Wow, so we’ve reached the final “Mermaid Saga” story to recap. My first completion of an entire series for Devil’s Elbow.
Unfortunately this last chapter is devoid of Mana, so Wing I hope you enjoyed her presence in the last recap. We’re looking at another exploration into Yuta’s past, this time a couple of hundred years after “The Village of the Fighting Fish.” It’s here Yuta has an encounter with a different kind of immortal, but without any romantic overtones. It’s still pretty heartbreaking though.
[Wing: I can’t believe that we’re already done with this series. I’m going to miss it, and Mana, quite a bit.]
Christopher Pike is a prolific writer of teen horror-ish novels, with a few sprinkled in there for adults. He is the literary horror to RL Stine’s gore porn/B-movie-type novels. But that’s putting him a bit high up there, isn’t it? Sometimes he overwrites, sometimes his stories are just outright ridiculous. But there’s no doubt he at least tried to insert some depth into these schlock teen horror novels of the 90s.
Julia is a young woman with extraordinary powers. She has the ability to heal people with her touch. She can also know things that are happening in far off places when she looks in water that has sunlight shining on it. She comes from a tradition of witches, of good witches. But before Julia’s mother died, she warned her daughter never to look in the water that had moonlight shining on it.
Unfortunately, almost by accident, Julia does so. What she sees is a vision of the future, a scene in which a young man she doesn’t know is shot in a hold-up and dies in her arms. Only later, when Julia attends a football game at school, does she meet the young man.
He is her girlfriend’s new boyfriend.
Julia immediately falls for the guy, but it is an ill-fated love. He does not belong to her and he is supposed to die. Or does he have to die? Julia doesn’t know if her vision of the future is set, or if it can be changed. She doesn’t know why the gunmen in her vision evokes such hatred in her, and why she feels she must destroy him at all costs. But using the supernatural powers at her command, and risking her own life, plus the lives of her friends, Julia will find the answers to all these questions, at a terrible cost.
The ridiculous over-wordiness of this blurb is spot on with the wordiness of the book itself. Plus it reads like a first draft blurb. Like re-reading it makes me cringe a little for its awkwardness.
Indian Pole, Idaho, population negative six. I think it’s passed off as not a middle of nowhere type of town, but it is. People need to drive a half hour in any direction just to get anywhere worthwhile, like shopping areas or whatever. Everyone knows everyone and has grown up with everyone. Those kinds of towns, but Pike doesn’t much dwell on the place. Not really. And for someplace that doesn’t really bear any significance to the story the name of the town is sure bandied around a lot. [Wing: A half hour in any direction? That’s basically a suburb. Julia, come talk to me when you have to drive 2+ hours just to buy clothes.]
Title: Ghosts of Fear Street #30 – I Was A Sixth Grade Zombie, a.k.a. “Shady School Zone – Bad Future”
Author: Nina Kiriki Hoffman
Cover Artist: Happy Boy Pat (Published), Mark Garro (Scrapped)
Tagline: Class Of The Living Dead?
Summary: Zombies on Oak Street?
Valerie and Mark know there’s something weird about the new after-school club building on Oak Street. It’s blue. It’s shiny. It’s heavily guarded. And it’s surrounded by a force field!
There’s something even weirder about the kids who joined the clubs. They act like robots. And they’ve all become so polite it’s scary!
Someone is brainwashing the sixth-graders of Shadyside. Turning them into glassy-eyed zombies.
Are Val and Mark next on the list?
It’s back to school time, so let’s focus on a very special entry in the “Ghosts of Fear Street” series. This is another book that took me by surprise with how much I loved it, which shouldn’t surprise me because it was written by the same woman who wrote “Why I’m Not Afraid of Ghosts.” It’s got one of the best main characters I’ve seen in these books so far with a plot that really breaks from the norm of the usual GFS books.
It’s also got some of the most disturbing conversations I’ve come across in the entire series.
You might see some similarities to one of the books I reviewed last year, but I won’t say which.
Tagline: Death is always to be found beneath the ground.
Summary: On a bright spring day in England, six teenagers laugh and joke as they make their way to a neglected part of the institution they mockingly call Our Glorious School. Hidden in the dark hollow of a buttress is the door to a small windowless cellar. Behind the door, the old stairs have rotted away. A boy unfurls a rope ladder and five descend into The Hole. The sixth closes the cellar door, locks it from the outside, and walks calmly away down the flagstone path.
The idea is simple. While their parents think they are on a field trip, and the school thinks they’re at home, Frankie, Geoff, Alex, Mike, and Liz will spend three days locked in The Hole. Martyn will remain above ground, promising that when the five emerge into daylight, they’ll have been part of the greatest prank the infamous schemer has ever engineered.
The three days pass predictably: a lot of talking, some booze, flirting, a few friendly fights. At five P.M. on the third day, they drink a celebratory bottle of vodka and wait for the mastermind to arrive and release them. Thirty hours later, they realise that Martyn is not coming to let them out… ever.
Note: As before with the movie, I will take scenes at their face value and comment on them, and then loop back if they are contradicted/expanded. I’ll actually use footnotes for this though – it will be a number in square brackets. They may even be links if WordPress lets me. This makes it a very hard book to recap, so bear with me.
[Wing: I’m scheduling this post to go public on the first day of fall in the Northern Hemisphere, because it is the start of my favourite season, and this is a creepy and twisty way to start it, and it is also a sad family day from which I want to be distracted.]
Warning:There is a rape in this book. I’ve tried to keep the language I use as non-threatening as possible, and keep discussion of it down to a minimum. However, it’s there. You have been warned.
This is less initial thoughts and more a warning. If you want to read the book, go read the book. It’s a lot easier now than it was in 2003, when I read it. I had to get an out-of-print second-hand copy from a seller on Amazon marketplace, using a friend’s account (my ex got me blacklisted for six years from 2001 onwards), because eBay didn’t have it.
It’s on the kindle now. It’s £3.99. Go read it, because if you’re interested you’ll enjoy the book much more if you just read it, rather than read my recap (which is spoilerific), and then the book.
The book doesn’t have much in common with the movie, so seriously, this is your last chance, go buy it and read it. It’s about the length of the average Sweet Valley Twins, so it’s like an hour out of your day. And you might enjoy it.
(Oh, and forgive some of the prose. Guy Burt was seventeen when he wrote it.)
Also, I’m actually going to note the chapters in this, because it becomes very significant later, and you may want to check something. You’re welcome.
Title: Deadtime Stories #10 – Grandpa’s Monster Movies, a.k.a. “A Nightmare on Green Acres”
Author: A.G. Cascone, a.k.a. Annette and Gina Cascone
Cover Artist: ???
Tagline: The midnight show is a scream.
Summary: Home movies can be a horror!
C.T. and his cousin Lea are staying at their grandparents’ old farmhouse. It’s Grandpa’s seventieth birthday, and everyone’s celebrating with a big family reunion. All the weird relatives are here, and all they seem to want to talk about are “the good old days.”
C.T. and Lea think the “good old days” are pretty boring – until they find some home movies hidden away in the attic, movies from when their grandfather was just a boy.
The home movies give them a piece of family history that their relatives never talked about.
It seems that horses, cows, pigs, and chickens aren’t the only creatures Grandpa’s been taking care of on the farm. And Uncle Ernie isn’t the only one at the family reunion whose back is covered with hair. [Wing: WEREWOLF?!]
C.T. and Lea discover there’s a monster among them – and this creature is dying to eat a lot more than the birthday cake!
It’s my grandfather’s birthday this month so I felt this would be an appropriate book to recap. Believe me, I wish I’d chosen something else because of all the hillbilly jokes in this one.
“Deadtime Stories” was written by sisters Annette and Gina Cascone under a shared pen name. It was another series where most of the entries were independent of the other, save for the two “Tiny Town” books which inexplicably featured an identical knock-off of Chucky the Killer Doll named “Hurley the Hobo.”
Surprisingly, Nickelodeon produced a short TV adaptation a decade after the original series ended, which of course led to several books being reprinted with new covers. The episodes always featured a framing story of a babysitter narrating the books to the two little kids she was watching, and them always screaming when she gets to the twist ending.
Title: Graveyard School #10 – There’s a Ghost in the Boys’ Bathroom, a.k.a. “Okay seriously, who the fuck is watching the door? How did a ghost get in here?”
Author: Tom B. Stone, a.k.a. Nola Thacker, a.k.a. D.E. Athkins
Cover Artist: Cam DeLeon
Summary: Is Graveyard School Going Down The Drain?
Toilets exploding! Paper towels floating in midair! Disappearing soap! There’s no doubt Graveyard School is haunted. But why did this ghost choose the boys’ bathroom, of all places? A few determined students are ready for a ghost hunt? Can they flush it out?
This. This is where it all began for me. A chance purchase at a grade school book sale that evolved into devotion to one of the best and grossly underrated horror series of all time.
For most of the last couple of decades I only put this book in a special place because it was the first I acquired, even though it wasn’t really my favorite. I used to think Alex, the main character, was one of the blander protagonists. However, re-reads over the years have changed my opinion and this is one of the most action packed entries I can think of. And I’m impressed by how much Alex is willing to buckle down when other people are in danger.
[Wing: This series is a blast, and I can’t believe I missed it growing up.]
Title: Goosebumps #33 – The Horror at Camp Jellyjam, a.k.a. “R.L. <3’s H.P.”
Author: R.L. Stine
Cover Artist: Tim Jacobus
Tagline: Tennis… canoeing… monsters, anyone?
Summary: Sometimes, Winning Is Everything!
Swimming, basketball, roller hockey, King Jellyjam’s Sports Camp has it all. Too bad Wendy isn’t a sports freak like her brother, Elliot. But how excited can you get about softball? It’s just a game, right?
Because Camp Jellyjam is no ordinary sports camp. And Wendy’s about to find out why. Why the counselors seem a little too happy. Why they’re a little too obsessed with winning. And why the ground is always rumbling late at night…
Since it’s now summertime I wanted to surprise everyone with one of the legendary summer camp Goosebumps books. But I couldn’t decide which to choose from. I’d already recapped “Ghost Camp” last year on my birthday, but I decided to go with one of the classic books since I reviewed a 2000 book earlier this summer.
This is one of the most bizarre books from the first 62, and looking back on it as an adult I’ve come to realize this is probably R.L. Stine’s attempt at doing an H.P. Lovecraft-style tale, but for reasons I’ll have to explain in the Final Thoughts. Unfortunately, the big twist in this story has been spoiled numerous times by the various international additions’ covers and the Classic Goosebumps reprint. Even the Goosebumps Graphix adaption (drawn by the legendary Kyle Baker), has the twist spoiled by the cover.
It’s been more than a year since I began writing for Point Horror, and after carefully double checking with Wing and Dove, I thought I’d do this extra special recap of a horror computer game. This’ll be my first ever game recap, and I don’t know if I’ll be doing others because it may be a bit tricky.
As the name implies, this is a “My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic” game. Not an official one, mind you. It’s a fan game I found on newgrounds.com a few years ago when I was doing a search for creepypasta-related games. As it turns out, “Story of the Blanks” was made for a fan contest over on a “Friendship is Magic” website. A contest specifically for creepy games.
This game is surprisingly ingenious as the creator designed it in the style of original generation Nintendo games. It’s pretty short once you get the hang of it, but the story’s engrossing and well-crafted, leaving a number of things to the player’s imagination and scary in a non-problematic way. You’re probably thinking since this is “My Little Pony” and it’s horror related it’s probably gonna be some gross shit, but I assure you if it was I would never have recapped it for this site.
[Wing: I might have recapped it, depending on what that gross shit is, though not if there was, say, bestiality, etc., so. I love horror video games, but can’t play very many of them because a ton are first person camera style, which triggers my vertigo. Alas. Horror video games forever, though.]
Title: Goosebumps #25 – Attack of the Mutant, a.k.a. “Crisis of Infinite Mutants”
Author: R.L. Stine
Cover Artist: Tim Jacobus (U.S.), ???? (U.K.)
Tagline: He’s no superhero. He’s a supervillain!
Summary: Read at your own risk…
Skipper Matthews has an awesome comic book collection. His favorite one is called The Masked Mutant. It’s about an evil supervillain who’s out to rule the universe.
Skipper can’t get enough of The Mutant. Until one day he gets lost in a strange part of town. And finds a building that looks exactly like The Mutant’s secret headquarters. A building that appears and disappears.
Has Skipper read one too many comic books? Or does The Masked Mutant really live in Riverview Falls?
Guys, again I have to apologize for screwing up the schedule. That virus I contracted at the beginning of July completely threw off my schedule for writing alongside all the hours I’ve put in at work. This was supposed to cap off July’s “Comic Con” theme with my recaps, and I hope the lateness doesn’t mess up my recaps for August.
“Attack of the Mutant” is one of the most popular of the first 62 books. During the original run it got a two-episode adaptation (featuring the legendary Adam West) plus a computer game that delved more into the Masked Mutant’s fictional realm. Unfortunately, the character’s been totally neglected ever since the “Goosebumps Horrorland” reboot and has been replaced by two other “Comic villain come to life” characters, the annoying Dr. Maniac (whose first appearance wasn’t so bad but the way he got overused pissed me off) and the Ooze (who only had one appearance).
Skipper, the main character, pisses me off because he is SUCH a 90s comic snob, and it is people like him who ruined comics for everybody. However, I will say the TV show did such a good job at capturing his character it’s impossible not to imagine him wearing a baseball hat even if it’s not mentioned in the book. Watch as I pepper the recap with as many of comic references as I can.
Oh and apparently Stine hates “Archie” comics for some reason.
Summary: Leslie can’t wait to turn sixteen. She’s planning a huge birthday Party. Everyone’s invited. Her gorgeous boyfriend, Rick. Her best friend, Deborah. Her cousin, Trish. It’s going to be the biggest bash ever. [Wing: That … that is a list of three people. THREE.]
But out of the blue, weird things start happening. Scary things. She nearly gets knocked down by a runaway car. People start getting hurt. It seems like someone doesn’t want Leslie to make it to sweet sixteen.
But a few little accidents won’t scare Leslie. She is going to have her party. Even if it kills her…
Tagline: Sweet sixteen and never been…killed
Hi guys! How’ve you been? I’ve been great, lots of exciting stuff happening (to any American readers with Arthritis you may see my face advertising your medication very soon [Wing: Well that’s interesting!]), but I’m so happy to be back doing a recap which I hope y’all enjoy!
As a child I really liked this book and really wanted a huge sweet sixteen….I’m going to be honest, while reading this book I kept trying to remember what I did for my sixteenth and I have absolutely no memory of even turning 16. I think I went for a meal with my friends? Or we snuck out and went clubbing? But I did that a lot so it wasn’t a sixteen thing, it was more like a Saturday thing. I remember when I turned 13 I went to the cinemas with a bunch of friends and my mum. In my family, it was more of a celebration to turn eighteen or twenty-one. I definitely remember my twenty-first, I don’t remember my eighteenth.
I may need to see someone…..
Anyway I did enjoy this book, it wasn’t as awesome as I remember but I didn’t hate it (Side eyes Halloween 2) The ableism was annoying as hell but there wasn’t a lot of it and Leslie was a solid character who was easy to empathise with.
[Wing: Aaaah, Sweet Sixteen. Mine was a party, but it was in that weird time where I wasn’t quite out of the church cult yet but I was involved with decidedly non-church-cult-friendly people like Ostrich, so the party was mostly church cult people (surprisingly enough, because church cult didn’t believe in celebrating birthdays, though it had loosened up a bit by then), but then later on there was drinking. Fun times.]
Summary: Four teenagers at a British private school secretly uncover and explore the depths of a sealed underground hole created decades ago as a possible bomb shelter.
[Dove: Yeah, no, sorry imdb, but that makes it sound like a caving adventure. What happens is four teenagers are locked in the bunker, with no means of escape, and the film explores what put them there and what happened in the hole.]
Note 1: In England, public school means publicly funded, e.g., the parents of the students, the public, pay for its running costs. I know this means the opposite in America. [Wing: Americans, it’s a private boarding school. It’s great.]
Note 2: I’m trying to recap the story as it unfolds, and if you’ve seen this you’ll know that what you see in one scene can well be contradicted in another. So my comments take the scene at face value. I’ll loop back to anything on the contradicting scene, rather than “spoiling” what comes next. [Wing: Smart plan! And so is the one below.]
Note 3: I won’t mention the contents of the book. However, when I recap the book, I will definitely mention the contents of the film.
Just FYI, this is one of my favourite movies. Please note the difference between “favourite” and “best”. If you want my “best” movie, it’s One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest or Stand By Me. This falls firmly in the guilty pleasure category.
It was one of the first movies Raven and I watched when we moved in together. It was so early on in our relationship that we didn’t have a TV licence (we were waiting for payday) and so we were very naughty by watching it.
Also, I will be recapping the book. If you’ve always wanted to read the book but never got around to it, go buy the book now. The book is a very different entity to the movie, and it really should be read if you enjoy this story or any variation of it.
Also, I did screen caps of this entire movie for the cap_it community at LiveJournal. Who knew that 12 years later, it would save me a task when I came to recap the movie? [Wing: I remember people frantically asking you to screen cap Kiera Knightley’s tits, and you refusing, like the A+ person you are.]
[Wing: I love this movie so much. Dove introduced me to it, and the book, as she does many things, and I adore it to this day.]
Summary: Alisa has spent the past five thousand years as a vampire, living alone and fighting for survival. In her loneliness, Alisa cannot resist bringing Teri—a descendant of her human family—into her life. But Alisa is surrounded by death and destruction, and just by knowing Alisa, Teri’s life is at risk.
Alisa’s guilt grows when she becomes involved in a dangerous conspiracy. A top-secret group knows Alisa’s secret and will stop at nothing to use her powers for their cause. As Alisa desperately tries to protect herself and Teri from the unknown enemy, she discovers a force more powerful and more lethal than anything she has ever seen. Alisa doesn’t know who to trust, who to challenge, or who she will become….
Tagline: Reckless Behavior. Endless Pursuit.
Oh god, y’all, this book alone is at least the same length of any three previous books, if not longer. I have no idea how I’m going to break up these last books. There’s no way I can do a normal recap at that length, but if I do a set number of chapters each month, I’ll be recapping them all of next year, too, and I’m really looking forward to recapping Monster and Spellbound and Scavenger Hunt at the end of this year. So we’ll see what happens.
[Wing: Note from the future. I just dove in and recapped the entire thing, so … it’s long. I may split up the next one, or put it off until the new year, or something, I don’t even know. It’s so long, y’all. The book. This recap. Oh god.]
It’s a good thing I chose this chapter for July because I’ve been incredibly backlogged the last couple of weeks ever since I got sick around Independence Day.
Dream’s End is another oddity in the series because it provides more world building, even though it’s the shortest story at only 22 pages not counting the splash title page. It’s the only time the series explores the concept of the Lost Souls beyond their typical usage as a plot device and warning against consuming mermaid’s flesh. It also has a bit of a “Beauty and the Beast” vibe.
Title: Confessions of a Teenage Vampire #1 – The Turning
Writer: Terry West
Penciller: Steve Ellis
Inkers: Rich Perrota and Ravil Lopez
Letterer: Fred Van Lente
Colorist: Michelle Wulf and Ryan Dunlavey
Summary: I used to be a pretty average teenager. True, I didn’t haprves tons of friends, and I liked studying history, but I was basically not very unusual.
But that all changed when I met Phillip Lemachard. You see, Phillip is not like the rest of the kids in my high school. He’s not like anyone I know, in fact. When Phillip tells stories about history, it sounds as if he was really there. And he has this skin condition that keeps him indoors during daylight.
Now I’m beginning to change, too. And these changes are, well, really unusual.
Here’s a special little treat from a story I haven’t read since middle school. This is the first of a two-part, stillborn series of YA horror graphic novels published by Scholastic in the late 90s. It definitely shows in both the setting (the characters mention “Surfing the net”) and the artwork (it’s got that high-waisted, long thigh Rob Liefeld/Art Adams look to it).
I thought it’d be fun to pull up this old jewel for Comic Con month, and I’m planning on reviewing the second book in October for Halloweenus.
Summary: “…One must choose that victim who contains the greatest and purest force.
The Holy Fool.
The Hanged Man.
The King of the Lonely.
Thus shall the demon Archon arise and bathe the Earth in blood.”
— The Book of Shadows
Back in the 1990s, one of the semi-big things in the comics industry were prestige format one shot stories. They were bound with glossy covers like trade paperbacks, but small enough to be individual issues. Their placement in the continuity of ongoing comics was debatable at best, since they were so rarely every mentioned in the main titles published by DC and Marvel. What was great about them is they were often self-contained stories which featured original antagonists and supporting casts beyond the main characters, but like I said the characters would hardly ever appear in the regular comics if they were lucky.
I own, well, I wouldn’t say a HUGE number of Batman prestige format books, but the entirety of my Batman collection of trade paperback issues and similarly printed stories takes up most of one shelf in my collection. “Batman: The Book of Shadows” was a story I stumbled into blindly, having never heard of it before my purchase and the action taken solely because the title intrigued me. I don’t think I’ve ever read anything else written by Pat Mills and Debbie Gallagher, but from what I’ve determined the two are frequently published under 2000 A.D.. Likewise, I’ve only fond Duke Mighten’s artwork in an early 90s Marvel series called “Wild Thing.” “Book of Shadows” is a pleasant, creepy little story using tarot card themes and a group of monstrous villains whose designs are reminiscent of the Xenomorphs from the “Alien” franchise.
Title: Graveyard School #9 – The Abominable Snow Monster, a.k.a. “Where’s Global Warming When You Need It?”
Author: Tom B. Stone, a.k.a. Nola Thacker, a.k.a. D.E. Athkins
Cover Artist: Came DeLeon
Summary: There Must Have Been Some Magic…
Kyle’s convinced – he’s created a monster! But what else is there to do when Grove Hill gets hit with thirteen snow storms?
Now his sinister snowman is on the loose, and Kyle has to figure out a way to melt him down. If Kyle fails, the snow monster is sure to go on a rampage – and he won’t be a jolly happy soul!
Nothing puts you in the mood for summer than a nice story about a killer snowman. It’s interesting to me that Kyle Chilton would only be the main character in two books that are both about winter, but the placement is odd because I have to believe this takes place AFTER “Here Comes Santa Claws.” The book explicitly ends during the last few days of winter when spring is around the corner. For some reason, online bookstores like Amazon made it sound like “Here Comes Santa Claws” was a sequel to this book, even though it’s NOT. There’s mention of a great aunt’s funeral, but it definitely didn’t sound like Mab’s.
So take your mind off the July weather by imagining all the trimmings of winter. Roaring fires in the hearth, delicious mugs of piping hot chocolate, thick wool socks on your feet, plush and cuddly quilts and comforters to keep you nice and toasty, and the sound of hot radiator steam fogging your windows.
Title: Ghosts of Fear Street #31 – Escape of the He-Beast, a.k.a. “Hecula the He-Beast #32 – Death by Dying”
Author: Page McBrier
Cover Artist: Happy Boy Pat (Published), Mark Garro (Original)
Tagline: This Monster Is Real – Real Hungry!
Summary: He’s hairy. He’s scary. He’s escaped.
He is Hecula the He-Beast – the coolest monster in comic book history. And Jamie Kolker is his number-one fan. Jamie loves the He-Beast’s horns. His teeth. His claws. And especially the way he hunts his prey.
Then one day Jamie manages to get his hands on the computer program of the artist who draws Hecula. Somehow the program releases his comic book hero into the real world.
Suddenly Jamie isn’t a fan anymore. He’s monster chow!
It’s Comic Con International time, so for this month I decided to do some recaps focusing on comic related horror (except for Graveyard School, which sadly never had a comic-based book). Comics are as important to me as the books I read for Point Horror, but they are a never-ending source of stress for me because it seems like the two major companies are run by complete morons. Word of warning: When you make statements about wanting your favorite character back or for a current writer to stop writing your favorite title, BE AS SPECIFIC AS POSSIBLE BECAUSE THE WORLD OF COMICS IS LIKE A LIVING MONKEY’S PAW AND YOU WILL GET FUCKED OVER.
So, funny story. “Escape of the He-Beast” was originally going to be book #28 in the Ghosts of Fear Street series, following “Parents from the 13th Dimension.” There was even a preview for it and, as you can see, Mark Garro completed a cover for the original release. For whatever reason, the book must’ve been pushed back when the Fear Street series was transferred over to Gold Key, with the published #28 being “Hide and Shriek II.” I own all of the Gold Key-published books and they’re my favorite of this series because I LOVE the early 90s CGI cover artwork.
[Wing: Awww, fear of technology setting things free into the world goes back for ages, and I love it.]