Horror High #5: “Hard Rock” by Nicholas Adams

US cover:

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Someone’s hand, wearing a lacy fingerless glove over another glove and a skull with a ring on it, playing a damaged and bloody guitar. It looks like this is supposed to be a woman’s hand, even though the guitarist in the book is male. Maybe it represents Cathy (protagonist), but she isn’t a musician at all?

UK cover:

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A bizarre implement that is somehow a combination axe-guitar, and therefore wouldn’t work well as either. There is a crucial scene in the book featuring the axe and a sound mixer, so at least it does bear some resemblance to what you’re about to read.

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Horror High #3: “Heartbreaker” by Nicholas Adams

US cover:

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For once, this cover is entirely accurate. It depicts a scene where a character is killed whilst on the phone and writing down a message in lipstick. Sure, it’s got a couple of corny elements (the sharpened lipstick, the writing trailing off to look like a blood smear) but they work. It is a trashy YA horror novel after all.

UK edition:

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Also entirely accurate! This depicts another scene in the book where a female killer murders a girl and then leaves the message All yours, loverboy on the wall! Why can’t all the covers be this honest?

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Horror High #4: “New Kid on the Block” by Nicholas Adams

US cover:

26093825A blue-faced alien … thing (reminiscent of James Cameron’s Avatar) is looking at its own face in the mirror of a makeup compact. Its eyes have apparently liquefied and are leaking down its cheeks. The book contains a couple of scenes where Stephanie looks in a mirror and hallucinates that she sees Amanda’s crying face, and I guess that’s what this is supposed to be – but why is she blue?!

UK cover:

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A creepy-looking girl holding up a pile of bloodstained letters. This is a lot more book-accurate except that the girl looks like a zombie. Is this supposed to be Stephanie (whose physical description matches her) or Amanda (who’s dead?)

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Horror High #2: “Resolved: You’re Dead” by Nicholas Adams

Original US cover:

Pretty boring; it’s a locket with Skip’s photo inside, and “lightning” over his face (that’s a spoiler as to how he gets killed.) Despite the caption, this picture makes it look like Skip is the villain of the story and that this is yet another generic horror tale of a high school girl whose boyfriend turns out to be a murderer.

UK cover:

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A guy with a noose and knife, who looks like he’s wearing one of those masks out of The Purge movies. This image, and the nonsensical removal of the word “Resolved”, completely obscures what the book is about: a high school debating team. Did the publishers concede that debating isn’t a very sexy subject, or did they just think British readers wouldn’t know what a debating team is? OK, most high schools here don’t have one but they are common in universities and I think most readers would be aware of how it’s supposed to work? This is the second book in the original release, but I guess in the UK it was the seventh for some reason.

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Back from the void

I would be surprised if I have any readers left since I haven’t posted in forever; but someone being kind enough to comment inspired me to come back to this blog. (Just letting someone know you appreciate them can make a difference – I’ve experienced this many times before.) Anyway, here’s the current plan for the blog:

Zodiac Chillers #6: Pisces Drowning (I no longer have my original copy of book #5, “Never Love a Libra”; and it’s currently not on sale for any less than £25, which I am not prepared to pay. If anyone has a copy they wouldn’t mind sharing, let me know)

Horror High #2: Resolved, You’re Dead

Horror High #3: Heartbreaker

Horror High #4: New Kid on the Block (Might be posted before #3 since I already have #4, but might have to order #3 from the US)

 

Horror High #1: “Mr Popularity” by Nicholas Adams

Not to be confused with another teen horror series called Horror High, which was a collection of Point Horror and some other YA horror titles re-printed. “Nicholas Adams” doesn’t really exist, but was a collective pseudonym the publishing company used. When this happens, it usually means the quality of the books will vary wildly – but I guess we’ll see how that one turns out.

One thing to note is that some of the Horror High books were re-named for their release in the UK. I don’t know why the titles needed to be changed. I can understand Pep Rally being changed to Blood Game, because schools in the UK don’t have pep rallies (although if you’re a fan of American high school stories presumably you would know what a pep rally is), but the others didn’t really need it?

US cover:

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A diary left open, with the words “Tonight I met the perfect guy” written in huge handwriting all across one page. Underneath that is a blood smear, and there are two roses lying across the book. This image implies that as the diarist was in the middle of writing, their “perfect guy” showed up, gave them the roses and then killed them. If he were going to do that, why waste money on the roses?

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Quick update

I’ll be returning to posting soon but unfortunately won’t be able to finish the Zodiac Chillers series right away. #5 (Never Love a Libra) is so inane and pointless that I’m struggling to get through it; and #6 (Pisces Drowning) is taking a while to reach me, since I had to order the books from the US.

But! Butbut! We’re starting a new series: Horror High by Nicholas Adams, a lesser-reviewed ’80s-’90s teen horror series that thankfully was published in the UK so I can get the books fairly quickly! Until then, head over to the Point Horror blog for many amusing recaps of Point Horror books and hijinks involving evil twins!