Hello, Spongey here.
Well, I looked at the entire original goosebumps series, one Give yourself Goosebumps, and two series 2000 books.
I’ve been thinking of reviewing the 19 book long Horrorland series. And now that it’s been a couple months since Goosebump a thon, I think it’s time.
So guys and gals, this is Goosebumps Horrorland.
Okay, the year is 2008. There hasn’t been a Goosebumps since “Ghost in the mirror, in 2000. RL Stine has written interesting stuff between 2000 and 20008, but nothing that really caught on.
You only remember goosebumps due to Cartoon Network re-running the Tv series, and maybe that snarky blog I talked about once.
But then something magical happens. RL Stine announces he will be writing a new GB series. Goosebumps Horrorland. Yes, the theme park which gained GB fame was getting an entire series.
You know the series will last 12 books. You don’t know it will go on longer. You’re just excited.
Every book will start with a typical GB story, until we go to a 30 page long Horrorland section. The main character will go to Horrorland and then get wrapped up in a mystery. Each section in each book continues the story. Then books and 11 and 12 will about wrapping it up.
Stine is trying a story arc.
After awhile of waiting, it seems to have payed off. The Horrorland series gains Goosebumps new popularity. Everyone knows GB again. Toys get sold again, books are reprinted with epic covers, and the show gets new DVD’s.
It was good, that even today, new GB mini-series thingys are made.
So …how is the actually Horrorland series?
That’s what I’m going to tell you. As such, let us look at book 1.
This, is Revenge of the Living Dummy
So the book opens…on page 3. …wait, what? …yea…right at the bottom, it says 3.
Uh stine? Books typically start on page one. But whatever.
“You may wonder what my best friend molly molloy, and I were doing in the old graveyard late at night”
Kinky sex, duh
Yes, open at night with our hero Britney Crosby in a graveyard. They’re digging a grave. …well that’s one way to start a book
She then thinks she sees something, and comments she has a wild imagination.
“Sy mom says I’ll either be a writer or a crazy person”
So as they dig a grave late at night, I will comment this scene is decent, and works well. I say this since it feels like an attempt at atmosphere which we haven’t seen in awhile.
Also, out of context:
“Do raccoons ever attack?”
Anyway, all we know is they are burying something evil…and then she sees something. For real.
A hand reaches out from behind the grave…and grabs her. Oh shit..
“Two weeks earlier..”
…Oh, it’s a “how we got here” thing. I get it, that’s fine.
Anyway, two weeks ago, Brit had other problems. Her cousin Ethan. Yep, a cousin visit book.
“It isn’t nice to hate your cousin”
In Alabama, maybe.
“if I made a list of my top 5,000 favorite people, Ethan wouldn’t be on it”
I can tell he’s gonna be a real peach!
So anyway, she tells us Ethan is staying for a while, and molly is staying in a different room.
“Mom and dad kicked me out of my awesome room in the attic to-
Whoa whoa hold the train..
Awesome room in the attic..
What the hell? Awesome room and attic should never be in the same sentence. Last I checked, any normal kid would hate living in the attic. That sounds like a punishment!
Stine shows he’s down with the kids…yo.
Anyway, Britney has to be in mom’s sewing room to make room for Ethan. …He could just sleep in said room, ya know.
Brit tells us there is little room in here. It’s like putting a big kid in a small room instead of the small kid is a bad idea!
Brit is talking to Molly on her cell phone. Oh look, it’s all modern-y! 2008 TECH! Molly knows about ethan, and has bruised knee’s to prove. The worst part is, she’s not an adventurer-
Molly and brit are close together. “If you mention Molly Molloy, you have to mention me too”
We also find out they like to paint and make lists. Yeah, exposition, whatever..
“I’m the funny one”
We are told Molly’s parents split up, and she lives with her dad. …Divorce, in goosebumps?
What was that Stine said once?
“I don’t try to put real things like divorce”
We are told daddy is bit of a flake, and Molly feels like the grown up. Wow, that’s interesting. Molly sounds neat!
…and we’re stuck with miss “awesome attic”,. Bah.
“I once made a list of my good qualities and bad qualities”
Oh, not a bad idea! Let’s list the good and bad things about Britney. Let’s start with the bad.
1. Likes attics.
“One of my good qualities is that I try to understand my friends”.
Okay, I don’t know if I should like that a GB character is nice…or hate that she sounds like a mary sue. Whatever.
Anyway, they talk about Ethan.
“I’m supposed to feel sorry for Ethan because he’s had such a tough like. You know, his parents were both sick for a long time and didn’t pay attention to him”
Okay, stop making other characters sound more interesting than miss awesome attic.
Anyway, Ethan always treats them like dirt, and kicks them and shit. But of course, he never gets away with it. I hope he gets erased from time.
Suddenly, brit hears a loud noise and it’s her mom dropping a plate. Yeah, typical. Only on chapter 3 now, and I’m nitpicking the shit out of this thing.
We are told she and ethan got into a fist fight last year. She gave him a bloody nose.
…I take back everything I said.
We aren’t told anything beyond that, but I guess she got in trouble. Anyway, Mom tells brit that she should be nice to ethan and stuff
And right on cue, Ethan and his parents show up. We are also told the mom’s name is roz, which opens the door for many jokes. But I won’t open it.
Ethan is also…carrying something.
“A grinning dummy”
Ohai slappy! It’s about you showed up!
“This is mr badboy”
So yeah, instead of our hero owning the dummy, someone comes over with. Okay, that’s a good idea. Let’s see how it goes.
Right away Slappy…well slaps her. I guess ethan will-
“It wasn’t me. Mr badboy did it”
…Well, that was quick. He’s already saying slappy is doing this. We already know it’s him, so I do like that he’s already alive, and I bet the two must settle their differences to stop slappy!
This book is getting better!
Of course they think it’s an accident, But he keeps saying it was slappy. Brit is like “screw this” and heads to Molly’s.
But…Nom makes her take ethan. Oh boy.
“I’ll bring mr bad boy!”
Thrills and chills.
Anyway, we are told Mr molloy always travels to weird stuff, as he is a….finder…travel…person?
Daddy just got back from a trip to mumba (Not sure if it’s fictional or not) and found some cool stuff.
“he works for museums”. Oh.
He’s always going to odd places and getting strange stuff. He collects some odd stuff in his attic, and always wants to show it off, but brit doesn’t like going up there.
Oh, NOW you hate attics.
They walk in and run into Mr Molloy. Ethan shows up slappy to him. ethan says his dad found him.
“I could swear I’ve seen this dummy before”
If you lived through the 90’s, then you should know slappy.
Daddy invites them to the attic.
“You want to stare into the face of pure evil, don’t you?”.
They head up there and find cool stuff. One thing they take note of, a shrunken head. Ka-le-ah!
…It was worth a shot.
It’s body is wood, while the head is real and stuff. Mr molloy tells us about the doll here. it’s called a mind stealer. If you touch it, it wil glow and steal your mind.
While, I’m lucky then… I have no mind!
So yeah…I small a chekov’s gun!
She leans in to see the head better. And then..
“How about a kiss babe?”
I need a different kind of head, baby!
Yeah, it was ethan saying that. I’d make an incest joke, but I’m above that.;. Dad says it kind of believes in this stuff, and says he keeps the doll under thick glass to make sure no minds are stolen.
Then,. Brit falls head first into the case
“Oh no, my mind!”
Guess what? Nothing is taking her mind, except for Stine. She heard a buzz, but was just her phone. A text from mom.
“come home soon”
They head home.
Brit is told to go up to her attic to get her other stuff. You know, if ethan is only visiting, she won’t need to take everything , just the good stuff.
Ethan also wants to show brit his comedy act. Oh crap, I’m actually scared by a goosebumps book..So they go up for the act.
The dummy speak-eth
“Is that your face, or did you forget to take out the garbage?”
The dummy keeps insulting brit, with ethan saying slappy did it. Brit takes it well, seeing as it’s ethan.
She actually laughs. Well, that’s interesting. The dummy speaks more
“I know we’ve just met, but I’m a very romantic dude”
Yeah, just ask Mary-ellen. …maybe I should have reviewed “Bride of the living dummy”, before making jokes about it.
“And I have words I’m dying to tell you”
…this is creepy since she thinks this is her cousin.
“Yeah, take a bath!”
“I love rude jokes”
Please stop switching between annoying sue and actually likable. Make a choice!
Ethan sets slappy down, as they talk…slappy laughs.
Wow, proof that slappy is alive, that was quick.
“How did you do that?’
Okay, to be fair, I’d assume it’s a trick at first.
Ethan tells her he’s serious, and mr badboy is alive. Okay, this book is starting to be interesting. Instead of our hero getting a dummy, and the usual crap happens, someone else has it and claims it’s doing the bad stuff, and creating conflict.
I can’t wait to see how this turns out..
Brit than changes the subject. Quickly. Seriously, aren’t you going you ask him what is going on?
“you know, everyone in my school has to do one public service act”
Well that su-
Ethan, don’t be likable.
Brit well be giving a painting lesson at the retirement room her Gruant lives in. Brit suggests having ethan doing a dummy act there. Yes, the dummy you know he acts like an asshole with
Perfect thing for the elderly!
She then asks ethan about the dummy. Damn it , keep to one subject! Ethan still says it was badboy. She sees ethan trembling, and he almost seems sincere about it.
Then she brushes it off and thinks it’s all a joke. Okay, knowing ethan, this could be likely in the context of the book. So I won’t give her shit.
Then the dummy yells “big whoop!” from across the room.
…You were saying? Proof that thing is alive!
“How are you doing that?!”
Okay, I have to keep fair. As long as she doesn’t do anything dumb..
Ethan says he’s telling the truth. What does the dummy say?
“Don’t you get it Britney? I’m alive!”
..It literally just took the words out of my mouth. Wow. So yeah, pretty damning evidence!
“I laughed. No way I was falling for this”
What the fuck? You still don’t believe him?! Come on, stop being dumb. Hell, I bet if the dummy literally told you it was alive yo-
OH WAIT IT DID!
My god, this is the stuff I use as a joke! But here it is!
The dummy actually talks 3 times, actually telling you it’s alive, and you think ethan is still full of shit.
2. Doesn’t believe dummy when told it’s alive.
Ethan stomps on her foot. Thank you! Brit takes more stuff to her room to get away. She looks at a poster she has of a boy band named “skullboy”.
Hey, a 12 year old girl, who actually acts like a 12 year old girl!
“Uh Britney. You better leave that here. Skullboy is mr badboy’s favorite band”
Brit isn’t having any of this and tells them to fuck off. She sets up the poster,. Next to a painting. Oh what? A dog of hers that died.
Damn, that’s deep. Somehow.
So anyway, she heads downstairs.
“We’re eating in the dining room? We never eat in the dinging room, unless company is coming!”
What, ethan isn’t company?
3. Thinks “cousin visiting” doesn’t count as company.
Ethan asks if Badboy can have a seat at the table. They allow it, and slappy sits next to brit. Keep that in mind.
Then…the dummy speaks
“I’d rather eat roadkill”
Way to blow your cover. Yeah, there’s no way she can deny it now.
“Don’t laugh at that brit”
“Shouldn’t she PLUCK the chicken?!’
More laughing. Ethan laughs too!
Uh, that’s not the right reaction. You should say
HOLY SHIT THE DUMMY JUST FUCKING SPOKE
“Britney decided to act like a clown”
..The dummy fucking spoke. Ethan even laughed too. You can’t blame Britney WHEN THE DUMMY FUCKING SPOKE.
I shouldn’t be saying this. It’s not rocket science! You won’t ask about it? How it can do that?
Come on, the ways to have the character be blamed are normally kinda odd, but at least they feel natural!
You are literally twisting it so you can have an excuse to move the plot forward. Goosebumps can do this often, but no one ignores A TALKING DUMMY!
This is just stupid!
…..Then they continue as if nothing happened. W3RTFRGHTHH!
Slappy snarks again. Brit laughs. And…the food on her spoon flies off and hit’s dad. Okay, now is a good time to blame brit.
“You better leave the table and clam down”
Then we can discuss THE TALKING DUMMY.
“I throw up food better than this”
We cut to the next day. What? Nothing? No mention of the talking dummy? Nothing?!
This book sure went shitty fast..
The next morning at school, brit spots molly in the art room.
“I keep trying to paint bully from skullboy. She says she hates buzzy”
…I like molly now.
“So far it hasn’t ruined our friendship”
Of course not. We find out Ethan ruined her shirt that morning and made her late. Now she’s in trouble with miss hagerty or something.
Ethan is coming to school because they don’t know how long he’s living with them. Oh yeah, ethan is by himself cuz his parents suffer from PCD. Plot Convenience Disease.
It’s very bad, and could be fatal. If someone you know suffers from PCD, call a professional. We’re here for you.
She has dinner at molly’s that night. Dad is away, and so the housekeeper is doing dinner. Yes, a housekeeper.
They have fun. Brit says ethan wants to bring badboy to school. While taking, they are online.
OH, LOOK AT THE NEW 2008 TECH! THIS IS SO EDGY!
Their school’s message board to be exact. Not sure if that’s a thing, but it can differ from school to school.
So brit comes home to see…that the poster and the dead dog panting have been trashed! Oh…crap. Now she thinks it’s slappy, right?
Nope. I hate you.
But she hates ethan even more cuz of this, as it should be. She heads to ethan’s room, but only sees the dummy.
All by itself. No ethan.
“I don’t like you Britney!”
The feeling is mutual.
Oh, and what he said is put in huge ass caps. Nice. And now she believes it . Only took you 43 pages!
“It spoke! And it hates me!”
She decides to ahead and tell her parents. Guess how well that goes.
“Ny painting, it’s ruined! And my poster too it was ripped in half!”
“Your poster? Sure it didn’t fall?”
Good point, but what about the painting? I doubt it could do that by itself.
Wait…she went into bigger detail about the poster. You care more about boy band poster than the fucking dead dog? I think the dog isn’t the only bitch around here!
Seriously, who does that? And the parents…the hell?! You don’t just brush off the dead dog painting falling off! The poster, I get it. But come on!
This book went from okay. to pure sure in 20 seconds flat.
She tells about the dummy talking thing, and they think she had a nightmare. Fair but WHAT ABOUT THE DUMMY TALKING AT DINNER?!
No, I won’t let that go. It’s bullshit!
They think she’s full of shit, and like I said, it’s for the most asinine reasons. I admit, I like that this book tries to bring slappy back to his roots, but you mess it up by making everything CONTRIVED AS HELL.
She runs to her room, pissed at the parents. Rightfully so. She falls asleep in anger. Or something. She heads downstairs but then she spies ethan and slappy
“brit, watch out!”
Then…slappy pushes her down. …damn. That’s hard-fucking-core. Am I joking? Of course. She’s hurt, but overall okay. Ethan tells the parents that she fell, to avoid the kind of scene from before.
Before ethan can say more, the dummy speaks
“Don’t ever snitch on me again!”
Shit just got real. Okay this book is kind of sucking, but now that brit now sees slappy is evil, we can just have straight dummy fun.
That night, molly calls. She says they must bury the mind stealer. She only says that, and asks brit to come over. She does so. Molly again says they must get rid of the doll and end it’s evil.
Daddy is off somewhere, because he is a parent in a Goosebumps book, and thus can’t do anything.
Molly says that a man from mumba called about the doll. He says that he did research and found out that the doll is deadly and it really does steal minds. It must be buried.
Thus, molly asks for brit to help bury it. Wait…a guy told you it’s real, and you beleive it enough to bury it?
I take back what I said earlier. Fuck you too. Every person in here is an idiot! Anyway, they get the doll and head out.
Thus, we are back where we started. In the graveyard. Yeah, that almost decent scene at the start? Turns out it’s all part of a terrible plot point. bah.
As you remember,. A hand grabbed brit. So who was it? Ethan. Yeah,. Thought it was slappy? No, that’s too epic for this book.
He followed them here to…uh…do nothing. I guess he felt like being a dick to them while brit is dealing with his evil dummy. Asshole.
They bury the doll and head home. Ethan showing up is never mentioned again. How pointless! Well ,the scene itself had a point I guess.
But brit still feels unsafe with slappy around. Now back to the other terrible plot!
Remember how brit said she’d paint at that retirement home? Yeah, that’s here.
She doesn’t want to bring Ethan and slappy, but she has no choice. Her parents make her deal with the dummy that is clearly giving her mental trouble.
And now we join them as they get ready to perform for old people. They also run into the aunt, who accidently, calls ethan “evan” which pisses him off
I’d hate to be mistaken for that whiny asshole too. Long story short, she gives the painting lesson. But now it’s time for slappy…
Needless to say, slappy insults everyone.
“Your FACE is insulting me!”
Oh, good one.
“You’re jokes are not acceptable”
Oh, and here’s an out of context line
“I’d like to spank you too!”
He says that to an old lady. Said old lady came up as a volunteer. Slappy asks her which paint color she likes better.
Then…he takes the red paint, and throws it all over and makes a mess. Brit tries to stop him, but trips and falls. Shit=real.
The dummy completes the scene by laughing. Okay, that was almost okay. We’re getting better!
That night, brit talks to molly on the phone. She tells her she is …grounded. For the old people thing.
”She blamed me for everything.. she said I Invited Ethan so I knew what he would do”
- You think sweet brit would let her cousin insult old people and spill paint?
2.Brit hates the dummy and ethan too. No way she’d allow this to happen
3. She tripped and tried to stop it. Clearly she didn’t expect this or anything
4. Miss old lady only mentions the jokes and how brit knew them. Not the PAINT THING.
So what have we learned?
Dead dog is less important than a boy band and telling jokes is worse than spilling pant. This book can go fuck itself.
Seriously, I’ve never seen something so contrived. They never even suspect ethan! I know he acts good, but they should at least ask him or something. But nope, he gets away.
Brit tells molly she thinks mr. molloy would believe her, since he believes in the mind stealer. But sadly, he’s still gone
But he does have files on this type of stuff, so brit sneaks over to check it out. They search in the attic, in the files.
Then…they find it. A file on Slappy. Thus, the book finally calls him slappy. Yes, slappy is now worthy enough in this world to have an old legend of a file on him. I’d like to know where ethan got him, but nope. Never explained.
They also say Slappy’s backstory. It was said in Bride, but I’ll say it here. He was made out of a coffin by a wizard in the 1800’s. The dummy is power mad and wants to enslave everyone.
And better: the files had the words that bring him to life. It says they put him back to sleep.
Uh…no. NOTLD 3 said it doesn’t work. So, no. okay, maybe this is a reboot-type thing. After all, no other Slappy continuity is kept. Heck, in the next few books we’ll see entire GB books get retcon’d!
So I can forgive that.
They both head home to put slappy to sleep. For good. Ethan’s room has shittons of crap, including Playstation games. 1, 2, or 3? Well, I’m not sure if 3 was out in 2008, but we need to know either way.
The lifeless slappy sits there, not doing anything to stop here. she says the words. Look them up if you wanna know them. It works. He doesn’t move at all.
Yay! Wait…molly is doing something. She takes something out of ethan’s jeans pocket (he left them there cuz he Is taking a shower)
It’s a remote. Odd. Maybe he has a tV! Brit pushed buttons. One…makes slappy laugh. Another makes him say “DON’T YOU GET IT, I’M ALIVE” ,, and the others make him say stuff…
It controls slappy. Ethan was using that this whole time. Slappy was never alive..
WHAT THE FU-
NO. WE’RE DOING THIS NOW. WHAT THE FUCK?!
Okay, let’s count down why this is TOTAL. FUCKING. BULL. SHIT. BITCH
- Ethan is a 3rd grader. How the fuck can he make a remote and program it to say this shit?!
- Many of the things slappy said were in response to someone else. How did he do that?! They said his lips never moved, so that’s not it!
- He did even make it do half of the stuff it did?
- If everything that happened was ethan’s fault….does that mean HE PUSHED HER DOWN THE STAIRS?! He almost seriously hurt her…for a prank?!
- He hated brit enough to create this whole thing and almost ruined him and was only stopped by idiocy? Ethan is A HORRIBLE PERSON! A bad acting cousin is one thing, but he seriously did all this shit cuz he didn’t like her for no reason?!
- Is he really that good of an actor to make brit think slappy was alive?!
This twist is fucking awful. It turned this book from bad to TERRIBLE. It makes no sense at all, it undermines the whole plot, and it makes my piss boil.
Brit is pissed too…but cuz Ethan pulled a prank. I get why she’s pissed, and molly just says ethan is a genius. Yeah, He’s jimmy neutron and shit.
The book does see ethan as horrible, but only in the “wow, he’s a dick” way. Not in the HE SHOULD DIE way.
Molly leaves, and brit goes to bed to dream up revenge. Then something wakes her up. She looks up. Who is there?
Slappy. Alive. for real.
“Thank for waking me, slave!”
…oh yeah, those words. Great. We’re fucked.
So the first 78 pages were pointless as fuck. Slappy is alive and going his normal stuff.
He asks brit to get him the mind stealer doll, so he can make more slaves. Okay, so slappy has a real goal. That’s fine, but this is in the last 20 pages. You can’t become readable NOW.
She refuses. Slappy doesn’t care. He decides he’ll get it and come back to use it on Brit. She chases him and they end up at the graveyard again.
Slappy gets out the doll, but in her only act of awesome, she tackles him. but just then…a car comes by. Mom and dad.
Shit. They heard her leave. But they didn’t hear or see slappy at all. They must have caught PCD.
They think brit is going to bury slappy and scold her for it. I tried to come up for reasons for hating them besides stuff I said before, but I got nothing.
They ask brit to take slappy and come home. Slappy is like “eh, we’ll try again later, slave”. They will get her some “help” in the morning.
The 4th time such a thing is even mentioned. 1st was piano lesson can be murder, 2nd was living dummy 2, and 3rd was my best friend is invisible
2 of those are great, and the other 2, including this, are awful. Go figure,.
Brit refuses to take it. In another good moment, she takes slappy, and smashes him against the mind stealer doll.
There’s a glow. The doll steals slappy’s mind. He’s dead.
Okay, that was fine. I can deal with that.
With that, brit tells her parents everything is okay. She’ll shut up about slappy. The parent take slappy, and hope this is all over.
Brit stays behind, and stares at the doll, happy this is over. She buries the doll deep down so no one can touch it again.
As she walks away..she hears a voice coming from it
“I’ll be back. I’m a BAAAAAAAAD boy!”
Well duh, you still have more books to star in.
And this, that’s the end. Every Horrorland book has a section where the main character goes there, but I’ll skip it. I’ll do a master post for every Horrorland segment. But for now, that’s it.
Whew, glad that’s over.
Ugh, that sucked. That’s the first goosebumps book in years, and it’s awful. Not a huge shock, but still. I was so excited for this book. But it was like waiting for someone to take a shit on your face.
I even payed money for it. I have never pay money for the bad GB books. I always make sure I get them as gifts or something. But this one, I was suckered into.
Let’s ignore how routine it is. I don’t care if a slappy book is routine if it’s done well. This is not. The characters are all idiots, the plot makes no sense, and it made me mad.
Main issue? The book wants to bring slappy to it’s roots. No bullshit just stuff like with the 2nd one. A noble goal, but It got lost in translation. First, they add in stuff that makes it different, like a mind stealer doll, that makes it more along the lines of Bride, where things are changed up.
And the idea of someone else having is different, so if you want to bring slappy to his roots, make it simple. Don’t juggle plotlines.
I will that say the tone is consistent it stays at the typical goosebumps tone and not out there or anything. But as a result, it gets boring in some scenes, even the okay ones.
But it’s main crime is the plot and characters. Britney is an idiot, and even a bit sue-ish. The parents are terrible, the writing makes them feel forced and terrible. Molly is okay til near the end. Ethan is almost okay, until the end where he is unrealistically terrible.
Slappy is fine. He doesn’t get to do much ,so he is done okay. But that’s the problem,. With living dummy 1 and 2, he at least had some scenes and did cool stuff, here, he is alive for 20 pages and the rest is filler.
It was a waste thought, and had the forced “scares” the series has, but in a way I don’t like. It’s a jumbled mess, and while it had promise, it fell flat.
Also, who is slappy getting revenge on?!
Terrible start, but hopefully the rest is much better