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

Recap #104: Mermaid Saga Parts 5-6: Mermaid’s Forest by Rumiko Takahashi

Title: Mermaid Saga Chapter 5 & 6 – Mermaid’s Forest

Author/Artist: Rumiko Takahashi

Summary: N/A

Initial Thoughts: I decided to skip chapters 3 and 4 for now because that story isn’t really a horror tale, but more of an action/adventure one that takes place in Yuta’s past. I prefer the modern day stories because the past tales remind me too much of “Inuyasha” so they don’t really feel like “Mermaid Saga” to me.

I mentioned in the first post “Mermaid’s Forest” is one of the two most well known stories from the series. It was the first to receive an animated adaption as an OVA in the 1980s, and was later included in the anime series from the 2000s. In fact this story’s so well known Mermaid Saga is sometimes referred to as “Mermaid’s Forest.”

Image result for mermaid's forest ova

This takes place immediately after Yuta and Mana leave Cape Nosuri, and features the most visually striking character in the franchise, Towa Kannagi.

I’m gonna include scans and screencaps from the manga, the OVA, and the anime throughout this.

[Wing: I am in love with this story already, and looking forward to this recap.]

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Recap #102: Teen Wolf (1985)

Title: Teen Wolf (1985)

Summary: What’s a high school kid got to do to be popular? Just let down his hair and howl! Starring Michael J. Fox, Teen Wolf is an outrageous comedy about a shy teenager with more than a changing voice to contend with… he’s a budding young werewolf! And when his new-found powers help him score at basketball – and with the popular girls – he has some pretty hairy decisions to make.

Tagline: He always wanted to be special – but he never expected like this!

Note: I am watching the Bluray edition, which I don’t know why that matters but I’m still noting it. We’ll see how well the special effects hold up under the digital transfer. (Spoiler: they don’t.)

Initial Thoughts

Happy Beaver Moon, everyone! This is my half of the initial Snark At the Moon! recaps; Wing published a recap of The Howling on the Full Harvest Moon in October. There’s a reason she gave me the Beaver Moon… and not just because I reside in the Beaver State.

I am not unfamiliar to this film, or its sequel, Teen Wolf, Too. In fact, I am more partial to the cheesy story, bad acting, and over-all shameful antics of the sequel, probably because I had a crush on Jason Bateman for all of five minutes when I was 10. It was the movie character I had eyes for, really; I don’t think I ever watched the sitcom that made him famous back in the day. (Y’know, before Arrested Development revitalized his career.) Anyway.

Teen Wolf was released during the heady days of Michael J. Fox mania, which was already in full swing because of Family Ties and the release of Back to the Future in July of 1985. Again, I wasn’t exactly the target age group at the time, at least not in the sense of thinking him a teen heartthrob or some such. (I was 4 years old when this film hit theaters.) So I didn’t see it, properly, until several years out from its initial release. Nor was I really into werewolves. The sequel was more responsible for spurring that interest in weres, since I’m a vampire girl at heart. I think I also had trouble identifying with the story line that is steeped in popularity cliques, underage drinking/partying, and ‘fitting in’. Plus most of the film involves basketball, which is a sport and I have zero interest in those. (I only know what I know about boxing because, again, of the sequel. Being a super athlete with preternatural abilities is the driving story line in both films. At least Todd, Scott’s cousin, had brains to fall back on!)

Still, this film would trigger the sequel I’ve spent a lot of time talking about, a Saturday morning cartoon series, and a whole MTV scripted series “reboot” decades after its release (which was a whole other beast, honestly, but one I deeply loved, and I have FEELINGS now that it’s ended.) I’m sure it’s safe to say that Teen Wolf is embedded in collective pop culture memory for at least another couple decades.

[Wing: So, here’s the thing. I’d say it’s a secret, except I’ve mentioned it around here before: despite my well-known love of werewolves, I have never seen either of these movies or the cartoon series (and only season one and part of season two of the MTV reboot, which I mostly marathoned over a few days after my mom’s funeral, so don’t remember much about). How I missed this movie, when I love werewolves and horror and horror-comedy and Michael J. Fox? Who the fuck knows. But here I am, all these years later, finally remedying it. I’m so glad y’all are along for the ride.]

Okay, let’s just get to recapping, shall we.

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Recap #101: Goosebumps: Haunted Library by R. L. Stine, A.K.A. “The Lost Goosebumps”

Cover of Goosebumps Haunted Library, door and Hershey's welcome mat with title informationGoosebumps Haunted Library back cover

Title: Goosebumps Haunted Library

Author: R.L. Stine

Cover Artist: N/A

Summary: Curly is not only the coolest of ghouls, he’s actually frightfully well read. He “freak”-quents the library often and gives “Goosebumps to all the browsers and loungers who dare to enter. The latest hair-raising additions to his private collection are three titles, “THE HALLOWEEN GAME,” “BAD DOG,” and “DON’T MAKE ME LAUGH” which have been written by R.L. Stine especially for Hershey, Pepsi, and Frito-Lay. Every Boo Dude will want to “check out” this exclusive “Thrillogy” Mini-book collection. Come back again real soon for more of the “Good, Clean, Scary Fun” that is Goosebumps!

Initial Thoughts

In the mid 1990s, Scholastic did a special giveaway partnered with the Pepsi, Hershey, and Frito-Lays corporations. They allowed people to send away for limited edition Goosebumps stories printed in tiny pamphlets, and were also given the opportunity to receive a special cardboard carrying case to store all three stories. The set was called “Goosebumps: Haunted Library,” and I shit you not I had not heard of them until a few years ago when someone updated the Wikipedia page. At first I thought this was some other scrapped project like “Goosebumps Gold,” and was pleased to learn it was not. As a major stroke of good luck, I was able to find and purchase the complete set off eBay. I even went out of my way to contact Troy Steele, the genius behind “Blogger Beware,” and offered to share with him the three stories so he could do his patented style of reviews for them. He never replied back, so like always, it’s now down to me to educate you poor schmucks.

Notice how the “books” in the library are either endorsements for products by the three corporations or are simplistic horror titles like “The Dark Basement” by Jen or “Goblins” by Kari.

Also, I got the set autographed by R.L. Stine at the signing last December. I think he barely remembered Haunted Library.

[Wing: I had never heard of this before. I am now delighted by it.]

Goosebumps Haunted Library signed editionGoosebumps Haunted Library signature close upGoosebumps Haunted Library plate

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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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Recap 96: The Cemetery by D. E. Athkins

cover of The Cemetery by D. E. Athkins, has four fingers coming out of dirt with long, sharp silver nailsTitle: The Cemetery by D. E. Athkins

Summary: At a Hallowe’en party with very exclusive guests, the disguised play a game of hide and seek in an ancient cemetery as midnight approaches. When someone is killed, all the partygoers can do is suspect each other – unless there is an unknown player.

Tagline: Don’t look behind you…

Initial Thoughts

Every time I see the name D. E. Athkins, I laugh, which is probably not the intended response. I can’t help it. Deathkins writing Point Horror? Good lord, be more subtle.

Beyond that, I find D. E. Athkins’ work hit or miss, whether under this pseud or as Nola Thacker (who also wrote the Graveyard School series as Tom B. Stone and sometimes filled in as the ghost writer for the Nightmare Hall series under Diane Hoh’s name). (My god, the authors we recap here are an incestuous lot, aren’t they?) (Note: No actually claim or accusation of real incest here.)

All that being said, I love the summary of this book (… minus the Hallowe’en spelling, which just looks twee), and I hope we’ll all enjoy it.

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Recap #94: The Howling (1981)

The Howling cover werewolf claws tearing through a solid sheet and a woman's screaming face behind itTitle: The Howling

Summary: After a bizarre and near fatal encounter with a serial killer, a television newswoman is sent to a remote mountain resort whose residents may not be what they seem.

Tagline: Imagine your worst fear a reality. [Wing: Worst fear. Right.] [Bat: Being a werewolf isn’t my worst fear…]

Initial Thoughts

This was baby!Wing’s first werewolf movie, her first horror movie, and I will forever love it for giving me all that it did: a love of werewolves, a love of horror movies, a love of dramatic full moon shots and cheesy dog and wolf puns and silver bullets, certain iconic images — I watched it at a fairly young age, despite the fact that neither of my parents like horror movies and we weren’t allowed to watch them growing up. [Bat: This explains SO. MUCH. I’ve known Wing ~20 years and now I understand the werewolf love all the better.]

My dad was a truck driver, and I often spent large chunks of my summer and holidays with him on the road. (Why I love road trips and driving to this day and can’t settle down in one place too long before I’m itching to leave and have an adventure.) One night, we had a break at a truck stop. I’m not sure how old I was. Maybe nine or ten? Eight or eleven? I’m not sure. Anyway, we were hanging out in the trucker’s lounge, and The Howling came on. My dad swears he doesn’t remember this at all, and probably he had fallen asleep, but I watched the entire movie, enthralled, and then when we headed out to the truck later, we had to walk through rows and rows of idling eighteen wheelers, and I kept picturing werewolves leaping from trailer to trailer. That thought still makes me catch my breath every time. [Bat: Why haven’t you written a long-haul werewolf trucker story, Wing?] [Wing: That is a very good question.]

Welcome to the first ever Snark at the Moon! recap. Every October and November, Bat and I will be recapping werewolf movies and the recaps will go live on the full moon. This year, October’s moon is the Harvest Moon, one of my favourites. (Why yes, I have a favourite full moon.) Take a look at it tonight, but keep an eye out for werewolves. You never know when you’re living a horror movie life.

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Recap #93: Nightmare Hall #5: The Scream Team by Diane Hoh

cover of Diane Hoh's Scream Team, top cover is brick building with a window cutout that shows a girl in a cheerleading uniform collapsed on the floor

Title: The Scream Team by Diane Hoh

Summary: Delle has always been a cheerleader. And so she wants more than anything to make the squad at Salem U. Until she hears the horrible truth about what happened to last year’s cheerleaders…

Once Delle thought she would die to make the team. Now she realizes she may have to. Welcome to the scream team, Delle.

[Wing: Well that’s suitably creepy. What did happen to last year’s cheerleaders?]

Tagline: None.

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

Initial Thoughts

Can’t remember a great deal about this one, to be honest, though I can still recall the identity of the Muffin Man. It should be noted that this is another one from Nola “Hack” Thacker, so expectations are not high.

[Wing: I’ve never read this one, but I love horror + cheerleaders, so maybe that will work even if I didn’t much enjoy Thacker’s last Nightmare Hall outing.]

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Recap #92: More Tales To Give You Goosebumps by R. L. Stine

Title: More Tales To Give You Goosebumps

Author: R.L. Stine

Cover Artist: Tim Jacobus

Summary: “Reader Beware – You’re In For Ten Summertime Scares!”

Is Matt’s summer camp being taken over by an evil patch of poison ivy? Will Eric escape from his tank, now that he’s been turned into a fish? Can Tara help the terrified voice she hears inside a beautiful seashell? Find out in these ten creepy Goosebumps short stories perfect for reading around the campfire or under the covers!

Initial Thoughts

This was the first of the short story books I read, and I… I think I actually stole this when I was a kid. No I remember back in elementary school, I found this book in a bag of books inside a closet in one of the classrooms. I think they were going to get rid of these books so I just kept the copy for myself. A few years later when the hardcover collection was released I gave my copy away.

As you could probably tell from the summary and cover art, the stories in this book all take place during the summer and yet surprisingly only two of them involve summer camps. Only one book was adapted for the French Goosebumps illustrated novellas, but none of them were made into TV episodes. One story, “The Cat’s Tale,” genuinely feels like some sort of pilot version for “Cry of the Cat,” the first in the Series 2000 line. I can safely say I found the stories in this one more interesting than the previous one. The original edition also came with a bonus booklight.

For this recap, I’m gonna be doing “3rd Rock from the Sun” jokes for the subtitles. Which means prepare thy selves for a bunch of dick jokes.

I’m also gonna include some of my ideas for potential sequel stories.

[Wing: I don’t know why, but I am so charmed by a creepy summer themed book coming with a booklight. Damn you, Stine!]

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Recap #89: Mermaid Saga Parts 1-2: A Mermaid Never Smiles by Rumiko Takahashi

Title: Mermaid Saga Chapter 1 & 2 – A Mermaid Never Smiles

Author/Artist: Rumiko Takahashi

Summary: N/A

Initial Thoughts: Some of you might know who Rumiko Takahashi is, or if you don’t, you might at least know of her works. She’s a longtime mangaka and creator of “Inuyasha,” “Ranma 1/2,” and “Urusei Yatsura.” She’s been writing and illustrating comics since at least the 1970s, and she’s still going. Nearly every one of her series have gotten at least one animated adaption, and most of them run for DECADES.

But today I’m here to talk about one of her more obscure titles and possibly the one oddball in her resume of titles. “Mermaid Saga” is Takahashi’s only foray into a straightforward horror series, and is relatively light on humor and love triangles unlike her other books. Which is good because it means her male protagonist isn’t an insufferable lech or an idiot.

Rest assured, the mermaids here are NOT the kind of mermaids you’re familiar with. We’re not talking about Ariel, or Darryl Hannah in “Splash,” or even the Hans Christian Andersen Little Mermaid. Mermaids in this story are monsters. Sometimes they walk on two legs, sometimes they don’t. But they are not cute, and they’re not friendly. The only way you can kill them is by chopping off their head.

Legend says the mermaid’s flesh can grant a person immortality if eaten. And it can… if you’re lucky. Eating the mermaid’s flesh is like Russian roulette, and if you don’t get immortality, you’ll be lucky if it kills you. The majority of people who eat the flesh, well… it’s not pretty.

Mermaid Saga didn’t get an animated series straight away. There were two OVAs (Original Video Animation, the equivalent of direct to video movies), one in the 80s and the 90s, and then an animated series in the 2000s. The one animated adaption I’ve watched in its entirety was the “Mermaid’s Scar” OVA from the 1990s, which is my favorite by far due to the artwork and the beautiful music. By admittedly, the opening theme to the anime series, “Like An Angel,” is breathtaking.

It’s one of Takahashi’s shorter series, with all the chapters collected in 4 volumes. For the sake of these recaps I’m going by each separate arc, but will include the cover art of the Viz manga collections that included the arcs.

[Wing: Okay, this sounds amazing, and I’m so excited. #killermermaidsforever]

And I’m including an MP3 of the opening theme, “Like An Angel” by Chiaki Ishikawa.

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Recap #86: Little Pet Werewolf, a.k.a. “My Little Werewolf: Friendship is Magic”

Title: Graveyard School #4 – Little Pet Werewolf

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

Cover Artist: Barry Jackson

Tagline: N/A

Summary: It’s pet day at Graveyard School and everyone is excited. Everyone except Skip Wolfson, that is. Every year it’s the same thing — Skip brings in his dog just to be ridiculed. While everyone else’s pets are exotic and brilliant, Skip’s dog is just a lazy mutt that can’t do any tricks. Skip wishes he could bring in some kind of really cool pet — like a werewolf. He’s in for the shock of his life when he doesn’t have to search too far for one! You’ll be dying to go to class at Graveyard School.

Initial Thoughts

We finally get to the werewolf edition, so I bet Wing is tripping BALLS. [Wing: Legit shrieks of joy when I saw it.]

What’s truly interesting about “Little Pet Werewolf” is how this is the first to really establish a type of socially conscious trend in the series. I covered in the introduction post how there was a somewhat consistent theme of discussing environmentalism and conservation of resources without going totally overblown and flying over the heads of the target demographic. In this one Stone/Thacker/Athkins briefly discusses animal abuse through the main character’s parents, who run a pet supply store and arrange for abandoned pets to be adopted into loving homes. [Wing: Seriously? That AND werewolves? This is going to be so great!]

This is also the first book where the main character can be genuinely grating on the reader, but admittedly he has enough redeeming qualities to avoid Scrappy territory. Also, the supporting character, Tyson Walker, is said to look like soccer player Cobi Jones with his short dreadlocks, so, way to say he’s Black without saying he’s Black. [Wing: In case you, dear reader, like me, do not follow soccer, here is Cobi Jones. He’s a hottie.]

[Wing: Do you know how much money I would spend on a series called My Little Werewolf: Friendship is Magic? With all sorts of little werewolves to collect? SO MUCH MONEY. ALL MY MONEY.]

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