Tag Archives: Horror

Young’uns. They exist.

21. The Nightmare Man – Tessa Krailing

The protagonist in this extraordinarily short novel is extremely young. SO young. So it doesn’t read like other Point Horror and the title is more like “I need a nightlight because I’m 10 and scared” nightmare than like mind-ripping teenage brutality… because that’s what all the other Point Horror novels are like, mind-ripping teenage brutality. This reads like some kids snuck into a movie they were too young to see, but, not really because it’s just a fine little story about ghosts and taxidermy and a pond set in the UK.

“I believe I was promised mind-ripping brutality.” – Duncan

Mixtape:

1. Bakom Varje Fura – Finntroll
2. A Stroll through Hive Manor Corridors – The Hives
3. They Only Come out at Night – Dance with the Dead
4. The Light at the End (Effect) – Uniform
5. Cold, Cold Rain – Danzig
6. Bottomless Pit – King Dude
7. New Dawn Fades – Joy Division
8. Still Evolving – Josh Freda
9. Sister Doom Face – Harglow
10. Sons of Thunder – High on Fire
11. Midnattens Widunder – Finntroll
12. That House – Dance with the Dead
13. To Here Knows When – My Bloody Valentine

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“It would be easier to stop Karswell’s demon than a woman with her mind made up.”

36. The Crush II – Jo Gibson

Carla, main narrator, would like you to know that she is plain. So plain. She has glasses! How astonishingly plain of her.

Anyway, now that we know that Carla is plain, we should talk about psychopath killer Judy and popular musician Michael. Oh, and this is the second book and I haven’t read the first, but I get the impression they might just follow a bit of a formula. You see, every girl that dates Michael gets killed – by Judy, the Cupid Killer. But! At the beginning of The Crush II, Michael gets out of protective custody at the hospital and doesn’t invite Judy to his welcome home party so she drives off a cliff after leaving a letter explaining that she is the Cupid Killer and Michael isn’t. Very clever, Judy.

This book actually was pretty amusing, you see all the main kids work at a teenager music bar that serves fruit drinks (mmhmm) and it’s a really easy place for Michael to realize he loves plainass Carla, but then go out with Heidi and her showbiz connections instead. And then, when Carla takes off her glasses for a movie part and starts wearing flowy separates because of the same movie part, Michael realizes he loves her again, and then allows himself to be nearly date raped by Vera. When Carla rescues him from that situation, sort of, he realizes he loves her again – only to have his childhood best friend show up and seduce him! Of course, Miss Showbiz and Vera have been killed at this point by Judy’s ghost? A copycat Cupid Killer? Nope. It all becomes clear after childhood best friend turned seductress gets murdered and Michael gives his class ring to Carla! Plain old, unmurderable Carla. Well, she gets stabbed – Judy killed a hitchhiker and stuck her in her car, but she lives so she and Michael can be “engaged to be engaged.” Barf. Put your glasses back on Carla, then Judy won’t recognize you when she inevitably escapes from the mental hospital.

Ozma is the Michael of my herd, she’s like, so popular with the boys. So popular.

Mixtape:

1. Temptation – New Order
2. Empathy Boxes – All of Them Witches
3. Heart On – Eagles of Death Metal
4. Garbage City – Hanni El Khatib
5. The Cardinal Sin – Dead Can Dance
6. You’re Toast – Electric Six
7. Don’t Ask Me to Love You – The Eighties Matchbox B-Line Disaster
8. We Hit a Wall – Chelsea Wolfe
9. Funtime – Iggy Pop
10. March to the Altar – Terrortron
11. Monday Hunt – Carpenter Brut
12. Dressed to Kill – Dance with the Dead
13. Future Persuasion – Electric Citizen
14. Down with the King – Midnight Force
15. Rats in Paradise – The Birthday Party
16. Whorehoppin – Eagles of Death Metal

 

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Holding cells are where the Halloween magic really happens.

35. Amy – Samantha Lee

British book about US Halloween, excuse me, the States’ Hallowe’en, bring on the yokel language and stuff that doesn’t happen! Follow that up with words we don’t use and more hick language, add one ghost, and you have Amy. It’s short. And kinda sad. For every biscuit (cookies are a bad idea to give out for trick or treat, they crumble and nobody said they were little packs of Oreos when they were walking around carrying cookies in their sheet-based outfits) and holdall that don’t work, there’s a “Land sakes!” that made me laugh. Also, like every imaginary small town story, there’s just one big area for the holding cells that need to, um, hold, the biker who comes through town to solve mysteries, the town drunk, and not the perpetrators of evil dressed as vampires – twin teen boys… or the person who really is responsible for the drowned ghost running around in a sheet full of cookie crumbs.

Pickles would’ve been all right if they gave out cilantro on Halloween, but no one does that either.

Mixtape:

1. Lone – Chelsea Wolfe
2. All Hallows’ Eve – The Heartwood Institute
3. Pursuit – All of Them Witches
4. Hear the Sirens Scream – Electric Wizard
5. We’ve Seen the Blood – The Mangled Dead
6. Bride of the Devil – Electric Six
7. Revenged – Repeated Viewing
8. A Face in the Fog – Joel Grind
9. Blue Harvest – All of Them Witches
10. Get Out – Wojciech Golczewski
11. Walkin’ on the Sidewalks – Queens of the Stone Age
12. Hexagram – Graham Reznick
13. Diablerie – Windhand
14. All Hallows’ (Epilogue) – Ogre & Dallas Campbell
15. Two Spirit – Chelsea Wolfe

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Bavmorda of the sea

43. The Surfer – Linda Cargill

There are very committed swimmers in this book. Even the one who turns out to be an ancient witch – she curses families and she surfs very well. At night. When no one is around except for the main character, Jessie, who hangs out on a creaking pier she’s not supposed to and gets way more than she bargained for as a result.

There’s some toxic, toxic relationships in this book too. Swimmers in toxic families and friendships. Although, if your toxic friend makes it clear she can control the weather, it does make her much, much harder to ditch. They try though, there is much driving around. So much driving around. They drive almost as much as they swim or talk about swimming or the ocean.

It’s also a book where things seem like they’re going to follow a somewhat solid storyline and then they just fall apart all over the place instead like a badly glued popsicle stick sculpture. Sure it seemed sound, but then it very much wasn’t.

Peregrine’s looking for the sense-making plot line that has been cast into the sea.

Mixtape:

1. Diamond in the Witch House – Mastodon
2. Attack of the Ghost Riders – The Raveonettes
3. Say a Spell – The Birthday Party
4. Witch’s Hammer – King Dude
5. Possession – Samhain
6. Fiskarens Fiende – Finntroll
7. Teenage Thunder – Sigue Sigue Sputnik
8. I Sat by the Ocean – Queens of the Stone Age
9. Forget That You’re Young – The Raveonettes
10. Silver Chain – Rowland S. Howard
11. Stand Inside Your Love – Smashing Pumpkins
12. Back to the Old House – The Smiths
13. Dream in Red – Murder By Death
14. Big Sky – Reverend Horton Heat

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Bart Simpson is correct.

34. When Darkness Calls – Janet E. Gill

As Bart Simpson once said, “All the best bands are affiliated with Satan.” And like most things, the Simpsons writers are correct about this. But, Janet wants her reader to assume that being affiliated with Satan is equivalent to being affiliated with Nazis by casually incorporating the swastika into random situations where they only needed to be present if these teen Satanists were also white supremacists…and considering their group was multiethnic, they were not white supremacists. The not-Nazi religions and groups that used that symbol and slightly different versions of it prior to its co-opting for racist bullshit were not and are not Satanic (it’s just really hard to picture any type of Buddhists caring about Satan, amongst other reasons this made no sense), so it’s being used as a lazy shortcut to these black wearing teens being evil and frankly, saying they’re Satanists who wear Baphomet pendants to school is enough to lazily do that.

This book was essentially Don’t Make Me Go Back, Mommy, teen edition, but even that ridiculous, debunked, horrorshow of a children’s book warning about teachers and daycare and rabbits (it’s the rabbits that should’ve tipped everyone off, clearly, but maybe also the capes) didn’t equivocate Satanists and white supremacists like shorthand for being seriously evil. Like really, really, really evil, you guys. They smoke pot and encourage this poor new girl who wants to get in her new school’s student government to cheat on her boyfriend, but with Peter Drake and his magical disappearing car, not just Satan. They also force her to go to a heavy metal concert! She wears white and pink to a heavy metal concert! What a rebel, she’s just a Satanist of the individualist type and doesn’t even know it. And then gets fake chicken blood all over her outfit – which, yeah, that’s not cool. I hate it when there’s sticky shit at any concert, because the floor is already sticky, we don’t need more mess and definitely don’t need to endure music we don’t like to fit in and “give us [the awfully pushy Satanists who apparently never saw the Indiana Jones films that make it clear the goals of the WWII Nazis were not to eat chips, smoke pot, worship Satan, listen to shit music, and rule a high school] a chance.” The horror of what one does to be allowed to fundraise and go on the class trip to DC.

Finny, the antichrist of my home, says those teens were always going to peak in high school anyway.

Mixtape:

1. A Witch Stole Sam – Mark Korven
2. Sinners – The Cramps
3. N.I.B. – Black Sabbath
4. I Hear Satan – Dax Riggs
5. Am I Demon – Danzig
6. Louis Cyphre – Burning Tapes
7. I’m the Devil – Electric Six
8. Demons from Hell – Ice Dragon
9. Amaranth – Windhand
10. Kill You – Dethklok
11. Hel Vete – Finntroll
12. Fire Fire (Live) – Motorhead
13. Black Mass – Electric Wizard
14. The Hooves of My Lord – Ice Dragon

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You have died of exposure.

42. Driver’s Dead – Peter Lerangis

Move into a new house and there’s a dead kid in the closet. Geez. At least he’s not literally in the closet, but, learning to drive and navigate a new town is bad enough without all that moaning about his untimely death and whatnot…although maybe if Kirsten wasn’t accepting help from the creepers responsible for said untimely death he might not have as much reason to haunt her closet and fliers and help her find his floppy disk-based diary so she can learn more secrets that will scare her into helping him out with his unfinished business.

Sorry, little Crumples, no one could teach you how to drive in any of the three towns you lived in because you were always too short with no forward vision.

Mixtape:

1. World In My Eyes – Depeche Mode
2. Always Crashing in the Same Car – David Bowie
3. The First Vietnamese War – The Black Angels
4. Phantom of the Motorway – The Mangled Dead
5. Hate Breeders – The Misfits
6. No Class(Live) – Motorhead
7. Bowels of the Beast – The Raveonettes
8. Into the Void – Black Sabbath
9. Mess of Wires – METZ
10. The Wretched – Nine Inch Nails
11. Carrion Flowers – Chelsea Wolfe
12. Way Abandon – Repeated Viewing
13. Surrender – The Duke Spirit
14. Walk Between the Lines – Witchcraft
15. Red Eyes and Tears – Black Rebel Motorcycle Club

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“Shattering! Shivering! Shocking!”

37. Fan Mail – Nicole Davidson

Acting! Rivalry! Obsession! This was a fun read, if you ignore the descriptions of Randi and a few other things. Chris, the not at all stuck up actress and her plump, plain, supportive best friend Randi (see), get to hang out sometimes – but Chris has always been focused on her career and Randi’s always been able to accept and understand that. Now if only she could get a boyfriend. It’ll be hard now that she’s the lead in a horror film shooting in her hometown. She’s the lead, and her rival with a stage mother from hell isn’t.

And there is this one guy who has a bunch of pictures of her in his locker – pictures he took, pictures he cut out of the newspaper, but he’s not obsessive or anything, he has to wrestling championships to think about. If only those creepily obsessive photographs could lead to something… Well, they will, a misunderstanding of epic proportions and more creepy behavior. I’m in this tree outside your window, Chris, it’s totally normal and I’ll help you find the person trying to scare you with answering machine messages, blood on your mirror, and not drilling holes in that coffin you have to stay in for long enough to hyperventilate.

I’m beginning to find movie sets a very suspect location for teenagers. Some of them just can’t be professional and assume threats are just a PR stunt.

Salem has his best friend the T-Rex to protect him, so, he’d be cool on film. Hire him, the 90s.

Mixtape:

1. Young Pros – Bass Drum of Death
2. Out of Line – The Bravery
3. I Am the Sun – Swans
4. You Don’t Know Me – The Butthole Surfers
5. LA Venice Bitch 80s – Carpenter Brut
6. Venom – Dance with the Dead
7. Posed to Death – The Faint
8. Grey Areas – Electric Six
9. Super Goo – The Cramps
10. Leave Me Alone – The Butthole Surfers
11. Evil La Girls – The Raveonettes
12. Rival – Black Rebel Motorcycle Club
13. Turbo Killer – Carpenter Brut
14. High School Roaches – Bass Drum of Death
15. Scrape – Chelsea Wolfe
16. Night Walks – Black Mountain
17. Close Your Eyes – Edward Bear
18. Forever the End – Burning Tapes

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There should be a conversation heart that says, “No.”

11. Be Mine – Jane McFann

You didn’t notice me in class and I like you, therefore I will scare you and people you care about so that you will be vulnerable to me and my obsession. Rude. Why do any men feel entitled to women’s attention at all? It’s not theirs, not even on holidays when you might be able to make them think their boyfriend is creeping into their house to leave anonymous hearts on things.

Horace’s method of hitting on ladypigs makes it impossible not to notice him, he’d just pretend to fall on them from the back of the couch. It was…a little obvious.

Mixtape:

1. In Your House – The Cure
2. You’re Mine – The Black Angels
3. Bedroom Hymns – Florence & The Machine
4. The Sky Is Falling – Queens of the Stone Age
5. I See Through You – Uncle Acid & the Deadbeats
6. Eva – Burning Tapes
7. Cut Me Loose – UNKLE
8. My Least Favorite Life – Lera Lynn
9. Save a Prayer – Eagles of Death Metal
10. Heartbeats Acoustic – Dick Valentine
11. Demented Mantra – Ogre & Dallas Campbell
12. Invader – Dance with the Dark
13. Are You Satisfied? – Reignwolf
14. For Blood – Bass Drum of Death
15. Vicious & Disgusting – Burning Tapes

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Important tip: Leaving broken cups in the family mausoleum may remind your relatives that they’re dead if they get up.

23. The Elementals – Michael McDowell

Have I ever mentioned on here that I hate sand? I really, really hate sand. I was unaware that this Southern Gothic brilliance was going to involve so much sand and that made it extra scary for me. However, I also have to say the fact that it got off and running from the start also helped. Weirdo southern family tradition stories are always of interest to me in the same way that British manor family dramas are not, which is weird because both types of stories involve secrets that the servants are aware of and totally not telling and stiff silence in place of helpful information. Oh, that family trauma’s going to show up whether you tell them or not. At least in The Elementals, Odessa eventually came around and did explain the whole “let’s stab people at their funeral” thing early on to thirteen year old India, the My Cousin Rachel of the story except for the whole liberated sex thing (Thankfully! I kept waiting for her and her father’s really close relationship to get blatantly incesty and…so happy that wasn’t a thing. They live in New York City. Far away from their family. He takes photos of her all the time. I blame recent television hit Game of Thrones and way too many recently read books where the incest was a total surprise inclusion for making me worry about this.) and the inheritance thing and the possible poisoner thing.

So there are two families, and they both have Victorian summer houses on a little area at the bottom of Alabama called Beldame where they’re going to hang out after the funeral of the mean matriarch of the Savages dies. Side note, the area they’re going to was amazingly easy for me to picture because the nearest town was Gulf Shores, a place I’ve been several times. They don’t really describe it as more than having a laundromat, but, I can tell you it was quite pleasant in the 1990s for Easter. And the new family patriarch of the Savages is Dauphin, which happens to be the name of an island that’s also nearby. When I was there I was not as troubled by sand as I am now. Anyway, there’s a third house and no one lives in it. No one LIVES in it. And those things in there, creating bodies out of sand and making sure it gets into every possible crevice and nook and cranny and other small places, those are not ghosts. They’re a whole different kind of spirit.

Fun fact: There’s a parrot in this book named Nails. Excellent name.

Murderface will not tell the southern guinea pig family secrets. Pickles might though, if you offer her the right produce, like, any produce.

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“This is how we do things in the country”

78. The Family Plot – Cherie Priest

Cherie Priest is one of those authors I feel like I should have already read lots by. Boneshaker was a great big deal as I recall and I was super into the idea of Maplecroft because I love some lady murderer stories. I tried to read Maplecroft multiple times but I was just not getting in. Just not. And that made me pretty sad.

Fathom is the only book of hers I managed to get through and I liked it okay…but was not wanting MORE! on any level. However, with The Family Plot, I think I finally found the Priest for me. I absolutely loved it.

Because of the existence of dust and me in the same universe, I will never become a salvager or a picker or the sort of person who finds antiques and cool pieces of house until they end up at a store. So, as abbreviated and possibly inaccurate as the operations of Music City Salvage may be, I don’t care, novel-level accuracy got me wholeheartedly into this story. Main character Dahlia was very relatable for me – she has allergies (not as bad as mine, clearly, or she couldn’t do that work, but they like never get mentioned anywhere and so many people have allergies that do work involving old things), she’s relatively fearless, she recognizes the value (sometimes exact) in antiques, and she knows how to organize disparate elements into a task well-finished. So I was entirely content to follow her through southern-style trying not to lose her shit while the ghosts in the Withrow house got stronger and more insistent and actually scary.

Pere and Ozy know the best way not to lose your shit is to turn away from the photographer and still look cute.

 

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