Posted in Goosebumps Recaps

Recap #143: Goosebumps Live On Stage: Screams in the Night by R. L. Stine

Title: Goosebumps Live On Stage – Screams In The Night, a.k.a. “Hello, Slappy!”

Author: R.L. Stine (Based on stage play by Rupert Holmes)

Cover Artist: Tim Jacobus

Summary: N/A

Initial Thoughts

Time for another long lost Goosebumps treasure, though this one’s slightly better known than “Haunted Library” and “Surprise on the 13th Floor.”

In the late 90s there was briefly a Goosebumps stage show, though I was barely aware of this since I was like 8 or 9 at the time. I’ve never seen a performance, and I don’t know how long the show ran. Hell, I’m not even sure how I got this book. I think it originally belonged to my sibling back in elementary school, but like so much of their shit, it ended up in my possession because they stopped caring about it.

There are four stories in this book, a wraparound tale and three short stories that feature the same cast of characters. The first and third stories are weird, the first coming across like a rehash of “Stay Out of the Basement” and the third some prototype for the “Goosebumps Horrorland” series. I prefer the second story out of the bunch.

The book came with some illustrations by Tim Jacobus. Unfortunately, due to the size and spine of the book I’m unable to make scans without doing serious damage.

[Wing: I’m still boggling over it getting a stage show. What I wouldn’t give to see it today!]

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Posted in Point Horror Recaps

Recap #142: Driver’s Dead by Peter Lerangis

Title: Driver’s Dead by Peter Lerangis

The Author:

A rather prolific author, Peter Lerangis has been writing for decades, although if you go to his website the farthest back you’ll find is his The Watchers series. No mention of his Point Horror writing that I can find. Seriously. Not even his Wiki page goes beyond his Watchers series. Don’t worry. I believe I’ve found them. Titles include DRIVER’S DEAD, THE YEARBOOK, and X-ISLE. Seems like he doesn’t want the taint, maybe? Or it’s just that his various other series have done so well there’s no need to put that retail work on his resume any longer. [Wing: Those the books I’ve found by him, too (with X-Isle being a two book series). He also ghostwrote some of the Baby-Sitters Club books.]

Anyway, he has a weird thing for the Vietnam War in this book, and I don’t know why. The premise seems to hinge on a “crazy” Vietnam vet and one of the characters being a refugee from the area and trying to find his parents. It’s just the date seems really off. The book was published in 1994. That’s a big, lingering gap for Vietnam relevance. It was just weird. It didn’t necessarily seem forced, but the timing was off enough that it really stood out.

Also every. Single. Chapter. Ends on a cliffhanger. All of them.

The Blurb:

Nightmare – dead ahead.

Kristen’s not a very good driver. And the driver’s ed classes aren’t helping. No matter how hard she tries, she just can’t get the hang of being behind the wheel.

Rob’s a very good driver. And he wants to give Kirsten a few tips on how to improve her driving. But after the first session, Rob turns up missing.

Kirsten is beginning to realize that this class may be a little more than she bargained for. A class that may drive her crazy – or to death.

#

That is . . . Really bad. One, it’s vaguely relevant to the plot. It just leaves out a whole shit ton of applicable details like Rob being a shitbag, the fact that he doesn’t turn up missing, but dead, and the story actually doesn’t center around the class itself. Driver’s ed precipitates a lot of the events, but the class is really more of a passing thing. The contest is really the driving force behind this (pun intended), along with, you know. Being haunted by a dead kid that’s screwing with her head.

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Posted in Other Recaps

Recap #141: Mermaid Saga Part 3-4: The Village of the Fighting Fish by Rumiko Takahashi

Title: Mermaid Saga Part 3-4 – The Village of the Fighting Fish

Author/Artist: Rumiko Takahashi

Initial Thoughts

This immediately isn’t one of my favorites stories in the series. While two of the characters are pretty cool, it doesn’t really have the same horror feel as the other tales. The tone and setting comes across similar to Takahashi’s other series, “Inuyasha.”

It also seems weird she’d do a story about Yuta’s past, long before Mana was in the picture, as the immediate second tale after the opening two parts.

I’m not sure how you’re gonna feel about this one, Wing. I don’t think you’ll like the ending, but I do think you’ll like the bad guy.

[Wing: It does seem like a strange choice to do a backstory so soon after the series begins.]

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Posted in Graveyard School recaps

Recap #139: Graveyard School #7: Slime Lake by Tom B. Stone

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…

Initial Thoughts

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!

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Posted in Other Recaps

Recap #138: The Last Vampire #3: Red Dice by Christopher Pike

Red Dice by Christopher PikeTitle: 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…

Initial Thoughts

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.

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Posted in Other Recaps

Recap #132: Last Vampire #2: Black Blood by Christopher Pike

Last Vampire 2 Black Blood by Christopher PikeTitle: 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…

Initial Thoughts

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.

Let’s do this.

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Posted in Graveyard School recaps

Recap #130: Graveyard School #6: Camp Dracula by Tom B. Stone

Title: Graveyard School #6 – Camp Dracula a.k.a. “The Purple Bear Jamboree”

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

Cover Artist: Barry Jackson

Summary: Camp At Your Own Risk!

Welcome to camp – Camp Dracula, as Jeep Holmes jokingly calls it. [Wing: JEEP.] Jeep may be joking, but he isn’t laughing. He can’t take this weird new summer place! Never mind that the counselors always wear dark glasses and the activities are all at night. What bothers him most are the other campers, a bunch of sickly-looking creeps who like to keep bats in the bunks! Why did his parents send him to this horrific place? Will Jeep make it through the summer without going batty?

Initial Thoughts

And now we get back into the chronological order of things (at least for a little bit), but hey, this is a vampire book, and what goes better with February than vampires?

This is the first book in the series to take place outside of the school and Grove Hill, and the first summer-themed story. I mentioned there were only two camp-related books, and it’s interesting it would involve vampires since they’re nocturnal by nature and camp tales take place mostly during the day. This is also the first to have a protagonist who can be genuinely grating on the reader. It’s admittedly one of the few books I haven’t reread as much.

But you’d be surprised at the use of Dracula references.

[Wing: I love summer camp stories and vampire stories and Dracula references, and that cover is adorable. I’m excited.]

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Posted in Graveyard School recaps

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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Posted in Goosebumps Recaps

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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Posted in Other Recaps

Recap #126: The Last Vampire by Christopher Pike

Cover of The Last Vampire by Christopher PikeTitle: 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…

Initial Thoughts

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.

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Posted in Graveyard School recaps

Recap #123: Graveyard School #22: Boo Year’s Eve by Tom B. Stone, A.K.A. “Auld Lang FUCK!”

Title: Graveyard School #22 – Boo Year’s Eve

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

Cover Artist: Mark Nagata

Tagline: N/A

Summary: A Scary New Start To A New Year…

It’s New Year’s Eve. As Jordie and Jessica Flanders are coming home from a visit to their grandmother, their bus breaks down in the middle of nowhere. Ordinarily Jordie would be bummed. But she’s been invited – and forced to go – to perfect Polly Hannah’s New Year’s Eve party. Compared to that, the middle of nowhere isn’t so bad!

The passengers take refuge at the nearest house – an old mansion. At first Jordie thinks it’s cool, but when she stumbles onto a party of ghosts, she’d do anything to get out and get to Polly’s party – alive!

Initial Thoughts

There was no way on God’s green Earth I was gonna wait two years to recap this book. A lot can happen in two years and, with that blowdryed, spray tanned serial rapist xenophobe in control of nuclear launch codes… shit I made myself sad.

ANYWAY.

This has long been my first and foremost favorite entry in the entire series. I’ve saved this one and several others in a box that’s ready to pull out in case of a fire, because chances are I will never find another copy anywhere. I got lucky back in 2004 and was able to purchase this separately of the bulk lot I found on eBay. It’s my favorite for a number of reasons:

  1. It’s a winter holiday horror story, and it’s a December holiday
  2. It’s a haunted house story
  3. It involves 1940s era ghosts and I love 40s shit (THAT DOES NOT MEAN I’M NOT AWARE OF HOW AWFUL THINGS WERE BACK THEN. I saw that Daria episode.)
  4. It’s got Jordie “The Human Computer” Flanders as the main character, my fave besides Vickie Wheilson of the main cast
  5. THAT COVER OH MY GOD NAGATA

(Jordie Flanders by Nanihoo)

Jordie’s another kind of little shit I love, and she’s forced to deal with someone who exhibits her worse traits. Now granted, there’s some of that “Crazy Means Dangerous” shit, I’m not gonna lie, but I love how tense the climax is. And that ending!

[Wing: Not looking forward to that part, but Jordie sounds amazing so far, and I can’t wait.]

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Posted in Other Recaps

Recap #118: Spinetinglers #7: Snow Day by M. T. Coffin, a.k.a. “Is This The Book You Wished For?”

Title: Spinetinglers #7 – Snow Day

Author: M.T. Coffin, a.k.a. Robert Hawks

Cover Artist: ???

Tagline: The Weather Outside Is Frightful…

Summary: LET IT SNOW!

The kids all cheer when the bus driver tells them the schools have just been closed because of the snow. But the bus can’t make it through the blinding blizzard, and soon they are trapped in the freezing cold school bus. Through the wind and the snowflakes, someone sees lights on in an old farmhouse – and it looks warm and cosy. But what they find inside doesn’t make them feel safe at all! Strange portraits with glistening red eyes stare down at them. And when the kids go to the kitchen for something to eat, they have to pull open the heavy steel door of the freezer… and that’s just when the lights go out!

Initial Thoughts

Here we have another of the supposed Goosebumps knock offs I mentioned, but much like Shivers the Spinetinglers series is much more darker and slightly geared towards a more older audience than the Goosebumps books were. I found out about this series when searching through Mark Nagata’s website and discovered one of the covers he did for this line. The first entry I ever bought was “Camp Crocodile,” but I’ve only read that book once. I have a modest number of books from this series, but “Snow Day” is currently my favorite.

M.T. Coffin is a pen name shared by a number of different authors, though.

I got this book in 2008 as a Christmas gift alongside “Weirdo Waldo’s Wax Museum,” which was appropriate because this is also one of the darkest YA horror novels I’ve ever read. I was instantly drawn to this book because, snow days and haunted houses, I live for those kind of stories, but that summary didn’t prepare me for the true horror behind it all. And none of you are prepared either. You think I’m being cute for drama, but I am NOT.

Thankfully the book isn’t all plot. A lot of it is geared towards the characters interacting with one another and their responses to the situation they find themselves trapped in. But that means this can be a slightly difficult book because you need to really focus on reading it. The author went through a lot of trouble to make sure the readers paid attention to what’s going on.

Just so you know, even if you can see the ending coming, that doesn’t make it any less horrible.

And it begins, appropriately enough, with the apocalypse.

[Wing: I’ve never heard of this series, either, but it sounds amazing so far.]

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Posted in Nightmares Recaps

Recap #116: Class Trip II by Bebe Faas Rice

Cover of Class Trip 2 by Bebe Faas Rice, shows an open door and a traveling bag on a porch in a sliver of lightTitle: Class Trip II by Bebe Faas Rice

Summary: Hallie and her friends are lost, stranded in Holyoake—a small town deep in the mountains. A town isolated from the rest of the world. A town that time has forgotten.

At first, Hallie is charmed by Holyoake’s odd customs and old-fashioned ways. [Wing: LIES.] The townspeople are warm and friendly, and they’re eager to make Hallie and her friends feel right at home. They want to make sure that Hallie and her friends stay in Holyoake. Forever.

Tagline: Pack your bag…

Initial Thoughts

Way back when I first recapped Class Trip, I talked about how I’d read Class Trip II and really enjoyed it, but had never read the first book. Had never even considered finding the first book, despite the fact that Class Trip II is very clearly the second book in a series.

So finally, years later, I read Class Trip. I enjoyed it — sort of. And now I’ve come back to Class Trip II, which I loved when I was a teen. Here’s hoping it holds up. (I’m reading an updated version, I think, so who knows how that will compare.) [Wing: Note from the future, I didn’t actually notice any differences, because I was so enthralled.]

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Posted in Other Recaps

Recap #111: The Dead Boy Detectives by Jill Thompson

Title: The Dead Boy Detectives

Author/Artist: Jill Thompson

Publisher: Vertigo Comics

Summary: They’ll do anything to solve the case.

Rowland and Paine, the dead British detectives who first appeared in Neil Gaiman’s THE SANDMAN: SEASON OF MISTS, travel stateside to investigate a strange missing-persons case at a posh International Academy for Girls.

Naturally, the inquisitive duo is forced to go undercover – in drag – if they’re to have a hope in hell of solving the case. It’s time for dark secrets, food fights, and spies as the Dead Boy Detectives learn a lot about life from the precocious daughters of rich ambassadors and rebellious rock stars.

Initial Thoughts

OH IT’S CHRISTMAS TIME AND IT’S CHRISTMAS TIME, CHRISTMAS, CHRISTMAS, CHRISTMAS TIIIIIIIIIME!

Finally, December, my favorite month of the year because it’s both Christmas AND my birthday. I love doing stuff for Christmas. I love shopping, I love decorating, I love the music and the God awful Christmas specials, and because I love doing stuff for people on Christmas, I’m going to be doing a bunch of extra recaps for Point Horror, all for yous.

First off, we’re starting with a little something written and drawn by Jill Thompson, my all time favorite professional comic person. Jill’s done just a little bit of everything, she’s done pencils in Wonder Woman, Sandman, Black Orchid, Simpsons, GOOSEBUMPS (that she did the comic adaption of “One Day In Horrorland,” one of my faves, makes me love her more), Batman, X-Men, Thor, Beasts of Burden, and of course there’s her phenomenal “Scary Godmother” series.

(Indrina, Michiko, Frederika, Kanene, Fiorenza, Vanya. And in the back, Dream of the Endless)

“The Dead Boy Detectives” is an OEL (Original English Language) manga one-shot story published by DC’s Vertigo imprint. It’s a sort of follow up from “Death: At Death’s Door,” another OEL manga that served as an interquel for Neil Gaiman’s “The Sandman” and is one of several works Jill has done for the Sandman franchise. Jill’s an incredibly versatile artist and knows how to express her art in several different styles. I wish DC would hire her to write and draw something Titans related because she’s also one of the few comic artists out there who knows how to draw teenagers that don’t look like porn stars (looking at you, Ed Benes).

[Wing: Though my siblings want to smack me for this, I’m not much of a fan of The Sandman (or of much of Gaiman’s work), but this sounds like a great addition to that franchise. I love Thompson’s art, and I can’t wait to see how this goes.]

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Posted in Other Recaps

October Patreon Bonus Recap: Are You Afraid of the Dark? 01×01 The Tale of the Phantom Cab

Submitted for the approval of the Devil’s Elbow Patreons, I call this post: The Recap of the Tale of the Phantom Cab.

INITIAL THOUGHTS

Are You Afraid of the Dark? was a horror anthology tv show that aired in the early 90s. The premise was that a group of teens are brought together by their love of horror and meet up each week to take turns telling scary stories. They call themselves the Midnight Society, and though they are all very different, their stories keep bringing them back together.

Baby!Wing loved the hell out of this show when it first aired in the USA, and adult!Wing loves the hell out of it to this day. Revisiting it with you, amazing Patrons, is going to be fun.

You can read this bonus recap by supporting our Patreon at the $5 level or higher, and receive access to our Patron-only feed, bonus recaps, bonus episodes, and more. Click here to support the Devil’s Elbow.
Posted in Graveyard School recaps

Recap #109: Graveyard School #21: The Skeleton’s Revenge, a.k.a. “Flipper’s Badass Grandma”

Title: Graveyard School #21 – The Skeleton’s Revenge

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

Cover Artist: Mark Nagata

Tagline: N/A

Summary: He’s Baaaack!!!

Skate McGraw and his family are spending Thanksgiving at his uncle Edgar’s house on an island. It sounds cool, but when they arrive, Skate immediately gets the creeps. The first thing that makes him uneasy is the scary skeleton in his uncle’s study. Then Skate begins to hear sounds at night-sounds like bony feet walking the floor and bony fingers turning the doorknob to his room. But when Skate sees the horrifying figure in action, he’s convinced. The skeleton on the skateboard is back for the ultimate revenge!

Initial Thoughts

Our first scheduled break in the chronological reading order, because this is the only book in the series to take place during Thanksgiving. It’s also the only sequel in the franchise. To its credit, this one isn’t quite as obvious as the previous “Skeleton” book and you are in no way prepared for how this book ends.

Now, despite taking place during Thanksgiving, the story is set on a tropical island, and it replaces skateboarding as the focus with surfing. And unfortunately, Vickie Wheilson is only in the story for the first couple of chapters.

[Wing: Skate! Surfing! Tropical island! YAY! NOT ENOUGH VICKIE! BOO! I’m excited about a sequel, though.]

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Posted in Other Recaps

Recap #108: The Forbidden Game #3: The Kill by LJ Smith

The Author:

L.J. Smith, who finally ditched the ridiculous descriptions and probably realized what she did with Dee in the last book was a bit much so she toned it down a ton in THE KILL. The othering is still there, but it’s minimal in comparison. [Wing: Third time’s the charm, I guess.]

The Blurb:

It was Julian’s last challenge before he disappeared into the Shadow World, taking Jenny Thornton’s boyfriend Tom and her cousin Zach: “If you want them, come on a treasure hunt. But remember: if you lose, there’s the devil to pay.”

Jenny, Audrey, Michael, and Dee have burned their bridges, leaving their families behind, to enter the Shadow World with a set of runes, magical letters that open the doors of hell. They’re lost in an amusement park nightmare, at Julian’s mercy as they look for Tom and Zach. Jenny’s only clue it a gold coin, Julian’s gift, and Julian himself, more beautiful, more seductive, and more dangerous than ever. And determined to make her his bride . . .

At this point the kids are like, “Best of seven?” And Julian’s like

Because dude. You lost twice already. Just take your toys and go home.

The Place:

A little bit in Jenny’s grandfather’s house but mostly in an amusement park of nightmares. BE STILL MY HEART. [Wing: I am so damn excited. Best location yet.]

The Players:

And then there were four. And Julian.

Jenny – Who’s gone all BAMF and isn’t taking shit lying down and is [mostly] not having any of Julian’s crap and GODDAMNIT GIVE HER BACK HER MENS.

Dee – Who has largely stopped being othered (largely) but her personality changes pretty heavily in this book. I guess the amusement park really gets to her.

Audrey – Is basically looking like a crisped out Tri Pi from Sorority Boys hanging out in a life raft at this point. She’s frazzled, unkempt, and so incredibly over this shit.

Michael – Still a useless coward and I’m not even really sure what he’s doing in the story. He’s effectively dead weight.

Julian – Also looking like a haggard Tri Pi because Jenny’s beaten his ass twice and he doesn’t know when to fuck right on off.

Tom and Zach don’t show up until the end and as if you couldn’t see it coming, Summer shows up too.

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Posted in Nightmare Hall recaps

Recap #103: Nightmare Hall #6: Guilty by Diane Hoh

book cover with window looking into white girl in blue bathing suit drowning in waterTitle: Nightmare Hall #6: Guilty by Diane Hoh

Summary: Katie Sullivan has everything – nice roommate, cool friends, and a great guy. Until the day she and her boyfriend are out on the river and their canoe overturns. She survives. He doesn’t. Katie can’t stop thinking about the accident, weighing the evidence, wondering if it was her fault. But someone else has already reached a decision about Katie. The verdict is guilty. The punishment is death.

Tagline: None.

Notes: I will now refer to the bad guy as “Muffin Man” because of The Mall.

Initial Thoughts

Thankfully, we’re back once again to a Nightmare Hall book actually written by Diane Hoh. Though none of the books so far have been as good as I remember, once again, I have distant memories of liking this one back when I first read it, especially the climax. [Wing: I love the window book covers for Nightmare Hall, but this one cracks me up. Is she drowning inside a room at Nightmare Hall? How is that even possible? If an actual pool, why does the pool have a window? Oh, cover designers. So delightfully ridiculous.]

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Posted in Fear Street Recaps

Recap #99: Fear Street: Halloween Party by R. L. Stine, A.K.A. “Niki Meyer Is Stunning And Brave”

Title: Fear Street – Halloween Party

Author: R.L. Stine

Cover Artist: Bill Schmidt

Tagline: There is going to be an uninvited guest at this Halloween party on Fear Street…

Summary: WELCOME TO FEAR STREET

Don’t listen to the stories they tell you about Fear Street. Wouldn’t you rather explore it yourself… and see if its dark terror and unexplained mysteries are true? You’re not afraid, are you?

Invitation To Terror

The invitation arrived in a black-boarded envelope. Inside, the card showed a coffin with the inscription “Reserved For You.” It was perfectly fiittng for an all-night Halloween party on Fear Street. But Terry and his girlfriend Niki wondered why they had been invited. They barely knew Justine Cameron, the mysterious transfer student who was throwing the party.

The party was well under way when the lights went out. That’s to be expected at a spooky Halloween party. But when the lights came back on, there was that boy on the floor with the knife in his back. Just a Halloween prank? Maybe. Maybe not.

For Terry and Niki the trick-or-treating has turned to terror. To their horror, they realize that someone at the costume party is dressed to kill!

[Wing: That is a very dramatic blurb.]

Initial Thoughts

This is by far one of the best Fear Street books, if not THE best. The cover artwork alone is stunning (despite floating pumpkin skulls aren’t actually involved in the book itself), and even with my love of holiday-themed horror, I’ve read enough reviews to indicate this is an Ensemble Darkhorse in the original series. The atmosphere and locations are vivid, and its heroine, Niki, is genuinely one of the best main characters Stine’s created in a sea of unlikable whiny, shallow, self-centered, hypocritical assholes. And not just because she’s “Special.” I even got my copy, which thankfully had the original artwork and not the dull reprint version, autographed by R.L. Stine. Seriously, this book is so good I never want it adapted into a movie or TV episode because I don’t think any other format could do it appropriate justice.

[Wing: I’m thrilled for this recap. All the Halloween recaps this year. All of them. Such a great time.]

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Posted in Point Horror Recaps

Recap #98: The Forbidden Game #2: The Chase by LJ Smith

The Author:

Who uses really oddball descriptions of things, repeatedly. Seriously. What the hell are spaniel eyes?

Maybe? I don’t know. But one character, Michael, always has some kind of spaniel eyes going on. And Audrey with her spiky lashes and bangs. The same thing. All the time.

And who others the crap out of every POC character in her book to extremes. It was really bad in THE CHASE. Really, really bad.

[Wing: Good times, good times. Adorable dog. And I still love Teen Creeps taking on this series. Here’s their episode for The Chase.]

The Blurb: Why is her boyfriend Tom avoiding her – while other boys pursue her as never before? Jenny Thornton has changed. So have her friends. Because of Julian, the Shadow Man, who has returned to terrorize them with a new game, a hunting game, Lambs and Monsters. They’re the lambs, to be stalked, pounced upon, and lost to the Shadow World forevermore. The monsters are the Lurker, a ghostly wolf, and the Creeper, a phantom snake. One by one, Jenny’s friends disappear, leaving behind only a paper doll – and a riddle with clues about who will be next . . . . Jenny must find Julian’s hidden base and save her friends before it’s too late. But how can she resist the predatory prince of darkness who has returned to make her his own?

That entire first sentence can just be erased and it won’t take anything away from the blurb, mainly because it really doesn’t fit and because it’s such an infinitesimal part of the story as to be largely unimportant. Mainly because Jenny knows she’s changed and she figures out on her own why and how. It has nothing to do with boys. Damn YA books.

[Wing: My god, that game sounds amazing. I want to play Lambs and Monsters.]

The Place: This time mostly within Jenny’s neighborhood and home. Julian decides to bring the game to them, to every place they always felt safe he takes it upon himself to violate. Goes along with the mindfucking he does in this book and quite honestly, I kind of love it a little. [Wing: I love the transition from them being in his strange, terrible place to him being in their place, where they are comfortable and safe and happy. Twisting that is a great horror trope.]

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