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Hi, everyone! Welcome to Oh God Why?! Nostalgia Reviews! I’m your snarky recapper/reviewer, JC. I grew up on all things horror, thriller, chiller, suspense, and all combinations thereof – a healthy dose of 1990’s teen thriller novels and all manner of scary movies, but now I’m wondering: Are they as good as I remember them being? (Spoiler alert – no. No, they are not.) So join me as I recap and review the teen chillers and horror movies of my youth, and laugh along with me as I lament what bad taste 12-year-old me had.

The handy helpful Master Recap List  is posted here, containing current and future recaps.

Thanks for visiting, and if you enjoy these recaps, tell a friend, like, share, and comment.

Upcoming Recaps:

Child’s Play 2 (1990) (recap by Dove)

Girl Talk #1: Welcome to Junior High! by L.E. Blair

Crash Course by Nicole Davidson

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Death Machine (1994) (Recap#43)

deathmachinecover
Definitely not Freddy vs. Terminator 2

 

Title: Death Machine

Released: 1995

Director: Stephen Norrington

Tagline: It feeds on your fear

Description: Chaank Armaments is experimenting with the ultimate fighting machine which is part human – part machine. So far, the Hardman project has been unreliable and has killed a number of innocent people. The genius behind this project is Jack who lives in a world of models, toys and magazines. When he is fired by Cale for killing a few corporate officers, he unleashes the ultimate killing machine called the ‘Warbeast’ against Cale and those who would help her.

Note: Recently, Dove (of the Nostalgic Bookshelf recapping empire) asked me to watch one of her favorite “bad” movies, Necromentia, and comment on her recap of it, with the offer of doing the same for me. We just about had my pick nailed down, when I actually watched Necromentia, and decided that everything I had previously considered was much too tame and mainstream. I can’t top Necromentia‘s sheer WTF-ness, but you know what I can do? I can give you a bizarre over-the-top rip off of every late 80s/early 90s action/horror/sci-fi movie ever made, starring Brad Dourif at his most scenery-chewing, with a script that was apparently written by someone who has never spoken to another human being in their life. Yes, that is what I can do. (When I told Dove about this movie, she told me I “had her at Brad Dourif.” Now that she’s actually watched it, I hope we’re still friends.)

[Dove: I watched this movie when Raven (my husband) was out. When he came back, he asked how I liked the movie. My response was, “It was exactly what I deserved after Necromentia.” (Yes, JC and I are still friends.)]

Initial Thoughts


Full disclosure: I love me some Brad Dourif. This is one of those movies that I’m pretty sure only hardcore Dourif fans and people who watch every sci-fi/horror/action movie that comes out have seen. I know Dourif is the entire reason I watched it years and years ago, and I really didn’t like it all that much the first time around. Shocked? Then I gave it another shot and really liked it on every subsequent viewing. (I also hated Fargo on first viewing. My first impressions are very subject to change.) Oh sure, it’s pretty terrible, but there’s something mesmerizing about it. It might be the obvious lack of fucks the filmmakers had to give. The character names alone – nearly everyone is named after a famous director. It’s gleefully egregious. Or, to use one of Dove’s terms, it’s eye-poking. But gleefully so. No fucks to give. I have no defense for this movie; I love its stupid dumb ass. The best description I can give is that it’s like if William Gibson (the cyberpunk author, not the playwright) wrote Die Hard, then Robocop hate-fucked it while Universal Soldier jerked off in the corner.

There are I think four different versions with four different running times. I believe the one I’m recapping is the 111 minute long director’s cut. As far as I can tell, the only difference between this one and the one I rented the fuck out of in the late 90s/early 2000s is one extra backstory scene and a few references to that backstory. It’s not actually important to the story, but I’m glad it’s there because it is so over-the-top ridiculous that I’d be sad if I didn’t get to mock it.

[Dove: I tried to watch the 111 minute version, but I started to go into the future, because the constantly-moving background was giving me a real headache. I watched the 122 minute version. Though by the time I swapped over, I had missed those minutes. They happen all before the first 19 minutes of the copy JC watched. I have not yet gone back to watch them.][JC: As far as I can tell, no official 122 minute version exists, so I’m curious what was going on in that version.]

Continue reading “Death Machine (1994) (Recap#43)”

Necromentia (2009)

Necromentia (2009) (Recap #42)

Necromentia (2009)
Necromentia (2009)

Title: Necromentia (2009)

Tagline: Hell awaits the foolish

Summary: Inspired by the work of Clive Barker, Necromentia tells the story of what happens when you meddle with superstition and try to cross into another dimension using the powers of a Ouija board.

Hagen has a dead wife and believes he can bring her back to life. Travis is a man who lost his brother and wants to join him in the afterlife, and Morbius has been betrayed by those he loves and wants to come back from the dead to take revenge. A strange man only known as Mr Skinny protects the secrets of the powerful Ouija board, as all cross the gateways of hell to fulfil their own purpose, facing the hideous monstrosities that reside there as they go.

The above was copy typed from the back of the DVD box. It’s pretty much accurate. It’s also nothing like what happens in the movie. It’s odd that it’s exactly right but so misleading.

Trigger Warnings: Murder, suicide, self-harm, torture, necrophilia, flashing lights, terrible dialogue. [JC: Not making light of trigger warnings, but I’m greatly amused by “terrible dialogue” being right up there with “necrophilia.”]

Notes: I love this movie. I’m not even sorry. I was talking to JC, of Oh God Why?! Nostalgia, and we were talking about our favourite terrible movies. I asked her if she’d like to comment on my recap, because it would be great to see the reaction of someone who’s never seen this movie before (which, as far as I can tell, is anyone who is not me, or did not act in this movie). She said yes. I told her I’d return the favour, so who knows how she’ll feel about this movie and what I’ll end up watching as my penance. [JC: I watched this on YouTube with a watermark in the upper corner and Spanish subtitles at the bottom. So, if nothing else, I at least brushed up on some conversational torture-related Spanish, although I don’t foresee using it much. Except maybe “Hey, I’m not the one fucking a corpse.” I can see that one coming in handy.]

This movie is fucking weird.

Final note: I recapped this in vague detail back in 2011 for my own personal site. The recap has since gone offline, but if you think you’ve read any part of this recap before, don’t worry, I’m only plagiarising myself. Also, thank you, one person, for reading it. That site really didn’t get much traffic.

Continue reading “Necromentia (2009) (Recap #42)”

Recap #41 – Wishmaster (1997)

wishmaster

Title: Wishmaster

Directed by: Robert Kurtzman

Released: 1997

Description: Magically delicious powerful. Supernaturally evil. The ancient entity know (sic) in human legend as the Djinn can grant a person’s wildest dreams. And in the process, it unleashes your darkest nightmares. The moral of this explosively terrifying, special-effects-powered, horror-fantasy spectacular: Be careful what you wish for!

Nostalgia Time!


It was 1997, I was sixteen and running wild through the streets, the local movie theaters weren’t bothering to card teenagers buying tickets to R-rated movies, and somehow my cousin and I had enough disposable income to go see pretty much every fucking movie that came out that year. I was extra motivated to go see this one because Robert Englund is in it, and like I think I mentioned in my Mangler recap, 1997 was right around my peak Freddy Krueger obsession. (A year later I would go see Urban Legend with a different cousin for the same reason.) Anyway, I don’t know why this detail sticks with me, but I remember that while we were sitting in the movie theater parking lot before the movie started, my cousin sat in my car and pierced her nose with one of those shitty plastic ear-piercing guns. Good times. I ended up loving this movie so much that I went to Hollywood Video on the day it was supposed to be released for rent, only to find out video release had been pushed back and I had to wait another couple weeks before I could watch it again. Yes, I was that obsessive weirdo. This movie introduced me to Andrew Divoff (who it turned out had already been in a shit ton of things I’d seen), and featured appearances by Ted Raimi, Tony Todd, and Kane Hodder. My horror-nerd self was in heaven, and I still love this movie to death. Whether it deserves it or not.

Continue reading “Recap #41 – Wishmaster (1997)”

Goosebumps – “Be Careful What You Wish For” Episode 2.1 (Recap #40)

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Series: Goosebumps

Title: Be Careful What You Wish For

Season 2, Episode 1

Airdate: August 10, 1996

Writer: Charles Lazer (Based on R.L. Stine’s book)

Director: Rene Bonniere

Description: When terminally unpopular Samantha meets a strange woman who offers to grant her three wishes, she soon finds herself in deep trouble.

 

First Impressions


I’m not sure if I ever watched this one on TV or not. After watching it, I think it seemed familiar, but I’m just not sure. I think I may have read the book back in the day. Anyway, I chose this episode as my first Goosebumps TV episode recap because I’m a sucker for stories about backfiring wishes and/or evil genies, as you’ll see in an upcoming recap, Wishmaster. (I’m having a hard time talking about this episode without also talking about Wishmaster, so fuck it – we’re gonna talk about Wishmaster.) This Goosebumps episode predates Wishmaster, and there are similarities between the two that really have me hoping the writers of Wishmaster didn’t take their ideas from Goosebumps. That would be weird. (But all these “careful what you wish for” stories pretty much follow the same formula, so maybe there’s no cause for concern. Maybe.) So let’s get into it!

 

Continue reading “Goosebumps – “Be Careful What You Wish For” Episode 2.1 (Recap #40)”

Recap #39 – Crash Course by Nicole Davidson

crashcourse

Title: Crash Course

Author: Nicole Davidson (aka Kathryn Jensen)

Published: July 1990

Tagline: A secluded cabin on the lake was a perfect place to study . . . or to die

Description: As the water closed over his head, he imagined he felt a hand grasping his jacket – pushing him deeper . . . . He thrashed his arms and legs in the irrational hope he might break the surface, his chest tightening, burning . . . . Too soon, a paralyzing lightness overtook him and he gave up to the icy current as the spring below pulled him deeper . . . deeper . . . .

And then there were seven  . . .

The weekend had begun as a crash SAT prep course given by a strict teacher in a secluded cabin at Deep Creek Lake – four boys, four girls, cramming for college entrance. It ended with a bone-chilling scream breaking the silence of the night. For one of them, it was all over . . . forever. For the rest . . .

The terror had just begun . . .

Now, while their teacher goes for help, seven terrified teens wait, not knowing if a lunatic killer lurks in the darkness . . . or sits among them, ready to strike again.

Nostalgia Time!


Jesus Christ, look at all those ellipses. Who wrote this description, Richie Tankersley Cusick?!

Anyway, this was one of those books I remembered vividly, but couldn’t for the life of me remember the title or author. For some reason all that would come to my brain was the title “Class Trip,” which I knew it wasn’t, because that’s a book by Bebe Faas Rice that I also remember vividly, still have in the box in my basement, and definitely also plan on recapping eventually. It took me a while to figure out the title of this one, and I think I finally tracked it down by simply Googling the names of all the authors whose books I still had in my basement box to see what else they’d written. (I still owned Davidson’s book, The Stalker.) As soon as I saw the title I knew that was it, and I finally got around to ordering it on Thriftbooks a while back. I remember liking the story and reading it several times back in the day. Upon reading it as an adult . . . wow, it does not hold up at all.

Note: I was originally planning to have this ready to post around Thanksgiving since it takes place over Thanksgiving weekend, but life happened and I obviously didn’t get it done in time. Story of my life, guys.

Continue reading “Recap #39 – Crash Course by Nicole Davidson”

Recap #38 – Girl Talk #1: Welcome to Junior High!

girltalk1

Title: Girl Talk #1: Welcome to Junior High!

Author: L.E. Blair (one of many pen names of Katherine Applegate)

Published: 1990

Tagline: Can these girls survive seventh grade?

Description: It’s the beginning of an unforgettable year . . .

Seventh grade has just started and already Sabrina Wells has got troubles! She’s made an enemy of the principal’s daughter, Stacy the Great, met the boy of her dreams, and been put in charge of the Homecoming Dance decorating committee.

Will Sabrina manage to keep Stacy off her back, fall in love, and get shy Allison, preppie Katie, and Randy, the hip new girl from New York, to agree on a theme for the dance?

Nostalgia Time!


Um, as far as the last thing on that description’s list goes, I don’t think you’ll get Randy to agree to much of anything by standing around her, staring in shock and horror like y’all appear to be doing on the cover!

When I was in fifth grade, I had a friend I used to trade books with all the time. It introduced me to some book series I’d never read before, including the Girl Talk series. I borrowed number 3, The New You, from said friend, and ended up keeping it when I moved away. I still have it, and until now, I think it’s the only Girl Talk book I had ever read, but I wanted to revisit the series from the very beginning! I got the first two from Thriftbooks, and will fill my collection in as we go with these recaps. I’m thinking maybe one Girl Talk a month along with the regular spooky-scary books. We’ll see how it goes.

Anyway, I remember these books being a lot of fun, with good friendships and believable characters. So, let’s get into it!

Note for my non-American readers: I’m told our school system is confusing when it’s something you haven’t grown up with, so a quick explanation. Junior High is comprised of grades 7-9, generally ages 12-14. Then Senior High would be grades 10-12, generally ages 15-17. However, Junior and Senior High is a thing that was pretty much phased out by the eighties. I feel like most YA authors didn’t get the memo until well into the 1990s. These days we have middle school – grades 6-8, ages 11-13, and high school – grades 9-12 (aka Freshman, Sophomore, Junior, and Senior class), ages 14-17. And if you’re not confused yet, the school I went to when I read this book was grades 5-8. This is a weird outlier and I’ve never seen another school group their grades that way. Oh, Humbo (that would be Humboldt County in Northern California), never change your weirdo ways.

Continue reading “Recap #38 – Girl Talk #1: Welcome to Junior High!”

Child's Play 2 (1990)

Child’s Play 2 (1990) (Recap #37)

Child's Play 2 (1990)
Child’s Play 2 (1990)

Title: Child’s Play 2

Tagline: Look out Jack! Chucky’s Back! (I’m certain it used to be “Sorry Jack! Chucky’s Back!” on my VHS copy, but that went the way of the dodo, so I can’t check.)

Director: John Lafia

Released: 9 November 1990 (US release – exactly two years after the first)

Summary: While Andy’s mother is admitted to a psychiatric hospital, the young boy is placed in foster care, and Chucky, determined to claim Andy’s soul, is not far behind. (from IMDb)

Note: If you missed the first in this series, you may wonder who I am, or who JC is. I’m Dove, of NostalgicBookshelf.com, PointHorror.com and SweetValley.Online, and the illustrious JC is the snark queen found at Oh God Why?! Nostalgia.

We have teamed up to recap this whole series. It took almost a whole year to arrange this, mostly because I kept thinking, “I really must speak to JC about it…” and then didn’t, whereas JC got tired of my faffing around and collared me. Right before NaNo, to teach me a lesson! [JC: Dove gives me way too much credit for my calculatedness. In reality, I just have shit timing and am terrible about getting back to people on stuff.] [Dove: That’s precisely what a scheming genius would say.]

So, let’s do this thing. Also, you can read JC’s recap of the first movie on Oh God Why?! Nostalgia or Point Horror.com.

Further Note: I refer to the 80s and 90s in this recap. I know it was released in 1990, but to my logic, that means it was written and possibly made in 1989, hence my bounce between the decades. And it’s not as if the clock ticked over from 11:59 to midnight, and everyone immediately discarded their scrunchies and luminous clothing in favour of chocolate brown bootcut trousers. There’s overlap in the styles.

Initial Thoughts

I actually like this movie a lot more than the first. As I mentioned in the previous recap, I first saw a promo image of this movie (Chucky with a nosebleed) in one of those promo mags movie rental places (of the non-Blockbuster kind) gave away free. I was massively disturbed by the image. I found it compelling but terrifying. And I kept going back to it and then being scared by it and hiding the magazine away. It was like the time I broke my fingers. I kept flexing them and then crying in pain, and then flexing them again to see if it still hurt.

I think, as a kid, I liked that this was faster paced, a bit more gory – I’m not a gore hound. Actually, blood and guts is a huge turnoff for me – but this worked for my young self on all levels. The pace was faster, the kills were more elaborate, there were plenty of moments I hid behind my hands, and I really felt the tension. Perhaps taking away the parent figure increased my tension? Either way, the division of labour on this series really works for me! [JC: There’s something to be said for sequels being able to get straight to it without having to mess around with 45 minutes of setup. Here’s Chucky; he’s trapped in the doll again; there’s Andy – go get ’em. Simple.]

Continue reading “Child’s Play 2 (1990) (Recap #37)”

Child’s Play (1988)(Recap #36)

childs-play-poster

Title: Child’s Play

Director: Tom Holland

Released: Nov. 9, 1988 (US release)

Description: A single mother gives her son a much sought-after doll for his birthday, only to discover that it is possessed by the soul of a serial killer.

Note: Hi there! So, this recap may require some additional explanation before we get into it. These recaps of the Child’s Play series will be posted both on my site, Oh God Why?! Nostalgia Reviews, and at The Devil’s Elbow, one of the sites that Dove (of the Nostalgic Bookshelf recapping empire) is involved with. Depending whose site you’re currently reading this on, one of us is probably a stranger to you. So, hello there, I’m JC, better known as ogwnostalgia on all of the social medias. Dove? [Hello JC’s loving fans, I’m Dove. Since my glorious co-recapper has hyperlinked the heck out of an intro here, there’s little more to say, except I adore horror, nostalgia, and am quite fond of JC too.] [JC: *blushes*]

So, I will be handling the odd-numbered Child’s Play films (which I realize sticks me with Seed of Chucky, oof! [Dove: Why do you think I agreed so readily to your suggested division of labour?] [JC: Eh, terrible as it is, I have some affinity for it. I suggested that division of labor specifically because I wanted to do 3 and Seed.]) with commentary by Dove; she will be recapping the even-numbered films with commentary by me! Dig? Cool, let’s get into this!

Initial Thoughts


I love this series! Along with A Nightmare on Elm Street, it’s my favorite. Hey, what can I say, some people like the strong, silent types (hello, Jason and Michael Myers); I like the snarky, wise-cracking bastards. I remember the first time I saw most of the sequels, but for the life of me I can’t remember when I saw this one. It was definitely after I’d already seen 2 and 3, because I watched the original trilogy all out of order. Regardless, this is definitely the best and scariest of the first three. (Curse of Chucky gets my vote for scariest and best of the later movies.) Oddly, it only has a 67% on Rotten Tomatoes, a 6.6/10 rating on IMDb, and a freaking 58% from Metacritic. What. The. Hell. [Dove: I watched them all in order, and I find Child’s Play 2 to be the scariest. This is partly because I’d seen the first one, quite liked it, but then read an article about the upcoming sequel, which had a picture of Chucky with a nosebleed. That picture scared the life out of me. I agree with Curse being the best of the later movies.]

Would I be remiss if I don’t mention the upcoming planned remake that doesn’t feature Brad Dourif doing Chucky’s voice? Everything I’ve heard sounds . . . weird. They’re trying to go back to the (really bizarre) original script, where Chucky was named Buddy and there was no Charles Lee Ray or voodoo involved. The article I read talked about the doll being basically a “hacked Furby,” which . . . okay. Furbies are fucking terrifying; just make it a damn Furby and leave my Chucky alone, goddamn. [Dove: I didn’t even know it had gotten that far along in the planning stage. But I’m going to nope the hell out of it, because Chucky without Dourif voicing isn’t really Chucky. Well, that’s the high road I want to take. I’ll probably buy it when it hits the budget shelf of my local supermarket in a few years.]

Ahem. Anyway, this is the 30th anniversary of Child’s Play‘s American release, which makes me feel old, but also tracks since I basically grew up knowing who Chucky was, despite not seeing any of the movies until the early-to-mid 90s.

Thirty years, guys. Damn.

Continue reading “Child’s Play (1988)(Recap #36)”

Recap #35 – Trick or Treat by Richie Tankersley Cusick

 

trickortreat

Title: Trick or Treat

Author: Richie Tankersley Cusick

Published: Oct. 1989

Tagline: Trick or treat, trick or treat, candy is dandy, but murder is sweet

Description: Dressed to kill. Martha knew there was something evil about the house she was moving into. It was so cold . . . and creepy. And it wasn’t just the house that was giving her a weird feeling. Martha was sure someone was following her . . . watching her every move.

Then the practical jokes began – the scarecrow with a carving knife in its head, the fire. And the phone calls: “Trick or treat, Martha . . . you’re dead.”

It was October, but these were no Halloween tricks. Someone would be coming home this year with more than just a bag of treats. And Martha was the prize.

Trick or treat.

Nostalgia Time!


Wow, October 1989? I was eight years old when this book was published. I don’t remember the first time I read it, but it had to have been when I was around 11 or 12. My copy is old and stained all to hell with soda that leaked out of take-out cups. I used to take shit care of my stuff when I was around that age.

So, let’s start with that description real quick. Are they really saying that a fire is a practical joke? A fire?! Yeah, that’s not a joke, wtf. Also, the abuse of dashes and ellipses you can clearly see in the description carries on throughout the book. Or at least throughout the first three chapters, which is as far as I’ve read as I type these words. Based on Dove and Wing’s recap at The Devil’s Elbow, I’m aware that this trend does in fact carry on the entirety of the book. Yay.

So, this is one of those books that I know I enjoyed as a teen. I remember it really well, even though it’s somehow inextricably linked in my head to Bebe Faas Rice’s The Listeners and Music from the Dead. I think there’s a similarity in stories, but it’s mostly the covers. Those three covers look very similar.

Anyway, since this is RTC, I’m already second-guessing my memory of liking this book. Remember the hell we went through with The Lifeguard? I’m gun shy on all Richie Tankersley Cusick novels now. But I swear I liked this one, guys. I swear I did . . . .

Continue reading “Recap #35 – Trick or Treat by Richie Tankersley Cusick”

Recap #34 – Gallows Hill by Lois Duncan

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This isn’t the cover I have, but it’s the one I remember.

Title: Gallows Hill

Author: Lois Duncan

Published: 1997

Tagline: They don’t burn witches anymore. Do they?

Description: Sarah can see people’s secrets in an ordinary crystal paperweight. Too bad they still believe in witches in Pine Crest. And they don’t like them at all. Sarah’s about to relive a horrible ordeal that happened hundreds of years ago – unless someone can undo a terrible wrong.

Nostalgia Time!

I remember checking this out of the library when it was brand new. I mentioned this briefly in my Killing Mr. Griffin recap, but I read this book shortly before the TV movie aired. The movie was kind of a huge disappointment, but I remember liking the book a lot. I don’t remember the book very well, because the movie overrode my memory of the book a bit, and they changed, uh, pretty much everything from book to movie. Anyway, I tend to prefer LoDunc when she does supernatural, and Gallows Hill has reincarnation, witchcraft, fortune-telling . . . the LoDunc I enjoy the most!

Although, I do recall something about our main girl, Sarah, dressing as a “gypsy” to do her fortune-telling, which is . . . not great. Both that LoDunc uses that word, which we now recognize as a slur, and that we’re using Romani culture as a costume. Maybe this isn’t as egregious as I remember, but then again, maybe it’s worse. 1990s books were full of stuff that makes us cringe these days, so this is pretty much par for the course.

Anyway, I’m looking forward to revisiting this one. Even if I don’t like it as much as I remember, it can’t be as bad as the last one – Jo Gibson’s The Seance, which had me rage-caps-locking and cursing like it was going out of style.

Continue reading “Recap #34 – Gallows Hill by Lois Duncan”