Hello, Spongey here.
Well, I finally reviewed all of Goosebumps HorrorLand. But Rl Stine choose to keep Modern Goosebumps rolling so we shall do the same. Yep, we’re covering all the new Goosebumps books from now in this format because it’s fun.
From this point forward, Stine decided to just do a few Goosebumps Mini Series with no real arc between the books anymore. I’m totally fine with this, as it’s a way to keep doing Goosebumps without being tired to one major series, like the original.
Plus without the arcs you can go back to the famous twist endings since the characters don’t have to survive to see the next book! This brings more of the Classic Goosebumps feeling in the way.
Otherwise, it’s business as usual. I’m not as amazingly faimlar with the ones going forward as the earlier HorrorLand ones but I have read them at least once. Plus, I have covered some I’ve only read like twice and had little memory of such as Wizard of Ooze and those reviews turned out fine,.
Either way, we’re doing this. Should be as fun as usual. There’s not much to say regarding this first book in this mini series. The premise is a bit like another GB book but let’s see how they handle it. You’ll get this Mini-Series’ gimmick as we go.
Let’s get into it.
This, is Claws!
Each of these Hall of Horrors books has a wrap around thing. I’ll mostly be skimming them but as this is the first book, we’ll go over it. We start with the Story Keeper telling us about the Hall of Horrors which he says is not on the “HorrorLand Map”.
Yeah, there is a connection to HorrorLand but him saying that is as deep as it goes. This is where people go to tell their scariest stories. His current visitor is Mickey and he has a story about a black cat.
“”There’s always Always Room for One More Scream at the HALL OF HORRORS…”
I got no feeling on this gimmick. A bit dumb it doesn’t effect the stories too much so I can live with it.
We really start with Mickey and his friend Amanda at his neighbor’s house. We already get some golden lines.
“He was our 5th grade teacher last year. He was a pretty good teacher, except he talked about his vegetable garden too much.”
They are catsitting for them, and we are we see that Amanda is pretty silly.
“So she’s like a tree…or a rock…or a mailbox. You know. Something that’s just always been there”
This book is gonna be great,
The owners’ are going on vacation for week and our heroes must take care of the cat. Well,, that cat is gonna die.
Things go well for their first day but on the 2nd day they accidentally leave the door open when they come in, like the idiots they are. The cat runs out …and is hit a by a truck and dies!
- WAS JOKING!
These kids suck is they kill a cat 14 pages in. This is an effective moment if only because death isn’t too common in Goosebumps. Cruel animal death is a fear street thing. The two worry about the heck to do, and then Bella vanishes before they can find her body.
Well, that’s something we shouldn’t question.
They worry for a bit and Amanda gets an idea: Instead of taking responsibility, they get a cat that looks exactly like Bella and no one will notice! ….Yeah, she’s kind of a bad influence.
Mickey of course isn’t sure but Amanda forces him to do it anyway and he figures there’s not much else they can do, so they go to a store called Cat Heaven. Subtle Foreshadowing,there.
The place is huge, with one of them saying it’s as big as a Wal-Mart, when all they have is cats. I don’t have a joke for that, oddly enough. They ask a worker if they separate the cats by type, to make their job easier but they say they do not do so, so they don’t have a section for black cats.
There’s a race joke in there somewhere…
They don’t have much luck until they stumble upon a secret room that has a lot of cats in it. Well, these as evil cats, no doubt about it. Has a secret room in Goosebumps has ever not been evil?
They find a cat that looks exactly like Bella. Amanda can tell it’s female too, somehow. Ik know you can’t use the easiest way in a kids book but come on. Someone burts in and says these cats are not for sale.
So they’re evil, got it.
Long story short, they just end up stealing the cat. Yeah, they just decide to do without thinking, what lovely kids.
“We’ve killed one cat, now we’ve stolen another”
When you say it like that, you sound like morally questionable people!
Bella 2 is already working well, until she randomly claw’s up Mickey’s shirt. Amanda tries to dismiss it as Bella 2 being nervous about being catnapped and all which….makes as much sense as it should.
Mickey goes home and we find out he has 3 fish named Nick, Joe, and Kevin,.
…0/10, worst book ever.
“Good names for Fish”
That night, Mickey hears a cat but there are no cats to be found. He hears more sounds then seem like a cat walking around, but he still sees nothing. Eventually he goes to his fish and sees they have been pretty much murdered….but still no one is there.
….That was more chilling than I thought it would be. Huh. Also , more animal death in a children’s book!
He doesn’t get much sleep after and he goes on about how he needs his sleep while Amanda brags about staying up all night. Still better than my sleep schedule.
He and Amanda go to see “Bella” and things go well until Bella 2 goes crazy and starts tearing up the couch. They get her off and leave but see two guys from the store in the distance. Yeah, the cat must be weird if they care so deeply that they stole it.
Wait, if they know the kids took the cat, why don’t they cal the police?
“We stole a cat. What’s the big crime?’
…Stealing the cat.
They manage to sneak past them and get to school. Their teacher is ‘Awesome looking”. NO COMMENT. Mickey starts hearing cat sounds but no one can hear them. Between his sleep deprivation this, he’s not feeling the best.
Just before, this is oddly effective. I don’t know, hearing noises only you hear is always freaky, even if it’s just cat noises. Then later at lunch he sees a cat head in his bag…but it’s gone when he makes Amanda look at it.
This kind of thing is common in Goosebumps, but it’s always something I like, it’s kinda physiological even if I know what’s more or less going on here. He tells Amanda the full story and she thinks he’s just stressed given they killed a cat and stole another one.
That’s ….kinda plausible from their perspective, so good on you. But this was all Amanda’s idea, so its kind of her fault either way.
He goes back to his lunch bag which now has a d ead mouse in it. Again with the animal death. He goes to his locker and we get a false scare where a shoe falling out is mistaken for a cat. I know he’s on edge, but come on. To be fair, even he calls himself for being that stupid. Do I even need to be here?
He then finds himself dealing with his invisible cats but suddenly he can actually see them now. The attack him but when someone walks in, they vanish. This is a bit more tense of a situation than you’d expect given it’s about vanishes cats and whatnot.
I also like how Mickey flat out says she does not expect the cats to be here when that person walks in. This kid is too self aware.
Later, he’s walking home when the Cat Heaven guys pop up. They care so much about the catnapping they chase Mickey back into the school where he hides in a locker. Will anyone find it weird these guys randomly went in and chase a student?
Somehow I really doubt it, knowing this world.
Mickey waits and it seems like the guys are gone and with some help he gets out of the locker. He leaves and yep, no one ever seemed to find the appearance of the cat store dudes weird at all. Of course.
He makes it to the neighbor’s house to check on Bella, but he notices something odd. See, Bella 1 got a chunk of tail missing thanks to Amanda’s gum. Bella 2 has that same chunk of fur missing.
DUN DUN DUN, it’s a Zombie/Ghost Cat!
His reaction is to take Bella 2 back to Cat Heaven. Well, I suppose if anyone is gonna solve your ghost cat problem, it’s gonna be the place it came from. Fair enough. Natrually, when he gets there, the guys pop up like magic.
‘That’s why we’ve been trying to catch you. I had to tell youyou can’t bring the cat back”
And he didn’t want to do us until you wanted to get him, wah wah. Wouldn’t it be easier to just do nothing and cross this bridge when you come to it?
“You can’t bring that dead cat back here”
Well, you just let the twist slip.
With that, Mickey is forced to leave. Yeah, don’t explain any of this to him, he totally won’t come back to question further.
He goes to the house and meets up with Amanda, only to find the living room full of cats. At this point I’m not sure if I should referencing Nine Lives or that Love Ty-angle subplot. Let’s nope there’s no racism here.
And then the neighbors show up, having come home early without calling first. Jerks. The kids suck it up and tell them the truth about what is going on. And they believe it. Because…
“Bella was a dead cat from the beginning. Bela died 4 years ago”
DUN DUN DUN! Didnt’ see that part coming, at least.
“I’ll make this short and sweet”
Bella died 4 years ago but someone told about the place cats who die violent deaths go. They specific the last part, because I guess who have peaceful deaths go elsewhere? But yeah, that store is literally cat heaven.
Well, the cats in the main store are normal but that room is full of dead cats. So is it just cats from this city, ais there a Cat Heaven for every town for what? You can cheat death as long as the cat doesn’t leave the house, and if they do they reenact their violent death. That’s weirdly specific and it’s a good thing a car happened to be there this time.
The cats that are here now are from that back room, as they escaped. By the way, they should have called the store and told them about the cat sitter in case it dies and they gotta get her back. Did they not expect the cat to die again under these 2?
‘”Only the cat’s true owner can carry it out of the store?”
Then you should have told these kids about that so they don’t do all this! They wouldn’t believe but it’s better than saying nothing. If someone else takes the cat, they become evil. Another oddly specific rule.
“You’ve upset the whole cat universe’
There’s a sentence I never thought I would read.
Because he let those cats out (insert who let the dogs out joke here), they will haunt him forever. Pretty cruel for a mistake YOU can be blamed for. I mean, geez guys.
Mickey runs out but only get something from home that can help: His pet mouse Zorro that I forgot to mention as he was not important until now. He goes back to the cats and puts Zorro down…and tells the cats to chase him. Before he did that, he said this:
“I’m Sorry Zorro. I’m really going to miss you fella. But I need you to save my life today”
Yep, he’s sacrificing his mouse’s life. It’s a bit cruel but is kind of a nice moment as a last resort thing. This works as the cat’s chase the mouse and get killed again. And with them dead again, …problem solved.
“We couldn’t return the Dead Cats to Cat Heaven, but they could return themselves!’
That was…too easy. And given Bella does this a lot, you shouldn’t be shocked this worked. So the cats can’t escape Cat Heaven on their own? Lamest Zombie Cats ever.
The Caplans are still gonna get Bella back as she is usually nice when they get here. Cheating Death ftw! So the day is saved and we cut to later as Mickey and Mom are out driving.
He sees a store called…Mouse Heaven. Okay does every animal have a Heaven on Earth? Really brings new morning to Heaven is a place on Earth. He goes in and yep, Zorro is there. But not in a back room so I guess others taking him is easier.
“Should I bring him home?”
The end. But there’s still the wrap around, so let’s finish that. Not much to say though, the Storykeeper says cool story bro and makes a lot of jokes about how awful his living quarters are.
We don’t find out if Mickey cheated death or not. I guess there’s an interesting moral thing but it’s Goosebumps, it ain’t that deep.
A new guest comes in named Steven Sweeney, he has a story called Night of the giant everything.
“There’s always room for one more scream”
The end. Yeah, every wrap around is like that. It gets the done but we’ll skip them as they don’t get more interesting.
This was…actually of good, although still flawed. My biggest problem is the plot happens due to stupidity on the Caplan’s part. If they at least tried to tell them anything, this wouldn’t happen. At ;least make them evil to give them an excuse.
Plus, how did they know the cat becomes evil when others take her? There’s more the are not telling.
But I can forigve that to enjoy this story. It is basic but thankfully in a good way and they do make it different from Cry of the Cat, even if I admit to enjoying that more due to how insane it is.
This gets kind of creepy sometimes with the ways the cats follow him. That gives this it’s edge, plus some amusing interactions and Mickey being self aware than what I expected. That ending was nice too, for what it was.
It’s simple but overall it more enjoyable than I expected. Nothing too special but I actually like it. Huh, was not expecting to like this more than Arc 2 but there you go!
Huh, off to a good start with this one. Let’s hope that keeps up next month with some shrinking action. …Not like that.