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

Recap #164: Nightmare Hall #13: Monster by Diane Hoh/Barbara Steiner

Nightmare Hall - Monster by Diane Hoh

Nightmare Hall – Monster by Diane Hoh

Title: Nightmare Hall #13: Monster

Summary: Rumors are flying around Salem U. Stories about a monster roaming the campus. Tales of students viciously attacked in the dead of night. Abby McDonald thinks it’s all nonsense. A fraternity prank. A drama major giving an unusual “performance”. She has too much on her mind to worry about a monster. But she should be worried. Because the truth about the monster is even more horrible than she could have imagined….

Tagline: None

Notes: I will refer to the bad guy as…wait for it…the monster!

Initial Thoughts

Diane Hoh is missing in action again this round, but thankfully, so is Nola Thacker! This time our ghostwriter is none other than Barbara Steiner, who released a few Point horror books (The Phantom, The Mummy, Spring Break) back in the day, but was actually quite prolific in teen YA horror fiction, with a bunch of titles written for the publisher Avon Flare (The Dreamstalker, The Photographer, The Photographer II: Dark Room, Night Cries, Deathline, The Coffin, and the Dark Chronicles trilogy, The Dance, The Gallery and The Calling). I’ve read them all, except for The Coffin and The Calling, and have always found her to be a rather “meh” writer. I remember “meh” being my overall reaction when I read this for the first time in my teens, although I can’t remember much else about it. She can’t be worse than Thacker, though, can she?

[Wing: I liked most of The Phantom, which may be the only book of hers I’ve read, but she did not pull off the ending, so I don’t have high hopes. Especially because with a title and a summary like that, I want this to be a werewolf book. It’s probably not a werewolf book. I’m already primed to be disappointed.]

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Recap #158: Goosebumps #35: A Shocker on Shock Street by R. L. Stine

Title: Goosebumps #35 – A Shocker On Shock Street, a.k.a. “Erin and Marty’s Bogus Journey”

Author: R.L. Stine

Cover Artist: Tim Jacobus

Goosebumps Graphix Illustrator: Jamie Tolagson

Tagline: It’s a real dead end.

Summary: Talk About Shock Treatment!

Erin Wright and her best friend, Marty, love horror movies. Especially Shocker on Shock Street movies. All kinds of scary creatures live on Shock Street. The Toadinator. Ape Face. The Mad Mangler.

But when Erin and Marty visit the new Shocker Studio Theme Park, they get the scare of their lives.

First the tram gets stuck in The Cave of the Living Creeps. Then they’re attacked by a group of enormous praying mantises!

Real life is a whole lot scarier than the movies. But Shock Street isn’t really real. Is it?

Initial Thoughts

“Shock Street” has been a personal favorite of mine for the same reason as “One Day At Horrorland,” and it’s the world building. Because the book is built around a fictional horror movie franchise, I’ve repeatedly gone back for re-reads to devour all the information available on the Shock Street films and creatures. You don’t know how delighted I was to learn it was getting a graphic novel adaption, illustrated by comic artist Jamie Tolagson, from Scholastic’s “Goosebumps Graphix” line, which made up for how disappointing the TV show version was. And hey, it meant reference for commissions! I added a couple of scanned pages from the Graphix adaption; sorry about the quality. Again, I was worried about wrecking the spine.

One of my earliest examples of fan fiction, way back in middle school, was my attempt at writing a story about one of the films mentioned in the book. Of course looking back my story was God awful. I still tried to come up with ideas for what the different Shock Street movies were about, which I’ll get into during the final thoughts alongside a small gallery of commissions of Shock Street monsters.

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Recap #129: Graveyard School #26: Little School of Horrors by Tom B. Stone, a.k.a. “The Most Popular Ghouls in School”

Title: Graveyard School #26 – Little School of Horrors

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

Cover Artist: Mark Nagata

Tagline: N/A

Summary: It’s The Most Horrifying Time Of Year In Grove Hill – Back-To-School Time!

Back to school.

Ghouls rule. Teachers drool.

Dead things walking are nothing shocking.

Blue is new at Graveyard School. But he knows right away that he’s going to class at Creep Central. Just look at the teachers. The principal. Even the janitor. But worst of all, look at the kid who wants to be Blue’s best friend. With friends like these, who needs enemies?

Welcome to Dead Kid 101.

[Wing: This summary made me laugh. I’m delighted.]

Initial Thoughts

Looking at the cover Wing you can guess why I picked this for your b-day month, and lucky for you this is also one of my favorite books in the series.

What’s weird about it is this book has got some world building shit going on, and the way it reads you’d THINK it would’ve been the first in the series. It gives a much better sense of how big the sixth grade class is, even for a small town, which puts it at odds with the Fear Street Seniors series for how it only focused on a handful of the 12th grade class and then made sporadic, frustrating references to all the OTHER kids in the graduating class.

But this is frustrating for me because this was the third to last in the line, and none of the other kids introduced in this book appeared in “Here Comes Santa Claws” or “The Spider Beside Her.” I can’t help but wonder what Thacker might’ve had planned for this series if #28 wasn’t the last. God knows I still have some notes from way back in high school on ideas I had for stories with these guys.

And we also get a look at racism through the eyes of a kids horror book!

[Wing: I do love the surprise on that cover, thank you! It’s strange that this isn’t the first book in the series, or that the world building here wasn’t included in the first book, at least. Though, I did like the pacing on the first book, and this information might have slowed it down.

No matter what, I’m super excited about this!]

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Recap #127: Goosebumps Series 2000 #17: The Werewolf In The Living Room by R.L. Stine, a.k.a. “Are You There God? It’s Me, Aaron”

Title: Goosebumps Series 2000 #17 – The Werewolf in the Living Room

Author: R.L. Stine

Cover Artist: Tim Jacobus [Wing: That is one of the creepier werewolves I’ve seen in cover art, and that includes on adult horror novels.]

Tagline: Home sweet horror.

Summary:

The creature had the face of a wolf. And the back and chest of a man.

He stared at me with those black, gleaming eyes. He curled back his thick lips. I stared in horror at long, curved fangs.

Then – before I could run – the werewolf leaned back on his haunches.

Raised his head in a fierce howl.

And sank his fangs deep into my skin.

Initial Thoughts

Surprise, Wing! It’s your favorite thing! WEREWOLVES. I know you mentioned reading “The Werewolf of Fever Swamp,” but I decided to go with one of the books you were less likely to have read before. At least, I hope so. [Wing: Good call! I’ve never read this one before, and I am so, so excited about it.]

The Goosebumps 2000 books were Scholastic’s attempt to revitalize the series for the new century, even though they were published three years before the actual millennium. [Wing: … strange.] The books definitely have a tone and feel independent of the original series, but overall were a bit disappointing compared to the first 62 books. They were more heavy on stuff like blood and vomit, and many of them were broken into separate parts. They got two Slappy books, an official sequel to “One Day at Horrorland,” and a spiritual sequel to “Ghost Camp.” Two books, “Bride of the Living Dummy” and “Cry of the Cat” were adapted into TV episodes, and “Invasion of the Body Squeezers” got a follow up under the “Give Yourself Goosebumps” line. The last book in the series, “The Incredible Shrinking Fifth Grader,” was cancelled before it got released, and R.L. Stine re-purposed the script for a separate book. Thankfully, Tim Jacobus sent the Goosebumps wiki the unused but completed cover art.

The 2000 books as a whole have largely been ignored following the revitalization of the franchise, with one or two exceptions. The Body Squeezers, the Haunted Car, and the Graveyard Ghouls were featured in the movie, so the books including the latter two got reprinted in the “Classic Goosebumps” line. Meanwhile, “Creature Teacher” got a sequel in “Goosebumps Most Wanted.”

So why did I choose this for you, Wing? First off, admittedly, it’s a seasonal thing. One winter a couple of years ago I began acquiring more entries in the 2000 line, this one, “Full Moon Fever,” “The Haunted Car,” “Horrors of the Black Ring,” and it sort of, I dunno, I get comfortable reading them during the last week of December and the earlier weeks of January. Beyond that, well, before you walk into this unwarned, there’s plenty of talk about how one of the characters is crazy. I know you won’t like that, but I really think you’re gonna love the implications of the ending.

[Wing: We will see. I am damn excited about the werewolves, though. I’ve never read any of the Series 2000 books.]

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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 #102: Teen Wolf (1985)

Title: Teen Wolf (1985)

Summary: What’s a high school kid got to do to be popular? Just let down his hair and howl! Starring Michael J. Fox, Teen Wolf is an outrageous comedy about a shy teenager with more than a changing voice to contend with… he’s a budding young werewolf! And when his new-found powers help him score at basketball – and with the popular girls – he has some pretty hairy decisions to make.

Tagline: He always wanted to be special – but he never expected like this!

Note: I am watching the Bluray edition, which I don’t know why that matters but I’m still noting it. We’ll see how well the special effects hold up under the digital transfer. (Spoiler: they don’t.)

Initial Thoughts

Happy Beaver Moon, everyone! This is my half of the initial Snark At the Moon! recaps; Wing published a recap of The Howling on the Full Harvest Moon in October. There’s a reason she gave me the Beaver Moon… and not just because I reside in the Beaver State.

I am not unfamiliar to this film, or its sequel, Teen Wolf, Too. In fact, I am more partial to the cheesy story, bad acting, and over-all shameful antics of the sequel, probably because I had a crush on Jason Bateman for all of five minutes when I was 10. It was the movie character I had eyes for, really; I don’t think I ever watched the sitcom that made him famous back in the day. (Y’know, before Arrested Development revitalized his career.) Anyway.

Teen Wolf was released during the heady days of Michael J. Fox mania, which was already in full swing because of Family Ties and the release of Back to the Future in July of 1985. Again, I wasn’t exactly the target age group at the time, at least not in the sense of thinking him a teen heartthrob or some such. (I was 4 years old when this film hit theaters.) So I didn’t see it, properly, until several years out from its initial release. Nor was I really into werewolves. The sequel was more responsible for spurring that interest in weres, since I’m a vampire girl at heart. I think I also had trouble identifying with the story line that is steeped in popularity cliques, underage drinking/partying, and ‘fitting in’. Plus most of the film involves basketball, which is a sport and I have zero interest in those. (I only know what I know about boxing because, again, of the sequel. Being a super athlete with preternatural abilities is the driving story line in both films. At least Todd, Scott’s cousin, had brains to fall back on!)

Still, this film would trigger the sequel I’ve spent a lot of time talking about, a Saturday morning cartoon series, and a whole MTV scripted series “reboot” decades after its release (which was a whole other beast, honestly, but one I deeply loved, and I have FEELINGS now that it’s ended.) I’m sure it’s safe to say that Teen Wolf is embedded in collective pop culture memory for at least another couple decades.

[Wing: So, here’s the thing. I’d say it’s a secret, except I’ve mentioned it around here before: despite my well-known love of werewolves, I have never seen either of these movies or the cartoon series (and only season one and part of season two of the MTV reboot, which I mostly marathoned over a few days after my mom’s funeral, so don’t remember much about). How I missed this movie, when I love werewolves and horror and horror-comedy and Michael J. Fox? Who the fuck knows. But here I am, all these years later, finally remedying it. I’m so glad y’all are along for the ride.]

Okay, let’s just get to recapping, shall we.

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Halloween Extravaganza: Atypical Halloween Films

I, for one, welcome our new overlord: the Great Pumpkin!

It’s October! It’s Fall! It’s the best season of the year!

Each year about this time, there’s always the general consensus list post of “Halloween” films – among them Halloween, Friday the 13th, the Universal Monsters movies, Hocus Pocus, The Nightmare Before Christmas, Halloweentown (and its three sequels, though that fourth film is purely awful) – and there are the staples that several generations have grown up on, i.e. It’s the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown!, which is the one film that still airs on a major network every year (or twice in the same month, some years.)

I don’t want to write one of those lists.

So, instead, I decided to pick some of my favorite spooky and/or horror-themed films that always seem to put me in the mood for Fall and its haunted delights. Join me and check this list of atypical not-exactly-Halloween films you should check out for the Fall season! Spookiness, ahoy!

It meeeeeeeeee!

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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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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)

 

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Recap #92: More Tales To Give You Goosebumps by R. L. Stine

Title: More Tales To Give You Goosebumps

Author: R.L. Stine

Cover Artist: Tim Jacobus

Summary: “Reader Beware – You’re In For Ten Summertime Scares!”

Is Matt’s summer camp being taken over by an evil patch of poison ivy? Will Eric escape from his tank, now that he’s been turned into a fish? Can Tara help the terrified voice she hears inside a beautiful seashell? Find out in these ten creepy Goosebumps short stories perfect for reading around the campfire or under the covers!

Initial Thoughts

This was the first of the short story books I read, and I… I think I actually stole this when I was a kid. No I remember back in elementary school, I found this book in a bag of books inside a closet in one of the classrooms. I think they were going to get rid of these books so I just kept the copy for myself. A few years later when the hardcover collection was released I gave my copy away.

As you could probably tell from the summary and cover art, the stories in this book all take place during the summer and yet surprisingly only two of them involve summer camps. Only one book was adapted for the French Goosebumps illustrated novellas, but none of them were made into TV episodes. One story, “The Cat’s Tale,” genuinely feels like some sort of pilot version for “Cry of the Cat,” the first in the Series 2000 line. I can safely say I found the stories in this one more interesting than the previous one. The original edition also came with a bonus booklight.

For this recap, I’m gonna be doing “3rd Rock from the Sun” jokes for the subtitles. Which means prepare thy selves for a bunch of dick jokes.

I’m also gonna include some of my ideas for potential sequel stories.

[Wing: I don’t know why, but I am so charmed by a creepy summer themed book coming with a booklight. Damn you, Stine!]

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