Monday, January 28, 2008

#62 Monster Blood IV

#62 Monster Blood IV

Front Tagline: This blood is bad to the bone! (What.)
Back Tagline: It's Four Times As Evil!

Official Book Description:
Evan Ross can't forget about Monster Blood-- the evil green slime that never stops growing. It can turn ordinary pets into ferocious animals and twelve-year-old kids into freakish giants.
But now there's a new kind of Monster Blood in town. It comes in a can just like the others. Only difference is this slime is blue instead of green. And instead of just growing, it's multiplying-- into terrifying blue creatures with razor-sharp teeth....

Brief Synopsis:
In the past 48 hours I've read Monster Blood IV and spent five hours in a dentist chair getting emergency dental surgery. I only look back on one of these events fondly, and I'll give you a hint-- it ain't the Goosebumps book.

Monster Blood IV doesn't begin with a dream, but rather a nightmare for the reader: the promise of another 118 pages with some of if not the most obnoxious characters in the Goosebumps universe. Andy stopped being a worthwhile character after the second book and that her role in this book is basically to wear neon colors and act like every other female character before her is the biggest indictment against Stine and this series I can muster. Turning one of the few good things to come from Stine's poison pen into a bland preteen via reverse-alchemy is only the first of many nails in the coffin of this series. For make no mistake, Monster Blood IV is not a bad book. It transcends bad. It makes the worst books in this series seem retroactively competent. Monster Blood IV arrives on the same plane with Chicken Chicken, as a repulsive abomination against literature.

If the last two sequels in this series were only thinly-veiled regurgitations of what preceded them, fret not-- Monster Blood IV is more of the same. In fact, at a certain point it reads like a parody of the series itself. Hey, remember how Evan was like a giant twice and also there was a giant hamster and stuff? Well cool, because no one else seems to mention it except in passing.

Evan's parents are going out of town for a week to Tucson-- wait, are Evan's parents Laura Linney and Philip Seymour Hoffman in the Savages? Inbreeding would explain a lot with this character. Because you must be This Old to visit Tucson, Evan is dumped at his cousin Kermit's house. If you think this means more "hilarious" cribbing from Dexter's Laboratory science experiments, well, these entries sometimes write themselves don't they? Kermit's latest experiment is to place tarantulas on Evan's head. Guys I've heard of Spider-Man but this is ridiculous! But seriously folks, this book sucks shit.

Kermit's mom cooks a lot of spicy food, which leads to a passage wherein Evan anticipates Paris Hilton by seven or eight years by realizing that the spaghetti he's being fed is hot. How hot is it, Troy? It's so hot that Evan's lips swell up like "twin salamis," in yet another example of Stine giving a preteen character Borscht Belt dialog.

Speaking of meatheads, Evan naturally runs afoul of Kermit's next door neighbor, the school bully Conan. Conan stomps his sneakers on Evan's feet and complains that Evan has just gotten the bottom of his new sneakers dirty. Conan avenges this injustice by pulling on one of Evan's sweater-sleeves. This is a good example of something to mention the next time someone defends this series.

Andy comes over to visit Evan and the three kids have a Super-Soaker fight. This is a lot of fun until Kermit sprays Conan's sneakers with water. Conan crosses the yard and sees that Andy has a can of Monster Blood. He forces her to give it to him and, I shit you not, he opens the can and paper snakes come out. Conan doesn't beat the kids up, probably because he's embarrassed for them.

Kermit brings his collection of mice out into the yard and sets them free. Evan can't understand why Kermit thinks the mice won't escape, especially since they are escaping. Kermit tells Evan he's installed a wireless electric fence along the perimeter of the yard. Only, he forgot to turn it on! Evan walks to the edge of the yard and Kermit turns the electric fence on, causing Evan to spastically dance from the shock. Hey guess what, wireless electric fences don't work like that.

Conan comes over to see what the hubbub is all about and he too gets shocked. Rather than protesting that what just occurred could not have physically happened, he merely beats up Evan. This was in the dark days before the internet gave kids a non-violent outlet for their rage. Had the book been written today, perhaps Conan would have not used his fists at all but rather his typing-fingers, channeling all his rage into bitching on the Rotten Tomatoes message board.

Kermit is sympathetic to Evan's plight and presents him with the perfect revenge: he's developed a hair-growing formula. Oh great, now Stine's cribbing from the Peanut Butter Solution. Kermit tells Evan that they could put some on Conan's hands, giving him "werewolf hands." Did you think this series would pass up a chance to somehow include werewolves one last time? Evan thinks giving Conan Robin Williams hands is a great idea, and the highest dramatic question of the book becomes "Will a preteen character grow hair where there was not hair before?" Watch out, Judy Blume.

Andy shows up at Evan's window in the middle of the night. Evan's such a loser that he can't even make a move and the two end up talking in Kermit's yard. Andy shows him another can of Monster Blood that she found in the dumpster behind a science lab. She wants Evan to get revenge on Conan by using the new Monster Blood. Kermit shows up for no reason and opens the new can of Monster Blood. Hey, speaking of people showing up for no reason in the middle of the night, Conan also comes out into his yard and tries to take the Monster Blood, only to be shocked again by the fence. Conan retreats into his house and Andy tries to put the lid back on the Monster Blood, which is blue instead of the usual green.

Except the liquid Monster Blood has morphed into a small blue creature with black eyes and a big-lipped mouth filled with sharp teeth. Andy thinks the gelatinous creature is cute until it hops across the yard and latches onto the water spout. The creature swells up like a balloon with water until it explodes, sending a wave of blue slime over the kids. Where there was one creature there is now two. And it goes on like this for at least thirty pages, with the creatures running round in the yard, wreaking havoc and ingesting water to multiply. The creatures continue splitting, with each subsequent pair becoming meaner than the creature that spawned it.

The creatures start attacking the kids, trying to suck the water from their bodies. One latches onto Andy's face and another on Evan's shoulder. The kids try to force the dozen or so creatures into a plastic garbage sack. Kermit takes the sack into the house to hide it as Kermit's mom comes out to blame Evan for all the damage the creatures have wrought on her yard.

The next morning, Evan asks Kermit where he hid the sack of creatures. Kermit doesn't appear to be much of a boy genius after all, as he hid the sack of creatures in the spare bathroom. Evan freaks out because the bathroom has four water fixtures and as the two boys make their way towards the bathroom, they can already hear the havoc being wreaked within. Oh and also that spare bathroom is where Kermit was hiding his hair growth formula, so when the door is finally opened, the two are greeted with the sight of dozens of angry hairy creatures. Slime covers the walls and every few seconds there's another sickening *pop* and wave of slime as new creatures are formed.

Evan decides to round up the creatures and then lead them out into the yard to zap them on the invisible electric fence. As the peeved piper leads the monsters to the edge of the yard, Evan is shocked alright-- shocked to discover that Kermit forgot to turn the fence on. The horrible little creatures escape into the neighborhood. Naturally the first place they head is Conan's house, where Conan has of course just stepped out into the yard again-- does he just wait by the front door for any excuse to come running out? The creatures swallow his can of Coke and start multiplying and exploding slime all over him.

Andy shows up and her and Evan track down the moving wave of monsters down the street as they head towards a public park. Along the way the monsters almost kill Kermit's dog and finally engulf Andy and Evan until-- they all swarm off and huddle into one big pulsating ball. The monsters are so vile and evil that they've started to attack each other. One by one they eat each other until one until there are no creatures left, which isn't possible unless one of the monsters ate itself but hey who cares about that because look who just showed up looking for the blue monsters: A scientist wearing a space suit. He introduces himself:

"I'm Professor Eric Crane. From the Science Institute Downtown."

See, this batch of Monster Blood was the result of ten years and $50 million of investment in the development of an underwater fighting force. He apologizes for being so careless. After all, Professor Crane learned a valuable lesson: you should never throw away horrible slime monsters, you should recycle horrible slime monsters.

But the Twist is:
Conan comes out into the yard, again, and tells the kids that he found that blue candy they were hoarding. Then another Conan comes out of the house. Well, at least now they can alternate shifts.

the Platonic Boy-Girl Relationship:
Yet again, Evan Ross and Andy, who stopped being interesting halfway thru the series.

Questionable Aunting:
Evan tries to tell Kermit's mom about the monsters, but even characters within the story are too bored to pay attention.

Early 90s Cultural References:
Brad Pitt, Super-Soakers, Monster Blood

Memorable Cliffhanger Chapter Ending:
Ch. 10/11
There's a giant mouse at the window! No, that's just the one person who looks less like a mouse than anyone ever has, Andy.

Great Prose Alert:
"It's candy," he told Conan. "Blue Fruit Roll in a Barrel. We saw it on TV, and it's awesome."

Imagine it is 1997 and you are RL Stine's biggest fan. You're only between the age of eight and twelve but for as long as you can remember, you've read RL Stine's Goosebumps series. Through the good times and the bad, you gave Stine more chances than anyone has ever deserved. You bought every Goosebumps booklight, calendar, and Curly-emblazoned trinket available. You hung around your elementary school book fair and leaned in to tell the cute members of the opposite sex which Goosebumps books were the spookiest. You somehow, amazingly, made it all the way to Monster Blood IV, the 62nd and last Goosebumps book. What was your reward? A big "Get Fucked" from RL Stine.

Rejoice, our long national nightmare is finally at an end. See you next week!


Anonymous said...

Wow, I'm so glad I never read this one. That's a really crappy way for the series to go out.

Anonymous said...

Yet another forgettable book. At least it's done and over with.

So what was your surgery for?

Anonymous said...

This books is the rarest book in the series. I saw a buy it now auction on ebay for $60

Anonymous said...

Hooray! Troy acknowledges RT's existence! I feel loved.

Anonymous said...

You mentioned the Rotten Tomatoes message board in this one... I don't know if you're aware of it but Blogger Beware has a big fanbase there.

There was a thread started about the Goosebumps marathon that was aired on Cartoon Network a few months back but the whole thing got hijacked on page 6 when someone linked us to Blogger Beware. We've been going through the archives and posting our favorite quotes ever since. Every Monday, the thread gets bumped for your new entry.

The fun starts here:

Anyway. Thought you might get a kick out of it. You've provided endless hours of entertainment for us. Keep up the good work.

troy steele said...

Chris, anyone who wants to PayPal $59 to my email address can have it, and I'll even sign RL Stine's name.

Anonymous said...

I actually liked this one more than the other Monster Bloods. It reminded me of Gremlins. Now that I think of it, it's kind of a rip-off with the whole "multiply with water" thing.

Still, it's got great cover art. I love the one attatched to the shower faucet.

Anonymous said...

I found this one at a used book store for $1. I bought it and read it, and somehow it disappeared. Maybe my house couldn't stand having this book inside it.

Anonymous said...

you should just post it on ebay or and list it as like new condition and put r.l stine's name on it. see how much some of the very good ones are going for

snappleaddict said...

I think we got the point that ingesting Monster Blood does weird things to you, why did we need three more books telling us the same thing? All I can say is thank God there isn't a Monster Blood V.

Anonymous said...

My favorite line:

"Evan thinks giving Conan Robin Williams hands is a great idea, and the highest dramatic question of the book becomes "Will a preteen character grow hair where there was not hair before?" Watch out, Judy Blume."

2 reasons why it's awesome:

1) Judy Blume reference- how true; and 2) the hairy hands of Robin Williams. My boyfriend and I watched his stand-up special from 2002, and we kept talking about how they were so...dare I say it..."werewolf-like."

Anonymous said...

"I think we got the point that ingesting Monster Blood does weird things to you, why did we need three more books telling us the same thing? All I can say is thank God there isn't a Monster Blood V."

Goosebumps HorrorLand #3: "Monster Blood For Breakfast" comes out in June. Looking forward to it?

Anonymous said...


When I was a kid, I thought it was really neat that the Monster Blood books took place in Atlanta. I'm from the South, and in all the books that we had to read for school, NONE of them took place in this part of the country. The only ones that did had to do with the Civil War or the Civil Rights Movement.

In most children's lit, you never saw a book about the south that involved a Hannah or an Evan who grew up in the suburbs while doing suburbany things. (Try to think of one; I bet you can't.) All of those took place in NYC or Chicago or California. We were always stereotyped as the backwards kids that were mired in poverty and had never seen anything invented after 1930...until, of course, that great literary pioneer R.L. Stine came along and broke societal barriers.

Even though the Monster Blood books are terrible, I do like his portrayal of the local Atlanta citizens. If we are to believe Stine, the middle school kids of the South love beating up whiners like Evan; the locals are so friendly that they let random children stay at their house while their parents go "on vacation"; and the scientists are geniuses that invent new materials and, in the case of Evan's science teacher, also punish Evan for being annoying. In other words...I think that R.L. Stine portrayed us pretty well. ;-)

Anonymous said...

Great write-up! I forget how old I was as the series was winding down, but even then I thought that they blew. And thus the series died with a pitiful, lame whimper.

Anonymous said...

Except the liquid Monster Blood has morphed into a small blue creature with black eyes and a big-lipped mouth filled with sharp teeth.
So it's Angelina Jolie?

Anonymous said...

Absolute hilarity!

this blog is amazing :]]

Anonymous said...

I wonder what Andy was doing in the dumpster behind a science lab anyway...and at this point aren't Evan and Andy like 16 years old? I woulda thought he'd sleep with her already...Oh yeah, this is Goosebumps.

Anonymous said...

Will you review Goosebumps Series 2000 after you're finished with the original?

troy steele said...

You better believe it

Anonymous said...

From 2000, I'm looking forward to "Be Afraid - Be Very Afraid!" That book... it was either brilliant or incredibly stupid.

Anonymous said...

Troy, I have horrifying news. In June of 2008, a book called "Monster Blood For Breakfast" will be released.

It never ends...

Anonymous said...

Stine's quotes and the reader's quotes are pretty funny.

troy steele said...

What's astonishing is that the horrible Mummy books are getting another sequel with that series. The new series does present something of a challenge for me in when to cover them-- I may cover them as they are released or I may wait till I'm done with the other books, I haven't decided yet. I do however know that no reader, no matter how young and naive, could possibly have been asking for a seventh Night of the Living Dummy book.

Anonymous said...

Didn't Slappy die in the third and fourth books... and then end up as the protagonist in the fifth?

I'm looking forward to the lazy attempts to update the series for the modern day. Monster Blood is ordered from a "weird website," and the fifth book is about a webcomic character. Wait until they're all out to review them, you can do them in a three-month special to concentrate the awfulness.

It'll all be worth it if my theory is correct - that the villain behind everything is R.L. Stine himself.

Anonymous said...

I blocked out so many of these later Goosebumps entries, I suppose because of how awful they are. Awful, unlike these great blog entries! Keep up the great work there, Troy.

Anonymous said...

Wait...which living dummy book was the sixth? I know there were three Goosebumps and two Goosebumps 2000. Was there another after that?

troy steele said...

The sixth book is the novelization of the Goosebumps stage show which features Slappy the ventriloquist dummy. God you guys should prepare yourselves in advance for that entry, even if it is months away.

Anonymous said...

Months? Damn, Troy, you're a tease.

Anonymous said...

I never heard of the novelization of the stage show. I did read the first five living dummy books though. I remember the first one was especially dark for the series. That series made Slappy my favorite Goosebumps villain, even though Mr. Wood was the main bad guy in the first one.

Anonymous said...

Heres A Warning:
Evan Ross makes an appearance in the Series 2000 Book"Return to Horrorland"

And Heres A Pun For when you do"Why I'm Afraid Of Bees"
Reader BEEware-Your in For A Scare

Anonymous said...

If I recall correctly, the characters of Return To Horrorland think Evan is crazy or a liar. At least there's no signs of him showing up in the HorrorLand series.

Anonymous said...

I found Monster Blood for Breakfast in May.

Anon e Mouse Jr. said...

This is the only Monster Blood book that's NOT in my collection, much to my annoyance, and I have a question for anyone who's read it: did they ever tell us Andy or Kermit's last name? If they did, what was it?

Thanks in advance.

Until next time...

Anon e Mouse Jr.

Funkmaster General said...

That's a really crappy way for the series to go out.

Reply: Yeah. I think this series should have ended with the mindfuck that is/was/always will be "I Live in Your Basement". "Monster Blood IV" could have been a part of Goosebumps 2000 since no one really cares about that series.

Justin said...

I remember the last blue creature dying from the wounds it received fighting off all the other stupid blue creatures. So the logical flaw was covered in the book.

It's understandable to be zoning out by that point on the book though.

C.D. Plaire said...

[QUOTE]From 2000, I'm looking forward to "Be Afraid - Be Very Afraid!" That book... it was either brilliant or incredibly stupid.[/QUOTE]

Reply: Well, you're gonna have to keep waiting. Troy's been scheduled to review that book four months ago and he hasn't done it yet. He did promise to do it in March, but now it's almost the end of April. Either he's a lazy-ass or the book is so bad that he's either contemplating suicide or finding religion to purge the evil that "Be Afraid--Be Very Afraid" has placed on his soul.

Anonymous said...

It was rather interesting for me to read the post. Thanks for it. I like such themes and everything that is connected to them. I definitely want to read a bit more soon.

Anonymous said...

I don't get why you consider this book to be so terrible, really. There's some dumb stuff in it, sure, but I'm confused as to what, exactly, is so supposedly awful about it. You made sense in your explanation of Chicken Chicken, but after reading your review I don't get anything about what makes this one of the worst Goosebumps books.

Marcel in Canada said...

I'm pretty sure the Monster Blood feature of Evan being unlikable was by design. Stine seems to get as much pleasure out of mocking Evan as this blog does, and Andy is the tool he uses for carrying this out.

The last two Monster Blood books go in a different direction and focus more on the dynamic between Evan and Kermit, which isn't as effective. Evan and Andy complimented each other quite well, whereas Evan and Kermit are just two annoying characters who antagonize each other in a very irritating way. This makes me think that these final two Monster Blood books were not written by Stine.

Personally, I thought Monster Blood III was the worst Monster Blood

Anonymous said...

I want you to answer this question for me Troy:why wasn't this book included with the previous three Monster Bloods in the Monster Blood Collection?

Oh, and by the way, the sixth Night of the Living Dummy book was Slappy New Year in Goosebumps Gold, which was never released, but SNY is being rewritten as a book in the Horrorland series.

WABoisso said...

"Had the book been written today, perhaps Conan would have not used his fists at all but rather his typing-fingers, channeling all his rage into bitching on the Rotten Tomatoes message board."

Bahahahaha win

Anonymous said...

"..and at this point aren't Evan and Andy like 16 years old? I woulda thought he'd sleep with her already...Oh yeah, this is Goosebumps."

^Not only is it Goosebumps, we're talking about Evan here.

Anonymous said...

benny here. wow ok 5/10 okay. now to the series 2000 books. this should be fun :(,:)

Anonymous said...

I remember really liking the Monster Blood series (arc?), but after having torn through all your blood entries, I'm not quite sure why.

Wish my parents hadn't sold my collection off on ebay when I went to college, might have been fun to read a few of them as you've done.

Anonymous said...

Wheres the update!(Yes I'm the same person).

Corey said...


God, how that movie terrorized my entire life.

Anonymous said...

I can imagine this conversation taking place with Evan or Andy"s parents
Honey you know our kid?
The one we keep abandoning? Yeah.You know people say they caused against blob to Healy swallow a whole town!
Yeah,and our neighbors also say they caused the giant hamster incident and people swear they saw a giant Evan running around.
Wait, what did giant Evan do?
Play baseball.
So what's your"e point?
My point is that it"s all too ridiculous to be true.
Wait what about several eyewitnesses and photos
Like I said not true now let's dump them with a terrible guardian.

Tatermater12 said...

This sounds similar to the gremlins movies