Title: Nightmare Hall #10: Sorority Sister by Diane Hoh
Summary: When Maxie McKeon pledges Omega Phi Delta, she figures she’s got it made. She loves her new sisters. And everyone knows Omegas throw the best parties and go out with the cutest guys. But someone on campus isn’t crazy about the sorority. That person is just, well, crazy. And he – or she – is determined to destroy the house, and everyone in it. Joining Omega won’t change Maxie’s life. It will just shorten it.
Mental health: with tact and sensitivity: 1 point. Right in the back cover synopsis! Although, to be fair, Hoh didn’t write the synopsis.
Notes: I will now refer to the bad guy as “Muffin Man” because of The Mall.
I don’t remember ever disliking a Diane Hoh book, but Deadly Attraction and The Wish in this series have shown me they’re occasionally not as great as I recall (albeit a lot better than most of the YA thrillers at the time). This book has the misfortune of coming after The Night Walker, a tight, taut, complex little humdinger of a thriller that I could barely find fault with. So it has a lot to live up to. But I’m always optimistic when it comes to Hoh (unlike Nola Thacker), and I do have memories of this at least being fun. Note: I have no knowledge of how fraternities and sororities work, because we don’t have them in Australia. Any idea I have is based solely on books and B-grade movies.
[Wing: That cover makes me think of Dawn Schafer and Abby Stevenson from the Baby-Sitters Club, which cracks me up. I’d not read this one before, so had no nostalgic thoughts going into it, but I was a part of a music fraternity for awhile at university (yes, I said fraternity), but it wasn’t a social Greek organisation, and I assume much different than whatever we have going on here.]
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Title: Graveyard School #7 – Slime Lake, a.k.a. “Protect The Environment! Or I’ll FUCKING KILL YOU!”
Author: Tom B. Stone, a.k.a. Nola Thacker, a.k.a. D.E. Athkins
Cover Artist: U.S. – Cam DeLeon, U.K. – ??? [Wing: That UK cover is something else!]
Tagline: “You’ve Been Slimed!” (U.K. Version)
Summary: Don’t Go In The Water!
Marc and his twin sister, Terri, are excited about spending the summer at their uncle Nicholas’s lake house. Even though their uncle is an old grouch, Marc and Terri enjoy the lake and their summer friends in Grove Hill.
But this summer is different. Suddenly the once placid lake has motorboats, fishermen, and crowds. Even worse is the gross green slime that’s been popping up on boats and docks and swimmers. When Terri goes for a swim and doesn’t return, Marc wonders what exactly is lurking under the water…
Hey Wing, so a little good news/bad news for you. The bad news is this book doesn’t have werewolves. The good news is it’s got your other favorite thing, twins!
(Terri and Marc by zackdoesalotofstuff)
[Wing: I think you may be overestimating my excitement for twins at this point, thanks to Sweet Valley, but Terri and Marc are super cute!]
This is the first and only book in the series to have twins as the main characters, and it’s also one of the books that heavily feature a message about environmentalism.
Slime Lake was previously referred to in the last book, “Camp Dracula,” but now we’re gonna find out just how gross it really is!
Title: The Last Vampire #3: Red Dice by Christopher Pike
Summary: Alisa and her former FBI partner, Joel, learn of a government plan to capture them in order to steal and analyze their vampire blood for the purpose of duplicating it, and when Joel is caught, Alisa risks her life to free him.
Tagline: This time the world hunted her…
I remember nothing about this book. I know I’ve read it. I’ve probably even read it multiple times, though not since my early 20s, if not even before that. But I have no idea what the plot is here, or even who, besides Alisa, is around.
ALISA NEVER GONNA DIE BECAUSE I’M GODDAMN PERNE IS BACK.
Let’s do this.
Title: Goosebumps – The Surprise On The 13th Floor, a.k.a. “Walt Disney’s Goosebumps” (Plus Bonus Story)
Author: R.L. Stine and Cheryl Hotchkiss
Artist: Michael Graeney
And now it’s time for something very special, possibly even rarer than “Goosebumps Haunted Library.”
Disney Adventures magazine held a contest in the 1990s. In their November 1996 issue, they included the opening segment to a Goosebumps short story called “Surprise On The 13th Floor,” written by R.L. Stine. Contestants were to compose a 1200 word middle and ending for the story. The winner, Cheryl Hotchkiss, got a bunch of cool Goosebumps swag and their entry published in the March 1997 issue.
I purchased the March ’97 issue for the sake of reading and recapping the completed story for Point Horror. The magazine included three illustrations by Michael Graeney, but unfortunately due to the size and the spine of the magazine I wasn’t able to include all of them in the post out of fear of ruining my copy. As a consultation prize, I will include a recap of a short story published in the November ’96 issue, “Made In Transylvania.”
[Wing: I had no idea this contest existed, despite liking both Goosebumps and Disney Adventures well into the 90s.]
Title: Bone Chillers #23 – Romeo and Ghouliette a.k.a. “Hail, Hail Sirbania, A Land I Didn’t Make Up”
Author: Betsy Haynes (Ryan Chipman (Based on the script by Regge Bulman and Clay Eide))
Cover Artist: Tim Jacobus
Tagline: What fright through yonder window breaks? [Wing: Okay, that’s kind of delightful.]
Summary: Cooking up trouble…
Lexi knows there’s something weird about Julie, the new girl at Edgar Allen Poe High School. [Wing: I want to go to school there.] Julie was practically drooling over a worm in biology lab. Then Lexi swears she saw Julie snatch a fly out of the air in homeroom – and eat it!
Now Julie is after Lexi’s best friend, Fitz. And Fitz is totally falling for her. He loves everything about Julie – especially the cookies and candies she brings him. Lexi suspects Julie is fattening Fitz up for a feast – and that he’s going to be the main course!
February is the month of LUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUV, and even though I’d already done “The Abandoned” for Valentine’s Day I felt for the extra recap this would be an appropriate addition.
Bone Chillers was another Goosebumps knock-off series from the 90s, one of the few that stuck to the formula of a brand new cast and universe in each book. But what set the series apart is it was the only series besides Goosebumps to get a TV show during its time of publication. With a single season of 13 episodes, the show took place at Edgar Allen Poe High School and focused on the horrifying misadventures of four friends.
The artistic Fitz Crump, gothic Sarah Moss, brainy wannabee casanova Brian Hoseapple, and sunny Lexi Orwell, got into all sorts of terrifying shenanigans at school, alongside the downright evil Principal Pussman, ditzy Ms. Dewberry, and their ally Arnie, the creepy school janitor who knew about all sorts of weird shit. Only three of the episodes (Back to School, Creature Teacher, and Frankenturkey) were based on the books written by Betsy Haynes, while all of them featured educational segments at the end that were narrated by Miss Haynes. Whereas the cheesiness of the Goosebumps TV show was mostly unintentional, Bone Chillers deliberately played up the comedy angle alongside the horror. You’d be amazed at how much the kids scream.
“Romeo and Ghouliette” is special, because in its case, the BOOK was based on the EPISODE. Two years after the show ended, the screenplay was adapted and expanded into an addition of the book series, and was the last entry published. The cover sort of reflects that, featuring a broken TV, and the male character is obviously modeled after Fitz. What also makes this special is that book is fucking expensive (I was lucky to find a cheap copy) and much sought after by fans because there exists no DVD set of the entire show and absolutely NO videos anywhere for sale or online of the episode.
Well, at least until a brave American hero uploaded videos of every episode that hadn’t been put on VHS to Youtube.
Being able to watch the episode made me realize a lot of changes were put in the book adaption. Such as:
Title: Last Vampire #2: Black Blood by Christopher Pike
Summary: Believing that she and her partner, Ray, are the last remaining vampires, five-thousand-year-old Alisa is stunned when she learns about a series of brutal murders in the United States that can only be the work of their own kind.
Tagline: The wave of death spread like a plague…
I know I’ve read this one before, but I have no memory of what happens. Apparently, my memory, like the last book, ends in that cliffhanger of whether Alisa will live or die. I mean, I’m assuming she lives, considering there’s still a number of books to go, but I suppose Ray could be the new last vampire. But I doubt it.
Reminder: Last book ended with Sita: breaking her vow to Krishna and making another vampire; blowing up Yaksha, her creator; accidentally getting impaled by a piece of wood; and potentially dying in true peace because she realises she didn’t actually break her vow to Krishna.
ALISA I’M BETTER THAN ALL Y’ALL PERNE ROUND TWO.
Title: Graveyard School #26 – Little School of Horrors
Author: Tom B. Stone/Nola Thacker/D.E. Athkins
Cover Artist: Mark Nagata
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.]
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!]
Title: Strange Matter #2 – The Midnight Game
Author: Johnny Ray Barnes Jr.
Cover Artist: ???
Summary: Tyler Webb has been invited to attend a very special football game – a final showdown between two teams from Fairfield’s past. The only problem is, the game is scheduled for midnight and there’s no way Tyler’s parents will let him go. Curiosity gets the better of him and Tyler sneaks out to see the game. Now he’s sitting in the moonlight, waiting for the teams to run out.
But they don’t. They crawl out… from the ground.
I sent Wing the first book in the Strange Matter series as a Christmas gift. I’ve known of the series for years but I only own two books, this one and “Frozen Dinners,” which is book 5. From what I’ve seen online and what I gleamed from the fifth book, it looks like this series had an ongoing storyline spread throughout the different volumes concerning the strange things happening in Fairfield. I’m trying to avoid buying books in the latter half until I’ve read the first ten. Unfortunately, a few books were cancelled, which has me really intrigued and frustrated because I’d really like to know what “Stamped” was gonna be about.
When I told Wing about these two she sounded super excited so I offered to recap this entry for her birthday.
[Wing: Football! Zombie players! How could I resist? I love how Jude always brings new series to Devil’s Elbow, and I’m particularly excited about this one. Can’t wait to read this recap.]
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.
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.
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.]
Title: 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…
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.
Evil twins, Wing and Dove, and their friends recap Point Horror and other teen genre fiction.
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