Updated: Jun 22
Check out our episode here! The Mary Shelley Club or The Last Girl by Goldy Moldavsky
Rachel is working on a report for school. Well, she is actually listening to Spotify and constantly looking at her phone as her friend Amy sends texts teasing her about a boy she likes. Settling down to read again, like seriously she will do it this time, Rachel notices someone outside. They are as still as a statue, wearing all dark clothes, and their face seems startlingly pale. The ping of a message pulls her eyes from the figure and when she looks back up, it’s gone. But then, a noise comes from downstairs. A heavy and deliberate footstep. It can’t be. She’s home alone, her mom on a girls night out in the city. But there it is again. Cautiously searching the house, Rachel sees a figure in the living room. They are dressed head to foot in black, even their hands are covered. The face isn’t pale, it’s wearing a mask. And now there are two of them. One suddenly moves, running through the door, the other starts to move toward her. Rachel’s instincts take over and she runs toward the back door. She can visualize going through it and outside. As she reaches the handle, she's grabbed from behind.
ONE YEAR LATER
It’s Sunday night and Rachel wants to go to bed, but her one and only friend Saundra Claremont has other ideas. She wants Rachel to come to a party at an abandoned house in Williamsburg. Rachel doesn’t want to go but her mom practically pushes her out the front door of their apartment. Outside the party house a girl is reading a Stephen King novel, so the party may have potential after all. Saundra can’t believe Felicity Chu would have the audacity to bring a book to a party. Straight away inside Rachel loses Saundra and decides to wander the halls. Upstairs seems quiet, so she takes out her phone and looks at the Instagram of Matthew Marshall. Distracted, she bumps into the high school royal couple Bram Wilding and Lux McCray. The encounter with Lux isn't pleasant so Rachel goes downstairs and tries to rid her mind of it by doing something rash. She kisses the first boy she sees. Which just happens to be Bram. Yikes. Bram walks away from Rachel just as Saundra returns, which is good as she would probably ask awkward questions, but really there isn’t time for those because they’re going to hold a séance!
Rachel, having watched Night of the Demons, thinks this is a bad idea, but Saundra drags her along. People gather around and they talk about who they might summon. Someone suggests they might contact Greta or Frank, a couple who lived in the house until Greta snapped and killed Frank with a meat cleaver, so convinced was she that Frank was a skin sack of flies she needed to free, but when she realized her mistake, she took her own life. The séance begins. Thuds can be heard from the attic. Thuds that are seemingly answering their questions. Then the lights go out and the buzzing of thousands of flies can be heard. And screaming! When the lights come back on, Lux is tearing out her expensive hair extensions and screaming for help to get the flies out. But… there are no flies. Rachel notices the only other person not panicking in the corner slip a speaker into his pocket, and the entire scene causes Rachel to burst out laughing. Of course this makes Lux blame her for the prank. She can laugh it up now, because at school she is done.
The next day at school, Rachel can tell there is something different in the way people are looking at her and whispering about her. Lux has obviously been true to her word. Saundra thinks what happened at the party was caused by the prankster of Manchester Prep urban legend. Rattling off a million facts about different people, gossip and rumors, Rachel finds out that the guy with the speaker from the previous night is Freddie Martinez, another one who doesn’t belong in the 1% club. Later that night while watching a horror movie to unwind and destress, her mom cringing in the corner covering her eyes, Rachel finds Freddie on Twitter. He’s heading to an Evil Dead II screening. Perfect! That's one of her favorites! Maybe if she goes, she'll run into him and then she can talk to him about the prank.
It’s not until the movie is about to start that Freddie comes in with a bag of popcorn in hand and sits a seat away from Rachel. He says hi, and tries to talk before being shushed. After the movie, they talk about horror movies a little before Rachel asks about the prank. Instantly Freddie is defensive and tries to say it was the ghost of Greta, but Rachel is having none of it. It’s not until Freddie says there aren’t any pranksters, with an ‘s’ as in plural that Rachel knows he’s slipped up.
Rachel has third-period Women's Literature with Thayer Turner from the party. He was the one who told everyone the story of Greta. Cornering him after class, Rachel tells Thayer she talked to Freddie and he told her about the group. When Thayer tries to deny that Freddie would ever tell, they both know she has called his bluff and won. Thayer however won’t say anything more. Later in Three-Dimensional Anatomy art elective, Rachel can’t stop thinking about what Freddie and Thayer are trying to hide. The clay sculpture she is subconsciously rolling is… well… not suitable for class, so the teacher sends her to get more clay. In the supply room, Rachel bumps into Lux who starts giving her shit about Matthew Marshall who she saw on Rachel’s phone. Lux accuses her of lusting over a dead boy. Everything goes dark for Rachel and the next thing she knows, she has a pair of scissors in her hand and is plunging them toward Lux.
Before anything can happen, Rachel is stopped and they both end up in the assistant headmaster, aka AssHead's office. Lux is screaming attempted murder and Rachel is saying nothing. Eventually she does admit to the prank, thinking it will show loyalty to Freddie and Thayer. As that incident didn’t happen on school grounds, AssHead doesn’t care. At home with her mom, Rachel tries to tell her about the monster inside her from what happened the previous year, but she can’t, she can’t explain it and doesn’t want to admit it. Instead, her mom asks if she’d like to watch a scary movie.
The next day at school, things are worse, and to make everything even more terrible, Rachel is partnered with Lux’s boyfriend Bram on a Women in Literature project. At lunch Rachel escapes to Central Park where Freddie buys her a hot dog. Rachel makes her case that she feels she needs their club, regardless of the fact that she doesn't know what they do. Before he walks away, Freddie asks for her number. A few hours later, she receives a cryptic message with horror movie references and decides it means she needs to meet them where Voorhies Avenue intersects with East 28th Street. While she’s waiting there, Rachel notices a white van. Thinking it could be her ride she walks toward it when two figures jump out and throw a hood over her head. Rachel yanks and kicks and screams until she can hear Freddie telling her it’s okay. It seems this is part of her introduction into the club. When the hood is removed at their destination, Rachel sees Freddie and Thayer, Felicity Chu and Bram Wilding. They then ask her loads of questions about horror movies, testing her preferences. Most importantly they ask her if she knows who Mary Shelley is. Of course she does! Thayer tells her more though, about her time in Switzerland and what led to her writing Frankenstein. The Mary Shelley Club honors and carries on her legacy, for they too create horror stories.
It’s time for Rachel’s initiation, she needs to tell them what she is most afraid of. Eventually she tells them she is afraid of herself, that she may be a monster. Rachel feels that she is capable of doing bad things. They ask her to tell them about Matthew Marshall. Rachel confessed that Matthew attacked her in her kitchen. He was wearing a mask, he held her down, he had a knife. She fought him and then he slipped and the knife went into him, and he died. Well… welcome to the Mary Shelley Club!
The next day at school, it’s a bit surreal. The club members don’t acknowledge each other. Rachel still has her project with Bram to do and tells the teacher it will be on Mary Shelley. At lunch she tries to find their social media, but it’s either non-existent, private or there's not much there. Saundra is a font of knowledge and she’s at least able to get something. Bram is sweetie for helping her when she had a panic attack on a school trip, Felicity is weird for wearing black lipstick even though her mom is a CEO of a cosmetic company and Thayer has a job at a movie theater even though his family is rich. Just then, Rachel gets a text. There’s a club meeting that night at 9.
Rachel is standing under an umbrella in the rain in front of a mansion like the one from Rocky Horror Picture Show but in the Upper East Side. It’s Bram’s house and boy oh boy is he rich… is that a real Picasso on the wall?! Since this is Rachel’s first meeting with The Mary Shelley Club, she learns that they like to start with a scary movie and she gets to pick. Of course this is a test, so after some internal debate, Rachel chooses classic B-movie Black Christmas. This is met with approval by the other members.
After the movie, they tell Rachel a little more about the club. They see themselves as horror enthusiasts and experts in the field of fear, which is why they have the Fear Test where each member comes up with a horror scenario that they bring to life. They get to pick the target of the test, but it can’t be a member of the club and the test is over when the target screams. Afterwards, they rate it. Simple as that. Rachel has only one question, “when do we start?”
Two nights later, Rachel and the club are donning clown costumes for Thayer’s Fear Test. His target is Trevor Driggs, a boy who makes Thayer’s life hell at school, and they're doing it at his own birthday party. Freddie points out that in a way this is vigilante justice. Rachel is nervous, but Freddie tells her if she says a safe word she can bail out, Rachel picks armadillo.
The party is in full swing when Felicity knocks on the door. Trevor, not recognizing her despite sharing at least three classes with her, is about to send her packing when a drunk Bram stumbles past and tells him to let her in, more the merrier! As Trevor is about to Be The Man and hook up with one of the girls, he spots a red balloon dog resting on a plant, but it’s gone when he looks again. Trevor sees a girl in the corner with a red clown's nose on. Going over to kick her out, he realizes it’s the girl who tried to kill Lux with craft supplies, so she has got to go.
When he throws her out, a birthday gram clown is waiting at the doorstep. Nope. It gets worse, Trevor can hear tinny clownish music from upstairs. Bram offers to investigate and sends him a text to come check out this weird thing. Then he starts getting texts from Bram's phone but are clearly not from Bram. As he approaches his bedroom, Trevor can hear the tinny music better, it’s the same music from his seventh birthday party with the clown that terrified him. Inside his bedroom he finds Bram, face down in a pool of blood, a trail of too large bloody footprints leading from his body to the closet. More texts from Bram: happy birthday, happy birthday, happy birthday… Then there's a manic giggle getting louder and louder and a clown jumps from the closet! Trevor runs, fleeing his bedroom and down the stairs. As he stands in the middle of the party, everyone stares and he watches as the party goers take out their cells and photograph him wetting his pants.
Smiling and whooping, the club is on a high that carries on at school the next day. They share secret smiles, and seem to stand a bit taller as they pass each other. Saundra and Rachel’s mom notice the difference. Trevor wisely stayed home from school as the rumors and gossip are rampant and overshadowing Rachel's Arts and Crafts Killer stuff, thank goodness. A couple of nights later, the club meets again and it’s a special occasion as they’ll be watching Gut Stab Six, the new mediocre addition to the horror canon which means… horror trope bingo! Rachel wins despite the googly eyes she’s making at Freddie and she wins the ultimate prize of getting popcorn dumped over her head.
Rachel throws herself into the club. She is a complete devotee and lives for their next meeting. It’s fairly frequent, two or sometimes three times a week. At one meeting, Thayer yelps while watching Us and has to suffer the consequences: stripping down to his underwear and running round the street making as much noise as possible. Rachel gets to know the other members somewhat. Thayer loves gore but is a sweetheart and helps her get a weekend job at the 2-screen movie theater he works at, Felicity may be Mistress of the Dark, but she shares her meticulous class notes and is devoted to her dogs, Bram is always standoffish and a popular kid at school but he is a giant horror geek and a loving big brother. Rachel spends the most time with Freddie as they hang out together outside the club and find easy company in each other. “Accidentally” spying on Bram tucking his little sister into bed, Rachel blurts she needed to use the bathroom and makes up some excuse about their Women’s Lit report. Bram doesn’t seem totally convinced but agrees for her to come over the next day to work on it. Eeep! Saundra will flip when she finds out.
The study session is a disaster, Rachel and Bram argue over what to include then Bram spies on her text to Freddie when she’s questioning if Bram is human (rude!) and Bram puts her down for all her relationships revolving around The Mary Shelley Club. He is being a dick, and Rachel tells him just that. And then he brings up her attack! Yikes! Rachel calls him out for trying to make her feel weak, saying he doesn’t know how he would react if two people broke into his house. Bram backs down and actually apologizes then tells her she never mentioned a second person was there. As Rachel leaves, she bumps into Lux, because of course she would.
Later in the week, Rachel joins Felicity in the Meatpacking District to get supplies for the next Fear Test. Her target is Sim Smith, the sophomore with the gold chains. Embarrassingly, Felicity dated him the previous year and he cheated on her, so now it's time for some Fear Test revenge. At the Meatpacking District, they enter, surprisingly enough, a meatpacking house. One of Felicity’s contacts is getting her a meat hook, the style used in I Know What You Did Last Summer and it is huge with a neon orange handle which somewhat distracts from its frightening appearance. With her usual friendliness, Felicity demands a menacing sharp boning hook. It’s not too much to ask surely.
Sim Smith’s stepdad is a used-car salesman and owns a dealership. Sim likes to hook up with girls there, with the pick of the lot, privacy and new car smell it is always win-win. He’s even created a little make out spot he calls Sim’s Point. Classy. Tonight he has Jennifer Abrams tugging his arm toward the Jaguar but Sim likes the 2004 Volvo. As they get into the car, Sim hears a thud, then a few moments later a scratching sound on the roof. Sim tries to recapture the moment but sees a shadowy movement and a dark flash. The shadow is coming closer. As it gets nearer, he can’t tell if it’s a man or a woman because they are obscured by a black coat. Jennifer screams at something on the radio and the figure is gone. The sounds start on the roof again and the metal dips with the weight of a person. Tap-tap, the shadowy figure with a metal hook taps the window. Sim kicks the door open and makes a run for it. He’s close to the gate when the figure pops up again, looking bigger than before and menacing with a scarred mask covering their face. The figure pushes Sim back onto the hood of a car, but Sim kicks them hard in the ribs and is out the gate not looking back.
The club meets the following night and it’s Felicity’s turn to pick the movie, Urban Legend, the golden era of Joshua Jackson with bleached hair. While Felicity argues for a do-over, Rachel notices Bram winces when he reaches for popcorn. No matter the arguments she makes, Felicity’s Fear Test is deemed a failure. Before storming off Felicity tells Rachel the only reason she is in the club is because she found out too much. It’s the first meeting Rachel has gone to where she doesn’t feel like she’s one of them.
At school, there are two very different stories circulating the halls. In one, Sim took Jennifer to some car lot in bumblefuck Brooklyn and made up the story of a fish tackle serial killer because he couldn’t get it up. In the other, Sim was attacked by a big scary dude in a hoodie and a mask. Wait, a mask? There weren’t any masks in Felicity’s plans. The idea of a mask makes Rachel’s blood run cold.
After a terrible nightmare about her attack and spending time with Freddie to calm down and relax by watching a reel of Bride of Frankenstein, it’s time for Rachel to plan her Fear Test. However there is a knock on the door and Michelle Pfeiffer’s Catwoman comes striding in. Behind the latex is Saundra here to take Rachel to a Halloween party. Finding a frilly periwinkle dress, a Cincinnati Reds baseball cap and putting her hair in braids, Rachel is dressed as P. J. Soles from Carrie and they head to the party at a warehouse in Brooklyn. Felicity is at the party, too, dressed as the shower scene from Psycho complete with shower curtain, pole and towel. Thayer is there dressed as Chucky. As Rachel and Saundra dance, Freddy Krueger comes over. Saundra tells them to get a room when all the flirty conversation between Rachel and Freddie gets too much and they end up dancing instead.
The night is going well until Lux appears and starts taunting Rachel about Matthew Marshall and how he was stabbed to death. Rachel wonders if Bram talked to Lux. As she walks away, Rachel catches sight of a figure in a white mask. Rachel turns and runs away, trying to find a way out before Jason steadies her in her panic. Jason asks her to dance, which she does so as not to be alone. As the song comes to an end, he leans down and tells her to leave the club. It’s Bram. She leaves the warehouse and doesn’t look back.
There's a club meeting the following night and Bram is his usual standoffish self as he chooses their movie, Funny Games, a movie about a home invasion. Rachel is on edge throughout but determined not to show it, but she realizes it isn’t the movie that makes her feel anxious, it’s Bram. When Thayer and Rachel are working at the theater the next day, he asks Rachel who her target will be. She says she hasn’t decided, but really it can be only one person. Thayer encourages her so she sends out a group text. If Bram wants to mess with her, she’ll play.
Lux McCray has an easy babysitting job a couple of nights a week. Send the child to bed, no coddling, give it half an hour then text Bram to come over. Tonight though, her charge, Wyatt, couldn't get to sleep. Ugggh, so needy. He says he hears tapping at the window. Lux dismisses it and helps him to bed. When she goes back to get Wyatt’s dog she notices something is off with his toys. They’re not in the typical heap but all lined up. When she goes back to Wyatt, he’s asleep. Back in the living room, Lux starts to feel uneasy, she’s started to hear the tapping and creaking noises Wyatt mentioned, even the dog is reacting to them. Walking around the house, the tapping and scratching increases and the front door knob turns. Convinced someone is in the house, Lux texts Bram. She's scared, so she hides in a broom closet and then she hears the door opening. Lux goes to investigate. Inside the master bedroom, she finds a figure. Thinking it’s Wyatt’s dad she calls to him, but then she notices the very pale scary mask. Lux screams, turns and runs. The figure chases her and pushes her down the stairs.
Lux is taken to the hospital with a broken arm and six stitches on the back of her head. Her story of the events doesn’t match those planned for the Fear Test. At an emergency club meeting, Bram accuses Freddie of wearing the mask and hurting Lux. Freddie denies it and the rest of the club are happy to believe him, that if there was someone there, it was someone else. After that, the club just seems to stop, though Thayer is certain it will get back on track as they still have other Fear Tests to complete.
In the meantime, Rachel agrees to go on the school ski trip with Saundra. When they’re settled into their overcrowded lodge, Rachel receives a group text from Bram telling all the Mary Shelley Club members to meet. It’s his turn. Bram tells them his target is Saundra and they’re going to stage a home invasion, all they have to do is create chaos and wear these masks, the same masks reported by the other Fear Test targets, the same masks worn in Rachel's own home invasion. Rachel wants to quit but Felicity, supported by the other members, blackmails her. If she walks away, they tell everyone she killed a boy last year. Freddie says just make Saundra scream and it will be over.
Saundra Claremont is going to have her first hookup. As she is making out with super hot Aldie they start to hear loud crashing noises from downstairs. Saundra tells Aldie it’s just Jenga, but if it is Jenga his great friends would have come to get him, Jenga is his jam! They resume their over the clothes fumble when the noises start to get louder and closer. Suddenly there is a dark figure in a mask standing in the doorway who dives for Aldie and they start scraping on the floor. Saundra, meanwhile, makes a run for it. In the living area, Aldie’s friends are sitting on the sofa terrified. Saundra realizes there is a masked figure there. Turning, she comes face to face with the pale scary mask. The figure hisses to Saundra to scream. Hang on a moment… What? Saundra recognizes the voice is Rachel's. When she tells her to scream again, Saundra lets out a loud cry. The masked figure disappears.
After the test, Rachel makes a run for it and heads to the rendezvous point but Freddie pulls her into a closet when they hear a crash. When they leave, they see a hole in a skylight and a group of people gathered in the foyer. Someone says they saw someone on the roof. On the floor is Saundra’s lifeless body. At the rendezvous point Rachel wants to tell the police everything, Felicity wants to save her own ass and protect the club, Thayer is quiet. Freddie and Bram are trying to talk reason, they agree nothing would come of telling anyone about the club. Bram’s words would be more trustworthy if he didn’t seem to have blood on himself.
Rachel gets more suspicious of Bram when a few days later, she and Lux find themselves in the art and crafts stockroom again, except this time, Lux is being nice. She’s trying to console Rachel over her trauma to reassure her she had no intention of telling anyone about the dead boy, but if she needs to talk, she’s there. When Rachel points out that it must be nice to have Bram to talk to, Lux tells her they broke up. She has negative associations from the night of her attack. One minute the masked person was in front of her, then next Bram with a hoodie and mask flung off to one side. Interesting.
Deciding to investigate, Rachel talks to Sim and finds out about the kick to the ribs. She starts to piece things together and takes what she knows to Freddie. They decide they need to search Bram's house for the mask he wore the night of his Fear Test, the one with blood on it that he didn’t throw out.
A week later, at Bram’s birthday party, Rachel has her chance. While the raucous afterparty takes place downstairs, she searches his room. Unfortunately Bram finds her. He tells her he didn’t do anything, the blood from that night is his own after Saundra knocked him out cold. He came to after she fell. Rachel doesn’t believe him but Bram insists, and that if she really thought about it, she would realize the truth was in front of her all along. Matthew Marshall didn’t work alone, he had someone with him. It’s them.
Back at school, there is a memorial service for Saundra. Rachel has to make a speech before they unveil a plaque in Saundra’s honor and when the cover is lifted, silence fills the auditorium. In bright red spray paint are the names of The Mary Shelley Club members. In AssHead’s office, no one admits any knowledge but at Bram’s later, Rachel tells them all of the second person from her home invasion and how she thinks it is them looking for revenge.
At nearly 2 am on the Upper West Side, Rachel is sneaking into Central Park. She isn’t nervous but determined, she’s walking into the belly of the beast and heading straight for him. Seeing Thayer standing at the Eighty-First Street entrance, they walk in together. Freddie’s instructions were to meet at the open-air Delacorte Theater. The park is creepy and has Rachel on edge, and mixed with the uneasy silence from Thayer, she starts to feel uneasy. She gets a sinking feeling that Thayer can't be trusted. As they walk, Thayer asks Rachel if she knew if Saundra was into hard core drugs. Her autopsy report says she had LSD in her system and she was tripping on the roof. How does he know she was tripping? He was on the roof with her! No, he didn’t push her but she needs to understand this game is bigger than them, they aren’t the only ones playing. Thayer tells her this just before a masked figure appears and plunges a knife into his back.
Pulling the knife from Thayer’s back, the figure turns on Rachel. She runs and finds a nice heavy rock and swings it at her assailant, causing them to collapse. Rachel knows she should go for help, but she approaches the masked figure. Pulling the hood away, she sees Felicity! Taking off fast, Rachel heads toward the Delacorte and to Freddie who is waiting for her. She tells him Felicity is the masked figure and she stabbed Thayer! Freddie asks if she is scared; yes, of course! Good. Wait, what?! Freddie pulls out his own white mask and puts it on. He tells her the test is almost finished, she just needs to scream.
Instead, Rachel tries to run but Freddie has already grabbed her. Rachel cries out that a member of the club can’t be the target, but she’s probationary at best. Really she was never a member, always a target. They were all slowly twisting the knife and if you looked closely at the mask you could see under the white paint a face of Frankenstein. Freddie confessed to having drugged Saundra, though she wasn’t supposed to die, only to get spooked. Thayer started getting cold feet so he had to be silenced, and who better to do that than the rule-follower Felicity. Rachel tries to use the safe word ’armadillo’ but Freddie can’t let her go, that would break the rules. Kneeing Freddie in the groin so hard he drops the knife, Rachel grabs it and turns it on him, slicing the bridge of his nose before taking off for the trees.
In the trees, Rachel finds Bram who says he is on her side. Freddie catches up and shouts that Bram has been in on it all. Bram is going to tell her everything but Freddie tackles her and she sees the knife hurtling toward her but she isn’t struck, Bram is, in the chest. Freddie leans in, bragging to Rachel that when the police arrive he’s going to tell them she’s been spooked by what happened last year, she was convinced she was being followed, that it was Bram and that he tried to save her but alas, he was too late. It's easy to lie about self-defense. Before Freddie can use the knife on Rachel, Bram rises up and stabs him in the back.
Rachel wakes in her bed from a nightmare, her mom is with her. She asks Rachel what happened. The police found all the pieces scattered across Central Park. Freddie dead with the rubber mask still on, Bram and Thayer alive and Felicity gone. Rachel was the only one not dead or wounded, which is suspicious but there is always one left standing in any great horror story. But the story still feels unfinished.
Rachel goes to visit Bram after his surgery. She has to know if he was really in on it with Freddie. He was, but didn’t think it would go this far. They didn’t believe he could pull it off, but he had her hooked and Thayer thought she would beat Freddie at his own game. Neither of them wanted to keep going or go so far. Bram tells her Freddie’s plan was that they had to weave the masks in any chance they could because he thought it would trigger her from the break-in. Bram spooked Sim, Freddie pushed Lux and painted their names on Saundra’s plaque. Freddie poisoned the club and Bram was fighting him. Rachel shouts that it’s only a game but Bram tells her it’s more, there are chapters of the club all over the country. Matthew Marshall was a member of the club in Long Island, her break-in was Matthew’s Fear Test and Freddie chose her in revenge.
(The Last Girl ending)
After Bram falls asleep, Rachel leaves the hospital. She’s no longer scared. She played the game and came out the other side, no longer afraid. She feels empowered, no fear, no mask.
OR! In the style of Clue
(The Mary Shelley Club ending)
As Rachel walks away from the hospital, something is bothering her. There were two people in the house that night… who was the other person. Was the rest of the Mary Shelley Club there? Watching? Is someone watching her now? It feels that way.