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?!

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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.

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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!

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Recap #28 – Deadly Detention by Eric Weiner

deadlydetention

Title: Deadly Detention

Author: Eric Weiner

Published: June 1994

Tagline: Just pray you’re not kept after school . . .

Description: When it comes to punishment, no one dishes it out the way Harrison High’s Mr. Crowley does. But there’s something even weirder than usual going on today. No one knows that better than the six juniors and seniors who are being kept after school. The doors are padlocked. All the windows are covered with wire mesh. And the phone wires have been cut. No one can get in – or out.

And somewhere along the dark and deserted hallways of Harrison High, a sadistic madman lurks . . . waiting to administer his special brand of discipline.

The fatal kind . . .

Nostalgia Time!


It’s still sort of back to school time, so how about a book about teenagers in detention getting killed off one-by-one?

This book came out right before I turned thirteen. I remember reading it when I was about 13 or 14, so that tracks. I’ve been wanting to do this one for a while, because I remember really liking it. That’s not to say it’s good. It’s probably not. If I remember correctly, the motive for murder is incredibly stupid. There’s a very stereotypical fat character, along with plenty of fat-shaming. Hell, the back-of-book description is telling us all about a madman – crazy for crazy’s sake, apparently. So, you know, mental health done well.

Still, I apparently liked this book enough at some point to read it several times – the spine of my book is nearly destroyed. So, let’s revisit this one, shall we?

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