Posted in Other Recaps

Recap #147: The Last Vampire #4: Phantom by Christopher Pike

Last Vampire 4 Phantom by Christopher Pike
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.

Initial Thoughts

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.

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Posted in Other Recaps

Recap #138: The Last Vampire #3: Red Dice by Christopher Pike

Red Dice by Christopher PikeTitle: The Last Vampire #3: Red Dice by Christopher Pike

Summary: Alisa and her former FBI partner, Joel, learn of a government plan to capture them in order to steal and analyze their vampire blood for the purpose of duplicating it, and when Joel is caught, Alisa risks her life to free him.

Tagline: This time the world hunted her…

Initial Thoughts

I remember nothing about this book. I know I’ve read it. I’ve probably even read it multiple times, though not since my early 20s, if not even before that. But I have no idea what the plot is here, or even who, besides Alisa, is around.

ALISA NEVER GONNA DIE BECAUSE I’M GODDAMN PERNE IS BACK.

Let’s do this.

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Posted in Other Recaps

Recap #132: Last Vampire #2: Black Blood by Christopher Pike

Last Vampire 2 Black Blood by Christopher PikeTitle: Last Vampire #2: Black Blood by Christopher Pike

Summary: Believing that she and her partner, Ray, are the last remaining vampires, five-thousand-year-old Alisa is stunned when she learns about a series of brutal murders in the United States that can only be the work of their own kind.

Tagline: The wave of death spread like a plague…

Initial Thoughts

I know I’ve read this one before, but I have no memory of what happens. Apparently, my memory, like the last book, ends in that cliffhanger of whether Alisa will live or die. I mean, I’m assuming she lives, considering there’s still a number of books to go, but I suppose Ray could be the new last vampire. But I doubt it.

Reminder: Last book ended with Sita: breaking her vow to Krishna and making another vampire; blowing up Yaksha, her creator; accidentally getting impaled by a piece of wood; and potentially dying in true peace because she realises she didn’t actually break her vow to Krishna.

ALISA I’M BETTER THAN ALL Y’ALL PERNE ROUND TWO.

Let’s do this.

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Posted in Other Recaps

Recap #126: The Last Vampire by Christopher Pike

Cover of The Last Vampire by Christopher PikeTitle: The Last Vampire by Christopher Pike

Summary: Alisa Perne is the last vampire. Beautiful and brilliant, she hunts alone, living among humans, living off humans. But someone is stalking her. Someone wants her dead. And Alisa has a choice to make – to keep a long held promise or protect the mortal she seems to be falling for.

Tagline: This time someone is hunting her…

Initial Thoughts

Oh god, here we go. Five years into recapping on Devil’s Elbow, and I’m finally spending an entire year focused on my favourite of the 80s and 90s teen horror authors, Christopher Pike. I’m saving my absolutely favourite books for the end of the year, but first, I’m taking on The Last Vampire series, which is significantly longer now than the first time I read it.

Note: There’s a lot of religion throughout this, particularly centered around Krishna and Vishnu. I do some basic research as I read, but I have very little knowledge here. My guess is that Pike’s taking a ton of liberties. I think that reading this as an adult, it’s going to smack of cultural appropriation, so keep that in mind when you read the book and this recap.

I loved this series growing up, especially the first book, but oh my god, does it get weird. So weird. Complicated and twisty and fun, but weird.

Though I’ve reread a lot of my Pike books often, this is not a series I read more than the first couple books obsessively, so I’m excited to go through the entire thing again.

2018: The Year of Christopher Pike. Let’s do this.

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Posted in General

Happy 5th Anniversary!

2018 brings the fifth anniversary for Devil’s Elbow. I can’t believe we’ve been recapping here for so long, and that you keep coming along for this ridiculous, terrible, wonderful ride. We’re bringing all the regular series recaps you’ve come to love (or loathe; we certainly have a love-hate relationship with a lot of what we recap), as well as some fun surprises throughout the year.

Keep an eye on this space for a couple of contests with fun prizes, lots of celebratory posts, some special events revisiting old recaps, and a whole lot more.

Thanks for five years of cheesy YA horror fun. You guys are the best part of it by far.

Posted in Nightmares Recaps

Recap #116: Class Trip II by Bebe Faas Rice

Cover of Class Trip 2 by Bebe Faas Rice, shows an open door and a traveling bag on a porch in a sliver of lightTitle: Class Trip II by Bebe Faas Rice

Summary: Hallie and her friends are lost, stranded in Holyoake—a small town deep in the mountains. A town isolated from the rest of the world. A town that time has forgotten.

At first, Hallie is charmed by Holyoake’s odd customs and old-fashioned ways. [Wing: LIES.] The townspeople are warm and friendly, and they’re eager to make Hallie and her friends feel right at home. They want to make sure that Hallie and her friends stay in Holyoake. Forever.

Tagline: Pack your bag…

Initial Thoughts

Way back when I first recapped Class Trip, I talked about how I’d read Class Trip II and really enjoyed it, but had never read the first book. Had never even considered finding the first book, despite the fact that Class Trip II is very clearly the second book in a series.

So finally, years later, I read Class Trip. I enjoyed it — sort of. And now I’ve come back to Class Trip II, which I loved when I was a teen. Here’s hoping it holds up. (I’m reading an updated version, I think, so who knows how that will compare.) [Wing: Note from the future, I didn’t actually notice any differences, because I was so enthralled.]

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Posted in General

Coming Soon: Nostalgic Bookshelf

In January 2018, Devil’s Elbow celebrates its 5th anniversary and Sweet Valley Online its 1st. We’ve had a blast recapping, podcasting, and connecting with all of you over the years. We’ve had readers tell us it’s like one big, opinionated book club, and that’s part of the joy for us too.

Devil’s Elbow and Sweet Valley Online will be holding their own celebrations in January, but we want to announce our next big venture: Nostalgic Bookshelf (www.nostalgicbookshelf.com). We’re expanding the recap empire, and boy do we have some fun things in store for you.

Both Devil’s Elbow and Sweet Valley Online will continue with their current schedules, but we’re adding additional content and new recappers. In January 2018, Nostalgic Bookshelf will launch. In addition to the ongoing content at Devil’s Elbow and Sweet Valley Online, we will be recapping and discussing the Baby-Sitters Club series by Ann M. Martin, the Making Out series by Katherine Applegate, the world of Enid Blyton, and the Game Box, which will include Choose Your Own Adventure books and games, tabletop games, and classic console and computer games.

There will be many more surprises to come, and more information as we get closer to our January launch.

We’ll introduce the new recappers with their first recaps, and we know you’re going to love them.

(If you have ever wanted to be a part of this nostalgic recapping, podcasting, and discussions, or if you have any comments or questions, email us at management@nostalgicbookshelf.com. We’re open to nostalgic media from at least 10 years ago or earlier.)

We’ve had a great time building this community with you, and we hope you’ll enjoy the additional content and new areas of nostalgia. Be sure to tell your friends!

Posted in Other Recaps

October Patreon Bonus Recap: Are You Afraid of the Dark? 01×01 The Tale of the Phantom Cab

Submitted for the approval of the Devil’s Elbow Patreons, I call this post: The Recap of the Tale of the Phantom Cab.

INITIAL THOUGHTS

Are You Afraid of the Dark? was a horror anthology tv show that aired in the early 90s. The premise was that a group of teens are brought together by their love of horror and meet up each week to take turns telling scary stories. They call themselves the Midnight Society, and though they are all very different, their stories keep bringing them back together.

Baby!Wing loved the hell out of this show when it first aired in the USA, and adult!Wing loves the hell out of it to this day. Revisiting it with you, amazing Patrons, is going to be fun.

You can read this bonus recap by supporting our Patreon at the $5 level or higher, and receive access to our Patron-only feed, bonus recaps, bonus episodes, and more. Click here to support the Devil’s Elbow.
Posted in Fear Street Recaps

Recap #106: Fear Street #14: The Knife by R. L. Stine

Title: Fear Street #14: The Knife by R. L. Stine

Summary: Welcome to Fear Street

Don’t listen to the stories they tell you about Fear Street. Wouldn’t you rather explore it yourself…and see if its dark terrors and unexplained mysteries are true? You’re not afraid, are you?

Quiet — hospital!

Sshh. There are a lot of things they want to keep quiet at Shadyside Hospital. In fact, just about every private room holds a private secret of its own. Poor Laurie Masters. The student volunteer innocently happened to stumble onto the hospital’s sickest secret of all. Laurie has seen too much — and now the doctors and nurses are taking a close look at Laurie. What they come up with is a deadly diagnosis. Laurie may not be sick, but she’s getting a prescription anyway — a prescription for horror!

[Wing: Oh god, that summary. That last line. I am dying. This is terrible.]

Tagline: In this hospital people are dying — to get out.

Initial Thoughts

I’ve never read this one before, and thank god I wrote this recap before I read that summary, or might have never read it at all. The book is a billion times better than that summary.

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Posted in General

Halloween Extravaganza: Favorite Horror and Creepy Podcasts

Welcome to October, my favorite month of the year! Marching band competitions are in full swing, the air here is crisp, the night sky bright with moon and stars, leaves change color and fall and crunch when you walk through them, horror movies are everywhere, and Halloween is coming. Here at Devil’s Elbow, we love horror and scary stories and Halloween (…obviously), and to celebrate, we have a month of bonus posts to go along with our regular recaps.

Sit back with a cup of hot apple cider(1) (liberally dosed with the alcohol of your choice; I recommend rum or vodka) and celebrate the season with us.

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Posted in Point Horror Recaps

Recap 96: The Cemetery by D. E. Athkins

cover of The Cemetery by D. E. Athkins, has four fingers coming out of dirt with long, sharp silver nailsTitle: The Cemetery by D. E. Athkins

Summary: At a Hallowe’en party with very exclusive guests, the disguised play a game of hide and seek in an ancient cemetery as midnight approaches. When someone is killed, all the partygoers can do is suspect each other – unless there is an unknown player.

Tagline: Don’t look behind you…

Initial Thoughts

Every time I see the name D. E. Athkins, I laugh, which is probably not the intended response. I can’t help it. Deathkins writing Point Horror? Good lord, be more subtle.

Beyond that, I find D. E. Athkins’ work hit or miss, whether under this pseud or as Nola Thacker (who also wrote the Graveyard School series as Tom B. Stone and sometimes filled in as the ghost writer for the Nightmare Hall series under Diane Hoh’s name). (My god, the authors we recap here are an incestuous lot, aren’t they?) (Note: No actually claim or accusation of real incest here.)

All that being said, I love the summary of this book (… minus the Hallowe’en spelling, which just looks twee), and I hope we’ll all enjoy it.

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Posted in Snark at the Moon! recaps

Recap #94: The Howling (1981)

The Howling cover werewolf claws tearing through a solid sheet and a woman's screaming face behind itTitle: The Howling

Summary: After a bizarre and near fatal encounter with a serial killer, a television newswoman is sent to a remote mountain resort whose residents may not be what they seem.

Tagline: Imagine your worst fear a reality. [Wing: Worst fear. Right.] [Bat: Being a werewolf isn’t my worst fear…]

Initial Thoughts

This was baby!Wing’s first werewolf movie, her first horror movie, and I will forever love it for giving me all that it did: a love of werewolves, a love of horror movies, a love of dramatic full moon shots and cheesy dog and wolf puns and silver bullets, certain iconic images — I watched it at a fairly young age, despite the fact that neither of my parents like horror movies and we weren’t allowed to watch them growing up. [Bat: This explains SO. MUCH. I’ve known Wing ~20 years and now I understand the werewolf love all the better.]

My dad was a truck driver, and I often spent large chunks of my summer and holidays with him on the road. (Why I love road trips and driving to this day and can’t settle down in one place too long before I’m itching to leave and have an adventure.) One night, we had a break at a truck stop. I’m not sure how old I was. Maybe nine or ten? Eight or eleven? I’m not sure. Anyway, we were hanging out in the trucker’s lounge, and The Howling came on. My dad swears he doesn’t remember this at all, and probably he had fallen asleep, but I watched the entire movie, enthralled, and then when we headed out to the truck later, we had to walk through rows and rows of idling eighteen wheelers, and I kept picturing werewolves leaping from trailer to trailer. That thought still makes me catch my breath every time. [Bat: Why haven’t you written a long-haul werewolf trucker story, Wing?] [Wing: That is a very good question.]

Welcome to the first ever Snark at the Moon! recap. Every October and November, Bat and I will be recapping werewolf movies and the recaps will go live on the full moon. This year, October’s moon is the Harvest Moon, one of my favourites. (Why yes, I have a favourite full moon.) Take a look at it tonight, but keep an eye out for werewolves. You never know when you’re living a horror movie life.

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Posted in General

Halloween Extravaganza: The children of the night. What music they make.

Welcome to October! This month (my favourite month) we’re going to celebrate Halloween (my favourite holiday) while some of us, at least, enjoy gorgeous autumn weather (my favourite season, though I hate being cold). What better way to kick it off than with Wing’s Werewolf Playlist (at least as of this very moment).

I’ve put together a list of some of my favourite werewolf (or werewolf adjacent) music? Note: I interpret “werewolf adjacent” fairly loosely; mostly, if it makes me think of werewolves, it’ll probably make a werewolf playlist at some point. For the most part, I’ve only included one version, though for more than a couple, I love many, many cover versions, but I couldn’t help make one exception.

Tell me your favourite werewolf or monster or horror songs in the comments.

Amanda Siefried – Little Red Riding Hood (cover)

Blind Black – Black Dog Blues

Bowling for Soup – Little Red Riding Hood (cover)

The Pack A.D. – Wolves and Werewolves

Rainbow – Run with the Wolf

Robert Johnson – Hellhound on My Trail

Shakira – She Wolf

Skillet – Monster

I listened to Skillet’s music for a long damn time before I learned they’re a Christian rock band. Let me tell you, Christian rock has changed a hell of a lot since I was a kid!

Thea Gilmore – Bad Moon Rising (cover)

Type O Negative – Wolf Moon (live)

Warren Zevon – Werewolves of London (live)

 

Posted in Other Recaps

September Patreon Bonus Recap: Moonstruck by Grace Ellis and Shae Beagle

The Patreon Bonus Recap this month is Moonstruck issue 1 by Grace Ellis and Shae Beagle. Here’s the teaser, and you can read the rest if you become a Patron at the $5 tier or higher.

https://www.patreon.com/devilselbow

QUEER FAT WEREWOLF GIRLS. It’s like this was written for me.

Title: Moonstruck by Grace Ellis (writer) and Shae Beagle (artist)
Summary: A NEW ONGOING SERIES from Lumberjanes creator GRACE ELLIS and talented newcomer SHAE BEAGLE that tells a story of monsters, romance, and magical hijinks!

Fantasy creatures are living typical, unremarkable lives alongside humans, and barista Julie strives to be the most unremarkable of all. Normal job, normal almost-girlfriend, normal…werewolf transformations that happen when she gets upset? Yikes!

Tagline: N/A

Initial Thoughts

Jude bought me the first issue because he thought I would love this. Based on that blurb, he is correct! Queer fat werewolf protagonist? YES PLEASE.

Posted in Other Recaps

Recap #88: The Scarecrow by R. T. Cusick

cover of The Scarecrow by R T Cusick, has a scarecrown set against a cloudy full moonTitle: Scarecrow by R. T. Cusick

Summary: Beware the kindness of strangers

After crashing her car, Pamela Westbrook awakens to find that she has been rescued and cared for by the Whittakers, a family living on a remote farm in the Ozark hills. Still reeling from her accident and haunted by a tragic loss, Pamela takes comfort in the farm’s quaint setting and the family’s peaceful ways.

But soon, Pamela becomes wary of her surroundings. Micah, the strange, silent son, is treated cruelly and seems desperate to convey a message to Pamela. Girlie, the youngest child, possesses frightening, unnatural powers. When it’s time for the ritual burning of the scarecrows, Pamela comes face to face with a terrifying evil. She is ready to get away from the family’s dark rituals – but the Whittakers don’t want her to leave.

Tagline: N/A

Initial Thoughts

I’ve never read this one before, but after revisiting Silent Stalker for the recent podcast episode, I am not feeling very generous to Cusick or excited to read more of her writing. Which is a shame, because this, too, sounds like a fantastic setting with an interesting, creepy story. I love the Ozarks, I love kids with unnatural powers, and I love the idea of a ritual burning of the scarecrows.

Unfortunately, this is Cusick, so I am not holding my breath.

[Note from the future: I SHOULD HAVE BRACED MYSELF BETTER.]

Content Note: Rape discussion inside.

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Posted in Podcast

Devil’s Elbow Podcast #12: Silent Stalker by R. T. Cusick and Skeleton on a Skateboard by Tom B. Stone

Wing recaps Silent Stalker by R. T. Cusick and Graveyard School #2: Skeleton on a Skateboard by Tom B. Stone (aka Nola Thacker aka D. E. Athkins). Around the 21 minute mark, she gets a little deep about mental illness, the damage books (and other pop culture) can do, and her exhaustion over living with a mental illness. And then it gets much more fun with the ridiculous joy that is Graveyard School.

Links mentioned in the podcast:

Written Recaps: pointhorror.com

Episode Media: Silent Stalker by R. T. Cusick and Skeleton on a Skateboard by Tom B. Stone

Reader/Listener Mail: Super Serials podcast

“Gypsy” as a slur.

Facebook: Devil’s Elbow

Tumblr: Devil’s Elbow

Patreon: Devil’s Elbow

 

Posted in Podcast

Devil’s Elbow Podcast #11: Don’t Eat the Mystery Meat by Tom B. Stone and The Roommate by Diane Hoh

Wing recaps Graveyard School series #1, Don’t Eat the Mystery Meat, by Tom B. Stone (aka Nola Thacker aka D. E. Athkins) and Nightmare Hall series #2, The Roommate, by Diane Hoh (ghostwritten this time by Nola Thacker [aka D. E. Athkins aka Tom B. Stone]). What sort of author shenanigans are these?

Links mentioned in the podcast:

Written Recaps: pointhorror.com

Episode Media: Don’t Eat the Mystery Meat by Tom B. Stone and The Roommate by Diane Hoh

Recap of The Bride by D. E. Athkins

Meat Loaf as Eddie in Rocky Horror Picture Show

Facebook: Devil’s Elbow

Tumblr: Devil’s Elbow

Patreon: Devil’s Elbow

Posted in Podcast

Devil’s Elbow Podcast #10: Up the Airy Mountain by Debra Doyle and James MacDonald

Wing recaps the werewolf and fairy short story “Up the Airy Mountain” by Debra Doyle and James MacDonald, part of their Bad Blood werewolf series. (Note: Episode picked up some scratchiness in a few places; we’re working to keep that from happening in future episodes. Apologies that we didn’t catch it in time to stop it for this one.)

Links mentioned in the podcast:

Written Recaps: pointhorror.com

Episode Media: “Up the Airy Mountain” by Debra Doyle and James MacDonald

Recaps for the rest of the series:

#1 Bad Blood

#2 Hunters’ Moon

#2.5 “Up the Airy Mountain”

#3 Judgment Night

Facebook: Devil’s Elbow

Tumblr: Devil’s Elbow

Patreon: Devil’s Elbow

Posted in Fear Street Recaps

Recap #80: Fear Street Saga #9: Heart of the Hunter by R. L. Stine

cover of Heart of the Hunter by R L Stine shows an Indian woman being stalked by a shadowy figure in the fog, with the head of a wolf in the clouds, under a full moonTitle: Fear Street Sagas #9: Heart of the Hunter by R. L. Stine

Summary: A medicine woman tells Jamie Fier the love potion she gave him will cost him. Now Jamie finds himself transforming into a wolf—and if his true love sees him in this form, he will remain a wolf forever.

Tagline: The full moon summons the beast.

Initial Thoughts

Wing and the Werewolf, a Story in Three Acts

Act 1: Wing discovers a werewolf book by Stine. Immediately buys a copy because WEREWOLVES! STINE! FEUD! JOY! HATE! LOVE! LOATHING! THAT COVER! THAT TAGLINE! SO EXCITED!

Act 2: Wing reads the back of the book. Wing rereads. Wing reads yet a third time. Ooooohhhhh nooooooo.

Act 3: WHAT THE EVER LOVING FUCK, STINE.

[Wing: Now updated with comments from recapper Jude.]

(Jude: HEY! HEY EVERYONE! LOOK OVER HERE EVERYONE I’M COMMENTING FOR THE FIRST TIME! The Fear Street Sagas were admittedly my favorites of all the Fear Street spin-offs. I enjoy historical fiction and cheesy, gothic romance and horror so these were right up my alley. I’m still hoping to somehow find more information on the two Sagas which never got released, “The Raven Woman” and Carousel of Doom.” I hope to do Wing as much justice for her post as she’s done for mine. BTW, this one was ghostwritten by Eric Weiner, who also wrote “Door of Death.”)

[Wing: Aww, thanks. And wait, there are supposed to be two more sagas? Those titles have me intrigued.]

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