Published: July 1989
While it did sport a tiny Scream! logo, the Scream Spinechillers Holiday Special (1989) had very little to do with what had come before.
Weighing in at just 48 pages (including the cover with was the same on front and back), this volume actually contained a grand total of zero familiar elements. Instead of Ghastly McNasty, the stories were now presented by another hooded figure, this time called Ghoul. Also, there were no recognisable characters or storylines from Scream! in there.
In fact, aside from some familiar art styles, the only thing this had in common with the previous specials was a mention of the London Dungeon. Thankfully, the stories were all horror based and the issue didn’t have the silly humour bits and quizzes so there was a lot less filler in it and in the end, while the links to Scream! were tenuous, the Scream Spinechillers Holiday Special was actually the best of the five specials produced.
Museum of Terror – A young man agrees to spend one night in a creepy waxwork museum. This is evidently a big deal as there is a news crew there but anyway he goes there and finds some straw to bed down on. He is disturbed when someone turns off the lights and in a panic he knocks over some of the wax work figures.
A man tells him it’s okay and that he can find him a comfortable place to see out the night. He introduces himself as the Night Watchman and he makes the young man comfortable enough to sleep through the rest of the night. The next morning he emerges from the museum and tells everyone about the man who helped him but it turns out the ‘man’ was in fact a waxwork too. More ‘Museum of Mild Creepiness’ I’d say.
The Loser – Joe Tonks, an unlikable man who keeps losing his job, is down on his luck. Unemployed and about to get evicted, Joe decides to see a fortune teller to see if things are likely to get better. The fortune teller reveals that within 24 hours Joe will be rich beyond his wildest dreams.
This is the last straw. Joe attacks and robs the fortune teller and turns to crime. Outside he attacks and robs another man but accidentally kills him. To make matters worse, a policeman witnesses the crime and chases Joe who runs into the path of a bus and is killed.
Later the policeman reveals that the man Joe killed was a lawyer who was trying to find him to tell him about a massive inheritance payout that was coming his way.
Mister Ugly – A hideously disfigured man is harassed in the streets because of how he looks. He’s had a lifetime of that treatment and decides to summon a demon to fix it once and for all. The demon agrees to make him handsome and it works. He’s good looking, athletic and very happy. The demon then offers to change his tormentors too, making them as ugly as he once was.
However, when he gets outside, they turn on him again because he’s now the only normal looking person and he gets yet another kicking.
Escape – A secret agent is captured and is being transported to a prison where he’ll be tortured. He decides to escape and leaps from the train. He eventually makes it to the water and dives in but is chased by a shark. This all ends up being a fake out though. The man is a stuntman on a film shoot. His director is very happy with the scene and is ready to wrap it.
Unfortunately, the big star, Mervyn Cooper, is one of those petulant actor types and demands to do the scene himself. Begrudgingly, the Director allows him too but when the man is dragged down by a shark, it becomes apparent that this is no remote controlled dummy shark and he’s killed instead.
Ghost Hunters – A woman hires two paranormal investigators to help her get rid of a ghost at the mansion she has inherited. They tell her that hauntings are due to people dying before they can complete some sort of unfinished business.
The previous owner was a millionaire called Jasper. He was obsessed with money and would chase anyone, including his friends, away from his house and so when the woman tried to get in her new mansion, he’d chase her away too.
The investigators go there and convince Jasper that he is dead. Reluctantly, he is forced to face the facts and with that he is free to move onto the spirit world. However, when they give the woman the good news she ignores them. She then reads out an article to a friend that explains that the two men were killed in a car accident and are dead too. Which they find kind of interesting.
The Mascot – Henry Hughes is a struggling artist. That is to say that while he loves painting, he’s crap at it. He’s frustrated but not as much as his wife who wants him to get a proper job. But one night he finds a strange shop and is sold an angry looking teddy bear that the shopkeeper says will bring him luck and success.
He takes it home and his next painting is excellent and he’s able to sell it. This goes for all of his paintings. They are all great but all horrific too. And he insists on taking the bear everywhere including the cinema and the beach.
However, when his wife walks in on him unexpectedly, she’s shocked to find that it is the teddy bear that is doing all of the painting and collapses.
Absolute Nightmare – Rupert Headly, a ruthless businessman, decides to fire some of the older workers at his firm but when he fires Mr. Raymond, the employee curses him to never have a peaceful night’s sleep again. Rupert is entirely unfussed by his threat and that night he goes to bed. However, he has a nightmare about summoning a demon that night.
The dream apparently wakes him up but when he finds himself on a ghost train that features actual ghosts, he realises that he’s still dreaming. He then ends up in another nightmare, and another.
Eventually he decides that he can’t even be bothered getting dressed as he’s probably still dreaming. He goes outside and sees a lion. Assuming it is still a dream, he decides not to run and is killed. It turns out this wasn’t a dream and the lion had escaped.