Recap #53 – Dance of Death by Jo Gibson

danceofdeath

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.

Continue reading “Recap #53 – Dance of Death by Jo Gibson”

Recap #19 – The Lifeguard by Richie Tankersley Cusick

lifeguard

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.)

Continue reading “Recap #19 – The Lifeguard by Richie Tankersley Cusick”

Recap #2 – The Mangler (1995)

mangler

Title: The Mangler

Directed by: Tobe Hooper

Released: 1995

Description (from Netflix because I found it absolutely fucking hilarious): Machines aren’t made to rise up against humans, but in this sci-fi thriller, one does. But why? Police detective John Hunton (Ted Levine) is on the case, as he begins to unravel the strange mystery of a folding machine that seems to yearn not for clothing but for flesh. What’s behind this lust for blood, and just who is responsible for turning it into a mangling creature? The answer may lie with the gadget’s owner, Bill Gartley (Robert Englund).

Tagline: There is a fate worse than death.

Note: For another perspective on this movie, I’ve provided a link to Sean and Joe at The Horror Show podcast, episode three of their Tobe Hooper series. I don’t share their weird hate-on for Ted Levine (hell, I like the guy), but they’re funny as fuck. Check ’em out!

Nostalgia Time!


Wow, that description, though. “But why?” is what I was asking throughout this entire movie. Also, the fate worse than death mentioned in the tagline? Pretty sure it’s referring to watching this movie. So, The Mangler came out in 1995, and I’m pretty sure I saw it when it was fairly new on VHS (kids, ask your parents), so I was maybe 15 or 16? I remember renting it when I was at the height of my Robert Englund/Freddy Krueger kick, so maybe more like 16 or 17. Whatever. Moving on. I don’t remember hating it back then. I didn’t remember much about it at all, really, except that I didn’t love it, didn’t hate it . . . and I always thought it was going to be a bit ridiculous, because if you’ve read the original Stephen King story, you have to know it’s not going to translate well to the screen. It’s just not. I mean, it’s a possessed laundry machine that at the end of the story comes to life and becomes mobile, ripping itself off its moorings and killing people (spoilers?), so of course that was never going to play well on screen! So I never really had nostalgia glasses on with this one, since upon rewatching it I realized I barely remembered anything about it from my first viewing. Now I’m pretty sure that was my brain trying to protect me by blocking it out so that I didn’t have to spend the rest of my days obsessing over how magnificently awful it was. Like I’ve been doing ever since I rewatched it, after I asked myself, “It couldn’t have been that bad, could it?”

Spoiler alert: yes. Yes, it could. Continue reading “Recap #2 – The Mangler (1995)”