Tuesday, 30 June 2009

The Cheerleader - Caroline B. Cooney

In this entry, I’ll be taking a respite from the 13 Tales of Terror, and looking at one of my favourite EVER point horrors. Imagine a world in which vampires are un-sparkly monsters, and plain, ugly heroines really are plain ugly heroines. Imagine a world in which every single book is written by Caroline B Cooney. Imagine a world in which I get to eat pancakes and ice cream every night of the week and I get sexually harassed by Henry Ian Cusick whenever I damn well feel like it. Sorry, I’m de-railing. I introduce to you….

Ta da!

The Cheerleader is truly divine. It’s one of those rare point horror books that I can actually remember years and years after reading, and still feel a little bit sick when I think of it. I guess that’s what we like to call the Caroline B. Cooney magic.

We dive straight into the hot vampire action. Althea, who is a total drag, is in her attic room being offered a place on the cheerleading squad and a chance to be popular by a recently freed vampire with “skin like mushrooms” and “fingernails like foil.” The only catch is, she has to choose someone whose place she will take as a cheerleading queen bee. That’s a no brainer – Althea despises this broad called Celeste for being all floaty and beautiful and lovely. The vampire promises that Celeste wouldn’t actually die or anything – she’d just be a bit tired.

Althea is totally, utterly, existentially alone. Like, she has zilcho friends. I’m not that surprised given that the first time we see her she’s plotting away with a mushroomy vampire. And all she EVER does is think about how it’s so unfair that nobody likes her. Fucking hell, lighten up. I kind of feel like I want to bully her and she’s not even a real person.

Althea decides that operation Give-Celeste-Up-To-The-Vampire is a gogo. Only problem is, how to lure Celeste back to her creepy old loser house? Well, dumb old Celeste presents the perfect opportunity when she asks Althea if her house is haunted and Althea offers to show her the “shuttered room” in the attic (AKA mushroom vampire’s lair). Celeste complains for a bit that she can’t get to all the parties she’s invited to as she’s too young to drive and then declines Althea’s invitation because she has “cheerleading practice, of course.” This drives Althea into a blind rage. She's so mad she has steam coming out of her ears.

Althea is kind of a psycho actually. She just drives around town stewing over all the stuff Celeste has that she doesn’t. (It’s a real “Marsha, Marsha, Marsha” moment.)Althea then has an evil genius moment and decides to kindly offer to drive Celeste home from cheerleading practice. Althea’s plan works and the vampire does his ting. Not that Althea watches, but supposedly all the vampire needs to do is to migrate into his victims boundaries and put them into his dark path. Whatever the hell that means.

The next day at school, and suddenly all the popular crowd, Celeste’s friends, are all up in Althea’s grill about hot how she looks today etc. They like her hair because it’s “fluffy and sparkly”. Sounds sexy.

Becky, cheerleader extraordinaire, is an especially big fan of Celeste’s fluffy hair look. Ryan, one of the popular guys, wanders over, hears Althea talking about the night sky, and offers to bring his telescope round to Althea’s place.

Ryan flirts with Althea and he and Becky invite her to McDonalds with the gang after school. Althea’s totes happy, because of course this is just what she deserves. She’s brought down slightly when she sees Celeste looking all dull and wheezy and greasy haired and spacka-licious.

At McDonald’s, the gang asks Althea to tell them about her but because she’s some kind of weirdo psychopath she can’t even think of one thing to say. Luckily for Althea, the mushroom vampire mojo is still working and nobody really minds. They start bitching about Celeste and the way she was wandering around like a zombie. Umm, maybe she’s sick guys? Jeez, all these kids are real prizes.

Next day or whenever, a vacancy on the cheerleading squad is announced. Althea tries to make herself look all sad for Celeste but inside she’s like WOOOOO HOOOOOO. This girl is. Mentally. Ill.

Naturally, Althea gets the gig.

The cheerleading teacher, btw, is also a bitcho-mundo. Celeste is kind of hanging around like a bummer to watch the try outs and her face “looks caved in” and she's so weak she can barely stand and Mrs Roundman is all, “Celeste you are upsetting everybody. That’s very thoughtless of you. You’ve surrendered your place on the squad, which in my opinion was the action of a quitter So quit. Leave.” Althea and Mrs Roundman should really get together and swap psycho-tips sometime.

Over the next few days, Althea becomes more and more chummy with the cheerleading squad. She’s also approached by her best friend from junior high, Jennie. Jennie drifted away from Althea at high school when she presumably realised what a sack of shit Althea was, but now she wants to congratulate Althea on the whole cheerleader business. Jennie is also the only one that Althea seems to really like, she’s kind of secretly snooty about her new cheerleader friends.

Mainly to try and make Jennie feel inferior to her, Althea decides to throw a party and invites Jennie along to it. Althea enjoys “smiling generously “ at Jennie’s glee at being invited. The rest of the squad and the football team are also excited to hear about the party. Which is happening on a Sunday, by the way. Somebody really needs to explain to Althea about parties.

Unfortunately, the vampire decides that the party will be the perfect time for him to pick his next victim. Althea is all, “oh no you di’nt.” But then he threatens to take her popularity away and she decides to buy herself a bit of time and pretend to go along with it. The vampire tells Althea that she can even choose the victim for him – she just has to put her arm around the party guest that she chooses. Well, I certainly can’t see any way that THAT plan could go horribly wrong.

Party day – it’s wild. There’s soda, a video, even a radio talk show that someone has taped. Wow, these popular kids sure know how to party. Althea and Jenny get on high saturated fats and chemical sweeteners and have a little chat about how much they’ve missed each other. It all gets real emotional, and it culminates in Althea putting her arm around Jennie. Crap. Looks like the vampire’s having Jennie for dinner.

After the party, Althea freaks out at the vampire for being mean and migrating into her friend's boundary and she's all throwing china and paintings everywhere, she’s so damn maddddddd. (I hate you more than anything in this damn wooorrllld!). Jennie getting mongified is enough for Althea to actually realise that she has done a terrible thing and she almost tries to send the vampire back to the shutters but then he reminds her how much of a loser she is without him and she stops.

"I'm outie!"

Monday morning, and Althea is more popular than ever, but she’s still all angsty about the people that she has effectively killed (it's a "my teenage bullshit has a bodycount" moment). She's mainly upset about Jennie, who’s absent from school, so presumably the vampire brain-rot has set in.

Then Ryan comes up and flirts with Althea and everything’s cool again. This girl really needs to get laid. She goes out for pizza with Ryan, and fellow football player Michael. Michael is the ultimate catch I guess, but he also has the perfect girlfriend, Constance. Althea starts daydreaming about Ryan and Michael both being her boyfriend.

They arrive at Pizza Hut (McDonalds AND Pizza Hut…why Caro B., with this product placement you are really spoiling us). Some of the other girls start arriving and it’s soooo amazing and Althea’s having soooooo much fun blah blah blah.

Michael’s beeyatch Constance arrives and drives back with the three of them. Althea gets kind of a lesbo crush on Constance and decides that the vampire would definitely want a girl like Constance, and she must definitely not hand Constance over to the vampire. Ryan finally kisses Althea and she’s overjoyed, but the stupid stinky vampire has to spoil her good mood by waiting up for her so he can hiss about how she belongs to him. Jeez, change the record and eat some garlic already, Nosfertau.

Althea and Becky have a little chat on the phone and the vampire decides that he wants Becky next. Althea goes to Becky’s house for a sleepover, and as a little surprise Ryan shows up with his telescope.

Break me off a piece of that!

Anyway, Becky goes outside to leave the lovebirds alone and Althea is all scared because she’s sure she saw the vampire rustling around in the bushes or something and she doesn’t want anything to happen to Becky. But Becky’s fine after coming back inside, Althea’s the one who’s all tired and sluggish.

Until the next morning, when Althea is bright eyes and bushy tailed and Becky is suddenly too tired to even pick up the juice. Ah, Cooney, I see what you did there, the old switcheroo eh.

Now that Becky has also had her brain juices sucked out by the vampire, Althea is FINALLY filled with a sense of purpose. She marches home and tells the vampire that he can fuck off and die. She shuts all the shutters in the shutter room to trap the vampire back in the shutters (?) but the last one gets stuck, and then the door to the room slams closed and Althea is the one who’s trapped.

She can feel the vampire closing in on her with his foily fingers and she’s resigned to joining the mushroom brain brigade, when a car horn sounds from outside. The horn kind of breaks the spell and Althea opens the windows again and sees Ryan standing outside. She tells him to turn up his car radio and dance to “hard rock.” He obliges. This succeeds in driving the vampire away for now. So I guess that’s a useful tip to take away from this book.

Althea goes downstairs to Ryan and they drive to Pizza Hut. On her way down, the vampire lets Althea know how PO’d he is, and she lets him know that she could care less. Weirdly, Becky is at Pizza Hut with the gang and she really does feel fine. Althea stupidly thinks she’s won and managed to beat the vampire. I know otherwise because I am a) much smarter than Althea b) there are still about twenty pages of the book left and c) I have read this book many, many times before.

Althea’s so happy that she dances with Ryan in the aisles at Pizza Hut. This is meant to be a joyous moment, but personally I’m struggling to think of anything that would be more depressing.

A few days later, Althea is on the bus to a football game with all the others and just basking in her happiness. She’s even generously decided that she doesn’t want Michael as well as Ryan because she thinks that Michael and Constance go together so well. How magnanimous of her.

A week later, the vampire comes back. Althea’s feeling so puffed up and pleased with herself that she’s decided she doesn’t need the vampire anymore, she has friends on her own merit now, and she tells him to go away. Uh Oh. Althea just made an even bigger mistake than those salesladies who refused to serve Julia Roberts.

The next morning things start badly when he car won’t work, and it gets worse when nobody stops to offer her a lift. At school, people either ignore her or act mean and she finds out her place on the cheerleading squad is being auditioned again. Also, her nails have gone all long and red and ghastly looking – she’s worried that this might mean she’s becoming a vampire herself.

All the other cheerleaders are indifferent to Althea, even good old Becky has lost interest in her and finds her annoying. Ryan arrives and makes it clear that he’s not bothered about her either.

Althea goes home and cries. The vampire pops up and comforts her and offers to give it all back if she only promises to feed him again. And this time he wants Constance. And he promises that he’d never ask for anyone ever again. Yeah, yeah, I've heard that one before.

The vampire restores Althea’s popularity whilst she considers his offer and everyone comes up to Althea to apologise for being weird the day before. Ryan even invites Althea to the Winter dance.

Constance is all sweet to Althea and wants to get to know her better in a foursome with Michael and Ryan. Althea caves and invites them round to her house, promising to let Constance see the shuttered room in the tower.

As they approach the house, Constance starts to get spooked. Althea starts to really think about what she’s done and to hate herself for it. She tells Michael to turn around and uninvites them. She actually acts pretty crazy to stop them going to her house, but it works. They dump her out the car and go to Pizza Hut without her.

Althea gets home and the vampire is waiting for her. The vampire is ready to eat her now. She begs him to let her be popular for one teensy more time, so she can savour the memory of it. Kindly Uncle Vampire lets her feel what it was like to be popular for a few moments. She decides to take the vampire down with her, so he can’t prey on any more vulnerable young girls.

To defeat him, she rejects his final gift of popularity: She takes her popularity and “wipes” and “mops” it on him. Ewww. You can buy creams for that you know.

Anyway, it works. She defeats the vampire and decides that she will be popular again one day, but next time she’ll be popular on her own merit. It’s nice that she’s so optimistic but I kind of doubt that will happen.

And the vampire is back in the tower again, waiting….and I know he definitely gets out because I’ve read two sequels to this book.

Conclusion: you know what would be awesome? If they made some hidden camera TV show and tricked some kid into thinking they’d met a vampire and they were feeding schoolmates to the vampire in return for stuff, and everyone could pretend to like them one day and then be all cold the next day. It would be super elaborate, like the Truman Show with vampires I guess. I’d definitely watch that. Someone would probably end up killing themselves but on balance I think it would still be worth it.

Over to Amazon: One reviewer comments that “This book was brilliant, if you don't like vampires you will after reading this.” Whilst I agree with part one of that statement, part two intrigues and worries me. I wouldn’t exactly mistake this book for propaganda written by the Department for Fair Treatment to Vampires – We’re Nice Guys Too You Know (DFTVWNGTYK for short).

Next time – I’ll either do more of 13 Tales, or something else entirely. Any suggestions? I know someone mentioned The Invitation, and I like the look of that one, it seems nice and old school.

Monday, 15 June 2009

Coming SOON (ish)

Aww, just look at the little guy's face. How could I say no? This blog is still the first thing I think of when I wake up and the last thing on my mind before I fall asleep. But as a wise man once said - "Jesus H., writing about point horror books can get really fucking tiresome." Although since all that money went missing I'm not sure how much I should trust that particular wise man anymore.

Point is - my guilt baby has nearly reached full term, so I'll be updating soon.

(Gross. What do you reckon a guilt baby would look like? I'm thinking it would be similar to this:

Monday, 11 May 2009

13 Tales of Horror - Various - Part 2

Yoo hoo! I’m back! And I have with me more tales of terror to tingle your spine and freeze your very brain.

A Little Taste of Death – Patricia Windsor

This one is hard to rip into, because it’s super creepy and good. It’s about this girl called Louey (which totally makes me picture some fat, aging bald dude BTW) who’s staying with her grandma. And everyone knows that Grandma is no fun. One day Louey sees an advert in the local newspapers that resonates with her, detailing a man and a white hat and a lollipop. If you’ve met this man, and eaten his lollipop, the advert advises that you visit a local group as it could save your life.

At first Louey’s all, "that was ten years ago I ate that man’s lollipop who the fuck cares right?" But then she gets bored and decides to go along. She meets a boy of her age called Bobby Lee outside, and a bunch of other teens inside, led by another teenager named James. The teens are recounting tales of all the dreadful things they’ve done – sadly we don’t get to hear any of these stories. Louey’s totally not a badass, so the only story she has is the one detailing how she got the lollipop:

She was on a train and her mom fell asleep. A man with a white hat and green eyes and a brown tooth sidled up and gave her a lollipop. Her mom woke up and tells Louey not to eat the lollipop, but Louey was like, FUCK IT, eating lollipop is what I do bitch, and she gobbled that bad boy down.

In the meeting, James confirms that everyone there ate their lollipop and now they’re “going through the change.” I would insert a joke about the menopause here but last time I checked, I’m not Joan Rivers. The other kids start talking about how terrible “the change” is, and all the guilt they feel for the stuff they’ve done and they decide to kill themselves. That is a pretty good solution.

Louey freaks out and runs away from the meeting, stopping only to kick a poor stray puppy on her way home. The next morning, Louey feels like she’s done something she should be ashamed of but she can’t put her finger on what it is. Oh honey, I know that feeling well. She also starts having violent fantasies about her grandma (not like THAT. You people make me sick.)

Later, she goes for a walk and spots loads of police down the street. She finds out it’s because James killed himself. He slit his throat in the tub. Ewww. He slit his THROAT?! At least go for your wrists homeboy. As the newspaper arrives every day, there’s an obituary for another of the teens from the lollipop group that’s killed themselves. All except Bobby Lee.

Louey also starts having nightmares, and Bobby Lee features in all of them. In the dream he asks her weird things, like “what causes you heart the most pain?” How deep. Of course he also rides a motorcycle and he dresses in leathers in her dream. How very Grease 2.

Also in her dreams, he asks her to kill critters for him and then she wakes up with blood on her fingers. Eventually he asks her again what her worst, most private thing is. And she’s like, yeah I’ll do it. And then she falls off the motorbike and wakes up.

And hears her Gran screaming downstairs. Because there’s a dog boiling in a pot on the stove. I guess this is her worst, most private thing? I mean, who DOESN’T secretly yearn to kill and par boil a dog?

Louey takes charge and throws the dog away onto the compost heap (?)

Bobby Lee arrives at her door, in real life this time. And this time he has one brown tooth, green eyes and a white hat. Bobby Lee’s all, I’ve got ‘em all except you now, time to go. And Louey’s all doing her Tyra bitch face, like okay okay, nuh – HUH, and he’s all YUH – huh . But then Louey tells him that she remembers that she had one lick of the lollipop and put it away – so she doesn’t have to go with him after all - “Cause I only had a little taste of death.”

In conclusion – is it just me or does it feel like this story is meant to have some sort of a deeper meaning? I’m so distracted by the boiled dog and the slit throat that I can’t concentrate on anything else.

The Doll – Carol Ellis

Abby is 16 years old and she moves into a new house. She finds a creepy old doll that looks kinda like a “small dead child” in the attic. Since “small dead child” s are soooo 2011, she keeps the doll and gives it pride of place in her bedroom. Abby’s 12 year old sister teases her about the doll but Abby’s 12 year old sister is some loser who knows nothing about how chic dead child doll accessories are.

Abby starts having weird dreams (as a side note, if ONE more of these stories involves weird dreams, I swear to God….I mean, come on Point Horror brothers and sisters! These are short stories! You have like 10 pages to make the magic happen. Are you SURE you want to waste precious words on dream sequences?)

Anyway, Abby’s friend Erin comes to visit and she picks up the doll, comments on how creepy the doll is etc. Then Abby dreams about a little girls hand pushing someone down the stairs. She wakes up to screams - Erin has just fallen down the stairs. Don’t worry, though, she’s ok. I miss the boiled dog.

Later, Abby has Erin over, as well as another friend called Holly Roselle. I don’t know what Holly Roslle has done that’s so great to get her surname included. Maybe that famous Point Horror casting couch isn’t an urban myth after all – Carol Ellis, you sly old dog.

Then a giant lamp falls on Holly’s head. There’s blood and a gash (tee hee) but that’s pretty much it. Abby remembers that she’d dreamed it happening. Nice work, mystic Meg. Woulda been just swell if you coulda remembered that dream about 5 minutes ago.

I skim read the next 2 pages because they started with the word “dream” and I got so angry that I forgot how to read. But I think that Abby’s little sister got trapped in a tree-house fire (?)in real life, that Abby dreamed the doll started. And apart from some gnarly burns she’ll be ok.

Abby is now too scared to go to sleep. For some reason she still has the doll in her room. Even though she keeps dreaming about a small , doll like hand carrying out these acts of violence, she doesn’t seem to have put two and two together and noticed that this doll is seriously bad news.

Some dude called Mark comes round and he and Abby kiss. That night Abby dreams about a car crash, JUST GET RID OF THE DAMN DOLL ALREADY!

Mark’s late to pick Abby up and when she calls his house, his mom tells her that Mark is dead – he died in a car crash. He had to swerve cos he saw a little girl in the road and that’s what did it.

Abby hears a creepy little giggle and the penny FINALLY fucking drops that the doll is doing all the bad shit. Abby puts the doll back into its wooden box, and drives it to the cliff. She can hear little tiny fists beating against the inside of the wooden box. She throws the box over the cliff. And there’s some stupid addendum – 9 years later, a man finds the doll ona beach and takes it home to give his daughter for Christmas yadda yadda. What the fuck kind of a lousy parent would give their kid some rotten doll that had been in the sea for NINE years as a Christmas gift? Had that happened to me, I would have had myself legally emancipated.

One sentence synopsis: It’s the creepy doll that’s murdering everyone, Abby. It’s the creepy doll.

Conclusion – I’m always so scathing about these people not realising what’s going on sooner. But that’s kind of worrying. I wonder whether if something weird happened to me, I’d now instantly blame the creepy doll for attempted murder? If so then Point Horror is paying for my psychiatric care. And I'm expensive, baby.

House of Horrors – JB Stamper

Mark works in the House of Horrors as a guide, alongside Lisa, who he has the hots for. Eliot also works there, and Mark is jealous of Eliot’s rugged good looks.

Mark takes a group of teens around the House of Horrors. The House of Horrors is appropriately horrifying. As the working day draws to a close, Mark is excited as he’s going to after hours party with the other tour guides. Eliot instructs Mark to hide amongst the waxwork corpses after his last tour so the boss doesn’t see him and clock on about the illegal after hours party. Once the boss has left, the party starts! Uh oh. I think I can see where this is going.

As instructed, Mark hides amongst the waxworks. That is totally something that I could never do. Waxworks actually terrify me to a ridiculous degree. Mark waits in the library room for his boss to finish doing his rounds. At 10pm, Mark goes looking for the others.

The others are not there.

Mark starts running through all the rooms that make up the House of Horrors with only his flashlight for company as he grows increasingly panicked. Finally, the only room left to investigate is the dungeon.

The dungeon’s pitch black and Mark gets MAADDDD when he realises that he’s been fooled. He turns back to head home, but the only exit is locked, so Marky baby’s going nowhere.

Things get worse when he hears footsteps coming towards him and he runs back to the dungeon. And notices a waxwork of a beautiful vampire woman in the dungeon that was previously in the library. At this point, I would totally have lost my marbles, and therefore had no worries at all.

Mark drops the flashlight, and the footsteps get closer. He runs towards the library now, and hears an evil laugh. He can’t escape – the laugh gets closer and some fangs sink into his meaty neck: “another victim for the House of Horros”.

The next day, Lisa comes to work also excited and chuckling about how scared Mark would have been. Mark’s not there – but there is a new waxwork, A waxwork that looks an awful lot like Mark.

Conclusion: I guess all my fears about waxworks aren’t unfounded after all.

One sentence synopsis: Eliot and Lisa are absolute vaginas.

Where The Deer Are – Caroline B Cooney

This one’s about a girl called Tiffany, which I instantly love because it makes me think about the most beautiful and graceful Tiffany in all the world.

Tiffany lives in a house that’s deep in the woods, and damn but Tiffany hates those darn woods. She goes so far as to compare the trees to teenage anorexics. See – Caroline B Cooney knows about issues and stuff.

( is it just me or does that anorexic tree look an awful lot like Quentin Tarantino?)

Tiff also has issues with the deer that populate the woods. Her house is a particularly favourite hang out spot for the deer, and Tiffany is convinced it’s so they can watch her. Jeez, conceited much? I mean, sure, you were hot in Saved By The Bell, but this is nature we’re talking about here, y’know? And nature is more discerning than AC Slater and Zack "preppy" Morris put together.

One more thing that Tiffany finds shit about where she lives: a part of the woods called Dead Kid Curve from whence two kids disappeared 25 years ago.

Tiffany avoids Dead Kids Curve like she’s Victoria Beckham and it’s a morsel of carbohydrate (zing!) . She walks to school through the woods with four other friends who share the same fear.

Walking to school, Tiffany starts obsessing over the deer and thinking about how humans shoot them and stuff. One of the other kids, Janie, starts predicting that one of them is going to be taken by the dead kid curve today. What a buzzkill.

Tiffany gets “caught in a fever of trees. A paralysis of deer.” We get it, there are shit loads of trees. And deer.

Lest the kids go five fucking seconds without thinking or talking about deer, they start discussing “where the deer go”. Because they never see a trace of them on top of a cliff? I dunno. I don’t want to think about this too hard. Let’s all just agree that the deer are mysterious.

Patrick reminds Tiffany that her father killed a deer last week. These kids need to take up drinking, or sex, or anything. Just take their minds of the deer.

Unfortunately, the path they usually take is blocked by a whole bunch of debris so they have no option but to go the Dead Kid Curve route. Tiffany is still actually FREAKING out. Her skull’s vibrating, she’s crying and shaking, the full works.

They head towards the curve taking Tiffany with them. She has some weird vision of cellar door opening, and she’s convinced that the curve is going to choose to take her.

They reach the school and Tiffany is ridiculously relieved. Except Janie’s missing. Ruh-roh. The kids decide to walk back to the curve to find her. Except Tiffany, who’s to scared and runs straight to school.

At school, still freaking out, Tiffany goes to the bathroom. And in the mirror, she sees the reflection of a deer. The deer daintily climbs out of the mirror. Tuiffany runs out of the bathroom. And the school is suddenly deserted.

Tiffany runs out into the street – which is also empty of humans. But full of deer. Good old deer. The deer are all staring at her, and kind of judging her. Tiffany runs back through the woods towards home, but she’s not feeling too hopeful: “She would disappear. And that would not be man-made. It would be deer-made”

Tiffany sees the boys far in the distance – and Janie with them – she’d just forgotten her lunch bag.

Tiffany’s still running, and she’s all like, it’s not my fault you deers get shot and humans are terrible environmentalists. But it’s too late, and she begins the long fall through the cellar, which she knows will never end.

Wow, was that ever depressing.

Conclusion: Caroline B Cooney definitely does eerie well. Her stories always succeed in making me feel a little bit sick and claustrophobic – in a totally good way.

One sentence synopsis: deer deer deer deer deer deer deer deer deer deer deer deer deer deer deer deer deer deer deer deer deer deer deer deer deer deer deer deer deer deer deer deer deer deer deer deer deer deer deer deer deer deer deer deer deer deer deer deer deer deer deer deer deer deer deer deer deer deer deer deer deer deer deer deer deer deer deer deer deer deer deer deer deer deer deer deer deer deer deer deer deer deer deer deer deer.

Okay, I’m going to have to stop there for now – but I have 5 more tales of terror to recount to you, so stay tuned, terror fans. And I’ll update quicker this time - I swear on my deer’s life.

Monday, 6 April 2009

13 Tales of Horror - Various

What's better than one Point Horror story?

THIRTEEN Point Horror stories, that's what.

First off, for the most part, this anthology is fucking awesome and I am extremely grateful it was suggested. Sure there are a few stinkers in here, but I'm pretty sure I had this book and loved it at the time as well. Oh God, I can't even joke about this, it is so seriously good. Let's get into it.

Oh, and to keep in the spirit of short stories, I'll provide a one sentence synopsis at the bottom of each recap.

Collect Call – Christopher Pike

Janice Adams likes Bobby Walker. Caroline Spencer also likes Bobby Walker. Caroline Spencer is a cheerleader. Janice Adams is NOT a cheerleader. This one opens at party – most definitely a Christopher Pike party. I mean, the kids are drinking beer and smoking cigarettes and talking about penises. My invite must have gotten lost in the post.

Janice manages to corner Bobby, who is of the slicked back black hair, tight black jeans, leather jacket and deathly cold breath variety of bad boy.

Unfortunately, Bobby calls Caroline over to join their chat, which makes Janice feel , well, feel as if “I look like a bookmark next to her.” Which is sort of weird.

So, it’s Caroline’s birthday and Bobby gives her a tape cassette by a singer called The Black Walker. Aren’t band names in books just the cringiest thing ever? According to Bobby, “The Black Walker doesn’t prostitute himself. You can feel him but you can’t see him. He’s never been on TV.” Sounds like The Black Walker needs a better publicist.

The party ends, Bobby’s left, and circumstances dictate that Janice has to give Caroline a ride home.

Here’s a weird sentence for you to mull over. “Caroline shrugged, staring forward, her head bowed slightly as if she were wearing a fat hat.” What the fuck? A FAT hat?

(that picture is going to give me terrible nightmares)

Anyway, Caroline and Jan decide to listen to The Black Walker tape. According to Christopher Pike, the lyrics are “powerful stuff.” Here’s a sample so you can judge for yourself:

“This is my night, this is your night.
I’m a black walker, babe.
Touch me softly and you get a fright.”

Oh right, I didn’t realise The Black Walker was, like, a 12 year old girl. The concept of a fat hat has affected me far more deeply and cruelly than these lyrics ever will. Jan starts being nasty to Caroline and, predictably, the girls start arguing over Bobby. Caroline ends up punching Jan in the face, which is pretty stupid considering Jan is trying to drive the car.

They crash off a cliff or something and the tape turns itself on for a second. Spookz. Janice realises that Caroline is totally dunzo and Janice panics about drink driving and the murder and the prison. So Janice decides to move Caroline’s body into the driving seat. Yeah, that always works out well. And then the car explodes. Janice is thrown clear but she hears Caroline’s screams as she burns. Uh oh, should have checked that pulse first eh Janice. You know what they say, assume makes an ass of u and me.

Rather than trying to save Caroline, Janice just feels a bit guilty whilst waiting for her to die. Janice wakes up in hospital being questioned by a police officer. Her doctor is called Dr Please. I’m trying to figure out if this is supposed to be some sort of clever joke?

Rather than being kept in overnight or anything after this horrific accident, Janice gets taken back to her home, which naturally is 100% parent free. Creepily, there’s a message on her answering machine...from Caroline, presumably left earlier in the evening, to ask for a lift to the party. Janice goes to bed to try to forget about it...when the answer machine starts beeping again and there’s a NEW message from Caroline, begging for a ride to the party.

Caroline keeps leaving like a million messages asking for a ride, sounding angrier and angrier.

Janice decides that Caroline must have survived so she gets in her car to drive back to the hospital to check. At the hospital, she meets an old woman with a big droopy nose who tells her that the driver of the car definitely died.

Janice does exactly the same as you or I would in the same situation and heads down to the hospital morgue to double check Caroline’s dead. There’s a body bag in the morgue, but it has Jan’s name on it rather than Caroline’s. Jan isn’t panicking yet though, she’s all, “yeah man, they must have just mixed up our names, shit happens right.” But Jan doesn’t have the guts to look inside the bag and she freaks out and runs away.

In her car, The Black Walker tape has somehow made its way into the player again. Umm, but it’s something like it’s actually the tape from the answering machine? This bit is confusing and if I try and read that passage one more time I’m going to get frustrated and upset with my own limitations and start smashing shit up. I’m not very bright.

OK, so Caroline’s voice starts talking on the tape, giving Jan directions to where she has to drive, which Jan follows. Guess where Caroline directs Jan to? Yeah, that’s right, McDonalds and they eat a Big Mac and Ronald McDonald starts breakdancing and then they all make out. Oh wait, sorry, I was daydreaming about Mac and Me again. Jan actually ends up at the site of the crash.

And she sees her own car crash with her and Caroline inside it. Future Janice runs down to help the girls and pulls Caroline free. She tries to save the other girl as well, but she can’t. So Jan explodes into fire and dies or something.

This time, Caroline wakes up in hospital. And Bobby Walker is waiting outside to see her.

Whilst she waits for Bobby, Caroline decides to check the messages on her hospital phone. One is from Bobby, to check if he loved the tape and saying he’ll see her soon “if she’s still alive.” That old chestnut. Also, Caroline realises that his voice is exactly the same as The Black Walker. The second message is from Janice, blabbing on about how the fire burned off her hands and she's coming for Caroline, who I guess is dead too and this is some big eternal death circle or some other Christopher Pike style pseudo spiritual thing. Caroline starts screaming and Bobby Walker enters the room with a big ol’ shit eating grin on his face.

The end.

In conclusion, unless I'm missing something major, that story makes, like zero sense? But who cares right, sometimes it's not about the destination, it's about the journey. And baby, this was one good ride.

One sentence synopsis: These two chicks fight over this greaseball guy but then they die in a car accident and the guy turns out to be the devil or Danny Zuko or something.

Onto short story number two:

Lucinda – Lael Littke

Kate has an older brother called Brandon, whose girlfriend, Lucinda, went missing on her graduation night six years ago. Kate saw Lucinda and Brandon argue over Brandon’s relationship with a girl called Holly that night, then saw Lucinda wade out into a river, and then has blocked out whatever the fuck traumatic shit happened next because her puny human mind couldn’t deal with it.

Now Kate is 16 and Brandon is 23 and they’ve been orphaned and decided to move back to the town where it happened. Brandon is all wracked with guilt, STILL and takes Kate on some ghoulish Lucinda themed tour of the town. The lake where Lucinda presumably drowned is all dried up now, so they go for a little stroll through it. Brandon is hoping to find Lucinda’s skeleton or something. Already, I’m not so sure about Brandon.

Brandon takes Kate to the remains of a house that was under the river that Lucinda used to frequent and shows her Lucinda’s “secret place” in the basement part. It’s all snakey and ghost whispery.

Keith arrives to welcome the pair back to the town. Keith was Lucinda’s brother and supposedly he sorta maybe kinda blames Brandon for his sister’s death. Holly also rocks up, and she still has the hots for Brandon. Holly suggests that Lucinda pulled a Lord Lucan and isn’t really dead.

That night, Kate wakes up to find a puddle of water on the floor. Kate, Kate, there’s no need to be ashamed. We all have little accidents from time to time. The water drops somehow lead Kate out of her room towards the foundations of Linda’s old house. That’s some smart water drops right there.

Kate freaks out and runs away, bumping into Holly. Holly walks Kate home, but not before she points out that she can hear a ghostly voice whispering Brandon’s name. How reassuring.

At home, Kate finds Brandon huddled in the corner like a pathetic baby clutching onto a red graduation robe like the one Lucinda was wearing when she disappeared. He says that Lucinda was at the house all dripping wet and creepy and he managed to grab the robe. Brandon's mental health prognosis is not looking so good right about now.

The next day, Kate goes to search Lucinda’s “secret spot” in the river. And sees Lucinda staring there in her red graduation robe. Lucinda attacks Kate, and Kate cleverly realises that her attacker is too strong and...humany to be a ghost. And that the face is actually a porcelain mask made to look like Lucinda. Ummm OK.

The pair tussle and Kate lands on some icky brown skeleton. Kate realises that “Lucinda” is actually Holly, and Kate’s memory of what she saw 6 years ago returns – Holly attacked Lucinda with an axe in the river. Holly admits it, and says she did it because of her love for Brandon. And now she’s back dressed as Lucinda with her fancy porcelain mask so she can torture Brandon in a similar way to how he tortured her by withholding the good stuff. Jeez, these kids.

Kate manages to escape and luckily Keith also arrives in the nick of time to rescue her. So I guess that Keiths are good for something after all.

Conclusion: this one was boring.

I’ve decided to write my one sentence synopsis for this one in the form of an awesome haiku:

If I saw a ghost

I’d be smart enough to check

That it wasn’t actually a vengeful ex-girlfriend wearing a porcelain mask or something

(You might have noticed that I slightly fucked up the haiku at the end there. But if you say it fast enough it sorta works)

The Guiccioli Miniature – Jay Bennett

This one is set in Venice. You can tell because the first paragraph manages to mention the Piazza San Marco, St Mark’s canal, San Giorgio Island and gondolas. Lots and lots of gondolas.

Jerry is an American tourist in Venice who’s approached by another American man who isn’t looking so hot, eg he’s all stubbly and gross. Stubbly tramp man persuades Jerry to buy a miniature from him that he’s painted. Uh oh. We’re in the second paragraph now and already I fear that this miniature is going to come with some sort of curse that means Jerry will take the Stubbly Tramp’s place wandering the streets of Venice alone for all eternity until he can find another gullible American tourist to buy the miniature.

Anyway, this miniature is a copy of the Guiccioli miniature. It’s of a very beautiful woman, who was apparently Byron’s beezatch number one back in the day.

Jerry goes for a walk and thinks about the miniature and about Bryon and imagines people are following him and starts having a panic attack like a stupid great big girl. So, clearly following the same curse-y line of reasoning as me, he decides to be done with it and throw the painting in a canal (in case you may have forgotten, Jerry is in Venice.)

On the plane back to America the next day, Jerry reads a newspaper article. The old stubbly tramp man is on the front page. He’s dead, because he stole the ACTUAL Guiccioli miniature, which is, like, priceless, and then double crossed his partners and now they’ve tracked him down and killed him. Jerry realises that he is a fucking idiot. The end.

Conclusion – how the hell did this story find its way into a Point Horror anthology.Seriously.

One sentence synopsis:

Yeah, I went there. I used the lolcat.

Blood Kiss – D.E. Athkins

(yessssss, a D.E. Athkins one!)

Elizabeth is with her friends Delia and Valerie, who together are perving over the new boy Ken. He’s aptly named as well, since he apparently looks like a Ken doll.

Ummm, hot, I guess? He also wears dark glass and “long, long coats that looked somehow from another century” so he’s totally rocking Columbine chic.

Elizabeth is totes in love with him, despite the rumours that he’s a vampire. And the fact that she sees herself as kind of a clumsy dweeb. Hmmmm, I wonder if S Meyer is a secret D.E. Athkins fan.

Elizabeth even goes so far as to research vampires, I guess so they could have something to talk about? Like, "hey, you know what I really hate? Garlic. Garlic and crosses." "No way? Me too!" "We have so much in common!" "Let's make out now." *slurp slurp slurp*

Ken gets all these smokin’ girlfriends, but they never last and the break ups are all kind of mysterious. Elizabeth is secretly dying of jealousy but she keeps it quiet so her friends can’t tease her.

Things get worse when her friend Delia starts flirting with Ken until one day Delia arrives at school with a scarf round her neck, although she also denies that Ken got chompy with her. Once those two break up, Ken starts dating Val. Really Elizabeth, he’s totally used goods by now. And there are other vampires in the sea.

Whilst her friends are out getting laid, Elizabeth returns to the library and discovers that some folks believe a vampire needs to bite you more than once before you can be turned. She wonders how vampires kiss each other – “Like, what did they do with their teeth? Was it like wearing glasses or having braces? Could a vampire write to Ann Landers about it?”

Elizabeth decides that Ken is just nibbling all these girls, waiting for his one true love, that he will then bite and turn into a vampire properly.

Val and Ken eventually break up, and, like all the other girls before her, she refuses to talk about it. So Elizabeth approaches Ken and he asks her out on a date. Ugh, Ken is such a man whore, forget vampirism, I’d be more scared of catching the clap.

After watching a movie, they drive up to Point and Elizabeth asks Ken if he’s really a vampire. In response, he gives her a “schoolboy nibble” on her neck. Elizabeth is crushingly disappointed, so she starts getting mad at Ken, asking if he led all the girls on by pretending be a vampire and then refusing to bite them properly. Can I just interject to say two things here – firstly a rousing What The Fuck, and secondly, I love the world that D.E.Athkins lives in. It’s just so....fabulous.

So Ken gets mad back and tells Elizabeth that all the girls liked dating a vampire at first but then they got weird about it and treated him like a pervert once he got serious. Ken is angry because he feels used. The vampire is angry because teenage girls used him. The vampire is upset by being labelled a pervert.

And Ken realises that Elizabeth is different to the other girls and she won’t be such a haemoglobin tease, so she bites his neck and drinks his blood and then is all “gimme a kiss.” Very Angela Carter...if Angela Carter were fabulous.

Conclusion - D.E.Athinks is literally the best writer that ever lived, ever. I can’t even really snark her, she’s just so damn good.

One sentence synopsis – You know Twilight? Imagine if it was actually, like, funny. And didn’t have all those uncomfortable messages about abortion and sex before marriage. And it was only 17 pages long. Yeah, it's that good.

As you may have noticed, so far I have only covered four out of the thirteen promised tales of terror. Come back soon for the remaining nine. ( I actually had to count out on my fingers to figure that out.)

Tuesday, 24 March 2009

The Body - Carol Ellis

No, your eyes do not deceive you...it really is a new entry. And this time I've gone for an author I have never covered before, the gloriously named Carol Ellis with her magnum opus The Body.

First things first, the silver snake stick on the front cover is bitchin.’ It’s pretty much the perfect finishing touch to my pimp suit.

So, this basically a book about tapping. Tapping and Jane Eyre. I shit you not. A significant portion of this book is passages directly quoting Jane Eyre. Hey, guess what Carol Ellis? If I wanted to read Jane Eyre, I’d have read Jane Eyre. Or maybe watched the TV serialisation.

ANYWAY, Melanie is our heroine and she’s new to town and therefore has no friends (apart from Trina but she’s boorrrriiing). Melanie gets a job reading to Lisa – Lisa is an invalid who lives in a super creepy mansion. Lisa is the same age as Melanie but she’s paralysed, confined to a wheelchair and unable to speak after a cliff falling accident she had a few months ago or whenever.

Lisa’s dad is kind of an absentee father and the housekeeper Ms Hudson is a massive bitch and she only started working at the house after Lisa had her accident. I reckon that Lisa’s dad is secretly boofing the housekeeper, you read it here first.

Melanie decides to read Lisa Jane Eyre. Here begins the wholesale copy and pasting of Jane Eyre to reach a minimum word count. Nice one, Ellis. Melanie read out the bit where Jane Eyre suspects someone is plotting against Rochester after the fiery bed incident (SPOILER ALERT!) and Lisa manages to move her arm and narrow her eyes at this passage. I fear this is going to be a very slow paced book.

Melanie discovers that the house is riddled with CCTV, so at any point, pretty much anyone could be watching them. This is probably important. Melanie also meets Jeff, Lisa’s buff gardener. He’s also new to town. HOW CONVENIENT.

Jeff tells Melanie that Lisa had the accident by falling off a cliff. But he acts all weird and shifty about it and won't go into detail. Like, yawn.

On her way out, Melanie nearly collides with another car in the driveway. The driver is Garrett, and he’s Lisa’s boyfriend. Naturally, he is also super cute. Jeff and Garrett evidently hate each other, but I sense some sexual undercurrents between them.

Melanie goes to see her boring friend Trina in the diner where Trina works. (ps, I HATE this name, every time I type it out my spell check changes it to train. CURSES.) Trina is good for something and tells Melanie that Jeff was the one who discovered Lisa. Oooh, secrets and lies.

Garrett arrives at the diner with his crew. The only other important ones are Neil and Kim, who are a couple. Neil is a jerk and he makes a big deal out of flirting with Melanie and Kim is blates jealous and staring daggers at Melanie.

Melanie finds out one more important tidbit of information from Trina – last year this college guy backpacker called Peter passed through town and indulged in some light flirting with Kim – the goss is that Neil flipped out with jealousy and punched him. Oh, and this Peter kid also had a walking stick with a silver snake curled on the top – JUST LIKE ON THE COVER! (hehe, I almost typed “snail” instead of “snake” – now that would be pretty sweet.) Anyway, I cant believe these kids still even remember this one random dude. Also, Lisa’s accident happened whilst this mysterious Peter was in town.

Next day, Melanie is back at Lisa’s place reading Jane Eyre to her. Again, Lisa starts flipping out at one of the passages, Well, I say “flipping out”. For Lisa, flipping out pretty much consists of slightly moving her hand. Which, frankly, is less exciting than it could be.

Melanie and Lisa also work out a code: Lisa will blink once for yes and twice for no. When Melanie starts blabbing to everyone she knows about the code, Lisa’s friends fail to believe it. In fact, Garrett seems pretty pissed off about this whole communication thing and basically tells Melanie to back off.

Melanie agrees to go get something to eat with Jeff. Like, a DATE! And because of some stupid dream she had that I didn’t bother to bore you with she feels like she’s doing something incredibly dangerous and exciting.

Jeff tells her about when he found Lisa after her fall off the cliff. How romantic. It’s pretty standard, but Melanie is sure that he’s holding something back.

Later that night, Melanie gets her Jane Eyre on again and marks the passages in the book where Lisa was trying to communicate with her. Oh God, please don’t make me describe them.

Next time at Lisa’s, there’s a message inside Jane Eyre: “If you want to keep reading, be careful who you talk to.” Maybe it’s from Charlotte Bronte and she’s pissed that her novel is being used in this shitty little book for teenagers. But Melanie reckons it's Kim, the jealous girlfriend. Melanie also finally realises that whatever Lisa is trying to tell her, Lisa needs it to be kept secret.

Just before going on a bowling date with Jeff, Melanie goes through the Jane Eyre clues AGAIN, using her mad sleuthing skillz to figure out that Lisa was trying to tell her that a stranger with large black eyes had plotted against her and frightened her. Melanie decides that this may refer to Jeff. Melanie sure is keen to write Jeff off.

At home, Melanie gets a crank call from the note writer. The voice starts off high, thin and breathy like a little girl, before becoming deep and guttural. That’s so hot.

Jeff picks up Melanie up and Melanie is shitting herself that he’s going to kill her because of the random crappy little clues that she’s managed to use her one functioning brain cell to string together.

Back at home there’s a message for Melanie painted in red nail polish across the door: “Be careful Melanie, I know what you’re doing.” Naturally, despite worrying that the mystery author MAY ACTUALLY STILL BE IN HER HOUSE, Melanie doesn’t call the police. And she still thinks Kim is responsible.

Melanie sees Kim at the diner and confronts her. Kim does not appear to know what the hell Melanie is talking about.

Melanie tells Trina that Lisa is trying to tell her a secret, private message. Gee, for something that’s so private and secret, Melanie sure does tell an awful lot of people about it.

Later, at Lisa’s house, Melanie and Lisa sit outside and through the power of blinking, Lisa confirms that She DOES indeed want to tell Melanie something, and that it IS indeed top secret information. Melanie realises she’s left her book in the car and runs back to get it. And a tree branch nearly falls on Lisa that Jeff is sawing down. Melanie only just manages to move Lisa out the way. Umm, that was lucky I guess.

Jeff is all, ooooopsie, sorry, I was up the tree with the chainsaw and I didn’t see where the branch was going to land. This shit is like catnip to Melanie.

Garret shows up, as usual and Melanie is all, why do you always show up during reading time? Maybe YOU’RE the one leaving all these hideoso messages. Garrett denies it convincingly, and points the finger of blame towards Jeff. Because Melanie is incapable of thinking for herself she decides that Jeff is suspect number one.

At home, Melanie read though the Jane Eyre quotes again. AGAIN! FUCK!

On her way home from a babysitting job, someone tries to run Melanie over. Tragically, they fail. Trina shows up and once again Melanie confides in her. Trina comes up with a plan for Melanie to get more info AND foil the security cameras – tape some questions inside a magazine and show them to Lisa, then let the blinking do its magic. The first question she has is “Was there a crime?” That is such a dumb question that I think it’s actually just given me renal failure.

Next day, there’s a mudslide by the cliff (?) so Melanie has to go some weird long way around to get to Lisa’s house. Her car breaks down and she decides to walk through the forest to the house. As you can no doubt imagine, it is a jittery journey. Eventually Melanie comes to a clearing and finds the remains of a campfire, which is evidently where that guy Peter with the silver snake stick camped.

Melanie realises this as she finds the silver snake stick. Melanie reckons that Peter must have been killed and he’s buried somewhere round here. Well, I guess that’s as good a hypothesis as any. Melanie figures out that Lisa had been running from something in the forest when she fell off the cliff. I sure am glad that the police obviously did such a thorough examination of the area where Lisa was found. Oh wait a minute. This is a Point Horror book. Who calls the police?! Losers that’s who! Losers and fatties.

Melanie arrives at the house and Garrett is there. In the room with Lisa and Garrett, Lisa starts frantically doing her tapping thing and Melanie realises that Garrett is the one that Lisa is afraid of. Garrett basically admits that yes, he is the villain.

Garrett tells Melanie that after Neil punched snake stick Peter, Lisa offered to let him sleep on her property since its so big and all. Garrett and Neil went to visit him to try and get him to leave. Neil was still angry about Peter flirting with Kim and Garret was in a lousy mood since Lisa had told him that she wanted to break up with him. So Neil and Garrett ended up beating Peter to death. Oh Peter, we barely knew ye.

Lisa witnessed Garrett deliver the fatal blow with a rock, and Garrett needs to make sure she keeps her damn fool mouth shut.

Garret pulls out a knife , forcing Melanie to wheel Lisa outside so he can push them both off the cliff. Melanie outwits him outside by braking the wheelchair on the slope above Garrett and whispering to Lisa that she needs to release the brakes when Melanie tells her to. Melanie walks further away down the hill and tells him she’s not willing to cooperate in her own murder. Lisa is behind Garret on the hill and at Melanie’s command she releases the brakes and goes zooming towards Garret in her wheelchair. Wooo hoooo! This speeding wheelchair is probably the most exciting moment thus far. Mainly because it reminds me of that scene in The Witches with the speeding buggy. Let's just take a moment to picture it.

Anyway, Garrett gets knocked over and Melanie grabs the knife.

Conveniently, Ms Hudson and Lisa’s dadda show up with two policemen, which dad explains by saying he was worried because he tried calling and didn’t get an answer. Wait, you call the police for THAT? Oh well, its pretty handy anyway. Everything is happily resolved and Melanie completely forgets about all Jeff’s weird mood swings and suspicious behaviour that made her think he was a psycho and decides that he’s The One.

From this book I mainly learned that a stick with a silver snake on the top of it is a highly fashionable backpacking accessory. And that Jane Eyre is a much, much better book than The Body.

I must admit that one of the main reasons I chose The Body was the glowing reviews it received on Amazon. Glowing! You let me down Amazon, you let me down. But then one of the reviewers does spell the word "psychotic" as "cycotic" so perhaps I shouldn't have been too surprised when this wasn't a great piece of literature, like, say, hmmm....Jane Eyre?

I haven't decided what to do next time yet...any excellent suggestions? I really need a good one, preferably involving ghosts/zombies/icky monsters.

Wednesday, 4 March 2009

The Deadline

Sometimes deadlines can be...murder


If deadlines could kill...

How about

Try not to miss your DEADline. Otherwise, someone might kill you. And then you'll be DEAD

Maybe not the last one.

Yeah, I've just realised how long I've been dilly-dallying in between posting and I'm shocked, shocked I tells ya. So I'll be getting my head down and churning out a new entry by early next week. Three cheers for crappy holding posts!

Thursday, 12 February 2009

April Fools - Richie Tankersley Cusick

Oh, RTC, you know I can’t stay away for long. And here I am back again, unable to resist your loving arms with April Fools. And you know what? It’s pretty pretty good. If you replace the word ‘good’ with the word ‘shit’, that is. SLAM!

So, let’s set the scene – Belinda is best chums with Hildy and Frank, who are a couple. Belinda once had the hots for Frank herself but he chose Hildy. I don’t know why anyone would have the hots for Frank as he is an absolute imbecile. Exhibit A: the book opens with Belinda, Hildy and Frank driving home from an April Fool’s party (is this a thing?! How come I’ve never been invited to an April Fool’s party?!). Frank is drink driving because drink driving is totally 90s.

Upon reaching a hairpin bend, another car approaches them, honking away, and Frank decides to “give these hotshots a scare.” That’s probably the only time you’ll ever get to read the word ‘hotshot’ and the word ‘honking’ in the same sentence. W00t. And give them a scare Frank does, basically running them off the road and into a gorge. Why is there always a gorge? I don’t think I’ve ever even seen a gorge.

Anyway, Belinda wants to help the people in the gorge but Hildy and Frank are all like, “Belinda! Noooo.” And the car in the gorge goes KABOOM, but not before Belinda catches a glimpse of someone burning to death in the car. And also spots a man watching the three of them from above, who suspiciously remains unresponsive to Belinda’s cries for help.

Two weeks later, Hildy and Frank are ragging on Belinda for being upset. Jesus, it’s only been 2 weeks since they basically killed a carful of people Hildy totally tries to justify it by being all, “you know Frank, he’s always joking, that was totally just a joke, and those people should have watched where they were driving, as if their fiery death was EVEN our fault” Umm, Hildy? It kinda was your fault. She even accuses Belinda of being “dramatic”, saying “you’re acting like this is some kind of huge tragedy or something,.” Speechless.

Hildy also thinks they totes did the right thing by not telling the police about the accident, because Frank would get chucked off the swim team for drink driving, and Hildy was meant to be grounded so her parents would be pissed. Yeah, and the prison thing. Don’t forget the prison thing Hildy. Hildy doesn’t believe Belinda when she says there was a man there watching them. Belinda’s worried this man’s going to come after them. I'd agree that that’s a pretty safe bet

Belinda’s super smart, so she gets hired to be a tutor by some chick called Mrs Thorne. She needs a tutor for her stepson, Adam Thorne as he’s ill. The reason he’s ill is…because of the car accident he was in 2 weeks ago. Dun dun dunn. Mrs Thorne was also in the accident and escaped with just a few bruises, together with her husband, Adam’s dad who wasn’t so lucky and is currently in a coma. She’s a really cold bitch and she makes no secret of the fact that she hates Adam and really doesn’t give a shit about him.

Belinda tells Hildy but Hildy’s a psychopath and still doesn’t understand why she should care. There’s something about that Hildy that I really like. Hildy actually finds the whole situation hilariously funny. Like, irony or whatever. Frank and Hildy both think Belinda is insane for even thinking that this could be the SAME car accident. Okay psychos, either way you’ve definitely killed someone though, right?

Hildy actually thinks it all sounds incredibly romantic and encourages Belinda to agree to tutor Adam Thorne. He might be cute, right? And Frank thinks everything’s okay because there’s no way anyone could have survived their car accident. Him and Hildy are really made for each other.

Belinda goes to meet Adam at his super swish mansion and is warned by Mrs Thorne that he’s pretty hostile. Sure enough, Adam slinks in on a walking cane and talks to her from the shadows. It's kind of a beauty and the beast type bonding moment. Pathetically, Belinda actually faints. And then as she comes round she sees his face hovering over her and he’s all covered in gashes and icky looking. Understandably, Adam’s a bit upset that she actually fainted and Belinda leaves. There’s a spark between these two through, a spark I tells ya.

On her way out of her house, Belinda meets the butler or whatever, Mr Cobbs. Its quite a dramatic meeting, given that he’s raising a bloody meat cleaver over head. But don’t worry, that has a perfectly innocent explanation I guess. She also discovers shitloads of boxes full of poisonous snakes. Sigh, rich people, eh?
Cobbs make Belinda a lovely cup of tea. She figures out that he’s English because of : “Your accent of course. And you’re very…stiff.” Well, excuuuuuse me for having manners, Miss USA.

Belinda discovers that Adam has a stepbrother called Noel, who is Mrs Thorne’s son. She also sees a picture of Adam from before the accident. He’s a hotty mctotty. “He looked beautiful and evil at the same time and Belinda’s eye filled with tears.” How romantic.

So Belinda decides to take the job, and a bunch of weird stuff starts happening to her – she finds a doll’s head covered in blood and entrails in her mailbox, she gets sent a calendar with April Fool’s day marked in blood etc etc. Belinda suspects that hilarious prankster Frank may be behind all this but he totally flips out when she confronts him and is all, “you’d better not go to the police, cos if you do….”

A couple of days later, Belinda walks through the park to get to the Thorne’s house and a “windblown leaf” makes her jump. This girl really needs to toughen up. Then she realises that she’s wearing the jacket from the night of the accident, and it has a rag she picked up that fateful night in her pocket, it’s a blood-soaked hankie with the initial A on it. Gasp! A for….Adam?

When Belinda reaches the house, Mrs Thorne’s leaving for a business trip for a few days. Adam freaks Belinda out and she runs out of his room – bumping into his step-brother Noel. Who is also a hotty mctotty, but in more of a laid back, less…DANGEROUS kind of way. Noel offers to drive Belinda home.

They talk about Adam – Noel says he really doesn’t know Adam very well – their parents only married 3 years ago and they’ve been at separate schools. Noel doesn’t even know where Adam’s mother lives. Noel says that Adam’s always been kind of weird and scary, that has nothing to do with the accident. He also tells Belinda that his own mother (Mrs Thorne) is a massive bitch who only married Adam’s dad for the money. A girl’s gotta hustle for a living, yo.

A few days later, Belinda goes back to the Thorne house and Cobbs acts all weird, and is like you should leave and never come back and Belinda kind of laughs and then he’s like, I need to shut the door now, so come in, and I’m like WTF is going on here. Cobbs is properly dry. I think he’s meant to be super witty. He’s not. Belinda decides she likes Cobbs after blabbing on to him about her problems whilst he listens politely. These Americans huh. Belinda doesn’t even bother visiting Adam. Hmmm, maybe RTC has upped the inappropriate relationship stakes and Belinda’s going to start macking with the ancient British butler.

On her walk home through the park, Belinda sees a car there “waiting for her”. This book really makes very little sense. The car doesn’t move or anything but Belinda just totally loses her shit and runs back to the Thorne house, to the safety of Cobbs. But Cobbs doesn’t open the door, Adam does.Oh yeah, he also has a snake hanging around his neck. As you do.

Belinda’s bleeding from when she spazzed out and fell over after the horror of seeing a stationary car, so Adam fixes up her cut. Adam reveals all this creepy knowledge he knows about Belinda and he’s all stroking his finger down her face and stuff, and kind of hinting that he’s seen her somewhere before and that she might have a secret and also keeps going on about how gross his accident was. What a downer.

Luckily, Noel appears and saves Belinda from the weirdness. He drives her home and she tells him that someone in a car was ‘chasing’ her (which, frankly, I think is stretching the truth.) Belinda’s suspicious that it could have been Adam in the car. Noel thinks this is a ridiculous idea as Adam can barely even walk.

Hildy arrives round at Belinda’s house, thankfully sans her douche bag boyfriend Frank this time. Belinda tells Hildy that now she’s sure that it was the same accident, and that Adam may have seen her and is now wreaking some terrible revenge. Noel arrives at Belinda’s house again like 5 minutes after dropping her off. Why? And then they spot Cobbs, standing outside the house and staring creepily inside. Never trust the British, am I right? Noel and Hildy convince Belinda that her eye(s) may have been playing tricks on her.

Noel decides to tell Belinda some stuff about Adam – Adam has a history of imaganing things and being a compulsive liar. Noel also tells her that Adam is having a delusion that someone else started the car accident. Ummm, that ain’t no delusion, bro. And Mrs Thorne doesn’t even remember what happened, she’s always on a shitlaod of pills. Buzzing her tits off, mate. Oh, there’s also some picnic thing that people keep going on about and Noel asks Belinda to be his date.

Next day, Belinda’s back at the Thorne house and she marches right up to Adam’s room, having decided not to put up with any more of his creepy shit. She’s all, turn on the lights, yo! I feel so empowered! Adam’s all creepy as usual, and the bloody handkerchief that Belinda found in her pocket about a million years ago falls out her pocket. And Adam, sees it, and we knows that he knows that this means Belinda was definitely at the accident. Or something.

Belinda freaks out and uses the phone to call a cab. She overhears Adam on the phone to his dad’s doctor, and he’s all, when’s the old guy gonna hurry up and die? And basically drops massive hints that he’s going to kill his dad somehow. This kid’s not even TRYING to act sane.

At the picnic, Belinda and Noel are all laughter and joy. They suck face. Noel drives Belinda home,. They get rammed from behind by another car. They end up skidding and just miss landing in a ditch. Belinda tells Noel she thinks it was Adam and he loses his shit, all Adam can't even walk, as if he’d do this, and how comes you’re always going on about Adam anyway?

They drive back to Noel's house together, as Belinda doesn’t feel safe staying at home. Steamy. Adam and Cobbs are both out, having gone to the movies together. Hmm. I wonder if they DROVE to the movies. Noel lends Belinda a silky nightgown of his moms, then comes back and gets all cosy with her in the nightgown, and he’s all, mmmHMMM, this is even better on you than it is on mom. So. Very. Wrong.

Belinda ends up telling Noel the whole horrible story, and the subsequent attempts that someone has been making to terrify her. Noel suggests that the man watching from the cliff could have been Adam, and that he just lied about being in the car when the accident happened. Belinda seems surprised by this possibility. I thought that’s what she was thinking all along but WHATEVER. They come to the conclusion that Adam could have caused the crash on purpose to kill his dad and step mom. As they discuss it, they hear a door slam in the house. Uh oh, is that Adam listening in?

Belinda has a nightmare and then wakes up to find one of those pesky poisonous snakes in her bed. Oh the horror, the horror etc. Cobbs comes to fetch it. Yeah, I bet he “fetches” it good if you know what I mean.

Next morning, Belinda quizzes her homeboy Cobbs about Adam some MORE, asking him if he thinks that Adam is crazy. Cobbs tells her a little story: Adam’s parents fought loads when he was a kid, but he adored his father. Adams parents sent him away for a while to live with a mean aunt and uncle, Adam tried to run away and claimed they were abusing him, which they denied. Adam’s parents were too busy divorcing to bother with Adam, so they just left him there, until one night Adam and his aunt and uncle were in a car accident that killed the aunt and uncle. With her dying breath, Adam’s aunt gasped out the words “Adam…steering wheel…” but nothing was ever proved.

On her way out, Belinda spies Adam ruffling through some papers in his dad’s study and laughing evilly. I’m a little bit worried that Adam might actually be retarded.

Belinda goes to meet Hildy at the mall and now she has a new hypotheses – what if the car accident really wasn’t their fault, but the man on the hill was Adam, and he caused the accident and now he’s hunting down the witnesses – eg Belinda, Frank and Hildy. Despite the fact that they didn’t even witness him DO anything. And they clearly believe it’s their fault. Oh well, character motivation never WAS RTC’s strong point.

Belinda lets slip to Hildy that she told Noel all about what they did and Hildy goes nuts and tells Belinda that Frank played all those silly pranks on her such as the doll’s head one and the calendar one and the other ones that I can’t be bothered to write about. Frank is such a dick. Belinda agrees with me on this one, and goes to find Frank at the school’s pool to give him a stern telling off. Frank isn’t there – but his jacket is, floating ominously in the water. Hildy and Belinda have a total bust up, Hildy goes totally below the belt but for some reason Belinda keeps trying to apologise. They are NOT friends anymore.

Noel arrives at Belinda’s house later and drives her round to Hildy’s and Frank’s – neither of them are at home. Some random man shows up at Belinda’s door with an envelope for Belinda that’s he’s been paid to deliver by some guy. Inside the envelope is a braid of Hildy’s hair.

Belinda is now convinced that something terrible has happened to both Hildy and Frank, so Noel drives her round to his creepy house to calm her down. Cobbs isn’t in, he’s left a note to say that Mr Thorne has taken a turn for the worse so he’s gone to the hospital to be with him. Noel gets a call from Adam to say he is also at the hospital. Noel decides that he should go too, so off he pops, leaving Belinda all alone in the house….or IS she?!

Belinda does a bit of snooping and finds Mr Thorne’s last will and testament. She comes to the terrible conclusion that Adam has lured Noel away from the house to kill him, so that he will be the sole beneficiary of the will.

The phone rings and Belinda answers. It’s Cobbs – Noel isn’t at the hospital. And neither is Adam. Aaargh! Belinda hears someone moving around in the house - and out pops Adam, looking all scarred and inhuman and gross. She jumps back and somehow lands into Noel’s arms (I guess Noel has also arrived back home)

Adam suddenly stops limping and Noel reveals that he’s in on it too – Noel was the man watching from the hill! Noel and Adam force Belinda into a car with them, and in true villain style, they spill all. Adam explains that the car accident was all Noel’s idea as a way of killing their parents and getting the cash. Noel had worked it all out, exactly where to crash so Adam would be safe but the others would die (sounds like kind of a shonky plan to me), and then Belinda and her friends rocked up in a car tootling away and threw everything of balance. Meaning that Adam had to crash the car in the wrong spot and he got all injured and his stepmom survived and he’s totally pissed about it.

They take Belinda to a road with a gorge and they shove her into another car, containing Hildy and an unconscious Frank. Adam is going to push the car over the edge of the gorge to make it look like an accident. They also reveal that they’ve already killed Mrs Thorne, and she’s waiting for them at the bottom of the gorge. As the car starts rolling towards the gorge, Adam suddenly turns the gun on Noel and for some reason Belinda cares enough about this scumbag to be like, noooooo! And Noel and Adam start tussling, and then suddenly the police arrive with Cobbs and pull Belinda and her friends to safety. Hurrah!

Cobbs had suspected Noel and Adam were up to something, and then he sneakily listened in on some call and figured it all out or something? He drove to the Thorne house, saw Adam and Noel shoving Belinda into a car and rang the police straightaway “on the car telephone.” Heehee, good old car telephones.

Three days later, Hildy, Frank and Belinda are all A-OK. Hildy finally apologises to Belinda for her shitty behavoiour. Noel and Adam are “going through tests to see if they’re competent to stand trial” Which I guess is a nod to Adam’s possible retardation.

Cobbs arrives to speak to Belinda’s mom. Ok, this bit is fucking RIDICULOUS,. Cobbs barges in acting all British and cute and making tea for everyone and basically asks to come work as a butler for Belinda and her mom for FREE. Because Mr Thorne has left him a shitload of money in his will so he doesn't need payment. What the FUCK. Who decides they want to be a butler FOR FREE. Belinda sobs all over Cobbs about how much she misses Noel even though the guy is scum and Cobbs is all stroking her hair and she’s like, I love you Cobbs, and he’s like, I love you too, miss. And they make out. Well, OK, maybe not the last bit. But STILL!

"would you like some penis with your tea, miss?"

Conclusion: What the hell does this book actually have to do with April Fools day? Apart from the PROLOGUE, which happens to take place on April Fools day. I guess the publishers were just trying to cash in on that lucrative April Fools day merchandising market.

Monday, 26 January 2009

The Bride - D. E. Athkins

What can I say? D.E.Athkins more than lived up to her name, The Bride is a jaw-droppingly fabulous piece of art. It was more like reading an episode of a trashy 90s soap opera than a Point Horror, and for that, D.E.Athkins, I salute you.

Jamie is our lead character, and there really isn’t much to say about her past the fact that she lives in a small town (Point Harbour. Which is kind of distracting to keep reading, give how similar it sounds to Point Horror) and her cousin is Blaine Harrod, hell raising ex-wild child supermodel extraordinaire. Already this book rocks so hard it hurts. The opening scene is Blaine stabbing a fellow supermodel (Alison) through the hand with a letter opener. On a photo shoot. And the photographer is all , “this is fabulous, darlings, we'll sell millions. Millions I tell you! Bwa ha hah ha.” Maybe I’ll send Tyra a copy of this book, I think ANTM could really benefit from a bit more bloodshed, a sprinkling of Battle Royale if you will.

Anyway, Blaine is getting married to Pres Alden, upper crust playboy socialite, in the wedding of the year and Jamie is gonna be a bridesmaid. The wedding’s being held in this big posh hotel just outside of Point Harbour and Jamie gets there a couple of days early so she can p.a.r.t.y. The other bridesmaids include Alison (the supermodel who Blaine stabbed in the opening scene, and who she supposedly has a feud with), Kelly (another supermodel), Pres’s bitchy (but in a fun way) little rich girl sister whose name I forget, and Patricia, Pres’s ice queen ex-fiancee and first cousin (ick) who hates hates hates Blaine with a passion for stealing her man. Ummm, what the fuck. By my counting, Blaine has at least two people she hates acting as bridesmaids for her. I guess that’s just how supermodels roll.

The other characters of note are Clara, who’s Blaine’s PA, and Drew, Kelly’s little brother who’s a totally buff hunk and is Jamie’s love interest. Although Jamie also has the hots for Pres, even though he’s this gross sleazy old man. She’s always like admonishing herself for being a pervert because whenever she sees Pres she starts imaging him naked and stuff. Hands off Jamie, he’s Blaine’s! Here’s a little example of the kind of prose that made me fall in love so deeply with this book. Blaine notices Jamie and Pres flirting and she gives them a supermodel death stare: “At that moment, Blaine had never looked more beautiful. Or more deadly.” Be still, my beating heart.

Later, in her hotel room, Jamie sees…a mirror ghost! Any book that includes a mirror ghost gets an instant thumbs up from me. This mirror ghost is a weeping BRIDE ghost, holding a bunch of roses, and she starts climbing out the mirror. Aaaaarrrghhh! Oh, and the roses kind of glow, and the ghost drops these glowing roses out of the mirror! I’ll repeat: this book includes glowing ghost roses. Now that's what I call classy.

Naturally, Jamie freaks out and runs out of her room, and ends up in Alison and Kelly’s room. Alison is totally a bitch, but in a fun kind of snidey way and you can just tell that she actually has a heart of gold beating beneath her beautiful supermodel exterior.

Kelly tells the story of the ghost bride – years ago, when the hotel was a house, the owner’s daughter fell in love with a gardener in charge of the rose gardens. When her mum found out she paid the gardener to leave and arranged for her daughter to marry some other dude. The daughter died of a broken heart, and was found still wearing her wedding dress. Oh, and the daughter’s name was ROSE (overkill much on the rose thing.) Alison is more sceptical, and she convinces Jamie that she was probably just dreaming.

Kelly and Alison take pity on Jamie and lend her a super swish outfit so she’ll fit in at the glamorous party that evening: “velvet pants and a cropped cashmere top woven with sparkling thread.” Oh, and “an elastic rhinestone bracelet.” What the fuck?

Before the party, they have to get through a boring old wedding rehearsal. Which is livened up considerably when a bunch of dead doves rain start raining down on everyone from a canopy above (they had planned to release live doves as part of the super glamorous supermodel ceremony, natch.)

Apparently, the poor little birdies were all smothered. Is it an accident?? Or is somebody after Blaine??!! Shhrriiiieeek. Hey, Blaine – maybe you shouldn’t have let any of your mortal enemies be your bridesmaids. Just an idea.

Later, at the party in the ballroom, Patricia acts like a total tool and makes all these digs about Blaine just marrying Pres for his money. Poor deluded Patricia is blates still in love with Pres and would take him back in a heartbeat. Let it go honey, he’s a total dog!

Drew ends up taking Jamie to a secret hidden alcove overlooking the ballroom. They kiss, obviously. And then a fire starts. They decide to wait the fire out in their alcove rather than bothering to escape. Nice move guys. And THEN suddenly the ghost bride appears, hovering over another balcony: “a shimmering figure high above the crowd, hovering there like a flaming angel.” Everyone’s like 'aaaaahhh a ghost bride!' And suddenly the fire goes away or something.

Jamie hangs out in Alison and Kelly’s room later. Jamie is surprised to see Allison wearing “plaid flannel pj’s and fuzzy scuffs.” Anyone know what fuzzy scuffs are? I’m pretty curious here. Kelly decides that the ghost bride has definitely come back to haunt Blaine’s wedding. I’ll be pretty happy if there’s some elaborate Scooby Doo style explanation for this ghost. I’m thinking there must be, since nobody seems that nervous about being haunted.

Jamie lists through all the suspects who may want to sabotage the wedding(basically all the bridesmaids) all you need to know is, they all sorta have reasons for maybe wanting to get revenge on Blaine. Jamie even considers the possibility of Blaine staging all this stuff herself in order to get more publicity.

Jamie sneaks into the ballroom in the middle of the night to do some ghostbustin’ . She goes to the top level of the ballroom and finds the box that the ghost appeared to be floating in, inside the box is… Drew. He also wanted to catch a ghost and had fallen asleep, without finding any clues.

At breakfast, Patricia arrives, bringing with her her usual bitchily cool demeanour and a newspaper bearing the headline "Hot, Haunted Wedding.” Weird headline huh. But the point is that the wedding’s getting loads of publicity.

Oh, and bbs, you just have to know what Patricia’s wearing: “a skin-tight silver unitard, over which she'd pulled a pair of navy compression shorts with silver stripes down the side. Over it all she was wearing a silver and navy supplex jacket. Compression shorts?? Supplex?? Fuzzy scuffs??? Oh baby, I love it when you talk nonsense to me.

Jamie visits the hotel gym and finds a hot tub on a terrace and is all relaxed when Pres creeps up and asks to join her. He’s really flirty and gross, I did a little sick on this page of the book and now it stinks of vomit. So Jamie removes herself to the sauna and Pres follows her. Jeez, give it a rest old man, she’s not interested ok. The sauna door gets stuck and they get trapped in there together. Arrrrrgghhhhh! They both start sweating even more and panicking loads, like aarrrrgghhh we’re going to die!!!! Jamie starts acting all loopy, and I think we're meant to think that’s she’s in mortal danger and Pres is all like noooooo, I wont die this way! Anything but death by sauna! So undignified.

Luckily, Blaine finds them in the nick of time. Blaine’s all angry and she says that when she got there, the door opened easily and wasn’t stuck at all.

Later, Jamie gets a call on the hotel phone. Its Blaine and she’s like "come meet me at the hotel entrance and don’t tell anyone." Blaine drives up, nearly running Jamie over in the process, and she’s all, get in the car. Which is a gleaming black Porsche, naturally. This is the 90s, baby! And we’re jiving with supermodels!

Jamie can tell that Blaine is in the mood for trouble, but she’s kinda excited by that. Me too! Blaine drives them back to Point Harbour and they go to a deserted pier. A Mercedes turns up at the pier. Inside it is Patricia, Pres and Alison, they followed Blaine because they were kind of worried about where she was going. Patricia wasn’t worried about Blaine, she just loves following Pres around. Good move, guys love it when you follow them everywhere like some kind of demented psychopath, trust me, I know what I’m talking about here.

Pres gets all angry with Blaine for running out of the party. Blaine starts yelling at Pres, all this nonsense about life and death and truth and lies and not going through with the wedding, blah blah, Jamie thinks it looks like Blaine is trying to pick a fight with him. They make up,and end up all driving back in the Mercedes together, with Alison alone in the Porsche.

Alison drives ahead of them, super fast and risky. Of course, she drives the Porsche off a cliff and it catches on fire. Ka-BOOM! Buh Bye, Alison!

Eventually, after calling the police and everything I guess, they arrive back at the hotel. Patricia speculates to Jamie that maybe it wasn’t an accident, that Alison wanted to die – because they didn’t see the brake lights and there were no skid marks. Patricia says that Alison may have been suicidal because she loved Pres once too. Gasp!

The wedding is going ahead anyway, and Blaine gets sent a package that makes her react thusly:

“’Noo!’ sobbed Blaine. She turned, flailing like a madwoman out of control. She grabbed a lamp and hurled it against the far wall of the bedroom, She pushed over the table it was standing on.”

That’s a little example of why I fucking love this book. The whole thing's written like this, it’s amazing, it’s like a rollercoaster ride….for my brain.

The picture Blaine freaked over is the one from the photo shoot at the beginning where Blaine stabbed Alison with the letter opener, except the figure of Blaine is all singed and scorched, and someone’s written IT SHOULD HAVE BEEN YOU on it.

Clara tells them that there’s a police detective at the hotel, here to question people after the wedding because it would seem that Alison’s crash wasn’t an accident but the brakes had been tampered with. Presumably meaning that the accident was meant to happen to Blaine, since it was Blaine’s Porsche.

Kelly arrives at Jamie’s room, begging to get ready there as she can’t cope with all the memories in the room that she had been sharing with Alison. Kelly tells Jamie that Blaine and Alison were really tight knit friends, like sisters, despite the apparent feuding between them which was mainly just for publicity. Hmm, I wouldn’t be too happy if someone stabbed me through the hand just for the publicity. Although there was a real feud between them for a while when Pres started dating Blaine after breaking up with Alison, but they apparently worked it out.

There are all these insanely brilliant dramatic interludes of the main characters/suspects getting ready for the wedding and acting like psychos. I just have to give you a flavour of this. Patricia gets a bit of lipstick on her hand, and:

“She looked down at the crimson gash the lipstick had made across the back of her hand.
At the crimson gash it had made from the corner of her mouth.
‘here comes the bride” she hummed softly, and went back to work on her face.”

It totally reminds me of that bit in Cape Fear where the mum is just randomly putting make up on in the darkened room and it's super creepy.

Eventually, everyone’s ready, and Blaine’s all done up in her wedding dress , although sadly, there isn’t a description of the dress beyond the fact that “the train of her gown spread out like a lacy sea behind her.” So I assume that it’s fabulous.

The ceremony goes ahead, and then they get to the bit where the minister asks for any objections, and right at that moment a wind sweeps though the hall, the doors slam shut and candles go out. The minister’s all, chill out dudes, this has happened before. The smell of roses and fire fills the room, and Kelly’s all screaming out like, its her! It’s the ghost bride!

And the ghost bride does indeed appear at the back of the hall, all done up in her wedding gown, which also glows. As the ghost bride walks down the aisle the smell of smoke increases, and the ghost is all “I OBJECT.” Not since Rochester and Jane have I been so breathlessly excited by a wedding. The reason the ghost objects? “Pres was already married. To me.”

Pres is all freaking out and flailing around, like, nooooooo, you’re dead, it cant be! And the ghost bride goes all flamey and Pres is all, noooo, I couldn’t have survived the scandal it wasn’t my fault she died! And he’s also trying to run away from this flaming ghost that totally wants to make out with him.

Once Pres has fled, the lights suddenly come on. Blaine is all serene as she watches the burning bride. Clara does something to help the flames go out on the ghost bride, and then the ghost bride starts peeling make up off, and its actually ALISON! She’s not dead! Hurrah!

Later, Kelly, Jamie, Alison, Clara, Drew and Blaine are in Blaine’s suite together. And we get the whole story. Clara isn’t really Blaine's PA, she’s some kind of lady scientist. Clara had a younger sister who moved to New York to become a model. The sister was called Dove, and she actually lived with Blaine and Alison when they were all first starting out.

Dove met Pres and they decided to get married in secret (for some reason, Pres’s family is really weird about supermodels and I guess they wouldn’t have been happy about it. Not sure why, it’s not as if he was marrying the help.) So, they went to a remote island to do the deed, there was a car accident and Pres survived but Dove was killed. Umm, it kinda seems that it really WASN’T his fault. He didn’t report it though, he ran away and Dove’s body wasn’t discovered and identified for weeks, it must have looked pretty gnarly. Luckily, Dove kept a journal and Clara read it and found out all about Pres.

Clara needed to get revenge on Pres, she wanted him to admit what he had done, and Blaine and Alison also hated him because he’d just dumped Alison and then asked her best friend (Blaine ) out, so they were like yeah we're in, why the hell not! Umm, that doesn’t really seem like a strong enough reason for Blaine to have to actually make this guy fall in love with her. I mean, Pres and Blaine must have been together a reasonable length of time to be getting married. Presumably, she actually hates this guy but she must have done it with him and stuff. Also, why not just show the police the diary?

So basically, all of the weird stuff that happened was set up by Blaine, Clara and Alison to try to freak Pres out into admitting the truth (Kelly wasn’t in on it though, she’s all surprised because she actually thought Alison was dead. Niiice. ) The legend of the ghost of 'Rose' was a lie made up by Alison, and its apparent appearance in Jamie's mirror was just “a trick done with mirrors”. And that was a mistake anyway, the mirror ghost was meant for Pres. This explanation is soooo retarded, I actually love it, as if you’d go to the trouble of making all these elaborate plans and then not check you actually have the right room. The ghostly bride floating in the ballroom was made of “asbestos clothes and special effects”. Good old special effects. And nobody killed the doves, the were actually stuffed birds that had died ages ago. And Blaine and Alison were also the ones who locked Pres in the sauna to shake him up a bit, but they’re all like, oh sorry Jamie, we totally didn’t know you were in there too. For elaborate hoaxers, these guys sure do make a lot of mistakes. Poor Jamie.

Alison’s car crashing was, obviously, also a stunt. I’m not sure what the police would think about that. But you know what, I can’t even bothered to have to think this through anymore, I’m too blinded by my love for this book.

For some reason they all start laughing loads: “They laughed for a long time. Hard. Until their sides ached and they couldn’t breathe. Until they cried, some of them.” Come on, share the joke guys.

And then Drew and Jamie wander off together, presumably to have sex.

The end.

Wow. I feel like I’ve learned so much from this book. Number one, supermodels are not dumb okay, they’re fiendishly clever and sneaky so DO NOT MESS WITH THEM. Number two, you can achieve a hell of a lot with special effects and asbestos clothing. Number three, socialite playboys are total jerks. Numbr four, fashion can be FUN. I’m still left with a few questions though, namely what the hell are fuzzy scuffs, compression shorts and supplex?! Answers on a postcard please.

What do my fellow lovers of The Bride on Amazon think. Well, I’m in exalted company:

“at the start of the book you would realy get in to it at all time there is a bit of some thing to keep you on the edge of your set so if you get throug the first bit you are shure to fined another bit of exsitment waiting just for you and i think this book should be graded one of the best becouse i do read a lot and this one is one of the most fab books i have read as thay say do not juge a book by its cover so i did not i read it and i think it is one of the best one i have read .”

Us The Bride lovers are an eloquent bunch. And who needs full stops anyway, full stops are for the kind of losers who aren’t deeply in love with The Bride.

Oh, and this week I’m super excited because I found two old Point Horror books I didn’t realise I still had! It’s like a sign or something. Although I think the sign may be that I should really tidy my flat more often. Anyway, one of them is a Nightmare Hall book called The Wish, although it’s number 4 in the series or something so I don’t know if it would be weird to do it out of sequence? As far as I remember, it stands alone pretty nicely. I think it’s about an evil talking ventriloquist doll or something. The other one I found was Hide and Seek, which is a very very strange and unorthodox Point Horror indeed, but if I say too much I’ll totally give away the ending.