Point Horrorween

Coming up to Halloween this year, I was feeling a bit uninspired by the season. There’s been a real lack of good horror films this year, and I longed for the days when a Point Horror book could leave me so scared I’d sneak downstairs to hide it under the dog’s bed so it wouldn’t be in my room while I slept. With this in mind, I revisited the stack of Point Horrors gathering dust on my bookshelf, knowing although they wouldn’t be as scary as when I was 12, at least I’d enjoy reading them; and so the Point Horrorween challenge was born – to read as many as I could around Halloween.At around 150 pages each (and with big writing, hurrah for big writing!), they don’t take long to read, and they’re written in a style to keep the plot moving and keep low-tolerance teenagers engrossed, so you whizz through them.

I started with Dream Date by Sinclair Smith, which is probably the worst book in the series to begin with. I always preferred the ‘ooh the cheerleader’s running amok with an axe’ to the ‘ooh it’s a ghost’ books, and Dream Date is firmly in the paranormal camp. That also means that it lacks the ‘ridiculous plot-twist’ element that, like all bad horror movies, makes Point Horror so compelling. Another bonus point for them being so quick to get through is that when they’re a bit rubbish, you can quickly swap out for another book.

Slightly miffed by my poor start, I opted for the legendary The Lifeguard by Richie Tankersley Cusick. This is a book that if you’ve read any Point Horror, you’ve probably read. It’s up there along with The Babysitter (which unfortunately I didn’t have to hand during the challenge). I don’t want to give anything away, but The Lifeguard has it all – the ridiculous plot-twist, the staggeringly overblown descriptions of eighties fashion, then ending of every chapter on a massive cliffhanger and the paragraphs and paragraphs of slightly bimboish girls lamenting that someone doesn’t realise that they’re lusting after him.

The more I read of the Point Horrors (and I managed 19 before my attention got drawn to a new book rather than rereading them), the more I like them. They are like watching bad films – you enjoy them because you can mock them, and even though they’re rubbish, they do draw you in. I found myself staying up to finish Halloween Night by the Point Horror master, RL Stine (even though it was one of his weaker efforts), and at one point, I did have to go and put Trick or Treat by Richie Tankersley Cusick under the dog’s bed because I was in the house alone and someone in the book kept breaking in. There’s also a lot to laugh at, like in Dream Date where the main character laments, over about three pages, that she can’t wear her hair down for school because she’s ‘not a femme fatale’. Seriously, this is the level of writing in these books, they contain such crazy details – in Krazy 4 U By A Bates around 40% of the book is dedicated to describing the healthy food the main character eats, and actually contains multivitamins as a plot point.

Having found a further bagful of Point Horrors, I think I’ve got around another 20 to read, plus I’ve a stack of Chris Pike books which are pretty much the same but not Point Horror branded, so I think another Point Horrorthon is in order soon. If you’d like to join in, let us know and we’ll feature a follow-up on the blog!


Children’s Corner


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