Before we begin, I would just like to announce that, for the first time in Point Horror’s history, this article has been brought to you by SCREAM-O-VISION.
A byproduct of Holland’s vast tulip industry, Scream-O-Vision heightens your reading pleasure by informing you when to scream. Example:
As some of you might’ve figured by now I enjoy making lists, and I’m especially fond of looking up Top 10 lists of favorite episodes or favorite characters. While I normally do this for Halloween Extravaganza, I figured global and national circumstances called for a change of pace.
We all know once in a while, TV shows and cartoons might do a scary episode (not counting Halloween specials). They might be a paranormal episode such as exploring the local haunted house, a camping episode where the characters get freaked out by an urban legend, a miscommunication episode where one character assumes the other’s a monster or serial killer, or one where the child characters get scared by a horror movie and assume the bad guy’s real.
Below I’ll be listing off and discussing the scary episodes of 90s TV shows I grew up watching as a kid and teenager. Specifically, these are episodes that either aired during the 90s or aired as part of TV shows that first began during the 90s. Halloween episodes I’ll save for a separate occasion. And this isn’t me saying what are and aren’t the definitively best scary episodes of all time, just ones I’m particularly fond of.
Now, I’ve realized I should try to do this as a regular thing because I’m gonna suddenly remember some episode I didn’t think to add or couldn’t find any images or screencaps. After this first one, let’s see how many more I can work on.
[JC: I’m about a decade older than Jude, so we experienced the 90s very differently. The majority of the animated series in this list weren’t on my radar during their original runs. Is that going to stop me from commenting? LOL NAH]
[Wing: I was a teenager for a solid chunk of the 90s.]
Title: Goosebumps #4 – Say Cheese And Die!, a.k.a. “Greg Banks Won’t Eat His Cereal”
Author: R.L. Stine
Cover Artist: Tim Jacobus
Tagline: One picture is worth a thousand screams.
Summary: Every Picture Tells A Story.
Greg thinks there is something wrong with the old camera he and his friends found. The photographs keep turning out wrong. Very wrong. Like the snapshot Greg took of his father’s new car that shows it totaled. And then Greg’s father is in a nasty wreck.
But Greg’s friends don’t believe him. Shari even makes Greg bring the camera to her birthday party and take her picture.
Only Shari’s not in the photograph when it develops.
Is Shari about to be taken out of the picture permanently?
Who is going to take the next fall for…
the evil camera?
It’s time again for another of my childhood faves, and it’s one of the first Goosebumps books I ever bought with my own money.
“Say Cheese And Die!” is one of the original ten, and it’s one of the most well remembered due to Tim Jacobus’ striking cover artwork. I used to own a t-shirt with that image when I was a kid. Apparently, R.L. Stine had to go back and include a sequence in this book based on the cover after it was finished.
Summary: Thirty spine-chilling stories from around the world provide plenty of shivers in this spooky collection. Curl up with old friends like Washington Irving’s “Guests from Gibbet Island” or Charles Dickens’s “Chips.” Or make the acquaintance of “The Skull That Spoke” and “The Monster of Baylock” – but beware of spectral visitors like “The Blood Drawing Ghost.” This exciting mixture of classic and contemporary tales from Mexico, China, Poland, Nigeria, and other lands near and far is perfect for hair-raising reading!
Okay so I skipped the second book, sue me!
Ever since the pandemic started and shit’s been going on, my focus on the recaps and my writing’s been all over the place. I discussed it with Wing and maybe my first book theme would be better suited for 2021. I’m having an easier time putting my energy into discussing my faves over following a theme.
Now keep in mind I do intend to recap the second Short & Shivery collection as well, but I went for the third collection because I’m really fond of Jacqueline Roberts’s art AND I’ll get to discuss a short story I’ve been dying to review.
Instead of splitting the recaps into three parts with ten short stories each, I’ve decided to break it down further into six parts with five stories each. Less for me and Wing to take care, and at least one for each month.
[Wing: I love story collections, but there’s always the potential in collections like this for the stories to spin toward racism and/or culture appropriation.]
Title: Friday the 13th Part VII: The New Blood (1988)
Summary: Tina just wants a “normal” life but when she returns to the scene of a horrific loss, she learns that “normal” is subjective. Oh, and Jason comes back. Again.
Tagline:Jason is back, but this time someone’s waiting! (Well, that sounds ominous…)
Notes: Yeah, this took forever. Sorry. A world-wide pandemic struck, I suffered the loss of my grandmother, there was a trip to Anaheim in there, two trips to visit family in another state (not all in that order), and – just generally – I was sorely unprepared to deal with a film that poorly handles mental health issues.
Hi-ho, Virgin here, back for ROUND SEVEN with my ultimate continually reanimated nemesis, Jason Voorhees! That’s right, it’s time for Let’s Do It! A Virgin Does Horror!
It’s like 4 months into 2019 now it’s now 5 months into 2020, meaning I sort of missed posting this on schedule (like… I’m way off the schedule at this point, oops) but life gets in the way sometimes and I was in no shape to sit through, let alone recap, another Jason & Friends adventure. Things are back to “normal” (not sure that’s the word that describes things around here but whatever) so here I am, tackling the seventh film installment of this SERIES THAT WON’T DIE.
Obviously I know there is an end in sight; I only have five films after this one. Just five!Only five. God help me, five more of these nightmares, and technically one is a crossover and the other is a reboot. Help. [Wing: You’ve got this! Five is nothing. You’ve done way more than five already. I believe in you!]
This film dropped into theaters on May 13th, 1988. I may have gone and found the trailer on YT, because for some reason I could hear, in my head, the voice over narrator saying “the new blood”. My audio memories were pretty close. I didn’t watch the trailer, I just skipped ahead. Believe me, for all the awful stuff I’ve heard about this entry, I don’t want to spoil my misery!
ANYWAY. Although I was much more aware of films in general at this point (I would have turned 7 roughly a week ahead of this film’s release) I can’t tell you why I remember that tagline. I would say it was probably played on television, I probably heard it and desperately tried to ignore it (I was a horror wuss at that time in my life) but I could also be imagining it.
Glancing at the wiki article, it seems as though this was originally intended to be the crossover with Nightmare on Elm Street but negotiations fell through and the meet cute between Jason and Freddie did not happen for another fifteen years. Huh. Part of me still wonders if I need to stop and start watching THAT franchise between I get to the crossover film. Hm. Wing, thoughts?
Yeah, I have never seen Nightmare on Elm Street. (Or Texas Chainsaw Massacre. Or Hellraiser. It would be easier to write a list of what I have seen, tbh.) I wasn’t kidding when I said I’m a horror virgin.
I love that the working title during filming was “Birthday Bash”. Now that’s a movie I wish I was watching. At least it’s a lot more interesting in my imagination then I’m sure this will be. Okay, let’s just get on with this before my pessimism ruins the fun.
Let’s Do It, Jason! (You have failed to come and save me from all this, Kevin Bacon, damn it! Some great American hero you are! STAR-LORD LIED!!)
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.
Tagline: [Dove: Sorry guys, I literally can’t find one. JC?] [JC: All I could find was “Be afraid. Be effing afraid.” Which is pretty effing pathetic, if you ask me.]
Summary: After her mother’s mysterious death, Nica begins to suspect that the talking, red-haired doll her visiting niece has been playing with may be the key to recent bloodshed and chaos.
After the disappointment of Seed (JC, you ok, hun? [JC: Okay about what? There’s just a big blank spot where my memory of that recap should be. Thanks for protecting me, brain!]) I put off watching this. I was so pissed off. I didn’t even read about it. I didn’t believe people who said “Chucky has gone back to his roots.” And, retrospectively, I was right. The Lakeshore Strangler’s roots would be strangulation, which is still absent.
But when I finally did, I was delighted. And had I known what a delight Fiona Dourif was, I’d have watched a lot sooner. (If you don’t love her as Bart in Dirk Gently, I think you’re probably broken. Though I get it if you can’t bring yourself to watch something created by Max Landis.) [JC: That’s not a thing I’ve seen. My introduction to Fiona was on True Blood. I knew she was in it, I had no idea what she looked like, but as soon as I saw her, I was immediately like, “yup, that’s gotta be her.” She looks just like her dad. But while I’m not sure whether or not we would call Brad conventionally attractive (I personally find him attractive, but I gravitate toward people with an interesting look as opposed to your more blandly pretty movie star types), Fiona is fucking gorgeous, and a total badass in this movie. I honestly think she was one of the girl crushes that helped me realize my bi-ness.] [Dove: I would say that he was… *thinks* maybe “delicately beautiful” in Cuckoo’s Nest, and since then has been variations of attractive since then – but you’re right, he has a more interesting look than classically handsome. And Fiona is the same. She’s oddly appealing as Bart, a woman who hasn’t washed or brushed her hair for years and is most often covered in blood. And she’s delightful as Nica too.]
I have only seen this and Cult once, both of them were watched back-to-back, so I remember very little about either of them.
Title: Goosebumps #1 – “Welcome to Dead House” a.k.a. “They’re Coming To Get You, Amanda!”
Author: R.L. Stine
Cover Artist: Tim Jacobus
Tagline: It will just kill you.
Summary: Look Alive!
Amanda and Josh think they old house they have just moved into is weird. Spooky. Possibly haunted. And the town of Dark Falls is pretty strange, too.
But their parents don’t believe them. You’ll get used to it, they say. Go out and make some new friends.
So Amanda and Josh do. But these new friends are not exactly what their parents had in mind.
Because they want to be friends…
This is one recap I definitely have the energy for, because this is where it all began. The very first Goosebumps book by R.L. Stine, commissioned back when Scholastic didn’t believe the series would sell enough. Boy were they wrong! [Wing: Stine did an excellent job of creating stories people love even now and reaching kids with horror, and I love that, no matter how strong our feud.]
As the beginning of the franchise, “Welcome to Dead House” gives us a look at how Stine originally established many of the tropes he’s run into the ground over the last three decades, but before he exaggerated the shit out of them. Our main character and narrator, Amanda Benson, is a girl dealing with her bratty brother Josh and her parents not believing them about the weird shit going on in their new home.
Title: Fear Street #44 – The Rich Girl, a.k.a. “Capitalism Stinks!”
Author: R.L. Stine
Cover Artist: Bill Schmidt
Tagline: Would you kill to be rich?
Summary: Whom can you trust?
Emma Naylor and her best friend Sydney Shue always share their secrets. And now they have a big one. They found a duffel bag stuffed with money.
They swore never to tell anyone. But Sydney broke her promise. She told her boyfriend, Jason, about the money.
Now Emma is terrified. She doesn’t trust Jason – and she thinks he would do anything to get the money for himself. Even kill…
It’s finally spring, which means it’s time to think green. And what could be greener than money!
Money, the root of all evil and the root of this later entry Fear Street book. “The Rich Girl” was one of the earliest Fear Street books I can remember purchasing and a point of small interest for me over the years. As of this recap, it’s the first time I’ve re-read the book from beginning to end since middle school.
Despite what the summary says, Emma’s best friend Sydney is technically the main character since most of the action is happening from her point-of-view. The implications of this book are definitely rather uncomfortable to think about and there’s a lot of ableism going on near the end. Sorry, Wing.
[Wing: Eh, I’m never surprised by that around here. Also, no matter how many times I see that tagline, I first read it as “Would it kill you to be rich?”]
When first-year student Parrie Moore meets the other girls at a party, joining them in their harmless game of Truth or Dare sounds like fun.
And at first it is. The dares are silly pranks that make them all laugh.
But gradually the dares become stranger, more dangerous. The game is taking on a life of its own.
Parrie is frightened. But it’s only a game . . . or is it?
*Note: That ^ is not the cover I remember, and I hate it. THIS is the cover I had as a kid, with the see-through window that opened to another part of the picture, although by this point they might have been one solid cover. Much more nostalgic.
Well, first things first, we have a Thacker! *sarcastic jazz hands* That means I’m not holding this to the same standard I would were it actually Hoh writing. I generally find Thacker’s writing to range from “meh” to “I’m going to build a time machine to go back and punch you in the throat as you’re writing this.”
I like the premise, even though it’s not one I’m a total sucker for; it reminds me of a writing prompt I saw on reddit and am actually currently writing a story based on. So, I hope there’s nothing in this book that I accidentally plagiarize for my own. Anyway, there are a lot of “truth or dare gone wrong” stories out there, even in current day, and this one doesn’t stand out at all. Unfortunately.
Regardless if this one is good or bad, I’m happy Wing welcomed me into the Nightmare Hall recapping fold. I remember loving these books, although after reading the recaps of them here, so far I’m questioning my teenage judgment. I doubt this is going to be the book that makes me gasp, “My God, they are as good as I remember!”
[Wing: I had the window covers, too, and I loved them so damn much. And many thanks to JC for stepping in when I couldn’t get my hands on a copy of this one. More JC recaps is always a good thing!]
Title: Black Orchid #14 – “Glamour’s End” a.k.a. “Annis Get Your Gun!”
Writer: Dick Foreman
Penciller: Rebecca Guay
Inker: Stan Woch
Colorist: Digital Chameleon
Letterer: Clem Robbins
Editor: Lou Stathis
Assistant Editor: Alex Alonso
Cover Artist: Dave McKean
Summary: In England, Black Orchid encounters a formidable foe who ensares her with a powerful “glamour” spell.
So it feels like I’ve been on creative burnout for I don’t know how long and I’m freaking sick of it. It took me forever to finish a couple of other non-Point Horror related projects, and with this ear infection thing I’ve been dealing with I haven’t had any energy to do anything. I think I’m having a depressive episode and have to get in touch with my therapist.
I’m starting to believe my problem is I’m still expecting too much of myself with this website and am forcing obligation on myself to have stuff prepared for holidays and shit, even if I don’t have the energy or particularly care about a certain book.
That out of the way, I found it’s been easier to focus on minor stuff so I’m doing a recap of one of my favorite issues from one of my favorite titles about one of my favorite heroines.
Title: Nightmare Hall 16: Book of Horrors by Diane Hoh
Summary: Horror book author Victoria McCoy, the new Salem writer-in-residence, knows how to make horror come to life. So Reed is thrilled when McCoy hires her as her new assistant…until she finds out that McCoy’s previous assistants have all disappeared.
Then frightening things start happening to Reed…things straight out of McCoy’s famous horror books.
And McCoy’s next tale of terror has an ending worse than Reed’s worst nightmares.
Apparently Kindle Unlimited doesn’t have #15 Truth or Die, so we’re going to skip straight on to Book of Horrors. I know nothing about this book. I don’t think I’ve read it before, and if I have, I don’t remember a goddamn thing about it.
Randomly, I’m playing 5 Seconds of Summer “Teeth” on repeat while writing this. Not because it has anything to do with the story, I have no idea at this point, but because I sometimes obsess over a song and listen to it for hours, days, weeks at a time. My brain is so much fun. Honestly, this is one of the least terrible things it does to me.
Tagline: Get a load of Chucky/Fear the second coming/Deliver us some evil (I could have sworn it was “The family that slays together stays together,” but apparently I’m imagining that.) [Dove: Nope. That’s the tagline I remember too.] [JC: Maybe it was in promotional stuff, but never made it to official tagline status, then?]
Description: Gentle Glen (Billy Boyd) is a ventriloquist’s dummy, the offspring of evil doll Chucky (Brad Dourif) and his doll bride (Jennifer Tilly), both of whom are now deceased. When the orphaned Glen hears that a film is being made about his parents, he goes to Hollywood and resurrects them in an attempt to get to know them better. He is horrified when Chucky and his lover embark on a new killing spree, and Chucky is equally horrified that his son has no taste for evil.
You know, before I rewatched this for this recap, I thought my biggest problem was going to be the fear of misgendering Glen/Glenda the doll. Then I rewatched it, and realized I was going to have to recap a scene with a turkey baster full of cum. We recappers lead charmed lives. [Dove: JC texted me that phrase about sixteen times during her recap session.]
So, this movie has a 4.8/10 on IMDb and a 33% on Rotten Tomatoes. Interestingly, Child’s Play 3 has a 5.1 on IMDb but a 29% Rotten Tomatoes. Which means that there are people who think this movie is better than Child’s Play 3. I don’t know how that’s possible, but there we have it. (Brad Dourif himself dislikes 3 the most, but now I’m wondering if that quote was from before this movie was made. Because holy shit, dude. Holy shit.) [Dove: Or possibly he was made aware of the tenuous connection I mentioned to the murder of James Bulger? I know it didn’t make major news in the US, but apparently Michael Jackson heard about it and contact the family, so perhaps Dourif was made aware as the lead in the movie in question? If so, that could explain how an average movie is more disliked than a genuinely terrible one.]
Okay, so I said in an earlier recap that I have some affection for this movie, which stems from it being the only Chucky movie I’ve ever seen on the big screen. I’m now thinking of the missed opportunity I had to see the original Child’s Play a few years ago, and getting more and more annoyed about it. Seed doesn’t deserve to have the distinction of being the only Chucky movie I’ve experienced in the movie theater! It’s not fair!
Let me explain. Several years ago, I was online dating. I started talking to a guy we’ll call Major Tom. Now, I liked to (and still do) ask people what their favorite bad movie is as a conversation starter. When I asked Major Tom this question, he hemmed and hawed a bit, at least as much as you can over email, then finally named Child’s Play. Okay, I thought that answer was a little strange since the general consensus on the first movie at least is that it’s pretty good. But whatever; we hadn’t even met yet, and I didn’t see the point in arguing. Cut to us deciding to meet, and trying to decide on an activity for our first meeting/date. It was October, which I basically treat as Halloween all month long, and the local second-run theater (that has since been torn down; there’s a Cracker Barrel there now) was showing Friday and Saturday late night showings of Child’s Play. Now, I would never normally suggest a movie as a first meeting, but this was fucking perfect! It’s Major Tom’s favorite “bad” movie; I would fucking love to get to see it on the big screen (since I was 7 when it was first released, that was never really an option before); let’s go! Right?
So, I text Major Tom and tell him, hey, you said you like Child’s Play, right? The Palace is showing it as their “midnight” movie (they would usually have a showing at 8 or 9 pm, then again at 10 or 11pm), what do you say we do that? And the text I got back was . . . weird. I don’t remember exactly what Major Tom said, but the impression was along the lines of “Um . . . okayyyyyyy . . . why are you suggesting this?” along with a strange emoticon I neither remember nor can describe. (Helpful, I know.) So, confused, I ask him what this reaction is all about, and he responds that, well, when I’d asked about bad movies, he’d thought that was a bad movie. Still confused, I replied that no, I’d asked what his favorite bad movie was and that was what he’d said. FAVORITE. Anyway, he started backpedaling and saying well, it had been a long time since he’d seen it, he didn’t remember it, and we could still go if I wanted to. But since watching something I love with someone who’s hating every minute of it is a thing that makes me horribly uncomfortable and miserable, I declined. We ended up eating sushi and playing pool instead. And then dating for three of the most miserable months of my life. But that trainwreck is another story.
Anyway, that’s how this trainwreck remains to this day the only Chucky movie I’ve caught on the big screen. I’m sure it’s probably someone’s favorite bad movie, but that person is not me.
[Dove: Asking that question also led you to watching Necromentia. This question, while interesting and engaging, is bringing you nothing but bad things.] [JC: I wish I had a brilliant, glowing example to counter this, but the best I’ve got is Shakma – a “killer baboon runs amok in Roddy McDowall’s laboratory while Tina from A Nightmare on Elm Street and her friends have a LARPing game session in this building for some fucking reason” movie. It was recommended to me through that question, and all in all was quite a bit of fun.] [Dove: I can’t remember what the movie was called, but there was a movie on LoveFilm (remember them?) that had a summary along the lines of “Suzy is sick of her abusive father. She comes home from work and he beats her up and steals her money. He storms out and comes back with a BENGAL TIGER. Now she’s home alone, during a storm, with A TIGER.” And Raven and I were just like, “wow”.]
Summary: Chucky hooks up with another murderous doll, the bridal gown-clad Tiffany, for a Route 66 murder spree with their unwitting hosts, two eloping high-school graduates.
I actually loved this when it came out. I jumped so hard on the bandwagon of horror movies being witty as well as creepy. The Scream trend was something I appreciated. Of course, witty is subjective, and more often than not it ended up being a lot of irritating people saying a lot of dumb shit that the writers thought was funny, but for me Bride worked. [JC: I had the Fangoria issue with this movie on the cover. I was hyped for this movie . . . and then didn’t end up seeing it until it came to video. For some reason. Anyway, I absolutely loved it when I finally did end up seeing it. And since my thing seems to be providing the critic scores (except I think I forgot to add them into either Child’s Play 2 or 3, oops), this movie has a 5.4/10 on IMDb, and 46% on Rotten Tomatoes. Which seems criminally low, btw.]
And I’ve adored Jennifer Tilly since the first time I saw Bound. And, this has fuck all to do with the recap, I think she seems like a cool person. Like, if you bumped into her somewhere, she’d be nice to talk to. Please don’t disabuse me of this notion if that’s not true. (Please do if she’s done something so awful I need to reconsider my stance because I will miss stuff. The only celeb I follow with any enthusiasm is Trey Parker.) [JC: As far as I can tell, she’s an absolutely adorable human being.] [Dove: Oh, thank goodness. Raven has a few friends who play poker professionally, and I keep hoping that they level up enough to meet her so they can tell me how awesome she is. So far no luck.]
Summary: A young girl has recurring nightmares about a castle and a woman who tries to kill her. She is sent to stay with relatives in the country for a change of scenery. En route she glimpses a mysterious but vaguely familiar castle surrounded by fog on the other side of the lake. What dark secrets does the castle possess and who was that woman in her nightmares?
I didn’t discuss this one with Wing ahead of time, but I haven’t done a manga recap in a while and this creator’s been a low-key interest for me for a couple of years.
Yoko Matsumoto’s a lesser known creator of horror manga to the point I do not believe any of her works have been officially distributed by English publishers. That’s sad, because she offers something different from the majority of Japanese horror creators I’ve come across. Matsumoto’s stories are rather deceptive for a horror writer. The art style is very shoujo and doesn’t utilize typically exaggerated horror imagery, things such as bulging eyes and grotesque body horror, like what can be found from creators Kanako Inuki, Junji Ito, or Kazuo Umezu.
From what I’ve read of Matsumoto, her stories rely on tragic/cruel irony, sometimes with no real explanation behind the cause of the horrific phenomena. Or maybe I haven’t read enough of her works to properly explain what she’s about.
This was the first tale I’d ever read by her, and it’s initially part of a collection called “Constellations That Sing Of Death.” However, several of the stories printed in her anthology collections have been put online as separate entries. The two translations online refer to this story by different titles.
I decided to do this spur-of-the-moment recap because in a couple of months I’ll be starting a Census job, and with that plus Yankee Stadium and my comic job I have no clue how much time I’ll have for writing. I’ve gotta do what I can while I have the time, space and energy.
Title: Goosebumps Glow & Tell Story Cards, a.k.a. “‘BUMPS IN DA HUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUT!”
Author: R.L. Stine
Cover Artist: N/A
Tagline: Get Goosebumps At Pizza Hut
Summary: Collect All Three Sets!
Keep your friends spellbound! Read them the terrifying tales on every creepy card – even make up your own endings! Project scary shapes on any dark wall! Then play the Goosebumps Bone Yard Board Game!
One available every other week with the purchase of a kids’ Pack! Includes personal pan pizza and 16oz soft drink. Get your Glow & Tell cards while supplies last between April 28 and June 22.
SURPRISE! HAPPY BIRTHDAY WING! I found this (near) complete set of Goosebumps memorabilia on eBay and thought it’d make an excellent gift recap for the site for Wing’s January birthday.
(Wing, there are mentions of spiders.)
I completely forgot about this but back in the 1990s, when Pizza Hut apparently still did those “Pizza Head Show” commercials (which I also forgot about) and gave away stuff like McDonald’s and Burger King, they partnered with Scholastic to do shit with Goosebumps. Actually they also partnered with Taco Bell, of all places, which are the giveaways I really remember. I think I did own the Goosebumps cup from Pizza Hut.
Wait does Burger King still do toys? Anyway, the Glow & Tell collection includes twelve bones with a short story printed on them and holes you can illuminate to cast scary shapes on the walls.
The stories are about Curly the Skeleton, the Abominable Snowman of Pasadena, and the Scarecrow from “The Scarecrow Walks At Midnight.” The stories are structured so you can come up with the endings.
I’m gonna structure this recap by quoting each of the twelve stories and providing my own ending plus space for Wing to provide her own endings too if they want.
The pieces are also designed to function as a make-shift board game, the “Goosebumps Bone Yard Board Game.”
[Wing: This is an adorable campaign. I’m delighted by it.]
Title: Goosebumps Series 2000 #20 – Be Afraid – Be Very Afraid! a.k.a. “YOU FINISH THE RECAP”
Author: R.L. Stine
Cover Artist: Tim Jacobus
Tagline: There’s a new beast on the block…
Summary: The dragon’s wings stretched… stretched like a ship’s sail unfurling… and cut through power lines over the side of the street. Electricity crackled and sparks flew as the lines came down.
I watched, frozen in terror, as the dragon turned its massive body toward my house. It pulled back its head in an angry roar of attack.
“It’s – it’s coming here!” I choked out. “It’s coming after us!”
It’s the beginning of the year and it’s wintertime, which means I’m stepping into the role of recapping another Goosebumps 2000 book thanks to my zeal for seasonal nostalgia.
This is one of the 2000 entries that’s been especially prominent in my thoughts since “Return to Ghost Camp” had a preview for it at its end. The title and summary don’t allude much to the actual plot besides the prominence of dragons, so I’ll explain it’s about a card game that seemingly comes to life as three kids play it. However, the story bizarrely gets rather… meta, near the end, and I can’t tell if Stine is mocking his own writing style or what.
Title: Choose Your Own Nightmare #1 – Night of the Werewolf, a.k.a. “The Wacky Witchy Werewolf War”
Author: Edward Packard
Illustrator: Bill Schmidt
Tagline: It’s a full moon… beware of howling beasts!
Summary: Who’s Afraid Of The Big Bad Wolf?
Your vacation at your cousins’ house is off to a creepy start. A body – with deep bite marks all over it – has just been found at the local pond.
Is there a werewolf in town?
Even though you’ve been warned to stay away, you and your cousins want to check out the crime scene. Things seem pretty normal. Until you hear branches crashing… and a throaty howl…
What happens next in this bone-chilling story? It all depends on the choices you make. How will your nightmare end? Only you can find out! And the best part is that you can keep reading and rereading, getting new chills and thrills – until not one but all of your worst nightmares have come true!
Give yourself goosebumps… choose your own NIGHTMARE…
It’s the first month of the first year of a new decade, and we’re now forced to admit the 1990s were officially thirty years ago. And I’ll be turning 30 next December…
[Wing: *raises eyebrow* You are the youngest of the regular recappers across Devil’s Elbow and Sweet Valley Online, and possibly all of the Nostalgic Bookshelf collection. Best watch where you step, youngin’.]
To start off the 2020s here at Point Horror, for this first year I want to make it a year of firsts. Each month will feature at least one #1 book from a 90s horror series. I’ll be making an attempt to look at the firsts of series I’ve already offered glimpses into, such as Bone Chillers and Ghosts of Fear Street, and touch on series I’ve never looked at on here such as Choose Your Own Nightmare, Doomsday Mall, P.C. Hawke, and Christopher Pike’s Spooksville. You guys’ll be lucky, because a few of these books I’ve never read until now so it’ll be a learning experience for everyone.
[Wing: I love this book, I love werewolves, I love January’s full moon (it’s my favourite full moon), and I love recapping, and January is my birthday month, so this is a wonderful combination of things. Roll on Wolf Moon.]
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:
Tagline: Stories To Enjoy From October Through December
Summary: You’d Better Watch Out…
Sixteen gripping tales inspired by classical horror and urban legends twist holiday themes into chilling cautionary tales.
A mischievous snowman frames the children who built him for its mistakes. A haughty priest offers shelter to a hideous monster posing as an orphan. A father brings home a cursed Christmas tree resulting in a terrifying haunting experience for his family.
From October through December these stories of devils, spirits, murderers, monsters, and surprise twists will fascinate children and their parents.
I won’t say I do this often, but I’ve enjoyed perusing through the self-published YA horror selections offered through Amazon and have order a few digital and printed editions. I stumbled upon this book at some point last year and because the collection isn’t that long I decided to recap the tales for Point Horror. It sucks the summary spoils a couple but the illustrations are cool and some of the stories are a bit ingenious.
I’m looking forward to this more than I was to finish “Tales for the Midnight Hour.”