Posted in Graveyard School recaps

Recap #237: Graveyard School Final 3 Countdown: #25 – Escape from Vampire Park by Tom B. Stone

Graveyard School #25: Escape from Vampire Park Cover by Mark Nagata
Graveyard School #25: Escape from Vampire Park Cover by Mark Nagata

Title: Graveyard School #25 – Escape from Vampire Park, a.k.a. “#judedelucalovesjordieflandersSHUTUP”

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

Cover Artist: Mark Nagata

Summary: Take A Ride In The Tunnel Of Blood…

Cover your eyes. Scream your brains out. It’s the scariest ride in the whole amusement park. But brave Nathan isn’t afraid. He knows the ride is one big fake. Except now he’s about to find out how the Tunnel of Blood got its name. He’s about to stop laughing and start screaming. Too late, Nate.

The worst ride of your life has just begun.

Initial Thoughts

We’re down to three and the last summer book before we return to the hallowed halls of Graveyard School. But returning after such a long absence is none other than my favorite, Jordie “The Human Computer” Flanders.

Interestingly, as you could tell from the summary Jordie is not the main character. That role’s taken by newbie Nathan, who had never been mentioned as a member of the sixth grade class until now. Yet Jordie is still the one who does most of the investigating into the creepy things at Vampire Park, and Nathan’s targeted mainly because people think he and Jordie are friends. It works in a way because, since Jordie’s the co-protagonist, we get to see someone else react to her Jordie-isms.

Along the way, we also realize (for those of us who know what happened in “Camp Dracula“) that Jeep Holmes and his family are apparently REALLY bad at their jobs.

So join me as we say goodbye to Jordie.

[Wing: I’m not ready for this series to end. I’m not, I’m not, I’m not. But I am excited to see Jordie again.]

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Posted in Goosebumps Recaps

Recap #235: Goosebumps Series 2000 #8: Fright Camp by R.L. Stine

Fright Camp Cover by Tim Jacobus
Fright Camp Cover by Tim Jacobus

Title: Goosebumps Series 2000 #8 – “Fright Camp,” a.k.a. “Return of the Go-carts from the Evil Kingdom!”

Author: R.L. Stine

Cover Artist: Tim Jacobus

Cover Tagline: Where the wild things are… out of control!

Ad Tagline: You’re not going to play baseball.

You’re not going to go swimming.

You’re going to get scared!

Summary:

I lowered my head and started to swim slowly, steadily out to the white, floating platform. I was four or five strokes away from it when I felt something wrap around my ankle.

At first, I thought it was a piece of seaweed.

But then I felt it grip me. I thrashed the water with both hands.

“Let go-!”

But the hard, bony hand held on, tugging me, tugging me underwater.

Initial Thoughts

So for this summer I picked one GYG book, a G2000 book, and an original Goosebumps book to review alongside the Graveyard School recaps.

I wouldn’t say “Fright Camp” is one of my favorites but I’m definitely fond of it. It’s one of the oldest of the 2000 books I own, which I acquired from a friend of my brother’s way back when we still lived in the basement apartment of the house.

I enjoy “Fright Camp” for the same reason I enjoy “Shocker on Shock Street” and “One Day at Horrorland,” the world building. There are a number of horror movies mentioned in this book and they’re all fucking ridiculous and I love them all.

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Posted in Other Recaps

Recap #231: Campfire Stories #1 by Don Oriolo and Vincent Scarpelli

Campfire Stories Cover
Campfire Stories Cover

Title: Campfire Stories #1 – “An Evening With Ranger Bill,” a.k.a. “Ranger Bill Says ‘No Means No Or He’s Gonna FUCKING KILL YOU'”

Writer: Don Oriolo

Artist: Vincent Scarpelli

Initial Thoughts

Get ready guys, because this introduction is gonna be a doozy. This comic has got to have the weirdest history of any individual comic I can think of.

It was supposedly published in 1992 by a company called “Global Comics,” yet seems to be the only title the company released besides an adaption of “Thirteen Something” which included early artwork by famed “Archie” artist Dan Parent. The next time I see Dan I need to ask him about all this.

Yet the reason I ever heard of this comic was a low budget, direct to video horror movie from the early 2000s called “Campfire Stories.” Made about a decade after the comic was released, the plot involved two teenage boys, a female hitchhiker, and the creepy Forest Ranger Bill. Ranger Bill tells them three stories:

  1. An escaped mental patient who found work as a school janitor, and then kills the group of boys who humiliate him
  2. Three bikers who rob an elderly Native American man and are turned into old people because of his stash of weed
  3. Two roommates who decide to pull a prank on their boyfriends that ends with one of the roommates possessed by her grandmother’s spirit

The movie ends with the three escaping from Ranger Bill and making their way to a nightclub, only to realize the people in said nightclub are the characters from the stories. The boys are murdered while the hitchhiker escapes and flags down another car asking for a ride the exact same way she approached the boys…

The third story’s the only one I ever held an interest in, but once I was able to watch the entire movie I saw the opening credits mention a “Campfire Stories” comic book. However, said comic that I’ll be reviewing has little to do with the movie. The setting’s totally different, it doesn’t feature the same stories, and instead of being a forest ranger, Ranger Bill is a camp counselor. Yet the end credits of the movie feature pages from the ACTUAL comic.

As a side note, there was a different movie called “Campfire Stories” that came out in 1991, a year before the comic was published. They don’t seem to be connected although except they both tell a standard urban legend (the same one in fact).

Compounding all this weirdness, the comic AND the movie were co-created by Don Oriolo. Don’s a writer and musician and apparently worked with both Bon Jovi AND discovered Meat Loaf. He’s also the son of Joe Oriolo, the creator of the “Felix the Cat” TV show and co-creator of “Casper the Friendly Ghost.” Don’s well known for producing the “Felix the Cat” movie of the 1980s, one of the most infamously bizarre animated films in existence. Of course it’s also got a great soundtrack.

Weird, right??? So much packed into one comic.

Because I’ll be reviewing “Scream Around the Campfire” this month I chose to do a recap on this title to go with the camp theme.

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Posted in Graveyard School recaps

Recap #227: Graveyard School Final Five Countdown: #19 – The Gator Ate Her by Tom B. Stone

Graveyard School #19: The Gator Ate Her Cover by Mark Nagata
Graveyard School #19: The Gator Ate Her Cover by Mark Nagata

Title: Graveyard School #19 – The Gator Ate Her, a.k.a. “When The Alligators Cry”

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

Cover Artist: Mark Nagata

Summary: What’s Big And Green And Mean All Over?

Algernon is about the find out. He’s spending summer vacation with his relatives, the “Swamp People.” They live near a swamp, and Algie hates swamps. He htes the smell. He hates the insects that hover aroud. But mostly he hates the dark, murky water. Below the muddy surface, Algie knows something is lurking. Something wicked… watching… waiting. He’s right!

Initial Thoughts

It had to end someday guys, and we’re down to the last five books in the series. If all goes as I hope it will, the last book, “The Spider Beside Her” will be done in time for the next Halloween Extravaganza.

Algie Green returns after having a co-starring role in “The Dead Sox,” but is back to being a main character. Continuity problems persist as Algie plans to spend the summer visiting his cousins in the South, despite having just spent the entire summer playing baseball and under the ghostly possession of Coach Geist.

This was one of the last books I needed to complete my collection after acquiring most of them in 2004. Thankfully, Thacker doesn’t pander to the lowest common denominator by shilling out a bunch of hillbilly jokes with Algie’s cousins like A.G. Cascone did with “Grandpa’s Monster Movies,” and she’s back to drop some hard environmental truths via Algie’s Great Aunt Marie.

[Wing: I’M NOT READY FOR IT TO END. I love the Graveyard School; I’m surprised by how much, actually, considering I’m only vaguely fond of Goosebumps. It’s the characters here, really. They’re G R E A T.]

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Posted in Other Recaps

Recap #226: Short And Shivery by Robert D. San Souci – Part 3

GHOUL evening, boils and goops
It’s like if Tim Burton hosted an international buffet

Title: Short & Shivery a.k.a. “The Wide World of Horror”

Author/Editor/Reteller: Robert D. San Souci

Illustrator: Katherine Coville

Summary: Everyone loves a spooky story. Don’t you?

Welcome to a chilling world of hair-raising tales! The thirty stories in this book were gathered from around the world, selected for their ghastly details and terrifying twists. Come inside and meet the young miller’s daughter in “The Robber Bridegroom,” who may have discovered too late that she has been betrothed to a madman; the dancing skeleton who returns from the dead to haunt the friend who betrayed him in life; the Golem, who tires of serving his greedy master and suddenly turns evil; and intriguing characters in stories from the Brothers Grimm, Washington Irving, and other world-famous authors. But before you settle down in your cozy reading chair, check behind you… and keep all the lights on!

Initial Thoughts

We’ve finally reached the end of the first “Short And Shivery” collection after six long months. In August I’ll start a recap for the second book.

Luckily this book’s got three different water-related tales to fit in with my June theme, and luckily for YOU Wing we’ve finally reached the werewolf story. UNluckily for you this is also the portion with the giant spider story. Sorry. [Wing: Werewolf outweighs giant spider, mostly. Though: WHY IS IT ALWAYS GIANT SPIDERS? I just had to talk someone out of doing it as a decoration at work this fall, too.]

[Wing: Editing to add a link to this great comment from Sarah about the golem story in this recap, the use of mythology versus theology versus folk tale (her suggestion and the best one) and the history of the golem as a response to anti-semitism. I really appreciate her taking the time to share her perspective and want to highlight it.]

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Posted in Goosebumps Recaps

Recap #225: Give Yourself Goosebumps Special Edition #8: Weekend at Poison Lake by R.L. Stine

Weekend at Poison Lake Cover by Craig White
Weekend at Poison Lake Cover by Craig White

Title: Give Yourself Goosebumps Special Edition #8 – Weekend at Poison Lake, a.k.a. “Aliens and Jewel Thieves and Moss-Men OH MY!”

Author: R.L. Stine

Cover Artist: Craig White

Summary: Come On In – The Water’s Slime!

It’s the weekend and your family’s vacationing at an awesome lake. The water’s cool, clear and downright deadly!

Rumor has it this lake is filled with poison! Or are those aliens? And what’s that nasty smell? Better pick a lucky number to help you out, or this nature trip could really go wild! If you pick the right number you’ll be chillin’ on the beach without a care. But if your number’s unlucky, you’ll come face-to-face with evil jewel hunters, ice-cream-craving aliens, and all sorts of freaky wildlife!

The choice is yours in this scary GOOSEBUMPS adventure that’s packed with over 20 super-spooky endings!

Initial Thoughts

Since “Chicken Chicken” hasn’t been finished yet that means two Goosebumps recaps as well as two Graveyard School recaps this month. This is going with June’s water theme.

“Poison Lake” was the last of the GYG Special Edition books and from what I’ve read it’s one of the most loathed. I can sort of understand why yet I do love this one.

THE BAD: The whole “Lucky Number” shtick this book employs is extremely frustrating in figuring out a proper path to take. See, the numbers aren’t really “Lucky” because you’re just as likely to die from using the number to determine a choice than if you’d voted not to use it at all. And yet when you get the bad endings from not using the number, the book mocks you for it. Hell, it’ll mock you even if it doesn’t immediately lead to death by asking why you don’t want to utilize it.

THE GOOD: The four stories Stine’s crafted are incredibly endearing, and are totally independent of one another. Once you pick a path, you’re stuck on it. Which actually made recapping this much easier. My favorites are “The Missing Jewels” story and “The Moss-Man” story, the former because of the presence of competent adults and the latter because Stine’s able to create real tension and a dreamy atmosphere similar to “The Ghost Next Door.”

Also I love the monster on the cover despite its lack of appearance in the actual stories.

Poison Lake Monster by Jesus Marquez
Poison Lake Monster by Jesus Marquez

THE OTHER BAD: We get a return performance of, UGH, Jude as the main character. God he sucks.

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Posted in Graveyard School recaps

Recap #224: Graveyard School #18: The Dead Sox by Tom B. Stone

Graveyard School #18 - The Dead Sox Cover by Mark Nagata
Graveyard School #18 – The Dead Sox Cover by Mark Nagata

Title: Graveyard School #18 – The Dead Sox, a.k.a. “The Devil Went Down To Graveyard School”

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

Cover Artist: Mark Nagata

Summary: Three Strikes? You’re Dead!

Park Addams thinks it’s going to be a great summer. He’s just made the all-star team, and it seems like they can’t be beat – until they meet the Belville All-Stars. Shutout? Try wipeout! No-hitter? No one even sees the ball! How do they do it? The Grove Hill All-Stars are suddenly scared to death. Welcome to the field of screams.

Initial Thoughts

Welcome to the last sports-related entry in the Graveyard School series, and just in the middle of baseball season. [Wing: Ugh, baseball season. That long stretch of time between the Stanley Cup finals (#weallbleedblue) and college football.]

Despite what the summary probably has you thinking and despite Algie Green’s role, this is not a direct sequel to “Scream, Team!” even though it features another evil sports team from Belville. No return appearances by Coach Sandman here, folks. This time we’re going less “Cackling scientist” and we’re looking at something a bit more… Faustian.

This book does present something of a continuity problem since it’s a summertime story, but overall its only real downside is the inclusion of Park’s older sister who is a complete bitch. [Wing: #misognyisforpussies] Thankfully she has no real role to play beyond a few insults so she doesn’t drag the story down too much.

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Posted in Other Recaps

Recap #219: The Witching Hour #1

Witching Hour #1 Cover
The Witching Hour #1 Cover by Nick Cardy

Title: The Witching Hour #1, a.k.a. “Anne, this isn’t about you”

Creators: Neal Adams, Pat Boyette, Dick Giordano, Dennis O’Neill, Alex Toth

Cover Artist: Nick Cardy

Summary: During DC’s latest foray into the horror / mystery arena, editor Dick Giordano conjured up a triumverate of witches to host an anthology series produced by some of comics’ biggest names. In this first issue, writer / artist Alex Toth provided a framing sequence (with an epilogue drawn by Neal Adams) that introduced readers to the cronish Mordred, motherly Mildred and beautiful Maiden Cynthia – as well as their bumbling pet zombie, Egor. Each witch then brewed a potent blend of horror and dark humor crafted by Toth, writer Denny O’Neil and artists Pat Boyette and Jack Sparling. It was an effective spell that would entrance a loyal audience long into the next decade.

Initial Thoughts

Wow Jude’s actually writing about DC Comics and it’s NOT incoherent ranting, who’d have guessed?

As part of my attempt to start Year Three off strongly, I’m including a review of my favorite of DC’s old horror anthology comics from the 60s, 70s, and 80s. Well, it’s up there alongside “Dark Mansion of Forbidden Love.”

DC had a whole slew of horror comics, “House of Mystery,” “House of Secrets,” “Tales of the Unexpected,” “Ghost Castle,” “Doorway Into Nightmare,” “Sinister House of Secret Love,” etc. “The Witching Hour” was first published way back in 1969 and ran for 85 issues before the main characters were transplanted to “The Unexpected” upon the book’s cancellation.

“The Witching Hour” stands among one of my favorites due solely to the hosts that narrated its stories. Every, well, most of the issues, had a framing device focusing on three witch sisters, Cynthia, Mildred, and Mordred. The issues would take place at midnight, where the sisters would welcome the reader and try to see which of the three had the most gruesome tale to tell.

I only own about a couple dozen or so issues ranging from most of the first ten to a few sporadic numbers throughout the run. From the handful I own I can clearly see the formulaic rot that set in, when the humorous framing stories were reduced to a one page joke opener that lacked the style and panache of the earliest comics.

The Three Witches In Sandman
Cynthia, Mildred and Mordred in The Sandman

The three witches were later incorporated as part of Neil Gaiman’s “The Sandman,” alongside many of the other horror host characters like Lucien from “Ghost Castle” and the brothers Cain and Abel. Cynthia, Mildred and Mordred were introduced as aspects of the Fates/Furies dubbed “The Three-In-One.” Cynthia was established to be the Maiden of the trinity, while Mildred was the Mother and Mordred (who acknowledges her name’s wrong) is the Crone.

They repeatedly appeared at least once per story arc but in different forms before becoming the antagonistic Kindly Ones in the comic’s penultimate tale.

As of recently, they’ve been popping up in some newer DC works. Cynthia appeared in 2018’s Valentine’s Day anthology as a love interest for DC’s version of the Bride of Frankenstein. The three were later antagonists in a Catwoman/Sylvester and Tweety crossover by Gail Simone and have been bedeviling Harley Quinn in her solo series.

The witches are truly the only reason why “The Witching Hour” remains my top fave of the horror anthologies, and they’ve been especially prominent in some of my DC story ideas. Onto the recap!

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Posted in Graveyard School recaps

Recap #218: Graveyard School #16: Don’t Tell Mummy by Tom B. Stone

Graveyard School #16 - Don't Tell Mummy
Graveyard School #16 – Don’t Tell Mummy Cover by Mark Nagata

Title: Graveyard School #16 – Don’t Tell Mummy, a.k.a. “Morton Explains It All”

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

Cover Artist: Mark Nagata

Summary: Please Don’t Feed The Mummies…

Take a Graveyard School class trip to the museum with Park and his friends. Sneak away from the others. Rattle the dinosaur bones. Jump out and say “Boo!” to the museum guard. Play a little hide-and-seek. But whatever you do, don’t go near the mummies. One of those mummies isn’t wrapped right, as Park found out just before he disappeared…

Initial Thoughts

Now we’ve reached a real treat in the Graveyard School franchise, and while it’s not one of my all time favorites I can understand why it’s so great. In this book, we’re introduced to one-shot character Morton who might be the franchise’s Ensemble Darkhorse. How do I know this?

I can say I was the person who created the Graveyard School wikipedia page AND the TV Tropes page, but some time later some person added entries and tropes pertaining to Morton. I know it wasn’t me, and it amazes me that Morton had some fans out there despite how obscure this wonderful series is. But it’s easy to see why because Morton’s awesome. She’s sarcastic and take charge and doesn’t take anyone’s bullshit.

Come everyone, come with me as we appreciate Morton.

Oh and Wing get ready for a surprise appearance from someone we haven’t seen since 2017.

[Wing: I love the sound of Morton, and I already wish she wasn’t just a one-shot.]

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Posted in Goosebumps Recaps

Recap #203: Goosebumps #61: I Live In Your Basement! by R.L. Stine

It’s Very David Lynch

Title: Goosebumps #61 – I Live In Your Basement! a.k.a. “Egg Yolkeo’s Revenge”

Author: R.L. Stine

Cover Artist: Tim Jacobus

Tagline: Talk about a MONSTER nightmare!

Summary: He’s Got The Basement Blues!

“Don’t do this! Watch out for that!” Marco’s mom thinks the whole world is a danger zone. She won’t even let Marco play softball.

But Marco just wants to have fun. So he sneaks off to a game. And that’s when it happens. He gets hit in the head with a baseball bat.

Now things are getting really fuzzy. Really scary. Because when Marco gets home he gets the strangest call. From someone who says he lives in Marco’s basement…

Initial Thoughts

I promised someone on tumblr I would do a recap of this book come November. I just hope they’re still on the site after tumblr deleted all those blogs. INCLUDING MINE.

(UPDATE: My blog has been restored, although who knows what’ll happen after December 17th.)

This is one of most diverse entries in the original series, and serves as the penultimate volume before #62 and the end of the run. Troy Steele on “Blogger Beware” claimed this, alongside the two that preceded it (Werewolf Skin, The Haunted School) felt like last minute strokes of genius for Stine. And I agree with him.

Of course, I kind of wish Stine had saved some of that genius for “Monster Blood IV” which is such a clusterfuck.

“I Live In Your Basement” is bizarre, confusing, and rather endearing. It depends upon a more primal fear yet at the same time a rather unexpected fear. This idea that there is a total stranger living inside your home but you have no way to prove it. Coupled with the fact the main character is having a hard time keeping track of what’s real and what’s not due to the aforementioned stranger and his head injury.

BUT DON’T WORRY this isn’t a split personality thing.

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Posted in Graveyard School recaps

Recap #202: Graveyard School #14: The Tragic School Bus by Tom B. Stone

Graveyard School #14 Cover
The Magic School Bus Has A Midlife Crisis

Title: Graveyard School #14 – The Tragic School Bus, a.k.a. “Skip Wolfson in: ‘Screaming Yellow Honkers’”

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

Cover Artist: Cam DeLeon

Summary: The Next Stop May Be Skip’s Last…

Skip Wolfson can’t believe he almost missed the bus again! One more late morning and he’ll be in big trouble at Graveyard School. But as he walks down the aisle to find a seat, something tells Skip that he got on the wrong bus. The unbelievably wrong bus. Is it because the driver looks like a skeleton? Or is it that the other passengers seem to have been dug up out of a grave? Skip finds himself wishing for detention instead. Anything but a one-way trip to the terminal of the undead!

Initial Thoughts

I referenced this book last year in my recap of “Boo Year’s Eve” when Jordie Flanders brings up Skip’s fear of buses. And now has come the day when we learn how that fear started.

Not one of my favorite books but I’m sure Wing’s gonna love it because it features the return of Skip Wolfson as the protagonist! And to that end, because this has one of the funniest scenes in the entire series, I’ve prepared a little something extra as a gift to Point Horror.

The amazing thing about this book is that it can be viewed as a follow-up to “Little Pet Werewolf” without being a direct sequel. Thacker works in sly nods to Skip’s previous role as the main character without blatantly spoiling the last book.

[Wing: SKIP! I love you, Skip!]

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Posted in Fear Street Recaps

Recap #201: Fear Street #17: The Best Friend by R.L. Stine

A gift from Becka's BBFF
Maybe she can get store credit?

Title: Fear Street #17 – The Best Friend, a.k.a “Baby’s First Fear Street”

Author: R.L. Stine

Cover Artist: Bill Schmidt

Tagline: Sometimes friendship can be murder….

Summary: Best friends… to the end!

Who is Honey Perkins? She’s been telling everyone in Shadyside that she’s Becka Norwood’s best friend. But Becka’s sure she’s never met Honey before.

Honey systematically moves in on Becka’s life, copying her in every way. But when Becka presumes to have more than one “best friend,” the horrible accidents begin.

Does Honey just want a friend? Becka wonders. Or does she want more – much more!

Initial Thoughts

This is where it all began for me. I remember like it was yesterday. Me, a young child, with my mom and Nana in K-Mart looking at the book section. When suddenly I saw a small paperback with the image of a teenage girl horrified by a Christmas present in her lap. Upon closer inspection, I saw the present had a knife sticking out of it.

Even though I didn’t know what the title was, the memory of that cover stuck with me for a while. It was a couple of years later when I learned I was looking at “The Best Friend” in R.L. Stine’s teen series, “Fear Street.” I had no idea at the time Stine wrote this book, so it was an amazing coincidence that the book I remembered was also written by the guy who wrote “Goosebumps.”

Coincidence? Or maybe fate?

As you can guess, people have described this book as “Single White Female on Fear Street.” Of course I’ve never seen the movie myself.

Re-reading this book for the first time in years, I found myself feeling genuinely unsettled and disturbed by what went on. I knew of course the plot and what happened, but not from repeated re-reads. For some reason, the reviews I’ve seen of this book have derided Becka, the main character, as annoying and a bad friend. Honestly, I don’t see it. Becka’s probably one of the biggest victims in the entire franchise because of what Honey Perkins does to her life in this story.

Best BEST friends
Becka Norwood and Honey Perkins by Nanihoo – Nanihoo has been an absolute joy to commission this past year. She’s done numerous design commissions and helped me flesh out one of my comic ideas farther then I’ve ever gone in years

[Wing: That is such a fun piece of art!]

Oh and FYI, when R.L. Stine signed my copy last year, he told me everyone HATED the ending when it came out. Which probably explains how “The Best Friend 2” happened.

[Wing: Damn it, Stine, stick to your guns!]

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Posted in Other Recaps

Recap #200: Jingle Belle: Grounded by Paul Dini and Stephanie Gladden

Title: Jingle Belle – Grounded

Writer: Paul Dini

Line Art and Cover: Stephanie Gladden

Colors: Felix Serrano

Letterer: Troy Peteri

Editor: Rob Levin

Summary: A fan favorite holiday character returns! When Jing again breaks her parents rules, she is forced to spend Christmas Eve GROUNDED. But when Santa is also caught in a lie, he has to share the same punishment! Neither father nor daughter can leave the North Pole until they apologize, and with the contentious Kringles not speaking to each other, Christmas is doomed!

Initial Thoughts

Last year I reviewed the “Santa Claus Vs Frankenstein” Jingle Belle one shot, and I promised to follow up by doing the Krampus story this year.

For those who don’t recall, Jingle Belle is Santa’s incorrigible teenage daughter (technically 151, which comes out to 16 in elf years). Jing often gets into a lot of ridiculous misadventures and finds herself put on the Naughty List, much to her father’s eternal frustration. Along for the ride is Jing’s best friend and fellow holiday icon Polly Green, the official Witch of Halloween.

Now last year, Wing got a bit peeved by how the complaints on the Santa Claus myth were brought up by a strawman political character whose arguments turned out to be part of a ploy to go after Santa because he’s an easy target. Well Wing, if you were disappointed over the resolution in last year’s comic, I’m certain you’ll be rather fond of what happens this time.

[Wing: Recap #200! It’s been a great time. Thank you all for reading and commenting and recapping. I love this snarky little book club.]

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Posted in Graveyard School recaps

Recap #199: Graveyard School #12: Scream, Team! by Tom B. Stone

SOCCER RIOT!

Title: Graveyard School #12 – “Scream, Team!” a.k.a. “The Bad News Belville Bears”

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

Cover Artist: Cam DeLeon

Summary: Belville Bears 13

Grove Hill Tigers 0

They’re big. They’re mean. They’re ugly. And they’re totally killing the Graveyard School Tigers. The Belville Bears used to be the worst soccer team in the universe. But now they’ve gotten good. Wicked good. Unnaturally good. Tyson Walker knows something is wrong. But can he stop the new monster team before they turn the Tigers into kitty litter.

Initial Thoughts

We have our first non-skateboard related sporting book in the series. And it’s got an all-star cast! Tyson! Algie! Kirstin! Skip! Maria! And Jason Dunnbarr who is surprisingly a lot nicer than he was in his first appearance!

“Scream, Team” offers more world building to the land of Grove Hill by introducing us to Belville Academy and giving us a better grasp of the land beyond Graveyard School. I referred to this book in my introduction post by mentioning how this is such a refreshing change of pace to sports tales. It really enforces ideas about healthy sportsmanship, and that parents who scream and rave about their kids always winning is NOT the right way to raise a child.

Here’s hoping you guys enjoy this more than Nola Thacker’s other “Scream Team” novel.

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Posted in Other Recaps

Recap #197: Bone Chillers #4: Frankenturkey by Betsy Haynes

Pardon this, bitch!

Title: Bone Chillers #4 – Frankenturkey, a.k.a. “Help! My Turkey Is A Frankenstein”

Author: Betsy Haynes

Cover Artist: Tim Jacobus (?)

Tagline: Look who’s coming to Thanksgiving dinner…

Summary: …it’s not Grandma!

Kyle and Annie want to celebrate Thanksgiving like the Pilgrims. They want to wear stovepipe hats, bake their own pies – even raise their own turkey. Then they meet Frankenturkey!

Frankenturkey is big. Frankenturkey is bad. Frankenturkey is mad. If Kyle and Annie don’t watch out, Frankenturkey will eat them for Thanksgiving dinner.

Initial Thoughts

That summary is a lie in so many ways. Kyle and Annie do NOT want to celebrate Thanksgiving like the Pilgrims. They do NOT want to wear stovepipe hats or bake their own pies. And while they want to raise their own turkey, it’s not because they want to eat him.

Coming off that, I should clarify I actually really hate Thanksgiving, probably more than April Fools’ Day. I don’t feel I’m educated enough to make a point about how the holiday is shamelessly built off the exploitation and continued attempts at extermination of the indigenous people who lived in this country before white people ruined everything. Well I could, but I feel I’d come across as a token straw liberal and sound horribly obnoxious and phony.

Oh screw it I’m going to Hell anyway.

[Wing: A handful of links with more information RE USA Thanksgiving and native peoples: 7 Ways to be an Ally to Native Peoples This Thanksgiving, Celebrate Indigenous History This Thanksgiving, Native American Rights Fund: Thanksgiving.]

What I can say is I’d rather not celebrate a holiday that seems to pride itself on being a clusterfuck of anxiety, wherein family members are forced to invite other family members they can’t stand, waste a lot of money on one meal that could’ve been used to buy at least a week’s worth of food, and then spend the entire day arguing and yelling about shit no one’s talked about in decades before nitpicking over said meal and then offering apologies that amount to nothing.

Fun!

As a picky eater I also can’t stand the holiday because everyone expects me to eat a lot and it makes me feel more self conscious than I already am when I have dinner with other people. If I ever have a family of my own, I’m not making my kids celebrate the holiday and would rather spend the day doing something fun with them instead of forcing them to watch me argue with their uncle and grandparents.

MOVING ON

This is most likely one of the more well known “Bone Chillers” in it’s one of the three books adapted into the TV show and it’s the one book that got a sequel.

Pardon this, bitch! – The TV show

If there was ever to be a trademark monster for the franchise, it’s Frankenturkey. [Wing: Well that is a horrifying promotional image.]

Frankenturkey by Bobby Timony – GOBBLE GOBBLE, MOTHERFUCKERS!

I bought the sequel book first before I acquired the original, and owned this for years without reading it until I proposed a recap for the site. Well, I’d read the first chapter and was prepared to hate this when it seemed Kyle was too much like an average “Goosebumps” protagonist. I was pleasantly surprised to be proved wrong. Kyle and Annie’s affection for the actual turkey they buy is legit endearing, and the one thing that frustrates me is their condescending bitch of a mother and their equally awful dad.

As a bonus, here’s the episode on Youtube

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Posted in Other Recaps

Recap #192: Confessions of a Teenage Vampire: Zombie Saturday Night by West and Ellis

All that money and she couldn’t buy a lock on the door?

Title: Confessions of a Teenage Vampire – Zombie Saturday Night

Writer: Terry M. West

Penciller: Steven A. Ellis

Inkers: Richard Perrota and Ravil Lopez

Letterer: Fred Van Lente

Colorists: Kent Marquart, Ryan Dunlavey, Leon Allen, Michelle Wulfson

Cover Art: Steve Ellis and Stew Noack

Editor: Bonnie Bader

Summary: My life has really changed since I became a teenage vampire. I can’t stand bright lights and bad smells. I’m so strong I’ve got to be careful not to hurt anyone in gym class. And I’m on a strict diet of Serum V – a special protein product that was invented so vampires don’t have to kill to eat.

But my biggest worries are Sang and Rosie – two vampires who think that all vampires should prey on humans. I haven’t heard from them lately, but I know they’re out there somewhere. I need to be ready when they come…

Initial Thoughts

This past summer I reviewed the first entry in this two book series, and I promised Wing I’d review the second for Halloween this year. Luckily for Wing, it’s got werewolves! Unluckily for the rest of us, while it sheds more light on the vampire mythology of this world, the ending is pretty rushed and there was no third entry.

Still, I hope you enjoy this piece of 90s comic cheese as an early Halloween treat instead of a trick.

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Posted in Friday the 13th movies, Let's Do It! recaps

Recap #188: Friday the 13th Part VI: Jason Lives (1986)

Friday the 13th Part VI: Jason Lives (1986)Title: Friday the 13th Part VI: Jason Lives (1986)
(theatrically: Jason Lives: Friday the 13th Part VI)

Summary: The writers pretend the events of the previous film (or two) were some sort of fever dream and decide that Tommy Jarvis (now version 3.0!) should inadvertently help resurrect our dead anti-hero, Jason Voorhees. Jason is really really upset that his bloody legacy has been white-washed from history, so he sets out to make sure everyone knows Crystal Lake > Forest Green. The usual mayhem and hi-jinks ensue!

Tagline: Kill or Be Killed!

Notes: I can’t really complain about this poster. It’s decently scary. Can’t really say it’s spoilery; Jason had to come back to carry on the franchise. Good job, art department! [Wing: It’s a pretty solid poster. I’ve never seen it before, and I’m surprised by how well it works, even though the mask sort of looks like a dark moon with holes in it.]

Initial Thoughts

Welcome back to ROUND 6 of Let’s Do It!: A Virgin Does Horror!

I’M AT THE HALFWAY MARK! [Wing: CONGRATULATIONS! This has been such a blast.] After this installment, there’s six left to recap! *throws machete-shaped confetti* I’ve survived Jason five times, but he’s gaining traction, having been resurrected, what, twice now? I mean, is that even the right way to think about it? Tommy killed Jason in Part IV, we know that, and Jason died in that barn (technically) in Part III, but then adult!Tommy has either “become” Jason (aka possessed by, I’m not sure it was real clear in many ways, but we’ll go with it) or… well… maybe this installment does its best to back track and put viewers on a new course for the many bloody adventures of Jason. Who knows. I’m stuck watching it ether way, so I’ll just let myself be surprised.

In reality, I would have been roughly 5 when this film was released in theaters. I can’t say with any honesty that I remember anything about the advertisement campaign; I was busy watching My Little Pony (like a good Virgin!) and serial killers/horror movies wouldn’t really factor in for a while. Okay, this also might have been around the time I had nightmares after seeing the temple scene in Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom because back in the day, when people left their homes to go and rent VHS tapes to watch, rental stores pretty much played whatever the clerk wanted to watch. Before a whole bunch of kids were scarred for life by what they saw and their parents complained and from that point on, the chains only ran G-rated stuff. (I know this for fact; I worked at a video rental store back in the day.)

Om namah shivay! Om namah shivay! Om namah shivay!

Sorry. Getting back on track, from one murderer to another…

Without getting into too much spoiler territory (I’m supposed to go into these completely unknowing, duh) I guess Tommy Jarvis didn’t do much for audiences and the idea of him turning into / being possessed by / whatever Jason Voorhees DIDN’T SIT WELL WITH AUDIENCES. Hm, I wonder why. Though, I have to admit, if they could have kept Corey Feldman on, the idea of a child possessed by Jason could have worked. It’s really a disturbing idea and I’m sure some horror films that have come out since have done something similar. (Don’t @ me, I really don’t like horror films from the past two decades. Even the 90s stuff bothers me. I’ll stick to 1960s-1980s, thank you.)

Okay, let’s just get into it. I’m wasting precious time here. If only the great American hero Kevin Bacon could save me from this… sixth time’s a charm. I’m ready for you, Jason, bring it on.

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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Posted in Other Recaps

Recap #186: Bart Simpson’s Treehouse of Horror #17

Title: The Simpsons’ Treehouse of Horror #17

Summary: Prepare for a trilogy of Halloween treats in this year’s terrifying Treehouse of Horror! First, punk rock pixie and Go-Gos founding member Jane Wieldlin (Lady Robotika) leads Marge down the path of the walking dead; then, Zander Cannon and Gene Ha (Top Ten) offer up a remake, Simpsons-style, of the classic horror flick Nosferatu; and finally, indie artist Jim Woodring (Jim) helps Bart uncover the truth behind the biggest mystery in the history of horror comics.

Initial Thoughts

You’ve all heard of “Treehouse of Horror” the annual Halloween themed episodes done yearly on “The Simpsons.” What you probably don’t know is Bongo Comics, alongside the regular Simpsons Comics, releases a “Treehouse of Horror” issue every year. Or at least they did.

I own nearly all the issues in either trade paperback form or as individual issues. Some of my favorites include:

  • The one where the Simpsons buy an alien Christmas tree that plans to take over the world
  • The one by Jill Thompson that starts off as a Carrie parody before Lisa goes full on Dark Phoenix [Wing: Well that sounds amazing.]
  • The Death Note parody by Nina Matsumoto
  • Oh, and this one ad
YOU GO, KANGFRIEND

I wanted to talk about #17 from 2011, an issue I missed when it first came out and tracked down a couple of years ago. And friends, it’s one of the most legitimately fucked up Halloween-related Simpsons media I’ve seen so far, mainly for its first and last stories.

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Posted in Friday the 13th movies, Let's Do It! recaps

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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Posted in Friday the 13th movies, Let's Do It! recaps

Recap #137: Friday the 13th: The Final Chapter

Friday the 13th The Final ChapterTitle: Friday the 13th: The Final Chapter (1984) (aka Part IV)

Summary: After being mortally wounded and taken to the morgue, murderer Jason Voorhees spontaneously revives and embarks on a killing spree as he makes his way back to his home at Camp Crystal Lake.

Tagline: Jason’s Back, and this is the one you’ve been screaming for.

Note: The more I look at this poster, the more I remember it from childhood. It makes sense, because along side Nightmare on Elm Street, this was one of the major horror franchises that did huge home viewing business in the 1980s when I was still of an impressionable age. It’s weird how I didn’t recall that until I went looking for the poster for this recap, but it’s true. Independent video rental stores were everything when I was little and they always had posters displayed of new and/or popular titles. I will stop now before I start a “kids these days…” style rant about digital downloads and Redbox. [Wing: In contrast, I don’t remember this poster at all. How in the world did I miss it? We rented movies often.]

Initial Thoughts

If only I could quit you, Jason Voorhees. But no, I committed myself to this goddamn series and I’m going to see it through! [Wing: And we appreciate it greatly!]

Hello and welcome again to the fourth round of Let’s Do It! Yeah, I know, we’re only part way into the deep, twisty franchise that is Friday the 13th, and you’re all wondering how I can possibly not know what goes on in all the films by now, being that this is 2018 and we have The Internet™ to tell us everything.

Willpower, my friends. That and total lack of interest. I’d rather not know, because that’s half the fun. And I’m supposed to be a virgin (duh) when I watch these. I’m actually actively going out of my way to avoid spoilers at this point. It’s really hilarious. I read something last Halloween and instantly was like “NO NO STOP” and had to close the tab because it gave a big plot point away.

Because it’s been 34 years since this was released and I’m expected (at my age) to have seen this by now. Whatever. What about all the teens that weren’t born in the last century, huh? You just fill Wikipedia with spoilers for them so they never have to sit down and suffer through it like I did back in the Dark Ages??

Ahem. Moving on.

Let’s glean what we can without getting into the plot. This installment was released in theaters on April the 13th, 1984. Ooo, bummer, I’m a month early! Roger Ebert hated it. Good to know.

The more I read, the more I have to stop, because spoilers everywhere. Guess I’ll just come back to that stuff in the Final Thoughts part. Damn it.

Oh, and this is pointedly meant for me: Corey Feldman (who I knew was in one of these films but not which one) and Crispin Glover (who I didn’t know was in this film or that he was in this franchise what so ever) both went on to act in films with Kiefer Sutherland in 1986. (Stand By Me and At Close Range, respectively.) I’ve never seen At Close Range but I know the two-bit part that wasn’t really a part was the reason Schumacher called Kiefer in to read for The Lost Boys.

AND THAT’S HOW YOU PLAY SIX DEGREES OF KEVIN BACON!!

Wait, where am I? Oh, right, Camp Crystal Lake! Here we go. Again. For the fourth time.

(Save me, Kevin Bacon! Save me!)

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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