Hello, Spongey here.
Well, we manged to finish RL’s Stine Goosebumps Horrorland…or not. Yep, that series was such a big hit that people wanted more. And clearly Stine enjoyed making it an arc, so he did another one, which is what shall start covering now.
This arc worked a bit differently. It resolves around a strange news shop in Horrorland run by Jonathan Chiller. No one knows where he came from, but his shop has various trinkets that can cause all kinds of trouble.
Each book actually begins in Horrorland, and they get something from his shop that starts the plot. I’ll go into how this panned out in the end, but it is a neat idea. The “strange thing from a shop” fomrula has worked before, and you can get creative with the concept.
There’s not as much of a mystery this time, but we still got some good stuff. This one is shorter, so it should be easier to get through. I’ll do this monthly as usual, since this has worked so far.
So let’s find out how Arc 2 pans out. This first one is notable for being the first Goosebumps books published in the 2010’s. Don’t have anything to add to that, I just wanted to point it out.
With that said, let us see if this can better a first impression than Arc 1’s opening.
This, is When the Ghost Dog Howls
The book opens with our main character Andy and his cousin Marnie. Sorry but no one will ever top Monster Blood’s Andy.
They have been staying at Horrorland are having a fun time so far, since all that Menace business is ever. They are Haunted Theater for a show and are introduced to Murder the clown.
Ah yes, the guy so popular he kind of appeared again, and made it into the movie. He randomly drags Andy on stage, and tells him he’s been volunteered. ..I don’t know that’s how that works.
The act involves dressing Andy (and Marnie) up as clowns and then doing weird stuff like taking off their own heads. Then the audience randomly turn into ghouls, then the clowns vanish, and the audience zombies start attacking them.
…That escalated quickly.
Thankfully, Andy holds them back and it turns out that was all a test. Of course this seems to be a lie of sorts with how he says it, but this never comes back so I don’t care. He randomly shoves into through a door, which leads them right into a certain shop where our plot begins.
I can only assume Murder was hired to get these kids to the shop or something. I don’t remember if this is ever confirmed. They find themselves in Chiller House and bump into it’s owner Jonathan Chiller.
He is described as looking like the guy on the oatmeal Box. And now we’ve found the scariest Goosebumps villain of all time. Until we get to Weirdo Halloween at least.
He seems nice enough for now, but he warns the kids when they interested in a dog tooth necklace. There’s a backstory behind it, but I’m lazy so I’ll just say it involves a ghost dog that supposedly haunts the tooth as it grants wishes.
So this is Be Careful what you wish for meets Barking Ghost. Got it.
At least it grants all wishes, not just three. They take it for shits and giggles, and they don’t even have to pay!
“You will pay me back next time you see me”
…That’s not suspicious at all.
That ends part one, which is short I question why it’s even split into parts. Part 2 is where the plot really begins. Andy doesn’t really buy the whole wish thing but Marnie wants to try it out. To shut her up, Andy wishes they could go out for dinner, and boom Mom says it’s time to go out.
Well, at least we’re getting started right away.
Of course Andy thinks it might be a coincidence, so they wish Dad has a big new car, and it comes true. Dad’s pretty happy about it.
“Look how east it will be to drive the soccer team”
“But I’m not on the Soccer team!”
“You might get on the socer team sometime”
“Good one, Dad”
Thanks to the tooth, dinner goes pretty well but already Andy is worried it’s too go to be true. Nah, this will go perfectly and there will be no conflict whatsoever.
That night, /Andy hears a dog howling even though he’s never heard such a thing before. Yep, I know what’s going on. A ghost cat will come for the tooth! …Wait…
The next day, Marnie is really excited about the tooth and wants to shiw it off, but Andy wisely wants to keep it to themselves because she assumes a riot will happen if word gets out on it. At least he’s self aware about all this.
“I wish school will get out early because there’s a COW loose in the building!”
…A bit too random for people to write off, but okay. And…it cuts to them at the mall, with no explanation of what happened after that. …Okay, then?
Marnie starts being annoying, wanting to wish for every little thing in the world. They go to a store named../Boutique Boutique. The sing says “No nice we named it twice”
….Huh, that’s actually funny.
“I wish you’d stop talking about the tooth!”
Sure enough, Marnie can no longer talk. Wait, she said stop talking about the tooth, not stop talking in general.
Andy Is worried…until she just wishes for her to talk again. That was easy. After that, Marnie swears she’ll shut up about the tooth if she gets to make one wish. With only one wish for a while, she of course uses it to…get free sneakers.
Great prioritizes, kid.
But instead of granting the wish, the tooth shocks Andy. He passes out and wakes up in the hospital…with people he’s never seen before, claiming to be his parents, and a girl claiming to be his sister.
Not sure where they are going with this, but let’s see.
Thankfully, Marnie is here to pitch a theory. In a bit I skipped, Chiller said not to get the tooth wet, and it landed in a puddle before they made the wish. I’m not sure how that takes us to this weird other world where Marnie conveniently remembers everything but okay.
Frightned, Andy takes the tooth and wishes to be far away and with another shock, he randomly finds himself far out in a space ship, looking at Earth. I see we’re now in the stage where the wishes come true in hilarious ironic ways!
After some stuff happens, Andy wishes to be back home but ends up in a zoo with a big ape. Okay, he actually wished to be in his bed, so the wish put his bed in a dangerous place. A bit lazy but okay.
Andy gets the tooth back in time and wishes he was back home, safe and sound. And thankfully, this turns out well and he ends up back where this whole bit all started. Things seem fine…except that Marnie doesn’t remember any of what happened and acts like Andy is crazy.
…But they move on from that and focus on something else. Yeah, here’s the thing about this scene, All that crazy stuff that just happened? …Never mentioned again.
What exactly happened back there? I don’t know. This extended bit that lasted for almost 30 pages came out of nowhere, was weird, had little to do with the plot, and after it happens, no one ever mentions it again.
Yes, I’ll pull it out.
Seriously, ever since I first read this I wanted to talk about this, because it’s one of the biggest BLAMS I’ve seen in a while. I mean, all it does is get Andy knocked out so something can happen in a sec.
You could have done that with the acid trip.
Anyway, Andy sees the tooth necklace on Marnie but she claims she has always had it.. It seems like Andy’s memory was off and the shock restored it. That makes so little sense, it’s painfully obvious Marnie is lying.
They go home and Andy point blank tells them what happened and they don’t care because they are too busy arguing to listen. Parents of the year, people.
That night, Andy looks up info on the Ghost Dog and finds out each wish is basically a signal that attracts the Evil Ghost Dog. He immediately buys this and goes to warn Marnie. Keep in mind Andy currently thinks his memory is screwed up and thinks not everything is true.
Andy calls up Marnie but of course she doesn’t believe her and is a big bitch about it. Yeah, she’s another character I don’t care about the fate of. The next day, Andy has entered some kind of essay contest that gives a good prize, and the teacher (who Andy has the hots for. Ew) says his essay is the best in her opinion, but she’s not the judge.
Marnie will wish to win.
“The grand prize winner is 6th grader Marnie Meyers”
What a surprise.
Now, there was a bit where earlier where Andy got a minor bruise after Marnie tried to get necklace off him. He sees it’s still there, meaning Marnie lied. Kind of a weak way to make Andy realize this, but okay.
Also, her whole lie makes Marnie even more unlikable.
Andy gets pissed off and Mom hears his anger.
“I’m not okay. I have to murder my cousin”
“Go ahead, that’s no problem. I don’t like her either”
“That didnt’ reslly happen”
…Wow. That was the lamest fake out scare in Goosebumps history. Just….wow. You didn’t even TRY to have suspense, you just flat out said it didn’t happen. And it’s so dumb it clearly didnt’ happen!
“I know who I really wanted to pound”
I SAID MOVE ON!
Andy decides to get some revenge, which I’m sure will backfire horribly. Long story short, he makes Marnie think the dog has come after her for “her” necklace. That’s kind of clever but also pretty cruel. But fitting since it gives Marnie comeuppance.
This works and Marnie confesses to lying.
“You’re busted, Marnie!”
Shut up, I had to.
He tricked her by painting a neighborhood. dog Blue. Turns out he caused the howling earlier. It’s gonna turn out that this is the actual evil ghost dog, isn’t it”
“Wait! That’s the wrong dog!”
Gee, I must be psychic!
So now the ghost dog has shown his face. Instead of just giving him the tooth back, they wish to be invisible so they won’t be caught by him. But of course, the wish makes them ghost-ish meaning they go right through stuff.
They still manage to hide in their house, and the dog knows they are in there but just stands outside waiting for them instead of just…charging in, since it knows they are there.
Being ghost-ish people means Andy can’t pick up the tooth to make a wish. Well, you’re boned. …Heh, get it. Cuz dogs…bones…I’m funny.
But thankfully you can make wishes just by being near it. How convinnt and anti climatic. Then Andy does what I suggested and just gives the tooth back, driving the dog away. Nevermind, THAT was Anti Climatic.
And yeah, the horror part is over. They go home but that night, Marnie calls Andy and tells him he found the tooth and took it. Okay, first off, the dog surely must have gotten to it first inthat time.
2nd, Wow, fuck you. You’re officaly on my list.
“This time, I’ll share”
Seriously, how did you not learn you’re lesson? At least we’re don-
I have no idea if Andy chewed her out because we just cut to later with him trying to sleep. Then this little horror figure that came with the tooth that I forgot to mention starts to glow. Then suddenly Andy finds himself back in Chiller House with Jonathan.
“Time to pay for your gift….the fun is just beginning! My kind of fun!”
The end. I kind of get why this is here but you could have brought all the kids here at once I the last book or something. Each book in this Arc ends like this and on their own, the sections add nothing.
There, now we’re done.
This was alright. But it’s another one where I can’t say too much. It’s pretty straight forward, without too many twists. Nothing is done too terrible, but nothing is that great either. It is better than Camp Slither, due to having some fun with it’s premise of wishing.
There’s some enjoyable stuff with it, and I suppose the idea of Marnie’s trick is interesting. And while she was a huge bitch, she did get her comeuppance apologize. Even if the ending ruins it.
As far as flaws, the only big ones are the BLAM and Marnie. The rest is just….fine. It’s not as bland as Camp Slither, as the wishing and BLAM makes it stick out well. But it’s nothing too special. Better than Arc 1’s start, at least.
So yeah, it’s fine. Not a must read but a passable start with a fun opening act. There’s nto much else to say, it’s that basic. Nothing crazy special, but mostly fine.
Decent start. We’ll see how this pans out as we continue Join me next month for one the silliest titles in quite a while, one Jack Black approves of, I guess.