Hello, Spongey here
Welcome back to Goosebump-athon!
How I Get My Shrunken Head
Cover: Tim’s converse fetish shows its face again! Anyway, I like the perspective on this one. I dig it.
Front Tagline: “Heads up!”
Back Tagline: “Two heads are better than one!”
Mark is a chubby kid who plays videos games. Don’t worry, he’s likeable. He plays a game named Jungle King. His eight year old sister Jessica will only play with him if she can kill herself immediately because she likes the sound it makes in the game when she dies-
– and Mark’s two friends, Joel, whose not too different from you or me, and Eric, are too busy being pointless characters. Mark likes to yell “KAH-LEE-AH” when he plays, as it popped into his head one day, so he took it on as his catchphrase
MOM: is this a foreign swear word?
You know-for kids~!
Mark’s video game playing is interrupted by a visitor. Opening the door, Mark comes face to face with a leathery, authentic shrunken head.
No, it’s not his perverted uncle ray.
The head is presented as a gift for the boy from an older woman wearing sinister black specs, who claims the head is a gift from the boy’s Aunt Benna. The woman introduces herself as Carolyn, a co-worker of Aunt Benna’s on the island of Baladora, where the two do scientific work.
Carolyn assures the family that Aunt Benna had written of her visit in advance and Mark’s mother invites Carolyn to stay the night.
Overnight, the strange shrunken head begins to glow as it rests on top of Mark’s dresser, eventually shining brightly and floating towards him in bed.
Mark understandably freaks out and runs around screaming that the head is alive, however no one believes him. He takes his mother and sister back into his room to show them the glowing head, only to find the head missing. Jessica produces the head from behind her back, where she has given it a long scratch from roughhousing.
I mention this cuz…it’s actually a plot point
Mark freaks out about her mishandling of the head. Mark calms down and heads back to bed, but not before noticing Carolyn staring at him from the hallway.
The next morning, Mark’s mom surprises him with the best news he could receive so early in the day. Aunt Benna sent Carolyn to visit so she could bring Mark back with her to the island to visit! Jessica complains that she wasn’t invited, but twelve year old Mark continues to gloat and dance, bragging that the jungle is just too dangerous for kids.
MOM: So you want to make my son to a dangerous jungle? Sure!
Carolyn and Mark fly out to the small island on a little plane and the pilot informs them that since he never learned how to land, they’ll have to jump out of the plane. Oh and also there are no parachutes, so they should aim to land on something soft. The nutty pilot then reveals he’s just a jokester and that he said that to prepare Mark for thinking fast in the jungle.
Eh, Stine is allowed one cat scare per book. I’ll let it slide.
The pilot safely drops them off on the island and leaves. Mark is very excited to see his aunt, whom he has not seen since she last visited him when he was four years old. Carolyn leads Mark into a scientific-looking building where he meets a white haired scientist named Dr. Hawlings, whom he initially mistakes for his aunt.
Dr. Hawlings introduces Mark to his twelve year old blonde daughter, Kareen, who has shining blue eyes just like her father. Mark, being fat and lonely, likes her.
. Mark asks where his aunt is and is informed that no one knows.
They brought Mark to the island not because his aunt invited him, but because they thought he could help them find her. You see, Carolyn and Dr. Hawlings believe that Mark has ….Jungle Magic.
Read that again. Now you see why I love this one.
Kareen tries to get her father to lay off Mark, but Dr. Hawlings is convinced that Mark’s Aunt gave her nephew Jungle Magic for safe keeping when he was four years old, and that Mark can use the Jungle Magic he possesses to help them find his missing aunt. Mark and Kareen both have a hard time believing in Jungle Magic,.
According to the notebooks Aunt Benna left behind, since Mark saw the shrunken head glow, he must possess Jungle Magic. Dr. Hawlings stresses that the ancient jungle tribe of the Oloyans were the ones who shrunk not only the head in Mark’s possession but the hundreds of other shrunken heads which line the cozy outdoor decor of the scientific workstation, and that Mark must use their magic to find his aunt.
So we have a good setting, interesting concept, and legit conflict…will stine fuck it up?
Kareen convinces her father and Carolyn to lay off Mark for a little while and they start to bond. The next night, after everyone has gone to bed, Mark sneaks out and explores the workstation. He grabs a flashlight and begins reading his Aunt Benna’s journals.
Mark discovers a passage …. how Carolyn and Dr. Hawlings are evil and want to use Jungle Magic to do evil.
DUN DUN DUN!
Wow, a villain who is human, and is just insane? And it’s still spooky and well done? Stine, you’ve done it again
She writes in her journal that she gave her nephew the secret of Jungle Magic to keep it safe, as he lived 4,000 miles from the island of Baladora. She fears that once the two villains possess Jungle Magic, they will shrink her head.
He slams the book down and heads out of the workstation to escape his certain fate of death, only to be stopped by Kareen,.
Kareen admits that her father and Aunt Benna had their differences, but assures Mark that her father isn’t evil. She then offers to aid him in sneaking out to find his aunt. Armed with the shrunken head, Mark sets off into the jungle alone. Kareen tells him to let Jungle Magic guide the way. Mark still doesn’t know how to do that, but Kareen tells him he’ll figure it out, and that she’ll stall for him back at the station.
Mark wanders around in the dark and finally stops to rest. He is later woken up by giant ants that have swarmed all around him. He can’t swat them off fast enough and it looks like all is lost until, gripping the shrunken head, he lets loose his video game battle cry, “Kah-Lee-Ah!” The ants instantly flee from his body. Mark realizes the key to Jungle Magic is the word he thought he’d made up; his battle cry would lead him to his aunt!
Yep, chekov’s gun.. I dig it.
Eventually, he ends up in a secret pit, with a tiger above him. Suddnely, kareen shows up and saves him.
Kareen explains that she got worried about Mark so she followed him into the jungle. Mark shows Kareen the head and how every time he steps closer to where his Aunt Benna is, the head glows, and when he moves in the wrong direction, it fades. He also tells her about the secret word and recites it for her, to her delight
. She is convinced that he’ll find his aunt and save the day. Mark expresses more doubts as to her father and Kareen assures Mark that her father isn’t evil, that though Dr. Hawlings and Benna disagree, they still have respect for each other and he would never want to wish her harm. Mark buys this because he is has a crush on this girl.
Because if he was gay, he’d say “bitch, you be trippin’”
Finally the pair comes across a lone shack in the middle of a clearing. Mark calls out his aunt’s name and she appears, shocked but happy to see him. She then gets angry at Mark for coming to the island, and when he tells her that he brought Kareen,
Aunt Benna gets furious. Mark tries to explain that Kareen is on their side when Kareen starts hollering into the distance, flagging her father and Carolyn down to the shack. Kareen screams “They’re over here.”
Gee, I never saw that coming!
Okay, I kid but come on, even the book’s biggest fans saw this coming’
Dr. Hawlings tries to get Aunt Benna to reveal the secret word and she refuses. Unfortunately, Mark told Kareen, so she proudly tells her father that she knows it, but before she can vocalize it, Mark slaps his hand over her mouth and wrestles her to the ground.
And once she is free, she never just says it again once mark gets capture .idk
Aunt Benna takes the cue and tries to attack Dr. Hawlings. Unfortunately, the tag team of middle-aged woman scientist and fat child is no match for two fit sinister adults and their preteen cohort, and Aunt Benna and Mark find themselves held prisoner beneath the shack.
That night, Aunt Benna tells Mark that the secret to Jungle Magic is two-fold, and that to enact it, you must both grip the original shrunken head and utter the secret phrase. She tells him that when she gives him the signal of three blinks, he is to produce the shrunken head and utter the phrase, saving them.
The next morning, Aunt Benna and Mark are trotted outside. Dr. Hawlings and Carolyn have been preparing a giant boiling pot. With guns-
…guns. In a goosbumps.book Fuck yes
– raised against the two, Dr. Hawlings again asks for the secret to be revealed. Aunt Benna refuses and Dr. Hawlings informs the two that since they won’t reveal the secret, it will simply have to die with them.
Kareen…speak up,. You know the words. Just say ‘em.
As Dr. Hawlings prepares to shrink their heads, Mark waits for Aunt Benna to give the signal. Once she does, he pulls the shrunken head out of his pocket, but before he can say the word, Dr. Hawlings smacks Mark’s hand, sending the shrunken head flying into one of the exterior piles of heads.
Mark ducks away from the doctor’s hands and dives into the pile of heads, trying to find the right head. They all look so similar, and then Mark remembers Jessica scratching his head. Mark grabs the head with the white mark on it and utters the secret word.
Yay, continuity in a goosebumps book!
The two adult villains and Kareen all shrink down to the size of mice and flee into the jungle. Aunt Benna transfers the power of Jungle Magic back to herself.
They’d be fine if karren had just-
Ok, I’ll shut up
The first morning before school starts, as he walks towards his friends to show them the head, he looks down and sees the head’s eyes turn towards him as it says, “Hey kid, let me tell the part about the tiger!”
Meh, kind of lame. So this and the kareen thing are the books only glaring flaws. yay
No Jessica, no joel/mike…I mean eric. No carolin either. He gets the head in the mail.
Oh, and there’s an amazing open. His mom is…well ,a playa, and has a man over, but mark tells him about his awesome leather head…and the next shot is him dirving away. Is this goosebumps or a sitcom?
Anyway, they also say his entire room is jungle themed. Weird. Anyway, the helicopter dude is now named jimmy, and he wears an Elvis suit and does an Arnold Schwarzenegger impression.
Anyway, instead of reading all this in a journal, he sees some videos benna did, which reveal more of jungle magic, like it can easily drive one insane, and that’s why the bad guys wanted her head, but she calmed herself.oh, and the magic can go wrong, and many of Hawling’s friends …became zombies.
Anyway, once he runs away, it starts to resemble the book more., oh and Kareen is played by Margret from Stay out of the basement. You think she’d stay away from plant-filled jungles..
Anyway, there are no changes until the end. After she takes the magic back, It cuts to mark with another boyfriend.
“and that, is how I got my shrunked head”
What a story mark!
He leaves and then…he pulls back a curtain, revealing the shrunken bad guys, and girl. He owns them until benna can make them normal.
So the 12 year old fat boy owns a girl he likes.
Still, I find it to be a fun episode despite the changes.
Notable Lines: “I stared at the leathery head in my lap”
Useless Fact: the French title translates to “How my head shrunk”. Those kooky french
I joke, but this one was damn good. Of all the Adventure ones, this was the best, and after the abysmal pasdena one, I was happy to read this one. The characters were semi interesting, the concept was good, it was funny, it was scary, jungle magic is amazing, and it’s just a ton of fun. It had a good adventure without being boring, and that’s why it’s among the best in the series.