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Evil Geek Book Report: Special Edition – Undiesofwondy’s Hall-O-Reads : My Best Friend’s Exorcism

“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!

https://open.spotify.com/embed/user/21tjgrvq5yaet4vch6peuqgsy/playlist/2UTPmBnvyXNhlta9ZHUtSp

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!

 

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Evil Geek Book Report : Special Edition – Undiesofwondy’s Hall-O-Reads : R.L. Stine’s ‘Man Thing’

Reader, beware, you’re in for a scare!

Welcome back, guys and ghouls!

Spooky season is in full swing, and now it’s socially acceptable for me to be talking about Halloween. For the record, I celebrate it on a year long cycle, and the Halloween radio station remains in my Pandora permanently, but I digress…

Today’s Hall-O-Reads is inspired by the horror tales of my youth. I honestly don’t think I’d be as into the horror genre as a whole without the existence of the Goosebumps series by R.L Stine. Not only did I devour these books, I tuned in to the T.V. show in all its’ cheesy, 90’s glory as well. (And to be honest, Slappy the dummy really does scare the snot out of me, even to this day.)

First World Problems: when people would touch your Goosebumps books and they would wear down the bumpy parts on the letters.

So when I found out that R.L. Stine wrote a “Man Thing” comic for Marvel, I knew I had to check it out for myself. I’ll start out by saying that I’d never read any Man Thing before, but this title was super accessible to new fans of the character, like myself.  The R.L Stine, reimagined Man Thing, has taken himself to Hollywood, in the attempt to become a star of the silver screen. However, his ghastly appearance does not test well with audiences, so he ultimately returns to his roots at the Florida swamp he came from. Although he appears to be a lumbering creature, Man Thing is actually quite sentient, and has even re-developed his powers of speech.

The story progresses, with Man Thing’s adventures to a Python World (you’re reading that correctly. Python World.) And even includes a surprise, twist ending, reminiscent of the Goosebumps stories I loved so much as a child.

I was super excited to read this book, and while I did like it, I think I had higher hopes for the book as a whole. The art is pretty awesome, and I definitely am glad I have this omnibus in my collection, however, I feel like the story was missing something, an unknown element of sorts, that I can’t quite put my finger on. I think I expected this to be a bit scarier, or to resemble some of the B-movies I love so much.

My hope is that we will see some more comics from R.L Stine in the future, as this trade paperback included some short comic panels of original Stine stories, that were actually a lot more inventive and exciting than Man Thing, in my opinion.

I do recommend this book to any fans of R.L. Stine, and I definitely love the idea and premise of Man Thing. I will definitely be looking for more of his stories to read in the near future. This book is probably even okay for some younger children as well.

Thanks for joining me for this edition of Undiesofwondy’s Hall-O-Reads, stay tuned for some more spooky reading suggestions from your favorite spooky, scary, Evil Geek, coming soon to a blog near you.

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.

Huuuurryyyy baaaaaackkkkk…

Evil Geek Book Report: Special Edition – Undiesofwondy’s Hall-O-Reads : The Chilling Adventures of Sabrina

Welcome, foolish mortals…

The Chilling Adventures of Sabrina

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.

                  Courtesy of Archie Comics

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.

Huuuurryyyy baaaaaackkkkk…

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