cover image A Midsummer Night’s Scream

A Midsummer Night’s Scream

R.L. Stine. Feiwel and Friends, $17.99 (256p) ISBN 978-1-250-02434-3

Stine takes a page from Shakespeare and late night B-movies in this hard-to-swallow tale of ambition and murder in the movie industry. Six decades after a series of fatal accidents shut down production of a low-budget movie, a new set of producers are determined to do Mayhem Manor properly, filming in the same “cursed” house as before. Claire, whose parents own the studio, has secured one of the lead roles, but she’s starting to have misgivings. When her fellow actors start dying horribly, it looks as though the curse has struck again. Unfortunately, Stine’s plot requires too much suspension of disbelief—namely, that filming would continue after one let alone multiple grisly deaths (in both productions) and that said deaths would all be caught on film; the story’s reimagining of A Midsummer Night’s Dream amounts to little more than the inclusion of a short man named Puck in possession of various potions, and a superfluous love quadrangle among the teenage cast members. Diehard horror fans might bite, but there’s not much to the story beyond Stine’s typical flair for gruesome scenes and bloody demises. Ages 12–up. (July)