Posted in Goosebumps Recaps

Recap #276: Goosebumps Series 2000 #13: Return to Horrorland by R.L. Stine

Return to HorrorLand Cover by Tim Jacobus
Return to HorrorLand Cover by Tim Jacobus

Title: Goosebumps Series 2000 #13 – Return to HorrorLand, a.k.a. “Let’s Play: The Happy Tooth Game”

Author: R.L. Stine

Cover Artist: Tim Jacobus

Tagline: Long time no scream!

Summary: “There’s a food stand over there,” I said, pointing. A Horror in a purple apron leaned against a small cart.

We hurried over to it. A sign on top of the cart read: FINGERS

“Great! You got chicken fingers?” Luke asked the Horror.

She shook her head. “No. Just fingers.”

I lowered my eyes to the cart. Steam rose up. I saw a pile of fingers toasting inside. Human fingers.

“They’re pretty good with ketchup,” the Horror rasped.

Initial Thoughts

For the first time ever in Point Horror history, we’re bringing you a sponsored recap!

If you’ve been living in the U.S. or paying attention to social media you’ll know protests have broken out across the world after the Minneapolis police murdered George Floyd. [Wing: And many other people, including Breonna Taylor, who was shot in her goddamn home.] Multiple protests have begun in cities throughout the United States and the world because people have finally had enough of the pigs in blue.

I took a chance and set up a post offering fanfic commissions, recap slots on here, and liveblog slots to anyone who’s donated $25 or more to any of the protest funds, GoFundMe campaigns, or campaigns connected to Black Lives Matter.

Sailoreuterpe on tumblr sent a donation big enough to gain all three options. They originally requested I recap “One Day at HorrorLand,” but since I already covered that one last year I offered to recap its 2000 sequel.

Before we begin, as a quick reminder I’m still taking slots for recaps in exchange for donations to any organizations helping Black Lives Matter. Just DM me a timestamped receipt of $25 or more over on tumblr or twitter, or you can email me at hawaiipj1959@gmail.com. I will be doing this for as long as necessary to help with the protesting.

Keep in mind I need to be able to access the work in question to recap it, and I can’t recap something that was already covered on here by other recappers.

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Posted in Other Recaps

Recap #275: Even More Short & Shivery by Robert D. San Souchi – Part 3

Even More Short & Shivery Cover
Even More Short & Shivery Cover

Title: Even More Short & Shivery

Author/Editor/Reteller: Robert D. San Souci

Illustrator: Jacqueline Roberts

Tagline: Thirty Spine-Tingling Tales

Summary: Thirty spine-chilling stories from around the world provide plenty of shivers in this spooky collection. Curl up with old friends like Washington Irving’s “Guests from Gibbet Island” or Charles Dickens’s “Chips.” Or make the acquaintance of “The Skull That Spoke” and “The Monster of Baylock” – but beware of spectral visitors like “The Blood Drawing Ghost.” This exciting mixture of classic and contemporary tales from Mexico, China, Poland, Nigeria, and other lands near and far is perfect for hair-raising reading!

Initial Thoughts

We’ve reached the midway point of these recaps and we’ll largely be getting a break from the U.S. and Britain (except for one story). (Part One. Part Two.)

For this round of five chilling tales of international terror, we’ll be exploring a haunted house I think Wing may enjoy, an early variation of an infamous creepypasta, a bittersweet Hans Christian Anderson story, and we’ll also meet a witch who saves the day via the power of looking FINE.

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Posted in Other Recaps

Recap #274: Batman: Legends of the Dark Knight Annual #6 by Alan Grant and Barry Kitson

LOTDK Annual #6 Cover
LOTDK Annual #6 Cover

Title: Batman Legends of the Dark Knight Annual #6 – “Executioner”

Plot: Alan Grant and Barry Kitson

Script: Alan Grant

Art: Vince Giarrano

Colors: John Kalisz

Separations: Digital Chameleon

Letters: Willie Schubert

Assistant Editor: Chuck Kim

Editor: Archie Goodwin

Summary: N/A

Initial Thoughts

I would like to apologize because when I first chose to review this comic, I meant it in regard solely to the COVID-19 Pandemic and the government’s willingness to reopen even at the cost of peoples’ lives. With the death of George Floyd, all the protesting that has emerged in response to that and every other police brutality death, and the response of the police, this story became so much more relevant.

As a reminder I am still taking recap slots for donations of $25 or more to help with Black Lives Matter, the Yemen Crisis, the Philippines Crisis, and what’s going on with the indigenous nations in this country. You can find the information here along with a list of books that haven’t yet been recapped on Point Horror.

Time for another comic recap. I was on the fence about whether to post this here or on Nostalgic Bookshelf, but I figured Batman comics can go under horror by default.

Legends of the Dead Earth
Legends of the Dead Earth

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Posted in Other Recaps

Recap #273: Even More Short & Shivery by Robert D. San Souci – Part Two

Even More Short & Shivery Cover
Even More Short & Shivery Cover

Title: Even More Short & Shivery

Author/Editor/Reteller: Robert D. San Souci

Illustrator: Jacqueline Roberts

Tagline: Thirty Spine-Tingling Tales

Summary: Thirty spine-chilling stories from around the world provide plenty of shivers in this spooky collection. Curl up with old friends like Washington Irving’s “Guests from Gibbet Island” or Charles Dickens’s “Chips.” Or make the acquaintance of “The Skull That Spoke” and “The Monster of Baylock” – but beware of spectral visitors like “The Blood Drawing Ghost.” This exciting mixture of classic and contemporary tales from Mexico, China, Poland, Nigeria, and other lands near and far is perfect for hair-raising reading!

Initial Thoughts

Our next round of stories mostly take place in Britain and Ireland, with one in the West Indies and the last in the U.S.A. by Washington Irving. Not much to say except there’s more awesome art by Jacqueline Roberts, we get yet another strange variant of vampire, and *loudest sigh* one character is described as a beauty with “ebony skin” so there’s that.

As a reminder, everyone, I am still taking recap slots in exchange for a donation of $25 or more to any program, fund, or campaign helping with Black Lives Matter, the Yemen crisis, the Anti-Terror Bill in the Philippines, or the struggles of the indigenous American nations such as the Navajo and Hopi. You can find my info here as well as a list of books I currently own that haven’t been recapped yet.

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Posted in Other movies

Recap #272: Flatliners (1990)

Flatliners (1990)Title: Flatliners (1990)

Tagline: Some lines shouldn’t be crossed. 

Summary: Third-year medical students decide to play with life and death, “flatlining” themselves into death to explore the great beyond. But Death doesn’t like being fucked with and consequences abound.

Note: This film has a metric ton of medical terminology – which I do my best to unpack and explain – as well as dealing with several suicide(s) and/or attempts. It’s not exactly a happy film. It may be too heavy for some in the current 2020 year of the pandemic.

Initial Thoughts:

Well, here we are.

Look. Flatliners is one of my holiest of holies: a movie I almost vowed never to recap, because to recap means to pick it apart and show all its faults to the world. I know this movie is flawed as fuck. It is far from perfect. Great concept, not so amazing story execution. It is a time capsule film, staring a bunch of actors that were (unfairly?) lumped in with The Brat Pack, which meant critics could (unfairly) label it a Brat Pack movie and clobber it in reviews. “St Elmo’s Funeral” and “The Breakfast Club Dies” were actually jokes made by Sutherland in a press interview with Fangoria Magazine. Kinda sums it up, really. [Wing: I want to watch The Breakfast Club Dies, honestly.]

Yes, it does star Kevin Bacon (Earth’s mightiest hero?), Kiefer Sutherland (post-vampire, pre-Bauer), and Julia Roberts (oh well), along side one of the lesser Baldwin brothers, William [JC: Lesser? Not . . . really? Billy was a top-tier Baldwin in the 90s. Until he wasn’t. Stephen and Daniel, the true lesser Baldwins, never reached Billy and Alec’s tier.], and (Dove and I share custody of) Oliver Platt [JC: Gee, guys, save some Platt for the rest of us, huh? I’m all good as long as I can stake claim to him in Lake Placid.] [bat: Please, go ahead, I’ve only seen parts of that and I don’t remember it at all. Placid!Platt is all yours, JC!] [Dove: I feel I’ve seen that movie, but can’t remember it. He’s all yours.] [Wing: I love Lake Placid, but could not care less about Oliver Platt, so as long as I get the movie, I’ll bow out of this fight.] Out of all of those, at the time, none were true Brat Pack(ers). Bacon, maybe? To contextualize this for people not born during this particular historical period, the biggest thing to come out of this film was the engagement of Sutherland and Roberts. Literally.

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Posted in Movie Recaps

Recap #271: The Lost Boys (1987)

The Lost Boys (1987)

Title: The Lost Boys (1987)

Tagline: [bat: Shall we recite it in unison?] Sleep all day. Party all night. Never grow old. Never die. It’s fun to be a vampire.

[Dove: That is a long fucking tagline.]

Summary: A mother and her two teenage sons move to a seemingly nice and quiet small coastal California town yet soon find out that it’s overrun by bike gangs and vampires. A couple of teenage friends take it upon themselves to hunt down the vampires that they suspect of a few mysterious murders and restore peace and calm to their town. [Wing: That is a pretty bland summary. I guess I’ve never read it before. Also, if the bike gangs are as dangerous as the vampires, as implied with that juxtaposition, who is taking care of the bike gangs?

Also, two warnings: One, we’re all wordy and this is one of our favourite movies, so this is long. Two, if you’ve ever wanted to know more about the recappers, our histories, and our fannish experiences, you’re in luck, because the initial thoughts below the cut map us out.]

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Posted in Friday the 13th movies, Let's Do It! recaps

Recap #270: Friday the 13th Part VIII: Jason Takes Manhattan (1989)

Title: Friday the 13th Part VIII: Jason Takes Manhattan (1989)

Summary: A high school senior class trip turns into Murder Party Massacre and ends with Jason taking out his issues on New York City’s sewer system.

Tagline: New York has a new problem (I would argue that in A.D. 2020, NY has a much different problem then a serial mass murderer, but, then again, a virus without a cure is in its own way a serial mass murderer… never mind.)

Notes: I honestly thought the prior installment would break me, what with its super poor handling of mental health. I was wrong. This was the entry that completely broke me and made me so angry.

Initial Thoughts

Virgin’s back! And so soon after the previous installment! I know, I’m shocked, too. But, seeing that we (as of this writing) have been in some sort of lock down / self-isolation / quarantine mode (future readers, this was written in 2020) I don’t have a lot to do other then recap. Yeah, I could do the dishes, probably do some laundry, but I’d rather spend my day with that lovable scamp, Jason Voorhees! [Wing: After this movie, I’m not sure you would, really.] Who, apparently, gets to go on a wild field trip! Being that half the films seem to be centered around New Jersey, and some confusion on whether some are in California, I guess going to the Big Apple makes sense?

Getting Part VII: The New Blood finished and posted (thanks to Wing’s help) on its release date (the thirtytooth anniversary) [Wing: I still cannot believe I did that. Readers who missed it, my tweet about this said “happy 32th anniversary” because I am an idiot. Virgin saved the day with her pronunciation.] injected, well, new blood (I’m sorry) into my quest. Yeah, I’m on the downhill slope here, sliding towards one of the ultimate crossovers in recent cinematic history, and when this installment is done, I will only have four left, two of which are still considered “in franchise” (Jason takes another field trip and X marks the spot?) then we hit the crossover, then finally the reboot. I’m not sure why this series needed to be rebooted but I guess I’ll understand whether or not that was a good idea when we get there.

So! New York City! Everything I know about the Big Apple is either through films from the 70s-80s-90s or TV shows that are “set” there but really filmed in Canada. I can say, with honesty, that it’s never been my desire to go there. Like, I wouldn’t pass up the opportunity but I wouldn’t say it’s in my top ten. Or my top 50, either. Just thinking about the city makes me feel claustrophobic. [Wing: I like NYC, but I would never live there. Even if it were more affordable, the sheer number of people and gigantic buildings is just too much. I love cities, but that one doesn’t work for me. (Also, I will never live east of the Mississippi River again if I have my way.]

This installment dropped July 28th, 1989. Which is not remotely a Friday or the 13th of a month. After the fiasco that was The New Blood, Paramount knew it needed to cover its sins tracks as fast as possible. The wiki tells me this was the most poorly-performing film in the franchise in box office take (uh oh) and people really love or hate it. Sounds like The New Blood all over again. I think, honestly, that could be said of almost ALL the sequels. People either love or hate ’em.

Okay, put on your life vest, it’s time to take a sea cruise with Jason Voorhees! Let’s Do It!

Important note! Remember, I am rolling over the body count from each of the previous films recapped, so that will be reflected in the counter and final tally.

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Posted in BATliotheca

BATliotheca #1: The Abhorsen Trilogy by Garth Nix

BATliotheca

Heeeeyyyyyy! Welcome to an experiment of mine. I know Point Horror / the Devil’s Elbow is full of recaps of various horror movies / books / etc. It’s a great site and we have a lot of wonderful recappers involved, you really should invest some time and check them out!

I wanted to do something involving books, because I love books and I hope I never have to move ever again because half my house is full of books and moving books is awful and heavy and I hate it. I talked to Wing about what I wanted to do and the result is this, the first entry into BATliotheca!

That said, I suck at recapping books. Movies, great, it may be a novel-length recap, but I can handle that. I’m better at live tweeting along with television but, I’m old now, and 24 no longer makes new seasons. Why are books so hard? Because recapping a book reminds me of writing book reports. I made the mistake of doing a book report in 8th grade on Alexandre Dumas’ The Three Musketeers, which if you don’t know, has 67 chapters and an epilogue to boot. This was not only over ambitious but stupid of me, because I did not understand all the intrigue going on in the book and wasn’t remotely familiar with the period of French history in which the story is set. Yeah, don’t trust a Disney-fied simplistic film “version” to base your decision on when choosing a novel to write a book report on. (Yes, this another piece in my Kiefer Sutherland: Trival Pursuit token. Sigh.)

I think that’s why the thought of spending hours attempting to recap a book entirely turns me off. BUT! Reviewing and getting people interested in something (movie / television / books) I’ve enjoyed? THAT I CAN DO. [Wing: I have never read The Abhorsen Trilogy and possibly nothing by Garth Nix at all, so this also bat’s first challenge: Can she hook me on something I’ve long known about but never picked up? (Odds are stacked in her favour, true, I love a lot of things she recommends to me.)]

I read. I read a lot. Not just fiction. I read a lot of non-fiction medical and science, history (okay, a lot of specific history but still history), fantasy, YA, YA fantasy, some horror, some sci-fi, I’ve read some of the classics (I don’t like being told what to read and I don’t think every book on some list is worth reading, especially if you don’t enjoy it) and I AM VERY GUILTY OF BASING MY CHOICE ON WHAT I’M READING ON COVER ART.

Woe be the author who ends up with shitty cover art. Because I will be an instant snob and walk right on past. Cover art sets the tone for me, it can spark my imagination, and is almost better than any plot summation blurb on the back. And god help you if you change the art mid-series and it no longer matches the initial books. The Saturn side of my OCD brain will scream and murder you, I am not kidding. I have taken books to Powell’s and turned them in to have credit to buy copies of the same books with the CORRECT cover art, just because I hate things not matching.

And there are book series from my childhood that if I do not own the copy with the correct cover art, I am less likely to read said book until it is the cover that cemented in my memory. (This is also true of DVD and CD art. Do not ask me how mad I am about not owning the correct CD art for the Stone Temple Pilot’s album Purple, after my mother made me sell my first copy at a used CD store because she didn’t approve of it and it took me years to get another copy but it wasn’t the right artwork and I’m still pissed… that was in 1994, right? Well, it’s been a long time.)

All this ranting about cover art is actually an excellent segueway into the series I’ve chosen to for the inaugural review of BATliotheca. See, I did that on purpose, totally.

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Posted in Nightmare Hall recaps

Recap #269: Nightmare Hall #17: Last Breath by Diane Hoh

cover of Nightmare Hall 17 Last Breath by Diane HohTitle: Nightmare Hall #17: Last Breath by Diane Hoh 

Summary: Finding her seemingly perfect life haunted by a series of strange occurrences, Cassidy is frustrated by rumors that she is losing her mind, until a fall down the stairs and an encounter with poison [JC: Lies! There was no poison!] prove that someone wants Cassidy dead. 

Initial Thoughts

I don’t remember anything about this one, so it’s highly likely I never read it back in my actual teen years. It opens with a prologue, though, and possibly bad guy pov, and we all know how I feel about those, so things are off to a great start even without any memories of it. [JC: At least this one is actually written by Hoh rather than *shudders* Nola Thacker. I did read it back in the day, but couldn’t remember how it played out.]

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Posted in Other movies

Recap #268: Chopping Mall (1986)

Social Distance Snarking

Title: Chopping Mall (1986)

Summary: Sexy after-hours party held by employees in a goddamn mall is interrupted by murderous mall security robots. Hi-jinks ensue.

Tagline: Buy or Die  (Well, that’s… succinct.) …Half off is just the beginning! (Oh! It continued on! How… odd. For a tagline.)

Notes: Something tells me this film has become something of a cult classic and will either be very good (bad) or very bad (bad). [JC: Considering whose production company this is, it is going to be campy schlock. Because that’s what he does. (I’m not name-dropping it yet, because bat came to the realization eventually, and I actually cheered when she did.)]

Initial Thoughts

Hi and welcome to “how bat is trying to spend time during social distancing amid a global pandemic” portion of 2020. Seriously, it’s not like I really left the house a lot when there wasn’t a virus plague going around but shit is starting to get to me. It sucks being a empath. I think I need a tinfoil hat because I feel worn out.

But anyway, you’re not here for that. You’re here to read another recap about a horror movie! Distraction, yay! I’ve been looking to find some really bad horror movies that I’ve never seen and so far I’ve found some doozies. Today’s selection is 1986’s Chopping Mall!

So, somehow – this may be a theme(?) – I found another “horror comedy” but this one also has the distinction of being “sci-fi” as well. Unlike My Demon Lover this film seems to know exactly what it is – sci-fi/horror – with a dash of poorly written comedy thrown in because 1986. Er, technically, 1985.

I’ve heard about this film through Twitter and I think it’s been making the rounds on those pay-for subscription horror movie channels – apparently for sure on Shudder right now – but I only like things I have to spend hours trying to track down through moderately nefarious means. This is the age of the internet, you know. Why make it easy for myself?

Just watch the trailer:

Okay, trailer lies. No one broke into the mall. And it gives way too much away. For fun, I’ve invited JC to join me with commentary. This is not just because she confessed to peeking at my post as I was writing it but because I think I mentioned this film quite a while ago and she replied to my tweet about it. Maybe I’m misremembering but anyway. It’s fun to bring a new victim friend along for a recap ride! [JC: I have no memory of a Twitter convo about this, but it’s completely possible. My memory is very unpredictably hit-or-miss when it comes to conversations. Anyway, I’ve been wanting to watch this movie for the last couple of years, ever since I listened to the How Did This Get Made podcast episode about it (which I was going to link, but it is unfortunately behind the paywall right now. Boo.). I never got around to it until bat gave me the incentive with the offer to comment on her recap of it. Which I had peeked at long enough to determine what she was working on next. I mean, it was labeled “[redacted recap]”! How could I resist seeing what it was!] [Wing: I’m pretty sure there was a Twitter convo, because the movie’s been sitting on my list of things to watch so I can comment and up until y’all talked about it, I hadn’t even heard of it. I can’t say I was missing out. Mostly.

Note from the future: Apparently I mixed up two different twitter conversations about movies to recap, so I have rudely inserted myself into this recap, but since I didn’t learn this until after all my comments, well, I’m here! Enjoy surprise!Wing.]

Geez. I guess it’s time to spend an arm and a leg. Let’s go Chopping!

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Posted in General

Jude’s Recap Fundraiser for Black Lives Matter

[Wing: I want to open this by saying upfront that Devil’s Elbow stands with Black Lives Matter around the world. If Black lives don’t matter, no lives matter, and Black lives have long been forfeit in a world built on systemic racism. Black lives matter. All Black lives.]

Hey everyone, Jude here. We have a lot of fun on Devil’s Elbow but now I’d like to chat with you all on something serious.

As most of you are probably aware, the world’s a pile of shit and things don’t look good on the horizon. We’ve been dealing with a global pandemic thanks to COVID-19 and now with the murders of George Floyd and Breonna Taylor [Wing: Among many, many, many others.], protests have begun all over the world against police brutality and systematic racism. On top of that, Yemen’s on the brink of destruction and the people of the Philippines are fighting against a fascist “anti-terror” bill. That’s not even mention what the indigenous communities of North America are dealing with due to both the pandemic and our fascist government. [Wing: As well as indigenous communities around the world.]

Many of us fear we won’t live to see 2021, and even if we do it’ll most likely be worse than right now.

To that end, for the post couple of months I’ve been trying to do what I can to help. Aside from donating my own money I’ve been offering fan fiction commissions and liveblog slots on my tumblr account to raise donations. I’ve mentioned this in a couple of my posts, but now I’m making an official announcement to the Devil’s Elbow audience at large.

To help with the state of the world, I am officially offering the option for you, our readers, to commission a recap of your choosing in exchange for a donation to help any of the organizations or programs providing relief and support to the state of the world. I’ve already received donations for two recaps, “Return to HorrorLand” and “Mayhem on Mackinac Island,” and will be offering this service for as long as necessary.

So if you’d like to see me recap your favorite or least favorite Goosebumps book, or maybe something rare from the Spinetinglers series or some equally obscure series, or maybe a standalone novel such as Zilpha Keatley Snyder’s The Egypt Game or Joseph Bruchac’s Skeleton Man, this is your chance to make it a reality and do some good in the process.

This link to my tumblr account will bring you to a list of every YA horror book I currently own with mentions of what books I’ve already recapped.

Below you’ll find the rules of donating and the rules of recapping.

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Posted in Goosebumps Recaps

Recap #267: Goosebumps Series 2000 #19: Return to Ghost Camp by R.L. Stine

Return to Ghost Camp Cover by Tim Jacobus
Return to Ghost Camp Cover by Tim Jacobus

Title: Goosebumps Series 2000 #19 – Return to Ghost Camp, a.k.a. “Everybody Loves Ari”

Author: R.L. Stine

Cover Artist: Tim Jacobus

Tagline: Another summer. Another spirit.

Summary: A big yellow bus roared to a stop in front of our house.

The bus doors opened.

“Going to Camp Full Moon?” the driver snarled.

I raised my eyes to his face – and screamed.

His face was red and swollen – and covered with fleas. Angry, dark blotches swelled on his forehead – raw, fresh flea bites, dripping with yellow gunk.

Initial Thoughts

Okay so I busted my ass to get this recap done in time for the first full moon of summer, but I regret I didn’t start sooner.

“Return to Ghost Camp” is the second sequel from the Goosebumps Series 2000 books, but unlike “Return to HorrorLand” this is NOT a direct sequel. We’re not returning to Camp Spirit Moon and we don’t find out what’s been happening in the lives of Harry and Alex Altman since “Ghost Camp.” And the protagonist in question, Dustin, is kinda a step down from the chemistry Harry and Alex had. I know, I know, I was disappointed too when I found out after first reading this book. I purchased it knowing nothing about the plot beyond the title.

However, while “Return to Ghost Camp” isn’t as great as its predecessor, it has its own merits. Our big villain is almost as mysterious as the previous antagonists and there’s a lot to interpret from its ending. And I must say Jacobus’ cover is probably one of the best he’s done for the 2000 books, eschewing the delightful humor of the original “Ghost Camp” to give us a rather creepy looking ghost.

[Wing: Camp Full Moon. That cover ghost looks like a partially-transformed werewolf ghost. WELL I HAVE HOPE.]

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Posted in General

Jude’s Favorite Scary TV Episodes of the 90s – Presented by Scream-O-Vision

Before we begin, I would just like to announce that, for the first time in Point Horror’s history, this article has been brought to you by SCREAM-O-VISION.

A byproduct of Holland’s vast tulip industry, Scream-O-Vision heightens your reading pleasure by informing you when to scream. Example:

SCREAM
SCREAM

As some of you might’ve figured by now I enjoy making lists, and I’m especially fond of looking up Top 10 lists of favorite episodes or favorite characters. While I normally do this for Halloween Extravaganza, I figured global and national circumstances called for a change of pace.

We all know once in a while, TV shows and cartoons might do a scary episode (not counting Halloween specials). They might be a paranormal episode such as exploring the local haunted house, a camping episode where the characters get freaked out by an urban legend, a miscommunication episode where one character assumes the other’s a monster or serial killer, or one where the child characters get scared by a horror movie and assume the bad guy’s real.

Below I’ll be listing off and discussing the scary episodes of 90s TV shows I grew up watching as a kid and teenager. Specifically, these are episodes that either aired during the 90s or aired as part of TV shows that first began during the 90s. Halloween episodes I’ll save for a separate occasion. And this isn’t me saying what are and aren’t the definitively best scary episodes of all time, just ones I’m particularly fond of.

Now, I’ve realized I should try to do this as a regular thing because I’m gonna suddenly remember some episode I didn’t think to add or couldn’t find any images or screencaps. After this first one, let’s see how many more I can work on.

[JC: I’m about a decade older than Jude, so we experienced the 90s very differently. The majority of the animated series in this list weren’t on my radar during their original runs. Is that going to stop me from commenting? LOL NAH]

[Wing: I was a teenager for a solid chunk of the 90s.]

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Posted in Goosebumps Recaps

Recap #266: Goosebumps #4: Say Cheese And Die! by R.L. Stine

Say Cheese And Die Cover Artwork by Tim Jacobus
Say Cheese And Die Cover Artwork by Tim Jacobus

Title: Goosebumps #4 – Say Cheese And Die!, a.k.a. “Greg Banks Won’t Eat His Cereal”

Author: R.L. Stine

Cover Artist: Tim Jacobus

Tagline: One picture is worth a thousand screams.

Summary: Every Picture Tells A Story.

Greg thinks there is something wrong with the old camera he and his friends found. The photographs keep turning out wrong. Very wrong. Like the snapshot Greg took of his father’s new car that shows it totaled. And then Greg’s father is in a nasty wreck.

But Greg’s friends don’t believe him. Shari even makes Greg bring the camera to her birthday party and take her picture.

Only Shari’s not in the photograph when it develops.

Is Shari about to be taken out of the picture permanently?

Who is going to take the next fall for…

the evil camera?

Initial Thoughts

It’s time again for another of my childhood faves, and it’s one of the first Goosebumps books I ever bought with my own money.

“Say Cheese And Die!” is one of the original ten, and it’s one of the most well remembered due to Tim Jacobus’ striking cover artwork. I used to own a t-shirt with that image when I was a kid. Apparently, R.L. Stine had to go back and include a sequence in this book based on the cover after it was finished.

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Posted in Other Recaps

Recap #265: Even More Short & Shivery by Robert D. San Soucci – Part One

Even More Short & Shivery Cover
Even More Short & Shivery Cover

Title: Even More Short & Shivery

Author/Editor/Reteller: Robert D. San Souci

Illustrator: Jacqueline Roberts

Tagline: Thirty Spine-Tingling Tales

Summary: Thirty spine-chilling stories from around the world provide plenty of shivers in this spooky collection. Curl up with old friends like Washington Irving’s “Guests from Gibbet Island” or Charles Dickens’s “Chips.” Or make the acquaintance of “The Skull That Spoke” and “The Monster of Baylock” – but beware of spectral visitors like “The Blood Drawing Ghost.” This exciting mixture of classic and contemporary tales from Mexico, China, Poland, Nigeria, and other lands near and far is perfect for hair-raising reading!

Initial Thoughts

Okay so I skipped the second book, sue me!

Ever since the pandemic started and shit’s been going on, my focus on the recaps and my writing’s been all over the place. I discussed it with Wing and maybe my first book theme would be better suited for 2021. I’m having an easier time putting my energy into discussing my faves over following a theme.

Now keep in mind I do intend to recap the second Short & Shivery collection as well, but I went for the third collection because I’m really fond of Jacqueline Roberts’s art AND I’ll get to discuss a short story I’ve been dying to review.

Instead of splitting the recaps into three parts with ten short stories each, I’ve decided to break it down further into six parts with five stories each. Less for me and Wing to take care, and at least one for each month.

[Wing: I love story collections, but there’s always the potential in collections like this for the stories to spin toward racism and/or culture appropriation.]

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Posted in Friday the 13th movies, Let's Do It! recaps

Recap #264: Friday the 13th Part VII: The New Blood (1988)

Title: Friday the 13th Part VII: The New Blood (1988)

Summary: Tina just wants a “normal” life but when she returns to the scene of a horrific loss, she learns that “normal” is subjective. Oh, and Jason comes back. Again.

Tagline: Jason is back, but this time someone’s waiting! (Well, that sounds ominous…)

Notes: Yeah, this took forever. Sorry. A world-wide pandemic struck, I suffered the loss of my grandmother, there was a trip to Anaheim in there, two trips to visit family in another state (not all in that order), and – just generally – I was sorely unprepared to deal with a film that poorly handles mental health issues.

Initial Thoughts

Hi-ho, Virgin here, back for ROUND SEVEN with my ultimate continually reanimated nemesis, Jason Voorhees! That’s right, it’s time for Let’s Do It! A Virgin Does Horror!

It’s like 4 months into 2019 now it’s now 5 months into 2020, meaning I sort of missed posting this on schedule (like… I’m way off the schedule at this point, oops) but life gets in the way sometimes and I was in no shape to sit through, let alone recap, another Jason & Friends adventure. Things are back to “normal” (not sure that’s the word that describes things around here but whatever) so here I am, tackling the seventh film installment of this SERIES THAT WON’T DIE.

Obviously I know there is an end in sight; I only have five films after this one. Just five! Only five. God help me, five more of these nightmares, and technically one is a crossover and the other is a reboot. Help. [Wing: You’ve got this! Five is nothing. You’ve done way more than five already. I believe in you!]

This film dropped into theaters on May 13th, 1988. I may have gone and found the trailer on YT, because for some reason I could hear, in my head, the voice over narrator saying “the new blood”. My audio memories were pretty close. I didn’t watch the trailer, I just skipped ahead. Believe me, for all the awful stuff I’ve heard about this entry, I don’t want to spoil my misery!

ANYWAY. Although I was much more aware of films in general at this point (I would have turned 7 roughly a week ahead of this film’s release) I can’t tell you why I remember that tagline. I would say it was probably played on television, I probably heard it and desperately tried to ignore it (I was a horror wuss at that time in my life) but I could also be imagining it.

Glancing at the wiki article, it seems as though this was originally intended to be the crossover with Nightmare on Elm Street but negotiations fell through and the meet cute between Jason and Freddie did not happen for another fifteen years. Huh. Part of me still wonders if I need to stop and start watching THAT franchise between I get to the crossover film. Hm. Wing, thoughts?

Yeah, I have never seen Nightmare on Elm Street. (Or Texas Chainsaw Massacre. Or Hellraiser. It would be easier to write a list of what I have seen, tbh.) I wasn’t kidding when I said I’m a horror virgin.

I love that the working title during filming was “Birthday Bash”. Now that’s a movie I wish I was watching. At least it’s a lot more interesting in my imagination then I’m sure this will be. Okay, let’s just get on with this before my pessimism ruins the fun.

Let’s Do It, Jason! (You have failed to come and save me from all this, Kevin Bacon, damn it! Some great American hero you are! STAR-LORD LIED!!)

Important note! Remember, I am rolling over the body count from each of the previous films recapped, so that will be reflected in the counter and final tally.

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Posted in Child's Play Movies

Recap #263: Curse of Chucky (2013)

Title: Curse of Chucky (2013)

Tagline: [Dove: Sorry guys, I literally can’t find one. JC?] [JC: All I could find was “Be afraid. Be effing afraid.” Which is pretty effing pathetic, if you ask me.]

Summary: After her mother’s mysterious death, Nica begins to suspect that the talking, red-haired doll her visiting niece has been playing with may be the key to recent bloodshed and chaos.

Initial Thoughts

After the disappointment of Seed (JC, you ok, hun? [JC: Okay about what? There’s just a big blank spot where my memory of that recap should be. Thanks for protecting me, brain!]) I put off watching this. I was so pissed off. I didn’t even read about it. I didn’t believe people who said “Chucky has gone back to his roots.” And, retrospectively, I was right. The Lakeshore Strangler’s roots would be strangulation, which is still absent.

But when I finally did, I was delighted. And had I known what a delight Fiona Dourif was, I’d have watched a lot sooner. (If you don’t love her as Bart in Dirk Gently, I think you’re probably broken. Though I get it if you can’t bring yourself to watch something created by Max Landis.) [JC: That’s not a thing I’ve seen. My introduction to Fiona was on True Blood. I knew she was in it, I had no idea what she looked like, but as soon as I saw her, I was immediately like, “yup, that’s gotta be her.” She looks just like her dad. But while I’m not sure whether or not we would call Brad conventionally attractive (I personally find him attractive, but I gravitate toward people with an interesting look as opposed to your more blandly pretty movie star types), Fiona is fucking gorgeous, and a total badass in this movie. I honestly think she was one of the girl crushes that helped me realize my bi-ness.] [Dove: I would say that he was… *thinks* maybe “delicately beautiful” in Cuckoo’s Nest, and since then has been variations of attractive since then – but you’re right, he has a more interesting look than classically handsome. And Fiona is the same. She’s oddly appealing as Bart, a woman who hasn’t washed or brushed her hair for years and is most often covered in blood. And she’s delightful as Nica too.]

I have only seen this and Cult once, both of them were watched back-to-back, so I remember very little about either of them.

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Posted in Goosebumps Recaps

Recap #262: Goosebumps #1: Welcome to Dead House by R.L. Stine

Welcome to Dead House Cover by Tim Jacobus
Welcome to Dead House Cover by Tim Jacobus

Title: Goosebumps #1 – “Welcome to Dead House” a.k.a. “They’re Coming To Get You, Amanda!”

Author: R.L. Stine

Cover Artist: Tim Jacobus

Tagline: It will just kill you.

Summary: Look Alive!

Amanda and Josh think they old house they have just moved into is weird. Spooky. Possibly haunted. And the town of Dark Falls is pretty strange, too.

But their parents don’t believe them. You’ll get used to it, they say. Go out and make some new friends.

So Amanda and Josh do. But these new friends are not exactly what their parents had in mind.

Because they want to be friends…

forever.

Initial Thoughts

This is one recap I definitely have the energy for, because this is where it all began. The very first Goosebumps book by R.L. Stine, commissioned back when Scholastic didn’t believe the series would sell enough. Boy were they wrong! [Wing: Stine did an excellent job of creating stories people love even now and reaching kids with horror, and I love that, no matter how strong our feud.]

As the beginning of the franchise, “Welcome to Dead House” gives us a look at how Stine originally established many of the tropes he’s run into the ground over the last three decades, but before he exaggerated the shit out of them. Our main character and narrator, Amanda Benson, is a girl dealing with her bratty brother Josh and her parents not believing them about the weird shit going on in their new home.

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Posted in Fear Street Recaps

Recap #261: Fear Street #44: The Rich Girl by R.L. Stine

The Rich Girl Cover by Bill Schmidt
The Rich Girl Cover by Bill Schmidt

Title: Fear Street #44 – The Rich Girl, a.k.a. “Capitalism Stinks!”

Author: R.L. Stine

Cover Artist: Bill Schmidt

Tagline: Would you kill to be rich?

Summary: Whom can you trust?

Emma Naylor and her best friend Sydney Shue always share their secrets. And now they have a big one. They found a duffel bag stuffed with money.

They swore never to tell anyone. But Sydney broke her promise. She told her boyfriend, Jason, about the money.

Now Emma is terrified. She doesn’t trust Jason – and she thinks he would do anything to get the money for himself. Even kill…

Initial Thoughts

It’s finally spring, which means it’s time to think green. And what could be greener than money!

Money, the root of all evil and the root of this later entry Fear Street book. “The Rich Girl” was one of the earliest Fear Street books I can remember purchasing and a point of small interest for me over the years. As of this recap, it’s the first time I’ve re-read the book from beginning to end since middle school.

Despite what the summary says, Emma’s best friend Sydney is technically the main character since most of the action is happening from her point-of-view. The implications of this book are definitely rather uncomfortable to think about and there’s a lot of ableism going on near the end. Sorry, Wing.

[Wing: Eh, I’m never surprised by that around here. Also, no matter how many times I see that tagline, I first read it as “Would it kill you to be rich?”]

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Posted in Nightmare Hall recaps

Recap #260: Nightmare Hall #15: Truth or Die by Diane Hoh/Nola Thacker

 

Title: Nightmare Hall #15 Truth or Die

Author: Diane Hoh (Nola Thacker)

Summary: It begins as a game.

When first-year student Parrie Moore meets the other girls at a party, joining them in their harmless game of Truth or Dare sounds like fun.

And at first it is. The dares are silly pranks that make them all laugh.

But gradually the dares become stranger, more dangerous. The game is taking on a life of its own.

Parrie is frightened. But it’s only a game . . . or is it?

 

*Note: That ^ is not the cover I remember, and I hate it. THIS is the cover I had as a kid, with the see-through window that opened to another part of the picture, although by this point they might have been one solid cover. Much more nostalgic.

 

Initial Thoughts

Well, first things first, we have a Thacker! *sarcastic jazz hands* That means I’m not holding this to the same standard I would were it actually Hoh writing. I generally find Thacker’s writing to range from “meh” to “I’m going to build a time machine to go back and punch you in the throat as you’re writing this.”

I like the premise, even though it’s not one I’m a total sucker for; it reminds me of a writing prompt I saw on reddit and am actually currently writing a story based on. So, I hope there’s nothing in this book that I accidentally plagiarize for my own. Anyway, there are a lot of “truth or dare gone wrong” stories out there, even in current day, and this one doesn’t stand out at all. Unfortunately.

Regardless if this one is good or bad, I’m happy Wing welcomed me into the Nightmare Hall recapping fold. I remember loving these books, although after reading the recaps of them here, so far I’m questioning my teenage judgment. I doubt this is going to be the book that makes me gasp, “My God, they are as good as I remember!”

Anyway. Onward!

[Wing: I had the window covers, too, and I loved them so damn much. And many thanks to JC for stepping in when I couldn’t get my hands on a copy of this one. More JC recaps is always a good thing!]

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