Friday Favourites: Point Horror
By Sharan Matharu
Posted on October 21, 2016 in Friday Favourites with tags Friday Favourites, Point Horro
Welcome to a throwback, but not on a Thursday. Emily Kitchin (fellow book lover and editor of many a Chapter 5 – our YA community – novel) and I recently discussed our teenage love of the Point Horror novels, they were pretty much the gateway books to adult horror and they were so bad that they were good.
So this week’s FF was a pretty easy choice – we’ve divvied up the choice and picked three books each. Welcome to nostalgia.
THE HUNTER (The Forbidden Game – Book #1) by L. J. Smith
There are no words for how deeply I fell in love with this book in my teens. Sweet, kind Jenny and her group of friends decide to play an innocent-looking board game that Jenny bought in a strange shop downtown (a shop which seemed to disappear again when she looked back at it). The game is a paper house, which the friends build, and they have to colour in little figures who represent them as players. Then they draw their worst nightmares onto scraps of paper and dot them around the house. And then… the game turns real. Yes, real! The friends are transported to the Shadow World, where Julian – the lethally hot Shadow Prince, he of the ice-white hair and piecing, otherworldly blue eyes – has a challenge for them. They must play their way through the house and face their nightmares. If they win, they get to go home. If they lose, Julian gets his prize: Jenny. The light to his darkness, the good to his evil. This book is A-MAZING. It’s scary, nail-biting, and in places very emotional (spoiler alert: one of the friends doesn’t make it through their nightmare and are trapped forever in the Shadow World). But the best bit (other than Julian, the sexiest villain EVER) is the way the author presents evil as craving goodness…only so that it can become MORE EVIL.
CAMP FEAR by Carol Ellis
This one sticks out in my memory, I can’t tell you the plot or any of the characters names, but I can tell you that I know the identity of the secret antagonist of the group, and it’s one of the twistiest of plot twists… but not.
Camp Silverlake is open a week before campers are allowed in – the counsellors are there early to set things up – but what should be a fun and carefree week seems full of tension, tension caused by the death of a camper over seven years… and several of the counsellors were at Camp Silverlake when it happened. Creepy stuff, right? Maybe not now, but it was pretty damn thrilling when I was ten and wasn’t allowed to read Stephen King.
13 TALES OF HORROR by Christopher Pike, R. L. Stine and Diane Hoh
This book is so old that I can’t find a decent picture of the cover… SO, 13 Tales of Horror from the greats of Point Horror such as R.L. Stine (legend), Christopher Pike (phenomenal) and Diane Hoh (who I seem to remember writing quite a few of the Nightmare Hall series. Or maybe all of them.) What I do remember is finding these tales INCREDIBLY creepy. There was the tale about Anjelica’s room, where the wallpaper peels back to reveal the sinister stick figures that someone in the past has carved onto the wall. There’s the story where Jenny puts on a ring and finds she can hear other people’s thoughts… which seems like it would be cool, except that she knows what EVERYONE is thinking about her, and it eventually drives her mad.
I devoured these back in the day, and the subsequent volumes too. Oh Point Horror, you creepy genius, you.
BLOOD SINISTER by Celia Rees
Lordy – I completely forgot about this one, I googled Point Horror books and this popped up I almost jumped out of my seat in excitement. Celia Rees! God damn, this book was one of my favourites when I was in secondary school, I remember finding it in the library and being like… ‘Oh, this kinda looks creepy and vampire-ish, am I a badass for reading it and hiding it from my mum? Yes, yes I am.’ Update: I’m not a badass, but this book was loads of fun – it follows a young girl called Ellen that moves in with her grandmother because she has a ‘blood condition’ and while there she discovers intriguing diaries that eventually show that both her grandmother and Ellen have been targeted by an evil vamp. I’m fairly certain it was the first vampire book I ever read – how is that for an introduction!? It clearly led me to a love of great vampires…
Gosh, the memories.
THE BABYSITTER IV by R. L. Stine
I am so depressed that the books of my teenage years are so old that they predate Google Image, pretty much. Anyhoo – The Babysitter series! Who hasn’t heard urban legends about babysitting in a strange house, and receiving strange and threatening phone calls… only to find out that the threat is CLOSER TO HOME THAN YOU THINK. Woooo. I read the first three books in the series and loved them – but the fourth send chills creeping up my spine and doused the blood in my veins with ice water. Jenny is babysitting some new charges, a pair of twins. (You’d have thought that she’d have gone off babysitting by now, tbh). Only there’s something a bit… off about the twins. I loved the creepy twist at the end of this one – it takes the (coveted) prize of being my fave in the series.
THE SNOWMAN by R. L. Stine
Okay, this one I read again a couple of years ago – it was still great. It is about a kid that is being raised by her cruel Uncle who is just after her money and she meets a guy called ‘Snowman’, they get together and then he kills her uncle and tells her he will make it look like a paid assassination if she tells the police (he swindled a cheque from her earlier for his ‘sick brother’). Cray.
The best thing about this book? It’s written by R. L. Stine, the BEST WRITER OF ALL TIME. Okay, that might be pushing it but he wrote all the best Point Horror and Goosebumps books and Jack Black was in a movie about him (Goosebumps), so you know… legend. You may have also noticed he has featured quite prominantly on this list…