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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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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

gallowshill
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”

Recap #33 – The Seance by Jo Gibson

jgseance

Title: The Seance (the cover up there is from the omnibus 3-in-1 collection, as it seems it’s near-impossible to find The Seance by itself anywhere)

Author: Jo Gibson (aka Joanne Fluke)

Published: I’ve got conflicting reports here. Google Books says March 1996; the collection I have has the copyright date for The Seance as 2014. 1996 feels right, but why would a Halloween book be published in March . . . ?

Description: There’s nothing like a killer party on Halloween – especially when it’s in a secluded lodge in the woods. But when Jennifer Larkin’s friends insist on holding a seance – in spite of the warnings of a local psychic – it’s anything but a game. For the spirits are vengeful. The partiers are prisoners. And no one gets out of here alive . . .

Nostalgia Time!


Well, I’ve got nothing. I’ve never read this one before. I’m hoping it’s going to be as ridiculous as Slay Bells but less boring than My Bloody Valentine.  Since those two followed the same template, I’m going to assume this one does as well, and make some predictions based on that template. First, our protagonist will be in love with someone who “doesn’t know she exists,” but then end up with her friend’s brother. Second, there will be terrible threatening poems sent to people before they’re murdered. Third, the main girl will be painfully clueless and naive about boys, and all wide-eyed ignorance about, well, everything really. Fourth, the killer will have some completely convoluted plan that may or may not end with trying to kill the main girl to keep some other dead girl company. Fifth, the motive will probably end up being some variation of “he’s crazy, and crazy people don’t make sense lol amirite?” Which, to be fair, ends up being the driving force of most of these books.

Once again, I’m going to recap this as I read it, one chapter at a time, so I have no better idea of what’s about to happen than you do. I’m sure I’ll make some embarrassing assumptions that will be proven wrong, but I’m willing to take that bullet for y’all.

Note from Future Me: Trigger warning for rape. I won’t recap it graphically, but it’s unavoidably there. I had no idea this was where the story was going to go, since Jo has never had any sexual content in previous books I’ve recapped. This shit caught me by surprise, y’all.

Continue reading “Recap #33 – The Seance by Jo Gibson”

Recap #32 – Funhouse by Diane Hoh

the funhouse

Title: Funhouse

Author: Diane Hoh

Published: July 1990

Tagline: You can die laughing.

Description: When The Devil’s Elbow roller coaster goes off its track and several teenagers are hurt, everyone thinks it was just an accident. So no one listens when Tess says she saw someone tampering with the track.

But one person knows it’s true. That person is playing a deadly game – and is going to make sure Tess doesn’t stand in the way. Tess soon finds she’s being terrorized, with threatening notes, menacing phone calls, slashed tires, and nasty pranks. When another “accident” occurs in the Funhouse, Tess is sure she was the intended victim. Who is committing all these horrifying acts? And why?

Tess is just beginning to realize that the Funhouse can scare you . . . to death.

Nostalgia Time!


If I remember correctly, the Diane Hoh Point Horrors were always pretty solid. The Accident is the only one I ever remember with any clarity, though. I have vague memories of maybe reading this one, but I can’t say for sure. It’s possible I checked it out of the school library in fifth grade. I seem to remember reading in the bedroom I had when I was ten, but if so, I don’t think I’ve read it since. Honestly, I always remember the cover, but not the story. That cover is amazing. The evil clown on the Funhouse? Holy shit, y’all. So good.

I love stories with carnivals and amusement parks, especially funhouses/haunted houses and Ferris wheels. The opening chapter of this book gives me serious Lost Boys vibes, but without the vampires, I guess? Just the Boardwalk and seaside town with “Santa” in the name. Which, admittedly, is a lot of Southern California.

Anyway, here’s hoping the book is as good as the cover!

Continue reading “Recap #32 – Funhouse by Diane Hoh”

Recap #31 – Full Moon Blowout – Buffy the Vampire Slayer “Phases” – ep 2.15

buffy

Title: Buffy the Vampire Slayer season 2 episode 15, “Phases”

Writers: Rob Des Hotel and Dean Batali

Director: Bruce Seth Green

Originally Aired: January 27, 1998

Description: Buffy and her friends discover secrets about themselves as they battle a werewolf, its hunter, and their own emotions. (From IMDb)

Nostalgia Time!


I love Buffy, y’all. Even with my less-than-stellar opinion of Joss Whedon, I still love Buffy. I have a complicated relationship with some of the problematic elements of Buffy, but this particular episode keeps those problems to a minimum. I think. Xander is still awful, because he usually is, but somewhat less so than in some other episodes. If I remember correctly, this is the first werewolf episode of the series, and even though I’m sure a lot of you guys have seen it, I’m still not going to spoil anything before its time, no worries.

I didn’t start watching Buffy until the end of Season 3, and then I mostly started watching it because I was a huge Star Trek: Deep Space Nine fan, and I discovered that Armin Shimerman (Quark) played Principal Snyder on Buffy. Um, the end of Season 3 was a bad place to start watching for him, y’all. But I fell in love with the show and started watching regularly, and watching from the beginning. I think the only reason I didn’t watch it when it first started airing was because I wanted to believe I was Cool Girl™ who didn’t fall in line with mainstream girly crap. I was a judgmental idiot who had shitty opinions on things I’d never given a chance.

Anyway, Buffy, amirite, y’all?!

Continue reading “Recap #31 – Full Moon Blowout – Buffy the Vampire Slayer “Phases” – ep 2.15″

Banned Book Week Recap – Killing Mr. Griffin by Lois Duncan (Recap #30)

killingmrgriffin

Title: Killing Mr. Griffin

Author: Lois Duncan

Published: 1978 (My copy is the 1990 printing, meaning it’s still the original version of the text rather than the “updated” editions LoDunc herself “modernized.” Thank God.)

Description: The plan was only to scare their English teacher . . . . They never actually intended to kill Mr. Griffin. But sometimes plans go wrong.

Nostalgia Time!


So, for Banned Book Week (Sept. 23-29), I decided to recap a book that’s been challenged and banned from some schools and libraries. Believe it or not, Killing Mr. Griffin was #25 on the most challenged book list from 2000-2009. It was banned from a few California schools in the 1980s, and challenged in plenty more. Seems ridiculous, but most of the books on that list are. Supposedly, Killing Mr. Griffin contains “violence, murder, drinking, drugs, lying to authority, peer pressure, and smoking.” They forgot “foul language,” but Sinnott Elementary School in Milpitas, California didn’t in 1988 when they challenged it – they also added that it has “no redeeming qualities.” Hey, come on, guys. Determinations like that should be left to recappers on the internet, not school districts! Geez!

I remember reading a virtual shit ton of Lois Duncan when I was a kid – I checked a bunch of them out of the school library, oddly enough! Never this one, though, and maybe the whole “challenged/banned book” thing is why. I didn’t read this one until I was an older teenager, when I got it from the city library. A movie version was made for television in 1997, but I’m pretty sure I was unaware of it until a few years later. I honestly don’t remember the movie very well, although I’m about 90% sure I’ve seen it. I know I watched Teaching Mrs. Tingle at some point after reading this book because it looked like it was a rip-off of this story and I wondered if it was like an official gender-swapped version or something. Listen, the movies have not been kind to Ms. Duncan’s work. I Know What You Did Last Summer barely resembles the book it’s supposedly based on, and a TV movie of Gallows Hill that was retitled I’ve Been Waiting For You was frankly disappointing and forgettable. I mean, do you remember it at all? I was so excited for it because the book had come out only the year before, and I really liked it, and then . . . meh.

Anyway, I don’t remember Killing Mr. Griffin all that well, but I know I liked it. I’m sure there are tons of dated references, and a sociopath manipulating everyone into doing what he wants, and a sad-sack main girl who will go along with a lot of bullshit because of a boy she likes . . . hey, so I listened to the Teen Creeps podcast episode and it jogged my memory on some stuff, okay? At any rate, I’m looking forward to rereading and recapping this one for y’all, and also trying to parse why it’s a banned book.

Continue reading “Banned Book Week Recap – Killing Mr. Griffin by Lois Duncan (Recap #30)”

Recap #29 – The Dollhouse Murders by Betty Ren Wright

dollhousemurders

Title: The Dollhouse Murders

Author: Betty Ren Wright

Published: 1983

Tagline: The dolls didn’t forget . . .

Description: It was just an old dollhouse. Hidden away in the attic – collecting dust. Amy didn’t know that the dollhouse held a secret. A deadly secret that hadn’t been talked about in years. And now, the dolls have decided that Amy should be the one to know the truth. The truth about the night of the murder . . .

Nostalgia Time!


While I’m sure I’ve read other Betty Ren Wright books (the cover of Christina’s Ghost in particular looks far too familiar for me not to have checked it out of the school library around 3rd grade or so!), I had never read this one before. I got it a while back at the used book store down the street when they were having a warehouse sale – they opened up their back room and sold people however many books you could cram into a plastic bag for $5. This was one of the books I picked up, based on the cover and the fact that, well, it’s a creepy dollhouse, right? That’s gotta be good!

Spoiler alert: It was good!

Continue reading “Recap #29 – The Dollhouse Murders by Betty Ren Wright”