Friday, September 26, 2014

Ghosts of Fear Street #10 - The Bugman Lives!

- I've only done two of the Ghosts of Fear Street books so far and I'm already embarrassed about beginning those reviews with farts. (But just in case you were wondering, The Bugman Farts! He's also 'Half man, half bug--all farts.' You needed to know that. You just didn't realize it.)

- I'm really into this cover. A giant fly man in an Hawaiian shirt offering you a tarantula. What's not to love?!?

- Confession: this was one of my favorite Ghosts of Fear Street as a kid. I was just a love with a Bugman.

- The plot AGAIN involves a kid (Janet, in this case) doing something kind of stupid which results in a whole lot of havoc. Janet wakes the Bugman and, baby, that just ain't no good. Especially if you hate bugs (or giant bug-human hybrids)...

- This one was written by Carol Gorman who has written tons of books for kids including a book from 1998 titled "Lizard Flanagan, Supermodel??" and one from 1988 called "Pornography" which is not for children at all. But I think we can all agree: Carol is strange and we must love her for it.

- This sordid tale begins with a kid named Carl Beemer trying to impress Janet by jumping a curb on Rollerblades. Janet is more interested in pulling weeds out of her yard because Janet is smart and knows that Carl Beemer is a total tool.

- Dude, his name is CARL BEEMER.

- Carl Beemer makes fat stacks mowing lawns so Janet wants to do it, too. FORESHADOWING ALERT!

- Janet has a friend named Toad who is away at summer camp. What kind of camp do toads attend?

- OF COURSE Janet finds an overgrown lawn to mow on Fear Street. Because Fear Street is total crap, remember?

- Janet mows the jungle of a lawn and accidentally runs over the Bugman's gravestone which lovingly reads 'Here Lies The Bugman. Woe To Anyone Who Wakes Him'. I love that the Bugman is buried in a yard on a residential street. It's like someone found his corpse and just tossed in the first hole they could find.

- "He was odd--didn't go out much or talk to his neighbors. People said he eventually turned into a bug himself." Fear Street logic: a man is interested in insects (and hates his dumbass neighbors) so he's doomed to become a giant fly man.

- The Bugman didn't even live in the house whose yard he's buried in. He lived next door. Again: Fear Street logic. These people are on another plain (plane?) of existence...

- "He could control insects. He could make them do anything he wanted. Sting people. Or spy on them and report back." SPY ON THEM AND REPORT BACK. How in the hell does an insect report something? Morse Code buzzing? Do they gather their insect brethren and spell out words with their bodies?

- Mr. Cooney just moved into the Bugman's house. Mr. Cooney has giant buggy eyes so he MUST be some kind of human-insect hybrid!

He was part grasshopper.

- Janet now mows Cooney's lawn and is horrified when she sees him make out with a tarantula and tell it how much he loves it: "I love you, my baby." Well, at least he's not an abusive, animal hating asshole...even giant hairy tarantulas need love.

- I wish my skin would stop crawling.

- Janet's new friend Willow is a lot like Mr. Cooney: both are bug lovers and fond of thick green smoothies that they weirdly force upon Janet.

- Cooney's green juice stuff makes bugs expand and explode and it gave Janet a scab that oozed bright green crap until she scraped the scab off. Don't read this book while eating.

- Janet sneaks into Cooney's house one night and finds tons of tanks filled with nastiness: cockroaches crawling on rotted meat, a bunny with a fat leech attached to it, and gobs of maggots. Oh, and Mr. Cooney has a damn pincer claw where his hand should be and his skin falls off and OH MY SHIT HE'S A FLY HE'S A GIANT FLY AND HIS EAR JUST FELL OFF AND HE'S TRYING TO KILL JANET BECAUSE SHE KNOCKED OVER HIS DISGUSTING TANK OF MAGGOTS.

- Janet is now home and delirious with fever and a giant weird scab that looks like a beetle shell where the Cooney Bugman spit green goo on her. Am I high right now?

- Later, Janet wakes up outside in a cocoon made of mud and twigs. "The Bugman is turning me into a huge bug. I'll end up exactly like him." This book is the literary equivalent of LSD. 

- Janet is pulled down into the Bugman's grave where she sees that he's a giant beetle thing with breath "like rotting lettuce." Also, Willow is there...she's his daughter. Apparently she's human for two years at a time then a big fat beetle thing like dear old dad for two years and so on and so on. This is a very lonely life and Willow wants Janet to be her friend and live in dirt with her forever. Janet also learns that the Bugman was never actually dead: "I was hibernating. A trick I learned from the seven-year locusts." I...just...WHAT THE HELL?!?

- This is a book for children. I had to remind myself because it reads like it was written by and for aging hippies who destroyed their brain cells many years ago with pot and acid which led them to believe their horrifying hallucinations would make a good book. For kids.

- "Just think of it as a slumber party with our cocoons as sleeping bags." NIGHTMARES NIGHTMARES NIGHTMARES.

- "The Bugman placed a loose hood over her head. It looked as if it were made of spiderwebs." I just lost the ability to sleep EVER AGAIN.

- Janet escapes the clutches of the Bugman, but the weird green juice she drank so much of (where the hell is Cooney? Was he the Bugman or just a minion?) has taken a toll: she is now a buggish human who can climb straight up the side of a tree by using the sticky green crap she makes with her hands.

-Conclusion?: This is a madman's fairy tale, a insane trip through a terrifying hellscape. And it was one of my favorites as a kid. WHAT DOES THAT SAY ABOUT ME???

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Ghosts of Fear Street #12: Night of the Werecat

- You know what's coming: Fart of the Werecat

- You know what else is coming: "Beware of the Cat!" is now "Beware of the Fart!"

- Sometimes I really hate myself. Oh well.

Farts For Everyone!

- This cover is COATED in feline. The wallpaper and bed clothes are covered in cats. There's a shelf of kitty figurines and I think there's a kitty rug on the floor. Oh, and the kid is transforming into a giant freak of nature. The items on her desk are odd. A book titled "Cat O' Nine Tails" and a sheet of paper that reads 'Debbie was here laughing'. Okay then.

- This one was written by Katherine Lance who has written a ton of children's/young adult stuff under her own name and under pseudonyms. Anyone heard of the Phantom Valley books by Lynn Beach? They were written in the early '90s and the covers remind me A LOT of stuff by Christopher Pike and our master R.L. Stine.

- The plot of this book once again involves  a kid doing something really stupid and paying dearly for it later. In this case, we have Wendy who has a feverish obsession with cats. She finds a cat charm for sale, but the owner doesn't wanna sell because it's a WERECAT charm and it's dangerous which is why it was just lying around where anyone could grab it which Wendy does after throwing down some dollars. (But that comes a little later.)

- Wendy is into gymnastics but has "never been very sure-footed." Hmm...that doesn't bode well for a future werecat.

-Wendy has a bully named Nancy who enjoys making fun of Wendy's love of cats. A few gems: "Maybe your little cat friends can give you [gymnastic] lessons, Wendy." and "I thought you'd love to be more like a precious kittycat." May you feel the sting of werecat claws in your flesh and acrid werecat urine in your face, Nancy.

- Shadyside has a Cat Circle Breeders' Show.

- A white star shape on a cat's forehead is the mark of the werecat.

- The lady who owns the werecat charm necklace, Mrs. Bast, tells Wendy that werecats are like werewolves except they transform every night and apparently the Fear Street Woods are positively infested with them. Is there anything that Fear Street Woods ISN'T infested with?

- Wendy is shocked when she transforms into a giant orange cat, but everything is immediately made okay by the scent of some nasty ass fish in a garbage can and a mouse murder. The simple life of a cat...I envy it.

- Nancy's back! She takes Wendy's cat shirt and throws it in a puddle in the gym showers. "Too bad. I hear cats hate water." ME-OW.

- Wendy and her friend Tina are so obsessed with cats they watch a nature video about big cats at their sleepover.

- Nancy hates cats so while she's sleeping, Wendy the Werecat sneaks into her room and rubs cat hair all over her school clothes. She also creeps onto Nancy's bed and rubs her furry body all over one of Nancy's pillows. Unfortunately, Nancy wakes up, Wendy hides instead of running, and Nancy slams the window shut so Wendy is trapped inside. Smooth move, were-lax.

- I like cats and everything, but this book is incredibly boring...

- Wendy has a street rumble with another werecat. No-one wins.

- Wendy is kind of an idiot. She totally forgot about the werecat charm. So...I don't really know what her reasoning was behind the fact that she TRANSFORMED INTO A FRIGGING ANIMAL. Did she think if you obsess about cats enough you'll eventually become one? She only got the charm like two days ago!

- Wendy wears a black turtleneck with white kittens all over it. Sounds like something I wore as a kid except my shirt was a pale yellow button down with white shaggy dogs all over it. You can't measure that level of cool. (HAHAHAHA)

- Nancy is allergic to (were)cats and now she's all red and lumpy looking.

- Wendy watches the movie Bell, Book, and Candle which has a cat in it. Because this book is about cats. In case anyone forgot.

- Noises angry cats make: "Mowwwrrr!" and "Ssssttt!"

- Wendy trying to convince Tina she's a werecat: "I'm serious. I turn into a werecat at night. I-I'm covered with fur! I prowl the alleys!" You just described my brother. Does that mean he's a werecat? I always pictured him as more of a werebear.

- Wendy licks a canary. Do whatever you want with that because I sure as hell don't know what to do with it.

- Mrs. Bast steals Tina's cat Shalimar so the girls follow her home, and, predictably, she lives in a shit heap on Fear Street. Oh yeah, it turns out the cat wasn't even Shalimar so they just broke into this old lady's house for no reason.

- The charm is now off Wendy's person (Mrs. Bast showed her "the secret clasp") and yet there are 20 pages left. Ssssttt!

- Cornstarch absorbs dirt. Since when?

- Wendy becomes a werecat AGAIN and tries to kill her reflection. *sigh* Stupid cat.

- A gang of werecats surrounds Wendy the Werecat, but before they can claw her to death or choke her with hairballs, the sun comes up and they all begin to change. Who are the werecats? Her mother, father, and brother. Yes, this crap is hereditary.

Conclusion? - Cats cats cats cats cats. Did I mention cats? Because this book sure as hell did, about 5,678,355 times.

Sunday, May 4, 2014

Ghosts of Fear Street #3 - Attack of the Aqua Apes

*Because I'm secretly a kid with an enormous fart fetish, I like to play a really stupid game with titles and cover blurbs: replacement of a word with "fart". This explains why I wasted literally SECONDS of my life debating whether I should call this one Attack of the Fart Apes or Attack of the Aqua Fart. *giggle* Attack of the Aqua Fart really does it for me, conjuring images of Aqua Man and brown underwater gas clouds. The cover blurb says "Add Water and Shake." Um, no. "Add Water and Fart." That's better.

* This cover image is frickin' ridiculous. The ape's hairy claws look as if they're growing out of the top of his furred cranium. That goldfish is absolutely horrified at the turn his once peaceful life has just taken. Is that FLAMES coming from the ape's paw? And LIGHTNING flowing from its chin? I...don't know...nothing makes sense in these crazy fart ape times.

* As mentioned in my previous blog post, these books weren't actually written by Stine. The actual author's name can be found on the INSIDE of the book; apparently they weren't deemed good enough for cover fame. This was written by A.G. Cascone who also authored the Deadtime series which was made into a TV show on Nickelodeon some months back (yes, I watched it). Glad to know Attack of the Aqua Fart wasn't the highlight of A.G. Cascone's career.

* The plot of this one focuses on a kid named Scott who is stupid enough to get water from the Fear Street lake to grow his damned aqua apes. A fool! A fool I say!

* Aqua apes come from magic crystals which can be bought for the low low price of $3.95 plus shipping. Magic came cheap in 1995.

* "Yeah, well, they say it's guaranteed. Or you get your money back. They wouldn't say that if it didn't work." Your logic is flawed, Scott. I'll let you pass this time because you live on Fear Street which means your life is shitty enough without some blogger trashing you.

* Scott's friend, Glen, coughs up the cash for the apes (Scott wasted his money on ice cream) so he thinks he has permission to joke about being "a monkey's uncle." It's possible I hate Glen...

* The bottom of the tank to hold the aqua apes and their aqua looks like the surface of the moon. Because that's where AQUA apes come from. The waters of the moon. The dusty ass moon. *sigh*

* The instructions call for distilled water, but Scott's not spending any more money so he and Glen trot on down to the lake buried deep in the Fear Street woods. Again, your logic is FLAWED, Scott! A gallon jug of distilled water is around a dollar yet you would rather risk using the tainted water of Fear Street. I'm beginning to think this kid is incredibly stupid.


* The day after the Aqua Apes show signs of life, they're double the size and one taps on the side of the tank to get Scott's attention (Aqua Apes not only come from the moon, they're fluent in Morse Code).  Then the tiny hairy ape waves at him. Do with that what you will.

* The big-tiny (he's bigger than the other apes, but tiny compared to, say, two stupid boys) waving ape is hiding in a moon crater at the bottom of the tank. When one of the smaller apes swims by, the big ape crushes it in his fist. Ape on ape moon violence!

* The big ape eats all of the other Aqua Apes. So this book should have been called "Attack of One Aqua Ape" or "Big Hairy Cannibal". Oh well...pretty sure I'm the only person on the planet who gives a damn about this.

* Scott names the big ape Mac, but I've been calling him Krakatoa, Cannibal Ape in my mind.

* The Krakatoan is too big for his tiny tank so Scott moves him to an old turtle tank where the ape can spread his wings. Yes, this frigging mutant has little WINGS growing out of his back. His future looks bleak...

* Mac doesn't like the plastic toys in his tank so he throws them out while Scott and Glen are out of the room and replaces them with things he steals from Scott: a rubber ball, an 1879 silver dollar, a watch, some pennies, a pencil sharpener, and a pack of gum. A thieving cannibalistic mutant Aqua Ape who knows Morse Code, has a thing for loose change, enjoys playing ball and chewing gum, and is prepared to sharpen your pencils any time, any place. I think I'm in love.

* Scott attempts to get his silver dollar back, but Mac claws the hell out of his hand and arm...and makes his way to the front of Scott's shirt. Scott pets the ape and plays catch with the rubber ball. Apparently Aqua Apes love balls because Mac goes ape shit over it (see what I did?!?!). Sadly, the little ape gets weaker and shrinks a little the longer he's out of the water so he drags his hairy rump back to his tank.

* Scott and Glen go to the arcade where Scott find the ape in his pocket. It slides into a coin slot and pushes tons of quarters out which Glen tries to steal (the monkey is a bad influence) until the manager, Big Bruno, comes around and stops him. Big Bruno. Heh heh heh.

* Mac is now a big fatty, nearly the size of a rabbit.

* Scott sneaks off to Fear Lake in the middle of the night because he's a genius and is attacked by a King Kong-sized Mac. And that was a just a dream. Shit.

* Scott's sister, Kelly, wakes up to find a thousand knots in her hair. This is what Mac has been reduced to? HE'S A MUTANT CANNIBAL! Give him something to do!

* Fun fact: Aqua Apes don't like prunes.

* Mac destroys a dress that Kelly was going to wear to the BIG DANCE (there's always a big dance), a dress that Kelly's mom has worked on for weeks. He also took the liberty to make markings on it with a big black marker. I would have thought he would have used something else to mark it with.

* POOP. I'm talking about poop.

* Scott tries to kill his furry friend by crushing him beneath the garage door and he DOES, but Mac reforms like T-1000 in Terminator 2. His little mutant body cannot die. Behold the horror of Fear Street! (Or at least one of them.)

* Scott wants to call the police after Mac attempts to kill him by throwing a screwdriver at his head like a spear. One: Scott is only a few IQ points away from being dumber than a rock. Two: is there a chapel in Vegas that will allow me to marry a fictional cannibalistic homicidal ape? 

* The ape has clogged the toilet with its body. Mop up the toilet water, Scott. You are his slave now.

* "Mac had the wingspan of a bat now. He flapped his wings wildly and let out a bloodcurdling shriek. Scott couldn't take his eyes off Mac's glistening yellow teeth. They had grown to the size of fangs." Hello nightmares. Goodbye sanity.

* The best lines of the entire book: "He came back out of the toilet! And now he's trying to kill me!" The ape is smarter than you, Scott. Don't resist and your death will be swift and merciful.

* "Come on, you stupid pig-monkey." I hate you, Scott.

* The boys trap the ape in a cookie jar, duct tape it, and throw it into Scott's closet. Seriously? The idea is that keeping it away from water weakens it, but still!

* Dude. All that's left of the mighty Krakatoa is a small black crystal. He turned into a damned CRYSTAL. I'm going to vomit...

* Call it a COMEBACK! Scott's mom puts the cookie jar into the dishwasher and "a giant monkey claw slammed out of the door of the dishwasher. Mac's giant monkey claw. And he was definitely not waving." YES. HE LIVES. Have fun being maimed by a screwdriver, Scotty boy.

Conclusion? Pure, unadulterated insanity. I'm fairly certain the author was tripping on acid while writing this. But it's fuuuuuuuuun.

Next time: Ghosts of Fear Street #12: Night of the Werecat - Could a werecat kick a psychotic Aqua Ape's ass? I guess we'll find out.

Attack of the Jack-O'-Lanterns (Goosebumps #48)

PUMPKIN POWER! Nothing beats Halloween. It's Drew Brockman's favorite holiday. And this year will be awesome. Much better ...