HELL-O-WEEN by David Robbins


PUBLISHER: Leisure, 1992
GENRE: Fiction/Contemporary Horror
SETTING: Colorado, USA
PURCHASE: link
MY GRADE: D

FROM PUBLISHER: Halloween night, two buddies decided to play a cruel trick on the class brain…but the joke was on them.

They only wanted to scare their enemy to death…but their prank went awry and one of their friends ended up dead, her body ripped to pieces.

Soon seven teenagers were frantically fighting to save themselves from unthinkably gruesome ends…but something born in the pits of hell was after them-and they had no hope of escape.

CHARACTERS: Cory Fleming, Wesley Eagen, Leslie Vanderhorst, Jay Thorpe, Stacy Curvin, Scott Miklin, Ann Weatherby, Terri Sheehan, all are seventeen. Wesley and Leslie are dating, Jay and Stacy are dating, and Ann and Terri are best friends. Ann’s very protective of Terri.

DEMONS: The two demons are 7′ tall, muscular, nude, have three toes, red snake-like skin, red eyes, a forked tongue and tail, horrible breath, tapered teeth, ‘fetid’ breath like garlic, and walk upright like humans. They drink from a boiling pool of sulfur-smelling liquid.

MY THOUGHTS: On Halloween night, a group of seventeen-year-old friends go off to explore a cavern called Caverna del Diablo (Cavern of the Devil). They pair up and go off in separate directions and six of the eight get murdered by male and female demons. The synopsis would have you believe that a teen girl was accidentally killed by a classmate but that’s not true nor does Wesley and Scott’s prank have anything to do with anything.

This story was very boring. It was 366 pages of them wandering around in a dark cavern with just flashlights trying to hide from and outsmart two demons. I think the dialogue was both good and horrible at the same time. When they weren’t saying terribly outdated things like going steady, def, bodacious, dork, dweeb, rad, out of sight, make it/do me (as in have sex), to the max, and plenty of other things that were outdated by the time this book was published in 1992, the dialogue was actually pretty good and descriptive. I think the story would have been better with some kind of four-legged creature instead of one not much bigger than a human.

My least favorite character was Stacy, who was very annoying and kept calling her boyfriend Jay ‘honeybuns’. Second least favorite was Wesley, who thought he was above women and even punched his girlfriend Leslie in the jaw.

Favorite/goriest death scene was when a male demon ripped the breasts off one of the girls and ripped her throat open with his sharp teeth. Second favorite is when a girl got both arms ripped off. Third favorite is when the female demon bit off a male’s genitals.

The ending is the worst. It needed a multipage epilogue but it only got not quite a whole page.

 

ALLHALLOW’S EVE by Richard Laymon


PUBLISHER: Headline, 1994
Originally published in 1985
GENRE: Fiction/Contemporary Horror
SETTING: Wisconsin, USA, 1980’s
PURCHASE: link
MY GRADE: D

FROM PUBLISHER: This sleepy town may never recover from this nightmare. Every town has as a past but the grizzly murder of the Sherwood family is one the small town of Ashburg barely recovered from. The Sherwood house has remained vacant for years so who is sending out invitations for a party there? The townspeople are intrigued and who can resist a party at the murder house on Allhallow’s Eve?

MY THOUGHTS: This was so bad that I’m embarrassed for the author, who died in 2001, and I’m sad for myself for being so excited to read this. Very juvenile dialogue. Not one bit of this story was plausible. The mysterious invitations being sent out was the only interesting part of the entire story, which only spanned two days, and I lost interest in that as soon as it was revealed who was behind it. I’d have rather found that out at the end.

We weren’t told how one of the teenage main characters, Eric, got in touch with his father, whom he couldn’t have really known in the first place. We don’t know how this invitation thing came about either. There were a few too many unnecessary characters to keep up with and not a one was interesting. The first Halloween party was completely pointless and so much time was spent on it, just like too much time was spent in the high school. Time spent writing the first party scene should have been spent on the final scene instead, which took place at the abandoned Sherwood family home. None of that was interesting since we already knew who was behind it. The gorilla costumes were very odd too. The ending was abrupt. This story seems like it was just thrown together and written hastily by someone who just wasn’t into it.

 

BLACK CHRISTMAS by Thomas Altman

PUBLISHER: Bantam, 12/1983
GENRE: Fiction/Contemporary Horror
PURCHASE: link
MY GRADE: C

FROM PUBLISHER: Christmas in Murdock. A time of cozy safety, snowy sidewalks, and carolling children. But this holiday season someone is bating Sheriff Dunsmore in a bizarre and deadly game. Someone is stalking the young women he knows and loves…seducing them with icy steel…leaving them for him to find – far too late. It’s the night before Christmas. The frightened town edges toward panic. And Dunsmore is about to receive the most terrifying gift of all.

MY THOUGHTS: I should state that this novel has nothing to do with the 1974 film Black Christmas (though that was novelized in 1976 by Lee Hays).

This was fairly boring. Three young women from the same town are murdered at different times within a short period of time in the days leading up to Christmas, and a fourth was almost killed. It wasn’t until shortly before the killer was revealed that I’d guessed who they were.

There were the usual suspects- ex-husband, odd boy in town, ect., neither of which turn out to be the killer. I don’t understand the significance of the number thirteen; each victim was stabbed thirteen times. The reason for killing two of the three doesn’t make any sense and it wasn’t explained why the killer had those two on their radar anyway. The ending is odd too, somewhat happy, and I’m not at all satisfied with it. The novel needed to be slightly longer so we could have gotten some answers as to what the killer was thinking.

This wasn’t suspenseful enough and it wasn’t good enough to recommend.

 

HALLOWEEN by Curtis Richards, based on the screenplay by John Carpenter and Debra Hill- Film vs. Novel

halloween1979 front coverPUB. INFO: Bantam, 10/1979
GENRE: Horror
SETTING: Illinois, USA 1978
WIKIPEDIA: link
MOVIE TRAILER: Link
MY GRADE: A++

From Publisher: Based on the screenplay by John Carpenter and Debra Hill.

Tricked by his cunning..Treated to his savagery.. Annie, Linda and Laurie.. fresh, pretty, ready to be taken.. stalked by a sadistic power who has returned to claim new victims, on this.. the most frightening night of the year.

THINGS NOT IN THE FLIM: This book was actually released a year after the film. Not sure why. I love the film but the book’s so much better! It’s only 166 pages but boy is it packed with extras. It’s more graphic sexually and the murders are more gory, especially the murder of his sister. The best part is that we get to learn a little about Michael Audrey Myers’ life before and during the fifteen years he was away at Smith’s Grove Sanitarium for the murder of his seventeen-year old sister, Judith, when he was six years old. We learn his thoughts before and during her murder and what he did immediately afterward, before his parents came home to find him standing outside.

I’m going to mention things in the book that weren’t in the movie. We meet Michael’s mother’s mother at the beginning of chapter one. It’s Halloween and he shows her his Halloween clown costume that he got from Woolworth. I love his granny. She’s sassy. She was offended by his cheap store-bought non scary costume and even referred to Michael once as ‘Mister Woolworth Clown Costume’. She began to reminisce to him and his mother Edith about what Halloween was like when she was a child. She said if it was a tame Halloween only your chickens would get beheaded, or as Michael said, unheaded.

We learn that Michael had started wetting the bed after not doing so for three years. He’d been getting into fights at school and with his sister. He’d been having violent dreams and scariest of all, he’d been hearing voices that were telling him to say he hates people. Later in the book Loomis and Sheriff Brackett were discussing how Michael’s great-grandfather Nordstrom (his mother’s father’s father) had heard voices too and had even murdered two people at a harvest dance in the 1890’s and was hanged for it.

Shortly before murdering his sister, he goes trick or treating at his own house on Peecher Street with other kids from the neighborhood. His sister jokingly asked the kids what they’d do if she didn’t give them candy and Michael said he’d kill her. She said, ‘Was that you Michael Myers?!’ and he said, ‘I’m not Michael Myers. I’m a clown’. Every time I’ve read that line its caused me to laugh out loud, for some reason.

Soon after that Judith’s boyfriend Danny comes over. Michael is spying on them through the window. They’re kissing downstairs then later upstairs in her bedroom. Michael can hear the sounds they’re making through the open windows and ‘the sounds filled him with a murderous hatred.’  He doesn’t understand why they’re making those sounds. While he’s standing outside listening to them we learn of a recurring dream he’s been having. In the dream two people who look like Judy and Danny are dancing around a fire outside with other people. He’s jealous as he watches them dance and voices are telling him to kill the lovers.

After Danny leaves he goes into Judy’s room and stabs her over thirty times while she’s sitting at her vanity, brushing her hair, naked except for bikini underwear that have red hearts on them. He stabs her in her wrist, hand, breasts, arms, legs, groin and throat. He goes into the kitchen, eats a cookie, drinks milk out of the bottle, then goes outside and that’s when his parents show up and find him holding the knife.

Earlier that day he told his grandmother, in response to her suggesting he disguise is face with white clown makeup, that he wasn’t going to play any pranks, and was just going to ask for candy and in response she told him to have an ‘innocent, Woolworth kind of Halloween.’ Oooh, it was anything but!

Loomis is remembering all the times at the sanitarium over the past fifteen years where Michael got revenge on other kid’s for some slight but was never seen doing it. One kid got food poisoning after playing a joke on Michael by loosening the salt shaker top so the salt would pour out when you went to use it, one boy was scalded in the shower after repeatedly turning the TV volume down when Michael kept turning it up, a nurse fell down the stairs and fractured her pelvis days after an argument with Michael, a boy who forgot to return a game to Michael got a mysterious rash and had to be hospitalized, and worst of all, Michael suggested one year that they be allowed to have a Halloween party, of all things. A girl was bobbing for apples when the lights went out. Soon after when the lights came back on the girl was laying there, almost dead, from someone, Michael, trying to drown her. Loomis looked over at Michael, who smiled at him, but his costume was dry and Loomis had no proof Michael did anything to the girl.

When Laurie’s walking home from school with Annie and Lynda (it’s spelled Linda in the book) and goes inside, her red-haired mother is there, making candied apples and they have a short conversation about evilness. This is right before Laurie goes into her room and sees Michael staring at her from the clothes line. In the film, she walks though the front door and is shown walking straight into her bedroom.

Laurie’s father is Chester Strode. Film credits say his name is Morgan though it’s never spoken in the film.

In the book, several people who see Michael are close enough to tell he may be wearing a mask, but they aren’t sure. In the film, most aren’t close enough to him to wonder if it’s a mask until they’re being murdered by him.

When Loomis and Sheriff Brackett (Annie’s father) go into Michael’s old house and find the dead dog, they say his intestines are hanging out.

Shortly before Annie’s killed, she’s at Lindsey’s, brushing her own hair. Michael’s watching through the window and is staring at her ‘large’ breasts and becomes sexually aroused. ‘The sex between his legs throbbed in an unpleasant way.’

Annie asks Lindsey why their laundry room is in a separate building outside. Lindsey tells her that her mother wanted it outside because of the noise they both make. That’s not mentioned at all in the movie.

Toward the end when Laurie goes to Lindsey’s looking for Bob and Lynda and find Annie’s dead body in bed with Judith’s tomb stone, her stomach had been cut open up to her throat and her intestines were out.

MY THOUGHTS: I’ve always been a fan of the film and got a copy of the book in May 2009 from a friend. The book is so great. Unfortunately it’s so expensive that most fans of the film will probably never get to read it. I don’t know if the added stuff that I’ve mentioned was in the original screenplay or not or if Curtis came up with it on his own. Either way, I’m glad it was in the book and not the film. It makes reading the book so much more exciting.

Below are the two covers. The first two are the covers. The last photo is the back cover of both versions. My copy has the middle cover. It was reissued in 1982 and had the cover in the middle.

Same review here.

 

Halloween Collage