Elvira & John Paragon – Transylvania 90210 (1996)

Review by Justin Tate

Fear Street, Christopher Pike, Caroline B. Cooney and other teen thrillers were big in the ’90s, but did you know Elvira had her own book series?! I didn’t before stumbling upon this old paperback. When the description compared itself to R.L. Stine, stars aligned and I felt this book must’ve been written specifically for me.

No surprise, I LOVE it! Written along with John Paragon, who collaborated with her on Elvira, Mistress of the Dark (1988), Elvira’s Haunted Hills (2001) and other Elvira-related sketches, it encapsulates everything we love about the busty horror hostess.

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Michael Avallone – Tales of the Frightened (1963)

Review by Justin Tate

A collection of 26 eerie vignettes. They were written by Michael Avallone specifically for Boris Karloff to narrate. However, only 13 stories were chosen for Karloff’s “Tales of the Frightened” LP (between volumes 1 and 2). Karloff, along with Vincent Price and Thurl Ravenscroft, is one of the most iconic horror voices in history and his vocal talents add generous depth to what otherwise might be ho-hum flash fiction.

Listening to his narration along with the book, my mind frequently drifted away from plot and became more focused on Karloff’s vocal mastery. He increases speed when tension is high, slows down to brood over mystery, and generally makes everything creepier. The text is meant to have a by-the-fire chatty feel, but he finds numerous opportunity to increase the casual tone through vocal inflection when I might not have read it that way.

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