PHBC – Beach House by R L Stine

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#PointHorrorBookClub was created by author Juno Dawson in 2013. Juno announced in 2015 that she was no longer able to carry on so, with her blessing, I took over the reins.

So why not grab a copy and join the discussion with this months #PointHorrorBookClub

The Beach House by R L Stine

Are the Point Horror books we loved as a teenager still our favourites on a re-read? Have they not stood the test of time? After a hit of nostalgia? Or are you new to Point Horror and want to see what its all about?


Want to explore previous #PointHorrorBookClub posts? I’ve got you! Head to the main page here


Beware…….Spoilers Ahead


It’s 1956 and four kids are hanging out on the beach. Little do they know that a killer has begun to stalk them, one by one. Now, on the same golden sands nearly 40 years later, Ashley, Ross, Lucy and Kip are enjoying the same beach. Until history starts to repeat itself.


The Tagline

Don’t go near the water…

Okay ….so…What’s It All About?

All reet!

We get two Point Horrors with lots of characters for the price of one with the Beach House!  One half set in 1956 with Mickey Mouse blankets, swimsuits, Bermuda shorts and Earth Angel playing on the radio and one in present day with MTV blankets, boogie boards, boom boxes and very tight blue spandex trunks and bikinis …. you get the picture!

Basically the gang in both 1956 and present day just want a relaxing holiday on the beach, but what they get is murdered! Oh and Sharks! lol

Murdered?

Yes that’s right!  Well most of them anyway!  Someone is set on murdering the group of friends in 1956 and questionable goings on echoing the 1956 murders in the present day bear a spooky resemblance to the unsolved mystery!  Mind twirls!  And in both 1956 and present day there is a Beach House!

A Beach House?  Still standing after all those years are you crazy wouldn’t it rot?

Apparently it was one sturdy beach house hiding a secret which one member of the gang has discovered!

Spoiler alert – it may involve time travel oh and a huge closet ….basically this is the Narnia of Point Horror!!!!  Yes you heard me right Time Travel in Point Horror! 

And with added chapter headings taking the tension to unbearable Point Horror status!

Chapter Headings?!  Your kidding right?!

Yes!  All this time travelling, murder spree beach holiday book was split into chapters with CHAPTER HEADINGS!  Woah I hear you say!  This can’t be true!  But yes!  CHAPTER HEADINGS ROCK! And maybe blew my tiny Point Horror mind a bit!  My personal favourite heading was WORRIED ABOUT SHARKS….not your average Point Horror you know!

Dunehampton is the place to be for a whole summer of relaxing on the Beach *cough*

The Gang

There were SO many characters in this book I’m going to split them into different categories this month…and lets face it the story was told from different point of views and they were all swapping partners like they thought they were on Love Island/TOWIE/Made In Chelsea/Jersey Shore or something?!

So here goes….

1956

First up let’s talk about Maria with her straight silky black hair with bangs and ponytail, dramatic brown eyes and her fun enthusiastic personality she rocked those pink sunglasses. Sometimes quiet and thoughtful she arrived in Dunehampton a week ago and considering she has never gone steady with a boy she soon had two lusting after her. Basically she’s to blame for the whole Buddy turning all murderer by going on a date with Stuart tipping poor Buddy over the edge and then becoming shark food!  I actually thought she was TSTL (Too stupid to live) by falling for all of Buddy’s wobbly bottom lip tricks but then turning out to be the some what mind boggling twist at the end (Mary) she was a genuine surprise so she went up in my estimation. Guys she basically survived JAWS!!!

Sh-Boom, Sh-Boom lets talk about Amy “Mouse” with her tight blond curls, small, very thin boyish figure, grey blue eyes tiny button nose she resembled a mouse!  A very cute mouse!  She was too lazy for suncream, not very good at volleyball (what was that scene all about?!), loves talking to the moon and looking at the clouds and exploring houses! She rocked those pink short shorts and that blue and white flower pattern one piece. I think Amy gave me some of my fave moments…..her and Maria being horrified at a Bikini saying that it must be a french thing and would never catch on. A murderer on the loose? No worries for Amy she strolls around in the dark on the beach all on her lonesome. Best comedy gold was when she was running from Buddy (who she rightly suspected) in fear #sorrynotsorry.  I feel she was thrust into the spotlight as Maria became shark food and was a little typical Point Horror girl but I loved her for it

Ronnie was so tall and lanky he resembled a long lanky giraffe when he ran!  This is basically the only notes I made about Ronnie!  Uh Oh!  Was he that forgettable!  He was one of the main characters *mind goes blank*. He was always crusin for a brusin and was Amy’s boyfriend…..help!

Stuart ….Mr Rock and Roll.  Mr Real Cool Cat.  Mr I love Brylcreeme. A friend of Ronnie’s. The Joker.  Always snapping his fingers to some tune. Trying to look the tough guy but apparently he was too cute and funny!  Look where that got him!  Always joking and messing around. He was basically the opposite of Buddy. Being horrible to Buddy and steeling Maria off Buddy got him clobbered on the head with a log and ended up dead!  Our typical joker of a Point Horror character with a pink thunderbird convertible and catchy phrases like All Reet and Later Alligator!

Present Day…well the 90’s June

Ashley…the model who belonged in 17 or sassy magazine…. and wannabe WAG… thin and beautiful with very fine straight silvery blonde hair, high cheekbones, striking green eyes, perfect straight nose and delicate heart shaped lips!

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Oh and wants a rich man!  aka future WAG!

She literally would flirt with anyone with her pretty face….even the life guard…even Buddy!  So there you have it…..all topped off with a confusing love triangle to beat all love triangles….. Ross & Ashley = Together, but Denny likes Ashley, but Ashley likes Brad….I couldn’t keep up! Enough said!

Oh wait….she doesn’t like blue food?! What food is blue?! She hated Kip, loves Chevy Chase, doesn’t like getting wet, but has a hobby of making fun of people.

Shout out to her slightly sexy two piece swim suit which let Stiney get a cheeky reference to Madonna in!  *air punch* I actually quite liked Ashley as a Point Horror girl….but I can’t forgive her getting back with Ross after she dumped his ass! UNFORGIVEABLE!

Ross “Matt Dillon” lookalike tanned with straight black hair, heavy eyebrows, dark soulful eyes, intense serious face and a pony tail…he was possessive and controlling with major anger issues, but don’t worry Ashley could calm him down with a kiss….I find this quite disturbing!  He got dumped and I laughed! #opppssiieess I mean he didn’t even know what a crumpet was?! His love for orange Day-glo held no bounds. And he didn’t like to be teased. God I hated him!

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And not forgetting tough looking townie, Mr Vanilla Ice on a bad day look alike himself…Kip with his diamond stud earring, white narrow shoulders needing that factor 212 suncream and rather protective over his ice cream! The poor children had no ice cream after poor Kip went missing and that’s just pure wrongness! *cries*  He’s a baad dude! I loved his creepy Beach House story!

Vanilla-Ice

And of course curly auburn hair, enormous blue eyed, freckled Lucy! With her slight lisp that made her sound like a little girl she was #Gonetoosoon….along with Kip she fell victim to the Point Horror extra discarded at the first chance Stiney had! 

And classic point horror naming could not go a miss in this Beach House with Denny Drake (the animal!)….tall and muscular with his long wild black hair, big shoulders and beefy perspiring face. He was always jumping out on poor Ashley at every opportunity (he fancied her) and nicknamed Hulk!  He was a bit stalkerish!  I felt like he was jumping over from another Point Horror and just got muddled up in this story!  The Beast!  He beat up Ross…although I think he may have deserved it!

Oh I also want to mention the 1956 policeman, deep voiced, Officer Barrett, who with his short topped hair and blue eyes apparently looked like Tab Hunter (below)….do you think he conducted his investigations like this?

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BRAD.BUDDY.BUDDY.BRAD! 

Wow! Where to start with this one!

1956 Buddy…. good looking in a clean cut sort of way, brown eyes, very intense, very serious with a scar on his chin that looks like a white snake. A good swimmer who just popped up in the sand beside Maria one day, shy, awkward and clumsy….oh except when killing people!  Duh!  He wasn’t exactly a million laughs!  He didn’t like happy clappy times and had a smile like Howdy Doody and really doesn’t like his feelings hurt! He basically seduced Maria to get in the sea with a towel….watch and learn peeps…watch and learn!  All this being said I really think he came out of his shell as the book went on…albeit normally when he was murdering people with a certain glint in his eyes but still! Hot right?! Just me?!

All over a pair of stolen Hawaiian swimming shorts!  Was he worried the sea was too cold?! *winks*

Talking about murder…. where did he keep the knife he pulled out on Maria whilst he was in the sea?! He only has Bermuda shorts on! *winces*…..this could have led to a whoooollleeee other type of Point Horror story indeed!

Buddy was Brad Sayles (unsure why we randomly find out his last name) in present day. Tall and good looking, wavy dark hair, shy smile, hard kisser, and with a house maid called Mary *wink*. Basically the same so it was a little bit guessable that he had something to do with the 1956 murders!  Oh and he wore blue spandex trunks that were very tight *my burning eyes* and rock t shirts that were too big for him (making up for the excuse of the coldness of the sea?  Proving a point? he he he).  Living in the posh mansion of Ocean Drive with heated swimming pool and clay tennis court!

Also who was random redhead Sharon? Brads cousin….why was she there?!

On a side note whenever Brad was Buddy I kept thinking of this song and film….

https://https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZvMsp7s78Do

And whenever Buddy was Brad I kept thinking of this song….

HELP ME!

The Beach House

With its large redwood structure near the edge of the shore, big sloping ceilings, sliding glass door, wooden stilts jutting out into the ocean and an intriguing decor of blue vinyl couches, rose countertops, bright pale green kitchen and sloping ceilings. The Beach House was a presence on the beach. All this topped with being used for sexy times! And of course a way station built on top of a time warp….you know the usual! Poor Beach House didn’t deserve that explosion!

But one thing I cannot forgive. I simply can’t. EMPTY BOOKSHELVES!!! The horror behind the Point Horror right there!

Fashion Faux Pas

There were lots of Hawaiian style swim trunks that people were running about in!

2012-font-b-Hawaiian-b-font-Swim-Trunks-font-b-Mens-b-font-Surf-Board-Patterned

Also reference to Orange Day Glo Baggies??!  Anyone?

And not forgetting those tight spandex shorts!  *wolf whistles*

Dialogue Disasters

“Buddy hates jokes like that”  “He’s so square he’s cubed”

I wouldn’t say that to Buddy if I were you…he will feed you to the sharks!

“When he tries to smile he looks like Howdy Doody”

Who?  Well I actually googled it!  Brace yourselves….

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“I can borrow my Dad’s Thunderbird tonight.  We can go to the drive in in style”

AWESOME!  5.4.3.2.1….Thunderbirds are go!

“You have a Thunderbird!  What colour?”

“Pink with grey leather seats and convertible!”

Yep…still would!

“All boys are immature”

Coughs!

“I’ve never seen his parents”

THIS IS POINT HORROR AMY!  POINT HORROR!  Amy has all the jokes!

“Where are Buddy’s parents?  Why haven’t they contacted the police”

Sighs!  Points to above!

“My mom isn’t here Buddy said quickly.  She had to go….somewhere”

I bet she did! “Somewhere” indeed”

“Here come your parents”

Last page joy *celebrates*

“I’ve always wanted a house with wings”

Awwww I hope Kip’s dream came true…where ever he ended up!

“What am I going to do?  She asked the moon What am I going to do?”

Awwww poor Amy never had Siri in 1956…poor thing!

“If it’s too loud your too old”

Rude Ashley!  Rude!

“My hair is soaked I must look like little Orphan Annie”  “No you don’t you look like Marilyn Monroe”

Buddy knows how to charm the ladies before he murders them!  Possibly Billy’s new chat up line?

“Elvis Presley?  That’s a stupid name isn’t it?  Is he any good”

I like Mr Stines jokes!  Although did people really say the phrase he’s really gone?!

“No-one likes to be laughed at”

These characters should have thought of this before laughing at Buddy / Brad!  Have they never read Point Horror!  Disgusting!

“He’s a crazy murderer”

It took Amy long enough to realise this!

Also I picked up way to many innuendos – why is my mind always in the gutter!

“Salty and thick. She coughed clearing her throat”

“Ashley said kicking off her rubber thongs”

“He’s so big!

“Ross and I have been playing every morning before it gets too hot”

“Brad says his court is fabulous”

“Let me see your racket”

“You have to see this. I’ve never shown it to anyone else”

Body Count

SO.MANY.DEAD.PEOPLE!

YAY!

Yep this book knocked up a few of the old dead bodies!  There were people getting killed and disappearing all over the place in both 1956 and present day!  I definitely agree that Point Horror knocked up the body count as the books became more popular!

To sum up (and I hope I have this right!)

2 confirmed dead (Stuart…and eventually Maria/Mary)

3 possibly dead not confirmed (Amy, Ronnie, Buddy / Brad)

2 missing (Lucy, Kip) – sent back to the past!

Like the Beach House at the end of the book – Mind blown! Were there even any characters left?!

Is it scary?

I actually thought the scene when Maria was in the sea and disorientated was actually quite scary!  And the sharks! And the fact the Ross was on a par with vile Frank from April Fools!

Did the best friend do it?

Well not the best friend exactly no…but some one that both groups befriended on the beach!  I feel this is a warning to teenagers and their holiday romances!  Lol

Some Mild Peril?

Sea, Sharks, wooden logs, Buddy, a time travelling closet in a beach house, knives being pulled out of very tight shorts and lots of running, tennis and volleyball!  Lots of mild peril!  Lots!

Is it any good?

I actually really really enjoyed this one!  A few boom boxes aside it didn’t feel that dated and with a time travelling wardrobe / beach house also I liked the premise.

Yes there were a few plot holes (I want to know how Maria managed to get back to present day and ended up working as a servant!) and yes the 1956 part of the story needed more than a few TV and music references (Sh-Boom, Sh-Boom, Sh-Boom) to feel like the 50’s, but I actually really enjoyed this one.

I feel like this one has stood the test of time and I would like to see this made into a film!

Final Thought

Classic Point Horror absent parents were evident in this book….although how dare they show up to comfort Ashley right on the very last page!  Rude!

Later, alligators!

Over to you!

As well as your thoughts on the book I’ve added some fun questions to ponder!

  • What happened to Denny Drake?
  • Who was red head Sharon?!
  • If no-one ever lived in the Beach House why was it still standing? Who made the repairs over the years?!
  • If you has a time travelling Beach House where would you go?
  • How did Maria get to the present day?
  • What happened to Buddy?
  • Were those spandex shorts really too tight?!

Cover Wars

I actually couldn’t find that many different The Perfume covers….I love the classic UK cover but that American Point cover is well creepy!

Also a huge thank you to #PointHorrorBookClub member Kevin from @Tokyorewind on Instagram for letting me share this amazing Japanese cover! How cool is this?


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Thanks for joining in….

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talesofyesterday@live.co.uk'
I am often known to be a bit clumsy and a little loopy! Book loving (obsessed), theatre loving, slasher film loving csi geek!
Winner of UKYABA Champion Newcomer 2015 and nominated for Champion of Social Media 2016 and Blogger Of The Year 2016!

© 2014 - 2021 Michelle Toy All Rights Reserved
 

6 Responses

  1. paulhirons81@gmail.com' @PaulHi

    August 15, 2015 4:04 pm

    Oh Chelley, this was a treat. “They just want a relaxing holiday on the beach, but what they get is murdered!” may be my favourite PHBC recap line so far.

    I loved this one too, despite remembering a lot less about it than I thought – most significantly, the shocking body count. Poor old Amy tied to the supporting leg of the beach house and left to drown made me genuinely sad. A bit like that bit in the English Patient, where (spoiler alert) what’s-her-face gets left in that cave, and dies all tragically and alone, without Ralph Fiennes. Also, even though she didn’t actually die, Maria’s mid-ocean-knife-attack-shark-food debacle was horrific. Buddy/Brad was a right wrong-un.

    Stine’s great at giving us heroines who amount to more than a simpering pile o’ dishcloths, and boy-crazy horndogs Maria and Ashley were no exceptions. Maria, for one, was a fickle pickle – give her a glimpse of a pink-lined Thunderbird and she was anybody’s. And Ashley’s flirty milkshake brought ALL the boys to the yard; even the time-travelling serial killer ones. Maybe dial it down a smidge, eh Ash? Come to think of it, not even the girls were immune to her charms; the bit where best mate Lucy inexplicably and lovingly dried post-swim Ashley’s hair and shoulders for her could only have been an indication of some on-the-side lady-loving. Who said Point Horrors were disappointingly hetero-normative?

    Essentially, everyone in this book a) existed entirely below the waist (like you, I cannot get beyond the weirdly specific description of Brad’s ‘very tight’ blue spandex bathing suit), and b) was a bit of a selfish sally. Case in point: Ronnie and Amy, who, upon learning that two of their friends had been brutally murdered, spent a delightful afternoon playing volleyball with some strangers. Nice job, guys.

    My biggest problem, though, was Stine’s weird habit throughout of aspirationally describing his female characters as ‘thin’ and ‘skinny’. Not even ‘slim’ or ‘athletic’. This was gross, and made me even sadder than when Amy met her watery demise ☹

    The time travel conceit was fun, though clunkily explained at the end (‘built on a time warp’ indeed), but the Mary/Maria twist was ace, even though it made hardly any sense on closer inspection. I thought it was interesting how the 90s section seemed way more dated than the 50s – Vanilla Ice! MC Hammer pants! Chevy Chase! – but named chapters are never not a solid cheesy bonus. Thumbs up on all counts.

    The ropiest dialogue disaster I came across was this unnecessary gem, during the dramatic denouement: “The main thing that was special about Johnny was his curiosity.” “He had a scientific mind?” “No. He just just had this incredible curiosity.” Oh, well, cheers for clearing that up. There was also one solitary moment where we were given access to Ross’s thoughts, which was just plain odd: “He’s a weird guy, Ross thought.” Erm, thanks, I guess?

    There were so many gaps in logic during the big reveal that it almost seems pointless to mention them, but I couldn’t get over the fact that Maria said she returned to the beach house a year after being presumed dead, and saw Buddy again. So, what, the Narnia wardrobe doesn’t always lead back to 1956? Sometimes it’s 1957? Or did he just hang around there for a year, knowing that he was the prime suspect in four murders? Also, why did Stine have Maria ‘work out’ how to use the beach house to travel forward in time, instead of having her live out her life until she finally ‘caught up’ with Buddy in the present? Why did she age but Buddy didn’t? Why did Kip and Lucy not conspicuously appear in 1956 too? You know, the more I think about it, the angrier this is making me. Question time!

    1. Denny realised he served no purpose other than as a weirdly angry red herring, so chucked himself off the pier.
    2. Yes, this was in my notes! Ugh, I was delighted when Stuart turned up dead. It was like Stine was rewarding us for sitting through the Babysitters’ Chuck fiasco.
    3. Back to 1993 so I could talk RL Stine into making this plot make a shred of sense.
    4. See above. Literally no idea. Maybe she got transported there atop a shark.
    5. Yes they were, though not, I imagine, as tight as Tab Hunter’s shorts in that pic you’ve posted. Jeez Tab, maybe an adult size next time?

    Oh, bravo Stine. A Bates may blame you for destroying the 90s YA horror genre, but you will never not be a batshit-but-fun cut above most of the gubbins we come across here at PHBC.

    Looking forward to next month. Any of the three would be good, but it looks like The Boy Next Door is our current frontrunner. Let’s face it, it can only be better than Dream Date.

    Reply
    • talesofyesterday@live.co.uk' Chelley Toy

      August 23, 2015 8:06 pm

      lol…I’ve actually just read the post back to myself and chuckled a lot! Is it bad to laugh at your own posts lol?

      Oh yes I forgot about Amy being tied to the leg of the Beach House…..forget mild peril that’s horrifying peril!

      Lol about Ashley using her milkshake to bring ALL the boys to the yard!! That made me laugh a lot!

      Yeah I noticed the thin and skinny descriptions too! Is this a reoccurring Point Horror flaw? I cant think, but in my mind all the Point Horror females seem to be described and therefore pictured as thin and skinny *rages*

      And wow! I never picked up the Ross’s thoughts moment…I obviously blanked that from my memory! lol

      Reply
  2. billy.lane@live.com' Billy

    August 21, 2015 6:07 pm

    Well there’s fashionably late, and then there’s just plain rudeness lol. I apologise unreservedly for my tardiness this month all, things have been slightly chaotic on both the personal and professional front, but things have calmed, I have a day off work, and I am here typing up my thoughts.

    So after Frauline Bates’ comments on Mr. Stine, I opened the book seething and raging and ready to give it a roasting but, man, it was just too damn good! Beach House is the best ones we have read in a while, and I agree, it was all down to the titled chapters. I mean, wow.

    Shelly this write up was great! So musical lol, loved it, thank you!

    I loved how many deaths there were – took me back to when we read The Cemetery, and interesting to see the jump from the tamer instalments of the early 90s.

    I think I’m going to gloss over the tight spandex trunks, as I sympathise all too well with that particular problem. Being as I am, somewhat of a champion swimmer, I of course wear ‘professional’ swim shorts, and was informed by a team mate that a certain new pair I was wearing were a teency bit too small and, well, I put on quite the show. :/

    But yes. The time travelling beach house. Typed up it sounds bizarre, and actually reading about it in the book was bizarre, but it seemed to work in some crazy way! The only issue I had was that, how could Stine – the self-appointed king of the egg-cracking death himself – kill off so many characters and have not a single one of them fall from a great height to a rocky area below? Wasted opportunity.

    The ‘drowning’ chapter in the foggy water was very good indeed, and one of the best passages I’ve read in a PH (not quite up there with the trip to the cinema with the buttery popcorn which still makes a lump in my throat appear because I want to marry that sweet girl whose name escapes me, but close).

    Anyway, the q’s:

    1. Denny Drake married Cappie Cabot and sired Debbie-Crystal Drake-Cabot.
    2. I’m unsure as to why Stine would want to create another Chuck clone!
    3. Hmmmm. I would travel back to the early 90s, gather the PH writers together, take Stiney aside and tell him to reign it in a bit and let the others shine.
    4. With time travel things always get confusing, and I can categorically state now that time travel will never ever be invented (because someone would have come back and told us about it/invented it earlier) – but maybe it like ‘defaulted’ to 1956 and she worked out that she could actually programme in a date like in Back to the Future. Beach to the Future.
    5. If they were anything like mine… then yeh. :S

    I’m trez excited about the next one – I don’t think I ever read it before, so this will be completely new for me. 😀

    Reply
    • talesofyesterday@live.co.uk' Chelley Toy

      August 23, 2015 7:57 pm

      Hi Billy! No need to apologise for lateness….the post will always be here :-)….hope your okay anyway *hugs*

      Yes I thought I would add a musical aspect as there were a lot of musical references to indicate the time span in the book lol

      Basically I think I just wanted an excuse to put Chesney Hawkes in a blog post!

      Thanks for sharing the story of you in your tight spandex shorts! Well hasn’t this been an eye opening discussion this month!

      Reply
  3. billy.lane@live.com' Billy

    August 21, 2015 6:09 pm

    Oh and my comments are so brief because I accidentally deleted the notes I made on my phone. 🙁

    But y’all covered off everything far better than I ever could!!

    Reply

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