. Hope states that she's known her for years but barely knows much about her because she's so quiet.
- Sickly Green Glow: When Darryl tries to kill Melanie in Fear Hall he describes a sickly green light casting over the room and making it difficult for him to focus.
- Split Personality Takeover: Not completely, but one way of looking at it is Eden's death meant that the Darryl personality was becoming stronger.
- Southern Belle: Mary of the Three Ms is jokingly referred to as one by Melanie and Margie.
- Straw Loser: Hope.
- Swiss Cheese Security: Discussed. Melanie helps organize a meeting to have more security guards brought on campus since all Fear Hall has is one guard who's constantly asleep. By the second book, however, no changes have been made, and Darryl is still able to sneak in when he attempts to kill Melanie.
- Talking to Himself: In-universe. This is why the Three Ms get so uncomfortable around Hope. She's always talking to herself.
- Terrible Trio: The Three Ms, Melanie, Mary, and Margie are perceived as such by Hope and her friends. They aren't really. Their supposed snooping was due to the fact that Hope was constantly seen talking to herself in public. And even then, they aren't that bad. Melanie frequently goes out of her way to see if Hope is okay, but Hope is too high strung to see Melanie's concern.
- There Are No Therapists: Played straight and averted. Hope really needed psychiatric care, but considering what her mother was like there's no way Helayne would've let her get it. In The Conclusion, Melanie mentions she spoke to a doctor about nightmares she was having because of the murders.
- Through the Eyes of Madness
- Tomato in the Mirror
- Tragic Hero: Subverted.
- Trauma Conga Line: Hope's entire life is this.
- Troubled, but Cute: Chris perceives Hope, who at the time was calling herself "Karen", to be this before he finds out the truth. Hope herself sees Darryl as this.
- True Companions: Hope views her roommates and Darryl as this, always talking about how they're such good friends and so happy together. Not only are they not real, this leads to Hope's death in The Conclusion.
- Unreliable Narrator
- Villainous Breakdown: Darryl has one near the end of the second book when Hope and her friends gang up on him, culminating in him screaming "No!" over and over again like a little kid having a temper tantrum.
- Villain Protagonist: Subverted. The Darryl personality is the real villain, but Hope enables it because she refuses to believe otherwise.
- Vomit Discretion Shot: One of the girls in Fear Hall was described as falling to her knees and vomiting when they saw the dead body outside the dorm.
- Wacky Fratboy Hijinx: Some, but subverted since none of the characters belong to a fraternity.
- Weight Woe: Hope's mother treated her like garbage because she's slightly chubby.
- "Well Done, Son!" Guy: The trauma of growing up with an emotionally abusive monster turned Hope into this. She desperately tried to make Helayne happy, but then gave up and concentrated on trying to make herself happy. However, Helayne's abuse damaged her too badly to ever fully escape from it.
- Wham Line: "Hope doesn't have any roommates. She lives in here all by herself."
- With Friends Like These...: Hope is actually this in regards to her roommates. In The Beginning she refuses to listen to them when they try to convince her to do the right thing and turn Darryl over to the police. She actually knocks Eden out when she tries to call the police, ties her up, and throws her in the closet. Of course, it turned out to be a hallucination, another example of Hope's damaged sanity, and Eden's a split personality anyway.
- Would Hurt a Child: Darryl once contemplated tossing a baby carriage down the street after bumping into a mother.
- You Are Not Alone: When her mother's abuse finally became too much Hope's personality fractured into three different girls who became her best friends.
- You Are Worth Hell: Played with. Hope desperately wants someone to care about her, so much so that her mind snapped into four different personalities just so she could feel wanted.
- Subverted with Darryl, who thinks he can make Hope happy by viciously mutilating anyone who gets close to her.