Book: “Bad Moonlight” (A Fear Street Super Chiller) by R.L. Stine
Publishing Info: Archway Paperbacks, 1994
Where Did I Get This Book: An eBook from the library!
Book Description: She wasn’t just crying wolf…
Danielle Verona can’t believe the band picked her to be their new lead singer. She’s on the road, performing at all the hot clubs. The adoring fans, the bright lights— it’s a dream come true!
But when nighttime falls, Danielle can feel the terror in the darkness. There’s eerie howling outside her window. And then a band member is killed—ripped to shreds by a wild animal. Danielle knows something is out there, lurking in the moonlight. Something savage…and hungry.
Had I Read This Before: Yes
The Plot: First I want to give a shout out to my friend Melissa, whose vivid memories of this book inspired me to re-read it myself! On the night of the half moon (mentioned as I’m sure this will be relevant to the timing later in the story), Danielle Verona is making a quick stop at the grocery store. Her physical description is given right away: brown hair with blonde highlights, and a body that looks like she’s twelve instead of eighteen. Why THAT is relevant, I’m not sure I want to know. Her obnoxious younger brother Cliff and her Aunt Margaret are also at the store. Margaret (who is described with bleached red hair? What does that mean? All we get beyond that is that she looks ‘hard’ and ‘tough’). Danielle and Cliff live with Margaret because their parents died, and she’s been very loving to them. Danielle has just returned from a two week trip with her band, and seems to be feeling strange. As she goes to look for Cliff, she wanders the aisles, feeling super cold and out of it. Before she knows it, she’s torn into a package or raw beef and started eating it! When Cliff asks her what she’s doing, she replies that she doesn’t know.
Let’s go back in time now! Specifically a couple weeks prior when Danielle and her as of now unnamed band members are traveling between gigs! Let’s meet her fellow bandmates. There’s Billy, the manager of the band and the twenty two year old hanging out with a bunch of teens. There’s Kit, the hot roadie that all the ladies have a crush on. There’s Dee, the former lead singer and now back up singer (and the one diverse character that Stine threw in here, so NATURALLY she is jealous of Danielle, who replaced her on vocals). There’s Caroline, the bubbly keyboardist that Danielle really likes, and Mary Beth the drummer, who doesn’t have much of a personality beyond being good at the drums. And last and totally least is Joey, the ‘sound guy’ who is presently driving the van at dangerous speeds as he fancies himself a Blues Brother and/or Corey Hart as he drives with his sunglasses on at night. Joey is a real creep who keeps asking Danielle for a kiss and he’s supposed to come off as crude and fun loving as opposed to a sexual harasser. As they drive Danielle thinks about the day she auditioned for the band, and how everyone loved her but Dee. When they took her on Dee cornered her in the driveway and told her that she doesn’t belong in the band. So now Danielle is intimidated by her. As Joey drives like an idiot and makes sexist jokes, Danielle suddenly freaks out as he DRIVES THE VAN OFF A CLIFF, and by that I mean he doesn’t actually do that, but Danielle has a hallucination that he did. She has hallucinations, you see. Joey says that since it’s a full moon and the moon makes him a little ‘wild’, that’s why he’s driving like a guy with a death wish. Danielle thinks about how her parents died in a car accident on a night like this one, in a similar way that her hallucination happened. She also seems to remember their bodies cut up by rocks, though she wasn’t there and her aunt Margaret never told her any details… She thinks about how her therapist Dr. Moore has been trying to help her with these hallucinations and hopes he can help her soon. The moonlight makes her shiver and then her hair stands straight up on end I guess?
They arrive at the hotel and after Caroline and Danielle drop their bags on in their room they go to the elevator to meet up with their bandmates to check out the club. Dee tells her that she has to talk to her and grabs her arm tightly, but Danielle, convinced Dee just wants to yell at her, blows her off. They all arrive at the club to check it out, and soon Joey is once again harassing Danielle and inviting her to his room and trying to force her to dance (SHE SAID NO YOU CREEP). She declines, and Bill shoos him off to help Kit with equipment stuff for the gig the next night. He then says that Joey ‘comes on kind of strong’.
Billy asks Danielle if she’s nervous about the show, and tells her that she’s going to be great. Danielle is more worried about Dee, who is staring at them from across the room. Danielle thinks that perhaps Dee has a thing going with Billy and is jealous, even though Billy isn’t doing anything untoward or unprofessional in this moment. Kit comes up and asks Danielle if she’d like to go for a walk, and now Danielle thinks that perhaps it’s KIT that Dee wants and that’s why she is mad! Because now KIT clearly, CLEARLY, wants to do her. She happily accepts, as Kit is cute, and she likes being ‘seen as a groupie’ or something? There was a weird quote like that, I don’t know. They get to a local park, the moonlight making her uneasy again, and he tells her that he’s wanted to be alone with her for awhile. They start to make out, but the mood is ruined when Danielle bites his lip so hard she makes him bleed! Horrified, she runs all the way back to the hotel. She bursts back into her room and Caroline asks what’s going on, and Danielle says that she has to see Dr. Moore! Unable to do anything in that moment, Caroline tells her to take a shower and relax. Once she does, and once Caroline gets in the shower for her turn, Danielle decides to try and write a new song, as she’s a lyrical wunderkid. She whips up a song about Bad Moonlight and Caroline is so impressed she gathers up the rest of the band to listen. The band then says that their name should be Bad Moonlight! They then decide to go their separate ways for the night. Caroline says she’s going to walk Billy out, and Danielle is so tired she falls right asleep. She startles awake around midnight to the sound of an animal making horrible noises outside, in fact, you could say that it’s howling. Danielle whispers for Caroline, but no answer. There is, however, a knocking on the door. It’s Dee, who whispers that she has to talk to Danielle, and Danielle ignores her until Dee leaves.
The next day Danielle goes back to Shadyside to see Dr. Moore before the gig that night. She tells him about her hallucination, the strange song she wrote, and biting Kit’s lip until he bled. Dr. Moore tells her that this is something that sometimes happens when two people who are attracted to each other kiss (uhhhh NOT ESPECIALLY), and in regards to her hallucination he starts doing some hypnotherapy for her, as is his usual method. She tells him that she sees herself running across a field as the moonlight pours down on her. She says she feels angry, and she turns around to fight someone or something that has been chasing her. He snaps her out of it, and tells her that letting her fantasies run their course will help her with her anger that she has over her parents’ deaths. She thinks that maybe this is all normal, but then looks at the arms of the chair she’s sitting in. She’s ripped them to shreds.
That night the gig goes well and the crown is chanting ‘BAD MOONLIGHT!’ over and over again, so Danielle encores with the same song that she presumably just played as if this is an episode of The Teletubbies. Danielle sees Kit watching her from the audience, and it makes her more confident. After the club has closed down the band is too excited to go home just yet, and Billy suggests that they go to the coffee shop at the hotel since it’s the only thing open at one in the morning. Joey also picks up Danielle and kisses her without her consent, and UGHHHHHH, can we please just get rid of him!? Danielle is concerned because Kit saw the whole thing and looked miffed. Still too wired to come down completely, she asks Caroline to order her a rare cheeseburger when she gets to the coffeehouse because she’s going to take a walk. While on her walk, she jumps over a high wall with ease and lands on all fours. When she stands up in the moonlight, she notices that her nails have grown long and look gnarled and crusty!! Then, someone runs up beside her. It’s Joey!…..
And then it’s the next morning and a number of the band members have gotten together for breakfast. Everyone but Joey. They ask Danielle where she was the night before as she never showed, but she says she just went back and straight to bed. The reality is she doesn’t remember. No one knows where Joey is, and Dee says that he said something to her about Danielle before he left. Danielle notices that Dee seems nervous. The band eventually meets up in the lobby, ready to head home to Shadyside, but still no Joey. Danielle notices Caroline and Kit talking in low tones, and she hopes that there isn’t anything going on btween them. As they all start to load up the van, emergency vehicles rush down the street towards the park, and Kit says they should go
rubberneck see what’s going on. When they get to the park, they see an ambulance. Dee and Kit rush ahead, and soon Dee screams. When Danielle gets to the scene, she sees a dead body, it’s clothes and skin all torn up. And, wouldn’t you know it, it’s Joey.
Three weeks later, Danielle is in Dr. Moore’s office, lamenting that she couldn’t POSSIBLY have killed Joey! But she also admits that she doesn’t remember what happened that night, so maybe she DID kill him. Dr. Moore says that she was probably over tired and that’s why she doesn’t remember what happened, and that in all likihood she went back to her room without incident. He says that she’s still trying to work through the death of her parents and that she probably wont’ actually act on her fantasies, and performs more hypnotherapy on her just to ease her mind.
On the way to the next gig, Danielle is feeling a lot better. Dee is upset that they’re just continuing on as if Joey was never important, and newsflash, Dee, that’s exactly right. He was awful. Danielle tells the band that she wrote a new song specifically for Dee to sing, and it’s just kind of “Bad Moonlight” again, but with more aggressive lyrics, like ‘don’t let me kill again’. Everyone LOVES it, however. Except Dee, who accuses Danielle of killing Joey and proceeds to jump on her and strangle her! Mind you, we’re still in a moving vehicle here! The van pulls over and Kit pulls Dee off, and Danielle says that she didn’t write that song to accuse Dee of anything. Kit reminds them that they have a show to do so they all need to just chill out. Danielle notices that Mary Beth the drummer looks nervous, but Danielle doesn’t know if she’s scared of Dee or scared of her. They eventually make it to their next destination in spite of band strife and a thunderstorm. Danielle gets out of the van, and then for some unknown reasons she sprints down the sidewalk. Once she can’t run anymore, she falls on all fours and starts to drink water in the puddles on the ground next to her. Like you do when you’re a wolf.
At the club the next morning the band is rehearsing and the club owner is already counting all the money he’s bound to get from their appearance. Because he heard that Danielle is ‘dy-no-mite’. Danielle is still on edge because of how Dee’s been acting, and how she drank rain water from a dirty gutter. May wanna get tested for giardia, Danielle. That evening as Danielle and Caroline are trying on outfits for the gig, Billy comes into their room asking if they’ve seen Kit. The last Mary Beth saw him was leaving the club with Dee, and it looked like they were fighting. Danielle is worried when she hears this, and as they all go to look for Kit she runs ahead, in a way that I would describe as aimlessly. She arrives at an empty lot, and sees Dee standing over Kit. She yells out, and Dee smiles at her, and then attacks Kit! Danielle starts to scream, and Caroline runs up behind her asking her what’s wrong. Danielle yells about Kit and Dee, but Caroline tells her that Kit and Dee aren’t there, it’s two kids just wrestling. Another hallucination strikes again! Caroline says they should go back to the hotel, and asks Danielle what Dr. Moore has said about all this. When Danielle tells her that he says her hallucinations happen because of her memories of her parents deaths, and Caroline says that ‘makes sense’. NOT REALLY, CAROLINE. Danielle is still wondering why she just knows her parents were torn up when no one told her they were. She asks Caroline not to tell Billy about this, and Caroline agrees. When they get back to the hotel, Kit and Dee are there. Kit says he was catching up with friends, and Dee says she went on a walk.
The gig that night goes great. The band decides to go for a walk by the river afterwards, but when Danielle looks up at the moon she decides she isn’t feeling well enough to be in the ‘bad moonlight’ (Stine is REALLY trying to make this happen). Kit says he wishes she’d come, but she declines. When she gets back to her hotel room, Dee suddenly jumps out of the closet, and tells Danielle to not even ‘try to get away this time’. She says that she knows what really happened to Joey. But before this can be elaborated on, Kit comes into the room and asks them what’s going on. Dee says she was just saying goodnight to Danielle, and rushes away. Danielle says that she’s convinced Dee was going to attack her again and that she said she knew the truth about Joey. When Kit asks what that means, Danielle admits she doesn’t know. And she says it’s weird because Dee didn’t act like she even liked Joey, and Kit says that some people don’t show how they actually feel. But he’s not one of those people. That’s Santana/Rob Thomas levels of Smooth, my man! They start to kiss, but then a howl outside makes Danielle jump and freak out. Kit asks what’s wrong, and she says it’s the howling, but he tells her he can’t hear anything. Put off and feeling a little sheepish, Danielle tells him that she’s tired and needs to work on a song, and says he should go on the walk with their bandmates. Kit is sad that he couldn’t round the bases, but kisses her and tells her goodnight. Danielle tries to ignore the howls, and falls into a not so pleasant sleep. She wakes up a little while later, and Caroline isn’t in her bed. She goes into the hallway, and sees Billy on the floor, and she’s convinced he’s dead…. but no, he’s just drunk. Now THIS is how rock and rollers behave! Late night river walks and cheese burgers my ASS! She wakes him up and asks him why he got so drunk, and he says that he has a lot on his mind. She helps him back to his room, and then he wraps his arms around her and hugs her. She likes the feel of his arms around her (DUDE, SHE’S EIGHTEEN!), and when she presses him to tell her what’s wrong he snaps at her to forget it, and they part ways.
The next day Danielle is back home and she’s telling Aunt Margaret that maybe she should quit the band. Margaret tells her that she should just rest up and see how she feels after the next show, but Danielle insists that her hallucinations have only been getting worse. Margaret reminds her that Dr. Moore said this was normal, but Danielle says that maybe if she knew about the accident that killed her parents in full detail she could process things better. Margaret says no way and then makes up an excuse to walk away. Danielle mulls over her options of things she could do and decides to call Caroline, but when she picks up the phone she hears Margaret on the line talking to someone. It’s Dr. Moore! He tells her to come over so they can discuss their worries about Danielle. Danielle plays dumb when Margaret comes back into the kitchen, but then goes to snoop once Margaret leaves. She goes to Margaret’s room and starts rifling through her things. She finds a newspaper clipping about her parents’ deaths that says they ‘died mysteriously’, but Margaret always told Danielle it was a car accident! To make matters worse, the article says that their bodies looked like they’d been shredded up in an animal attack.
At her appointment with Dr. Moore the next day Danielle expresses her confusion and anger towards Margaret, but Dr. Moore tries to assure her that Margaret is just worried about her. He also tells her that their concern isn’t about the hallucinations themselves, but how Danielle reacts to them, and suggests that they do some more hypnosis. In this hallucination/flashback/whateverthefuck, Danielle sees herself running with Dee, and getting into a scuffle with her. Just as Danielle is about to strangle Dee, Dr. Moore snaps his fingers. She tells him that wasn’t really helpful, and says she wants to quit the band. He encourages her to stay in it as it seems to be the only thing she has going for her right now (I guess she’s a high school graduate?). She says she’ll take that advice for now, and the session ends. She’s supposed to meet Caroline in the parking lot so they can go shopping, but whoops, it’s Dee instead. Dee says she wants her out of the band, and that she’s running out of time to leave. They argue and eventually they end up wrestling around on the ground, with Danielle getting very violent with Dee. Caroline breaks it up, and Dee storms off. Danielle tells Caroline that she felt out of control, and Caroline says that everything was probably not as out of control as she thought it was and offers to take her home. But Danielle sees that Caroline looks a little worried.
The next day Danielle and Cliff and playing together, and after Cliff gets hurt Danielle starts to lick the blood off his arm. That night as she tries to relax she starts to write a new song that is also about moonlight (BIG OL SHOCK), but then sees someone in her backyard! It’s just Billy, and she lets him inside so they can talk. He tells her that the gig the next night is sold out, but the bad news is that Dee quit the band. Danielle thinks that it’s her fault, but he tries to assure her it isn’t, but won’t give her an answer when she asks how he could think that. After he leaves she calls Kit to voice her concerns/suspicions about Billy, and he tells her that Billy is probably just stressed. He invites her over and she agrees to stop by. When she gets there he suggests they go for a walk, and they start to walk down Fear Street (CONTINUITY ERROR! It was stated that Kit lived in a carriage house on a North Hills estate! North Hills isn’t in the same area as Fear Street, it’s the rich part of town!). She suddenly has an urge to run randomly. As she runs way ahead of Kit, she smells a rabbit, and decides to chase after it, thinking about how she can taste the blood already.
SMASH CUT TO rehearsal the next day. Billy thinks they sound like shit, and the new backup singer/bass player Shawna is probably questioning why she agreed to join this band. Danielle assures her that he isn’t usually like this, he’s probably just nervous about playing at Red Heat (yes, THE Red Heat! Been so long since we had reference to it!). Kit asks Danielle if he upset her since she ran away the night before, but she says no. They all decided to play her new song in her ‘Moonlight’ catalog. Well that’s what I’m calling it because so many songs about Moonlight that aren’t part of a multi song story arc is just ridiculous. After they’re done Danielle asks Billy what his problem is but he doesn’t answer. That night before the show the band is getting ready and Shawna says she needs to go get her bass, which is in a big trunk in the dressing room. Danielle offers to go get it, and when she opens the big trunk, guess what happens! Dee’s body spills out onto the floor! And she’s been shredded up! Danielle wonders if she did this, along with Joey, and makes a break for it. She runs into Billy who grabs her, and tells her that she can’t leave! She breaks away frmo him and keeps running, past Caroline and Mary Beth (remember her? She’s the drummer), and into the night. She worries that Billy may try to come find her at her house, but before she can think too much she hears Caroline calling after her. She stops, and Caroline catches up. Danielle begs for Caroline’s help, saying that Billy is going to kill her, and that they have to get to her house to warn Margaret and Cliff. Caroline says she should calm down, but then the moon comes out, and guess what! CAROLINE TURNS INTO A
SWEARWOLF WEREWOLF!!! For a moment Danielle tries to reason with her, but there’s no reasoning with a werewolf, Danielle, and wolf!Caroline grabs her. A car suddenly drives past and Danielle yells for help as she breaks away from wolf!Caroline. The car stops, and Danielle realizes it’s a van! It’s Billy and Mary Beth who have come to save the day! And by that I mean they too suddenly turn into werewolves. They back her into a corner, but once the clouds cover the moon they all say that she doesn’t have to worry. Then another car pulls up and it’s Kit, saying to run with him, that they’re in a werewolf band. Billy says that Kit is one of them but Kit says that Danielle can trust him, and Danielle doesn’t know what to believe. But she decides to believe Kit, and they start to run away as the moon comes back. But wolf!Billy catches up with Kit and tackles him, and Kit tells her to run and save herself. Danielle throws mud in the eyes of wolf!Mary Beth and wolf!Caroline, distracting them in time for her to run to the van and get inside. It takes a bit but it starts, and Danielle drives away to safety planning to come back for Kit.
Danielle rushes home and finds Aunt Margaret. She says that they have to call the police because werewolves are chasing her and Kit is in danger, but Aunt Margaret balks, and says that they can’t call the police because it would ruin the plans that they all have for her. Danielle thinks that she’s having one of her hallucinations, but nope. Margaret confesses that she isn’t, in fact, Danielle’s aunt. Danielle’s actual aunt died the same way her parents did, disemboweled by werewolves! Margaret has been part of a conspiracy to make Danielle a werewolf bride to her master! It must be Billy! Cliff comes in and acts as a momentary distraction, just in time for Billy to show up and for Danielle to break away, making a run for it once again. She gets back to the van, Billy on her heels, but is able to get in. He tells her that she can’t win, but she’s willing to test that theory, and decides to go to Dr. Moore’s house. As she drives she realizes that the moonlight never bothered her until she joined the band. Clouds cover the moon again and Danielle thinks that may buy her time.
She gets to Dr. Moore’s house and pounds on his door. He lets her in and she tells him everything. He tells her to sit and gets her a glass of orange juice to calm her nerves, though I feel like a nice shot of whiskey may do her better. He tells her that he believes her and that perhaps they can work together to find a way to trap the werewolves. Then someone else enters the house and calls out ‘Dad? Where is she?’, and Danielle recognizes that voice. It’s Kit! And Dr. Moore says ‘yes, your bride is waiting for you!’
Kit tells her that not only is he a werewolf, he’s the pack leader! All the others are controlled by him, and Dr. Moore has been hypnotizing Danielle to act more like a wolf so that the transition will be easier for her I guess? Kit once saw Danielle a few years prior and decided that she was destined to be his bride and she was absoLUTELY not of age when THAT happened, so they decided to wait. He isolated her (killed her parents and her real aunt) and sent Margaret to keep tabs on her. He killed Joey because Joey knew that she was betrothed to him but flirted/harassed her anyway, and killed Dee because she was trying to warn Danielle. And now he has to take care of Billy since Billy tried to save her tonight. Kit also tells her that once they’re married she will be one hundred percent devoted to him and won’t want to escape. She tries to escape, but Kit grabs her and tells his Dad they’re perform the ceremony now in the backyard in the moonlight. Question: why didn’t Kit turn into a werewolf before? This isn’t explained.
In the yard are the wedding guests, including all the members of the band (who look guilty and chastened), and Margaret. Kit says that before his father marries them, he wants her to sing “Bad Moonlight” to him. Danielle, thinking this could buy her some time, subjects us to the awful lyrics again. She tries to stall, but Dr. Moore tells her to hurry up and do it so they can do the ceremony. She goes from guest to guest, hoping to get some help, and even though Billy can’t help her as he’s under Kit’s thrall, he does tell her that she can save herself by using the ‘bad moonlight’ and I AM SO SICK OF THAT PHRASE. She rejoins Kit and the ceremony starts. But once the moon comes out, Danielle turns into a werewolf (why is this happening now?), and ATTACKS KIT. She lunges and bites him in the throat and won’t let go. As the moon fades away again, she turns back into a human, and Kit is dead. Then Dr. Moore starts shaking and his limbs start flying off (?!), and the same thing happens to Margaret and Kit!! I DON’T UNDERSTAND THIS MYTHOLOGY BUT WHATEVER. Somehow Billy, Mary Beth, and Margaret are spared from this fate and now they’re no longer werewoves because Danielle killed the head werewolf (because I guess it’s the same rules as vampires) in spite of the fact she was never actually a werewolf but somehow turned into a werewolf right when she needed to.
I like to imagine that while all this is going down Shawna is doing a solo set at Red Heat and is just KILLING IT.
Danielle realizes that she has to raise Cliff on her own now but ‘can face anything’ since she killed a werewolf all by herself (honey, you haven’t tangled with the U.S. Legal System, have you?). Billy puts his arms around her shoulders) (? Are they a thing now? Four years is a big age gap when you’re eighteen and twenty two), and says they don’t have to fear the moonlight anymore. Danielle says that she’s looking forward to some ‘bright sunlight’. The End.
Body Count: 5! And what crazy deaths we got out of it as well!
Romance Rating: 2. Given that Kit was ready to make a barely legal and uncooperative bride out of Danielle, I gotta say that the yuck levels were off the charts. She may have better luck with Billy, but…. still.
Bonkers Rating: 8! The werewolf violence, the weird hypnotherapy stuff and EXPLODING BAD GUYS was totally nuts.
Fear Street Relevance: 4. Dr. Moore lived on Fear Street, and the final confrontation was on/around there.
Silliest End of Chapter Cliffhanger:
“Danielle heard the crush of metal as the van crashed through the low metal guardrail. She screamed again as the van sailed off the edge of the cliff.”
…. But it was just a hallucination. They were never in any danger.
That’s So Dated! Moments: Almost right out the gate Danielle asks Margaret if she’d make her a chicken dish that she describes as ‘oriental’. Holy shit for the casual racism tossed in here, but we’ve seen it before in these books, sadly.
“‘Bad moonlight, falling over me, bad moonlight shining down on me, bad moonlight makes me feel so strange and new….'”
Once again, Stine shows us his musicality based talents that we have not seen since the halcyon days of Stevie Nicks….
Conclusion: “Bad Moonlight” was a kind of fun and totally bananas romp that leaned all the way in with supernatural elements. It’s always nice seeing werewolf tales, as they seem to have fallen out of style. Up next is “The Dead Lifeguard”!