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.

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Posted in Other movies

Recap #268: Chopping Mall (1986)

Social Distance Snarking

Title: Chopping Mall (1986)

Summary: Sexy after-hours party held by employees in a goddamn mall is interrupted by murderous mall security robots. Hi-jinks ensue.

Tagline: Buy or Die  (Well, that’s… succinct.) …Half off is just the beginning! (Oh! It continued on! How… odd. For a tagline.)

Notes: Something tells me this film has become something of a cult classic and will either be very good (bad) or very bad (bad). [JC: Considering whose production company this is, it is going to be campy schlock. Because that’s what he does. (I’m not name-dropping it yet, because bat came to the realization eventually, and I actually cheered when she did.)]

Initial Thoughts

Hi and welcome to “how bat is trying to spend time during social distancing amid a global pandemic” portion of 2020. Seriously, it’s not like I really left the house a lot when there wasn’t a virus plague going around but shit is starting to get to me. It sucks being a empath. I think I need a tinfoil hat because I feel worn out.

But anyway, you’re not here for that. You’re here to read another recap about a horror movie! Distraction, yay! I’ve been looking to find some really bad horror movies that I’ve never seen and so far I’ve found some doozies. Today’s selection is 1986’s Chopping Mall!

So, somehow – this may be a theme(?) – I found another “horror comedy” but this one also has the distinction of being “sci-fi” as well. Unlike My Demon Lover this film seems to know exactly what it is – sci-fi/horror – with a dash of poorly written comedy thrown in because 1986. Er, technically, 1985.

I’ve heard about this film through Twitter and I think it’s been making the rounds on those pay-for subscription horror movie channels – apparently for sure on Shudder right now – but I only like things I have to spend hours trying to track down through moderately nefarious means. This is the age of the internet, you know. Why make it easy for myself?

Just watch the trailer:

Okay, trailer lies. No one broke into the mall. And it gives way too much away. For fun, I’ve invited JC to join me with commentary. This is not just because she confessed to peeking at my post as I was writing it but because I think I mentioned this film quite a while ago and she replied to my tweet about it. Maybe I’m misremembering but anyway. It’s fun to bring a new victim friend along for a recap ride! [JC: I have no memory of a Twitter convo about this, but it’s completely possible. My memory is very unpredictably hit-or-miss when it comes to conversations. Anyway, I’ve been wanting to watch this movie for the last couple of years, ever since I listened to the How Did This Get Made podcast episode about it (which I was going to link, but it is unfortunately behind the paywall right now. Boo.). I never got around to it until bat gave me the incentive with the offer to comment on her recap of it. Which I had peeked at long enough to determine what she was working on next. I mean, it was labeled “[redacted recap]”! How could I resist seeing what it was!] [Wing: I’m pretty sure there was a Twitter convo, because the movie’s been sitting on my list of things to watch so I can comment and up until y’all talked about it, I hadn’t even heard of it. I can’t say I was missing out. Mostly.

Note from the future: Apparently I mixed up two different twitter conversations about movies to recap, so I have rudely inserted myself into this recap, but since I didn’t learn this until after all my comments, well, I’m here! Enjoy surprise!Wing.]

Geez. I guess it’s time to spend an arm and a leg. Let’s go Chopping!

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Posted in Point Horror Recaps

Recap #51: Followers by Anna Davies

Followers by Anna Davies
Followers by Anna Davies

Title: Followers by Anna Davies

Summary: To tweet or not to tweet . . . what a deadly question.

When Briana loses out on a starring role in the school’s production of Hamlet, she reluctantly agrees to be the drama department’s “social media director” and starts tweeting half-hearted updates. She barely has any followers, so when someone hacks her twitter account [Dove: Yeah, that never happened.], Briana can’t muster the energy to stop it. After all, tweets like “Something’s rotten in the state of Denmark . . . and a body’s rotting in the theater” are obviously a joke.

But then a body IS discovered in the theater: Briana’s rival. Suddenly, what seemed like a prank turns deadly serious. To everyone’s horror, the grisly tweets continue . . . and the body count starts to rise.

There’s no other explanation; someone is live-tweeting murders on campus.

With the school in chaos and the police unable to find the culprit, it’s up to Briana to unmask the psycho-tweeter before the carnage reaches Shakespearian proportions . . . or she becomes the next victim.

Tagline: Briana’s next update might be her last. . . .

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:

Dove and I were epically excited when we learned there would be new Point Horrors published. We probably should not have been.

[Dove: I have been dreading reading this. Ever since Wing said she’d do a new PH, I’ve been dragging my feet over reading this. And maybe cursing her name. Just a little. Especially since this is the author who gave us “Identity Theft”, the book that made me quit new PH.]

[Wing: I am truly the evil twin. Also, the cover of this book has nothing to do with the content. Be better, new Point Horrors. Be better!]

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Posted in Point Horror Recaps

Recap #36: Return of the Vampire (Vampire Series: Book 2) by Caroline B. Cooney

The Return of the Vampire by Caroline B. Cooney
The Return of the Vampire by Caroline B. Cooney

Title: Return of the Vampire by Caroline B Cooney

Summary: Devnee is tired of being ignored. Tired of feeling ordinary. All she wants is to be beautiful. If she’s beautiful, everything else will fall in to place: popularity, friendship, even love. Devnee’s family has just moved into a new house – a house with a vampire in it. He can grant Devnee’s wish, but there’s a price. Is she willing to pay it?

Tagline: He’s back for more…

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:

Return of the Vampire by Caroline B Cooney - Scan by Mimi
Return of the Vampire by Caroline B Cooney – Scan by Mimi

I remember that I found Devnee particularly loathsome when I was a teenager, so I have no doubt she’s even worse now I’m an adult. Back in the day, I actually read this before The Cheerleader. Despite having Return in the title, it did not occur to me it was a sequel. This is one of those things like how it never occurred to Wing to hunt down Class Trip, after reading Class Trip 2.

[Wing: Yours makes sense, though. I mean, Return of the Vampire works as a title of a stand-alone book just as well as it does for a sequel, because vampires. Always with the returning and acting alive even when they’re dead, etc.]

Also, thanks to Mimi, the sublime, who has provided alternative covers.

[Wing: I had the same cover as  Mimi back in the day, but I really like the mirror cover a lot better.]

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