Get your summer reading in with the Universal Monsters!
One of my favorite pastimes of summer’s past was going to my local bookstore and library and finding a collection of books to read and enjoy over the summer. It started, of course, in school and you could always count on Scholastic! Over the past year, I learned that Scholastic released a series of books featuring some of our favorite classic Universal Monsters. I was surprised to see this and amid UMU’s coverage of the Universal Monsters collectibles like the Aurora models and the Burger King toys, I though it’d be fun to take a closer look at the Universal Monsters book series – especially for those of you looking to get in your summertime reading!
Back in 2001 and 2002, Scholastic began publishing a series of books based on the classic Universal Monsters. Aimed at readers 10 and up, author Larry Mike Garmon crafted a series of six books featuring three teenagers that accidentally bring the Universal Monsters into the real world. Each book featured a different monster such as Dracula, The Wolf Man, Frankenstein, The Mummy, Creature from the Black Lagoon, and the Bride of Frankenstein.
The “Universal Studios Monsters” branded book series take place over a summer vacation that finds teenagers Nina, Joe, and Bob working at Universal Studios Orlando. They learn that Universal has technology that can transform the classic monsters into life-size holograms. As any good adventure story would have it, the technology accidentally transports the classic screen monsters into reality.
Larry Mike Garmon’s “Universal Monsters” book series are pretty fun to read as they do pay close tribute to the classic monsters. For those in middle school and those that are now adults, Garmon’s series is definitely horror and offer a nice alternative to the current horror series for young adults.
Here’s a list of all the books in the series:
Dracula: Return of Evil
Teenagers Nina, Joe, and Bob decide to spend their summer working at Universal Studios. The project they¹re assigned to is cool. It¹s a new technology that can transform classic movie monsters into life-sized holograms. But something goes wrong, and the monsters are digitally transported into reality. Now it¹s up to Nina, Joe, and Bob to hunt them down. Starting with the most fearsome monster of all . . . Dracula.
The Wolf Man: Blood Moon Rising
A strange creature has been preying on residents of a small Florida town. The attacks are being chalked up to a mysterious wolf man. When Nina, Joe, and Bob hear about the attacks, they know their next monster is on the loose. But tracking him down won¹t be easy. . . .
Frankenstein: Anatomy of Terror
Dead bodies are going missing, and that can mean only one thing. Dr. Frankenstein and his assistant, Fritz, are up to their old tricks. They are going to build another monster. Just like in the movie, Fritz grabs the wrong brain, and the monster is once again – brain-dead.
Dr. Frankenstein needs a new brain for his creation, and has eyes on the new student at Nina, Joes and Bob’s school. Can the kids stop the mad scientist in time?
The Mummy: Book of the Dead
Three down, three to go. Nina, Joe and Bob are starting to get good at this monster-hunting thing. But their latest challenge is just about the weirdest yet. There’s an exhibit of ancient Egyption art and artifacts at the San Tomas Inlet Cultural Society. And along with ancient artifacts comes an ancient curse. It’s the mummy – and he’s looking for his long-lost love. Nina, Joe, and Bob don’t know who or where this long-lost love is, but one thing’s for sure. When the mummy finds her, he’s going to make her join him – in death.
Creature from the Black Lagoon: Black Water Horror
It¹s spring break for Nina, Joe, and Bob, but it won¹t bring fun in the sun for the three teens. There are reports of shark attacks at the NASA causeway down in southern Florida, and when Nina, Joe, and Bob get wind, they know where they’re headed this vacation. After all, there hasn’t been a shark attack in Florida for years. It sounds like the Creature from the Black Lagoon has appeared and it’s going to be their toughest challenge yet. How do you fight a monster that lives underwater?
Bride of Frankenstein: Vow of Vengeance
This is it — the exciting conclusion of the Universal Monster series. And this time, Bob, Nina, and Joe don’t just have one monster to fight. Through a bizarre twist, all six have escaped — and they’re running rampant.
Just when things couldn’t get any worse, they do — Nina, Joe, and Bob are on the verge of finally getting busted for stealing the projector in the first place. Don’t miss the action-packed finale to this classic horror series.
While these books are currently out of print, they are still available on sites like amazon for the good, low price of $0.15 to $1.99
As always, stay tuned to Universal Monsters Universe for the latest on the Universal Monsters and Dark Universe!
(Steven Biscotti – @reggiemantleIII)