26. Schoolhouse – Lee Duigon
1988, a time when horror paperbacks were plentiful and there were more than enough skeletons on covers to scare all the children in line at the grocery store. Schoolhouse has a skeleton teacher (with bun and pointer, but no shoes, I feel like she could’ve been wearing shoes) with both an apple and another skull on her desk. Another skull on her desk! And the background isn’t just black, there’s a chalkboard and a spider web and everything. Pinnacle getting their money’s worth out of the cover artist. It’s a full painting. There are many parts of me that wish publishing still allowed for this style of cover and for a proliferation of bizarre horror novels.
Schoolhouse’s staying power is in its weirdness. If one went to public school, one generally could be led to believe that something weird is going on…especially in the 1980s, when the something weird didn’t have to be related to state budget cuts and elected officials painting teachers as the enemy for wanting proper resources because public schools’ mission is give EVERY student an education, and they don’t actually leave any children out. Perhaps a digression, but things were different then and if your teacher was an enemy, it was probably because they were possessed by an alien beast creature sliming its way to the surface (now those are just lots of repugnant elected officials, possessed by somebody else’s money). Schoolhouse very much treads the line between horror and science fiction and who knew that would be a preview of our educational system today – vouchers and creationist textbooks, anyone? Scary stuff.
Danger Crumples and Ozymandias have very different investigative styles. Danger leaves no pillow un-turned, Ozy knows H.P. Lovecraft-style slimy beasts don’t hide under pillows.
21. April Fools – Richie Tankersley Cusick
Check it out – timeliness! Oooh. That’s probably the last time I come up with something relevant to the month in which it is posted. Mostly because I’ve spent too many words pointing out my timeliness. It’s time to stop. So, April Fools, published via the Point Horror imprint, one of my favorite imprints of all time. The cover has awesome, jagged neon orange relief letters spelling out the title – man, I miss YA having painted covers, kick ass relief lettering, and being distributed in conveniently sized paperbacks. I may have covered these feelings in previous posts…I truly feel them. If I could make raised letters with my silkscreen for my covers, I would, but I don’t have the ink that does that or an appropriate cover subject for that ink yet. Anyway, this is getting less and less reviewy as I keep going, guess I’m distracted by congratulating myself for posting an April themed book in April. The only loser in this is anyone still reading this paragraph – the next one will be relevant, promise.
The story follows a bit of a familiar pattern: a group of teens does something horrific with their car, the one with a conscience watches as terrible retribution starts to happen and gets threatened, the ones without consciences have a bad time (they French fry when they should have pizza’d), and someone else in the story has a secret. A terrible secret. Or was it terrible? I can’t quite remember. Mostly I remember the angst pouring off the Adam character and that many things happened in the dark at his house while the teen with a conscience (Belinda Swanson, no relation to Ron based on her actions) tried to tutor him. It was like Beauty and the Beast without the rose. I think he had a snake. Anyway, having a conscience is definitely a good way to survive these teenage nightmares.
Belvedere was not intimidated by doll heads. Or stuffed turtles. He conquered stuffed turtles and then posed with his chin up and foot out like a teeny conquistador, as seen in this photo.
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