The Michael Myers Halloween Young Adult Horror Novels - Halloween: The Scream Factory. By Kelly O'Rourke
by: -RoG-

The last time I covered a horror novel, we took an in-depth look at "The Carnival" from the Friday the 13th Camp Crystal Lake young adult novel series. Throughout the course of the novel, we discovered that Jason's mask was cursed, and turned those who wore it into a bloodthirsty psycho. Also, there was an electric fence surrounding the carnival for some reason that somehow killed WAY more people than it should have.

It was a fun, ridiculous read, filled with amusing kills and blatant pandering references to things that 90s teens could relate to (ie: Pearl Jam, Sonic the Hedgehog, etc.). Ever since reading that young adult novel, I knew I had to check out more of them and report my findings to you. While I was tempted to just read one of the other Camp Crystal Lake Novels next, I stumbled onto an even more obscure series of YA books. I discovered a series of three 90s spin-off novels based on John Carpenter's Halloween films starring the unstoppable Michael Myers!

While I haven't read all three books yet, I did just finish the first one in the series. The cover art is what really drew me in, and you're about to see why. Behold - Halloween: The Scream Factory!

The first Halloween film spin-off young adult novel - Halloween: The Scream Factory - by Kelly O'Rourke

Glorious, isn't it? Halloween: The Scream Factory was written by Kelly O'Rourke and published by Boulevard books and released in October 1997. Sadly, there's no information in the book about who did the cover art, but if you're out there reading this, just know somebody thinks you did an awesome job... and I bet I'm not the only one who thinks so. Two terrified teens running through a haunted house attraction, filled with fake cobwebs and dangling rubber bats, as they try to flee the very real Michael Myers brandishing his patented kitchen butcher knife. Just look at that one teen; he thought he was all cool wearing that leather jacket, but as soon as he saw Michael Myers, he dropped his flashlight in terror as he did his best "I'm trying to look like I'm running" pose for the artist to capture.

And how about that tagline? "Michael Myers is up to his old tricks - and it'll be a treat." Combine that with the blood splatter behind "The Scream Factory" along with the oddly reversed film logo, and this cover is just bursting with Halloween goodness. Between the irresistible cover art and the idea of Michael Myers terrorizing kids in a haunted house attraction, there was no way in hell I wasn't going to read this book cover to cover.

And read it I did.

With that in mind, I'd like to tell you about the highlights of this 150+ page book, in case you never have a chance to read it on your own. These are rare books that are quite hard to come across, and when you do, some sellers try to charge over $100 for 'em (for the record, they're not worth more than $40-$50 tops). So, allow me to save you the cash and report on all of the important things you need to know about this story. Once again, keep in mind, this is a young adult novel, so a lot of the dialogue is pretty bad, but certainly no worse than what you'd find in one of the Halloween films, so it feels par for the course. Now sit back in your desk and pretend I'm standing in front of our middle school classroom, about to give an A+ worthy book report on Halloween: The Scream Factory:

My book report on Halloween: The Scream Factory - by Kelly O'Rourke

We begin our story with a prologue of some kid named Matt, stumbling through the woods and falling into a ditch as he's being pursued by Michael Myers. He can't believe it's happening as he looks up as sees Michael's knife gleaming in the moonlight. Then, before we learn his fate, it cuts to Chapter 1, where we meet Lori Parker, the classic "girl next door" senior student at Haddonfield High School. She's a somewhat shy teenage girl, longing for a love of her own, and wishing she could be more like her best friend (or "best g-friend" as she puts it), Sally Wilson. Sally is a mischievous girl who everyone thinks is beautiful, and she's dating Matt Hudson, who's described as "the biggest hunk at Haddonfield High".

As you'd expect with a YA novel, there's plenty of teen drama in the story - the centerpiece of it all being Marsha Miller, the rich, snobby ex-girlfriend of Matt who despises Sally and Lori. Marsha basically vowed to make their lives a living hell by not inviting the two girls to her annual Halloween bash, which is always the biggest part in town that the entire school goes to. Fate, however, decided to throw the two girls a bone, as they get to put on a Halloween party of their own, that even moneybags Miller can't compete with. Allow me to explain.

Mrs. Grubbs, their American History teacher, wants to "prepare her students for the real world" with a historical research assignment. Yep, nothing prepared me for the real world like my American History class. The two girls decide to do a project about the first settlers of Haddonfield from the 1800s, so they head down to City Hall to conduct their research. While there, they stumble into a room with confidential files filled with police reports about the Michael Myers murders:

"November 1, 1978. HALLOWEEN MASSACRE IN HADDONFIELD. Residents of Haddonfield are mourning the loss of four local teenagers who were brutally murdered last night by convicted killer Michael Myers. Police report that Myers escaped from the Smith Grove Mental Hospital where he had been undergoing psychiatric treatment after murdering his sister, Judith Myers, fifteen years ago on Halloween night. The murder weapon, a large kitchen butcher knife, was found at the scene of the crime on Oak Street. Myers was last seen wearing a rubber Halloween mask and black jumpsuit. He escaped capture and is still at large. Police are asking for any information regarding the whereabouts of Myers and are considering him armed and very dangerous."

Here's the odd thing though; in this timeline, the entire town seems to treat those murders as an urban legend, rather than something that actually happened. It's as if they've tried to deny the very existence of Michael Myers, so most of the kids don't even believe in him.

Anyway, Mayor Jamison catches the two girls in the files, and instead of punishing them, he convinces Lori and Sally to turn the City Hall basement into the town's biggest Halloween party haunted house this year. It's never explained why at first, but the girls brush it off and decide to do it - partially out of guilt for getting caught in the Myers' files, and partially out of wanting to upstage Marsha Miller. They decide to call their haunted attraction "The Scream Factory"

Then there's the proverbial "bad boy", Jake Kovac, who's more of a misunderstood loner than somebody who's actually out to cause trouble. He's an artist who sings, plays guitar, and rides a motorcycle. It's pretty obvious he and Lori have the hots for each other from day one, so it's not too long before the two of them become a hot item, and suddenly everyone thinks they're both the most gorgeous people in school. Super realistic, folks. Unfortunately for all these kids, Michael Myers has other plans than letting them bask in their popularity.

Before I get into what Michael does in the story, I need to mention that author Kelly O'Rourke takes some liberties with the Michael Myers character here 'n there, and some of them simply don't work. For example, "Michael bared his rotten yellow teeth and snarled viciously," sounds completely out of character. First off, he wears a mask that covers up his mouth, so the kids would never see his teeth. And who says the guy doesn't practice good dental hygiene? How dare you, madam! Second, Michael doesn't snarl, or growl, or anything. He's essentially an evil mute who shows no emotion whatsoever. He just stalks his prey and kills with relentless brutality.

Okay, so those grievances aside, there are some funny things that ol' Mikey does in the story. For starters, there's a point when Jake is giving Lori a ride on his motorcycle and Michael Myers apparently chops down a big pine tree. The very idea of Michael Myers suddenly wielding an axe and becoming a psycho lumberjack makes me laugh to no end. It makes me laugh so much that I needed to see it for myself, and since there aren't any illustrations inside the book and nobody has turned this into a movie, I'll give it a try:

Michael Myers should be a lumberjack who makes killer pancakes.

It actually works! I could totally see Michael Myers chopping down some trees in his flannel sweater, then shoveling some flapjacks underneath his mask at the end of a long day. Halloween Part 17: The Lunatic Logger. It has a nice ring to it, don't ya think? Also, I thought I spent far too long on that drawing... but now that I look at it? TOTALLY WORTH IT.

Back to the story, the author gives a little misdirection here 'n there - from trying to make the reader think it's Marsha Miller trying to scare everybody, to Jake's ex-girlfriend showing up and acting like a nutjob - but it's fairly obvious from the start that the actual Michael Myers has been stalking these teens and killing some people.

If you've ever seen a Halloween movie (or just about any horror movie), you're well aware that while they have some extremely creative deaths, there's often a lot of painful dialogue to sit through between those glorious kill scenes. That's double the case when you're reading a Halloween spin-off novel for young adults.

So, rather than go chapter by chapter covering the less important material, I'm going to break down the rest of the book into two categories: The Best Moments and The Worst Moments.

The Best Moments:

1) Michael Kills Officer Baker. Cheesy as the teenage dialog in the book may be, the first time Michael Myers kills somebody feels like something that could be straight out of a Halloween film. Police Officer Baker is chowing down on a raspberry donut and looking at a swimsuit issue in his patrol car, when Michael Myers walks up and drags him out of the car before he could grab his shotgun. From there, he begins to crush the officer's head underneath his work boot, drags him away in a daze state, and then chops his head off completely with an axe. "The blade of the ax descended upon his neck and crunched through his spinal cord, completely severing all ties with the world of the living. Baker's dead eyes stared out of his head, which rolled off into the clearing and stopped next to a crumpled beer can." That's a pretty vivid description for a YA novel, and certainly feels just as brutal as anything Michael Myers has ever done on film.

2) Halloween Potatoes. On Halloween day, the cafeteria employees had a special treat on the menu for the students of Haddonfield High: Halloween Potatoes! "The school cafeteria buzzed with excitement. Everyone was caught up in the spirit of Halloween, still talking about what they were going to dress up as. The cafeteria cook had even dyed the mashed potatoes orange." Sure, they could've just used sweet potatoes which were already orange, but no... the cook actually took the time and effort to dye some regular mashed potatoes orange. If I knew of a local school doing this, I'd find a way to blend in with the students just so I could have some festive Halloween potatoes too.

3) Michael Kills Mayor Jamison. This is more of a straightforward kill, but sometimes all Michael really needs his is large butcher knife, so it feels in line with the character. "The blade of the gleaming butcher knife crunched through the mayor's rib cage and slid into his heart. Fresh red blood seeped from the gaping wound. The mayor let out one last desperate cry as he struggled to remove the knife that protruded sickeningly from his chest. The last thing Mayor Jamison saw was the horrifying face of Michael Myers looming overhead before everything went white. His heavy, broken body dropped to the floor with a crash." Simple, yet effective.

4) Michael Kills The Entertainment. In addition to helping out with the decorations at The Scream Factory, Jake is also having his band, Zen, provide the music for the night. You'll find out why the band is so awful in the next section, but I was extremely satisfied towards the end of the book when I read that Jake's entire band had been killed off. "Inside the storage cage were his three band members, their bodies hanging lifelessly, their necks sticking out at sickening, crooked angles. Blood dripped to the stage floor and their eyes were glassy and cold - and dead, as their broken bodies swung." Again, very descriptive, and seems very plausible that the Michael Myers we all know would leave his victims on display like this. I just wish Jake was also among the victims, and you're about to learn why...

The Worst Moments:

1) Jake's Song Lyrics. Sure, the author has Jake in a band that's going to play at the big Halloween party at Haddonfield City Hall, but between naming his band "Zen" and the lyrics to his "Bogeyman" song being godawful, it's no wonder Michael Myers wanted to murder this kid. Here's a sampling of his lyrics:

"He's going to get you. He'll follow you home.
He's been waiting and watching. You're never alone.
He's out in the woods, he's been waiting for you.
When gets you alone, your young life is through.
I'm the bogeyman, baby, and I'll never die!
I'm the bogeyman, baby, and that's no lie!
I'm the bogeyman, baby, so don't even try...
To get away from me.

Yep, that just happened. And when he sings those lyrics (while dressed as the Devil, mind you), ALL the girls in the school go wild and think Jake is now the sexiest guy on earth. Seriously.

2) Michael Myers Ties A Payphone Cord Into A Noose. After Michael makes some ominous calls to Sally from a payphone across the street from her bedroom window, he takes out his anger on the phone cord. "The shadowed figure stole one last glance at Sally's bedroom window across the street. He'd been watching them frolicking around the bed, squealing. The bad girls had stopped laughing. Breathing heavily, he lurched away, leaving the silver pay phone cord twisted into a miniature noose." What an odd way to take out his rage on something. Now I all I want to see is Mikey demonstrating his knowledge of tying random nautical knots with telephone cords next!

3) Horrified By A Tree. I already mentioned how Michael Myers chopped down a tree in an attempt to kill Lori and Jake, but I didn't mention was how he dragged the tree back out onto the road a second time later in the story. When the teens see that the tree is back, their terror cannot be held back. Here's an excerpt:

"Oh my God! Someone pulled it back across the road!" he yelled
"I thought you guys said the police moved it to the side of the road."
"They did! But it's back!" Lori cried.
Sally gasped, "But who would..."
Jake's face became pale. "Michael Myers," he whispered.

Again, this is just a tree lying in the road, but they're treating it like they've just contracted a flesh-eating virus.

4) Jake's Fake Blood Recipe. Jake has been enlisted to help make The Scream Factory Halloween party a big hit, and one of the things he brings from his theater work, is his own fake blood recipe: "Fruit punch concentrate and tomato juice. I developed it last summer when I was working for the theater. It's my Romeo and Juliet special mix." No, Jake. Just... no. Pretty much every fake blood recipe tutorial video on YouTube works better than Jake's sloppy concoction.

How the evil of Michael Myers is defeated:

I thought for sure Lori would be the one to put an end to Michael Myers, since she was the main character the reader was introduced to from the beginning. Surely she was being set up to be the heroine, right? Wrong. For some reason, the author chose Matt Hudson (the jock) to be the real opposition for Michael Myers. Earlier in the story, Michael kills Police Chief Grandy by stabbing him in the heart, but Matt grabs the knife and then jabs it into Michael's eye. "Using all his energy, Matt drove the knife through the eye hole in the mask. A dark stream of blood trickled down the white plastic as Michael Myers stumbled backward. Matt struggled to pry open the window. Michael Myers pulled the knife out of his eye and began slashing at the air, moving closer to Matt." Almost sounds something like when Michael Myers was blinded at the end of the original Halloween II, right?

Well, Michael chases down Matt, and nearly kills him by burying him alive, but Matt just pretends to play dead and Michael leaves him behind to head for The Scream Factory party instead. Matt digs his way out of the mud and musters the strength to drag himself all the way back to the school and lures Michael to come at him while he's hiding behind a guillotine prop that jake brought for the event.

Only it's not a prop... it's an actual, functioning guillotine.

In an instant, Michael is defeated by Matt's guillotine trap. Not killed, mind you, but defeated.

"Matt released the cord and the blade of the guillotine dropped with a screeching metal-against-metal sound. Michael Myers suddenly looked up at the falling blade. Blood spattered across Matt's face as Michael Myers sank to the ground. The thick blade was embedded through the center of his mask. Matt stumbled backward and gagged at the horrifying sight in the hellish inferno. Blood filled the eye holes of the mask and the flames reflected back at him in the two dark red pools."

At this point all of City Hall is completely on fire, because Michael doused it with gasoline and set it ablaze with one of his trusty jack-o'-lanterns. So, the students all make it out alive just in the nick of time, and Michael's plans to burn all of them to a crisp are foiled. So yeah, it was pretty odd to see Matt turn out to be the real hero here, since he felt like more of a tertiary character throughout the story. Go figure.

We're then left with this last would-be jump scare:

"A hideous explosion of flames breathed out the back door, spitting out a giant jack-o'-lantern. It rolled to a stop before Matt and Jake. The blade of the guillotine was wedged through its sneering face. The boys' laughter came to an abrupt halt as they sucked their breath in with horror. They stared widely at each other in shock, knowing that Haddonfield had not seen the last of Michael Myers."

I'm sure that final scene looked something like this:

Who will find the cursed hockey mask of Jason Voorhees next?


Favorite Quotes:

Here's an assortment of random quotes (good & bad) from the book that I thought you'd enjoy for one reason or another:

-"You're the genius when it comes to school and I'm the genius when it comes to cool!" (page 6)

-"A truce? Me call a truce with someone who's wearing last season's clothes? Get real! I hate you, Sally. In fact, I'm going to dedicate the rest of the semester to making your life a living hell. Be afraid! Be very afraid!" (page 9)

-"I don't know if it's all true, but people say so. It all happened a long time ago. They say he comes back on Halloween - to get revenge." (page 13)

-"There are sick, sick people out there who put razor blades in apples and poison candy." (page 15)

-"He's a politician. I'm sure there's a lot of things he isn't telling us." (page 17)

-"We'll have so many lit-up jack-o'-lanterns in that building we won't need any heating." (page 18)

-"A party with the mayor? Are you serious? that place will be crawling with little kids and old fogies that reek of mothballs! How are we supposed to have any fun at a place like that?" (page 19)

-"They say the Myers house is haunted, but I don't buy it. I pass it every day and never see any action over there except for the weeds growing. The place has been deserted for over thirty years, since he killed his sister on Halloween night." (page 22)

-"Why don't we stop by the old Myers place on the way to my house? I'll show you the bloodstains on the wall." (page 22)

-"Matt stared harder at Jake. He looked almost normal, except for the black leather and long hair, Matt thought. He wondered what Jake would look like dressed in a polo shirt and a pair of khakis." (page 27)

-"I didn't kiss him, you dork! My lips accidently touched his cheek. That's all!" (page 33)

-"'Would you please shut up, Lori,' Matt snapped. 'Michael Myers doesn't exist.'" (page 50)

-"The jack-o'-lantern was a trademark of Michael Myers." (page 55)

-"I can play my music as loud as I want and no one ever complains. Not even Michael Myers." -(page 60)

-"Who do I look like, Inspector Gadget?" (page 65)

-"Sally, for the last time, Michael Myers isn't coming back - that is, if he ever even existed. You've been watching too many horror movies. This conversation is getting a little too stupid for me." (page 65)

-"Officer Baker bit into his raspberry-filled jelly donut, an award which he felt he deserved after being assigned to remove the giant tree from the road. Sometimes the department chief still treated him like a rookie, even though he'd been on the police force for nearly five years now. He watched the blue sedan disappear down the road and carefully pulled his swimsuit edition magazine out from under his seat" (page 70)

-"Yeah. That's the yin and yang symbol. It represents the destinies of all living creatures. Yin is dark, sour and negative, representing evil, and yang is positive, bright and sweet, representing pure goodness and light. The two balance each other, side by side, buy they can't come together. Pure evil can never mix with pure goodness." (Jake explaining his tattoo on page 84)

-"I don't care if you've got Charles Manson out there! I want a head on a platter! We can't afford to lose anyone else to this psychopath!" (page 98)

-"One dead cop and a bunch of freaking jack-o'-lanterns don't mean squat!" (page 98)

-"Her comment hit him like a kick in the crotch." (page 100)

-"Jake kicked at some imaginary dust on the stage floor with his black Doc Martins. 'Nobody understands me!' he thought. Nobody." (page 101)

-"He opened the door and there, on the passenger seat, sat a jack-o'-lantern. The acrid rotting smell invaded his nostrils. He glared at its grinning face as if it were laughing at him. Laughing right in his face." (page 103)

-"If Michael Myers tries to crash this party, he'll be sorry." (page 112)

-"We'll transform you into a sex kitten." "Yeah! Make me look like Pamela Anderson!" (page 113)

-"Every bouncing white balloon looked like the face of Michael Myers." (page 145)

-"Michael Myers stood at the top of the staircase, holding a rusted gasoline can in one hand and a burning jack-o'-lantern in the other. Hell had arrived." (page 146)

-"Michael Myers whirled around to see Marsha standing behind him. The flames danced curiously in his black eyes for a moment. Marsha let out a chilling scream as she spun in a circle, searching for a way out. Michael Myers grabbed her by the head and snapped her neck backward with a bone-crunching crack. Her body fell brokenly to the floor." (page 150)

Final Body Count: 7 (plus 1 dog, 1 car, & 1 building)

-7 kills by Michael Myers. Seems about on par with a Halloween films, not as many as Voorhees, but still a respectable number by movie monster standards. He took out a cop, a police chief, a mayor, a band, and even the mean girl, Marsha Miller. Not too shabby, Mikey.

-1 Dog murdered. Apparently, when he's not out murdering teenagers, Michael Myers decorates the walls of his home with dog blood. "The limp body of a black dog lay in a sickening pool of congealed blood on the kitchen floor. A pair of dead, glassy eyes stared back at Jake, making his skin crawl. Around the carcass were scattered bits of flesh and blood-caked fur, which appeared to have been ripped from the gaping gash in the animal's neck. Across the faded, peeling kitchen wallpaper stretched bloody, hand-scrawled letters, which could be read clearly, even in the darkness, spelling out 'REVENGE.'" I'm not really sure who he's out to get "revenge" on, since he was just pure evil from day one, but apparently he's pissed at somebody. Maybe they let the dog crap in his yard constantly and it drove down his property value. After all, his house was still on the market after all those years.

-1 Jeep Ruined. Michael Myers slashed up the vinyl windows on Matt's jeep, which drives him mad to the point where he and Sally get in a big fight as he speeds off. Soon after, Michael destroys the engine to his jeep and nearly kills Matt. The only reason Matt survives, is he pretends to play dead while Michael nearly buries him alive in mud. Michael not finishing the job? Come on! The guy was getting it on with his girlfriend in a hot tub! Horror movie rules say he has to die! Okay, so this is a young adult novel, but the rules still apply!

-1 Haddonfield City Hall Set Ablaze. Michael Myers doused the walls of Haddonfield City Hall with gasoline and then set the building on fire with a fiery jack-o'-lantern. If it wasn't for Matt and Sally removing the barricade from the front door, he would've had a body count that would've rivaled the finale of Carrie. Oh how I wish that were the case, as it would've made for a far more interesting ending to the story.

Michael Myers loves to read! Halloween: The Scream Factory. A young adult novel by Kelly O'Rourke

In Conclusion:

I'm sure we can all agree that this isn't the best Michael Myers Halloween story out there, but it still managed to entertain me here 'n there. That's definitely more than I can say for some of the later films in the franchise. I do wish we got to spend more time in The Scream Factory itself, since there was a lot of potential for some fun scares & kills with Michael Myers terrorizing students in a haunted Halloween attraction.

As far as young adult horror novels go, I'd still have to give the story edge to Friday the 13th: The Carnival, simply because it was such a different take on the Voorhees mythology... and it was absolutely bonkers. Still, I want to get my hands on the other two stories in this Halloween trilogy:

The Halloween film young adult novels trilogy by Kelly O'Rourke!

Halloween: The Old Myers Place and Halloween: The Mad House don't pick up where this Scream Factory story left off, but with covers like that, how could I not want them!? Besides, I really need to know if Mikey decides to become a lumberjack. All I know is, when they reboot the Halloween film franchise once again, Michael Myers better be fixin' up some flapjacks.

As always, these book report articles take up a huge chunk of my time, so do me a solid and drop a comment below to share your thoughts on the story. Thanks and hope you enjoyed it!

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