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.
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.
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…
“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:
My original plan to cover the second half of this book was to have the recap finished during the summer, preferably August to go alongside “Escape from Vampire Park,” and yet again I was delayed. I’m trying to use November as a catch-up month to finish a few things before December so I can focus on more holiday related recaps.
Looking back I have to say I’m more fond of the stories in the book’s first half, and the only story in this section I favor is “Phobia.” Amusingly, the last tale sets up an ongoing theme Stamper reused for the next three collections featuring the same cast of campers even though the stories aren’t connected by anything else. [Wing: Okay, using the same cast is interesting. I look forward to seeing those stories if we can track down copies.]
Title: 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.
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.
Summary: Vampirita, a series of novels about an astronaut vampire, has attracted a huge following at X – and none more so that Torrey and Terri. The next installment of the series will be released in a fortnight, and until then, fans can audition to star in the next book! Terri and Torrey start to build projects to win the auditions, but every time one is finished, it gets sabotaged. Naturally, the main suspects are two members of a rival novel’s fanclub – TQ, a mysterious and riddle-talking guy with an affinity for multicultural cuisine, and Trace, a girl who never seems to be happy with the color of her hair. But evidence points to neither… so just who could have enough knowledge about the projects to find the perfect way to sabotage them?
Now it’s time for a very special recap on Devil’s Elbow, featuring that cult classic Disney show “Fillmore!”
Airing in the early 2000s, “Fillmore!” was an animated series done in the style of 1970s crime and detective shows set within a middle school. Specifically it was set within X Middle School, one of the biggest middle schools in America. That’s not even hyperbole because X Middle School is fucking HUGE. It’s practically a city. To put this in perspective, they have clubs for everything including a field for bocce ball, a corn maze so large they had to send a rescue team to save some poor kid who came out screaming “IT ALL LOOKS THE SAME!!!!”, an expo center for science fairs, and a fucking JAI ALAI STADIUM. An entire stadium SOLELY for jai alai.
The main characters are Cornelius C. Fillmore (Orlando Brown) and Ingrid Third (Tara Strong). Fillmore was once the worst juvenile delinquent to ever attend X Middle School until he turned over a new leaf and joined the Safety Patrol. Ingrid, a goth girl with a photographic memory making her the smartest kid in school, was another former delinquent who transferred to X from a school in Nepal following a prank with a stink bomb and a pinata.
As partners in the Safety Patrol, Fillmore and Ingrid have gone around solving a number of bizarre crimes, including:
The destruction of an entire model train expo
The kidnapping of X Middle School’s beloved mascot, Lobsty the Lobster, during Spirit Week
A serial shredder going around destroying school projects with a handheld paper shredder
The tagging of a graffiti artist going by the handle “Stainless,” whose antics lead Fillmore and Ingrid to seek the aid of another tagger put in permanent detention ala Hannibal Lector for something unspeakable he drew with only a mini golf pencil
The theft of EVERY SINGLE BOOK in the school’s massive library
A group of students forming a vigilante squad to get revenge on the school’s bullies by traumatizing them for life
A counterfeit baseball card ring organized by a visiting Canadian diplomat’s son who has “Diplomatic immunity” and thus can’t be touched by the Safety Patrol
Threats made against the school’s star chess player, Checkmatey, who’s inexplicably a white gangsta kid who churns out cringeworthy raps
Every single crime in the series is treated with the same amount of ridiculous seriousness, the exact way shows like “Starsky & Hutch,” would handle them. It’s got chase sequences up the ying-yang, interrogations, and Fillmore and Ingrid getting chewed out by their superior officer, Chief Vallejo.
So yeah, the “X” probably stands for “Xtra” because everyone in this show is operating at 75 out of 10. The best is probably the school’s principal, Dawn S. Folsom, voiced by Wendie Malick giving a delightfully hammy performance. She spends most of her time either sweetly complimenting the Safety Patrol when she’s not threatening to have them all shipped to Kazakhstan, or she’ll turn their HQ into her own personal sauna. She’s such an egotist the school’s drama club did a musical about her life story. My favorite scene involves her ranting about making sure Checkmatey brings glory to the school while she’s vocally changing the settings on her massage chair.
“And then the void in our trophy case, and the VOID in my HEART, WILL BE FILLED! DEEP TISSUE!!!“
Unfortunately, she’s not in this episode.
No I picked this episode to review on Devil’s Elbow because the conflict involves sabotage being inflicted against members of a fan club for a book series about a vampire astronaut. The main suspects are members of a rival fan club for a different franchise. The episode offers a look into fandom wars, toxic fandoms, and what happens when creators stop giving a shit. [Wing: Well this should be interesting.]
As luck would have it, back when the show was still on Toon Disney (or Disney XD, at the time) they once did a marathon of all the episodes that hadn’t yet aired on this channel. I recorded all of them on a video tape I still own and still works. This episode’s the last one on the tape, so I’ve known about it for years.
Title: Graveyard School #24 – Scream Around The Campfire, a.k.a. “I Heard The Bigfoot Call My Name”
Author: Tom B. Stone, a.k.a. Nola Thacker, a.k.a. D.E. Athkins
Cover Artist: Mark Nagata
Summary: Who Is The Happy Camper From The Dark Side?
Alex wishes he had stayed home this summer. He hates camp. He hates the goofy songs. He hates the gross food. But most of all, he hates the creepy campfire stories. Is he the only one who notices that they’ve been coming true? And will he be able to stop whoever it is before he becomes just another marshmallow on the campfire of life?
Four, repeat, we are down to FOUR books left before the series is over and we are once again leaving the confines of Grove Hill. This is the second of the two summer camp books and Thacker manages to avoid doing a total retread of “Camp Dracula.”
When I first heard of this particular entry back in 2004, my interest got peaked at the discovery the main character was none other than Alex Lee. Alex being the protagonist of the first “Graveyard School” book I read, I was eager to see what he would do in his next protagonist role. However, upon reading said book for the first time…
Guys I gotta level with you, this book is rather strange. Mainly, it’s the reveal behind what is causing the different campfire stories to come to life. But Thacker also includes a couple of unique ghost stories shared by the campers, although we see a retread of the infamous “Hook” urban legend.
At the very least, one thing to enjoy is the return of Alex’s pragmatic moral backbone and how he doesn’t strive to be some perfect angel yet is openly disgusted when other people are being hurt.
Also, the supporting character is named Garth which I fucking love because one of my favorite comic characters of all time is named Garth.
[Wing: No idea how the book is going to come across, but I love that book blurb up there. It sounds GREAT and makes me want to go to summer camp again.]
Like RL Stine needs any introduction. The incredibly prolific author of such series as Goosebumps and Fear Street, not to mention the Fear Street Reboot and some adult titles as well, Stine’s been around for a while and integral to the formation of horror love for many people my age. Sometimes ridiculous, sometimes creepy, always some of the most excellent deaths in YA, Stine is a mainstay in the young adult horror world and I wouldn’t have it any other way.
Don’t open that present!
If only Reva had listened to that warning.
But beautiful, cold Reva won’t listen to anyone. Reva thinks she can have whatever—and whoever—she wants. After all, her daddy owns Dalby department Stores.
Now, someone has some surprises instore [sic] for her. Robbery? Terror? Even murder? Someone wants to treat Reva to a holiday she’ll never forget.
Holiday cheer quickly turns to holiday chills for Reva. Someone is stalking her, someone is trying to get to her.
Her money can’t help her. No one can.
After all, who can you turn to when murder comes gift-wrapped?
Can I get a photo of gift-wrapped murder? Please?
[Wing: We believe holiday horror has no deadline around here, so let’s end 2018 with a few more Christmas-themed stories.]
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…
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.
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!
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.
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…
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.
Title: Ghosts of Fear Street #30 – I Was A Sixth Grade Zombie, a.k.a. “Shady School Zone – Bad Future”
Author: Nina Kiriki Hoffman
Cover Artist: Happy Boy Pat (Published), Mark Garro (Scrapped)
Tagline: Class Of The Living Dead?
Summary: Zombies on Oak Street?
Valerie and Mark know there’s something weird about the new after-school club building on Oak Street. It’s blue. It’s shiny. It’s heavily guarded. And it’s surrounded by a force field!
There’s something even weirder about the kids who joined the clubs. They act like robots. And they’ve all become so polite it’s scary!
Someone is brainwashing the sixth-graders of Shadyside. Turning them into glassy-eyed zombies.
Are Val and Mark next on the list?
It’s back to school time, so let’s focus on a very special entry in the “Ghosts of Fear Street” series. This is another book that took me by surprise with how much I loved it, which shouldn’t surprise me because it was written by the same woman who wrote “Why I’m Not Afraid of Ghosts.” It’s got one of the best main characters I’ve seen in these books so far with a plot that really breaks from the norm of the usual GFS books.
It’s also got some of the most disturbing conversations I’ve come across in the entire series.
You might see some similarities to one of the books I reviewed last year, but I won’t say which.
Summary: Leslie can’t wait to turn sixteen. She’s planning a huge birthday Party. Everyone’s invited. Her gorgeous boyfriend, Rick. Her best friend, Deborah. Her cousin, Trish. It’s going to be the biggest bash ever. [Wing: That … that is a list of three people. THREE.]
But out of the blue, weird things start happening. Scary things. She nearly gets knocked down by a runaway car. People start getting hurt. It seems like someone doesn’t want Leslie to make it to sweet sixteen.
But a few little accidents won’t scare Leslie. She is going to have her party. Even if it kills her…
Tagline: Sweet sixteen and never been…killed
Hi guys! How’ve you been? I’ve been great, lots of exciting stuff happening (to any American readers with Arthritis you may see my face advertising your medication very soon [Wing: Well that’s interesting!]), but I’m so happy to be back doing a recap which I hope y’all enjoy!
As a child I really liked this book and really wanted a huge sweet sixteen….I’m going to be honest, while reading this book I kept trying to remember what I did for my sixteenth and I have absolutely no memory of even turning 16. I think I went for a meal with my friends? Or we snuck out and went clubbing? But I did that a lot so it wasn’t a sixteen thing, it was more like a Saturday thing. I remember when I turned 13 I went to the cinemas with a bunch of friends and my mum. In my family, it was more of a celebration to turn eighteen or twenty-one. I definitely remember my twenty-first, I don’t remember my eighteenth.
I may need to see someone…..
Anyway I did enjoy this book, it wasn’t as awesome as I remember but I didn’t hate it (Side eyes Halloween 2) The ableism was annoying as hell but there wasn’t a lot of it and Leslie was a solid character who was easy to empathise with.
[Wing: Aaaah, Sweet Sixteen. Mine was a party, but it was in that weird time where I wasn’t quite out of the church cult yet but I was involved with decidedly non-church-cult-friendly people like Ostrich, so the party was mostly church cult people (surprisingly enough, because church cult didn’t believe in celebrating birthdays, though it had loosened up a bit by then), but then later on there was drinking. Fun times.]
Title: Ghosts of Fear Street #31 – Escape of the He-Beast, a.k.a. “Hecula the He-Beast #32 – Death by Dying”
Author: Page McBrier
Cover Artist: Happy Boy Pat (Published), Mark Garro (Original)
Tagline: This Monster Is Real – Real Hungry!
Summary: He’s hairy. He’s scary. He’s escaped.
He is Hecula the He-Beast – the coolest monster in comic book history. And Jamie Kolker is his number-one fan. Jamie loves the He-Beast’s horns. His teeth. His claws. And especially the way he hunts his prey.
Then one day Jamie manages to get his hands on the computer program of the artist who draws Hecula. Somehow the program releases his comic book hero into the real world.
Suddenly Jamie isn’t a fan anymore. He’s monster chow!
It’s Comic Con International time, so for this month I decided to do some recaps focusing on comic related horror (except for Graveyard School, which sadly never had a comic-based book). Comics are as important to me as the books I read for Point Horror, but they are a never-ending source of stress for me because it seems like the two major companies are run by complete morons. Word of warning: When you make statements about wanting your favorite character back or for a current writer to stop writing your favorite title, BE AS SPECIFIC AS POSSIBLE BECAUSE THE WORLD OF COMICS IS LIKE A LIVING MONKEY’S PAW AND YOU WILL GET FUCKED OVER.
So, funny story. “Escape of the He-Beast” was originally going to be book #28 in the Ghosts of Fear Street series, following “Parents from the 13th Dimension.” There was even a preview for it and, as you can see, Mark Garro completed a cover for the original release. For whatever reason, the book must’ve been pushed back when the Fear Street series was transferred over to Gold Key, with the published #28 being “Hide and Shriek II.” I own all of the Gold Key-published books and they’re my favorite of this series because I LOVE the early 90s CGI cover artwork.
[Wing: Awww, fear of technology setting things free into the world goes back for ages, and I love it.]
Title: Fear Street Super Chiller #12 – High Tide, a.k.a. “Wave Race: Blood Storm”
Author: R.L. Stine
Cover Artist: Bill Schmidt
Tagline: A lifeguard’s job can be murder…
Summary: Blood on the water…
Adam Malfitano still has nightmares about the night his girlfriend, Mitzi, died. He sees the blood. He sees her in the water. He is a lifeguard, and he can’t save her. He wakes up screaming.
Even worse, he has begun to see Mitzi while he is awake. He knows it is impossible… but she looks so real. He can see her face decaying. What does she want from him? Why won’t she leave him alone? He tried to save her – doesn’t she know that?
IT’S SUMMERTIME AND YOU KNOW WHAT THAT MEANS GONNA HEAD DOWN TO THE BEACH GONNA DO SOME BEACHY THIIIIIIIIII-
I, I’m so sorry for that.
Anyway, for the first day of summer I proposed doing a recap for one of the summertime Fear Street novels. I picked “High Tide” because I’ve re-read this one a few more times than the other Super Chiller books, but apparently my memory was shoddy because WOW. The narration is shared by two characters in this book and one of them is about as frustrating as Darryl Hoode from the “Fear Hall” books. Had I remembered him I would’ve suggested something else, but I’d already re-read the book for the recap. And I’ll be honest, the big fight scene at the end is fucking ridiculous and amazing.
And as a special note, for the first time ever I will be using the phrase “The Muffin Man,” a time-honored Point Horror tradition, to refer to a character in an incredibly frustrating segment since they’re never referred to by name.
[Wing: Happy summer! Happy birthday, Sister Canary! Happy Needlessly Dramatic Cliffhanger Chapter Endings. (I assume, I haven’t read it yet at this point.]
Summary: Rumors are flying around Salem U. Stories about a monster roaming the campus. Tales of students viciously attacked in the dead of night. Abby McDonald thinks it’s all nonsense. A fraternity prank. A drama major giving an unusual “performance”. She has too much on her mind to worry about a monster. But she should be worried. Because the truth about the monster is even more horrible than she could have imagined….
Notes: I will refer to the bad guy as…wait for it…the monster!
Diane Hoh is missing in action again this round, but thankfully, so is Nola Thacker! This time our ghostwriter is none other than Barbara Steiner, who released a few Point horror books (The Phantom, The Mummy, Spring Break) back in the day, but was actually quite prolific in teen YA horror fiction, with a bunch of titles written for the publisher Avon Flare (The Dreamstalker, The Photographer, The Photographer II: Dark Room, Night Cries, Deathline, The Coffin, and the Dark Chronicles trilogy, The Dance, The Gallery and The Calling). I’ve read them all, except for The Coffin and The Calling, and have always found her to be a rather “meh” writer. I remember “meh” being my overall reaction when I read this for the first time in my teens, although I can’t remember much else about it. She can’t be worse than Thacker, though, can she?
[Wing: I liked most of The Phantom, which may be the only book of hers I’ve read, but she did not pull off the ending, so I don’t have high hopes. Especially because with a title and a summary like that, I want this to be a werewolf book. It’s probably not a werewolf book. I’m already primed to be disappointed.]
Summary: Shea Fallon can’t tell anyone what she did. She knows it was wrong. Terribly wrong. But she had to do it – she had no choice. Anyway, she’s sure nobody will find out. Until she hears the whisper on the telephone. “You don’t have to worry. No one will know what you’ve done. I’ve seen to that.” Who is the whisperer, and how does he know? Shea wonders. And even more terrifying…what will the whisperer’s price be to keep her secret?
Notes: I will refer to the bad guy/girl as The Whisperer since, well, that’s what they are!
Welcome back, Diane Hoh. Why do you leave us? Your fill-in’s last contribution was real bottom of the barrel stuff and was almost my Last Date with the series. [Wing: Badumcha.]
As always, I have good memories of this, because it’s from Ms. Hoh. Shea’s big secret is that she cheated on an exam. I’ve never done that. Ironically enough, I’m not clever (or devious) enough to think up a scenario in which I could do so. I did okay, though. I got a degree. For all the good it did in securing a job. (I have had many jobs since university, of course, but my degree had nothing to do with any of them). I’m 38 and still paying the bloody thing off. And I have gone way off course… [Wing: Oh god, student loan debt. I hope this book is better than the last one. I need a distraction from weeping into my budget.]
[Wing: What with this being book 12, we’ve hit a year of Dade recapping Nightmare Hall! I’m glad we have so many books to come, still, because these recaps are a joy and a delight forever, and Dade continues to be a wealth of information about YA publishing in the 80s and 90s. Thank you for all you do, Dade!]
Summary:A night you’ll never forget. Call me. Demi does it on a dare. She places an ad in the personals column of the Salem Chronicle. Lots of guys call. And the nights are everything she advertised. Unforgettable. Unforgettably frightening. Because one by one, Demi’s dates start having nasty little accidents. Disappearing. Even…dying.
Notes: I will now refer to the bad guy as “Muffin Man” because of The Mall.
I didn’t even like this one when I first read it 24 years ago. 24 years. Bloody hell. If that weren’t bad enough, Nola “Hack” Thacker is back in the driver’s seat for this ride, so I’m anticipating severe bouts of carsickness and a strong urge to nap. (Note from the future: and a lot of swearing, too). [Wing: Another one I don’t remember reading. Somehow, I think I missed most of the Thacker ones, even though at the time, I didn’t know they were being ghostwritten.]
Title: Nightmare Hall #7: Pretty Please by Diane Hoh
Summary: Johanna Dunn is strikingly beautiful, just like all her friends. Until the accident. Now her perfect face is scarred and bandaged. She’s embarrassed by the strange looks she gets on campus – even from her closest friends. A pretty face isn’t everything, is it? Somebody thinks it is. Some thinks she’s plain old ugly now. Too ugly to live…. [Wing: Well damn, that escalated quickly.]
Notes: I will now refer to the bad guy as “Muffin Man” because of The Mall.
Love the cover of this one, with the bandaged face looking back out of the mirror. Once again, I remember the identity of the Muffin Man all these years later. The concept of a killer going after a person they consider “ugly” may sound thin, but I think it’s quite unique, living as we do in a very looks obsessed society. Diane Hoh usually delves deeper into hot button issues than other YA thriller writers did at the time, so I’m hoping she finds some time for some light social commentary in amongst the thrills.
[Wing: I’ve never read this one before, but I like the idea that Hoh is going to take on the power of beauty in our society. I hope this goes well. And I don’t think it’s too far fetched for a killer to go after someone they consider ugly; just look at how fat people, for example, are treated. People casually call for their deaths all the time.]
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…
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.
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?]
Notes: I will now refer to the bad guy as “Muffin Man” because of The Mall.
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.]