A Celebration of 90’s Horror: The Decade That’s Better Than You Remember

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Look at all of this good horror! LOOK AT IT!

Hey, folks! Lately I’ve been hearing/reading that a lot of people think horror in the nineties sucked. Different people seem to be referring to different things – quality of movies, or the variety of movies available. I’m baffled by this opinion, as the nineties had so many great movies, and a huge variety of horror sub-genres. Seriously, the nineties couldn’t figure out what they wanted to be, so they threw everything at us. And that’s a good thing! It resulted in a decade that assured that no matter your personal horror tastes, there would be something there to please you. It was the decade that either kicked off or continued dozens of huge horror franchises. Hell, it was the decade of the Stephen King miniseries! A terrible decade for horror? I . . . I don’t understand these words coming out of your mouth. (Or your Twitter, or your Reddit, or your . . . well, you get the picture.)

So, take my hand and join me on this journey through the nineties, year by year, as we explore the best the decade had to offer.

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Recap #53 – Dance of Death by Jo Gibson

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Title: Dance of Death

Author: Jo Gibson (AKA Joanne Fluke)

Published: 1996

Tagline: Shoes to die for

Description: They were the most gorgeous shoes Donna Burke had ever seen. An exquisite pair of scarlet high heels. And allegedly cursed. According to the old shopkeeper, the shoes endowed their wearers with incredible talent – and horrible misfortune. But that doesn’t stop Donna’s friends from buying them. One by one, the girls are drawn to the shoes. One by one, the girls suffer grisly fates. And learn a sinister, final truth: One size kills all.

Nostalgia Time!


So, we meet again, Jo Gibson. And here I thought your only teen thrillers were the three holiday-themed ones that I already recapped. How silly of me. For since that time, I have thus discovered four more, resulting in my immediate purchase of your collection entitled Afraid, wherein are contained both this novel, and one called The Dead Girl. Did you think you could hide these tomes from me, my dastardly arch-nemesis? Muah-ha, the hubris!

Ahem.

Apologies, folks. Something about Jo always makes me a little overly dramatic. In all seriousness, I’m not quite sure if I’ve read this book before. It seems vaguely familiar, but that might just be because it’s inspired by the Hans Christian Andersen story, The Red Shoes. The Wikipedia page for that story actually has this book listed as an adaptation, which surprised me to no end. I just figured this book wasn’t the sort of thing people remembered and put on Wikipedia.

Anyway, I always tend to have fun snarking on Jo (except for the Surprise!Rape in The Seance; that killed my fun right quick), so I’m looking forward to cringing my way through this one. And since I’ve never read it before (maybe?), I thought I’d go ahead and recap as I read, so you get my more immediate reactions. I have zero predictions; since this isn’t holiday-themed (that I know of), I don’t think we’re using the same story template as Slay Bells.

Deep breath. Here we go.

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Recap #52 – 99 Fear Street: The Third Horror by R.L. Stine

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Title: 99 Fear Street: The Third Horror

Author: R.L. Stine

Published: October 1994

Description: Lights . . . Camera . . . Murder . . .

Kody Frasier always swore she’d come back to 99 Fear Street. She knows the spirit of her dead sister, Cally, is trapped there, waiting to be set free. Now Kody is starring in a movie about the evil that murdered Cally, set in the very house that destroyed their family. If she can just find Cally, she can help her . . .

But Cally doesn’t want to be saved. She’s been waiting all this time for revenge. And once the movie camera is rolling, Cally is going to give Kody the surprise ending of a lifetime!

Nostalgia Time!


Well, here we are, closing out the 99 Fear Street trilogy. (Recaps of the first and second books can be found at these links.) This is an odd one. I’m tempted to say it’s the weakest of the trilogy, but then I remember how monotonous the second one is in between the random ridiculous shit. This one doesn’t have anything as off-the-rails bonkers as that one (no zombies; no one fights a raccoon), but it does have long stretches of monotony. I dunno, guys. Let’s get into it and see if my opinion crystalizes as I examine this book more closely.

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Recap #51 – Sister Dearest by D.E. Athkins

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Title: Sister Dearest

Author: D.E. Athkins (aka Nola Thacker)

Published: November 1991

Tagline: Blood is thicker than water . . .

Description: The only good sister is a dead sister.

Her older sister is gorgeous. Her older brother is cool. But their baby sister Vicki is a real wild child.

The school year has just begun and Vicki already has a new guy – and some brand new enemies, including the new principal. But she doesn’t care. She just wants to have fun, fun, fun. She won’t listen to her brother. She won’t listen to her sister. She won’t even listen to her best friend.

Too bad.

Because if she keeps on pushing the limits, she’s going to go too far.

And it’s going to cost her.

Dearly.

Nostalgia Time!


This book was published when I was ten, and if I read it, it had to have been sometime around that time. I read this back in December 2018 (and live-tweeted it, because it was so ridiculous that I had to share certain bits immediately instead of waiting around to do the full recap), and I didn’t remember anything about it, although it felt vaguely familiar in that same way that most Point Horrors do. Hey, we’re back around to a Point Horror, guys! This might be the shortest Point Horror ever published, clocking in at 106 pages, but don’t worry. There’s a lot of ridiculousness packed into those 106 pages.

Before we get started, I’d just like to point out that author Nola Thacker seems to be a sucker for punny pen names. D.E. Athkins spells “Deathkins” when you run it together, and she also wrote the Graveyard School series under the name “Tom B. Stone.” I’ll let y’all put that one together yourselves.

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Recap #50b – Fright Night (2011)

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Title: Fright Night

Director: Craig Gillespie

Released: August 19, 2011

Description: Meet the sexy new neighbor, Jerry Dandrige (Colin Farrell). He’s dangerously charming – and utterly lethal. That’s because he just happens to be a vampire, and out for blood . . . buckets of it. After high school senior Charley Brewster (Anton Yelchin) makes the connection between Jerry’s suspicious activity and a steadily rising body count, he vows to end the reign of terror next door. But he can’t do it alone. His only hope is Las Vegas magician/vampire-slayer Peter Vincent (David Tennant). Together, this unlikely duo set out to end Jerry’s evil rampage. But Jerry is a ruthless, relentless killer, and he’s not going down without a fight. Get set to sink your teeth into this thrilling re-vamp of the terrifying horror classic. Featuring a star-studded cast and crawling with bonus (sic), Fright Night will captivate you from the very first bite!

Nostalgia Time!


So, like I said in my recap of the original Fright Night, I decided to recap both versions of this movie as a combination of my 50th recap for this site and my birthday recap. I couldn’t think of anything birthday related, and I suddenly got it in my head that this would be fun. So I had to run out to the mall (yep, that’s . . . still a thing) and buy this version, because I didn’t own it and it’s not streaming anywhere. Boyfriend wasn’t even aware this version existed, but when I told him David Tennant and Colin Farrell are in it, he told me, “Ah, okay, that explains why you like it.” I mean . . . he’s not wrong. Anyway, it’s just a happy coincidence that both the OG and this one came out in theaters in August of their respective years. So we’re all celebrating birthdays this month! Yay!

I don’t have the same connection to this one that I have to the original – I saw it once in February of 2012, and didn’t remember it at all. Watching it for this recap was seriously like watching it for the first time – I didn’t remember anything that was going to happen. I didn’t even remember how much I liked it before, but I found the old notebook in which I used to write down every movie I watched (look, I’m very precise about very odd things, okay?) and I found this one listed as such: “2/6/2012: Fright Night 2011 – Pretty great remake. Not as cheesy as the original.” (It was also the 32nd movie I’d watched so far that year. Damn I’ve slowed down my movie-watching since then.)

So, I guess I liked it. And I’m not alone – it has a 6.4 on IMDb, and a 72% on Rotten Tomatoes. Which is a bit higher than I expected, given the tendency of people to shit on remakes just because they can.

Also, real quick: I’m not here to compare and contrast this version with the OG in this recap. Some comparison may be unavoidable, but I’m going to do my best to approach this version on its own merits. Despite being a remake, it’s not really the same story at all, and is very much its own thing, so I’m going to treat it that way.

Oh. Except for this:

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Well, this didn’t clear things up at all. Also, my polls are clearly not very popular. Oh, well, at least nobody chose to call me a dope!

Continue reading “Recap #50b – Fright Night (2011)”

Recap #50a – Fright Night (1985)

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Title: Fright Night

Director: Tom Holland

Released: August 2, 1985

Description: Meet Jerry Dandrige. He’s sweet, sexy, and he likes to sleep in late. You might think he’s the perfect neighbor. But before inviting Jerry in for a nightcap, there’s just one thing you should know. Jerry prefers his drinks warm, red – and straight from the jugular! It’s FRIGHT NIGHT, a horrific howl starring Chris Sarandon as the seductive vampire and William Ragsdale as the frantic teenager struggling to keep Jerry’s deadly fangs out of his neck. Only 17-year-old Charley Brewster knows Jerry’s bloodcurdling secret. When Charley can’t get anybody to believe him, he turns to TV horror host Peter Vincent (Roddy McDowall), who used to be the “Great Vampire Killer” of the movies. Can these mortals save Charley and his sweetheart Amy (Amanda Bearse) from the wrathful bloodsucker’s toothy embrace? If you love being scared, FRIGHT NIGHT will give you the nightmare of your life!

Nostalgia Time!


So, we’re back around to August, which means it’s time for my birthday again, which also happens to coincide with my 50th recap. This year, I decided to do something I’ve never done before, which is to recap a movie and its remake back-to-back. Hence why this is labeled Recap #50a instead of just 50. The 2011 version of Fright Night will of course be Recap #50b.

This movie was released eleven days before my fourth birthday. I can’t for the life of me remember when I saw it for the first time. I was super obsessed with vampires between the ages of about 16-19, so it was probably sometime in there. This movie is 80s as fuck. The effects are cheesy as hell. But it’s a vampire classic, and deservedly so. I’ve seen it an obscene number of times at this point, and I still love its cheesy, goofy ass.

I also love these back-of-box descriptions that are basically acting as hype man for the movie. Eighties. As. Fuck. (Except the box description for the 2011 version also kind of does this, so I guess I can’t completely blame the 80s. *shrug*)

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Recap #49 – The Lost Mind by Christopher Pike

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Outside view
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Inside flap view

Title: The Lost Mind

Author: Christopher Pike

Published: August 1995

Tagline: Someone had stolen her memory . . .

Description: She didn’t know what she had done.

She awoke in the woods beside a dead body. There was a knife in her hand, blood on her clothes. Had she killed the young woman who lay beside her? She couldn’t remember.

She couldn’t remember anything.

Not even her own name.

It was as if someone had stolen her mind.

Stolen her soul.

Nostalgia Time!


Guys! I’m really excited to recap this book! This used to be one of my absolute favorite Pike books. I’m a sucker for this type of story, with amnesia and . . . something that’s a spoiler. This story had concepts in it that I became obsessed with for years after reading it.

I don’t remember when I read this; I would have turned 14 the month it was released, but I could have sworn I was a few years older than that when I read it. Maybe it took me a while to get around to it, I don’t know. Anyway, I went ahead and reread this one before I started recapping this time around, and it turns out I still love this book! It’s not without its issues, as most of these books from the 90s aren’t, but it’s still pretty great, y’all.

Note from Future Me: I really struggled and procrastinated with this recap. Apparently I’m only excited and good at recapping things I hate. *tries to figure out how to give myself the side-eye*

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Random Review: Hellbenders (2012)

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Title: Hellbenders

Year: 2012

Writer/Director: J.T. Petty

Starring: Clancy Brown, Clifton Collins Jr., Larry Fessenden

Tagline: Deliver them to evil (There’s also “They’re going to hell so we won’t have to.” I picked the one I liked better to feature here.)

Description: The Augustine Interfaith Order of Hellbound Saints, a team of blasphemous ministers who live in a constant state of debauchery, work to drag the worst of demons back to Hell. (From IMDb.)

So, hi guys! You might have noticed that my title up there says “Review” rather than “Recap,” and you might further be wondering what the hell I’m doing here, changing up formats and such. (Unless this is your first visit to this site and therefore you have no fucking clue what I’m blabbering about, in which case, Welcome! and how dare you accuse me of blabbering.) To which I respond that every now and then I watch a movie that I want to talk about, but don’t really have the desire to do a full recap of, for whatever reason. So, this marks the first time I’m going to attempt a review with more substance to it than what I write on Letterboxd, but less involved than a full recap. And you get to take this wild ride with me, as I work out all the kinks and bullshit! Lucky(???) you!

Note: because I’m me, there will definitely be spoilers ahead. There are movies/books I’ll review spoiler-free, but this ain’t one of them, y’all.

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Child’s Play 3 (1991) (Recap #48)

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Title: Child’s Play 3

Director: Jack Bender

Released: August 30, 1991 (US)

Tagline: Look who’s stalking

Description: It’s been years since Chucky, the doll with the soul and the voice (Brad Dourif) of a psychopathic killer, was apparently destroyed in a fire at a doll factory. Now Chucky’s manufacturer is remaking the same line of toys with the old, still haunted materials. This resurrects Chucky, who goes after Andy (Justin Whalin), his former owner, who now attends military school. Chucky slashes his way through a string of grotesque murders as Andy tries to stop the homicidal doll and the spirit within it. (From Google movies)

Initial Thoughts


Welcome back to Dove and my Child’s Play recaps! (You can find our other recaps in the series here or here.)

Now, objectively this is the worst movie of the “original” three (23% Rotten Tomatoes; 5.1 IMDb), but it has a special place in my heart. It was the first Chucky movie I ever saw, recorded one night on a VHS tape that also had A Nightmare on Elm Street 2 5 on it. I had asked my dad to record one of those movies for me (I think it was Nightmare 5, because I remember the TV station was showing them out of order), and rather than program a recording time, my dad put the tape in, hit record, and let it record until the end of the six-hour tape. So I ended up with the two Freddy movies, with Child’s Play 3 in between them. And about 5-10 minutes of . . . something else at the end of the tape. The tape ended before that movie reached the opening credits, so it shall forever remain a mystery. (It might have been Halloween 2.)

I know Dove has something she wants to say about the controversy this movie caused in the UK because of some little shithead murderers, so I’ll let her get to that here if she feels like it, and then we’ll jump into the recap. Dove?

[Dove: If you’re in the UK and you were into horror movies in the 90s, then this film will be forever linked with the murder of James Bulger a month before his third birthday by two ten-year-old boys. At the time, our gobshite tabloids and Mary Whitehouse decided to push an agenda of trying to ban “video nasties”, by tastelessly cashing in on the brutal murder of a toddler. Even though it was a tenuous link (one of the murderers’ fathers had rented it, and it was never established whether either of the boys had ever seen it), the tabloids had a field day telling everyone that horror movies were to blame, due to some similarities. For me, this movie will always be attached to that horrible crime, even though I don’t believe it was a contributing factor – or if it was, it was at the bottom of a long list that started with far uglier things than a mediocre slasher movie. Also, people gave me the side-eye when I reported that I was only a year or two older than the murderers, I had rented the movie around the same time, and somehow I managed to not kill anyone.

I know this has nothing to do with the movie, but it feels a bit weird to recap it without mentioning the controversy that was attached – however feebly – to it.]

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Recap #47 – The Listeners by Bebe Faas Rice

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Title: The Listeners

Author: Bebe Faas Rice

Published: March 1996

Tagline: Kathy’s new house hides old secrets that could frighten her to death

Description: Too good to be true.

When the Colby family moved to a suburb of Washington, DC, they found a huge old mansion in a great part of town. But when sixteen-year-old Kathy was alone in the house, she had the strangest feeling that someone was there, listening. Soon she learned that the perfect house had a disturbing past. Ten years before, a family had been murdered there. Although they never caught the killer, the police knew who it was. That killer was supposed to be dead, but Kathy didn’t like the creepy character who hung around the neighborhood doing odd jobs. Kathy didn’t like him at all, but nobody was listening to her.

Nostalgia Time!


First off, whew, that description pretty much gives the whole story away, doesn’t it? Or does it? It’s been so long since I’ve read this, I don’t remember a lot about the story. Still, that description seems like it tells you pretty much everything that happens, huh?

So, I remember lying on the couch in my living room to read this book when I was fourteen. I was enchanted and somewhat obsessed with the snippet of poem that starts us off on the title page – it’s The Listeners by Walter de la Mare, and the snippet goes like this: . . . But only a host of phantom listeners/That dwelt in the lone house then/Stood listening in the quiet of the moonlight/To that voice from the world of men

I loved that bit. (The full poem can be found here. I don’t love it in its entirety as much as I loved that one excerpt, though.) I remember finding this book spooky and beautiful; eerie like that bit of poem. I think there were real ghosts, and I fucking love this cover art. But, then again, I said the same exact things about Rice’s Music From the Dead, and that turned out to be a total shitshow on my revisit. With that in mind, I can’t quite work up the enthusiasm my memory is insisting this book deserves. But the only way to find out is to get to it, right?

Here we go!

Continue reading “Recap #47 – The Listeners by Bebe Faas Rice”