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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Recap #47 – The Listeners by Bebe Faas Rice

listeners

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!

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Recap #45 – The Monkees – “Monkee vs Machine” ep 1.3

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Series: The Monkees

Episode: Monkee vs Machine (Season 1 Episode 3)

Original Airdate: Sept. 26, 1966

Writer: David Panich

Director: Bob Rafelson

Description: After Peter fails a job interview at a toy factory conducted by a computer, Mike makes the same machine short circuit and is promptly hired. Soon all four Monkees take a stand against the technology minded Mr Daggart in favor of old fashioned, hand made toys. (From IMDb)

Nostalgia Time!


I unashamedly and unironically love the Monkees, guys. About 10-15 years ago I started really diving into the music and watched all the episodes on DVD. Before that, I remember watching them with my cousin when the show was rerun on MTV in the 80s. There was only one specific episode I remember from then, and this isn’t it, but this one is one of my favorites. Reportedly it was also one of Peter Tork’s favorites, and when I heard he had died in February of this year (2019 if you’re reading this in the future) I decided to recap this as soon as I could. It took me a while to get to it, because I was in the middle of recapping the ever-so-shitty book, The Yearbook, but we’re here now, folks.

Also, for some reason I always think this episode is more Peter-centric, but then it turns more into a Mike episode, and I always somehow forget that.

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Recap #38 – Girl Talk #1: Welcome to Junior High!

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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.

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Recap #32 – Funhouse by Diane Hoh

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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!

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

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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)

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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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Recap #23 – Wait Till Helen Comes by Mary Downing Hahn

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Title: Wait Till Helen Comes

Author: Mary Downing Hahn

Published: Nov. 1987

Description: Beware of Helen . . .

Heather is such a whiny little brat. Always getting Michael and me into trouble. But since our mother married her father, we’re stuck with her . . . our “poor stepsister” who lost her real mother in a mysterious fire.

But now something terrible has happened. Heather has found a new friend, out in the graveyard behind our home – a girl named Helen who died with her family in a mysterious fire over a hundred years ago. Now her ghost returns to lure children into the pond . . . to drown! I don’t want to believe in ghosts, but I’ve followed Heather into the graveyard and watched her talk to Helen. And I’m terrified. Not for myself, but for Heather . . .

Nostalgia Time!


This is one of my favorite books from childhood. I remember reading it when I was about eight years old and loving it. I think I owned it but lost it over the years, so when I was a young teen I decided I wanted it back, but none of the local bookstores had it in stock. I had the Walden Books in the mall special order it for me, because Amazon wasn’t a thing yet. I remember being slightly embarrassed as a teenager ordering what is essentially a children’s book, but I was so happy when it came in, and upon rereading it, it was as good as I’d remembered from when I was eight. On this reread . . . guys, it’s still good!

There’s a movie version that came out in late 2016/early 2017 starring Callum Keith Rennie (whom I adore) and Maria Bello as the parents, and I’m considering watching and recapping it as well. However, most of the reviews were lukewarm at best, and I guess it premiered on the Lifetime channel (with the title Little Girl’s Secret, which makes it sound like a whole other type of movie altogether), so I don’t have high hopes for it. It might make for a snarkier recap, though. If I can find it as a rental I have more than 24 hours with, it may end up as a companion piece to this.

Finally, I just need to talk about this cover for a second. I love it! Helen looks creepy as hell; if she or Heather have any peripheral vision at all, then they already know Molly is spying on them, and can we talk about Heather’s fabulous mullet? I. Love. It. This is the perfect 1980s cover, guys! (But also, it’s summertime, so why is everyone wearing sweatshirts . . . ?) Boyfriend saw the cover and called it the most eighties thing he’s ever seen (not wrong), and then when I told him what it’s about, he was like, Damn, that’s pretty heavy for a kids’ book. (Again, not wrong.)

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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.)

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