As Halloween fast approaches, falling leaves and the sight of pumpkins will become an increasing presence, as people gear themselves up to the festival, which sees’ the veil lifted between the living and the dead.
For many people, Halloween conjures up the images of scary costumes, trick or treating and the dim glow of a candle, behind the chilling grimace of a jack-o-lantern.
Halloween is the time of frightening films, the sight and screams of Jamie Lee-Curtis running from Michael Myers.
Halloween is also the time for people to curl up under a snug duvet or blanket, and a book placed firmly in hand. The story will be about vampires, ghosts, jealousy or revenge.
For any teenager during the 1990’s, no Halloween was complete without the purchase of one of Scholastic’s Point Horror collection, a series of spine chilling books which for over a decade, popularised Horror fiction to a teenage audience.
The plots of each book differed and the influence of Point Horror could often be seen in children’s TV shows, like Are You Afraid of the Dark? and Goosebumps, which was the brainchild of the famous Point Horror writer RL Stine.
Similar to the popularity of JK Rowling’s Harry Potter books, for the majority of Point fans, everybody had their favourite, which included the Babysitter series, My Secret Admirer, April Fool and Funhouse.
It was a cause for excitement, when a sequel was released, or new spin of series launched, like the Nightmare Hall by Diane Hoh.
Infact, Scholastic seemed to think of every angle, when they introduced Point Horror on to audio tape and then CD.
For many years, Point Horror were everywhere, in libraries, homes and in the school bags of thousands of young people, who would read, discuss and then share them with enthusiasm among friends.
It was in the 2000’s that teenage Horror seemed to come to an abrupt end and new books took over; Harry Potter, Charmed, Buffy the Vampire Slayer and then Twilight.
It seemed that Point Horror was doomed to the second hand book stores and Amazon or E-Bay.
It was an absolute delight, to see that in 2013 Point Horror has made a welcomed return and I couldn't resist making an immediate purchase of Defriended by Oprah Winfrey's O Magazine editor Ruth Baron.
In Defriended, Scholastic have returned to the roots of what made Point Horror great. Jason has met the perfect girl. OK, so maybe he hasn't actually met Lacey but they talk online all the time.
Despite spending most nights chatting, Lacey refuses to meet up in person.
Suspicious, Jason Google’s her, which leads to a shocking discovery. According to multiple newspapers, Lacey died a year earlier! Jason finds himself in a disturbing mystery. Has he found a way to chat with the dead?
You can't post "Away" messages from beyond the grave and as the headline across the cover of Defriended states; Lacey has changed her Facebook status to “Deceased”.
On completing Defriended, I quickly ran a book search on Amazon and was pleased to see that among the lists for Point Horror, there were new releases scheduled for 2014, including Wickedpedia by Chris Van Etten.
Fans will be delighted that some old classics are also available to download for Kindle!
So maybe this Halloween, as the nights draw in, an evening of terror can be served up, that you only get with Point Horror.
A jesting but literary chant may even be heard; “Trick or Treat, Trick or Treat, Candy is Dandy…….but Murder is Sweet.”