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The New Year's Party

Check out our episode here! The New Year's Party by R.L. Stine

It’s New Year’s Eve 1965 and the party is raging at Karen’s house. The Beatles are playing on the hi-fi, couples are making out on the staircase and dancing in the living room. Beth is Karen’s best friend, she’s at the party with Todd but she keeps thinking about Jeremy who is standing by himself to one side. The countdown to midnight begins when Beth realizes she hasn’t seen Karen for hours! It’s her party, where is she? Beth doesn’t want to ring in the new year without her best friend! Too late... Todd grabs Beth in a kiss as the clock strikes 12. As Todd is pressuring Beth to go and make out, Beth notices some people hassling Jeremy. And then the door bursts open to two men in ski masks holding pistols who demand their wallets and watches. Beth takes off her watch, keeping her eyes down, but sees they have Jeremy and are threatening him if he doesn’t cooperate. Jeremy stumbles as one of the men presses his gun against Jeremy’s head and pulls the trigger.

Beth screams but Jeremy is okay. The two assailants take off their masks and they turn out to be seniors, and Karen is in on it and is standing in the front door laughing. They start to mock Jeremy’s reaction to their plastic toy guns, so Jeremy takes off angry at the cruel joke. Beth follows. Todd complains about her ignoring him, so he’ll go find someone else to make out with. Whatever, Beth hates him. Jeremy is getting into his car and won’t stop so Beth jumps in with him. It’s icy and the roads are slick but he keeps pressing down on the accelerator. It’s getting more dangerous as the windshield fogs up. Suddenly in the darkness a figure appears. Going too fast and it being too slippery, Jeremy slams into the person and the car rolls over them with a hard bump. He manages to skid to a halt but Beth is screaming for him to keep going, they can’t get caught, it must have been a raccoon, it’s not a boy, just go! The sound of police sirens jolts Jeremy and he revs away. The fog on the window is getting thicker, and he doesn't see the snowbank they hit until it's too late. As the car ploughs through the drift and into a gorge, dazed and bleeding from her head, Beth thinks that Jeremy has killed them.

It’s present day November and Reenie is just getting home. Her friends Greta, Ty and Greta’s boyfriend Artie are waiting in her room. They’ve got a Trig project to do and they only one who can understand that stuff is Reenie’s boyfriend Sean. Lucky he’s in their group too, but he’s not there yet. Well, they might as well make a start as it looks like Greta and Artie are gearing up for another fight. Pulling off her sweater, Reenie goes to hang it up in her closet and she sees a pair of dark, lifeless eyes staring out at her. They move forward as Sean's body topples out onto her floor, dark blood oozing from his head, caking his hair. Reenie isn’t falling for that joke and nudges Sean’s toe. Sean and Ty are always pulling these types of stunts. One time they faked an armed robbery at the restaurant they both work at. THESE GUYS ARE ASSHATS. Reenie still has nightmares over it. The next morning at school, Greta is complaining about Artie, he’s slacking off and might drop out of school. He’s been hanging out with a boy called Marc who already dropped out and works at a car factory. Greta knows Artie could do well if he just worked at it. As they approach Reenie’s locker, they notice someone trying to break in.

No they aren’t. It’s a mistake. Liz is new and didn’t understand the school secretary’s handwriting. With Liz is her brother PJ who seems quiet but also sickly looking, a bit too pale and sallow. As Reenie is reaching into her locker to get her books, a hand reaches out making them all scream. It’s Ty of course, crammed into the very tight space... how? Anyway, Ty can’t seem to stop staring at Liz who is equally entranced. Within a couple of minutes Ty is showing Liz where her locker is, the others forgotten. PJ remains quiet until he takes off after Liz and Ty. A few weeks pass, Greta and Artie’s relationship isn’t going well, Ty hasn’t asked Liz out yet and we don’t know about the Trig Project. Reenie has been hanging out with Liz, and Greta blushes when PJ is mentioned. Reenie, Greta and Sean are eating fries in their car at the Burger Basket when Artie pulls up with Marc. They’re persuaded to go for a drive in Marc's big muscle car and they drive past Fear Street to Fear Lake, going much too fast. Marc wants to show them something over the edge of the cliff. He’s right at the edge when his foot slips and he falls.

In slow motion it seems, Reenie falls after Marc, sliding down the hill and out onto the frozen Fear Lake. She hasn’t gone under the ice, but it’s thin and starts to crack and break. Quickly Reenie falls in and it’s breathtakingly cold. Her head goes under the water and she can’t find the hole in the ice. Suddenly Sean is leaning over her, he managed to get down to the ice, get her out and give her mouth-to-mouth. Marc didn’t fall, it was a trick he and Artie had planned. The next day at school Greta is incensed. Reenie understands it was an accident but wants the tricks to stop. Greta blames Marc’s bad influence. In anger she goes for dessert and then Reenie and Sean spot her flirting with PJ. Oh, and so does Artie. This could get awkward... Sean manages to intercept and Artie walks out. Later on in the school parking lot, Reenie is looking for a lift home when she runs into Liz and finds out that PJ has a heart murmur and can’t do anything physical. When Ty interrupts them, Reenie excuses herself from goo-goo eyes and reluctantly catches a ride with Artie who is driving Marc’s car... and goes far too fast... and he ends up in a wreck. PJ is in the other car, slumped over the wheel and still alive. Artie is going crazy and Reenie tries to ignore him. The next day Greta is mad at Artie again, Marc goes crazy at Artie for the wreck, she hopes it ends their friendship. To change the subject, Sean says that Reenie should have a party over Christmas as her parents will be away, and wanting things to go back to normal, she agrees. As they start talking invitations, Sandi Burke runs up to their table and tells them to get to the weight room quickly.

In the weight room, Artie has had an accident. He asked PJ to spot him when he was showing off. Obviously PJ couldn’t and Artie lost control, one of the weights fell on him. Later, back in Reenie’s bedroom, they are meant to be working on the Trig project still. Artie turns up (he’s fine) and has been lifting weights on Marc’s set up. Greta is silent around Artie which seems weird as she was so mad before. Conversation then turns to the party. Artie wants to invite PJ so he and Marc can prank him, the others think it’s not a bad idea. They’re going to get Sandi, the hottest girl in school, to kiss him then “drop dead." Yeah... totally funny and not stupid at all.

It’s party night and in the grand tradition of high school parties there are more people there than invited. Reenie is nervous about the joke and having second thoughts. When Ty and Liz show up as a couple, Reenie warns Liz what they are planning. Liz feels betrayed by Reenie and tells her she doesn’t know what she’s done and rushes out to find PJ with Ty following behind. Not long after, PJ arrives with Sandi. The music is turned up and they dance, PJ doing a very awkward shuffle/pole impression. When the song ends, Sandi grabs him and gives PJ a very passionate kiss, then pulls back, gives a guttural moan and collapses. Marc and Artie rush in, shaking Sandi and then start chest compressions. It’s all a little too real. Artie turns to the crowd and declares Sandi dead. PJ, with a stricken expression on his face, starts to convulse and collapses to the floor. Reenie races over to help but she can’t hear a heartbeat. Artie begs and pleads, and starts shaking him to wake up. Marc stands stunned. Sandi sits up and says this isn’t a funny joke. Reenie screams for 911 then wails that they killed PJ.

Back in 1965, Beth struggles to get out of the crumpled wreck. They’re upside down and one half of the car is smashed in. Beth manages to unbuckle Jeremy, wiggle out the passenger window and pull Jeremy out, too. They go in search of help, but no car or truck will stop for them, and a house they spot won’t open their door to them. Miserable and cold, they head back to the wreck, thinking to crawl inside for shelter from the snow. Beth offers to crawl in first but quickly comes back out. There are two bodies in the cab, all bloody and mangled. A boy and a girl. It’s them! Jeremy denies it, even tries to get back into his body but it doesn’t work. Suddenly it’s as if the volume is being turned down and everything fades to black.

Back in the present day, Reenie and Sean start CPR on PJ, and Greta ushers everyone from the party. When PJ doesn’t stir, they begin to panic. Car lights coming through the front window make it worse, it must be Reenie's parents arriving home early, and so they hide PJ’s body in the basement behind the furnace. The lights turn out to be nothing. There’s only one thing for it, they need to call the police. Sean makes the call, they’ll be there in 5 minutes. Quick! Let’s bring PJ’s body back upstairs so as to not look guilty of any crime... but the body isn’t there. And now the policeman arrives. Sean tells the cop everything and he performs a search, and there is no body. He’ll have to write up a report but at least it’s not murder. After everyone has helped tidy and leaves, Liz calls and asks if PJ is still there because he hasn't come home. Uh, no. He's not here. Definitely nothing terrible happened. The next day at school there’s still no PJ. Liz has been trying to find him, she and Ty have been driving around the town searching. During sixth-period English, the principal calls Reenie out of class. The police would like to speak with her. She's taken to the empty cafeteria. Sean, Greta, Artie and Sandi are also there, and they tell the officer the truth about everything. The police found PJ’s coat at Fear Lake, so he’s being treated as a missing person.

A week later and PJ is still missing and the Trig Project is still outstanding. Greta is at Reenie's house and finally decides to break up with Artie. Bringing Reenie along for moral support, they head to Artie’s house. Artie answers the door and tells them Marc is also there, they’re tinkering with his car. Then they hear a shout. Running into the garage, Marc is lying on the hood, his head has been turned 180 degrees. Who could have done that? And so quickly? Reenie notes it’s like they are playing out the pranks, but for real. A week later, Marc’s killer hasn’t been caught and Reenie is being hyper vigilant. She goes to pick Sean and Ty up from their shift at the Burger Basket and jumps at every shadow. Sandi surprises her in the parking lot. She’s come to see Ty because she’s sure Ty and Liz know something more about PJ’s disappearance and she wants to find out. In the restaurant, Reenie goes to the ladies room. When she comes out, the restaurant seems deserted. Going out back and checking if Sean, Ty and Sandi are there, she finds Sandi in the garbage, dead with her head twisted around the same as Marc’s.

A few days after, Reenie, Greta, Sean and Artie are sitting and talking. While Artie wants to know what everyone got for Christmas (read the room, dude), Sean wants to discuss his theory - that PJ is the killer. It kinda makes sense seeing as he hasn’t been found and they seem to be revenge killings. It’s decided that Reenie will visit Liz and see what’s going on. PJ might not have disappeared and in fact might be hiding at home. Liz turns Reenie away though she argues the need to stick together with a killer on the loose. Liz can’t forgive Reenie for her part in PJ’s disappearance yet; however, a day or so later, Reenie receives an invitation to a New Year’s Eve party Liz is hosting for her closest friends, understanding that it’s been tough for everyone and they should stick together.

The party is weird. Liz has decorated with black crepe paper, black balloons and a black table cloth. The only furniture is a table to the side with a punch bowl in the center and a yearbook next to it. She’s acting weird too, aloof and distant. When Ty arrives, she declares that the party can start. She insists that everyone form a circle in the center of the living room and toast the departed. Twice. Then she tells them all they are going to die just like Marc and Sandi for their part in PJ’s death. Yes, she killed them both and enjoyed the snap of their necks as she broke them. She pulls a large knife out from a drawer in the table and goes to stab Reenie in the heart, but Sean knocks the knife away and as they grapple on the floor, Liz rips at Sean’s wrist with her teeth to get the knife back. Triumphant, she stands up when PJ arrives. Yay! PJ is here! He stops Liz. He doesn’t want her to kill them... Not without his help.

As Liz and PJ turn toward Reenie, Greta and Artie, Sean grabs Liz from behind. They grapple again and the knife plunges into Liz’s chest, but there is no blood. Liz declares that they’ve been dead a long time already and throws the yearbook from next to the punch bowl at them. It opens to a memorial page for Elizabeth Fleischer and her brother Philip Jeremy Fleischer. They were killed in 1965 all because of a stupid joke. They have been in a cold gray place since then, getting stronger, and now they're back and they will have their revenge. The are going to make them pay for all their stupid harmful pranks. Before Liz can reach Reenie though, Ty steps in the way. Liz tells him to back off but Ty tells her that they weren’t the only ones to die on that icy road in 1965. He was the boy (not raccoon) they hit that night, and he was brought back, too. They aren’t there for Beth and Jeremy to get revenge, no, it’s his revenge at last. In a strange paranormal tornado, the three spirits come together and disappear as the clock strikes midnight. There’s nothing left to say except, happy new year…?

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