Posted in Other movies

Recap #268: Chopping Mall (1986)

Social Distance Snarking

Title: Chopping Mall (1986)

Summary: Sexy after-hours party held by employees in a goddamn mall is interrupted by murderous mall security robots. Hi-jinks ensue.

Tagline: Buy or Die  (Well, that’s… succinct.) …Half off is just the beginning! (Oh! It continued on! How… odd. For a tagline.)

Notes: Something tells me this film has become something of a cult classic and will either be very good (bad) or very bad (bad). [JC: Considering whose production company this is, it is going to be campy schlock. Because that’s what he does. (I’m not name-dropping it yet, because bat came to the realization eventually, and I actually cheered when she did.)]

Initial Thoughts

Hi and welcome to “how bat is trying to spend time during social distancing amid a global pandemic” portion of 2020. Seriously, it’s not like I really left the house a lot when there wasn’t a virus plague going around but shit is starting to get to me. It sucks being a empath. I think I need a tinfoil hat because I feel worn out.

But anyway, you’re not here for that. You’re here to read another recap about a horror movie! Distraction, yay! I’ve been looking to find some really bad horror movies that I’ve never seen and so far I’ve found some doozies. Today’s selection is 1986’s Chopping Mall!

So, somehow – this may be a theme(?) – I found another “horror comedy” but this one also has the distinction of being “sci-fi” as well. Unlike My Demon Lover this film seems to know exactly what it is – sci-fi/horror – with a dash of poorly written comedy thrown in because 1986. Er, technically, 1985.

I’ve heard about this film through Twitter and I think it’s been making the rounds on those pay-for subscription horror movie channels – apparently for sure on Shudder right now – but I only like things I have to spend hours trying to track down through moderately nefarious means. This is the age of the internet, you know. Why make it easy for myself?

Just watch the trailer:

Okay, trailer lies. No one broke into the mall. And it gives way too much away. For fun, I’ve invited JC to join me with commentary. This is not just because she confessed to peeking at my post as I was writing it but because I think I mentioned this film quite a while ago and she replied to my tweet about it. Maybe I’m misremembering but anyway. It’s fun to bring a new victim friend along for a recap ride! [JC: I have no memory of a Twitter convo about this, but it’s completely possible. My memory is very unpredictably hit-or-miss when it comes to conversations. Anyway, I’ve been wanting to watch this movie for the last couple of years, ever since I listened to the How Did This Get Made podcast episode about it (which I was going to link, but it is unfortunately behind the paywall right now. Boo.). I never got around to it until bat gave me the incentive with the offer to comment on her recap of it. Which I had peeked at long enough to determine what she was working on next. I mean, it was labeled “[redacted recap]”! How could I resist seeing what it was!] [Wing: I’m pretty sure there was a Twitter convo, because the movie’s been sitting on my list of things to watch so I can comment and up until y’all talked about it, I hadn’t even heard of it. I can’t say I was missing out. Mostly.

Note from the future: Apparently I mixed up two different twitter conversations about movies to recap, so I have rudely inserted myself into this recap, but since I didn’t learn this until after all my comments, well, I’m here! Enjoy surprise!Wing.]

Geez. I guess it’s time to spend an arm and a leg. Let’s go Chopping!

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Posted in Goosebumps Recaps

Recap #267: Goosebumps Series 2000 #19: Return to Ghost Camp by R.L. Stine

Return to Ghost Camp Cover by Tim Jacobus
Return to Ghost Camp Cover by Tim Jacobus

Title: Goosebumps Series 2000 #19 – Return to Ghost Camp, a.k.a. “Everybody Loves Ari”

Author: R.L. Stine

Cover Artist: Tim Jacobus

Tagline: Another summer. Another spirit.

Summary: A big yellow bus roared to a stop in front of our house.

The bus doors opened.

“Going to Camp Full Moon?” the driver snarled.

I raised my eyes to his face – and screamed.

His face was red and swollen – and covered with fleas. Angry, dark blotches swelled on his forehead – raw, fresh flea bites, dripping with yellow gunk.

Initial Thoughts

Okay so I busted my ass to get this recap done in time for the first full moon of summer, but I regret I didn’t start sooner.

“Return to Ghost Camp” is the second sequel from the Goosebumps Series 2000 books, but unlike “Return to HorrorLand” this is NOT a direct sequel. We’re not returning to Camp Spirit Moon and we don’t find out what’s been happening in the lives of Harry and Alex Altman since “Ghost Camp.” And the protagonist in question, Dustin, is kinda a step down from the chemistry Harry and Alex had. I know, I know, I was disappointed too when I found out after first reading this book. I purchased it knowing nothing about the plot beyond the title.

However, while “Return to Ghost Camp” isn’t as great as its predecessor, it has its own merits. Our big villain is almost as mysterious as the previous antagonists and there’s a lot to interpret from its ending. And I must say Jacobus’ cover is probably one of the best he’s done for the 2000 books, eschewing the delightful humor of the original “Ghost Camp” to give us a rather creepy looking ghost.

[Wing: Camp Full Moon. That cover ghost looks like a partially-transformed werewolf ghost. WELL I HAVE HOPE.]

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Posted in Goosebumps Recaps

Recap #266: Goosebumps #4: Say Cheese And Die! by R.L. Stine

Say Cheese And Die Cover Artwork by Tim Jacobus
Say Cheese And Die Cover Artwork by Tim Jacobus

Title: Goosebumps #4 – Say Cheese And Die!, a.k.a. “Greg Banks Won’t Eat His Cereal”

Author: R.L. Stine

Cover Artist: Tim Jacobus

Tagline: One picture is worth a thousand screams.

Summary: Every Picture Tells A Story.

Greg thinks there is something wrong with the old camera he and his friends found. The photographs keep turning out wrong. Very wrong. Like the snapshot Greg took of his father’s new car that shows it totaled. And then Greg’s father is in a nasty wreck.

But Greg’s friends don’t believe him. Shari even makes Greg bring the camera to her birthday party and take her picture.

Only Shari’s not in the photograph when it develops.

Is Shari about to be taken out of the picture permanently?

Who is going to take the next fall for…

the evil camera?

Initial Thoughts

It’s time again for another of my childhood faves, and it’s one of the first Goosebumps books I ever bought with my own money.

“Say Cheese And Die!” is one of the original ten, and it’s one of the most well remembered due to Tim Jacobus’ striking cover artwork. I used to own a t-shirt with that image when I was a kid. Apparently, R.L. Stine had to go back and include a sequence in this book based on the cover after it was finished.

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Posted in Other Recaps

Recap #265: Even More Short & Shivery by Robert D. San Soucci – Part One

Even More Short & Shivery Cover
Even More Short & Shivery Cover

Title: Even More Short & Shivery

Author/Editor/Reteller: Robert D. San Souci

Illustrator: Jacqueline Roberts

Tagline: Thirty Spine-Tingling Tales

Summary: Thirty spine-chilling stories from around the world provide plenty of shivers in this spooky collection. Curl up with old friends like Washington Irving’s “Guests from Gibbet Island” or Charles Dickens’s “Chips.” Or make the acquaintance of “The Skull That Spoke” and “The Monster of Baylock” – but beware of spectral visitors like “The Blood Drawing Ghost.” This exciting mixture of classic and contemporary tales from Mexico, China, Poland, Nigeria, and other lands near and far is perfect for hair-raising reading!

Initial Thoughts

Okay so I skipped the second book, sue me!

Ever since the pandemic started and shit’s been going on, my focus on the recaps and my writing’s been all over the place. I discussed it with Wing and maybe my first book theme would be better suited for 2021. I’m having an easier time putting my energy into discussing my faves over following a theme.

Now keep in mind I do intend to recap the second Short & Shivery collection as well, but I went for the third collection because I’m really fond of Jacqueline Roberts’s art AND I’ll get to discuss a short story I’ve been dying to review.

Instead of splitting the recaps into three parts with ten short stories each, I’ve decided to break it down further into six parts with five stories each. Less for me and Wing to take care, and at least one for each month.

[Wing: I love story collections, but there’s always the potential in collections like this for the stories to spin toward racism and/or culture appropriation.]

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Posted in Goosebumps Recaps

Recap #262: Goosebumps #1: Welcome to Dead House by R.L. Stine

Welcome to Dead House Cover by Tim Jacobus
Welcome to Dead House Cover by Tim Jacobus

Title: Goosebumps #1 – “Welcome to Dead House” a.k.a. “They’re Coming To Get You, Amanda!”

Author: R.L. Stine

Cover Artist: Tim Jacobus

Tagline: It will just kill you.

Summary: Look Alive!

Amanda and Josh think they old house they have just moved into is weird. Spooky. Possibly haunted. And the town of Dark Falls is pretty strange, too.

But their parents don’t believe them. You’ll get used to it, they say. Go out and make some new friends.

So Amanda and Josh do. But these new friends are not exactly what their parents had in mind.

Because they want to be friends…

forever.

Initial Thoughts

This is one recap I definitely have the energy for, because this is where it all began. The very first Goosebumps book by R.L. Stine, commissioned back when Scholastic didn’t believe the series would sell enough. Boy were they wrong! [Wing: Stine did an excellent job of creating stories people love even now and reaching kids with horror, and I love that, no matter how strong our feud.]

As the beginning of the franchise, “Welcome to Dead House” gives us a look at how Stine originally established many of the tropes he’s run into the ground over the last three decades, but before he exaggerated the shit out of them. Our main character and narrator, Amanda Benson, is a girl dealing with her bratty brother Josh and her parents not believing them about the weird shit going on in their new home.

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Posted in Fear Street Recaps

Recap #261: Fear Street #44: The Rich Girl by R.L. Stine

The Rich Girl Cover by Bill Schmidt
The Rich Girl Cover by Bill Schmidt

Title: Fear Street #44 – The Rich Girl, a.k.a. “Capitalism Stinks!”

Author: R.L. Stine

Cover Artist: Bill Schmidt

Tagline: Would you kill to be rich?

Summary: Whom can you trust?

Emma Naylor and her best friend Sydney Shue always share their secrets. And now they have a big one. They found a duffel bag stuffed with money.

They swore never to tell anyone. But Sydney broke her promise. She told her boyfriend, Jason, about the money.

Now Emma is terrified. She doesn’t trust Jason – and she thinks he would do anything to get the money for himself. Even kill…

Initial Thoughts

It’s finally spring, which means it’s time to think green. And what could be greener than money!

Money, the root of all evil and the root of this later entry Fear Street book. “The Rich Girl” was one of the earliest Fear Street books I can remember purchasing and a point of small interest for me over the years. As of this recap, it’s the first time I’ve re-read the book from beginning to end since middle school.

Despite what the summary says, Emma’s best friend Sydney is technically the main character since most of the action is happening from her point-of-view. The implications of this book are definitely rather uncomfortable to think about and there’s a lot of ableism going on near the end. Sorry, Wing.

[Wing: Eh, I’m never surprised by that around here. Also, no matter how many times I see that tagline, I first read it as “Would it kill you to be rich?”]

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Posted in Nightmare Hall recaps

Recap #260: Nightmare Hall #15: Truth or Die by Diane Hoh/Nola Thacker

 

Title: Nightmare Hall #15 Truth or Die

Author: Diane Hoh (Nola Thacker)

Summary: It begins as a game.

When first-year student Parrie Moore meets the other girls at a party, joining them in their harmless game of Truth or Dare sounds like fun.

And at first it is. The dares are silly pranks that make them all laugh.

But gradually the dares become stranger, more dangerous. The game is taking on a life of its own.

Parrie is frightened. But it’s only a game . . . or is it?

 

*Note: That ^ is not the cover I remember, and I hate it. THIS is the cover I had as a kid, with the see-through window that opened to another part of the picture, although by this point they might have been one solid cover. Much more nostalgic.

 

Initial Thoughts

Well, first things first, we have a Thacker! *sarcastic jazz hands* That means I’m not holding this to the same standard I would were it actually Hoh writing. I generally find Thacker’s writing to range from “meh” to “I’m going to build a time machine to go back and punch you in the throat as you’re writing this.”

I like the premise, even though it’s not one I’m a total sucker for; it reminds me of a writing prompt I saw on reddit and am actually currently writing a story based on. So, I hope there’s nothing in this book that I accidentally plagiarize for my own. Anyway, there are a lot of “truth or dare gone wrong” stories out there, even in current day, and this one doesn’t stand out at all. Unfortunately.

Regardless if this one is good or bad, I’m happy Wing welcomed me into the Nightmare Hall recapping fold. I remember loving these books, although after reading the recaps of them here, so far I’m questioning my teenage judgment. I doubt this is going to be the book that makes me gasp, “My God, they are as good as I remember!”

Anyway. Onward!

[Wing: I had the window covers, too, and I loved them so damn much. And many thanks to JC for stepping in when I couldn’t get my hands on a copy of this one. More JC recaps is always a good thing!]

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Posted in Other Recaps

Recap #259: Black Orchid #14 – “Glamour’s End” by Dick Foreman and Rebecca Guay

Title: Black Orchid #14 – “Glamour’s End” a.k.a. “Annis Get Your Gun!”

Writer: Dick Foreman

Penciller: Rebecca Guay

Inker: Stan Woch

Colorist: Digital Chameleon

Letterer: Clem Robbins

Editor: Lou Stathis

Assistant Editor: Alex Alonso

Cover Artist: Dave McKean

Summary: In England, Black Orchid encounters a formidable foe who ensares her with a powerful “glamour” spell.

Initial Thoughts

So it feels like I’ve been on creative burnout for I don’t know how long and I’m freaking sick of it. It took me forever to finish a couple of other non-Point Horror related projects, and with this ear infection thing I’ve been dealing with I haven’t had any energy to do anything. I think I’m having a depressive episode and have to get in touch with my therapist.

I’m starting to believe my problem is I’m still expecting too much of myself with this website and am forcing obligation on myself to have stuff prepared for holidays and shit, even if I don’t have the energy or particularly care about a certain book.

That out of the way, I found it’s been easier to focus on minor stuff so I’m doing a recap of one of my favorite issues from one of my favorite titles about one of my favorite heroines.

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Posted in Nightmare Hall recaps

Recap #258: Nightmare Hall #16: Book of Horrors by Diane Hoh

cover of Nightmare Hall Book of Horrors by Diane HohTitle: Nightmare Hall 16: Book of Horrors by Diane Hoh

Summary: Horror book author Victoria McCoy, the new Salem writer-in-residence, knows how to make horror come to life. So Reed is thrilled when McCoy hires her as her new assistant…until she finds out that McCoy’s previous assistants have all disappeared.

Then frightening things start happening to Reed…things straight out of McCoy’s famous horror books.

And McCoy’s next tale of terror has an ending worse than Reed’s worst nightmares.

Initial Thoughts

Apparently Kindle Unlimited doesn’t have #15 Truth or Die, so we’re going to skip straight on to Book of Horrors. I know nothing about this book. I don’t think I’ve read it before, and if I have, I don’t remember a goddamn thing about it.

Randomly, I’m playing 5 Seconds of Summer “Teeth” on repeat while writing this. Not because it has anything to do with the story, I have no idea at this point, but because I sometimes obsess over a song and listen to it for hours, days, weeks at a time. My brain is so much fun. Honestly, this is one of the least terrible things it does to me.

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Posted in Other Recaps

Recap #255: The Castle by Yoko Matsumoto

Constellations That Sing Of Death Cover by Yoko Matsumoto
Constellations That Sing Of Death Cover by Yoko Matsumoto

Title: The Castle, or The Mansion of Time

Creator: Yoko Matsumoto

Scanner/Translator: Luchs

Editor: Tama-Neko

Summary: A young girl has recurring nightmares about a castle and a woman who tries to kill her. She is sent to stay with relatives in the country for a change of scenery. En route she glimpses a mysterious but vaguely familiar castle surrounded by fog on the other side of the lake. What dark secrets does the castle possess and who was that woman in her nightmares?

Initial Thoughts

I didn’t discuss this one with Wing ahead of time, but I haven’t done a manga recap in a while and this creator’s been a low-key interest for me for a couple of years.

Yoko Matsumoto’s a lesser known creator of horror manga to the point I do not believe any of her works have been officially distributed by English publishers. That’s sad, because she offers something different from the majority of Japanese horror creators I’ve come across. Matsumoto’s stories are rather deceptive for a horror writer. The art style is very shoujo and doesn’t utilize typically exaggerated horror imagery, things such as bulging eyes and grotesque body horror, like what can be found from creators Kanako Inuki, Junji Ito, or Kazuo Umezu.

From what I’ve read of Matsumoto, her stories rely on tragic/cruel irony, sometimes with no real explanation behind the cause of the horrific phenomena. Or maybe I haven’t read enough of her works to properly explain what she’s about.

This was the first tale I’d ever read by her, and it’s initially part of a collection called “Constellations That Sing Of Death.” However, several of the stories printed in her anthology collections have been put online as separate entries. The two translations online refer to this story by different titles.

I decided to do this spur-of-the-moment recap because in a couple of months I’ll be starting a Census job, and with that plus Yankee Stadium and my comic job I have no clue how much time I’ll have for writing. I’ve gotta do what I can while I have the time, space and energy.

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Posted in Goosebumps Recaps

Recap #254: Goosebumps Glow & Tell Story Cards by R.L. Stine and YOU

Goosebumps Glow And Tell Ad
Goosebumps Glow And Tell Ad

Title: Goosebumps Glow & Tell Story Cards, a.k.a. “‘BUMPS IN DA HUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUT!”

Author: R.L. Stine

Cover Artist: N/A

Tagline: Get Goosebumps At Pizza Hut

Summary: Collect All Three Sets!

Keep your friends spellbound! Read them the terrifying tales on every creepy card – even make up your own endings! Project scary shapes on any dark wall! Then play the Goosebumps Bone Yard Board Game!

One available every other week with the purchase of a kids’ Pack! Includes personal pan pizza and 16oz soft drink. Get your Glow & Tell cards while supplies last between April 28 and June 22.

Initial Thoughts

SURPRISE! HAPPY BIRTHDAY WING! I found this (near) complete set of Goosebumps memorabilia on eBay and thought it’d make an excellent gift recap for the site for Wing’s January birthday.

(Wing, there are mentions of spiders.)

I completely forgot about this but back in the 1990s, when Pizza Hut apparently still did those “Pizza Head Show” commercials (which I also forgot about) and gave away stuff like McDonald’s and Burger King, they partnered with Scholastic to do shit with Goosebumps. Actually they also partnered with Taco Bell, of all places, which are the giveaways I really remember. I think I did own the Goosebumps cup from Pizza Hut.

Goosebumps Pizza Hut Card Set
Goosebumps Pizza Hut Card Set

Wait does Burger King still do toys? Anyway, the Glow & Tell collection includes twelve bones with a short story printed on them and holes you can illuminate to cast scary shapes on the walls.

Goosebumps Story Cards
Goosebumps Story Cards

The stories are about Curly the Skeleton, the Abominable Snowman of Pasadena, and the Scarecrow from “The Scarecrow Walks At Midnight.” The stories are structured so you can come up with the endings.

Goosebumps Character Cards
Goosebumps Character Cards

I’m gonna structure this recap by quoting each of the twelve stories and providing my own ending plus space for Wing to provide her own endings too if they want.

The pieces are also designed to function as a make-shift board game, the “Goosebumps Bone Yard Board Game.”

[Wing: This is an adorable campaign. I’m delighted by it.]

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Posted in Goosebumps Recaps

Recap #253: Goosebumps Series 2000 #20: Be Afraid – Be Very Afraid! by R.L. Stine

Be Afraid Be Very Afraid Cover by Tim Jacobus
Be Afraid Be Very Afraid Cover by Tim Jacobus

Title: Goosebumps Series 2000 #20 – Be Afraid – Be Very Afraid! a.k.a. “YOU FINISH THE RECAP”

Author: R.L. Stine

Cover Artist: Tim Jacobus

Tagline: There’s a new beast on the block…

Summary: The dragon’s wings stretched… stretched like a ship’s sail unfurling… and cut through power lines over the side of the street. Electricity crackled and sparks flew as the lines came down.

I watched, frozen in terror, as the dragon turned its massive body toward my house. It pulled back its head in an angry roar of attack.

“It’s – it’s coming here!” I choked out. “It’s coming after us!”

Initial Thoughts

It’s the beginning of the year and it’s wintertime, which means I’m stepping into the role of recapping another Goosebumps 2000 book thanks to my zeal for seasonal nostalgia.

This is one of the 2000 entries that’s been especially prominent in my thoughts since “Return to Ghost Camp” had a preview for it at its end. The title and summary don’t allude much to the actual plot besides the prominence of dragons, so I’ll explain it’s about a card game that seemingly comes to life as three kids play it. However, the story bizarrely gets rather… meta, near the end, and I can’t tell if Stine is mocking his own writing style or what.

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Posted in Other Recaps

Recap #252: Choose Your Own Nightmare #1: Night of the Werewolf by Edward Packard

Night of the Werewolf Cover by Bill Schmidt
Night of the Werewolf Cover by Bill Schmidt

Title: Choose Your Own Nightmare #1 – Night of the Werewolf, a.k.a. “The Wacky Witchy Werewolf War”

Author: Edward Packard

Illustrator: Bill Schmidt

Tagline: It’s a full moon… beware of howling beasts!

Summary: Who’s Afraid Of The Big Bad Wolf?

Your vacation at your cousins’ house is off to a creepy start. A body – with deep bite marks all over it – has just been found at the local pond.

Is there a werewolf in town?

Even though you’ve been warned to stay away, you and your cousins want to check out the crime scene. Things seem pretty normal. Until you hear branches crashing… and a throaty howl…

What happens next in this bone-chilling story? It all depends on the choices you make. How will your nightmare end? Only you can find out! And the best part is that you can keep reading and rereading, getting new chills and thrills – until not one but all of your worst nightmares have come true!

Give yourself goosebumps… choose your own NIGHTMARE…

Initial Thoughts

It’s the first month of the first year of a new decade, and we’re now forced to admit the 1990s were officially thirty years ago. And I’ll be turning 30 next December…

I’M OLLLLLLLLLLLLLLD!!!!

[Wing: *raises eyebrow* You are the youngest of the regular recappers across Devil’s Elbow and Sweet Valley Online, and possibly all of the Nostalgic Bookshelf collection. Best watch where you step, youngin’.]

To start off the 2020s here at Point Horror, for this first year I want to make it a year of firsts. Each month will feature at least one #1 book from a 90s horror series. I’ll be making an attempt to look at the firsts of series I’ve already offered glimpses into, such as Bone Chillers and Ghosts of Fear Street, and touch on series I’ve never looked at on here such as Choose Your Own Nightmare, Doomsday Mall, P.C. Hawke, and Christopher Pike’s Spooksville. You guys’ll be lucky, because a few of these books I’ve never read until now so it’ll be a learning experience for everyone.

[Wing: I love this book, I love werewolves, I love January’s full moon (it’s my favourite full moon), and I love recapping, and January is my birthday month, so this is a wonderful combination of things. Roll on Wolf Moon.]

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Posted in Other Recaps

Recap #251: Spinetinglers #16: We Wish You A Scary Christmas by M.T. Coffin

We Wish You A Scary Christmas Cover
We Wish You A Scary Christmas Cover

Title: Spinetinglers #16 – We Wish You A Scary Christmas, a.k.a. “I’ve Got Santa In My Basement”

Author: M.T. Coffin, a.k.a. George Edward Stanley

Cover Artist: ???

Tagline: Not A Creature Was Stirring…

Summary: It’s Every Kid’s Worst Nightmare!

There’s a rumor going around that Santa Claus will not be making his rounds this year… and worse yet, he may be gone forever! Santa Claus is missing… and no one knows where he is.

But somewhere, deep in a dark basement, a figure lies hidden, helplessly held prisoner by some strange people. And if you dare to try and set the prisoner free… beware! You may be spending your Christmas trapped in that same dark basement… with no New Year in sight.

Initial Thoughts

You guys remember the Spinetinglers review I did for last Christmas, the magnificently underrated “Snow Day?” Well I’m following up with the OTHER holiday-related entry in this series. Unlike “Snow Day” this is explicitly about Christmas and it’s not as dark as “Snow Day.” But I know Wing always has some keen observations to make on Santa-related fiction so I’m wondering how she’ll feel about this one. [Wing: Huh, I’ve never felt like I have keen observations about Santa, but I’m well pleased by this compliment. Thank you! And as always, we’re celebrating specific holidays late around here, but that’s just how we roll.]

The drawing point for this novel for me would have to be the empathy the main characters have for their friend.

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Posted in Other Recaps

Recap #250: Nocturnal Letters by Ms-Bowser

Nocturnal Letters
Nocturnal Letters

Title: Nocturnal Letters, a.k.a. “Night of the Nasty Notes”

Developer/Author: Ms-Bowser

Summary:

A scary/creepy point-and-click adventure game. Very plot-driven. You can almost call it an interactive movie.

Ivy lives with her family in a big house in the forest. Things have been rather strange lately. Help Ivy find out what is wrong, and uncover the awful secret.

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Posted in Goosebumps Recaps

Recap #249: Goosebumps #53: Chicken Chicken by R.L. Stine

Goosebumps: Chicken Chicken Cover by Tim Jacobus
Goosebumps: Chicken Chicken Cover by Tim Jacobus

Title: Goosebumps #53 – Chicken Chicken, a.k.a. “The Clucking”

Author: R.L. Stine

Cover Artist: Tim Jacobus

Tagline: It’s a finger lickin’ nightmare!

Summary: Don’t Call Them Chicken Legs!

Everyone in Goshen Falls knows about weird Vanessa. She dresses all in black. Wears black lipstick. And puts spells on people. At least, that’s what they say.

Crystal and her brother, Cole, know you can’t believe everything you hear. But that was before they made Vanessa mad. Before she whispered that strange warning, “Chicken Chicken.”

Because now something really weird has happened. Crystal’s lips have turned as hard as a bird’s beak. And Cole has started growing ugly white feathers all over his body…

Initial Thoughts

“Chicken Chicken” is notorious among fans as the absolute worst of the original 62 books, even more so than the “Monster Blood” books. Reading the book as a kid it wasn’t something I picked up on, given I probably sped through it and put it back with my other books. Re-reading it now I can see why this book is so reviled, though I personally think the worst book out of the entire franchise is “Revenge R Us.”

The problem with “Chicken Chicken” is its villain goes completely overboard in her punishment on the main characters  to the point there’s nothing funny or endearing about it. She’s so borderline sadistic it just makes her awful, and it’s especially hard to stomach the treatment main character Crystal gets. What compounds this is Crystal doesn’t do anything wrong.

But don’t take it from me, here’s what Crystal has to say:

I don't clucking believe this
Crystal by Felipe Smith – Considering she’s apparently turning into a rooster, which are biologically male, she’s got every right to be scared.

[Wing: Okay, that’s adorable, but wow, the premise of this book sounds terrible. I did not read it growing up, but I can see why readers at the time hated it. I doubt it is any worse than the Slappy books, personally, but this is pretty weird.]

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Posted in Nightmare Hall recaps

Recap #246: Nightmare Hall 14: The Initiation by Diane Hoh

Cover for Nightmare Hall 14 - The Initiation by Diane HohTitle: Nightmare Hall 14: The Initiation by Diane Hoh

Summary: Joining the Others, a group of outcasts whom she thinks are just lonely students like herself, Salem University freshman Molly Keene realizes that there is something very wrong about the group, but finds there is only one way to leave it.

Initial Thoughts

I’m excited to pick up recapping Nightmare Hall, though I’m not nearly as informed about the history of the books, ghost writers, etc., as Dade was, alas. The Initiation is not one of the Nightmare Hall books I read growing up, and in retrospect, that’s a very good thing, because I hated it, thanks, good times.

Read on to see why, I guess. Or save yourself. Whichever you prefer. Insert evil cackle here.

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Posted in Graveyard School recaps

Recap #245: The Last Graveyard School Recap: #28 – The Spider Beside Her by Tom B. Stone

Graveyard School #28: The Spider Beside Her Cover by Mark Nagata
Graveyard School #28: The Spider Beside Her Cover by Mark Nagata

Title: Graveyard School #28 – “The Spider Beside Her,” a.k.a. “The End”

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

Cover Artist: Mark Nagata

Summary: Along Came A Spider…

And Sat Down Beside Her…

And They Became Friends?

What has eight legs

And spins webs of silk

And sucks up people

Like they were glasses of milk?

Ask Ari Spinner. She likes spiders. They don’t make her scream. They make her smile. She and the spider are best friends. And there’s nothing she wouldn’t do for a best friend.

Is there?

Initial Thoughts

In all seriousness Wing if you really are able to comment on this recap despite your arachnophobia it really means a lot to me. I was able to add two pictures, one of Ari throwing a spider and another, well…

I swear I’ll make it up to you.

[Wing: If this wasn’t my beloved Graveyard School, and the end of it at that, I doubt I’d even try to make it through this, but since it is, I’m giving it a try. I love this series, and I love Jude’s recaps, and I’m sad to say good-bye to this world.]

So.

Here we are.

The last of the Graveyard School books. I’ve been recapping this series for two years and it’s finally come to an end. No more Park. No more Stacey. No more puke perfect Polly Hannah. No more Dr. Morthouse and Basement Bart. No more recollections about Ms. Stoker or the Skeleton on the Skateboard or the Ghost in the Boys’ Bathroom.

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Posted in Goosebumps Recaps

Recap #244: Goosebumps Series 2000 #10: Headless Halloween by R.L. Stine

Goosebumps Series 2000: Headless Halloween Cover Art by Tim Jacobus
Goosebumps Series 2000: Headless Halloween Cover Art by Tim Jacobus

Title: Goosebumps Series 2000 #10 – Headless Halloween, a.k.a. “Brandon Did A Bad, Bad Thing”

Author: R.L. Stine

Cover Artist: Tim Jacobus

Tagline: Talk about getting ahead!

Summary: Frozen in silence, I squinted into the eerie, pale light. Hands popped up from beneath the ground. They shook off dirt and stretched. A dozen hands poked up, shimmering yellow and green in the moonlight.

And then heads. Human heads. Hair caked with dirt. Skin loose, hanging from their skulls. They stared at me with pleading eyes, faces twisted, mouths hanging open in pain.

“Take me with you,” one of them called in a dry whisper.

Initial Thoughts

Wow it took me like two years to finally finish this recap I suck.

I started this some time in December 2017 before I figured out a routine for my Goosebumps recaps. I was still excited about recapping for Devil’s Elbow and this was one of the books I wanted to cover first as it’s one of my favorites. Admittedly it’s one of my favorites because that has to be one of the best covers Jacobus ever did for the franchise and I’m a sucker for Halloween stories.

So, you know how Stine has this uncanny ability to create protagonists who turn out to be exceedingly selfish and petty and they’re supposed to be the GOOD guys? Yeah, now imagine what happens when Stine creates a character who’s horrible on PURPOSE and you get our protagonist Brandon. However, because Brandon’s a dipshit it means the book is about him getting put through the wringer for being an unholy little fucker.

Stine also crafts a very suitable environment for Halloween and has one of my favorite settings in the entirety of the Goosebumps 2000 books.

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Posted in Other Recaps

Recap #243: All Hallow’s Eve by Mitchell Perkins, John B. Lang, and Vickie Williams

All Hallow's Eve Cover
All Hallow’s Eve Cover

Title: All Hallow’s Eve a.k.a. “Mighty Morphin’ Pumpkin Rangers”

Writer: Mitchell Perkins

Artist: John B. Lang

Letterer: Vickie Williams (R.I.P.)

Summary:

Nesbitt’s Abbey towered over the tiny village of Wicklow, Ireland. Isolated, the abbey was occupied by a group of farming monks.

For years the villagers of Wicklow felt safe as they slumbered off to sleep — watching the monks’ late-night candles as they kept their nocturnal vigil over their precious books and scrolls.

Then, on a fog-shrouded night, something foul and nasty entered the abbey. One by one the old monks were driven from Nesbitt’s Abbey.

Now Nesbitt’s Abbey is haunted by Sam O’Hain and his evil hobgoblins. Will the evil goblins ever be driven from the old abbey?

John the McCormley children: Lauren, Trey, Ashley, and Rachel as they are told the story of the very first Jack O’lantern.

It’s a tale for…

All hallow’s eve.

Initial Thoughts

All Hallow's Eve Introduction
All Hallow’s Eve Introduction

Mainstream comics have been pretty awful lately. I still haven’t been able to reach my therapist to discuss how badly I reacted to DC’s “Heroes in Crisis” and Marvel’s currently a bunch of assholes for firing Chuck Wendig because he wasn’t “Civil” to those Comicsgate morons. So I felt like focusing on some obscure and independent stuff to try and take my mind off things.

The above was written last year when I started this draft and, honestly, things haven’t changed that much so I stand by my previous statements.

“All Hallow’s Eve” is another obscure gem I discovered back in the 2000s, created by Forest Light Productions through Innovation Comics. Innovation was a company that did a lot of interesting stuff like adaptations of Anne Rice’s books, the Child’s Play movies, comic tie-ins for Quantum Leap and Lost in Space, and they even did the phenomenal “Nightmares on Elm Street” miniseries. It was a six issue comic that bridged the gap between “The Dream Child” and “Freddy’s Dead.” That’s not even mentioning the gorgeous graphic novel they did of “Phantom of the Opera.”

All Hallow's Eve Back Cover
All Hallow’s Eve Back Cover

When I purchased this, I had no idea what it was going to be about. I couldn’t find any information about the plot or any scans of the interior pages. Nothing! All I had to go on was the name and cover. This has a very 1980s animated movie vibe to it and offers a rather unique take on the jack o’lantern myth. It feels like the sort of thing Don Bluth would’ve worked on, of course I’m not an expert on his work.

I’ve tried to find out more about this graphic novel, but there’s virtually no information anywhere. I got in contact with former Innovation president, David Campiti, to see if he could direct me to the creative team. Unfortunately he said he lost touch with Mitchell Perkins and John Lang, and poor Vickie Williams died a few years ago. So once again it’s down to me to tell the world about stories like this, because God knows no one else will.

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