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Literature / Fear Hall

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Fear Hall is a special two-book mini arc that is part of the Fear Street series by R. L. Stine. It was released in 1997 in two parts, The Beginning and The Conclusion, within the main Fear Street series.

Fifty miles from the (cursed) town of Shadyside there is Ivy State University, a pleasant little college with students from all over the country attending its classes. One dormitory on campus has added a rather dark 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, murders, and disappearances. The school's bookstores even sell sweatshirts saying "I Survived Fear Hall."

The story told here concerns Hope Mathis, her three roommates Angel, Eden, and Jasmine, and Hope's longtime boyfriend Darryl. They've been attending Ivy State and living in Fear Hall since the fall semester began, and Hope describes their small group like a family. Despite asserting that everyone is very close and happy together, Hope's expectations betray her when Darryl viciously murders a boy he thought Hope went out with. Only, it turns out it was Hope's roommate Angel, who borrowed Hope's clothes for the date. Oops.


The Beginning focuses on Hope and her friends trying to hide Darryl from the police and their nosy neighbors. The stress of the event mucks up all their lives, especially as Darryl terrorizes Angel, Jasmine, and Eden to keep them quiet. Hope and Darryl show they won't listen to reason, because Hope refuses to let the girls turn Darryl in, and Darryl refuses to stop murdering people.

The Conclusion follows Hope on the run because of Darryl's crimes, and Darryl sets his sights on killing Hope's neighbors the Three Ms (Mary, Margie, and Melanie) for bringing Hope to the police's attention. While trying to find a place to live, Hope assumes a new name and begins dating a boy named Chris in an effort to get rid of Darryl once and for all.

Fear Hall is notable for switching perspective through numerous characters but mainly sticks to Hope as the center protagonist. The books also heavily rely 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's no boys floor in Fear Hall. Her friends and Darryl are split personalities that manifested as a way for Hope to deal with her traumatic home life. The shifts in perspective are demonstrations of one of the personalities becoming dominant for a while. A lot of the tropes mentioned here are subverted as 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 weeks and starve her.
    • Jasmine claims her mom never built up her confidence and would often compare her to a dead fish, although Jasmine is just referring to Helayne Mathis.
  • 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 Hoode in Fear Hall, an emotionally abusive and unstable bastard who berates Hope and shows he "cares" by viciously murdering people. All the while, Hope is too indebted to him for saving her from a bad relationship in high school. Darryl is another of Hope's split personalities, and "saved her" the first time by running over a boy.
  • Beautiful All Along: After it's revealed that Angel is a split personality, this calls into question all the times the other personalities and Hope said she was absolutely gorgeous. Angel's described as slinking around and purring like a cat, exuding sexual confidence. Since Angel is really a facet of Hope's mind, it implies Hope doesn't realize how attractive she really is because of the abuse her mom put her through over her body image.
  • Big Bad: Darryl, or rather the Darryl personality.
  • Big Beautiful Woman: Hope's opinion about her looks isn't very positive, having internalized a lot of her mother's fatphobic body shaming over the years to the point she sometimes refers to herself as "A whale." That said, Chris genuinely thinks she's good looking, and given that Eden and Angel are her split personalities, it means that Brendan and Dave were attracted to her. The fact the Angel personality supposedly has so many admirers and Hope has actually gone out with a lot of guys implies she's really good looking. Too bad she can't see it.
  • Big Fun: Chris's former roommate appropriately named Big Al and his current roommate Matt. Though Matt's got a warped sense of humor.
  • Bigger Bad: Helayne Mathis. Everything that happens was because of her.
  • 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.
  • By "No", I Mean "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.
  • Cat Scare: This being an R. L. Stine book, there are plenty, including one with an actual cat. Another 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, who is violently possessive of Hope and frequently murders any guy she might have the slightest interest in.
  • Cruel and Unusual Death: Darryl operates on this big time.
  • Deadpan Snarker: Eden.
  • Demoted to Extra: Jasmine and Angel don't get any chances to narrate in The Conclusion. They're mostly just there to give Hope support.
  • 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, beautiful, and confident.
    • 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 and a good relationship with her mother. The part of Hope that doesn't want to worry about her appearance, is completely at ease with herself, and the part that wants her mother in her life.
  • 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 violent 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.
  • Good All Along: The Three Ms. Well, Margie and Mary both admit they thought Hope was crazy, but Melanie is the one who legitimately worried about how Hope was doing.
  • Hair of Gold, Heart of Gold: Jasmine.
  • Haunted House: Haunted dormitory. Fear Hall is implied to be this but never actually clarified as such, although there are numerous stories about it and the local police seem to be familiar with its bad rep.
  • 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.
  • I Just Want to Be Loved: All Hope ever wanted was for someone to treat her like a human being. Sadly, by the time she actually is around people capable of treating her with love and kindness, her psychosis ruins it for her.
  • I Just Want to Be Normal: Helayne Mathis' abuse made it impossible for Hope to have a normal life because she was such a controlling bitch. She alienated anyone who got close to Hope and her ridicule branded her as a freak when she was at camp.
  • 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 Name Given: Hope's possible fifth personality.
  • The Pirates Who Don't Do Anything: 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, or rather Hope while the Angel personality is in charge. This speaks a lot about how beautiful Hope really is after growing up being called "Buttertubs" by her mom.
  • 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: Hope Mathis' boyfriend Darryl begins murdering college students he believes he's seen her with. It turns out that he's been confusing her for her roommates Angel, Jasmine, and Eden. They keep trying to convince Hope to turn Darryl in to the police, but she's too loyal and indebted to Darryl to consider it. It's not until he murders Eden that she decides to do something. It turns out that Darryl and her three roommates are split personalities she developed as a result of a traumatic home life with her abusive mother. She refuses to believe that her friends don't exist when one of the girls living in her dorm, Melanie, tells the police that they've constantly heard and seen Hope talking to herself, and that her room can only house one occupant.
  • Tomato Surprise: Hope's roommates and boyfriend are split personalities.
  • Tragic Hero: Subverted.
  • Tragic Villain: Poor Hope.
  • 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: Pretty much anyone who isn't Chris or Melanie.
  • 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 the mother walking it bumped into him on the street.
  • 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.


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