Published: July 1985
Released a year after issue 15, Scream Holiday Special 1985 was eagerly awaited by bereft fans for whom the Eagle merger had been a disappointment and this volume promised a lot. Ghastly McNasty was right there on the cover, promising a return to the glory days. Oddly, the back cover featured the exact same image but without the pricing information. This volume had 61 pages (including the covers) almost double a typical issue, albeit at almost three times the price.
Did the special deliver? Well, not exactly. Dracula File kept the Dracula vs. Stakis storyline going but was disjointed from the original run, Max returns in a reprint and a pretty thin new story and we get a handful of Library of Death and Ghastly Tale efforts. But there’s nothing here to get the fans really excited.
Disappointingly, Tales From The Grave’s final story remained unfinished too which is a shame as this was a real opportunity to close that one off. In fact, at three pages per issue, they could have reprinted the first two installments and got it all done in nine pages.
The other issue is that it was full of filler. Quizzes, attempts at humour (including THREE Fiends and Neighbours stories), articles about Madama Tussaud’s and The London Dungeon. All stuff that could have made way for some actual Scream! content. However, compared to later specials, Scream Holiday Special 1985 one would end up being one of the better ones.
The Dracula File – Now suddenly in Yorkshire (having last been seen in London), Dracula is out killing people as per usual. Stakis picks up the trail and finds him out in the middle of nowhere. They begin to battle it out but Stakis is no match for the vampire and retreats. However, they do end up at a crossroads marked out by snow which traps Dracula. However, as Stakis goes to stake him a motorbike skids to a halt nearby, breaking up the cross and allowing Dracula to flee as a bat.
A Ghastly Tale ‘Getting Ahead’ – a ghost goes to a ‘spectral supermarket’ and buys a new head to carry. Your enjoyment will depend on how effective the ‘getting ahead/getting a head’ pun is for you.
It’s a Scream! – a very silly story that feels like it should be in Whizzer and Chips or something. Full of weak jokes and puns that never really land. An unwanted distraction from that real Scream! content.
The Thirteen Floor – disappointingly, this is just a reprint of the story from issue #1 of Scream.
Library of Death: The Witch – A young kid, Billy Billings, is awoken to find out that his nightmare is in fact real and there is a witch flying around outside. He tells his mother about it the next day but she dismisses it as a dream. However, as he keeps digging, Billy realises that the house has magical artifacts in it and attempts to find a way to fight the witch.
The next night he waves a fox’s tail at the witch and she crashes to the ground. Eager to tell his mother, he goes to her room but she’s not there and there are mice and frogs there, more witchy evidence. Then his mum, dressed as a witch, enters the room. She reveals her secret and shows Billy that she’s been keeping his father prisoner, miniaturised and kept in a jar.
He then accidentally turns her into a frog. Which is odd.
Library of Death: Dead Wrong – in an effort to shock their rich aunt to death, two brothers, Peter and Mark Gomerson, hatch a plan. They invite her over but Mark dresses up as a corpse and hides in a coffin. When Peter attempts to open the coffin in front of her, he has a massive heart attack, which leaves Mark inside to die of oxygen starvation.
Food For Thought! – while not branded as a Ghastly Tale, this one-pager follows the exact same format even down to having Ghastly McNasty in the corner presenting it. It’s a simple story about a man going to feed his cat, Fluffy. However, the cat is massive and eats him instead.
A Ghastly Tale – unlike the previous story, this Ghastly Tale is branded as such but oddly it doesn’t have a name. It’s so bleak though that it is almost impressive. A young man goes to visit his aunt and uncle but bemoans that they never talk to him and just want to watch television. He kisses them goodbye and goes home, saying he’ll visit them again next week. The last panel reveals that they are dead. MOOD!
New Neighbours! – a man goes next door to say hello to his new neighbours but they are a family of Monsters in the style of The Addams Family/Munsters. Played entirely for laughs, this story looks a bit more grown up than Fiends and Neighbours but doesn’t offer much more than that series.
The Thirteenth Floor – an apparently new story, this one shot effort sees two bogus repair men, Frank and George, ending up on the thirteenth floor as Max turns the place into a lair for giant worms. The two men are terrorised by the whole thing and eventually picked up by the police who assume they are mad.