Title: Shivers #24 – The Ghosts of Devil’s Marsh
Author: M.D. Spenser
Cover Artist: Eddie Roseboom
Summary: BIG GHOULS DON’T CRY…
Samantha should keep smiling. Otherwise, tears of fear might ruin her summer and probably her life. But the summer was already bad news. There she was on the coast with her cousins. Boy cousins, always around, acting like—well, boys. But cousins can be cool!
Especially when you might need them to save your life. Is that cozy coastal town they’re on really haunted? Could be! That might explain all those strange things Samantha sees and hears.
It gets stranger and stranger when Samantha discovers the shocking truth behind the terror. Will all the cousins stay safe and sound or is it the beginning of the end for everyone?
LISTEN FOR THE VOICE OF DOOM!!!
You guys will remember the previous “Shivers” recap as one of the darkest books I’ve reviewed so far for this website. While this book isn’t necessarily as dark as “Weirdo Waldo’s Wax Museum,” I chose it because its primary theme is regret. And with the theme I’ve worked on for April 2017, an attempt to do some self-analyzing about my best friend’s death, the regrets in this book obviously hit close to home, otherwise I wouldn’t have chosen to recap it.
The villain in this feature has got to be one of the most understandable and relatable villains I’ve found in these books. Saying anything further would spoil what comes next.
OMG! What happens next??? Read on… »
Last Vampire 4 Phantom by Christopher Pike
Title: Last Vampire #4: Phantom by Christopher Pike
Summary: After five thousand years she was again mortal.
The dead alchemist’s experiment has worked. Alisa is no longer a vampire, but a frail and confused human. Not only that — she is pregnant. The baby grows in her at supernatural speed. As the stranger watches. The stranger from the past.
But what child will Alisa’s seed produce?
A demon or an angel? Alisa does not know.
But the stranger does. He nows everything that ever was.
And he knows everything that is to be.
Tagline: The monster might be an angel.
Again, I remember nothing about this book, though I’m almost certain I read it. (It’s possible I didn’t, but I know I read book #3, even though I didn’t remember anything about it, either, and there’s very little chance I didn’t pick up the next book after that cliffhanger.) If the trend from the earlier books continues, this will be weirder and more entertaining than ever. (Also, I remember this cover, if nothing else about the damn story.
Title: Magic Fire
Author: Christopher Pike
Cover Artist: Franco Accornero
Tagline: He loved to burn.
Summary: He just had a thing about fire.
Mark Charm is a pyromaniac. Since the time he was a child, he loved to watch fires. But it is only in his senior year at high school that he takes his personal obsession citywide. It is a dry autumn in Southern California and the desert winds are blowing. Mark has a box of matches, and it is late at night. Would it be so bad, he thinks, if the whole state burned?
My first Christopher Pike recap! I ran it by Wing and made sure this wasn’t one of the books she plans to recap for the website. [Wing: I’ve never actually read this one before! Excited to see what it’s like.]
[Wing: We encourage recappers to tie the personal to their recaps if they’re comfortable doing so, because, as you may have noticed, we bring different perspectives and experiences to the table, and that’s a part of what I cherish about this site and this community, recappers and readers and podcast listeners. Jude talks about quite a personal story in this recap, and he wrote an introduction to why. For length and site design purposes, I have moved that to the end of the recap, where the bulk of the discussion takes place.]
This book is strange, because the online summaries didn’t do it nearly enough justice. This is one of those books like “Fear Hall” which I tend to cling to. A lot of you may feel the twist at the end comes from out of nowhere, but as I’ll discuss in the final thoughts, I believe there were clues from the beginning.
Also, I’m not sure how to feel about usage of the term “Pyromaniac,” if that falls under ableism or not. That type of thing’s never really been something I’ve thought about in regards to mental illness, so if anyone wants to start a discussion I wouldn’t argue against it. [Wing: That is an interesting point. It is an actual diagnosis, and I don’t think “pyromaniac” and “pyromania” themselves as words are ableist, no more than “mania” or “manic” is. To me, ableism comes in how the word is used, particularly whether it is being used pejoratively, whether it is being used in a way that causes harm to or others the people to whom it is applicable.] OMG! What happens next??? Read on… »
Diane Hoh – Last Date
Title: Nightmare Hall #11: Last Date by Diane Hoh
Summary: A night you’ll never forget. Call me. Demi does it on a dare. She places an ad in the personals column of the Salem Chronicle. Lots of guys call. And the nights are everything she advertised. Unforgettable. Unforgettably frightening. Because one by one, Demi’s dates start having nasty little accidents. Disappearing. Even…dying.
Notes: I will now refer to the bad guy as “Muffin Man” because of The Mall.
I didn’t even like this one when I first read it 24 years ago. 24 years. Bloody hell. If that weren’t bad enough, Nola “Hack” Thacker is back in the driver’s seat for this ride, so I’m anticipating severe bouts of carsickness and a strong urge to nap. (Note from the future: and a lot of swearing, too). [Wing: Another one I don’t remember reading. Somehow, I think I missed most of the Thacker ones, even though at the time, I didn’t know they were being ghostwritten.]
Title: Graveyard School #23 – The Easter Egg Haunt, a.k.a. “Here Comes Peter Cottontail, Hoping Down The MUUUUUUUURDER Trail”
Author: Tom B. Stone, a.k.a. Nola Thacker, a.k.a. D.E. Athkins
Cover Artist: Mark Nagata
Summary: How Do You Like Your Easter Eggs? Fried, Scrambled, Or… Screaming?
It’s time for Easter and the annual Grove Hill Easter Egg Hunt. David Pike is taking his younger brother, weird Richie. Richie is excited, but for David it’s usually one big yawn.
But then David finds out that the egg hide-and-seek will be held at Graveyard School. An Easter egg hunt near a graveyard? This year, Easter will be more egg-citing than it’s cracked up to be!
We’re having another short break from the chronological order again, but for a good reason!
Because I felt like that.
This month, as most of you might know, Easter and April Fool’s Day fell on the same day. If anyone remembers the list of Graveyard School books, there was also an entry called “April Ghoul’s Day.” Between this and that, I chose “The Easter Egg Haunt,” and I will not be saving “April Ghoul’s Day” for next year. That one’s going up in September as part of the chronological order. I do NOT celebrate April Fool’s Day anymore, for reasons I’m going to shed light on this month in my other recaps.
Guys seriously though, this isn’t a joke if you expect to click the read more link and it takes you to a jump scare or gag post or something.
This month we’re seeing the triumphant return of David and Richie Pike from “Revenge of the Dinosaurs,” and yes Richie has exactly the same capacity for self-preservation as he did in his previous appearance. The Easter imagery as juxtaposed with the usual Graveyard School setting is hilarious, and we further catch a glimpse of how committed Polly Hannah is towards her pink, yellow, and blue theme.
Title: Goosebumps Live On Stage – Screams In The Night, a.k.a. “Hello, Slappy!”
Author: R.L. Stine (Based on stage play by Rupert Holmes)
Cover Artist: Tim Jacobus
Time for another long lost Goosebumps treasure, though this one’s slightly better known than “Haunted Library” and “Surprise on the 13th Floor.”
In the late 90s there was briefly a Goosebumps stage show, though I was barely aware of this since I was like 8 or 9 at the time. I’ve never seen a performance, and I don’t know how long the show ran. Hell, I’m not even sure how I got this book. I think it originally belonged to my sibling back in elementary school, but like so much of their shit, it ended up in my possession because they stopped caring about it.
There are four stories in this book, a wraparound tale and three short stories that feature the same cast of characters. The first and third stories are weird, the first coming across like a rehash of “Stay Out of the Basement” and the third some prototype for the “Goosebumps Horrorland” series. I prefer the second story out of the bunch.
The book came with some illustrations by Tim Jacobus. Unfortunately, due to the size and spine of the book I’m unable to make scans without doing serious damage.
[Wing: I’m still boggling over it getting a stage show. What I wouldn’t give to see it today!]
To celebrate 5 Years of Horror at Devil’s Elbow, Wing revisits our very first recap: Funhouse by Diane Hoh
Title: Driver’s Dead by Peter Lerangis
A rather prolific author, Peter Lerangis has been writing for decades, although if you go to his website the farthest back you’ll find is his The Watchers series. No mention of his Point Horror writing that I can find. Seriously. Not even his Wiki page goes beyond his Watchers series. Don’t worry. I believe I’ve found them. Titles include DRIVER’S DEAD, THE YEARBOOK, and X-ISLE. Seems like he doesn’t want the taint, maybe? Or it’s just that his various other series have done so well there’s no need to put that retail work on his resume any longer. [Wing: Those the books I’ve found by him, too (with X-Isle being a two book series). He also ghostwrote some of the Baby-Sitters Club books.]
Anyway, he has a weird thing for the Vietnam War in this book, and I don’t know why. The premise seems to hinge on a “crazy” Vietnam vet and one of the characters being a refugee from the area and trying to find his parents. It’s just the date seems really off. The book was published in 1994. That’s a big, lingering gap for Vietnam relevance. It was just weird. It didn’t necessarily seem forced, but the timing was off enough that it really stood out.
Also every. Single. Chapter. Ends on a cliffhanger. All of them.
Nightmare – dead ahead.
Kristen’s not a very good driver. And the driver’s ed classes aren’t helping. No matter how hard she tries, she just can’t get the hang of being behind the wheel.
Rob’s a very good driver. And he wants to give Kirsten a few tips on how to improve her driving. But after the first session, Rob turns up missing.
Kirsten is beginning to realize that this class may be a little more than she bargained for. A class that may drive her crazy – or to death.
That is . . . Really bad. One, it’s vaguely relevant to the plot. It just leaves out a whole shit ton of applicable details like Rob being a shitbag, the fact that he doesn’t turn up missing, but dead, and the story actually doesn’t center around the class itself. Driver’s ed precipitates a lot of the events, but the class is really more of a passing thing. The contest is really the driving force behind this (pun intended), along with, you know. Being haunted by a dead kid that’s screwing with her head.
Title: Mermaid Saga Part 3-4 – The Village of the Fighting Fish
Author/Artist: Rumiko Takahashi
This immediately isn’t one of my favorites stories in the series. While two of the characters are pretty cool, it doesn’t really have the same horror feel as the other tales. The tone and setting comes across similar to Takahashi’s other series, “Inuyasha.”
It also seems weird she’d do a story about Yuta’s past, long before Mana was in the picture, as the immediate second tale after the opening two parts.
I’m not sure how you’re gonna feel about this one, Wing. I don’t think you’ll like the ending, but I do think you’ll like the bad guy.
[Wing: It does seem like a strange choice to do a backstory so soon after the series begins.]
Title: Nightmare Hall #10: Sorority Sister by Diane Hoh
Summary: When Maxie McKeon pledges Omega Phi Delta, she figures she’s got it made. She loves her new sisters. And everyone knows Omegas throw the best parties and go out with the cutest guys. But someone on campus isn’t crazy about the sorority. That person is just, well, crazy. And he – or she – is determined to destroy the house, and everyone in it. Joining Omega won’t change Maxie’s life. It will just shorten it.
Mental health: with tact and sensitivity: 1 point. Right in the back cover synopsis! Although, to be fair, Hoh didn’t write the synopsis.
I don’t remember ever disliking a Diane Hoh book, but Deadly Attraction and The Wish in this series have shown me they’re occasionally not as great as I recall (albeit a lot better than most of the YA thrillers at the time). This book has the misfortune of coming after The Night Walker, a tight, taut, complex little humdinger of a thriller that I could barely find fault with. So it has a lot to live up to. But I’m always optimistic when it comes to Hoh (unlike Nola Thacker), and I do have memories of this at least being fun. Note: I have no knowledge of how fraternities and sororities work, because we don’t have them in Australia. Any idea I have is based solely on books and B-grade movies.
[Wing: That cover makes me think of Dawn Schafer and Abby Stevenson from the Baby-Sitters Club, which cracks me up. I’d not read this one before, so had no nostalgic thoughts going into it, but I was a part of a music fraternity for awhile at university (yes, I said fraternity), but it wasn’t a social Greek organisation, and I assume much different than whatever we have going on here.]
Evil twins, Wing and Dove, and their friends recap Point Horror and other teen genre fiction.
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