“Oh, I didn’t mean to frighten you prematurely; the real chills come later. Now, as they say, look alive…”
Greetings, Evil Geeks! As Halloween fast approaches, our last few ‘Hall-O-Reads” are upon us as well. But, not to fret, I have some great reads to get us through until the big day. Although the reviews I’ve done thus far have all been comic books, I decided to include a novel that I think might be one of my favorite horror titles thus far.
Stranger Things has definitely peaked my interest in the simpler time of the 1980’s, and I’ve always been a fan of nostalgia, so when I saw this title in my local book store, I couldn’t resist picking it up. They say not to judge a book by it’s cover — but when the cover has art as cool as this one, I think it’s justified. My Best Friend’s Exorcism by Grady Hendrix is by far, the best horror title I have read in a while. The premise is essentially teen-angst movie, mixed with pure horror and Exorcist goodness. Think Jennifer’s Body, but well written, and actual quality. Many of the reviews compare it to Heathers as well, and I think it’s definitely an accurate comparison.
The story is about Abby, lonely, homely and awkward, finding a friend in the new girl in town, Gretchen. Gretchen’s parents are strict and, like many other people in the time, live in fear of Satanism. So, imagine their shock and disbelief when their daughter starts acting very unlike herself. Soon, Gretchen’s little attitude adjustments start causing more problems than just average, run of the mill high school drama, and Abby has to enlist the help of an exorcist to rid the demon from her best friend’s body.
The story is actually surprisingly relatable, and the symbolism of a “friend possessed by a demon” is definitely on par with some of my own high school friends. We’ve all had that one friend who leaves us to “go to the dark side”, so to speak, and might be acting differently now that they’ve entered high school age. I found Hendrix’s writing to be extremely captivating, his sharp wit coupled with the way he conveys the typical 80’s tropes come across on the page like a John Hughes’ film would on the screen. I found myself wondering who they would cast in a film version, and could very easily see this story play out on the screen. (Sean and James Gunn, you should take this one on…I’m begging you!)
This story is equal parts hilarious and dark, giving you just the right amount of scary and silly. It’s also quite a quick read, I literally left a convention after-party to come back to my room and read this one, and that’s saying something! The ending is quite surprising as well, and also kind of emotional. I definitely didn’t expect that from this book, but it really was a wild ride from start to finish. Additionally, the each chapter of the story has an 80’s hit song as the title — which actually makes for an excellent playlist to jam out to while you read the book. I’ve actually created a playlist for it, that you can listen to here!
I definitely think this should be added to everyone’s libraries, but would recommend this one for YA audiences particularly, as there are some scenes that might be too delicate for some little stomachs. This one is a must read for the Halloween season!
Evil Geek Book Report: Special Edition – Undiesofwondy’s Hall-O-Reads : The Chilling Adventures of Sabrina
Welcome, foolish mortals…
As autumn rolls its way through the Upstate region (even though it’s actually 95 degrees out as I write this — curse you global warming!) and the end of September draws nigh, the spooky season is now upon us! There’s nothing I love more than curling up with some chilling tales and a cup of tea during this time of year, so I decided to write up some of my favorites in what I like to call Undiesofwondy’s Hall-O Reads! So grab some cider donuts, light a candle, and gather ’round.
The first edition of Hall-O-Reads comes straight to you from the Archie Comics’ universe. Just this week, news broke that there was a new Sabrina the Teenage Witch series in development from the team that is currently bringing us the sexy goodness that is Riverdale. (For my review of Riverdale, click here — I highly suggest catching up on Netflix before the new season airs in early October.)
The series is said to be based on the ongoing comic title, The Chilling Adventures of Sabrina the Teenage Witch , which I’ve heard great things about, and also a great many complaints, due to the fact that the people at Archie Comics have been publishing these books at a near glacial pace. But don’t get too mad at them, folks! They’re busy bringing us more Riverdale, so naturally, all is forgiven there. Well, at least from me.
Naturally, with all this Sabrina news, I decided to give the comic a try. I was a huge fan of the TGIF series growing up, and I’ve always loved the Archie Comics universe. I will, however, state first that this is not your TGIF Sabrina by a long shot. Much darker and with a slightly Satanic edge, this comic really pushes the edge on what you know to be the Archie Comics universe. You see familiar faces, such as Hilda, Zelda and Salem, but they’re definitely not the goofy characters you remember. I won’t spoil anything for you, but let’s just say Salem REALLY liked the ladies and Harvey isn’t the guy you remember.
The barebones plot of the comics is that Sabrina tries to navigate being a powerful half witch with her teenage lifestyle. On her sixteenth birthday, she must either accept her responsibility to become a witch, or be a mortal forever. Her father, Edward’s ex flame — aka Madam Satan, returns and is determined to wreak havoc and chaos on the Spellman family, by targeting the object of Sabrina’s affections — her beloved Harvey.
I’ve yet to read Afterlife with Archie, but I noticed that it definitely ties into that story as well, so I may give that a chance too, but I will say that the Riverdale gang plays a significant role in Sabrina’s story as well. Basically, if you ever wanted to see Betty and Veronica summon a demon, this is definitely the comic for you!
Additionally, the art is absolutely gorgeous, and some of the variant covers are super cool. My personal favorite cover is one that mirrors the movie poster for Carrie. I love the classic look of the characters and the simplistic style used throughout the comics, that pays homage to the 1950’s-1960’s era that the comic takes place in.
Issues 1-8 are currently available, with the series itself beginning in 2014. I was able to pick up all of the issues at once (shout out to the amazing crew at Earthworld Comics in Albany — who I swore by even before they decided to pay me regularly, for the record…) and will anxiously be waiting for the next installment, which is set to hit comic shops in December of this year!
I will say that this story is super accessible to someone who hasn’t read Archie in a number of years, aside from the Riverdale tie in comics — and is a great spooky read to get you in the mood for this season.
That’s all for this edition of Undiesofwondy’s Hall-O-Reads, stay tuned for some more spooky reading suggestions from your favorite spooky, scary, Evil Geek!
Be sure to tweet me @undiesofwondy , or leave a comment here for your Hall-O-Reads suggestions and to let me know what you all think of mine.
“The scar had not pained Harry for 19 years. All was well.”
The last sentence of the final Harry Potter installment, ‘Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows’, has been such a source of confusion for many of us in the fandom for so long. Would Queen Joanne Rowling bestow us with some more wizard goodness? Or was she just J.K? (I’ve been working on that for weeks, don’t hate.) With the recent release of Harry Potter and the Cursed Child, a theatrical production in London’s West End, came answers to so many of our burning Harry Potter questions, and allowed us to travel back to Hogwarts once more. Except, oh wait, I don’t have unlimited funds to fly to London, so the release of the script will have to do!
Although I didn’t do the midnight release, I did read ‘Cursed Child’ within a matter of hours, staying up all night to finish it. The fandom is almost divided on their opinions of the continuation of our beloved Harry Potter series. I don’t see many in between responses: many people loved it or hated it. I mean, like, REALLY hated it. I saw a gif on Tumblr of someone burning their copy. It’s insane. But, if you wanted my opinion on this, look no further! [Warning: I’m going to have a ton of spoilers. So if you haven’t read the book and are planning to do so, spoiler free, you should probably save this article for later.]
I’ll admit that growing up I never knew much about Wonder Woman other than a few things I gleaned here and there from pop culture. For being one of the most recognizable female super heroes in the entire world I was a relative novice. As a character she always seemed to have limitless potential if used properly but since I don’t read much DC I never felt the urge to look into that. That was all about to change.
The Indie Spotlight burns brightly today Evil Geeks, for it is comic time once again in the Evil Lair! Today we’re taking a trip back to Victorian England for an occult tinged tale revolving around a character you normally wouldn’t think of as an “action hero”. Merrick: The Sensational Elephant Man, written by Tom Ward and featuring art by Luke Parker, is story who’s main character is an actual historical person, whose unique nature ensured that the world would know his name still today, over a century after his death. What if the grotesque appearance of Joseph Merrick, better known to the world at large as The Elephant Man, was not just a curse, but also a blessing as well? What if Merrick’s deformities came with superhuman abilities? Would a man who has known no other life besides being a freakish carnival attraction be willing to stick his neck out to save his fellow man? Ward and Parker paint a picture of a man who’s spent his life being mocked, ridiculed, beaten and generally just been shat upon his whole life, adapting both physically and mentally to his downtrodden life to become something greater.