Nostalgic Bookshelf

Snarky recaps of nostalgic media, including Making Out, Baywatch, Blyton and Baby-Sitter's Club
23
Jun 2018
Fear Street Super Chiller 6 The Dead Lifeguard by R L Stine

Fear Street Super Chiller 6 The Dead Lifeguard by R L Stine

The Author:

Like RL Stine needs any introduction. The incredibly prolific author of such series as Goosebumps and Fear Street, not to mention the Fear Street Reboot and some adult titles as well, Stine’s been around for a while and integral to the formation of horror love for many people my age. Sometimes ridiculous, sometimes creepy, always some of the most excellent deaths in YA, Stine is a mainstay in the young adult horror world and I wouldn’t have it any other way.

The Blurb:

The lifeguards at North Beach Country Club know they’re lucky. While other kids are flipping burgers, they’re sunning themselves by day and partying by night. So what if some people say the place is cursed, haunted. This is the life!

And then, one by one, the lifeguards start to die horrible deaths. Someone – or something – evil is stalking them. They all know how to save other people’s lives . . . But who will save theirs?

DUN DUN DUN.

The Place:

North Beach Country Club in Random Place, USA, with a cameo appearance of Fear Street for about a nanosecond. Where is Fear Street supposed to be, anyway? I’m under the vague impression it’s Long Island, but I could be really wrong there.

[Wing: There is a lot of debate about this. The consensus seems to be Ohio most of the time, but that often doesn’t make sense in the summer books that involve a beach.]

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22
Jun 2018
Fear Street Super Chiller 12 High Tide by R L Stine

Fear Street Super Chiller 12 High Tide by R L Stine

Title: Fear Street Super Chiller #12 – High Tide, a.k.a. “Wave Race: Blood Storm”

Author: R.L. Stine

Cover Artist: Bill Schmidt

Tagline: A lifeguard’s job can be murder…

Summary: Blood on the water…

Adam Malfitano still has nightmares about the night his girlfriend, Mitzi, died. He sees the blood. He sees her in the water. He is a lifeguard, and he can’t save her. He wakes up screaming.

Even worse, he has begun to see Mitzi while he is awake. He knows it is impossible… but she looks so real. He can see her face decaying. What does she want from him? Why won’t she leave him alone? He tried to save her – doesn’t she know that?

Initial Thoughts

IT’S SUMMERTIME AND YOU KNOW WHAT THAT MEANS GONNA HEAD DOWN TO THE BEACH GONNA DO SOME BEACHY THIIIIIIIIII-

Gaaah!

I, I’m so sorry for that.

Anyway, for the first day of summer I proposed doing a recap for one of the summertime Fear Street novels. I picked “High Tide” because I’ve re-read this one a few more times than the other Super Chiller books, but apparently my memory was shoddy because WOW. The narration is shared by two characters in this book and one of them is about as frustrating as Darryl Hoode from the “Fear Hall” books. Had I remembered him I would’ve suggested something else, but I’d already re-read the book for the recap. And I’ll be honest, the big fight scene at the end is fucking ridiculous and amazing.

And as a special note, for the first time ever I will be using the phrase “The Muffin Man,” a time-honored Point Horror tradition, to refer to a character in an incredibly frustrating segment since they’re never referred to by name.

[Wing: Happy summer! Happy birthday, Sister Canary! Happy Needlessly Dramatic Cliffhanger Chapter Endings. (I assume, I haven’t read it yet at this point.]

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21
Jun 2018
Nightmare Hall - Monster by Diane Hoh

Nightmare Hall – Monster by Diane Hoh

Title: Nightmare Hall #13: Monster

Summary: Rumors are flying around Salem U. Stories about a monster roaming the campus. Tales of students viciously attacked in the dead of night. Abby McDonald thinks it’s all nonsense. A fraternity prank. A drama major giving an unusual “performance”. She has too much on her mind to worry about a monster. But she should be worried. Because the truth about the monster is even more horrible than she could have imagined….

Tagline: None

Notes: I will refer to the bad guy as…wait for it…the monster!

Initial Thoughts

Diane Hoh is missing in action again this round, but thankfully, so is Nola Thacker! This time our ghostwriter is none other than Barbara Steiner, who released a few Point horror books (The Phantom, The Mummy, Spring Break) back in the day, but was actually quite prolific in teen YA horror fiction, with a bunch of titles written for the publisher Avon Flare (The Dreamstalker, The Photographer, The Photographer II: Dark Room, Night Cries, Deathline, The Coffin, and the Dark Chronicles trilogy, The Dance, The Gallery and The Calling). I’ve read them all, except for The Coffin and The Calling, and have always found her to be a rather “meh” writer. I remember “meh” being my overall reaction when I read this for the first time in my teens, although I can’t remember much else about it. She can’t be worse than Thacker, though, can she?

[Wing: I liked most of The Phantom, which may be the only book of hers I’ve read, but she did not pull off the ending, so I don’t have high hopes. Especially because with a title and a summary like that, I want this to be a werewolf book. It’s probably not a werewolf book. I’m already primed to be disappointed.]

READ AT DEVIL’S ELBOW

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20
Jun 2018

Wing, Raven and Dove talk about Sweet Valley Twins 46: Mademoiselle Jessica. They also discuss Bleak Valley and how the book ties into this theory.

Music is provided by Stuart Taylor, who can be contacted on taylorstuart602@gmail.com if you wish to commission music.

You can read our recaps at Sweet Valley Online, tumblr or visit us at Facebook or Twitter (follow @SweetValley_)

Sweet Valley
20
Jun 2018

The Baby-sitters Club #6: Kristy’s Big Day by Ann M. Martin

Title: Kristy’s Big Day

Summary: Kristy’s mom is getting married, and Kristy’s a bridesmaid. The only trouble is, fourteen little kids are coming to the wedding, and they all need baby-sitters. Here comes the Baby-sitters Club!

Stacey, Claudia, Mary Anne, Dawn, and Kristy think they can handle fourteen kids. But that’s before they spend five days changing diapers, stopping fights, solving mix-ups, righting wrongs…and getting sick and tired of baby-sitting!

One thing’s for sure. This is a crazy way to have a wedding. But it’s a great way to have a lot of fun!

Tagline: Kristy’s a baby-sitter—and a bridesmaid, too!

Initial Thoughts

Going in, all I could really remember about this one was that they ran a sort of summer camp for children, and were looking after so many of them at once that they had to divide them into groups.

I wasn’t a very wedding-enthusiastic child. I mean, it wouldn’t have thrilled me to be a bridesmaid, and I found it incredibly tedious to have to attend weddings. Even so, it’s weird how I apparently completely forgot every single thing about the wedding part of the plot.

Also, I’ve read this book probably a dozen times, and only just now noticed how odd that title is; it makes it sound like Kristy’s the one getting married.

[Wing: That’s a really good point about the title. I’m still not a big wedding person, though I’ve had fun at them over the years. I like planning things for them, though. Best wedding story: I set some church drapes on fire once when I was a kid. I’m guessing that’ll be a surprise to absolutely no one.]

[Dove: Well, I hadn’t noticed it before, but now the front cover does hint at child bride too.]

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18
Jun 2018
Sweet Valley Twins 52: Booster Boycott by Francine Pascal

Sweet Valley Twins 52: Booster Boycott by Francine Pascal

Title: Sweet Valley Twins #52: Booster Boycott

Summary: No boys allowed.

Winston Egbert wants to join the Boosters, Sweet Valley Middle School’s cheering squad. No way, the girls say! A boy as a cheerleader? So what if Winston happens to be a terrific gymnast? So what if he makes up fantastic cheers? Jessica Wakefield and the other Boosters vow they’ll do anything to keep Winston off the squad.

At first Winston endures the girls’ nasty pranks, Charlie Cashman’s bullying, and his classmates’ giggles. But something happens to make Winston give up for good!

When the state cheering competition arrives, the Boosters are surprised to see that almost every other squad has a boy as a member. Without Winston, they’re sure to lose! Is there any way the Boosters can get Winston back?

Tagline: Winston Egbert wants to join the Boosters! [Wing: We get it, book. WE GET IT.]

Initial Thoughts

Oh, good, I bet this book is filled with gender essentialism. Y’all know how much I love that. BOYS? In CHEERLEADING? Heaven forbid.

READ AT SWEETVALLEY.ONLINE

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17
Jun 2018
Goosebumps Series 2000 Scream School by R L Stine

Goosebumps Series 2000 Scream School by R L Stine

Title: Goosebumps Series 2000 #15 – Scream School, a.k.a. “BEST DAD EVER.”

Author: R.L. Stine

Cover Artist: Tim Jacobus (US Version), ???? (French Version)

Tagline: Student body stalker…

Summary:

The two figures floated up from the pile of dusty costumes.

One was a man, the other a woman. Their faces were ghoulish. Skin pulled so tight Jake could see the bones underneath. Eyes yellow, sunken back in their sockets. Their lips cracked and purple.

“Now we can make our movie,” the woman said, floating closer to Jake, arms outstretched, side by side with the man. “The most horrifying movie ever made.”

Initial Thoughts

If there’s one thing “Goosebumps” is known for, it’s questionable parenting. You’ve got stupid parents, oblivious parents, cruel parents, abusive parents, and even evil parents. It’s pretty much a given the mom or dad in any of the books will have no idea what their child is going through and prove to be pretty unhelpful. For example, there’s:

  • Michael Webster’s parents, gleefully unaware of what a horrible little bitch Michael’s sister, Tara, is and constantly punishing Michael for whatever Tara does.
  • Mrs. Ross, Evan Ross’s mother who is constantly unloading Evan onto relatives who are clearly unfit to take care of him and hate his guts, and is even making HIM pay for summer camp.
  • Mr. and Mrs. Sanders, who legitimately cannot tell that their children Crystal and Cole are transforming into chickens when it is painfully obvious Crystal’s lips have hardened and turned into a break.
  • Julie Martin’s mom, who assumes Julie is writing a short story as Julie tells her about the evil camera which has mutilated and injured several of her friends, even after Julie’s brother “Mysteriously” grows yellow fuzz and two fucking antennae like a goddamn bee.

But one of the worst parents, at least I think he’s one of the worst, is one of the main characters in “Scream School,” which is why I decided to review it for Father’s Day as an extra Goosebumps recap. So join me in wishing Emory Banyon would die in a fire.

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13
Jun 2018
Friday the 13th A New Beginning

Friday the 13th A New Beginning

Title: Friday the 13th: The Final Chapter (1985) (aka Part V)

Summary: Still haunted by his past, Tommy Jarvis – who, as a child, killed Jason Voorhees – wonders if the serial killer is connected to a series of brutal murders occurring in and around the secluded halfway house where he now lives.

Tagline: The mindless, murderous fury that was buried with Jason has been reborn. And suddenly, terror has become child’s play! 

Notes: If we had looked at that poster in a design class in art college, it would have been unanimously voted as totally shitty. Wow, didn’t try very hard, did you, graphic design department. I’m not just haunted by Jason; I’m haunted by that terrible typography!

Initial Thoughts:

Hey, remember when we watched Friday the 13th: The Final Chapter and this experiment in terror was all over and I could move forward with my life?

Oh… wait…

[Wing: If there’s one* horror media rule that holds up it is this: The final chapter is never the final chapter.]

[Wing: *exaggeration, I know.]

Welcome back for yet another stimulating round of Let’s Do It!: A Virgin Does Horror! What was a “dead” franchise last entry has now been revived, because the world at large missed Jason Voorhees and his murderous hi-jinx. It wouldn’t have been the 1980s without beating a dead horse in an attempt to cash in further on a franchise that had utterly run out of steam. Or the 1990s, the 00s, and the 2010s…

I have actually read that this installment is akin to “a fucking porno in the woods […]. You wouldn’t believe the nudity they cut out,” which comes directly from the director’s mouth. So, thanks, Danny Steinmann, this will be horrible and awkward as hell, or more so than previous entries.

Because I have committed myself to the cause, as it were, I have no choice but to ride this chapter out. Oh well. At least I’m nearing the halfway point in this franchise, so there’s a dim light at the end of the tunnel but it’s probably a flood light Jason turned on to draw me closer to my own death. Yay!

(Save me, Kevin Bacon! Save me!)

Let’s see. Again, can’t read too much on the wiki or IMDb entries because SPOILERS and I honestly have ZERO MEMORY of this installment’s release. In March 1985, I would have been 3 years old, so that’s probably why. Also, the use of the hockey mask with the light blue triangles instead of the red triangles – way to screw shit up, costume department / graphics department! I know, I know, continuity is often a hopeless failure in this series. I ask too much. STOP SETTING THE BAR SO HIGH, VIRGIN.

Corey Feldman did reprise his role as Tommy Jarvis for this film, which is great since it means no shitty “we used stuff we filmed in the previous entry to insert said character into this film!” From what I’ve read he was busy shooting The Goonies (A VASTLY SUPERIOR FILM IN MY HUMBLE OPINION AND THAT’S NOT JUST BECAUSE I LITERALLY LIVE IN THE ACTUAL STATE WHERE IT WAS FILMED, THEREFORE I AM AN OFFICIAL GOONIE BY BIRTH) so on his day off, Feldman filmed his scenes in his family’s backyard in California, with a helpful rain machine. Huh. Movie magic, yo.

I recognize no other cast member’s name in this, so I’m not hoping for high caliber performances. I guess it was filmed under a fake title, so no one really understood/knew they were filming a Friday the 13th installment. Yikes. This whole thing sounds as doomed as the previous installment(s). No bueno.

Without further adieu, because I’m already bored and dreading this… fifth time’s a charm, right?

Important note! Remember, I am rolling over the body count from each of the previous films recapped, so that will be reflected in the counter and final tally.

READ AT DEVIL’S ELBOW

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12
Jun 2018
Graveyard School #8: Let's Scare the Teacher to Death! by Tom B. Stone

Graveyard School #8: Let’s Scare the Teacher to Death! by Tom B. Stone

Title: Graveyard School #8 – “Let’s Scare the Teacher to Death!” a.k.a. “Teaching Ms. Cheevy”

Author: Tom B. Stone, a.k.a. Nola Thacker, a.k.a. “D.E. Athkins”

Cover Artist: Barry Jackon (US Cover), ???? (Russian Cover), ???? (UK Cover)

UK Tagline: It’s Miss-terious!!

Summary: But We Were Only Joking!

Mrs. Cheevy, the new math teacher at Graveyard School, is totally paranoid! She’s always looking over her shoulder, her voice continually quavers during math lessons, and she jumps when anyone asks a question. This makes her the perfect target for class clown Bentley Jeste, and soon all the kids get in on the act. Math has never been more hilarious, until one day a practical joker goes too far. Could Mrs. Cheevy’s second-period class have scared her to death?

Initial Thoughts

The proportions on the US cover have always bothered me, because how much space is there between the desk and the chalkboard?

This is not one of my favorites in the series, but it’s more that I’m conflicted on how exactly I should be feeling on it. It’s the only book besides the first one that doesn’t have anything supernatural in it, but it’s interesting. It’s a rare event where we get to see things from the “Antagonist’s” point of view and learn their feelings on the situation, yet it’s hard for me to decide if there really IS an antagonist in this book.

Both sides of the conflict give as good as they get, and it’s like the equivalent of going to a race track to watch for car crashes instead of rooting for one particular side. Although, I’ll be real here, had I read this book before “Boo Year’s Eve” and “Escape from Vampire Park” I doubt Jordie Flanders would’ve become one of my faves.

Fair warning Wing, there’s a joke involving a rubber spider.

[Wing: Thanks for the warning!]

READ AT DEVIL’S ELBOW

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12
Jun 2018
My Little Pony: Escape From Catrina

My Little Pony: Escape From Catrina

Title: Escape From Catrina

Yes, there’s confusion if the villain’s name is spelled with a ‘C’ or a ‘K’, but based on officially released packaging as well as the fact she’s a damn cat-person, we’re sticking with ‘Catrina’.

This television special was released on March, 23rd, 1985. I would have been three years old. Thirty-four years have passed. Ouch.

Also, this is the box art I remember from childhood. It has ZERO to do with the actual events, and shows Danny(?) riding(?!) Spike, who’s much bigger then normal, and the Moochick is there(??) and the only hint of the actual villain was a photo on the back cover. Someone dropped the ball BIG TIME on this.

Summary: The Ponies are planning a ‘Welcome Back’ party for Megan, but things go awry when villainous Catrina and her reptilian henchman, Rep, steal the baby Ponies as well as the Rainbow of Light. A rescue ensues and new allies are discovered in the form of the Bushwoolies.

Grade: A solid B+. Catrina isn’t as scary as Tirek, though yet again the writers came up with a story involving mass enslavement, kidnapping, several near-fatal incidents, stranger danger, and drug addiction. The animation was about on par with the first special. Three original songs in one 30 minute special is also pretty impressive, even if they’re not great.

Initial Thoughts/Intro:

Me, circa 1985, with Glory and Baby Cuddles. Note the sweet MLP threads!

Hi all, it’s bat and I’m a long time MLP fan. No, really, the MLP toys coincided with the beginning of my existence on this planet and they were the one toy I was truly obsessed with. Screw Barbie, give me ALL THE PONIES!

I watched MLP from the very beginning, though time has faded some of my memories of the cartoon episodes. That said, “Escape From Catrina” was my favorite of the two initial specials and I watched it way too many times.

The MLP specials were known for pulling “big” actors and actresses to do voice work. This particular special features the enchanting Tammy Grimes as Catrina (she voiced Molly Grue in The Last Unicorn) and Paul Williams as Rep (he wrote “Rainbow Connection” aka that song made famous by The Muppets).

Catrina’s use of the witchweed potion caused some trouble down the road in later years, because the USA was big into the “War On Drugs” during the 1980s. “The Good Old Days” song was excised when this special was cut down to two parts for the syndicated cartoon series; I’ll get into more detail about that in the recap.

My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic will be shortened to FiM, because that is a long time title to type out.

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