Thursday, February 23, 2017

Book Note: A Midsummer Night's Scream by R. L. Stein

Stein, R. L. A Midsummer Night's Scream. New York: Feiwel and Friends, 2013.

The description from Amazon will give you a pretty good idea of where this book is going:
In R.L. Stine's A Midsummer Night's Scream, the Master of Horror takes on the Master of Theatre!

Oh, what fools these actors be!
When I wrote on A Midsummer Night's Scream by David Bergantino, I noted that there were other books under that title. The pun must be irresistible for horror writers.

R. L. Stein's is better, but it's still not all that thrilling—and I mean that two ways (that pun must be irresistible for Shakespeare scholars): the horror is more unbelievable than horrific and there's not that much Shakespeare.

The novel does employ some plot elements of Shakespeare at least. There's a character named Mr. Puckerman (can you divine his role?) who has a bunch of different magic potions—love potions, hate potions, aging potions. And the characters in the novel have an awareness of Shakespeare that is gratifying.

That's the part I'll provide as a sample.  Here's our protagonist meeting Mr. Puckerman ("Everyone calls me Puck") for the first time and getting a flavor of his love potion:



Puckerman also has a forgetting potion, and he tries it on Claire, but she's able to remember the events of the meeting fairly completely.

Just like other characters remember Shakespeare fairly completely. Here's a quick reference from later in the book:


And that's about it. The love potions (and hate potions) are used from time to time, but not according to Shakespeare's script.

Still, this is better than the other horror novel—and now I just have two more books with this title to try!

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Bardfilm is normally written as one word, though it can also be found under a search for "Bard Film Blog." Bardfilm is a Shakespeare blog (admittedly, one of many Shakespeare blogs), and it is dedicated to commentary on films (Shakespeare movies, The Shakespeare Movie, Shakespeare on television, Shakespeare at the cinema), plays, and other matter related to Shakespeare (allusions to Shakespeare in pop culture, quotes from Shakespeare in popular culture, quotations that come from Shakespeare, et cetera).

Unless otherwise indicated, quotations from Shakespeare's works are from the following edition:
Shakespeare, William. The Riverside Shakespeare. 2nd ed. Gen. ed. G. Blakemore Evans. Boston: Houghton Mifflin, 1997.
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