PHBC: Collect Call by Christopher Pike

1d4d017b42a0b3a47f1cf110What’s it all about?

Janice Adams is besotted with ‘so fine’ Bobby Walker but has to compete for his affections with cheerleader Caroline Spencer. When Janice is forced to give Caroline a lift home, she realises Bobby has plans for both of them. Not good plans either. Bad plans.

Bad Plans?

Oh yes. You see, Bobby Walker is also The Black Walker – it’s like he isn’t even trying – and he’s gonna use his ‘dark sensual synthesiser’ mixtape to kill both Janice and Caroline.

The Girls

Janice is unlike any Point Horror girl we’ve ever met – she’s the Daria of the horror world and has run out of shits to give. Pike, as we should have expected, nails the teenage experience with lines like ‘her lungs were still virgin, along with the rest of her’ and ‘that may be the reason he doesn’t want to go out with you? Because you’re a slut?’ Although Janice isn’t likeable as such, she’s certainly believable.

Caroline is a little more standard Point Horror. She’s blond, she’s pretty…and kinda stupid…although she redeems herself somewhat in the end with the aforementioned mixtape and a shovel.

I'm the Black Walker, babeThe Guy 

Leather jacket wearing Bobby Walker is unfortunately reminiscent of Dream Date’s Heath. Still, he drives the ladies crazy with his tight, faded jeans. Bobby is a terrible, terrible douche like that guy you knew at university who thought he was the only person who only understood the Manic Street Preachers and knew exactly where Richie is hiding.

Also he doesn’t buy the popcorn when he takes Caroline to the cinema. AWK.

Dialogue Disasters

All Bobby. All cringe. ‘You got it sister.’

‘He laughed and said he like his women cold.’ WHAT? GROSS.

‘I love the full moon,’ he breathed. ‘It brings out the best in me.’

Although Caroline almost gives away the farm on the first date: ‘It’s you that’s going in the hole!’

Special mention to Bobby’s song: ‘Give me the knife and I’ll cut out your eyes.’ OOOOH SHOCKING.

Body Count: 2

Did the best friend do it? No.

Some Mild Peril

Collect Call is genuinely creepy. SPOILERS….the crux of the story revolves around Caroline’s apparent death in a fiery deathtrap car crash (we can only PRAY Belinda from April Fools wasn’t around to see it). As Janice flees the scene, she starts to receive voicemail messages from Caroline and this is where things get really creepy.

Even worse, Janice soon realises something is amiss, and the scene where she finds a body bag marked ‘Janice Adams’ is truly scary. The second half is perhaps less chilling as Caroline takes over the plot.

Is it any good?

It really is. Our Godfather of teen horror doesn’t let us down, I just wish it was longer, although there’s something to be said for brevity. Janice, the first morally dubious character we’ve really encountered (she initially leaves Caroline to die), I wish we could have more like her. Clearly Pike was allowed to get away with things the author PH authors weren’t. Whatever it is, he just has it.

Even if Bobby is naff, you get the feeling that Pike KNOWS he a poser (and potentially a reflection of some of the goth lords of pain he was probably meeting during the 90s at events) and he more than gets his comeuppance at the end…’I didn’t even get to be on MTV,’ Bobby laments before dying.

POINT HORROR BOOK CLUB BONUS ROUND!

I think we need to talk about WHERE THE DEER ARE by Caroline B Cooney. Holy shit. TERRIFYING. I honestly think the Ring 2 stole the concept. I have NOT A CLUE what’s going on (something about environmentalism…and a forest cellar full of baby deer?) but the bit where the horrid leg opens the bathroom door. OH LORDY.

!!d7nnYw!mM~$(KGrHqYOKnUEw89OpVZ3BMRq3YG6gg~~_35Over to you:

Write the second verse of The Black Walker.

Did you read any other tales of terror? Which did you rate?

Outside of PH, what was your favourite Christopher Pike novel?

Next month we explore the book that got me hooked: MOTHER’S HELPER BY A BATES.