Garth Marenghi returns from darkness with the novel ‘Garth Marenghi’s TerrorTome’

Depending on the horror genre, summer camps are full of killers and other unusual dangers. These seasonal getaways designed for adventure and fun quickly turn into battles for survival. And it’s not just in movies where a young camper’s sleeping bag serves as a body bag; the books also portray the camps as hotbeds of death, murder, and mystery. carol ellis‘ 1993 youth novel Fear of camps joins the popular Sleeping Terror Club when the characters find themselves under threat one summer. And as the title of this point of horror the entry suggests, the culprit preys on people’s greatest fears.

Lousy food, surprise pests and unpleasant accommodations are the universal challenges of most fictional summer camps, but Silverlake has a problem most others don’t – one person, bent on revenge, terrorizes the personal. Before the place can reopen, teenagers are hired to clean up the cobwebs, sweep up the dust, and put everything else in order. Seems easy enough for counselors, especially those who have been to Silverlake before as campers. Of course, everything changes when one of the newbies discovers a dark secret.

The important cast of Fear of camps can be confusing at first, especially considering everyone’s weak handwriting. However, salient features help distinguish one advisor from another. At least the ones that matter most to the story. Rachel Owens is the protagonist that readers naturally identify with as they are both strangers to Silverlake. While not inexperienced as a camper, Rachel’s sense of novelty and determination otherwise allows the impending mystery to unfold. It is because of Rachel that the past is unearthed in the first place.

They were footsteps, she was sure. But they did not belong to the gardener. Someone else was outside the cabin.

Tasked with decorating the bulletin board, in honor of Silverlake’s twentieth anniversary, Rachel rummages through old photographs. Along with photos of fellow councilors Mark James, Steve Michaels, Jordan Hurley, Stacey Brunswick and Paul Sidney, all of whom were campers seven years ago, is a photo of a mystery boy. Rachel is so drawn to the photo that she adds it to the board without thinking anyone would object. Even when Mr. Drummond, the creepy camp gardener, sees the photo himself, he tells Rachel she “couldn’t have picked a better one”.

Rachel’s ignorance eventually elicits an awkward reaction from Mark and the others. Teresa “Terry” Monroe and Linda Dolan are new as Rachel, but everyone instantly recognizes the boy in the photo, now the centerpiece of the display. It’s not until Rachel talks to her crush, Paul, that she finds out who this child was and why mentioning it makes the group so uncomfortable.

Friday 13 was, and still is, a template for virtually every summer camp horror story. Fear of camps is no exception, and the resemblances are glaring but also diluted. Not only does the name Camp Silverlake sound like the famous Camp Crystal Lake, but both places have a tragic past. Instead of a drowning, Jason Voorhees is Johnny Danard, Silverlake’s one and only victim. That bullied boy who fell and broke his neck in the woods isn’t one of the ghost stories around a campfire, but just like Jason, Johnny’s death was a horrific accident that would have could be avoided.

Readers have now deduced why Mark and the others are so uncomfortable about Johnny; they had something to do with his death. It’s true that they didn’t kill him, but they intimidated him to come out in the middle of the night and in bad weather. If Mark, Steve, Jordan and Stacey had all been nicer to him, maybe Johnny wouldn’t have died. And no one at the camp would obviously be avenging his death. But who could it be? All fingers point to Mr. Drummond, although he turns out to be a red herring. This means that the aggressor can only be one of the advisors.

Anyone expecting a slasher or murder mystery here will be disappointed. Nobody, except Johnny in the prologue and a poor rattlesnake found in Steve’s sleeping bag, dies in Fear of camps. His contemporaries would provide a meager body count, while Ellis is content with mere fear and intimidation. Besides exploiting the characters’ phobias – Steve hates snakes with every fiber of his being, Stacey loses her mind if she falls into a lake, and Mark has a deathly fear of heights – there’s an overreliance on disembodied screams and to the characters who run aimlessly. in the dark.

And despite its length, which is just over 200 pages, most of the derisory action happens towards the very end. A less patient reader may want to skip to the last chapter or both. A thing Fear of camps however, that’s how well he hides the antagonist in plain sight. Mark, Steve, Jordan, and Stacey clearly aren’t tormenting each other, and the two older advisers are barely around enough to warrant suspicion. Mr. Drummond is too obvious. Only Linda, Paul and Terry remain.

In the middle of the coil, buried almost to the handle in the folds of the sleeping bag, was a butcher’s knife.

Remove another page from Friday 13, the aggressor is none other than the parent of the victim. Johnny’s sister, Linda, replaces another Mrs. Voorhees. The red-haired outgoing counselor was clear before Mark’s acrophobic panic while clearing the trails with everyone; he was too scared to help an injured Linda, whose ankle wasn’t twisted after all. The villain’s endgame wasn’t to kill, but to embarrass the victims in front of everyone. From Steve’s collapse from the snake to Stacey’s panic on the lake – Why were these people working at a summer camp in the first place? -LInda wanted her brother’s bullies to be as scared as Johnny was on his last night alive.

Fear of camps isn’t the most exciting story; it’s too long, and once anything Is actually happen, it is contained in the last chapter. There are certainly more challenging summer camp horrors from this era of YA, but Ellis scares a little fun, and maybe even a little suspense, at Camp Silverlake.


There was a time when the children’s section of bookstores was overflowing with horror and suspense. These books were easily identifiable by their flashy fonts and garish covers. This notable subgenre of YA fiction flourished in the 80s, peaked in the 90s, and then finally came to an end in the early 2000s. YA horror of this genre is indeed a thing of the past, but the stories endure at buried in a book. This recurring column reflects the nostalgic novels that still haunt readers decades later.

Fear of camps

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