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

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 #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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Recap #191: Give Yourself Goosebumps Special Edition #4: One Night In Payne House by R.L. Stine

GYG Special Edition #4 Cover

Hi, doggie!

Title: Give Yourself Goosebumps Special Edition #4 – One Night In Payne House

Author: R.L. Stine

Cover Artist: Craig White

Tagline: There’s Only One Way Out!

Summary: Talk About Being In The Doghouse!

It’s Halloween. And you’ve just taken the Ultimate Challenge. You’ve entered the town’s most horrifying haunted house – Payne House.

So ready or not, you’ve got exactly one chance to survive. All other paths point to THE END. Your end! Because roaming through Payne House is a giant dog-beast who wants to put a choke-chain leash – on you! Not to mention the drooling Tongue Thin that’s having a major snack attack!

The choice is yours in this scary GOOSEBUMPS adventure! It’s packed with over 20 super-spooky endings – but only one way out!

Initial Thoughts

For this year’s Halloween Extravaganza, join me in my very first recap of the Give Yourself Goosebumps sub-series.

I’ve been on the fence about how to recap these entries for months because they aren’t straightforward tales like the usual Goosebumps books. But when thinking about recapping this particular book for Point Horror, I had an idea. I’ve come up with a system where, instead of recapping the books like a game with a system of lives if I get a bad ending I will review straight through into one of the good endings. If a book branches off into two storylines, I’ll review both in the same article.

As you guessed from the summary, this book claims to have only one good ending out of dozens of bad ones. However, even the supposed good ending is debatable. Like the other special edition stories, these rely on an inventory system as you pick things up along the way. When I first bought and read this, I ALMOST made it to the good ending and then died.

Mark Nagata was the original cover artist for the series (well Tim Jacobus did the first cover), but when the layout got redesigned Craig White was hired as the new artist. I think both are amazing, though.

Oh, and I’ll be referring to the player character as “Jude.”

[Wing: I love Choose Your Own Adventure style books, and am thrilled to have Jude taking on Give Yourself Goosebumps. I used to mark spots in CYOA style books where I wanted to come back and take another path, until pretty much every option was flagged, which was useless, baby!Wing. Happy Halloween, all!] Continue reading »

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Recap #190: Cursed (2005)

Title: Cursed (2005)

Summary: A werewolf loose in Los Angeles changes the lives of three young adults who, after being mauled by the beast, learn that the only way to break the curse put upon them is to kill the one who started it all! [Wing: There is so much wrong with this summary.] [bat: It didn’t sell me on watching it, that’s for sure.]

Tagline: Beware the full moon. [Wing: So simple. So cheesy. So perfect.] [bat: Sometimes the simplest things are the best things.]

Initial Thoughts

This movie is kind of terrible and a whole lot ridiculous and I love it so, so much. Unrated version all the way, so you know. [bat: UNRATED VERSION IS TRUE CANON; IGNORE THE STUPID RATED VERSION!]

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Recap #187: Graveyard School #11: April Ghouls’ Day by Tom B. Stone

It’s Dr. Morthouse… TO THE X-TREEEEEEEEEME!!!

Title: Graveyard School #11 – April Ghouls’ Day, a.k.a. “Maria and Morty’s Totally Awesome Adventure”

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

Cover Artist: Barry Jackson

Summary: Invasion Of The Body Snatchers!

Maria Medina’s not quite sure how it happened. One minute she was just another student at Graveyard School, trying to make it through the first day of April. Then suddenly someone – somehow – set her up in a gruesome body switch.

Now the principal, Dr. Morthouse, is acting really weird – but not as strange as Maria. Body, body, who’s got whose body? On April Fools’ Day, no one is safe at Graveyard School.

Initial Thoughts

This has never been one of my favorites, but it’s not as bad as “Let’s Scare The Teacher To Death” was. This is definitely the funniest book in the series, and the only time Maria Medina gets to be the main character. It also sheds the most spotlight on Dr. Morthouse, who tends to lurk in the background most of the time.

My main complaint is this doesn’t really do justice for Vickie Wheilson’s character.

[Wing: That’s a shame, but I do love body swap stories, so I’m excited for this one!]

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Recap #183: Ghosts of Fear Street #30: I Was A Sixth Grade Zombie by Nina Kiriki Hoffman

The original cover

The scrapped cover

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?

Initial Thoughts

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.

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Recap #182: After the Hole by Guy Burt

After the Hole by Guy Burt

After the Hole by Guy Burt

Title: After the Hole by Guy Burt

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.

Initial Thoughts:

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.

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Recap #180: Graveyard School #10: There’s A Ghost In The Boys’ Bathroom by Tom B. Stone

GS School #10 Cover

Blob Loves Thing, Pass It On

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?

Initial Thoughts

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.]

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