Recap #46 – 99 Fear Street: The Second Horror by R.L. Stine

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Title: 99 Fear Street: The Second Horror

Author: R.L. Stine

Published: Sept. 1994

Description: There’s no place like this home . . .

At first, Brandt McCloy thinks moving to Shadyside is great. He has attracted the attention of three beautiful girls – Meg, Jinny, and Abbie. [The book doesn’t actually put the Oxford comma between the last two girls’ names, but fuck that mess. Also, I hate how Jinny is spelled.] But Brandt hasn’t heard the terrifying stories about his new home – 99 Fear Street. He doesn’t know about the headless bodies, the bleeding walls. [Wait, what? When did the walls bleed? The ceiling bled . . .] He doesn’t know that Cally Frasier still haunts the house and plans gruesome deaths for him and everyone close to him. Poor Brandt – what he doesn’t know will hurt him. [That . . . that’s not the expression at all.]

Note: You can find the recap for The First Horror right here. While it’s probably not absolutely necessary to read it before diving into this one, it wouldn’t be a bad idea. Anyway, it’s there if you want to check it out. I will probably refer to jokes I made in that recap, so it’s best to be prepared. Um, something something, shameless self-promotion.

Nostalgia Time!


Well, here we are, guys. Back to R.L. Stine. It had to happen sometime, huh? Fortunately, I really enjoy (or at least, remember enjoying) this trilogy, so it shouldn’t be too bad. I don’t remember this one as clearly as I did the first one, except for the twist ending. Well, one of the twists. I think there are a couple. Other than that, I remembered nothing about the story. I think this one is the weakest of the trilogy, but I wouldn’t swear to it.

Let’s find out!

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Recap #44 – The Yearbook by Peter Lerangis

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Title: The Yearbook

Author: Peter Lerangis

Published: 1994

Tagline: Most likely . . . to DIE!

Description: According to his IQ test, David Kallas is a genius, even if his teachers think he’s a slacker. His sole extracurricular activity is the yearbook, and he only became editor as an excuse to get close to Ariana Maas. On his way to the printer’s to check on the book, he takes a shortcut to spy on Ariana and her boyfriend—the impossibly perfect Stephen Taylor—and ends up finding something even nastier than two students making out: a butchered corpse floating in the creek. The body leads David to a disturbing secret about his school’s past. When members of the senior class start dying, David is determined to solve the mystery and save the school—even if he has to destroy himself to do it.

Nostalgia Time!


Well, it had to happen. After a short run recapping things I actually enjoyed, we had to get back to a book that makes me rage. I might be biased from reading the book, but that description absolutely makes David sound like an incel Nice Guy™ asshole, right? Because he is. Which I unfortunately didn’t remember before buying the Kindle version of this. This character is the fucking worst.

Anyway, I remember owning this book; I didn’t remember the overall story, though. I remembered exactly two oddly specific things – the first was the lead female character tying a cherry stem in a knot with her tongue. The second was the same character talking about Pepsi dissolving a tooth left in it overnight. I remember this leading me to test this out with one of my baby teeth (this book came out when I was 13, so I shouldn’t have still been losing baby teeth, so I’m a little confused where the tooth came from), and finding out it’s bullshit. I’m sure Pepsi will dissolve teeth eventually, but it takes longer than overnight.

Anyway, after reading and refreshing my memory, I have no idea why this book is called The Yearbook, or why that cover up there exists. The yearbook is only a peripheral part of the story, really. I guess it would have been too on the nose to title it “Lovecraftian Monsters in the School Basement.” However, there is a second cover (I suspect it’s the UK cover) that gets to the point much quicker than the US cover.

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Spoilers!

Much more honest. Also much more WTF. They really don’t bury the lede on the UK covers, do they?

Anyway, this book is weird. We have time jumps, secret cults, eldritch horrors, and a protagonist that I want to set on fire. I think the scariest part of this book is the fact that we’re supposed to be on David’s side. Like, he’s the hero. We’re supposed to root for him. We’re, I think, supposed to be rooting for him to get together with the girl he’s stalking and girlfriend-zoning (basically friendzoning, but from the uninterested girl’s perspective). It’s gross and I hate it. Prepare to read 10,000 words of me raging. [Note from Future Me: 10,000 words was way too conservative an estimate.]

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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.

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Recap #39 – Crash Course by Nicole Davidson

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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.

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

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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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Birthday Recap – Leo: Stage Fright (Zodiac #1) by Jahnna N. Malcolm (Recap #26)

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Title: Leo: Stage Fright (Zodiac #1)

Author: Jahnna N. Malcolm (Actually wife/husband team Jahnna Beecham and Malcolm Hillgartner – Jahnna ‘n Malcolm, get it?)

Published: July 1995

Tagline: The stage is set for danger

Description: Break a leg, Lydia.

First she falls into the open trapdoor on the night of her high school play’s cast party. Then she finds a creepy, voodoo-like doll in her locker. And then a car tries to run her down in the park. It looks as if someone wants seventeen-year-old Lydia out of the picture, but who? Sure, Lydia loves the spotlight, but that’s what Leos live for.

When auditions for the production of Evita get under way, Lydia’s usual confidence is gone – her best friend isn’t speaking to her, another friend accuses her of being jealous of the new girl in town, and her audition is sabotaged. Lydia knows that someone is out to get her, but by the time she discovers who it is, it may be too late.

Nostalgia Time!


I’ve actually got nothing for this. I know I read this book as a teenager, but other than one tiny little nothing scene, I didn’t remember a single thing about it. It didn’t even come back to me as I reread it, which is kind of unusual. This book is pretty unremarkable, though, so it’s not too hard to see why I didn’t remember it. Also, I’m a little confused as to why this series starts with Leo. I can’t find a single instance of Leo being listed first in any zodiac chart. I mean, I’m cool with it, it’s just confusing.

I wanted to do this recap for my birthday, since I am also a Leo. (August 13th, yo!) I am nothing like our protagonist, Lydia, however. I considered taking a shot every time she mentioned being a Leo, but a couple chapters in I realized I would have died of alcohol poisoning long before the end of the book, so I (reluctantly) scrapped that idea.

One last thing – the female half of this writing duo was born right here in my hometown of Wichita, Kansas, so that’s kind of cool. You know, even though I’m not really a fan, I’ve still gotta shout out my famous (???) Wichita peeps.

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Recap #25 – Twin Terror by Janice Harrell

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Title: Twin Terror

Author: Janice Harrell

Published: 1996

Tagline: Murder . . . times two

Description: If at first you don’t succeed . . .

An urn of ashes labeled “Isabel Herrick” sat in a closet upstairs, and a police report on my twin’s murder had been filed at the beach town of Duck Cove. In spite of that, I found Isabel waiting for me when I went to the house.

Elizabeth can’t believe it when her murdered twin sister turns up alive and well. Isabel has just been hiding, hoping that Elizabeth’s presence will flush out the mysterious person who’d tried to kill her.

But now Isabel really is dead – and the police think Elizabeth is the killer. Trapped in a terrifying world where nothing is what it seems, Elizabeth struggles to solve her twin’s murder and save herself in this page-turning thriller.

Nostalgia Time!


Well, we finally made it, folks. The exciting conclusion to Twin Sisters, that I’ve waited over twenty years to read. (Seriously, if you haven’t read the recap of Twin Sisters, please do so now. This book is incomprehensible without knowing what happens in the first part, and I’m not going to waste time recapping my previous recap.)

So. This book was a thing. A frustrating letdown of a thing. Since I’d never read it before, the only nostalgia story I have is what I wrote in my Twin Sisters recap, but I was hoping it would be at least as good as the first book. It was not. It has this weird feeling of being both too rushed, and somehow also very padded out. These two books could have easily been one slightly longer book if the pacing had been a bit more evened out. I’m disappointed that Ms. Harrell is back to shitty Murder Game form for the conclusion of this story.

Oh, and just for shits and giggles, here’s the book I actually own, rather than the pristine cover up there:

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12/10 would also black out Liz’s teeth in person

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Recap #22 – Hit and Run by R.L. Stine

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Title: Hit and Run

Author: R.L. Stine

Published: June 1992

Tagline: Look before you cross . . . .

Description: License to drive. License to kill.

Eddie, Scott, Winks, and Cassie. They went out for a drive one night. Just to practice, so Eddie would be sure and get his license.

Then Eddie had a little accident. Now four friends share a terrible secret.

Because Eddie hit someone and killed him.

Didn’t he?

Nostalgia Time!


This came out a couple months before my 11th birthday, and I’m pretty sure I remember reading it around that time, but I had only the vaguest recollection of the book itself. It started coming back to me as I read it, but I think I would have figured this one out pretty quick even if it hadn’t. It wasn’t hard, especially taking into account the fact that R.L. Stine was almost vehemently opposed to anything supernatural going on in his Point Horror novels. Rule of thumb? If it appears to be zombies, it’s really just an elaborate prank set up by your shitty friends. (Spoilers.) Which is why I thought this recap would be perfect for April Fool’s Day. I considered doing Richie Tankersley Cusick’s April Fools, but I couldn’t handle another RTC so soon after recapping The Lifeguard. I’m still scarred by that one, guys.

So, apparently the copy of this book I bought at a used book sale a few months ago belonged to Thelma. I hope Thelma enjoyed it more than I did.

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You go, Thelma

 

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Recap #20 – Spring Break by Barbara Steiner

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Title: Spring Break

Author: Barbara Steiner

Published: 1996

Tagline: Sun, surf . . . murder?

Description: Five high school kids get their dream vacation—which soon turns into a nightmare.

Angie, her brother, and her three best friends anticipate the perfect spring break when their prayers are answered—a beach vacation without parents! The only problem is finding somewhere to stay—turns out every hotel is filled with other spring breakers. They luck out when they find a three-story beach-house rental, which happens to be run by the incredibly handsome Val. Is it too good to be true?

Soon, Angie starts hearing strange noises—footsteps, a mysterious sound of crying. Her friends say her imagination is getting the best of her, but when one by one, they go missing, she knows the danger is real . . . and this vacation could be her last.

Nostalgia Time!


Um, I got nothing, guys. I would have been about 15 when this book was published, and it’s certainly the sort of thing I would have read, but even after reading it for this recap I have no idea if I’ve ever read it before. (I bought it cheap on Kindle; it didn’t come out of my basement box of old books.) This book is so forgettable that it’s absolutely possible I read it back in the day and don’t remember it. Hell, I’m looking at the surfboard on that cover and desperately trying to remember if anyone surfs in this book. Incidentally, that’s not the cover art that came with my Kindle version. The Kindle art is boring as fuck; there’s another cover that is basically one big spoiler for what happens at the end of the book; then there’s this cover that I feel is the best one. I just can’t fucking remember if anyone surfs, so I can’t call out if this cover is a lie. [Note from Future Me: It’s a lie. Nary a surfboard to be found.] The description is a lie, though! Val is not the caretaker or landlord or whatever that description is trying to make you believe. He’s a cute guy Angie meets on the beach, who’s camping somewhere down the coast. Who writes these lying descriptions, anyway? I won’t lie to you, y’all!

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Recap #19 – The Lifeguard by Richie Tankersley Cusick

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Title: The Lifeguard

Author: Richie Tankersley Cusick

Published: 1988

Tagline: Don’t call for help. He may just kill you.

Description: A summer of sun, sand – and murder. Kelsey’s summer should have been paradise: An invitation to rich and famous Beverly Island, complete with sun-drenched beaches and three gorgeous lifeguards on duty.

But Kelsey’s summer is the opposite of paradise. It starts with the note under her pillow from a girl who’s missing. Then there’s the crazy man in the lighthouse who won’t leave Kelsey alone. And there have been a number of suspicious drownings . . .

At least she has the lifeguards around to protect her . . .

Poor Kelsey. Someone forgot to tell her that lifeguards don’t always like to save lives.

Nostalgia Time!


Well here we finally have it, folks – a book I have actual nostalgia about on my nostalgia recap site! This is the one that kicked it all off for me, but before we get to that, can we talk about this cover for a hot minute? The lifeguard on the cover looks about thirty-five; is he supposed to be one of the boys in the book? He looks like Harry Hamlin. What the fuck.

Okay, so I’m pretty well convinced that this is the first Point Horror I ever read, at the tender age of 8 or 9 years old. I had a friend at the time who lived across the street and was three years older than me, so she had all the creepy books. I borrowed this from her and read a good portion of it before she knocked on my door and told me her mom was making her get it back from me because she thought I was too young to be reading it. Baby Me was frantic – I had to find out who the killer was! This was not fair! So I did something I haven’t done since – I flipped to the back of the book and read the end so I would know who the bad guy was. The shame still burns bright. Also, it didn’t make a lot of sense without reading all the chapters that came before the end. So, some number of years later (I’ll be damned if I can remember how many), I got hold of The Lifeguard again and read the whole thing, without any nosy friends’ moms telling me I couldn’t! Ha! I have great affection for this book, so I was thrilled to read a recap of it at The Devil’s Elbow recap site, and then listen to a Teen Creeps podcast episode on it. None of these ladies seem to have the same affection for it that I do, however, which was quite an affront to my inner 8-year-old self. (Don’t worry, I’ve gotten over it. We’re all friends here.) Clearly nostalgia is a key factor in enjoying this one. As of this very second of me typing these words you’re reading with your very own eyes, I’m exactly halfway through rereading the book, and . . . yeah, not gonna lie, it’s kinda rough. I’m sure 8-year-old me would be punching 36-year-old me in the face right now, but . . . this book is not the fine piece of literature it was in my memory. Ah, well. Onward and upward, right? (Note from Future Me: Nope. There’s nowhere to go but down, straight into the deepest reaches of Hell. Pray for me.)

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