Posted in Podcast

Devil’s Elbow Podcast #8: Still More Tales to Give You Goosebumps by R. L. Stine


Wing recaps Still More Tales to Give You Goosebumps by R. L. Stine and finds it delightful. Ridiculous, cheesy, fun stories ahead. (Content: brief mentions of arachnids, child sex trafficking, and “illegal” aliens.)

Links mentioned in the podcast:

Written Recaps: pointhorror.com

Episode Media: Still More Tales to Give You Goosebumps by R. L. Stine

13 Tales of Horror: OneTwoThreeFour

13 More Tales of Horror: OneTwoThree

“Gypsy” as a slur.

Halloween costumes and cultural appropriation.

Listener/Reader letter: Cat-Dogs cover on Tumblr

ASMRrequests Time Travel Tingles on Goosebumps

Facebook: Devil’s Elbow

Tumblr: Devil’s Elbow

Patreon: Devil’s Elbow

Posted in Nightmare Hall recaps

Recap #78: Nightmare Hall #3: Deadly Attraction by Diane Hoh

cover for Deadly Attraction by Diane Hoh, has a window with yellow shutters on the front, looking into a bedroom with a dresser and a clockTitle: Nightmare Hall #3: Deadly Attraction by Diane Hoh

Summary: The night Robert Q and Darlene meet, the attraction is immediate. The Big Man on Campus uses all his charm to sweep Darlene off her feet – and then dumps her a few weeks later. After all, he’s just playing around. Poor Robert Q. He doesn’t realize that Darlene is playing for keeps. He may think it’s over. But he’s wrong. Dead wrong.

Tagline: None.

Notes: I will use “Bad Guy” throughout my reviews to refer to the anonymous killer/prankster/whatever. Doesn’t mean it’s a guy. I will now refer to the bad guy as “Muffin Man” because of The Mall.

Initial Thoughts

Thankfully, we’re back to a Nightmare Hall book actually written by Diane Hoh. The Roommate, the previous book, was actually courtesy of ghost-writer Nola “Hack” Thacker, and it was downright TERRIBLE. So, yay for Diane Hoh! I remember being intrigued by the fact that the relationship described in the summary is actually viewed through an external party, our main character Hailey. I can still remember the identity of the bad guy, too. Funny how a thin piece of fluff from 24 years ago can stick with me longer than anything I read today…

[Wing: I still find it weird that Hoh apparently NOPED out of the last book, but came back for this one. Where did you go, Diane Hoh? Where did you go?]

(more…)

Posted in Other Recaps

Recap #77: The Reading Buddy by Bryce Gibson

cover of The Reading Buddy by Bryce Gibson, has a figure in a black coat with its hood up carrying an ax, with the title and author information printed over itTitle: The Reading Buddy by Bryce Gibson

Summary: A SET OF keys jangled in my hand. The keys were my lifeline. One of them would be what saved the day. I held onto them as tightly as I could.

I was being followed. The man running behind me was my stepdad, Morris Heyward. He was holding an axe.

AFTER THE DEATHS of his best friend and stepdad, seventeen-year-old Blake Thomas can’t escape the memories of that night…the screams…the blood…the axe.

Now, Blake suffers from social anxiety and making friends at his new home seems impossible. With his therapist’s suggestion, Blake joins a social media site called The Reading Buddy. It is supposed to be a way for him to slowly step back into social relationships, and it doesn’t take long for him to become online friends with someone known as Charley17.

Recovery seems to be within reach, but once the school year starts, three local teens quickly pull Blake into their own circle, and soon it appears that Charley17 doesn’t want to share his new friend with anybody else.

The Reading Buddy is a Southern-set throwback to the teen horror and thriller novels from the 1990s and will keep you guessing until the very end!

[Wing: Oh dear. We’re kicking this off with yet another summary that is not so much with the accuracy, and is trying too hard to be Point Horror-esque for a book that really isn’t.]

Tagline: None

Initial Thoughts

Disclosure: A copy of the book was provided by the author in exchange for an unbiased review. Or a lovingly snarky recap that may not be quite so loving, depending on how the story goes. Congratulations on book release day, Gibson!

This is the first time an author has reached out to us to have their book recapped, and I am both charmed and delighted by the opportunity and a little surprised. The author and publisher call it a book that will appeal to readers of retro teen horror from the 90s, which, you know, is pretty much our jam around here. I love a good southern horror, and I have high hopes for this one. I do worry that the marketing push to compare it to Point Horror and similar books is going to be a detriment; I’m going in with some solid expectations because I obviously know very well what teen horror and thrillers were like in the 90s. It’s kind of a specialty of mine. The summary and the marketing plan have driven home that this book will be that, and if it’s not, well … we’ll see.

Spoiler-Free Review

Because this is a new book, and you may want to read it without the spoilers of the recap, I’m going to start with a brief, spoiler-free review.

In short, I loved the first ¾ of the book, but found the ending badly paced, with whiplash characterisation. The book itself is very slowly paced, which is something I actually love, particularly in horror stories where the writing establishes the characters very well. That doesn’t not really happen here, but I still enjoyed the slow pace for a long time, until it finally because too slow, with too little happening. Spent a great deal of time adoring the main character and at least one of the side characters. Mostly handles mental health very well, until it veers sharply off track.

I think it’s a fun, entertaining read, but it makes a lot of style choices that I think you’ll either love or loathe, with very little in between. Like I said, it is slow, and at times almost seems to be leaning heavily into southern Gothic, but it never quite makes it. In the end, I think that’s my biggest problem with the book (except for the moment where Wing Goes Boom finally over mental illness); it starts to be a lot of things, and starts to have a lot of things, like strong characters and great relationships, but it never quite gets there. There’s a lot of build up for very little payoff (and I don’t mean in the plot, necessarily, but more in the writing style itself); it feels very surface level at times, when it was leading into a deep, profound setting and character-driven story.

I wanted more from it, and though I really did enjoy reading it, I’m also left unsatisfied and wanting more depth, more description, more characterization, more transitions — just more.

Per the marketing campaign from the publisher, it is being targeted to readers of retro teen horror — so, you know, us — and I can see why. It doesn’t quite feel the same as Point Horror or Fear Street or Nightmare Hall or Christopher Pike, etc. In some ways, it’s better. In some ways, though, it feels even more surface-level than they do. It certainly did invoke a ton of nostalgia in me, but not a lot related to the 80s and 90s teen horror. Mostly, small towns and high school football and marching band and werewolves. (You’ll see.)

I liked it. I’m glad I read it. I’ll reread it. But I am left not quite satisfied, and since the early part of the book was great enough it set my expectations high, that is even more frustrating than if it had been bad from the beginning.

Let’s do this.

(more…)

Posted in Podcast

Devil’s Elbow Podcast #7: The Hitchhiker by R. L. Stine

Wing recaps The Hitchhiker by R. L. Stine, and spoilers: she doesn’t hate it. Come listen for rollicking adventures, car theft, and murder.

Links mentioned in the podcast:

Written Recaps: pointhorror.com

Episode Media: The Hitchhiker by R. L. Stine

Facebook: Devil’s Elbow

Tumblr: Devil’s Elbow

Patreon: Devil’s Elbow

Posted in Goosebumps Recaps

Recap #76: Tales To Give You Goosebumps by R. L. Stine

cover of Tales to Give You Goosebumps by R. L. Stine with a ghost in front of a background image

Title: Tales to Give You Goosebumps

Author: R.L. Stine

Cover Artist: Tim Jacobus

Tagline: N/A

Summary: “Reader Beware — You’re in for ten scares!”

From an evil baby sister, to a remote control that can control more than just the television set, to a teacher who’s obsessed with snakes, to a cute, cuddly teddy bear gone bad, here are ten creepy, spooky stories guaranteed to give you Goosebumps all night long!

Initial Thoughts

So this is the first of the six short story collections and, honestly, it’s kind of boring. It’s clear that most of these are ideas Stine had that he just wasn’t able to convert into full length novels. While most of the other collections had themes, this one’s kind of all over the place in terms of genre, with one that’s not supernatural or science fiction-based at all. Four of the stories managed to get turned into TV episodes, which is more than the other collections could say (and a bit of a waste since the one really good story wasn’t), while two were adapted into illustrated novellas for the French Goosebumps line. [Wing: Now that’s interesting! I wonder what the illustrations are like.]

I never read this book on its own, just after it was reprinted alongside the following two collections in hardcover format. I will say it’s interesting that this entry seems to be the birth place of Curly the Skeleton, the original Goosebumps mascot. You might remember him from the merchandise that appeared in the mid to late 90s when the series got popular. He was the skeleton with the buzz cut, bandana, and sunglasses who often had a big pit bull by his side. On the cover he was depicted with long hair and tattered white robes, more like a ghost, and Scholastic supposedly asked Tim Jacobus to redesign him. He’s sadly forgotten by the current young Goosebumps readers, discontinued like so many of the monsters like Amaz-O, Cuddles, and the Masked Mutant to make way for the disappointing likes of Madame Doom, Murder the Clown, and *ugh* Dr. Maniac. But he will forever live on in the goosebumps of our hearts.

To add a bit of fun, for subtitles this time I’m taking a page from one of my favorite animes, Revolutionary Girl Utena, and adding “Duel” with each recap entry. The French words translate to a trait shared in the stories. I’m on a small Utena kick lately.

[Wing: Again, I’ve never read this, I’m excited for the recap, and I’m grateful that someone else is recapping a Stine book.]

(more…)

Posted in Podcast

Devil’s Elbow Podcast #6: Identity Theft by Anna Davies

And the podcast is back!

Wing recaps the relaunched Point Horror book Identity Theft by Anna Davies (spoilers: the blurb manages to both lie and spoil the twist and Wing goes boom RE mental illness), discusses the changes to the recaps and podcast as well as the new schedule, and shares reader/listener mail.

Links mentioned in the podcast:

Written Recaps: pointhorror.com

Episode Media: Identity Theft by Anna Davies

Facebook: Devil’s Elbow

Tumblr: Devil’s Elbow

Patreon: Devil’s Elbow

 

Posted in Other Recaps

Recap #75: The Band by Carmen Adams

four teens on a black cover; three guys and one girl, all white, wearing leather and pouty expressions, very 80s and 90s vampire style

[Wing: RECAP #75! Thank you all for sticking around for this ridiculous, amazing ride.]

The Author

As far as I can tell Carmen Adams has only written two books, THE BAND and SONG OF THE VAMPIRE. [Wing: Well, she also wrote The Claw, which I recapped in 2016, and despite some lazy writing and the main character carrying the idiot ball, it was a delightful romp, so I have high expectations for her other books. Also, I realize this is where Paul recommended The Band and Song of the Vampire, so I’m glad we’re finally hitting them.] Technically that’s their order, however, they do stand alone. I know because I read them out of order and didn’t even really know THE BAND existed (or cared) until fairly recently. I am whole-heartedly convinced Adams was heavily influenced by movies like The Lost Boys and Near Dark when writing these books. While THE BAND doesn’t deal with vampires per se, it does deal with aimless teenagers trying to recruit unsuspecting victims into their dark lives through a blood ritual. They’re vampire enough without actually having to drink blood. And if you read SONG OF THE VAMPIRE and don’t get Lost Boys feels then we didn’t watch the same movie. [Wing: The Band 100% feels influenced by The Lost Boys and Near Dark. It captures that gorgeous feel of seaside horror-comedy even though it’s set in the desert, and it’s just great. AND LOOK AT THAT COVER. They’re basically the Lost Boys.]

Overall I think Adams had her finger on the pulse of teenagers a little better than her counterparts. Her characters aren’t caricatures of teenagers, they’re fairly level-headed and realistic, and she doesn’t rely on over-the-top shock to get her point across. Considering the market at the time it doesn’t surprise me she didn’t have staying power. I think she was a little bit ahead of her time just in the way these two books are written. They actually feel like they transcend time far better than any of the other 90s YA horror I’ve read (aside from mentions of crimped hair and VHS tapes, but that’s neither here nor there).

Really, both of these books are probably some of my favorites. THE BAND goes where literally no other book does: to revenants, not vampires. I’ve never come across revenants in any other book before, probably because they’re not sexy enough. At least Adams’s version of revenants are close enough to vampires that she might as well go with vampires, right? But she didn’t. She does go full tilt vamp in SONG OF THE VAMPIRE, but let’s leave that for the next recap.

For now, let’s get into THE BAND.

(more…)

Posted in Fear Street Recaps

Recap #74: Fear Hall Part 1 – A.K.A. “Fear Street: The College Years”

cover of Fear Hall The Beginning by R. L. Stine shows a white girl behind a window looking out and appearing scaredTitle: Fear Hall: The Beginning

Author: R.L. Stine

Cover Artist: Franco Accornero

Tagline: The first part of a shocking two-part special!

Summary: “A Special Message From R.L. Stine”

Dear Readers:

Come with me to FEAR HALL. That’s the creepy college dorm built many years ago by the cursed Fear family.

Hope and her roommates live in Fear Hall. Hope’s boyfriend lives there, too. They’re all good students and best friends. Everything is going great… until one of them becomes a murderer!

Now Hope is about to find out that life at Fear Hall can be a real scream!

I hope you’ll join me for FEAR HALL. This story has so many scares, it took me two books to tell it all!

P.S. You’ll never believe what I came up with for the next book…

Initial Thoughts

I only read this story once when I was in middle school, and I barely remembered what happened after I was finished. I did that sometimes, skimming through a book so that I read it but I didn’t retain anything. This didn’t leave much impact on me at first, but I still found and purchased the two volumes as part of my unfinished effort to collect all the Fear Street books. Then, in the summer of 2011 I decided to re-read the Fear Hall books. I remember that summer. I discovered “Jem and the Holograms” and DC Comics was in the middle of their “Flashpoint” event which ended up ruining the DC Universe for six years and counting. Imagine my surprise when I re-read these books and ended up falling in love with them.

I mean, don’t get me wrong, it’s not a perfect story. It’s basically “Fear Street At College” which Stine already did with “College Weekend,” and Stine’s take on mental instability is… well, it is what it is. But I enjoyed it because I really liked the main characters, Hope and her roommates, and the setting. I’ve re-read these books so many times over the last few years they’re all scruffed up and worn. I practically refuse to put them back on my book shelves. I even got Stine to autograph them at that signing last year.

The story is split up in several parts and is one of those books where the narration shifts between different characters.

[Wing: I’ve never read these before, and am, of course, always leery of how Stine (and the other Point Horror and similar authors) handle mental illness, but I love a good horror at college story. Stine is setting the bar for the next book pretty high with his little introduction note, though.]

(more…)

Posted in Other Recaps

Recap #73: Silent Stalker by R. T. Cusick

cover of Silent Stalker by R T Cusick, shows a white girl on a floor in what looks like a cave, cowering away from a bunch of ratsTitle: Silent Stalker by R. T. Cusick

Summary: Trapped in a madman’s castle, a young girl must fight to save her sanity

Thunder bellows as Jenny and her father pull up to the gate of Worthington Hall. As they inch onto the grounds of the ancient estate, a disheveled young woman thrusts her head through the open window. “Leave!” she yells. “Before it’s too late! He’ll kill you. I swear.” Jenny is terrified, but her dad laughs it off. The girl is just an actress – part of the medieval fair being held on the castle grounds. But it’s not long before Jenny wishes they’d heeded the warning.

The house is a drafty maze of narrow hallways and dungeons. Jenny wants to flee, but her father is intent on the work he’s come to do. Soon the Worthington family sets upon young Jenny, playing twisted tricks on her until she forgets what’s real. The Worthingtons play cruel games – and if Jenny loses, it will mean her life.

Tagline: None

Initial Thoughts

WELL THIS IS OFF TO A GREAT START.

[Note from the future: While I don’t remember anything else about this book, and didn’t think I’d read it, the rat scene from the cover seems immensely familiar. Not sure if I saw something similar in another book, though.]

(more…)

Posted in Graveyard School recaps

Recap #72: The Skeleton on the Skateboard, A.K.A. “Wes Craven Presents Rocket Power”

cover of Skeleton on the Skateboard by Tom B. Stone, has a skeleton on a skateboard and a creepy black and gray backgroundTitle: The Skeleton On The Skateboard

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

Cover Artist: Barry Jackson

Summary: “Dead Man’s Curve Is Scary Enough…”

Who’s the new hot dog on Skateboard Hill? He’s the only thrasher who can take Dead Man’s Curve alive. Skate and Vickie are determined to meet him – he may be their only chance to beat obnoxious Eddie Hoover in the upcoming skateboarding contest. But if the phantom boarder gives the secret of his awesome moves, will Skate and Vickie have to take the ultimate wipeout in return?

Initial Thoughts

This book is just soooo 90s, but not in an obnoxious completely dated period piece kind of way. The Skeleton is by far the most prolific and noticeable monster of the Graveyard School series, by far the easiest to get a commission of, but the reveal is pretty much obvious during the climax when you remember what the goddamn title is. That said, you come for the Skeleton, you stay for Vickie Wheilson in all her tie-dye, headstrong, neon glory.

[Wing: This sounds like the under 16 version of drag racing, right down to the Dead Man’s Curve, and therefore I am predisposed to love it. That description of Vickie only cements the deal. As long as I don’t think too hard about the real author, I’m excited. Let’s do this!]

(more…)

Posted in Nightmare Hall recaps

Recap #71: Nightmare Hall #2: The Roommate by Diane Hoh/Nola Thacker

cover of The Roommate, with a girl standing in front of a window staring in horror at something offscreenTitle: Nightmare Hall #2: The Roommate

Summary: Four roommates share a suite in the Quad. Danni is beautiful and perfect, from her long blonde hair to her expensive clothes. Margot is mysterious – brutally honest or slyly secretive, depending on her mood. Lacey is a wild woman, who loves to party, party, party. And Maureen is quiet and painfully shy. But the girls are not all what they seem. And soon one of them may be…dead.

Tagline: None

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

Initial Thoughts

The first thing you have to be aware of is that this was NOT written by Diane Hoh. It is extremely obvious it’s a different writer. This was written by Nola Thacker. Nola Thacker also used the pseudonym D.E. Athkins in the Point Horror line. She delivered a total stinker (The Ripper aka The Cemetery), a pile of crap (Secret Santa), and a couple of okay ones (Sister Dearest, Mirror Mirror and The Bride).

[Wing: I thought I hated her work, but then I checked The Bride recap, and no, I actually loved the ending and enjoyed a lot of the ridiculousness. Actually, her short story “Blood Kiss” in 13 Tales of Horror was similar, not bad, but ridiculous.]

(more…)

Posted in Graveyard School recaps

Recap #70: Don’t Eat The Mystery Meat! by Tom B. Stone, A.K.A. “Nightmare Cafeteria II – Electric Boogaloo”

cover image for book has plate of spaghetti with eyeballs in it set against a dark background and the words Graveyard School Don't Eat the Mystery Meat!

Title: Don’t Eat The Mystery Meat!

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

Cover Artist: Barry Jackson

Summary: School lunch has always been gross, but lately it’s worse than ever. The salad is soggy; the spaghetti is rubbery. No one knows what the meatballs are made of! When pets start mysteriously disappearing around town, sixth-graders Stacey and Park think they’ve stumbled onto something. The new lunchroom attendant is awfully weird… What exactly has she been cooking up?

Initial Thoughts

This was the last book I needed to complete the set for Graveyard School. It felt weird, finally owning this book, which is why I probably took so long to finally read it. It blew away my expectations, though, not thinking it would go down the route it did.

As a head’s up, I recently discovered Todd Strasser was NOT the writer of this series. Instead, the creative genius belongs to Nola Thacker, who some of you might know as Point Horror authoress D.E. Athkins.

[Wing: I’m really intrigued by these author shenanigans, I must say.]

(more…)

Posted in General, Podcast

The Devil’s Elbow Patreon

image of patreon page

Well, it’s been quite a couple months, hasn’t it? Lots of changes around here, and all the guest recappers are killing it. Podcast episodes start up again in July. I’m grateful to all of you, readers and listeners and fans, for sticking with Devil’s Elbow during all this change. Y’all are the best.

One more new change for June: I’m pleased to launch our Patreon. For as little as $1 a month, you get access to an exclusive Patron-only feed, and the rewards just go up from there. (Bonus episodes! Bonus recaps! You can star in a Very Special Episode!)

Regular monthly recaps and podcast episodes will still be available for free, as always. But there will be Patron-only episodes and recaps, along with other rewards. I love what we do here, and I will keep doing it no matter what.

Patreon allows creators to connect with their community, and gives the community the chance to help produce the work. By supporting the Devil’s Elbow podcast on Patreon, you’ll help provide hosting, upgraded recording equipment, and, once we reach enough Patrons, payment for our hard-working recappers.

Thank you, again, for all your support.

Posted in Other Recaps

Recap #69: Up the Airy Mountain by Debra Doyle and James Macdonald

book cover for Up the Airy Mountain by Debra Doyle and James Macdonald, is a snowy woods scene with the title in white lettering on the blue sky and the authors' names in black lettering on the snowTitle: Up the Airy Mountain by Debra Doyle & James Macdonald (Bad Blood series) (podcast)

Summary: Valerie Sherwood is a werewolf. That doesn’t make her high school social life any easier. Good thing her boyfriend’s cool with it. But tonight she’s followed her nose into more trouble than she knows, and the question stops being can she save her friends and becomes can she save herself.

Tagline: None

Initial Thoughts

Considering we only just found these books about a year ago, my excitement over this additional short story is as extreme as if I’d been waiting for more for the past thirty years. I love Val and this series and this world so damn much, and I am thrilled to get to spend one more month recapping it.

(Val and friends have previously shown up in Bad Blood, Hunters’ Moon, and Judgment Night, all recapped earlier this year. )

(more…)

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

Recap #68: Friday the 13th (Uncut Deluxe Edition)

Cover of Friday the 13th the deluxe edition

Title: Friday the 13th – Uncut Deluxe Edition

Summary: RIP into a chilling new UNCUT DELUXE EDITION of Friday the 13th. With the addition of unrated footage, and insightful specials features, plunge deeper into the film that spawned eleven sequels and the genre’s unstoppable bad guy, Jason Voorhees. A new owner and several young counselors gather to reopen Camp Crystal Lake, where a young boy drowned and several vicious murders occurred years earlier. They’ve ignored the locals’ warnings that the place has a death curse… and one by one they find out how unlucky Friday the 13th can be as they are stalked by a violent killer. [Wing: They are really trying hard with that first sentence.]

Tagline: Fridays will never be the same again.

Note: The library didn’t have a copy of the DVD I was looking for but it did have the UNCUT version. Am I going to regret this? Probably.

Initial Thoughts

As a child born right smack at the beginning of the 80s, I have failed to see most of the classic 80s horror films that were big franchises while I was growing up. Has this kept me alive? As a “horror virgin”, I’d like to think so. [Wing: I’m grateful you are now risking death just to recap for us, Virgin.]

It’s difficult to tell people yes, I know you’re making a reference, but to what I don’t know. I know Jason is the killer dude in this series; I know Mike Meyers is in Halloween (which, ironically, I have seen the first and third installments of that series, but none of the rest or the reboots), and there was apparently a chainsaw massacre in Texas, but again I haven’t seen that, either.

Somehow I have seen three of the Child’s Play films. God, I hate Chucky.

Look, I love vampires and am generally desensitized to horror stuff, so it’ll be interesting to see not only how this film has aged but if it actually unsettles me in any shape or form.

That’s pretty damn hard for things to do at this point. (Event Horizon is, what, 20 years old but that one scared the shit out of me. And I don’t think I’ve watched it again since I saw it in 1997.) Pretty sure this recap is going to be 99% snark. I will try not to judge it too harshly on its age, as I know I’m viewing it 37 years after its release and a lot has changed in the horror genre since then. But I will be brutal when necessary.

I’m already pre-regretting settling for the “uncut” version of this, because I’ve had run-ins with “uncut” versions. Mostly good but some bad, and some scarred me for life. (True Romance uncut director’s version, I am looking at you. You fucked me up when I was 13.) Oh well, gotta work with what you’re given… or find at the library, I guess.

Oh, and what the hell do you mean there are ELEVEN MORE OF THESE? Shit. What have I gotten myself into…

(more…)

Posted in Nightmare Hall recaps

Recap #67: Nightmare Hall #1: The Silent Scream by Diane Hoh

Silent Scream book cover, shows a window into a dorm room with a girl's body on the floorTitle: Nightmare Hall #1: The Silent Scream

Summary: Jess is eager to start college – until she arrives at her off-campus dorm. She can see why everyone calls it Nightmare Hall. Especially when she learns the dark secrets hidden within the house. A girl named Giselle hanged herself there. In Jess’s room.  But was it really suicide? Or was Giselle murdered? Echoing through the house, Jess can still hear the sound of Giselle’s last scream….

Tagline: There isn’t one! The early Nightmare Hall books had one of those covers with a window, and you could open the front to see the bigger picture behind the window. Groovy! In the intervening 24 years, however, the window frames have broken off my copies! [Wing: The window covers remain some of my favorite covers of any book. It’s such a simple idea, and yet it charms me to no end. Only one of my cover windows broke, I think, but I’m always afraid the others will too.]

Notes: I will now refer to the bad guy as “Muffin Man” because of The Mall. Could still be either male or female, however. And heads up – I still remembered going into this who the killer was. [Wing: I don’t! This is awesome.]

Initial Thoughts

I have very fond memories of this series. I actually still remember reading this first entry, for the first time, back in 1993, at home on the weekend with the basketball on TV in the backgroud. Diane Hoh is also my favourite Point Horror author, so there are a lot of ticks in the plus box for this one. Strangely, it was one of only a few books actually set at Nightingale Hall – the rest just took place at Salem University. There were 29 books in all. Although all were credited to Hoh, she only wrote 22 of them – which is still a mighty effort!

[Wing: This was not my first Nightmare Hall, which means by the time I came back to it, I was shocked that it was actually set at Nightingale Hall. Most of the other books only reference it.]

(Podcast episode)

(more…)

Posted in Goosebumps Recaps

Recap #66: Still More Tales To Give You Goosebumps by R. L. Stine

Still More Tales to Give You Goosebumps by R. L. Stine

Title: Still More Tales To Give You Goosebumps

Summary: Will Charlie’s recipe for pumpkin juice cause him some hair-raising terror? Are Dave’s awesome ants biting off more than they can chew? Can Max’s Halloween wish turn him into an endangered species?

Notes: This is the 4th of the six short story collections from the original Goosebumps line, and the second where the stories are connected by a seasonal theme. The original printing included a bonus make-up kit to make your own vampire costume for Halloween, though surprisingly none of the stories involve real vampires.

Initial Thoughts

So my first Goosebumps recap for you lovely juvenile delinquents.

I actually have met R.L. Stine in real life, but just once. Last December he was doing a signing at “Books of Wonder” in Manhattan for his new book “Young Scrooge.” I took with me a few Goosebumps and Fear Street books for him to sign, as well as a copy of a Goosebumps art zine called “Monster Edition,” and a hardbound collection of some of the covers I worked on for “If It Were Stine.” Stine was super nice and I’m glad he didn’t have a problem signing the cover book, but it’s the weirdest thing. He doesn’t seem to have aged at all since the 90s. Remember he would do introductions for the Goosebumps TV show? Between then and now he looks exactly the same.

[Wing: BLACK MAGIC. BLOOD SACRIFICE. I love him so much. This is why we feud.]

Back in the 2000s I was lucky to find a copy of this collection, plus the one that came after it, at a tag sale a church in my neighborhood was holding. The second book still has a library slip inside I’ve kept as a bookmark, although the paper is practically faded by now. I’m a sucker for holiday-themed horror, especially Halloween and Christmas, and I was super happy to find a copy of this book because Amazon sellers tend to jack up the prices on old YA horror books. My favorite stories in this would have to be “The Scarecrow” and “Bats About Bats,” and I’ve previously written about “An Old Story” for a separate blog (I’ll get into the details later). I hope you all enjoy the following, and I hope to have more to show you all very soon. As an added bonus I’ll be including scans from my collection of Goosebumps-related commissions in these posts.

I’d like to dedicate this post and future posts to Jet Wolf, whose Sailor Moon liveblogs and commentary style inspired how I wrote these recaps. This is for you Jet.

(more…)

Posted in General

Jude’s Graveyard School Reunion

It’s easy to assume that due to the popularity of the Goosebumps franchise in the 1990s, it instigated a flood of similarly themed YA books about kids facing supernatural and not-so-supernatural horrors in their daily lives. Hell, even the Babysitter Club books did a horror-themed spin-off. Here are as many titles as I can think of:

Shivers, Spinetinglers, Strange Matter, Spooksville (Christopher Pike’s Goosebumps!), Ghosts of Fear Street (Goosebumps on Fear Street), Choose Your Own Nightmare, American Chillers, Fright Time, Spinechillers (the Christian Goosebumps), Deadtime Stories (Nickelodeon did adaptations of these a couple of years ago), Bone Chillers (this one got a TV show in the 90s), and numerous other titles. Not to mention the vast number of standalone novels published by Apple and Scholastic like “The Dollhouse Murders” and “The Ghost That Came Alive,” although many of those books were originally published long before Goosebumps was a thing.

What set some of these books apart is their subject matter could get surprisingly darker and more mature than you’d think. “The Dollhouse Murders” involved a girl’s strained relationship with her autistic sister. “Shivers” included deliberate talks about child abuse and racism, and one book even went into detail about the Nazi Holocaust. Another thing which set these stories apart is it was more likely to read about kids who felt and acted like real kids. In “Goosebumps” it was increasingly standard to have main characters surrounded by shoddy and untrustworthy friends scheming against them for petty reasons, alongside abusive parents and siblings making their lives difficult for laughs. In these books, it was more likely to read about kids who, while they could be assholes from time to time, weren’t actively trying to sabotage each other and acted like, dare I say, real friends?

Graveyard School was one of those titles, published around 1994 up until 1998 with 28 entries. Written by “Tom B. Stone,” which may or may not be a pen name for Todd Strasser, I’m not sure. The Graveyard School series was one of those rare series that had a single cast of characters instead of interchangeable one-shot protagonists. There was no ongoing/overreaching plot to the 28 books, but there were a few themes which connected the books as well as a tendency to reference past incidents. Each book also came with a small activities section in the back, usually a word puzzle or tips for party planning or science experiments.

The books go as follows

  1. Don’t Eat The Mystery Meat!
  2. The Skeleton on the Skateboard
  3. The Headless Bicycle Rider
  4. Little Pet Werewolf
  5. Revenge of the Dinosaurs
  6. Camp Dracula
  7. Slime Lake
  8. Let’s Scare The Teacher To Death
  9. The Abominable Snow Monster
  10. There’s A Ghost In The Boy’s Bathroom
  11. April Ghouls Day
  12. Scream, Team!
  13. Tales Too Scary To Tell At Camp
  14. The Tragic School Bus
  15. The Fright Before Christmas
  16. Don’t Tell Mummy
  17. Jack and the Beanstalker
  18. The Dead Sox
  19. The Gator Ate Her
  20. Creature Teacher
  21. The Skeleton’s Revenge
  22. Boo Year’s Eve
  23. The Easter Egg Haunt
  24. Scream Around The Campfire
  25. Escape From Vampire Park
  26. Little School Of Horrors
  27. Here Comes Santa Claws
  28. The Spider Beside Her

How I Learned Of This Series: During one of the book fairs my elementary school regularly held, I purchased a copy of “There’s A Ghost In The Boy’s Bathroom” because it was the only book that captured my interest. That was most likely 1998 or 1999. Then in early 2004 I looked up the series on the “Fantastic Fiction” website and found out about the other 27 books. I recall it was February, and around this same time my sibling and I just purchased the Revolutionary Girl Utena movie on video. Listening to the movie’s soundtrack still makes me recall the feelings from that day.

It wasn’t until September of that year when I bought a bulk listing off eBay containing most of the series, alongside a separate purchase of “Boo’s Year Eve.” I then slowly acquired every book I was missing until I finally completed the set.

While these aren’t exactly “obscure” obscure, almost no one ever talks about these books. I personally created both the Wikipedia page and the TV Tropes page for “Graveyard School” because I got sick of waiting for someone else to do it first.

The Problem: The kids of Grove Hill pray and hope they will live to see their elementary school graduation. Why? Because Grove Hill Elementary was built adjacent to an abandoned graveyard, but though it’s abandoned, its influence lives on in more than just the nickname “Graveyard School.” Graveyard School is the setting to many life threatening situations, and employs a number of odd and downright terrifying educational figures. The parents, teenagers, and adults of Grove Hill are either blissfully unaware or living in denial that something is deeply, terribly wrong with the school and the town, so the kids have to rely on their wits and make it through the days until middle school by themselves. Mainly, it’s the sixth grade class who deal with more than they deserve, since they’re just on the cusp of getting out of Graveyard School for good.

The Horror: Graveyard Hill is mainly believed to be the source of the weirdness Grove Hill’s seeped in. The kids all know this, but are more focused on trying to stay alive until graduation. There’s even talk of a grave which glows in the dark upon Graveyard Hill, but no one’s been able to find it.

The Teachers: The head of Graveyard School is the intimidating and inhuman principal, Dr. Morthouse. A woman of few words and possibly a silver fang in her mouth (students frequently catch glimpse of the fabled fang, but don’t know if it’s real or not) Dr. Morthouse keeps order with a steely gaze and can make the first graders cry without trying. She might not even have a first name. Below her is the oily and saccharine Vice Principal Hannibal Lucre, a man of poor fashion sense and desperation. Legendary for the solitary strand of hair combed across his gleaming bald spot, his brown suits and bow ties, and the damp noise his hands make when he rubs them together, Mr. Lucre frequently tries to remind the students that he is their friend. Manning the front office is the indignant and grumpy Mr. Kinderbane, who’ll insist (when out of earshot of Dr. Morthouse) that he has a school to run. The good doctor frequently puts Kinderbane in his place like an unruly dog. The only person more intimidating than Dr. Morthouse is the janitor, Mr. Bartholomew, a.k.a. “Basement Bart.” Dressed in army fatigues and sunglasses, Basement Bart can pop out of thin air whenever a fight breaks out or a mess is made. It’s believed he may actually live in the school basement, which is practically an underground labyrinth. The school lunches are considered disgusting by the kids, but eat them anyway because bringing lunch from home is considered babyish. The only named cafeteria worker to feature into the plot of a book was Ms. Stoker in the first entry. Her dishes included “Cannibal Stew.” Make of that what you will.

[Wing: KINDERBANE. A principal who might have a silver fang. I love this series already.]

The teachers fluctuate from book to book. The two most human teachers are Ms. Camp, an English teacher who tends to be disorganized, and Ms. Beamer, the art teacher known for wearing lots of bracelets and bell-shaped earrings. Beyond them, the teaching staff is made up of bullies and borderline sadists (with names like Mrs. Beak, Mr. Melon, Mr. Weazell, Ms. Manidble, Mrs. Storch, Mrs. Dedd, etc.) who vary from being assholes to possible monsters. Whether or not they’re human or just jerks is up for debate.

As far as the rest of the staff goes, Morthouse and the others aren’t actively trying to murder and terrorize the kids (well, terrorize them THAT much). So long as nobody’s misbehaving or going out of their way to antagonize the staff, Morthouse leaves them alone. Her reoccurring presence brings about anxiety of survival-based fear from the students, but if she went too far over the line the parents might finally suspect something’s off. She’s admittedly at her most blatantly evil in “Creature Teacher,” after discovering the kind substitute teacher Ms. King has the gall to allow laughter in her classroom.

The Kids: Stone, Strasser, or whatever his name is, focused on a single cast of kids with rotating protagonists throughout the 28 books. Only a handful of kids would star in one book and never appear again, while the rest would have starring roles or get to be supporting or background characters in every other entry.

Park Addams, Stacey Carter, and Polly Hannah are the three most consistently occurring characters in the series, but you couldn’t call them the main characters since there is no main story.

Park is the class’s baseball enthusiast, Stacey runs a small dog walking business after school, and Polly’s the girl everyone can’t stand. Park and Stacey were the main characters of the first book in the series. After that they fluctuate from entry to entry as either main, supporting, or background character. Polly has never been a main character, but nevertheless appears in practically every book. The closest she’s come to having a substantial role was in the eighth book.

For as much as Park is a baseball nut, he’s also a good sport and an excellent team player. He’s often the one to team up with the protagonists in the other books. Stacey’s a devoted animal lover and has a pet bull dog named Morris she cares for very deeply. Stacey has good business sense and she often wears her hair in a sleek French braid.

Polly is… well, she’s the Libby. The Alpha Bitch. But no one likes her, which is fine with her because she doesn’t like anyone else. Her outfits are all painfully coordinated (she wears ironed jeans when she’s not wearing dresses) in shades of pale blue, pink, and butter yellow, creating the image of a demented Barbie Doll by how rigid she is. Polly’s the token class suck-up, even with teachers as terrifying as Dr. Morthouse (but even Polly has her limits). Of course, some of the teachers are well aware of how nasty Polly is and don’t like her as well. No creativity or imagination, her classmates wonder if Polly is even human. Yet she still hangs out with them, so she comes across more like the neighborhood jerk similar to Roger Klotz. She’s nasty, but ultimately harmless.

As much as I’d want to go into detail about all the kids, it’d save time to discuss the ones with the most discernible personalities:

  • Jaws Bennett: The kid who will eat anything, even roadkill. While the narration will describe Jaws’ first appearance in the books as either big or round, he’s never outright referred to as chubby or fat. Likewise, the source of humor in his roles doesn’t come from him being “The Fat Kid,” but instead “The Kid Who’ll Eat Anything.” He’s the only one who enjoys the rancid school lunches.
  • Maria Medina: Stacey’s best friend, a dark-skinned girl with spiky black bangs. Enjoys rollerblading and collecting oversized rugby shirts, which she wears every day. Is on the school soccer team. Stacey and Maria are rarely seen apart at school and the two are incredibly loyal to each other. She’s probably the one kid who dislikes Polly the most out of everyone else.
  • Algernon “Algie” Green: The new kid in class, Algie immediately stands out not just for his name, but his short stature, glasses, and the small ponytail at the nape of his neck. Algie delivers papers and has good money sense like Stacey. He’s on the soccer and baseball teams, but is more into baseball. When he first transferred to Graveyard School, he was bullied by class douchebag Jason Duunbar until he helped Kirstin Bjork beat Jason for class president.
  • Skate McGraw: Skateboard nut #1. Real name Ryan. A boy of few words. He prides himself on taking care of and respecting his boards. Can be very stubborn at times, and hopes to one day get skateboarding turned into an Olympic sport. His cousin is…
  • Vickie Wheilson: One of my favorites. Skateboard nut #2. Vickie’s the most vivid character in the series, because the narration always describes her insane clothes. Vickie often dresses like she got in a fight with a Crayola box and won. Typically wears oversized sweaters in shades of purple and orange, with Day Glo high-top sneakers. Rides a neon colored skateboard, and her spiky red-orange hair resembles an exploded dandelion (Because it was the 90s, you see!). She acts without thinking, and once got Skate involved in a contest with follow-up douchebag and Skateboard nut #3, Eddie Hover. However, Vickie sticks by Skate because she knows she got him into this mess, and basically stopped Skate from selling his soul to beat Eddie.
  • Jordie Flanders: My other favorite of the main cast. The smartest girl in the sixth grade, earning her the nickname “The Human Computer.” She’s very articulate and verbose, speaking rather formally and analytically, like she’s solving an equation, but not all the time. She can be very sarcastic and deadpan, with a slightly twisted sense of humor. She’s not a teacher’s pet, but she’s got no time or respect for teachers who suck at their job because she cares about learning.
  • Kirstin Bjork: Sixth grade class president and captain of the soccer team. Has zero patience for Jason Duunbar’s bullying machismo, and beat him for class president because she was sick of him threatening people for their votes.
  • Marc and Terri Foster: The token twins of the class. Marc’s the serious, introspective twin to Terri’s energetic, outgoing twin. Marc often wonders which of them is the Evil Twin, Marc because he’s so dour, or Terri because she’s so gosh darn chipper even in the face of mortal danger. Of course, because Terri’s so nice, she has a much easier time getting people to answer her questions.
  • David Pike: The science kid, but not as overtly smart as Jordie Flanders. His brother Richie is a dino-fanatic.
  • Tyson Walker: Is to soccer what Park is to baseball. Thinks on his feet and is also a good sport, and expresses open disgust at parents who only give a shit about their kids winning games. Is only ever described as having short dreads for hair.
  • Jason Duunbar: The literal worst besides Polly Hannah, and not in an entertaining way. A stereotypical meathead bully who threatens people to get what he wants, can and will resort to physical violence, and teases kids for having “girlfriends” or “boyfriends.” Thankfully gets knocked down a few pegs.
  • Eddie Hoover: Is to Skate and Vickie what Jason is to Algie and Kirstin. Eddie’s a real meathead, a skateboarder who practically destroys every board he owns. His family’s implied to be rich, which is how he can keep affording new boards. He’s followed around by his lackey Roy Carnes, who seems to worship the ground Eddie skates on.
  • Ken Dahl: Pretty much the one thing Ken has going for him is that he’s the stupidest kid in class.
  • Christopher Hampton: The class financial wiz. He’s got every penny he’s earned since he was in kindergarten, and unsurprisingly he’s the Scrooge stand-in for the Christmas Carol knockoff.
  • Kyle Chilton: Only appeared in two books, but has enough of a distinct personality. Can be stubborn and single minded in whatever he puts his energy towards, which may not always be a good thing. But regardless of the circumstances, he will NOT go down without a fight.
  • Bentley Jeste: The class clown and king of practical jokes. Will wage all out war on teachers (except Dr. Morthouse, obviously), but has enough of a conscience to extend mercy to teachers who don’t deserve it (even if he doesn’t like them). That said, he knows perfectly well nobody trusts him, but his skepticism may have helped him develop the ability to read people’s personalities and recognize truly aberrant behavioral shifts.
  • Skip Wolfson: His parents run a pet supply store, and he has a weird little brother. One of the few bits of consistent continuity says his family moved to a farmhouse outside of town after the fourteenth book. Suffers from severe trochophobia (fear of buses).
  • Blue Russell: The second new kid. Other than his name, there’s nothing unusual about Blue, which is why he doesn’t understand why he was put in Mrs. Storch’s homeroom. The kids aren’t that bad, but they seem to share a big secret. A big, monstrous secret.
  • Mel West: The artistic kid, but a bit pretentious. Ask him to draw a bowl of fruit and he’ll sketch out what the fruit makes him feel like on the inside. He’s practicing drawing with his left hand, and Ms. Beamer will give thoughtful critics of his work as if he were an adult.
  • Ari Spinner: Ah yes, the mysterious Miss Spinner. No one knows who she is or where she comes from. The teachers don’t scare her in the slightest. She has no friends, but she’s not hated like Polly is. Ari has no interest in her fellow human beings, unless they suddenly grew six extra legs, could spin webs, and suck out organs through their mouths. You guessed it, she’s an arachnophile.

So the books go out of their way to establish the kids all have different interests and goals in their lives beyond surviving the sixth grade. Some of the one-shot protagonists don’t have much in way of personalities and are there simply to keep the story going. The narration doesn’t try to dumb things down for the readers by having the kids act really stupid or too “kiddie” kiddie, but while they aren’t miniature adults, the kids do have a better sense of the world than the protagonists of a Goosebumps book.

For starters, they’re more prone to confronting whatever horror is bedeviling them instead of just falling into it. This is especially true if other people’s lives are at stake. It’s true they aren’t going out of their way to solve the mystery of Graveyard Hill and Dr. Morthouse, but if it’s an immediate threat they’ll do what they can. Hey, they’re not trying to be heroes. For that matter, they’re also not trying to be saints. They may not be sadistic little brats, but that doesn’t mean they’re exempt from acting like dicks to each other from time to time. That just makes them believable, because who here hasn’t given their friends a hard time at some point in their lives?

In “The Fright Before Christmas” and “Here Comes Santa Claws” none of them are eagerly hoping to get lots of gifts for Christmas, and it’s implied that’s more a phase they go through when they’re younger. Park expresses disgust at how the stores and TV commercials always try to get you to spend more money on useless junk you don’t need, recalling a past experience with a toy he really wanted that broke the second he played with it. When they call out Christopher Hampton on his Scrooge-like attitude around Christmas, he points out many people don’t celebrate the holiday. The kids say that’s not the point, acknowledging that all cultures and religions have at least one holiday or celebration. Their problem isn’t that he’s against celebrating Christmas, but that his miserable attitude is ruining the fun for everyone else.

There’s an ongoing trend throughout the books about environmentalism, but not in an extreme “Captain Planet” sort of the way. The kids are just responsible enough to not throw their trash around wherever they feel like. This is most prominent in “Revenge of the Dinosaurs” and “Slime Lake.” “Slime Lake” especially has the kids (except Polly Hannah) disgusted at what a businessman is doing to the aforementioned lake and surrounding wildlife, preparing to dredge the lake and demolish the nearby swamp to build a resort and condos. Stacey expresses concern about what damaging the swamp would do to the local wildlife, and overall the kids are turned off by how commercialized and gaudy the lake’s new recreational area is.

They aren’t glory hogs when it comes to sports. I’ve explained that Park and Tyson are good sports and team players, but the books mention that trying to outdo everyone else on your team regardless of what the game is should not be considered a healthy attitude. In “Scream Team,” the Grove Hill soccer team frequently beats the Belville Academy team because the Belville kids are incapable of playing together without trying to individually steal the spotlight. They have no teamwork, no sense of grace when it comes to losing, and their parents are even worse. Every other soccer and baseball team that appears besides the Grove Hill and Belville teams are able to work together and act respectful in the face of losing.

What makes all these themes work is that the books don’t repeatedly beat you over the head with them. Add all these together, and it’s like they’re trying to make it clear that kids aren’t stupid.

The Books Themselves: The books aren’t terribly long, and most could be finished within at least a couple of hours. Some aren’t even a 100 pages long. There are:

  • 7 books that take place during the summer
  • 2 at summer camps
  • 2 fairy tale based books
  • 2 sequel books
  • 2 during Christmas
  • 1 during New Year’s Eve
  • 1 during Halloween
  • 1 during Thanksgiving
  • 1 during Easter
  • 1 during April Fool’s
  • 1 anthology book

The summer books can be kind of tricky to figuring out a timeline for events, because it can be hard to determine if they take place before or after the kids finished the sixth grade. Even when the books explicitly mention stuff that happened during the school year it still feels like the kids will be heading back to Graveyard School even though they should’ve graduated by now.

The stories are mainly supernatural, with only one full book featuring aliens in the plot. The extent of the horror goes beyond just Graveyard School, because even if the kids are on vacation the weirdness will eventually follow them. You’ve got ghosts, werewolves, vampires, and monsters, but you’ve also got:

  • Stoker, the aforementioned psychotic lunch lady.
  • The Skeleton on the Skateboard
  • The Headless Bicycle Rider
  • Dinosaur figurines that grow and come to life [Wing: I AM SO EXCITED! #dinosaursdudesdinosaurs]
  • The monster underneath Slime Lake
  • A soccer coach using what can only be called “zombie juice” to turn his team into an army of unstoppable juggernauts
  • A huge ghost alligator
  • A ravenous Easter bunny hatched from a literal Easter egg
  • An evil Santa with a buzz cut and claws, whose sleigh is pulled by GIANT, TALKING RATS
  • A spider that grants wishes by biting people

The prose and tone of the novels doesn’t go into quite vivid detail about the horrors that plague the kids. There’s an air of mystery as some events are left to the reader’s imaginations, sequences that leave you wondering if they really did see something strange or if it was imagined. Not every haunting is given a total explanation when it ends, but since the kids want to put it behind them they’re not complaining.

Only a couple of books have characters who more or less act like douchebags, but in those situations it reads more like the equivalent of going to a car show just to see the cars crash. You know it’ll happen and you hope it’ll be spectacular. “Let’s Scare The Teacher To Death” is one where both sides of the conflict give as good as they get, but it’s hard to figure out which side you should root for.

The first ten books or so sometimes end on a note where the main character will turn out to be more deeply connected to whatever strange event they endured than we were led to believe. And thankfully the books avoid insane, contradictory twist endings like were prominent in the Goosebumps books, but there are a few twists here and there.

I’d love to suggest you guys try to find some of these to read them yourselves, but unfortunately some are either hard to find or you can find them on Amazon and eBay at rather ridiculous prices. I think someone’s trying to get a thousand bucks for “Little School of Horrors.” I was lucky to find them while they were cheap, so I’ve decided, alongside the Goosebumps recaps I’d like to start doing recaps for all y’all.

Ah, me. They broke the mold.

Oh, and a little fun fact. The covers of the latter half of the series were all done by Mark Nagata. He’s the guy who did the cover art for the first half of the “Give Yourself Goosebumps” series (well Tim Jacobus did the actual first). You can find some of the original cover artwork on his website, facebook, and tumblr pages.

[Wing: I’ve never read the books, and haven’t been able to get my hands on them yet, so I’m very excited to read these recaps!]

Posted in General

Announcement: New Guest Recapper Donna

I bring you another guest recapper. Donna will be tackling L.J. Smith and similar books once a month. You can find more about her and her writing on her website: http://www.imaginewrite.net/.

I’m thrilled with all the guest recappers, and I can’t wait to share their work with you. Y’all are going to love this.

Posted in Point Horror Recaps

Recap #65: The Hitchhiker by R. L. Stine

The Hitchhiker by R L Stine book cover, right hand with thumb raised up in front of two headlightsTitle: The Hitchhiker by R. L. Stine 

Summary: He wants a ride. She wants a thrill. So, in spite of her best friend’s arguments, Christina stops to pick up the handsome hitchhiker. He’s everything she thought he’d be. And more. Much, much, more. Enough to thrill Christina and Terri… to death.

Tagline: Don’t stop now

Note: As Dove requested, I’ve updated my template, because we now apparently call the Bad Guys Muffin Man. Hey, it makes as much sense as most Point Horrors.

Initial Thoughts

I don’t remember ever reading this one before, but I love road trips and road horror and hate the torture porn that now comes with this type of story. We’ll see where Stine falls in that spectrum. I don’t have high hopes, considering our feud.

(Here’s the podcast episode for this book.)

(more…)