Posted in Fear Street Recaps, Recaps

Recap #283: Ghosts of Fear Street #25: Halloween Bugs Me! by Barbara Joyce

Halloween Bugs Me Cover Art
Halloween Bugs Me Cover Art

Title: Ghosts of Fear Street #25 – Halloween Bugs Me! a.k.a. “It’s always ‘Greg, Greg, Greg!'”

Author: Barbara Joyce

Cover Artist: Broeck Steadman

Tagline: Trick Or Trick?

Summary: Tons Of Trouble

Greg Dreamer is sick of Paul Boyd’s stupid bragging. Everything is a competition to Paul. Who can throw farther. Who can burp louder. Everything! And the worst thing is – Paul always wins!

But not this time. Even though Paul says he’ll get more Halloween candy than Greg, Greg is going to beat him. Because Greg has a secret weapon. It looks like a plain old bag. But when you put something in it, the bag makes more candy. More money. More cats. Even more bugs!

And one thing Greg hadn’t counted on.

More trouble.

Initial Thoughts

[Wing: Due to everything (picture me gesturing vaguely around the room which stands in for the whole entire fucking world), we’re extending Halloween through the end of November here at Devil’s Elbow. Hell, maybe through the end of the year. It’s a shit year, we need to make our own fun, and snark + horror is F U N. (Except when it isn’t, but at least then I get to Go Boom.)]

I got in touch with Getting_GB, one of the donors who commissioned a recap, and asked if there was any book they’d like me to recap for Halloween to make up for the delays in the recap they sponsored. GB selected Halloween Bugs Me!, the second of the two Halloween books in the Ghosts Of Fear Street series and I was happy to oblige.

Now this book feels more like your standard Goosebumps affair than the other GFS books. Particularly it comes across as a slight mix of Attack Of The Jack-O’-Lanterns, How I Learned To Fly, and Chicken Chicken. Unfortunately, the book only takes place during Halloween in the first five chapters. The rest of the story follows Greg trying to use the magic bag and hitting several snags in that direction.

But I gotta tell you this is one of the grossest books I’ve encountered in the GFS series due to the prominence of *shudder* cockroaches. The cover artwork doesn’t prepare you for how many roaches are in this book. I squirm if my hand happens to touch any section of the cover featuring the roaches.

That said, I gotta praise Steadman for the simplicity of the cover. Compared to the rest of the covers of the series, this one’s not quite as extreme. It’s an ordinary jack-o’-lantern with a few cockroaches, not a swarm. Yet it’s still rather sinister and lulls you into a false sense of security by how ordinary it seems to be. This is actually the last book in the series to utilize the jagged border, jagged lettering, and eye-searing color. [Wing: I like the cover too. It’s clean and simple, and I think it captures the mood they’re trying to capture without becoming fully cheesy and overdone.]

Also, the editors screwed up the back summary. The other kid’s name is DEREK Boyd, not Paul. I hate when that happens.

(more…)

Posted in Other Recaps

Recap #247: Tales For The Midnight Hour by J.B. Stamper Part Two

Tales for the Midnight Hour Original Cover
Tales for the Midnight Hour Original Cover

Title: Tales For The Midnight Hour

Author: Judith Bauer “J.B.” Stamper

Cover Artist: ???

Summary: N/A

Initial Thoughts

My original plan to cover the second half of this book was to have the recap finished during the summer, preferably August to go alongside “Escape from Vampire Park,” and yet again I was delayed. I’m trying to use November as a catch-up month to finish a few things before December so I can focus on more holiday related recaps.

Looking back I have to say I’m more fond of the stories in the book’s first half, and the only story in this section I favor is “Phobia.” Amusingly, the last tale sets up an ongoing theme Stamper reused for the next three collections featuring the same cast of campers even though the stories aren’t connected by anything else. [Wing: Okay, using the same cast is interesting. I look forward to seeing those stories if we can track down copies.]

(more…)

Posted in Goosebumps Recaps

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

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

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

Author: R.L. Stine

Cover Artist: Tim Jacobus

Tagline: Talk about getting ahead!

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

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

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

Initial Thoughts

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

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

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

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

(more…)