Hello, Spongey here
Well, with Halloween around the corner, I think I should review my last Halloween Goosebumps books. Well, before the Horrorland ones, which I will get to as I get to them.
This Series 2000 book is #10, and right before the one I just reviewed. Odd. Anyway, not much info is needed. It’s a Series 2000 book and it has Halloween . So let’s get into it.
This, is Headless Halloween
So as the book opens, we are introduced to our main character, Brandon through him talking to us. And before I got forward, let’s talk about jerks
Making a good fictional jerk, as a main character is hard. If he is going to improve later on, you have make us stick with him, and want him to improve. We must be able to enjoy his jerk-ness and stick with the story enough so we don’t mind him for a while.
A good example is Scrooge, from A Christmas Story. Terrible person, but he’s fun to watch and the writing makes us want him to improve. A bad work would make us hate his jerky-ness so much that we want him to die and not improve at all
Of course this only improves to jerks that are given big spotlight. Jerks as secondary characters are a different coin,.. I usually like jerks either way, hence why Squidward is the best Spongebob character. Plus, Dan from Dan vs
So RL Stine is taking a crack at this,. And does it work? Well…yes! As we see later on, he’s a fun jerk, so while we obviously know he won’t improve, we’ll have fun waiting for him to get what he deserves!
Okay, enough of that. Let’s start the book itself.
“That’s the sound of a blood curdling scream. I love it”
Way to set the tone for this guy.
He goes on to say that he loves scaring people, and has a mean streak. His mom is always telling to be nice, but he never listens. He mostly scares his little sister Maya. So yeah, he’s a dick
He has two catchphrases: “Oops, just joking” and “Make ‘em scream!” the former comes into play later
He also likes to scare his cousin named Vinnie.
…really, Stine Really?
He then tells us that it is almost Halloween ,and he is excited
“I’m going headless”
With that attitude, I’m not shocked
Before that is explained, we cut to later. He is babysitting these two kids, who he babysits often. He also loves scaring them. Much like in Vampire breath, I question why this babysitter keeps being paid for scaring the kid
Anyway,. He starts to tell them a bullshit story. He says some kids used to live in their house, until something bad happened. One of those kids, got his head snatched by an evil basement ghost, and now his headless ghost haunts the place
Yeah, I’ve never heard that one before.
He leaves the room, and gets his bag of tricks. He takes out a gross mask.
He then uses some hanger I guess, to make him seem headless once the mask is taken off. Yeah. The kids don’t fall for it, til they take off the mask and see he has no head.
Brandon is pleased. But then he turns around to scream…at the parents showing up. Oh that stine
“why are the kids crying?” “ I guess something scared them”
I guess they somehow saw nothing
So yeah, that is what he means by headless. Later, he calls his friend to talk about his plan to go headless. Whatever, Brandon is called downstairs, as his mom got a call from those kid’s parents
Yeah, the kids told them about how Brandon was a dick.
“she says she’ll never use you as a babysitter again”
His mom scolds him, but doesn’t really punish him. great mom. The next day at school, Brandon is walking with a vial of water (cuz…?) and when he spots Vinnie, he spills it on him, claiming its acid.
Vinnie is not happy. This prank is seen by Mr Benson, the science teacher. He’s big, and the kids actually think he’s’ cool,. Yes a Goosebumps teacher that people like. What.
Though, he is strict on Brandon, so he hates him. he bitches at him, and makes him stay late to clean the lab. As expected, he is pissed at Benson for this. Brandon starts plotting his evil Halloween revenge
Oh boy, t\his is gonna be fun..
Pissed, he goes home to scare his sister. He has his fun, and she bitches at him, though he does help her clean the mess she made after being scared. He tells her his plan to trash Mr Benson’s house, and she is just like “whatever”
With that, we cut to Halloween, as Brandon is talking to Cal about going headless. They agree on it, and Brandon starts to head out
But sadly,, cousin Vinnie shows up. See, mom (they never mention a dad, so I guess he died from Plot Convenience disease) is making him take Vinnie, maya, and her friends out trick or treating.
Cal shows up and they are both pissed about this. They head out, but Brandon suggests ditching the kids. Cal actually objects at first, which I like since it shows that he isn’t totally on board with being a dick
They do, but Vinnie ends up with them. They take him to a creepy empty house, and tell Vinnie to try getting candy there,. They run off, but …they hear Vinnie scream. They shrug it off, thinking he’s just being a wimp
This will come to bite them in the ass later
So they gear up
They go around, scaring kids. After that, they head to Benson’s house. However, they are met with angry dogs,. Thankfully, they are tied up
They head inside (why is it unlocked?). they check the fridge to see if he has anything good. They find…beer.
Beer. In Goosebumps.
WHAT IS THIS I DON’T EVEN
…so anyway, Brandon process to throw up on the kitchen table. Wonderful. Cal decides that barfing is enough, but Brandon suggests doing more
So then they want to…turn his furniture upside down.
YOU EVIL JERKS, THAT WIL TAKE LIKE 2 MINUTES TO FIX! BASTARDS!
But before they can, the dog break out and burst in. they chase the kids. Cal tries to dive out the window, but gets stick
Brandon, in desperation, saves himself and leaves cal there. I love a good jerk!
Now I must mention something the book brought up, but I chose to say It now. The house happens to be near a big ass ravine. No kid has jumped it without falling to the rocks bewlo.
As he runs off, he tries to jump it to escape. And…he actually gets to the other side. Not without pain, of course.
He can’t see cal from there, so he runs to see if he can find anyone. He doesn’t recognize anything though..
He bumps into a strange boy, and tells him about how he jumped the ravine. He invites Brandon to a Halloween party down the block.what’s his name?
Norband. Yes, really
They head inside the house where the party is out, and find tons of kids in costume. A kid named max offers Brandon a doughnut.
He looks, to see it’s…full of worms! Yummy?
Brandon is not happy. But Norb forces him to eat it. After doing so, he tries to leave, but norb forces him to stay and bob for apples
They forcefully dive his head in the bucket of water…only it’s not water. It’s cockroaches. Worms and roaches. Hard-core!
The kids make him chug them down, and give him serious hell. They chant, and they also surround him and also turn into snakes.
Yep. They start chocking him, and stuff. He tries to break fear, but the still human norb drags him back in. but don’t worry, he fights and escapes the house. He runs to the ravine.
Suddenly, human heads pop out of the ground, and moan “take me with you”. I must say, this whole scene is good. The insanity of what is going on, is well done and is really fun to read
He looks to the ravine, hoping to jump it again. But then he looks down,and spots a body. Crushed on the rocks below. Dead
Who is it? He looks and it’s…
DUN DUN DUN!
Norb shows up
Then he turns into a trollface. Nah. Not really.
Norb tells him that Brandon died jumping the ravne, and now he’s on the other side. So yes, this book is about a kid who dies and goes to what is essential purgatory.
Seriously, not since Say cheese and die have we seen a human death. And it’s our main characters! Also, this is quite the comeuppance He’s a jerk, so he died.
Of course, there’s more book to cover. “now you know what it feels like to be scared”
And so we wait for him to get what he deserves, and it was fun and worth the wait. See what I mean?
They tell him he’s dead, and he can’t do anything. Well, there is one way to get his life back . he must help three scared people. If he does so, he gets his body back
Wow, he might actually improve. It’s a two-fer! Anyway, they let him get his body back for an hour. When the hour runs out, he must have saved 3 people, or he will be dead forever.
He is put back in his body, and now it’s time to save some scared people. But first, he has those angry dogs to face!
He spots cal back in the house, and runs to him. but of course, he has to stop the dogs. The dogs attack Brandon, and he tells cal to run while the dogs are distracted.
“Don’t worry about me!”
And his awesome development comes full circle. Cal runs away, and Brandon distracts the dogs, by throwing some spare candy at them for them to eat.
“And dogs like candy-right?”
Don’t steal my snark!
So he thus, Brandon runs off. Deed #1, done! He walks, depressed he may never see his family again. But before he can mope, he spots the house he hitched Vinnie in. he remembers that he needs to save Vinnie. So he heads in.
And right away, he spots Vinnie. But he warns Brandon to leave, as it’s too late for him. he’s clearly scared of some horrible monster
He keeps pleading with Brandon, but he’s staying. Suddenly, a ghost pops up and scares them. Brandon thinks of a plan to save Vinnie..
He will go headless, to scare the ghost. Keep in mind, he has no mask. So burying his head in his coat to show no head will fool the ghost? Bull.
He runs to the ghost, who takes off his own head cuz….magic? to Brandon’s shock, the ghost runs off screaming.
Well, I guess that was it for-
“that wasn’t the ghost! That was the ghost’s pet!”
Yeah, I don’t get it either. Who is the ghost? Well, as we find out…it’s the house. The house is a ghost. How is a house dead enough to have a ghost?
Yeah, this scene is dumb. But anyway, peewee’s killer playhouse attacks. Long story short, he is able to distract the house by…shining a flashlight.
…sure, why not?
He runs with Vinnie, and V thanks Brandon and it’s kinda neat. Deed #2, done! Just then, he spots Maya being bullied. How convenient.
He tries the headless trick, but nothing happens. What a GHOST is scared, but a normal guy isn’t? anyway, the bullies capture Brandon.
They kick his ass, and force him to climb a tree cuz…I don’t know. Anyway, he climbs as requested. But just then…the hour runs out. Eh, I buy into that. It didn’t seem to be short, due to the other minor things I left out.
With that, he floats of his body, which falls in an awesome scene. Plus, the bullies are scared! Yep, maya is saved, and so is Brandon.
Maya runs inside, safe. The ghostly Brandon runs back to the other side, and talks to Norb. So, then norb-
“Oops, just joking!”
Uh, after that, Norb takes off his mask to reveal…Brandon! Yep, then he tears THAT mask (this feels like Scooby doo!) to reveal, no head! Yep, he has no face, and simple went as Brandon for Halloween. …odd twist. I mean, it doesn’t reveal anything.
Norb is just some ghoul that dressed as Brandon. Yes.
“didn’t you figure it out when I told you my name? norband? It’s Brandon!”
So yes, it turns out this entire thing was a huge joke, to get revenge on Brandon. They tell Brandon he is dead for good.
So what does Brandon think?
“it’s still Halloween right? We’re all dead?”
“So come on! let’s go do some SERIOUS scaring!”
And that’s where it ends. Odd, but fine. So they took the Cruel route, where the main character does a good, but is still punished. I actually like this, as it’s some good cruel humor. So in the end, he was a fun jerk, who still go punished. It works in a strange way. Could have used a better ending though
This one was fun. Is it great? Nah,. Is it as dark, or well written as some others? No. but hey, I liked it. The main character is a fun jerk, the plot has some interesting turns,and the writing gets some good suspense
Some of the buildup is good, as I like how it slowly escalates when it gets insane, it’s done well as the writing gets in the mood and tone of the story. It gets dragged down by some dumb parts, and plotholes near the end. I felt if those things were fixed, it’d be great.
There wasn’t much to make fun of (until the end). It’s an enteraining take on the “asshole gets what he deserves” story. The character really does tie this together. He’s just a fun asshole, and the story is good cuz of him.
It’s an odd one, since it’s not a typical Goosebumps book in some ways. But still, it’s a decent read. Plus, it’s a fun Halloween book!
Well, that’s it for Goosebumps for the month. Tune in next week, for a film featuring evil communist spider were rocks!