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Recap #181: Deadtime Stories #10: Grandpa’s Monster Movies by A.G. Cascone

Original Cover

DOWN IN FRONT

Re-release cover

When you find your dad’s old porn stash and realize you’re following the plot

Title: Deadtime Stories #10 – Grandpa’s Monster Movies, a.k.a. “A Nightmare on Green Acres”

Author: A.G. Cascone, a.k.a. Annette and Gina Cascone

Cover Artist: ???

Tagline: The midnight show is a scream.

Summary: Home movies can be a horror!

C.T. and his cousin Lea are staying at their grandparents’ old farmhouse. It’s Grandpa’s seventieth birthday, and everyone’s celebrating with a big family reunion. All the weird relatives are here, and all they seem to want to talk about are “the good old days.”

C.T. and Lea think the “good old days” are pretty boring – until they find some home movies hidden away in the attic, movies from when their grandfather was just a boy.

The home movies give them a piece of family history that their relatives never talked about.

It seems that horses, cows, pigs, and chickens aren’t the only creatures Grandpa’s been taking care of on the farm. And Uncle Ernie isn’t the only one at the family reunion whose back is covered with hair. [Wing: WEREWOLF?!]

C.T. and Lea discover there’s a monster among them – and this creature is dying to eat a lot more than the birthday cake!

Initial Thoughts

It’s my grandfather’s birthday this month so I felt this would be an appropriate book to recap. Believe me, I wish I’d chosen something else because of all the hillbilly jokes in this one.

“Deadtime Stories” was written by sisters Annette and Gina Cascone under a shared pen name. It was another series where most of the entries were independent of the other, save for the two “Tiny Town” books which inexplicably featured an identical knock-off of Chucky the Killer Doll named “Hurley the Hobo.”

Terror in Tiny Town by Tim Jacobus

What the hell, Jacobus?

Surprisingly, Nickelodeon produced a short TV adaptation a decade after the original series ended, which of course led to several books being reprinted with new covers. The episodes always featured a framing story of a babysitter narrating the books to the two little kids she was watching, and them always screaming when she gets to the twist ending.

[Wing: That is a serious Chucky knock-off.]

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Recap #175: Sweet Sixteen by Francesca Jeffries

Sweet Sixteen by Francesca Jeffries

Sweet Sixteen by Francesca Jeffries

Title: Sweet Sixteen by Francesca Jeffries

Summary: Leslie can’t wait to turn sixteen. She’s planning a huge birthday Party. Everyone’s invited. Her gorgeous boyfriend, Rick. Her best friend, Deborah. Her cousin, Trish. It’s going to be the biggest bash ever. [Wing: That … that is a list of three people. THREE.]

But out of the blue, weird things start happening. Scary things. She nearly gets knocked down by a runaway car. People start getting hurt. It seems like someone doesn’t want Leslie to make it to sweet sixteen.

But a few little accidents won’t scare Leslie. She is going to have her party. Even if it kills her…

Tagline: Sweet sixteen and never been…killed

Initial Thoughts

Hi guys! How’ve you been? I’ve been great, lots of exciting stuff happening (to any American readers with Arthritis you may see my face advertising your medication very soon [Wing: Well that’s interesting!]), but I’m so happy to be back doing a recap which I hope y’all enjoy!

As a child I really liked this book and really wanted a huge sweet sixteen….I’m going to be honest, while reading this book I kept trying to remember what I did for my sixteenth and I have absolutely no memory of even turning 16. I think I went for a meal with my friends? Or we snuck out and went clubbing? But I did that a lot so it wasn’t a sixteen thing, it was more like a Saturday thing. I remember when I turned 13 I went to the cinemas with a bunch of friends and my mum. In my family, it was more of a celebration to turn eighteen or twenty-one. I definitely remember my twenty-first, I don’t remember my eighteenth.

I may need to see someone…..

Anyway I did enjoy this book, it wasn’t as awesome as I remember but I didn’t hate it (Side eyes Halloween 2) The ableism was annoying as hell but there wasn’t a lot of it and Leslie was a solid character who was easy to empathise with.

[Wing: Aaaah, Sweet Sixteen. Mine was a party, but it was in that weird time where I wasn’t quite out of the church cult yet but I was involved with decidedly non-church-cult-friendly people like Ostrich, so the party was mostly church cult people (surprisingly enough, because church cult didn’t believe in celebrating birthdays, though it had loosened up a bit by then), but then later on there was drinking. Fun times.]

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Recap #170: Batman: The Book of Shadows by Mills, Gallagher, and Mighten

Title: Batman – The Book of Shadows

Writers: Pat Mills and Debbie Gallagher

Penciller: Duke Mighten

Inker: Bill Oakley

Colorist: Digital Chameleon

Summary: “…One must choose that victim who contains the greatest and purest force.

The Holy Fool.

The Hanged Man.

The King of the Lonely.

The Batman.

Thus shall the demon Archon arise and bathe the Earth in blood.”

— The Book of Shadows

Initial Thoughts

Back in the 1990s, one of the semi-big things in the comics industry were prestige format one shot stories. They were bound with glossy covers like trade paperbacks, but small enough to be individual issues. Their placement in the continuity of ongoing comics was debatable at best, since they were so rarely every mentioned in the main titles published by DC and Marvel. What was great about them is they were often self-contained stories which featured original antagonists and supporting casts beyond the main characters, but like I said the characters would hardly ever appear in the regular comics if they were lucky.

I own, well, I wouldn’t say a HUGE number of Batman prestige format books, but the entirety of my Batman collection of trade paperback issues and similarly printed stories takes up most of one shelf in my collection. “Batman: The Book of Shadows” was a story I stumbled into blindly, having never heard of it before my purchase and the action taken solely because the title intrigued me. I don’t think I’ve ever read anything else written by Pat Mills and Debbie Gallagher, but from what I’ve determined the two are frequently published under 2000 A.D.. Likewise, I’ve only fond Duke Mighten’s artwork in an early 90s Marvel series called “Wild Thing.” “Book of Shadows” is a pleasant, creepy little story using tarot card themes and a group of monstrous villains whose designs are reminiscent of the Xenomorphs from the “Alien” franchise.

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Recap #166: Fear Street Super Chiller #6: The Dead Lifeguard by R. L. Stine

Fear Street Super Chiller 6 The Dead Lifeguard by R. L. Stine

Fear Street Super Chiller 6 The Dead Lifeguard by R. L. Stine

The Author:

Like RL Stine needs any introduction. The incredibly prolific author of such series as Goosebumps and Fear Street, not to mention the Fear Street Reboot and some adult titles as well, Stine’s been around for a while and integral to the formation of horror love for many people my age. Sometimes ridiculous, sometimes creepy, always some of the most excellent deaths in YA, Stine is a mainstay in the young adult horror world and I wouldn’t have it any other way.

The Blurb:

The lifeguards at North Beach Country Club know they’re lucky. While other kids are flipping burgers, they’re sunning themselves by day and partying by night. So what if some people say the place is cursed, haunted. This is the life!

And then, one by one, the lifeguards start to die horrible deaths. Someone – or something – evil is stalking them. They all know how to save other people’s lives . . . But who will save theirs?

DUN DUN DUN.

The Place:

North Beach Country Club in Random Place, USA, with a cameo appearance of Fear Street for about a nanosecond. Where is Fear Street supposed to be, anyway? I’m under the vague impression it’s Long Island, but I could be really wrong there.

[Wing: There is a lot of debate about this. The consensus seems to be Ohio most of the time, but that often doesn’t make sense in the summer books that involve a beach.]

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Recap #161: Friday the 13th: A New Beginning

Friday 13th New Beginning Part V 1985Title: Friday the 13th: The Final Chapter (1985) (aka Part V)

Summary: Still haunted by his past, Tommy Jarvis – who, as a child, killed Jason Voorhees – wonders if the serial killer is connected to a series of brutal murders occurring in and around the secluded halfway house where he now lives.

Tagline: The mindless, murderous fury that was buried with Jason has been reborn. And suddenly, terror has become child’s play! 

Notes: If we had looked at that poster in a design class in art college, it would have been unanimously voted as totally shitty. Wow, didn’t try very hard, did you, graphic design department. I’m not just haunted by Jason; I’m haunted by that terrible typography!

Initial Thoughts:

Hey, remember when we watched Friday the 13th: The Final Chapter and this experiment in terror was all over and I could move forward with my life?

Oh… wait…

[Wing: If there’s one* horror media rule that holds up it is this: The final chapter is never the final chapter.]

[Wing: *exaggeration, I know.]

Welcome back for yet another stimulating round of Let’s Do It!: A Virgin Does Horror! What was a “dead” franchise last entry has now been revived, because the world at large missed Jason Voorhees and his murderous hi-jinx. It wouldn’t have been the 1980s without beating a dead horse in an attempt to cash in further on a franchise that had utterly run out of steam. Or the 1990s, the 00s, and the 2010s…

I have actually read that this installment is akin to “a fucking porno in the woods […]. You wouldn’t believe the nudity they cut out,” which comes directly from the director’s mouth. So, thanks, Danny Steinmann, this will be horrible and awkward as hell, or more so than previous entries.

Because I have committed myself to the cause, as it were, I have no choice but to ride this chapter out. Oh well. At least I’m nearing the halfway point in this franchise, so there’s a dim light at the end of the tunnel but it’s probably a flood light Jason turned on to draw me closer to my own death. Yay!

(Save me, Kevin Bacon! Save me!)

Let’s see. Again, can’t read too much on the wiki or IMDb entries because SPOILERS and I honestly have ZERO MEMORY of this installment’s release. In March 1985, I would have been 3 years old, so that’s probably why. Also, the use of the hockey mask with the light blue triangles instead of the red triangles – way to screw shit up, costume department / graphics department! I know, I know, continuity is often a hopeless failure in this series. I ask too much. STOP SETTING THE BAR SO HIGH, VIRGIN.

Corey Feldman did reprise his role as Tommy Jarvis for this film, which is great since it means no shitty “we used stuff we filmed in the previous entry to insert said character into this film!” From what I’ve read he was busy shooting The Goonies (A VASTLY SUPERIOR FILM IN MY HUMBLE OPINION AND THAT’S NOT JUST BECAUSE I LITERALLY LIVE IN THE ACTUAL STATE WHERE IT WAS FILMED, THEREFORE I AM AN OFFICIAL GOONIE BY BIRTH) so on his day off, Feldman filmed his scenes in his family’s backyard in California, with a helpful rain machine. Huh. Movie magic, yo.

I recognize no other cast member’s name in this, so I’m not hoping for high caliber performances. I guess it was filmed under a fake title, so no one really understood/knew they were filming a Friday the 13th installment. Yikes. This whole thing sounds as doomed as the previous installment(s). No bueno.

Without further adieu, because I’m already bored and dreading this… fifth time’s a charm, right?

Important note! Remember, I am rolling over the body count from each of the previous films recapped, so that will be reflected in the counter and final tally.

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Recap #152: Graveyard School #13: Tales Too Scary to Tell at Camp by Tom B. Stone

 Title: Graveyard School #13 – Tales Too Scary To Tell At Camp, a.k.a. “1001 Graveyard School Nights”

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

Cover Artist: Cam De Leon (U.S. Cover), ???? (Lithuanian Cover)

Summary: Warning: Don’t Read This Book In Your Bunk!

These thirteen chilling stories will send you screaming for cover. From howling heads to shrieking stalkers to larger-than-life lice – read about the unnatural, the bizarre, and – worst of all – the unexplained.

Stay near the campfire. The scariest creatures of all might be right behind you!

Initial Thoughts

As thanks for putting up with my depression last month, I’ve chosen to do recaps focusing on some of my favorite books which means another short break from the chronological order. I just wish I had some commissions to add to this one.

“Tales Too Scary” is special in the Graveyard School series because it’s the only entry that’s an anthology of stories. Unlike the “Tales To Give You Goosebumps” books, this one has a framing story encompassing the first and last chapters, and a features an eclectic grouping of the GS cast including my favorite, Jordie “The Human Computer” Flanders. The situation’s a cross between “Hansel and Gretel” and “1001 Arabian Nights” which of course captured my interest right away.

One of the stories is interesting because it’s told in three parts by three different storytellers.

You wanna believe I began the draft for this last year after I was officially made a recapper by Wing? I couldn’t wait to share this with all of you.

Also, I simply had to include the Lithuanian adaption’s cover artwork because I can’t tell if it’s horrible or amazing.

As a head’s up Wing, there IS a story with bugs, but it doesn’t include spiders.

[Wing: Thanks for the head’s up. I personally adore the Lithuanian cover, though that doesn’t really answer the whole horrible or amazing question, because either, both, whatever, I would still adore it.]

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Recap #148: Shivers #24: The Ghosts of Devil’s Marsh by M.D. Spenser

The Ghosts of Devil's Marsh by M. D. Spenser

Title: Shivers #24 – The Ghosts of Devil’s Marsh

Author: M.D. Spenser

Cover Artist: Eddie Roseboom

Summary: BIG GHOULS DON’T CRY…

Samantha should keep smiling. Otherwise, tears of fear might ruin her summer and probably her life. But the summer was already bad news. There she was on the coast with her cousins. Boy cousins, always around, acting like—well, boys. But cousins can be cool!

Especially when you might need them to save your life. Is that cozy coastal town they’re on really haunted? Could be! That might explain all those strange things Samantha sees and hears.

It gets stranger and stranger when Samantha discovers the shocking truth behind the terror. Will all the cousins stay safe and sound or is it the beginning of the end for everyone?

LISTEN FOR THE VOICE OF DOOM!!!

Initial Thoughts

You guys will remember the previous “Shivers” recap as one of the darkest books I’ve reviewed so far for this website. While this book isn’t necessarily as dark as “Weirdo Waldo’s Wax Museum,” I chose it because its primary theme is regret. And with the theme I’ve worked on for April 2017, an attempt to do some self-analyzing about my best friend’s death,  the regrets in this book obviously hit close to home, otherwise I wouldn’t have chosen to recap it.

The villain in this feature has got to be one of the most understandable and relatable villains I’ve found in these books. Saying anything further would spoil what comes next.

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Recap #147: The Last Vampire #4: Phantom by Christopher Pike

Last Vampire 4 Phantom by Christopher Pike

Last Vampire 4 Phantom by Christopher Pike

Title: Last Vampire #4: Phantom by Christopher Pike

Summary: After five thousand years she was again mortal.

The dead alchemist’s experiment has worked. Alisa is no longer a vampire, but a frail and confused human. Not only that — she is pregnant. The baby grows in her at supernatural speed. As the stranger watches. The stranger from the past.

But what child will Alisa’s seed produce?

A demon or an angel? Alisa does not know.

But the stranger does. He nows everything that ever was.

And he knows everything that is to be.

Tagline: The monster might be an angel.

Initial Thoughts

Again, I remember nothing about this book, though I’m almost certain I read it. (It’s possible I didn’t, but I know I read book #3, even though I didn’t remember anything about it, either, and there’s very little chance I didn’t pick up the next book after that cliffhanger.) If the trend from the earlier books continues, this will be weirder and more entertaining than ever. (Also, I remember this cover, if nothing else about the damn story.

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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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Recap #140: Nightmare Hall #10: Sorority Sister by Diane Hoh

Diane Hoh Nightmare Hall 7: Sorority SisterTitle: 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.

Tagline: None.

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

Initial Thoughts

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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