You have your Lois Duncans, your R.L. Stines, etc. but those never truly scared me. The endings were predictable. Christopher Pike on the other hand, wrote the fucking creepiest books ever. I just realized, thanks to my local used bookstore, that he released an adult novel in 2007.
Um, why wasn’t I notified? His adult novels have been hit or miss. However, Season of Passage seriously changed my life. Turn off the computer. Go ge a copy. Read. It. Now.
But, Christopher Pike ruled my teen years when I got too old for Kristy and the Gang and the Wakefield twins. The first one I picked up was Chain Letter and it scared me to the core! In other teen horror, there was some ending where the main character always saved the day. People died in Pike’s books. And died pretty gruesomely. Something about Chain Letter totally had me freaked out but also had me hooked.
Most of his main characters were headstrong teenage girls in their junior or senior years of high school, and seemed really older than their ages. They always were pretty confident in themselves and seemed pretty mature. As in, they were able to hatch their own murderous plans and figure out intricate supernatural conspiracies. I’m getting ahead of myself.
Although I devoured every single one of his books with glee, they always kind of had the same elements:
- Everything is perfectly fine and normal in their lives until one day….
- They usually just have recently had sex with their boyfriends for the first time
- Something that may have a simple explanation turns out to be some convoluted, way out there plot involving time travel, government conspiracies, ghosts, robotronics, the space program, etc.
- Near the end, the mastermind behind the plot will take the character hostage and reveal all the details of their genius plot
- the women often dressed in silk shirts and colored slacks
Here are some of my favorites and the plots that I can recall from memory. Sometimes I think I may have imagined these while on a bad acid trip.
Scavenger Hunt: the school organizes the titular hunt but really its a plot hatched by two lizards from an ancient lizard society posing as a brother and sister at the school. One of the other characters starts to realize that they are not what they seem when they see them making out. Wtf kind of drugs would make someone come up with a plot like that?
Die Softly: Two cheerleaders are really murderous scheming coke addicts until one turns against the other and fakes her death in a firey car crash. She sets up the dorky school photographer to see pictures of the killing for some reason that suits her plans. In other words, awesome.
See You Later: A guy befriends an older couple who really turns out to be him and his girlfriend who came back from the future (how he couldn’t tell this I’ll never know). They are back to warn them to not fall in love because somehow them being together is the cause of an intergalactic nuclear war. I also remember this one made me bawl like a baby every time I read it.
Fall Into to Darkness: One rich spoiled brat is jealous of her best friend so she frames her for her murder; she jumps off a cliff so it looks like the friend pushed her, but she really had a hidden rope. The friend that she enlists to help her is secretly evil and actualy kills her for real. The friend is on trial and she finally figures out the plot. Sadly, this was made into a tv movie starring Jonathan Brandis (RIP) and Tatiana Ali. I never saw it though.
Whisper of Death: this one needs to be a movie. Produced by the sci fi channel, but with better special effects. A group of a few teens wake up one day to find that they are the only ones left in their town, save for a classmate of theirs who died recently. She write fables about each of them which turn out to come true, and predicts their deaths, one by one.
Remember Me: This one was longer and more involved. Shari is pushed over a balcony, but wakes up as a ghost and helps investigate her own death. Turns out she was pushed by her brother’s girlfriend, the daughter of their housekeeper, who is really her mother because she and her brother’s girlfriend were switched at birth. That’s right, her brother was actually dating his biological sister. She tried to inject him with too much insulin but ghost Shari and her ghost crime fighting friend save the day. It was actually less cheesy than it sounds.
I missed some of the later ones, like the Last Vampire Series and all the stupid sequels to Remember Me. What was it about these books that were so haunting? They stay with me even today.