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

Recap #201: Fear Street #17: The Best Friend by R.L. Stine

A gift from Becka's BBFF

Maybe she can get store credit?

Title: Fear Street #17 – The Best Friend, a.k.a “Baby’s First Fear Street”

Author: R.L. Stine

Cover Artist: Bill Schmidt

Tagline: Sometimes friendship can be murder….

Summary: Best friends… to the end!

Who is Honey Perkins? She’s been telling everyone in Shadyside that she’s Becka Norwood’s best friend. But Becka’s sure she’s never met Honey before.

Honey systematically moves in on Becka’s life, copying her in every way. But when Becka presumes to have more than one “best friend,” the horrible accidents begin.

Does Honey just want a friend? Becka wonders. Or does she want more – much more!

Initial Thoughts

This is where it all began for me. I remember like it was yesterday. Me, a young child, with my mom and Nana in K-Mart looking at the book section. When suddenly I saw a small paperback with the image of a teenage girl horrified by a Christmas present in her lap. Upon closer inspection, I saw the present had a knife sticking out of it.

Even though I didn’t know what the title was, the memory of that cover stuck with me for a while. It was a couple of years later when I learned I was looking at “The Best Friend” in R.L. Stine’s teen series, “Fear Street.” I had no idea at the time Stine wrote this book, so it was an amazing coincidence that the book I remembered was also written by the guy who wrote “Goosebumps.”

Coincidence? Or maybe fate?

As you can guess, people have described this book as “Single White Female on Fear Street.” Of course I’ve never seen the movie myself.

Re-reading this book for the first time in years, I found myself feeling genuinely unsettled and disturbed by what went on. I knew of course the plot and what happened, but not from repeated re-reads. For some reason, the reviews I’ve seen of this book have derided Becka, the main character, as annoying and a bad friend. Honestly, I don’t see it. Becka’s probably one of the biggest victims in the entire franchise because of what Honey Perkins does to her life in this story.

Best BEST friends

Becka Norwood and Honey Perkins by Nanihoo – Nanihoo has been an absolute joy to commission this past year. She’s done numerous design commissions and helped me flesh out one of my comic ideas farther then I’ve ever gone in years

[Wing: That is such a fun piece of art!]

Oh and FYI, when R.L. Stine signed my copy last year, he told me everyone HATED the ending when it came out. Which probably explains how “The Best Friend 2” happened.

[Wing: Damn it, Stine, stick to your guns!]

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Recap #200: Jingle Belle: Grounded by Paul Dini and Stephanie Gladden

Title: Jingle Belle – Grounded

Writer: Paul Dini

Line Art and Cover: Stephanie Gladden

Colors: Felix Serrano

Letterer: Troy Peteri

Editor: Rob Levin

Summary: A fan favorite holiday character returns! When Jing again breaks her parents rules, she is forced to spend Christmas Eve GROUNDED. But when Santa is also caught in a lie, he has to share the same punishment! Neither father nor daughter can leave the North Pole until they apologize, and with the contentious Kringles not speaking to each other, Christmas is doomed!

Initial Thoughts

Last year I reviewed the “Santa Claus Vs Frankenstein” Jingle Belle one shot, and I promised to follow up by doing the Krampus story this year.

For those who don’t recall, Jingle Belle is Santa’s incorrigible teenage daughter (technically 151, which comes out to 16 in elf years). Jing often gets into a lot of ridiculous misadventures and finds herself put on the Naughty List, much to her father’s eternal frustration. Along for the ride is Jing’s best friend and fellow holiday icon Polly Green, the official Witch of Halloween.

Now last year, Wing got a bit peeved by how the complaints on the Santa Claus myth were brought up by a strawman political character whose arguments turned out to be part of a ploy to go after Santa because he’s an easy target. Well Wing, if you were disappointed over the resolution in last year’s comic, I’m certain you’ll be rather fond of what happens this time.

[Wing: Recap #200! It’s been a great time. Thank you all for reading and commenting and recapping. I love this snarky little book club.]

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Recap #199: Graveyard School #12: Scream, Team! by Tom B. Stone

SOCCER RIOT!

Title: Graveyard School #12 – “Scream, Team!” a.k.a. “The Bad News Belville Bears”

Author: Tom B. Stone, a.k.a. Nola Thacker, a.k.a. D.E. Athkins

Cover Artist: Cam DeLeon

Summary: Belville Bears 13

Grove Hill Tigers 0

They’re big. They’re mean. They’re ugly. And they’re totally killing the Graveyard School Tigers. The Belville Bears used to be the worst soccer team in the universe. But now they’ve gotten good. Wicked good. Unnaturally good. Tyson Walker knows something is wrong. But can he stop the new monster team before they turn the Tigers into kitty litter.

Initial Thoughts

We have our first non-skateboard related sporting book in the series. And it’s got an all-star cast! Tyson! Algie! Kirstin! Skip! Maria! And Jason Dunnbarr who is surprisingly a lot nicer than he was in his first appearance!

“Scream, Team” offers more world building to the land of Grove Hill by introducing us to Belville Academy and giving us a better grasp of the land beyond Graveyard School. I referred to this book in my introduction post by mentioning how this is such a refreshing change of pace to sports tales. It really enforces ideas about healthy sportsmanship, and that parents who scream and rave about their kids always winning is NOT the right way to raise a child.

Here’s hoping you guys enjoy this more than Nola Thacker’s other “Scream Team” novel.

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Recap #198: Child’s Play 2 (1990)

Child's Play 2 (1990)

Child’s Play 2 (1990)

Title: Child’s Play 2

Tagline: Look out Jack! Chucky’s Back! (I’m certain it used to be “Sorry Jack! Chucky’s Back!” on my VHS copy, but that went the way of the dodo, so I can’t check.)

Director: John Lafia

Released: 9 November 1990 (US release – exactly two years after the first)

Summary: While Andy’s mother is admitted to a psychiatric hospital, the young boy is placed in foster care, and Chucky, determined to claim Andy’s soul, is not far behind. (from IMDb)

Note: If you missed the first in this series, you may wonder who I am, or who JC is. I’m Dove, of NostalgicBookshelf.com, PointHorror.com and SweetValley.Online, and the illustrious JC is the snark queen found at Oh God Why?! Nostalgia.

We have teamed up to recap this whole series. It took almost a whole year to arrange this, mostly because I kept thinking, “I really must speak to JC about it…” and then didn’t, whereas JC got tired of my faffing around and collared me. Right before NaNo, to teach me a lesson! [JC: Dove gives me way too much credit for my calculatedness. In reality, I just have shit timing and am terrible about getting back to people on stuff.] [Dove: That’s precisely what a scheming genius would say.]

So, let’s do this thing. Also, you can read JC’s recap of the first movie on Oh God Why?! Nostalgia or Point Horror.com.

Further Note: I refer to the 80s and 90s in this recap. I know it was released in 1990, but to my logic, that means it was written and possibly made in 1989, hence my bounce between the decades. And it’s not as if the clock ticked over from 11:59 to midnight, and everyone immediately discarded their scrunchies and luminous clothing in favour of chocolate brown bootcut trousers. There’s overlap in the styles.

Initial Thoughts

I actually like this movie a lot more than the first. As I mentioned in the previous recap, I first saw a promo image of this movie (Chucky with a nosebleed) in one of those promo mags movie rental places (of the non-Blockbuster kind) gave away free. I was massively disturbed by the image. I found it compelling but terrifying. And I kept going back to it and then being scared by it and hiding the magazine away. It was like the time I broke my fingers. I kept flexing them and then crying in pain, and then flexing them again to see if it still hurt.

I think, as a kid, I liked that this was faster paced, a bit more gory – I’m not a gore hound. Actually, blood and guts is a huge turnoff for me – but this worked for my young self on all levels. The pace was faster, the kills were more elaborate, there were plenty of moments I hid behind my hands, and I really felt the tension. Perhaps taking away the parent figure increased my tension? Either way, the division of labour on this series really works for me! [JC: There’s something to be said for sequels being able to get straight to it without having to mess around with 45 minutes of setup. Here’s Chucky; he’s trapped in the doll again; there’s Andy – go get ’em. Simple.]

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Posted in Child's Play Movies |

Recap #197: Bone Chillers #4: Frankenturkey by Betsy Haynes

Pardon this, bitch!

Title: Bone Chillers #4 – Frankenturkey, a.k.a. “Help! My Turkey Is A Frankenstein”

Author: Betsy Haynes

Cover Artist: Tim Jacobus (?)

Tagline: Look who’s coming to Thanksgiving dinner…

Summary: …it’s not Grandma!

Kyle and Annie want to celebrate Thanksgiving like the Pilgrims. They want to wear stovepipe hats, bake their own pies – even raise their own turkey. Then they meet Frankenturkey!

Frankenturkey is big. Frankenturkey is bad. Frankenturkey is mad. If Kyle and Annie don’t watch out, Frankenturkey will eat them for Thanksgiving dinner.

Initial Thoughts

That summary is a lie in so many ways. Kyle and Annie do NOT want to celebrate Thanksgiving like the Pilgrims. They do NOT want to wear stovepipe hats or bake their own pies. And while they want to raise their own turkey, it’s not because they want to eat him.

Coming off that, I should clarify I actually really hate Thanksgiving, probably more than April Fools’ Day. I don’t feel I’m educated enough to make a point about how the holiday is shamelessly built off the exploitation and continued attempts at extermination of the indigenous people who lived in this country before white people ruined everything. Well I could, but I feel I’d come across as a token straw liberal and sound horribly obnoxious and phony.

Oh screw it I’m going to Hell anyway.

[Wing: A handful of links with more information RE USA Thanksgiving and native peoples: 7 Ways to be an Ally to Native Peoples This Thanksgiving, Celebrate Indigenous History This Thanksgiving, Native American Rights Fund: Thanksgiving.]

What I can say is I’d rather not celebrate a holiday that seems to pride itself on being a clusterfuck of anxiety, wherein family members are forced to invite other family members they can’t stand, waste a lot of money on one meal that could’ve been used to buy at least a week’s worth of food, and then spend the entire day arguing and yelling about shit no one’s talked about in decades before nitpicking over said meal and then offering apologies that amount to nothing.

Fun!

As a picky eater I also can’t stand the holiday because everyone expects me to eat a lot and it makes me feel more self conscious than I already am when I have dinner with other people. If I ever have a family of my own, I’m not making my kids celebrate the holiday and would rather spend the day doing something fun with them instead of forcing them to watch me argue with their uncle and grandparents.

MOVING ON

This is most likely one of the more well known “Bone Chillers” in it’s one of the three books adapted into the TV show and it’s the one book that got a sequel.

Pardon this, bitch! – The TV show

If there was ever to be a trademark monster for the franchise, it’s Frankenturkey. [Wing: Well that is a horrifying promotional image.]

Frankenturkey by Bobby Timony – GOBBLE GOBBLE, MOTHERFUCKERS!

I bought the sequel book first before I acquired the original, and owned this for years without reading it until I proposed a recap for the site. Well, I’d read the first chapter and was prepared to hate this when it seemed Kyle was too much like an average “Goosebumps” protagonist. I was pleasantly surprised to be proved wrong. Kyle and Annie’s affection for the actual turkey they buy is legit endearing, and the one thing that frustrates me is their condescending bitch of a mother and their equally awful dad.

As a bonus, here’s the episode on Youtube

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Recap #196: Spellbound by Christopher Pike

Spellbound by Christopher Pike

Spellbound by Christopher Pike

Title: Spellbound by Christopher Pike

Summary: No one knew how the girl had died.

They found Karen Holly in the mountain stream, her skull crushed. There was only one witness to the tragedy, Karen’s boyfriend, Jason Whitfield. He said a grizzly had killed her. But a lot of people didn’t believe him. They thought Jason had murdered her in a fit of rage.

And now weeks have passed, and Jason has another girlfriend, Cindy Jones. And there are the new kids in town, Joni Harper, the quiet English beauty that Cindy’s brother, Alex, cannot get out of his mind. And Bala, the foreign exchange student from Africa, the grandson of a powerful shaman.

Together they will return to the place where Karen was killed.

Some will die.

The others will come face to face with a horror beyond imagining.

Tagline: You can close your eyes….It won’t help. [Wing: Except, spoilers, that’s exactly what it does.]

Initial Thoughts

This is one of my favourite Pike books, though not my absolute favourite. There are monstrous women and full moons and hunger, and it is all pretty great — except for that girls fighting over boys and boys fighting over girls and racism everywhere. /o\

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Recap #195: The Upturned Stone by Scott Hampton

It’s the Haunted Pumpkin, Charlie Brown!

Title: The Upturned Stone, a.k.a. “The Haunted Pie”

Writer/Artist: Scott Hampton

Tagline: “Ghosts aren’t frightening, really.”

“What’s frightening is the thought of them.”

Initial Thoughts

It’s like “Stand By Me” but with ghosts and sexual abuse.

I first discovered this tale a few years back when Comic Book Resources did a countdown of “Scariest Comics of All Time,” and being the sucker that I am for Halloween and pumpkin related horror tales, I immediately sought to hunt this book down and acquired one of the original print copies.

This story isn’t all plot, and while Halloween is what sets off the chain of events, the entire book doesn’t take place solely on the holiday itself. What starts off with a pumpkin growing on top of the grave of an unnamed child becomes a journey into adulthood and a quest for revenge.

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Recap #194: Child’s Play (1988)

Child's Play (1988)

Child’s Play (1988)

Title: Child’s Play

Director: Tom Holland

Released: Nov. 9, 1988 (US release)

Description: A single mother gives her son a much sought-after doll for his birthday, only to discover that it is possessed by the soul of a serial killer.

Note: Hi there! So, this recap may require some additional explanation before we get into it. These recaps of the Child’s Play series will be posted both on my site, Oh God Why?! Nostalgia Reviews, and at The Devil’s Elbow, one of the sites that Dove (of the Nostalgic Bookshelf recapping empire) is involved with. Depending whose site you’re currently reading this on, one of us is probably a stranger to you. So, hello there, I’m JC, better known as ogwnostalgia on all of the social medias. Dove? [Hello JC’s loving fans, I’m Dove. Since my glorious co-recapper has hyperlinked the heck out of an intro here, there’s little more to say, except I adore horror, nostalgia, and am quite fond of JC too.] [JC: *blushes*]

So, I will be handling the odd-numbered Child’s Play films (which I realize sticks me with Seed of Chucky, oof! [Dove: Why do you think I agreed so readily to your suggested division of labour?] [JC: Eh, terrible as it is, I have some affinity for it. I suggested that division of labor specifically because I wanted to do 3 and Seed.]) with commentary by Dove; she will be recapping the even-numbered films with commentary by me! Dig? Cool, let’s get into this!


Initial Thoughts

I love this series! Along with A Nightmare on Elm Street, it’s my favorite. Hey, what can I say, some people like the strong, silent types (hello, Jason and Michael Myers); I like the snarky, wise-cracking bastards. I remember the first time I saw most of the sequels, but for the life of me I can’t remember when I saw this one. It was definitely after I’d already seen 2 and 3, because I watched the original trilogy all out of order. Regardless, this is definitely the best and scariest of the first three. (Curse of Chucky gets my vote for scariest and best of the later movies.) Oddly, it only has a 67% on Rotten Tomatoes, a 6.6/10 rating on IMDb, and a freaking 58% from Metacritic. What. The. Hell. [Dove: I watched them all in order, and I find Child’s Play 2 to be the scariest. This is partly because I’d seen the first one, quite liked it, but then read an article about the upcoming sequel, which had a picture of Chucky with a nosebleed. That picture scared the life out of me. I agree with Curse being the best of the later movies.]

Would I be remiss if I don’t mention the upcoming planned remake that doesn’t feature Brad Dourif doing Chucky’s voice? Everything I’ve heard sounds . . . weird. They’re trying to go back to the (really bizarre) original script, where Chucky was named Buddy and there was no Charles Lee Ray or voodoo involved. The article I read talked about the doll being basically a “hacked Furby,” which . . . okay. Furbies are fucking terrifying; just make it a damn Furby and leave my Chucky alone, goddamn. [Dove: I didn’t even know it had gotten that far along in the planning stage. But I’m going to nope the hell out of it, because Chucky without Dourif voicing isn’t really Chucky. Well, that’s the high road I want to take. I’ll probably buy it when it hits the budget shelf of my local supermarket in a few years.]

Ahem. Anyway, this is the 30th anniversary of Child’s Play‘s American release, which makes me feel old, but also tracks since I basically grew up knowing who Chucky was, despite not seeing any of the movies until the early-to-mid 90s.

Thirty years, guys. Damn.

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Posted in Child's Play Movies |

Recap #193: Quiet House by Norman Prentiss

Rock on, dudes

Title: Quiet House, a Halloween short story, a.k.a. “That Got Dark REALLY Fast”

Author: Norman Prentiss

Cover Artist: N/A

Tagline: N/A

Summary: On October 29, the Halloween decorations disappeared from the Myrick lawn. Instead, an official sign appeared at the edge of the property: “Quiet Zone: Death in the Family.”

This year, Jeremy would finally be allowed to trick or treat without his parents’ supervision, and he’d been looking forward to visiting the neighborhood’s most famous October attraction. Now, after all his anticipation, it felt like Halloween had been cancelled. To his young mind, even a grieving family deserves some version of the traditional “trick” but Jeremy’s impulsive act of revenge has far-reaching, terrifying consequences.

Initial Thoughts

I came across this digital short story last year on Fantastic Fiction while I was doing a search for a random story I once glimpsed on Amazon a couple of years ago. You have to understand I’m prone to doing that if I have some bare trace of memory for a book or story and I’ll sometimes dedicate too much time on Amazon and Fantastic Fiction to try and locate it.

I came upon this story in my searches and thought the title sounded interesting. I purchased it through Amazon Kindle for a dollar, which is where I suggest you buy it as well to show support because this story, this, this is… I did not come into this story prepared for how dark it goes, and was assuming it’d be some “Tales from the Crypt” esque journey where the neighbors get revenge on Jeremy for his trick.

You aren’t prepared for how brutal this goes.

You can find more of Norman Prentiss’s work on his website here: http://normanprentiss.com/

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Recap #192: Confessions of a Teenage Vampire: Zombie Saturday Night by West and Ellis

All that money and she couldn’t buy a lock on the door?

Title: Confessions of a Teenage Vampire – Zombie Saturday Night

Writer: Terry M. West

Penciller: Steven A. Ellis

Inkers: Richard Perrota and Ravil Lopez

Letterer: Fred Van Lente

Colorists: Kent Marquart, Ryan Dunlavey, Leon Allen, Michelle Wulfson

Cover Art: Steve Ellis and Stew Noack

Editor: Bonnie Bader

Summary: My life has really changed since I became a teenage vampire. I can’t stand bright lights and bad smells. I’m so strong I’ve got to be careful not to hurt anyone in gym class. And I’m on a strict diet of Serum V – a special protein product that was invented so vampires don’t have to kill to eat.

But my biggest worries are Sang and Rosie – two vampires who think that all vampires should prey on humans. I haven’t heard from them lately, but I know they’re out there somewhere. I need to be ready when they come…

Initial Thoughts

This past summer I reviewed the first entry in this two book series, and I promised Wing I’d review the second for Halloween this year. Luckily for Wing, it’s got werewolves! Unluckily for the rest of us, while it sheds more light on the vampire mythology of this world, the ending is pretty rushed and there was no third entry.

Still, I hope you enjoy this piece of 90s comic cheese as an early Halloween treat instead of a trick.

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