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Tuesday, March 6, 2018 | Review

If by chance you grew up in the ‘80s and ‘90s, you’ll remember the days where the wild world of the interwebs were only a fantasy in film and the generation of budding horror fan’s imaginations’ were nurtured lovingly by the likes of R.L. Stine, Bruce Coville, and my personal favorite, Alvin Schwartz. We scoured our local Scholastic school book fairs in the hopes of nabbing one of the coveted and highly controversial “SCARY STORIES TO TELL IN THE DARK” trilogy books and when we collected our seemingly forbidden fruit of literary treasures, all was right in the world. The nightmare-induced illustrations paired with familiar folklore that was rebranded into something new and fresh was a young horror fan’s dream-read. And it goes without saying, these books have held a special place in our hearts as we pass them on to our own children. The power and beauty of these special books inspired author Jake Tri and illustrator Andy Sciazko to, in so many words, create “NIGHTMARE SOUP”.

The first successful publication of the nostalgic-fuzzy-feelers book back in October 2016, opened to unanimous positive reviews, (what’s not to love about 30 short tales of nightmare fuel alongside some art that makes Creepypasta look like nursery rhymes?!) Which, in turn, opened the door for the sequel book “NIGHTMARE SOUP II: THE SECOND HELPING”, released exactly one later on the heels of Halloween, 2017. The set of tales by Tri offered in this sister release are shortened to 25 due to the fact the stories contained are a page or two longer in the 114-page book and again, coupled with horrific illustrations by Sciazko that would make Stephen Gammell proud.







“Like Freddy Krueger in “WES CRAVEN’S NEW NIGHTMARE”- “darker… more terrifying.” 

As a lifelong fan of the Schwartz books, I can rest easy telling you wholeheartedly that the second dose (as with the first) of “NIGHTMARE SOUP” is a must-read for any lover of the books we all read in the third grade. While of course, there’s clear inspiration taken from the 80’s trilogy, Tri and Sciazko make these books their own with original stories that are based off very real fears in kids AND adults. Tales such as “THE TOOTHACHE” or “BAD SKIN”, might ring some bells from a little diddy from Schwartz entitled, “THE RED SPOT”; grossing you out in the most fantastic of ways while instilling any future paranoia associated with those common issues. In between short stories that turn you a joyous green, you’ll find some really disturbing segments like “TASTY CHICKEN.” An original story based on a young girl’s nightly sleepwalking routine that I personally, would love to see as a short horror film.

Oh yes, it’s that good folks.

Finally, I could never forgive myself if I didn’t give page 97 a mention for not only catering to my wonderful OCD and anxiety-ridden world, but making this chapter a game of sorts in my own household as my children (8 and 13) playfully take turns scaring the ever-loving crap out of each other with this picture. I won’t give anything away, however, if you have a crippling anxiety and full-on belief in demonic entities, when it says don’t read this… literally, DON’T READ IT. Now that the PSA is out of the way, in all seriousness that’s a grand highlight of the book.

“NIGHTMARE SOUP II” falls deeper into the sinister rabbit hole this time around. The best analogy I could use here is that it’s much like Freddy Krueger in WES CRAVEN’S NEW NIGHTMARE- “darker… more terrifying.” All the while staying appropriate for young readers as well (geared toward ages 9 and up). So, if you’d like to begin a new tradition with some creep-tastic tales for you and the kiddies, or Hell just buy it for yourself, make sure to pick one up at

Patti Pauley
Lover and rambler of everything in the horror genre, from the present to essentially anything concerning retro horror goodness and vintage Halloween. Patti is an active member of the horror community, writing for several websites over the years, including her own. Count Chocula serves as her Kryptonite.