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!!!
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.
Continue reading »
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.
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.
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
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!]
Title: Driver’s Dead by Peter Lerangis
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.
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.
Title: Mermaid Saga Part 3-4 – The Village of the Fighting Fish
Author/Artist: Rumiko Takahashi
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.]
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))
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: Fear Street: Cat, a.k.a. “I Really, Really, REALLY Hate Barry Allen”
Author: R.L. Stine
Cover Artist: Bill Schmidt
Tagline: C-A-T- spells murder.
Summary: The cat came back… [Wing: Damn it, I have been earwormed.]
Marty never liked the cat – it always got in the way at basketball practice. But he never meant to kill it.
Now Marty thinks he’s going crazy. He sees cats wherever he goes. He has nightmares about them. He knows they want revenge.
Too bad Marty doesn’t have nine lives. Because his first one is almost over.
So, sorry there wasn’t a Fear Street recap in January. I realized too late I was a bit burned out from everything I worked on in December, and asked to put the Fear Street recap off til February.
Cat is another of those entries that sort of lurked in the background for me for a long time. I’ve only read it a couple of times but thought this one would peak Wing’s interest after reading some of her comments on my Goosebumps recaps. Although I was originally planning on doing a different book for her birthday with a similar concept, this one grabbed my attention for a reason I will get into during the recap.
This one was sort of weird for me, because I think the main character might seem the most human of the protagonists I’ve read in these books. He’s not entirely likable, but he’s not someone you hate with every fiber of your being.
And as always, watch out for some ableism.
[Wing: I’ve never read this one before, but based on that cover, I’m going to assume it involves cat shapeshifters, which is something I love. Shocking, I’m sure.]
Content: Obviously, some animal harm.
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?
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.]
Evil twins, Wing and Dove, and their friends recap Point Horror and other teen genre fiction.
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