Hello, Spongey here.
If things go well, this will be my final post of 2016. Yeah, it’s been a ride but you already know that. It’s now been a year since I started doing the these Horrorland reviews on a regular biases again.
So let’s celebrate it with a New Years themed one. Yeah once again I had good time on a Holiday book. It’s weird an official Goosebumps series didn’t have a Christmas book until recently while they did have a New Years book, with one Christmas scene in it.
Now, I actually reviewed this back on Blogger, in 2011. But it doesn’t count so-
DAN AND SWAMPY: We’re gonna do it again!
This time, we’re going back to Slappy. His last book was…not good, so can he bring it back for this installment? Let’s find out.
The only thing to mention is Goosebumps Gold. See in the early 2000’s, Stine planned a new GB series with that name. It fell through but some titles were mentioned and they got retoold into later books.
Night of the Giant Everything spawned from one I forget the title of, Haunted Mask Lives became Scream of the Haunted Mask, and this book…was one of them. It even still has the same name.
The only that still doesn’t exist that was mentioned is Happy Holiidays from Dead House. Yes, there STILL isn’t a sequel to the one that started it all. I don’t get it.
Here we go!
This, is Slappy New Year
The book opens with our main character Ray and his brother Brandon in HorrorLand. We are told that Ray is embarrassed by his brother because he is a huge wimpy ala Zane in Living Dummy 3.
So why is he doing with Ray to a Horror themed park? I have no idea. Also, Ray says he’s allowed to see G Rated films with Brandon. So you never see a movie ever these days?
Ray hasn’t gone on any rides he finds scary, even if Brandon was of course scared to death. So a horror they don’t know invites them to go to a really scary ride. …Did we not learn anything from the last book?!
They get on a ride that’s pretty much Bumper Cars that move on their own, which is a decent idea for a set piece. It doesn’t end welll and they get shaken up over it. Not to much to say about that.
The guy vanishes and they bump into another guy who invites them a new attraction they are opening. They trust a guy even after what just happened because they are giant idiots. It’s a Hall of Mirrors…which is not new to Horrorland but okay.
They head in and get lost right away and can’t find each other. It’s the same as the mirror scene in the first Horrorland book just without the walls closing in. Eh. They get it and tell the guy what happened but he claimed nothing odd is supposed to happen, it’s just a bunch of Mirrors.
Dun dun dun, don’t care let’s got to the plot. This pre story set piece is taking longer than usual because they do the same scene twice! Thankfully, they move on and find Chiller House where they immediately find a dummy that is clearly Slappy.
Since Arc 2 doesn’t seem to link up with Arc 1 don’t much, I shouldn’t question how Slappy got here …but I will anyway. Ray gets Slappy without thinking too much. Also, I’m already sick of Brandon’s scared shitck. Ray is even kind of dick as Brandon can be scared of reasonably creepy things but Ray just scoffs at all of it.
Needless to say, scoff at him being scared of Slappy will bit him in the ass. That pre plot section was fine but overlong and slightly dull. Hopefully the main plot will be good.
Back at home, we find out Brandon has a SpongeBob pillow. That’s 3 books in a row to mention SpongeBob, what the hell is going on?
Anyway, Ray uses Slappy to scare him for no reason. Our hero, ladies and gentlemen! His parents scold him but just give him a warning for now. Well, Slappy is going to ruin things him. He wants to have a party on New Year’s Eve and he makes his resolutions that he won’t keep.
Ray’s friend Elena comes over (she’s better than the Elena from Ben 10 Alien Swarm but she’s no Elena of Avalor) and after amusing banter, they find those words in Slappy’s pocket and read them. Well, at least now the plot can really start.
Actually, Brandon stops them from finishing the words for some reason. He’s scared yes but he doesn’t know if reading the words can cause anything bad. We all know they will bring him to life, you don’t have to make it so obvious.
Ray scares him to get him out of there (Again, why am I supposed to like him?) and tries reading the words but gets called to help out Dad before he reads the last one. Come on, let the plot start!
Later, Brandon’s room is found trashed and Ray is blamed. Either Slappy was already alive, can come alive more easily, or we’re doing the “pointless first half in a Slappy book” crap again. Please don’t be the last one.
You know the drills, Ray swears he didnt’ do it, no one believes him, yawn. He still just gets another warning. Is this a 3 strikes deal?
The next day, Ray and Elena clean out the basement for the party, when Brandon screams, making them go up and see that his closet has been trashed. Man, you’re not wasting any time on the scary stuff, in the least.
Elena is there to testify for him, as she was in the basement with him the whole time but Mom won’t listen to logic, dang it! Thus, he is grounded and the party is canceled. That was fast. And hey, I was right about the 3 strikes thing.
Oh, and Elena doesn’t believe Ray,…despite what she just said. Sigh. We get a bit where Ray talks about how much it hurts to have no one belve you, which brings me back to Living Dummy 2, which I like.
I don’t like that Ray’s too dickish and that this is rushed.
“Mom always says I’m the sensitive one in the family”
…She knows what Brandon is like, right?
That night, Brandon hears creepy noises and eventually comes face to face with Slappy…but it turns out to just be Brandon attempting to scare him. I hate it when I’m right. Sorry, but any book where half of it is pointless gets at least one point deducted.
To be fair, his reasoning isn’t bad. Ray is always scaring him and he wanted that dummy out, so he did all this to get revenge. Which …is fair given how Ray is. He kind of deserves it and it’s kind of awesome that he pulled this off.
It doesn’t make the character worse like in Living Dummy 1, it’s addressed more than in Living Dummy 3 and actually makes some level of sense, unlike Revenge of the Living Dummy. ….However,Ray’s response is to get revenge back and bring Slappy to life for real by reading all the words.
….I got nothing, Ray is awful. Yes, it’s a joke but still, Brandon had a point and it went right over him. Just…wow. Anyway time for the plot to actually begin, as the family goes to Elena’s house for Christmas.
Told you it has a Christmas Scene.
They go there and Slappy mysteriously appears, making the brothers argue over who brought him. We get a nice Christmas scene after that that actually captures the whole big family/friend gathering pretty well, with some amusing moments.
So let’s see how Slappy ruins it. We get the scene where Slappy insults people and they think it’s the main character. This scene is still kind of amusing but it’s also so played out. Slappy then hits Dad so hard that he crumples to the floor.
Damn, Slappy’s been lifting since we last saw him.
While everyone is rushing to help him, Slappy gets up on his feet and runs around, destroying the tree. And despite all that noise, NO ONElooks up and sees Slappy flat out run around, so when gets back in dummy mode, they think it’s all Ray’s fault.
Okay, that was incredibly stupid and contrived. Not only was that a dumb risk on Slappy’s part but there’s no way they wouldn’t see Slappy there. Just…wow.
“You ruined Christmas, and you ruined New Year’s Eve!”
Yikes, that’s harsh. Also, the way you phrase it makes it sound like a Arso, Murder, and Jaywalking situation.
Then to press his luck, Slappy bites his nose…and they still don’t believe him! This is getting so ridiculous! In context it almost makes sense but with what just happened, this is just…silly.
Slappy bites him so hard he starts bleeding. And yeah, they still don’t buy it. Just…wow, how can anyone be that dense? Why would someone harm themselves like that?!
At home, Ray talks to Brandon and just from how he’s talking, Brandon decides to believe him. At least he’s smart. They don’t do anything about it for no though, for reasons. The next morning, Ray goes outside and Elena randomly starts assaulting him with snowballs because she’s pissed about last night.
Thanks, I forgot she was mad, that last scene didn’t make it clear enough. This part is so short that it may as not be here.
What I find interesting is that Ray isn’t mad at her, or anyone because he even says he wouldn’t believe them either. He is trying to prove Slappy is alive but he gets where they are coming from.
Huh, that’s interesting. It doesn’t lead to a lot, but it’s interesting how that is there.
After a pointless scene that isn’t worth recapping, Slappy finally reveals himself to Ray for real. He tells Ray he is his slave and all that junk and he smases a vase….right as Mom and Dad happen to come in.
And it still happens just in time for them to not see Slappy do it so they get mad at Ray. Okay, this is not only getting extremely silly but it’s repetitive. We just had this scene! This is supposed to amp up the tension but it just makes it boring!
Later, Ray and Brandon decide enough is enough and they pay Slappy a visit. Brandon even goes in first because he wants to braver. Nice. Heck, he fights Slappy head on when he threatens them with Hedge Clippers!
Whoa, this book finally got good!
Because it happens to be Garbage Day (Insert Clip Here), they try to toss Slappy into the truck that’s passing by. It actually works thanks to the siblings working together. Nice to see my favorite element from Living Dummy 1 and 2 make a return. Actually this reminds of Living Dummy 1 in terms of the pros and cons but more on that at the end.
We’re not done yet as he still have our New Year’s Party. Yeah, it’s back after tons of pleading. It must have been a ton to get everyone to forgive Ray but we only have so many pages.
The party is a decent hit and goes pretty well, but before Goosebumps does a Dance Party Ending…Slappy shows up to extend the plot. Oh yeah, he could climb out if he wanted to. Even I forgot, so I’ll forgive the two.
“Slappy New Year!”
Roll credits! Also, you just revealed yourself to everyone now, but I suppose even he doesn’t care at this point.
One girls keeps screaming ‘IT’S ALIVE” like she’s Dr Frankenstein while Slappy does random things. After some fighting, they try to crush him with a tons of paint cans but shockingly, paint cans can’t stop a strong living dummy.
The kids all wisely run out when they get the chance, leaving Ray and Brandon to fight the dummy themsleves. Ray then gets the idea to rad the words again to put him to sleep. Didn’t work in 3 but it was never really debunked in Revenge, so go head.
They try it …and it works, Slappy randomly slumps to the floor. Huh, guess it officially works. I’m acting like these books have enough consistency for enough to be Canon, I’m so silly.
With that, things calm down. The defeat was weak but with how it’s written, the climax is fine. A bit later, Mom says she put the Dummy in the closet. Yes, they didn’t think to throw it away now that he’s dead.
That’s why what happens next is all their fault. Mom says she found the paper with the words and says they were hard to pronounce. Keyword being pronounce.
‘Did you read the words out loud?’
The end. I’m be mad but there’s an epilogue so let’s see the results. …We don’t see her answer and we just have Ray in his room, afraid of Slappy. Guess she did? Come in, make it clear.
Thankfully, Slappy doesn’t come,. Instead the usual happens. The horror glows and Ray is brought to Chiller House.
“The game is about to begin!”
Dun dun dun! Now that’s an ending given what’s up next. It’s weird, the ending was the best part but I’ll get to that…now.
This one was…eh. My opinion on this book changes every time I read it but for one, it’s…a mixed bag. I give it credit for trying to recapture certain elements I liked in the previous books. It has Stine trying to get us into the main characters head as all this crap goes down, and the bickering siblings teaming up in the end.
However, a lot drags it down. First, Ray is too unlikable. For most of it, he scares Brandon for really no reason. He doesn’t fully develop, he’s just a jerk until he isn’t. Even when he gets deserving comeuppance, he has to be a jerk about it.
He is better at the end but at random, he doesn’t quite grow. There was a chance to do a solid sibling story but it falls flat because they don’t develop, they just randomly stop fighting. Living Dummy 1 had the same problem, with this being worse since it doesn’t have any originality to back it up.
That’s another thing, the Slappy stuff is getting tired and while the character tries to do mix things up, the main element is dull because we’ve seen it all before. Plus,the events get very contrived and stupid towards the end.
On the bright side, it attempts to be more character driven like the earlier Slappy books, and I actually like the ending. As rushed as it is, the bonding is nice and Brandon becomes a good badass.
So it’s a mixed bag. I almost don’t like due to how botched the writing is, but I appreciate that they tried in certain spots, and I like the ending. Overall, it’s almost good, but also almost bad, making it an even mix of…unevenness.
Take that for what it’s worth. Overall, it is on the lower end on the Slappy scare, about on part with Bride in that. Yeah ,i need to review that someday, I own it now. Still, it’s better than Revenge by a long shot.
That will finally do it for 2016 on the blog. See you in 2017. At the end of January, Arc 2 comes to a head in the epic finale. Why is Chiller bring them there? Will he be anywhere near as amazing as The Menace?
Tune in next month to find out. Same Goosebumps Time, same Goosebumps Channel.
See ya, and Slappy New Year!