The cover illustration depicts a ravenous raccoon, at night, in an overflowing trash can with "Fright Camp" written on it in spray paint.
Andrew Herman and his brother, Tyler, love the films of R.B. Farraday, a famous horror director. They soon find out about a new camp, which is based on his movies has come out, and are ecstatic to go. "Fright Camp" is designed to scare you, but Andrew and Tyler know that the scares are fake.
But on the way to camp, The bus driver is thrown out of the bus by a man in a ski-mask. The masked man gets on and takes over driving, missing the entrance to Fright Camp. This shakes Tyler and Andrew, as they know that this could not possibly be fake. Everyone on the bus begins sobbing, except for Tyler and Andrew, who are merely scared out of their wits. However, it is revealed that was only a fake entrance, and that it was all just a fake scare. Everyone is relieved, but still shaken.
At camp, they meet R.B. Farraday, who brings out a prop from one of his movies, the Fear Meter, which electrocutes people. One of the children from Andrew and Tyler's cabin, Chris, is dragged up to the stage forcibly to test it out and he is shocked. The machine actually works and the severely injured Chris is dragged off, and Farraday brings out a live gorilla from one of his movies in a cage. However, Alonso, the scary-looking man with a long scar on his face forgot to lock it, and the ape runs amok.
The people suddenly realize that they are trapped inside the lodge and the gorilla is tranquilized. R.B. Farraday mentions that he should have "left Alonso in prison" which shocks Andrew. Farraday tells the group that "horror has to be real in order to be truly scary". Chris is back to the cabin that night, where he tells them that Farraday has "gone crazy" and that the scares around the camp are real. They soon discover cameras positioned all over the camp, leading them to believe that Farraday is filming a horror movie with the campers.
The next day, they go on a carnival ride, and they are forced to keep spinning when the lever breaks off. The attendant frantically manages to stop the ride. Most of the people on the ride were horrified and are too dizzy to stand. They go to Farraday to complain and hear ghastly screams coming from his office. Farraday scolds them for snooping and tells them that since they are from Cabin Three, the "lucky cabin" they will get to find out what Fright Camp is all about. Shaken from this, Andrew goes to the lake for a swim and is dragged under by a zombie hand.
While drowning, he discovers that the zombie has Jack's face. He manages to narrowly escape and discovers that the lake was the one used in the filming of Lake of the Water Zombies. Questioning what is real and what is not, he goes to a counselor and asks if the scares are real. The counselor looks at a camera behind her and declines to answer the question. That night at dinner, Jack and Chris try to answer that same question, but Alonso catches them in the act and advises them against it.
After dinner, Alonso makes an announcement that poisonous mushrooms were used on two dinner plates. Right after he makes the announcement, Jack and Chris clutch their stomachs in pain. Andrew begins to think that the mushrooms were intentional, used to get them out of the way.
Later on, they find a message painted on Cabin Three, it says THE SCARES ARE REAL. GET AWAY WHILE YOU STILL CAN!
The next day, Farraday flees, leaving a single note: I can't do this. I can't do this to these kids. I feel so guilty. I'm so sorry. Goodbye, everyone. In desperation, Jack calls his mother, who arrives as they dismantle the telephone and trap the children inside. Jack's mother is apparently killed when she sinks in a vat of quicksand, leaving them trapped. They flee, and Jack, Andrew, Chris, and Tyler fall into the Cavern of No Return. Farraday is inside and reveals that it was all a documentary, and he needed to capture real terror on film.
The next day, Tyler goes missing, and so do several other campers. They wind up in the Cave of the Living Creeps, where they tell R.B. Farraday that it was all a scare. However, Farraday tells them that the reason that they needed to stay out of the cave because it contains a giant hornet's nest. But Farraday reveals that that was also a scare. He then tells Andrew, "Just think — you have two more weeks!" implying that the scares have only just begun.
- In France, this book is the 52nd book in the original Goosebumps series. The French title was originally "Film d'Horreur" (which can be translated by "Horror Movie"), but it became "Un Film d'Horreur" ("An Horror Movie") in the second publishing. The tagline was translated as "Silence, on tourne !" which means in English "Silence on the set!".
- This is one of the few Series 2000 books without supernatural monsters. The others are Are You Terrified Yet? and Scream School.
- R.B. Farraday is a possible parody of Roger Corman, who is known for making cheap B-movies.
- This character may also be inspired by R.L. Stine, author of the book.
- This book references Jell-O and the tagline is a reference to Where the Wild Things Are.
- Elements of this plot are similar to A Shocker on Shock Street.
- Both books feature protagonists who are film fans. Both books' protagonists get to visit a real life location based on the films they love, but find themselves in situations where they don't know what scares are real. Finally, both books reveal that the protagonists have been secretly filmed all along.
- The concept of a Fear Meter would later be used in the Goosebumps HorrorLand book The Streets of Panic Park.
References in other Goosebumps media
- During Goosebumps HorrorTown's It Came from the Internet event, Dr. Fritz Fredericks invites Mark and Rachael to watch "The Cavern of No Return"