Time for another book recipe! This time I’ll be looking at teen horror. Let’s head up to the creepy old mansion and get started!
- An assorted group of expendable teenage victims
- One spooky location
- Dire warnings that everybody ignores
- A series of graphic and horrible deaths
- A generous dollop of sheer stupidity
- Creepy shadows
- Drench your spooky location in creepy legends. It doesn’t matter what they are, or if they make no sense. You’ve just got to make it clear that no-one in their right mind would ever go there, ever.
- Let’s go there!
- Nerd Teen tells us all about the creepy legends. It includes a detail which is quite obviously Very Important. Everyone ignores them.
- The teens are walking around the spooky place. There are mildly spooky noises, but they all assume that they are the work of the Worst Teen, who is probably called Brad.
- Doors mysteriously close. The words LEAVE NOW write themselves on the walls. Random objects start to bleed. Ignore them – it’s probably just Brad.
- Someone is separated from the group! They’re definitely dead. Better stick together and quietly and respectfully leave while everyone’s still alive.
- Screw that, let’s split up! And make jokes about the ghosts! That couldn’t possibly backfire.
- Spooky things are picking off the teens one by one! Instead of leaving like sensible people, they scream ‘WHAT DO YOU WANT FROM US?!?!?’ and knock things over.
- Time for the first extravagantly silly and disgusting death. It’s gross.
- Blonde Teen starts screaming.
- More horrific and gross deaths! Make sure to bring a sick bag.
- Worst Teen takes advantage of everyone being isolated and scared to do something really awful. He dies, and people are just so sad.
- Time to consult those creepy legends! We’re about two-thirds of the way through now, so we need a Get Out of Jail Free card.
- Wait a minute. What if that Very Important Detail actually…matters?
- Try and regroup. Armed with knowledge they should have listened to earlier, the teens can now defeat the monster!
- But first they need a thing. Go and find it!
- They find the thing, hooray! But oh no, some more of them have died, gross-ly.
- Quick! Time to use the thing to defeat the monster before the last stroke of midnight or whatever!
- Hooray, you did it! Limp home in the sunlight and hope no-one asks about all your dead friends. Everything’s fine.
- OR IS IT???
THE END. Serve on a mysterious tome that you should never, ever open.
- Stuck on a location? Traditionalists go for abandoned mansions, disused asylums and any kind of burial ground. It doesn’t matter what it is as long as it’s dark, isolated and makes weird noises.
- Always set it at night. Daytime is not spooky.
- Include a wide range of teens, but don’t bother giving them actual personalities because they’re just going to die. Football Teen, Nerd Teen, Blonde Teen and Prank Teen are all solid choices, but why stop there? There’s only one thing you need to remember: all of them must be as dumb as a bag of rocks.
- Never, ever, ever include any responsible adults.
- Always leave a loophole in your creepy legends, but feel free to ignore it if you want a great cliffhanger ending.
- The ghosts’ behaviour doesn’t need to make sense. They’re ghosts! All they need to do is drift about spookily, smash stuff, and occasionally tear people into pieces. Logic is for the living!
- Don’t call the police. Don’t leave the spooky place. Don’t stick together in a quiet, respectful group and slowly back away. That would be sensible and we can’t have that.
And here’s one I prepared earlier…
The moon was high over the old Darkmore place. Leaves skittered across the ground. Bats shrieked in the trees. As the five friends stared up at the old house, a cloud drifted over the moon, and Janey caught a glimpse of something moving at the window. A knife? No. It was probably just Brad.
“Are you guys sure this is a good idea?”
Lauren, who was blonde, rolled her eyes. “Come on, Janey, don’t be lame. Everyone knows Darkmore Mansion is the best place for a Halloween party.”
Something screamed in the woods. Janey flinched.
Russell, who had glasses, cleared his throat awkwardly. “Actually, the history of the house is fascinating. It was built on an ancient burial ground which was later used to execute seventeenth-century witches. The house was only built in 1846, when Hugo von Darkmore, a mysterious landowner, fled his native Bulgaria after being accused of committing unspeakable acts with –”
“Are you dorks still hanging around?”
Brad came out of the house, wearing a beer hat and a football jersey. Behind him, the front door creaked slowly shut.
“Did anyone see that?” Janey said, “that door just closed by itself.”
“Be cool, Janey!” Lauren hissed. “You better not ruin this for me with Brad!”
She went over to him. Kyle and Cole followed, high-fiving and exchanging fist bumps, and Janey wondered why they had both chosen to wear T-shirts with enormous targets printed right over their hearts. There was a strange howl from the woods. It sounded like someone – or something – was yelling “Goooooooo!”
Janey shrugged. It was probably nothing.
“Anyway,” Russell continued, “after the mysterious fire, which no-one survived, the house became an asylum specialising in the most murderous inmates, which was mysteriously closed down after…”
The wind rustled through the trees. For a second Janey thought she saw a face at one of the windows, but she blinked and it was gone. What she did see was a viscous dark liquid oozing out from one of the windowsills.
“Russell,” she said, trying to keep calm, “I think that window is bleeding.”
“…and of course after they found the altar…oh, that? That’s nothing to worry about. It’s a common household problem for these big old places.”
“Oh yes. Now, where was I? Oh yes, the big pile of skulls. The really interesting thing was that none of them quite seemed to match a human head…”
There was that noise again. “Gooooooo!”, it seemed to say. But that couldn’t be right. A door slammed and Janey jumped again.
“Brad! Cut it out!” Lauren laughed.
The wind rustled through the trees again, and this time, it almost sounded like a very irritated sigh. Janey looked up. The face at the window was back, but this time, it had no eyes.
“…but really all of these unexplained apparitions are just, you know, ball lightning, unusual acoustics, and the restless dead. There’s really nothing to worry about.”
“Russell, I really think there’s someone in there.”
“Oh, it’s probably just Brad.”
“Yes, but you know what he’s like. D’you want a beer?”
Now, the wind rustling in the trees sounded a lot like ghostly swearing. All the windows started to bleed at once, and smoke spontaneously curled out of every chimney.
“Sweet, brah! Party tricks!” yelled Kyle, fist-bumping Brad.
Janey stared up at the smoke. It had begun to form strange shapes – skulls, pentagrams, and the words ‘JUST GO’ in big scary letters.
“Maybe this is a bad idea,” she said.
‘YES IT IS’, spelled the smoke.
Cole and Kyle just booed her. Lauren glared. “God, Janey! Don’t be such a baby!”
Janey hesitated. There was that howl again – but this time, it almost sounded like the words “What do I have to do to make you leeeeeeeave?”
Brad shrugged. “Hey, it’s cool, brah. You can go home if you’re too chicken.”
Janey froze. Then she marched into the house – past the creepy woods, the graveyard filled with eerie tombstones, and the inexplicably screaming statue – dragging Russell in after her. The rest of them all went inside, exchanging high fives.
There was a moment of silence.
Then, a ghostly voice said “Goddammit,”, and everything went black.
Let me know what you’d like me to look at next – and as always, take this recipe with a pinch of salt.