Where evil twins and friends come together to lovingly snark Point Horror and other teen genre fiction
 

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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Recap #125: Mermaid Saga Parts 10-11: Mermaid’s Scar by Rumiko Takahashi

Title: Mermaid Saga Chapters 10 & 11 – Mermaid’s Scar

Author/Artist: Rumiko Takahashi

Cover Summary: N/A

Initial Thoughts

For Wing’s birthday I’m recapping the best part of Mermaid Saga by far. I know it’s my favorite, certainly. It gets to showcase how freaking awesome Mana is. [Wing: This month is full of fun recap surprises for me. I’m thrilled!]

This is the second story besides Mermaid’s Forest to be adapted more than once, receiving an OVA in the 90s and included in the TV series from the 2000s. Personally, I feel the OVA is the better of the two adaptions, sporting rather beautiful early 90s anime art.

I only defer to this version when I need commission reference for Mana and Yuta.

I’ve watched the English dub, which used to be on Youtube, but you can still find the original version online somewhere. They still haven’t released it on an official DVD, but luckily I’ve got the complete soundtrack on CD. What shocked me about the dub was learning Yuta’s voice actor was Jason Gray-Stanford, who also voiced Sherlock Holmes in “Sherlock Holmes in the 22nd Century,” and was RANDY DISHER, the dorky police detective, on “Monk.”

This is also one of the bloodiest stories in the series. And, keep in mind, this is one of those stories where we, the readers, know more about what the villain is really up to before the main characters do. Also, a bit of clarification. One character never got a name in the actual story, but the OVA dubbed her “Misa,” so I’ll be referring to her by that name.

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Recap #124: Nightmare Hall #8: The Experiment by Diane Hoh (Nola Thacker)

cover of Nightmare Hall - The Experiment by Diane HohTitle: Nightmare Hall #8: The Experiment

Summary: Professor Maximillian DeLure. Award-winning poet, scientist, and professor at Salem University. Dark, sexy, attractive…dangerous. Caryl Amberly is excited to be one of the few students specially selected for his new seminar. Until she finds out what his previous students think of him. Everyone says he’s a real killer. And they’re not talking about his exams….

Tagline: None.

Notes: I will now refer to the bad guy as “Muffin Man” because of The Mall.

Initial Thoughts

I’ve been procrastinating when it comes to this recap. We’ve once again got Nola Thacker doing ghost-writing duties, and I’m simply not a fan of her work in this series so far. Possibly in general. Sigh. Here we go.

[Wing: Normally, I try to go for the original cover, but I’ve been dreading this cover, which has a spider in that window frame part. So … have this cover instead. I couldn’t handle seeing the other one over and over. Sorry.]

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Recap #123: Graveyard School #22: Boo Year’s Eve by Tom B. Stone, A.K.A. “Auld Lang FUCK!”

Title: Graveyard School #22 – Boo Year’s Eve

Author: Tom B. Stone/Nola Thacker/D.E. Athkins

Cover Artist: Mark Nagata

Tagline: N/A

Summary: A Scary New Start To A New Year…

It’s New Year’s Eve. As Jordie and Jessica Flanders are coming home from a visit to their grandmother, their bus breaks down in the middle of nowhere. Ordinarily Jordie would be bummed. But she’s been invited – and forced to go – to perfect Polly Hannah’s New Year’s Eve party. Compared to that, the middle of nowhere isn’t so bad!

The passengers take refuge at the nearest house – an old mansion. At first Jordie thinks it’s cool, but when she stumbles onto a party of ghosts, she’d do anything to get out and get to Polly’s party – alive!

Initial Thoughts

There was no way on God’s green Earth I was gonna wait two years to recap this book. A lot can happen in two years and, with that blowdryed, spray tanned serial rapist xenophobe in control of nuclear launch codes… shit I made myself sad.

ANYWAY.

This has long been my first and foremost favorite entry in the entire series. I’ve saved this one and several others in a box that’s ready to pull out in case of a fire, because chances are I will never find another copy anywhere. I got lucky back in 2004 and was able to purchase this separately of the bulk lot I found on eBay. It’s my favorite for a number of reasons:

  1. It’s a winter holiday horror story, and it’s a December holiday
  2. It’s a haunted house story
  3. It involves 1940s era ghosts and I love 40s shit (THAT DOES NOT MEAN I’M NOT AWARE OF HOW AWFUL THINGS WERE BACK THEN. I saw that Daria episode.)
  4. It’s got Jordie “The Human Computer” Flanders as the main character, my fave besides Vickie Wheilson of the main cast
  5. THAT COVER OH MY GOD NAGATA

(Jordie Flanders by Nanihoo)

Jordie’s another kind of little shit I love, and she’s forced to deal with someone who exhibits her worse traits. Now granted, there’s some of that “Crazy Means Dangerous” shit, I’m not gonna lie, but I love how tense the climax is. And that ending!

[Wing: Not looking forward to that part, but Jordie sounds amazing so far, and I can’t wait.]

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Recap #122: More & More & More Tales To Give You Goosebumps by R. L. Stine “A.K.A. Okay Maybe It Does Die”

Title: More & More & More Tales To Give You Goosebumps

Author: R.L. Stine

Cover Artist: Tim Jacobus

Tagline: N/A

Summary: Reader Beware – You’re In For Ten Holiday Scares!

Will Brad learn to care for his pet Gronk, before it takes care of him? Can Samantha sit through a boring Nutcracker ballet without cracking up… for real? Are Max’s new monster skates putting him on thin ice? Has Sam been caught in the bone-chilling grip of an ice vampire?

Find out in these ten creepy Goosebumps short stories guaranteed to fill you with holiday fear!

[Wing: ICE VAMPIRE WHAT. MONSTER SKATES.]

Initial Thoughts

This is the last of the short story collections, and also my favorite of the line because, up until this point in the franchise’s history, Stine had never done stories that centered around the holiday season. A couple, like “Curse of the Mummy’s Tomb” and “Werewolf of Fever Swamp,” took place during December, but the stories didn’t heavily focus on Christmas or any other holiday in that month.

This originally came with a bonus Goosebumps monster stocking, and I was hoping to get a copy that still came with the stocking. Sadly, I am stocking devoid. That doesn’t change how much I love this book. Being a Christmas child, it speaks to my love for the holiday to find stories that aren’t simply “Christmas Carol” rehashes (or at least badly done rehashes).

This time I racked my brain to come up with something special for subtitles, and I decided to go with a “Sonic the Hedgehog” theme and gave the stories zone-based subtitles liked you’d find in the earlier Sonic games.

And Wing, prepare for a special treat during “Marshmallow Surprise.”

[Wing: Well that’s exciting.]

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Recap #121: Goosebumps #45: Ghost Camp by R.L. Stine, a.k.a. “When Harry Met Lucy”

Title: Goosebumps #45 – Ghost Camp

Author: R.L. Stine

Cover Artist: Tim Jacobus

Tagline: Be all that you can’t see!

Summary: The Joke’s On Them!

Harry and his brother, Alex, are dying to fit in at Camp Spirit Moon. But the camp has so many weird traditions. Like the goofy camp salute. The odd camp greeting. And the way the old campers love to play jokes on the new campers.

Then the jokes get really serious. Really creepy. Really scary.

First a girl sticks her arm in the campfire. Then a boy jams a pole through his foot.

Still, they’re just jokes… right?

Initial Thoughts

This has been my all time favorite Goosebumps book since, like forever. I adore everything about it. I love the characters. I love the villains. I love the setting. I love the cover and that one single human girl who has got no idea what the fuck she’s gotten herself into. This is one of those rare books where you like the main character on purpose AND you manage to feel bad for the villains even though you know they can’t win. It’s also one of the more truly fucked up entries in the original series, and I wrote about it for “Endangered Bodies” via discussing the surprising sexual assault undertones.

I still have a completed jigsaw puzzle of the cover downstairs in my basement, and I remember when I was younger how I wanted the sneakers that had the girl ghost and camper on them. Of course, since those were the “Girl” sneakers, my parents sure as hell weren’t letting that happen. At the very least, I was lucky to get my copy autographed by Stine AND Tim Jacobus.

The reason I didn’t begin my Goosebumps recaps with this book right off is because I was waiting on a commission of the main characters, Harry and Alex Altman, from a dear friend who is also one of my absolute favorite artists. I refused to begin this recap until I was able to include the commission in this post, alongside another awesome piece I won in a tumblr art giveaway.

 

And now, that time has come.

[Wing: When I saw the cover, I could have sworn I’d read this one before, but the summary doesn’t sound familiar at all. We’ll see how this goes.]

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Recap #120: Spinechillers Mysteries #6: Not A Creature Was Stirring? by Fred E Katz A.K.A. “The Gospel of Bergen”

Title: Spinechillers Mysteries #6 – Not A Creature Was Stirring?

Author: Fred E. Katz

Cover Artist: Mike Harper

Tagline: N/A

Summary: Yule Mania

Just before leaving with his parents to go skiing before Christmas, Conner Morgan breaks his leg. Fortunately, Great Aunt Bergen is coming to watch the house, and Conner can stay with her. [Wing: What, there’s nothing he can do at the ski lodge or wherever his parents are staying? They have to leave him behind because he can’t ski now?]

But there is something very strange about Aunt Bergen, and strange things start to happen when she arrives.

(Looks can be deceiving when fear backs you into a corner. Enjoy thrills and chills with the kids in this story who have fun as they demonstrate Christian character based on love for God, parents, and one another. You’ll share a scare… but, of course, ghouls and ghosts are strictly in the imagination.)

Initial Thoughts

Surprise! I’m giving you the best Christmas gift of all! JESUS.

I found out about Spinechillers, well, honestly I can’t remember. I WANT to say TV Tropes, when I was looking at the page discussing “Christian, family friendly alternative knock offs” of existing properties. Oh and I should mention there’s a Babysitters Club knock off called “The Twelve Candles Club.” [Wing: WHAT. THERE IS A BSC KNOCK OFF. WHAT.] When I learned there was a Christmas-themed book I immediately ordered a copy a couple of years back.

But, you know, I would like to get a bit serious, even a little heavy handed. Stuff like this intrigues me, not a lot, but enough to make me wonder. See, I was raised in a semi-devout Catholic household (my mom’s cousin is a priest and my dad works in a nursing home connected to a convent) so religion’s had a permanent residence in my life… whether I wanted it or not. I did communion and confirmation even though I hated attending those Wednesday classes because I had to miss art class in elementary school. I was put in two different all boys Catholic school through 6th to 12th grade, where I was humiliated, isolated, bullied, physically assaulted, made fun of by at least a couple of teachers, and sexually assaulted and harassed on two separate occasions by FOUR different people (and not in the same school). That I’m queer and had to listen to people telling me people LIKE me can’t have relationships did nothing to help my questioning sexuality. So for all intents and purposes I’ve had every justifiable reason to turn my back on organized religion, yet I haven’t. Well, the organized part yes, but I still believe in God and Jesus. I pray at night when I feel comfortable enough to do so (I haven’t done it in a while, feeling I’ve asked for too much lately and want to give God a break). I want to believe there’s a Heaven, but I have a hard time feeling I’m not going to Hell someday. Prayer does help sometimes.

Don’t get me wrong, I know Catholicism and Christianity and all its derivatives have been shamelessly used and exploited by hate groups, bigots, extremists, Republicans, what have you, and pretty much every other religion out there has suffered in some way because of Catholics and Christians. If you don’t believe in Jesus you don’t matter as a person, is what they seem to say. But then, what does it mean for the people who have genuine faith, the ones who don’t use the Bible for a hidden agenda or to propagate hate speech? What happens when we come across some media format that wants to talk about those values yet it gets lumped together with the hackneyed, poorly written, fear mongering bullshit meant to scare people into loving God? Hell, even a show as bad as “Drawn Together” offered a viewpoint of the Bible being meant to serve as a guide for people instead of a contradicting rule book (and they even said they weren’t admitting their interpretation was the right one).

I’m not trying to hype this book as some eye opening look into the Christian faith. I do plan to make a few jokes about how heavy handed it is, but there ARE a few points about it I do like. I even sent a copy to a dear friend of mine who’s deeply religious, and I did NOT mean for it to be an ironic gift. Candace is one of my dearest friends and I don’t pull that shit on her.

I just wonder, how do we draw the line between legitimate faith and a desire to do good, and bible-thumping hamfisted hypocrisy?

But hey, I didn’t count on this before, yet this is a perfect foil for “Here Comes Santa Claws.”

[Wing: Religion can bring out strong feelings in people, pro and con. I’m open for discussion here, but I will be keeping a close eye on the comment section (across the board, here and on social media). No personal attacks allowed.

I’ve mentioned this briefly here before, I think, but I grew up in a religious cult, one based on Old Testament faith. It was basically fake Judaism, but with Jesus and with a ton of racism against actual Jewish people. Long story, which I won’t go into super detail here, but I’m coming at Christianity from a very biased perspective, and I am aware of this.]

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Recap #119: Jingle Belle: Santa Claus Vs Frankenstein by Paul Dini and Stephanie Gladden

Title: Jingle Belle – Santa Claus Vs Frankenstein [Wing: WHAT.]

Writer: Paul Dini

Line Art: Stephanie Gladden

Colors: Felix Serrano

Letterer: Troy Peteri

Editor: Filip Sablink & Phil Smith

Summary: Paul Dini’s Jingle Belle comes to Top Cow in a special ‘Halloween collides with Christmas’ one-shot written by Dini and drawn by Stephanie Gladden (Powerpuff Girls, Chowder, Hopster’s Tracks). In years past, Santa has triumphed over a variety of enemies including the Devil himself. Now, St. Nick gets ready to face his greatest challenge ever in Jingle Belle: Santa Claus Vs. Frankenstein! Inspired by Mary Shelly’s original novel (sort of), the story of Frankenstein’s monster takes a new twist when he is found by Jingle in the Arctic wastes and ‘rehabilitated’ to fit in with the elves at Santa’s Workshop. All goes well until an ultra-PC city declares Santa Claus taboo and awakens Frankie’s monsterous side in an misguided attempt to help his friend. It’s up to an ailing Santa and a reluctant Jingle Belle to stop their monstrous ‘apprentice’ before he destroys the town and ruins the reputation of Christmas forever!

Initial Thoughts

Sorry this is a bit late, but I figured what the heck it’s Christmas and did another recap of one of my favorite holiday/horror related comics. Jingle Belle is a series of different comics about the misadventures of Santa Claus’s bratty but well meaning teenage (by elf years) daughter. Hey, just because your dad’s Santa doesn’t mean you’re a little angel. Her best friend also happens to be the official Halloween witch.

Unfortunately, I only own two comics starring Jing, this one and one involving her uncle Krampus. I’ll save that one for next year.

Enjoy!

[Wing: KRAMPUS. I’m excited for next year, and for this one.]

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Recap #118: Spinetinglers #7: Snow Day by M. T. Coffin, a.k.a. “Is This The Book You Wished For?”

Title: Spinetinglers #7 – Snow Day

Author: M.T. Coffin, a.k.a. Robert Hawks

Cover Artist: ???

Tagline: The Weather Outside Is Frightful…

Summary: LET IT SNOW!

The kids all cheer when the bus driver tells them the schools have just been closed because of the snow. But the bus can’t make it through the blinding blizzard, and soon they are trapped in the freezing cold school bus. Through the wind and the snowflakes, someone sees lights on in an old farmhouse – and it looks warm and cosy. But what they find inside doesn’t make them feel safe at all! Strange portraits with glistening red eyes stare down at them. And when the kids go to the kitchen for something to eat, they have to pull open the heavy steel door of the freezer… and that’s just when the lights go out!

Initial Thoughts

Here we have another of the supposed Goosebumps knock offs I mentioned, but much like Shivers the Spinetinglers series is much more darker and slightly geared towards a more older audience than the Goosebumps books were. I found out about this series when searching through Mark Nagata’s website and discovered one of the covers he did for this line. The first entry I ever bought was “Camp Crocodile,” but I’ve only read that book once. I have a modest number of books from this series, but “Snow Day” is currently my favorite.

M.T. Coffin is a pen name shared by a number of different authors, though.

I got this book in 2008 as a Christmas gift alongside “Weirdo Waldo’s Wax Museum,” which was appropriate because this is also one of the darkest YA horror novels I’ve ever read. I was instantly drawn to this book because, snow days and haunted houses, I live for those kind of stories, but that summary didn’t prepare me for the true horror behind it all. And none of you are prepared either. You think I’m being cute for drama, but I am NOT.

Thankfully the book isn’t all plot. A lot of it is geared towards the characters interacting with one another and their responses to the situation they find themselves trapped in. But that means this can be a slightly difficult book because you need to really focus on reading it. The author went through a lot of trouble to make sure the readers paid attention to what’s going on.

Just so you know, even if you can see the ending coming, that doesn’t make it any less horrible.

And it begins, appropriately enough, with the apocalypse.

[Wing: I’ve never heard of this series, either, but it sounds amazing so far.]

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Recap #117: Graveyard School #27: Here Comes Santa Claws by Tom B. Stone, A.K.A. “Krampus 0”

Title: Graveyard School #27 – Here Comes Santa Claws

Author: Tom B. Stone/Nola Thacker/D.E. Athkins

Cover Artist: Mark Nagata

Tagline: N/A

Summary: This Year, Santa Doesn’t Care If You’ve Been Naughty Or Nice!

If Kyle knows what’s good for him, he’ll block up the chimney and lock all the doors. He’ll close all the windows and turn on all the lights. He won’t go to sleep and enjoy happy dreams. And he won’t hang up his stocking. Because this year…

Santa Claws is coming to town. [Wing: So many “claws” references in Christmas books, so few damn werewolves.]

Initial Thoughts

I got this book for Christmas in 2004, and it was the only enjoyable part of my 14th birthday. No, that holiday season. Things started off poorly the last day of school before break, when I had to leave early because I was sick. I wasn’t able to stop shivering, I’d never felt like that before. I thought I was going to die. On Christmas Day/my birthday I was still sick, and for dinner I ended up eating McDonalds in front of my Grandpa’s TV, alone, while my family ate dinner upstairs. For the next few days I was not only sick, but miserable and depressed. I couldn’t stop thinking about the fact that I was getting older and how much I hated that. I was terrified. But I still read this book every holiday season because it’s one of my favorites in the series.

The reason I referred to this as “Krampus 0” because if you read this book before you saw the horror flick “Krampus,” you’d feel yourself wondering if the director read this book before the movie was conceptualized. [Wing: I watched Krampus for the first time earlier this year, and now I get a book version (ish) too? This is delightful.] I’m not going to lie, Kyle, the main character in this book, is a little shit. He acts like a brat and it’s easy to see he brings this on himself. But you’ll be surprised when the big showdown occurs at the end, and Kyle shows a lot of backbone. The real draw to this is Kyle’s slick aunt Mab, who just happens to share her name with a Shakespearean fairy queen. Gee I wonder why that could be? Oh also the giant mutant rats on the cover.

Now, I should mention Kyle first appeared in the ninth book, “The Abominable Snow Monster,” and that was his only appearance before this entry. For some reason, the summaries on Amazon and other book sites make it sound like this is a sequel to the “Snow Monster” book when it is not.

[Wing: God, I love this series so damn much. Enough that I was filled with joy over a bonus recap this month.]

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