Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Series 2000 #01 Cry of the Cat



Series 2000 #01: Cry of the Cat

Front Tagline: Dead cat walking...

Official Book Description:
The Series 2000 books contain no summary of their contents, only a brief, "terrifying" excerpt from the text. So, say goodbye to this feature along with the Back Tagline. Farewell, Blogger Beware elements. I'm giving you a military funeral in my mind.

While I'm here though, let's talk about where this series went wrong. Look at the cover. No. Simply no. It does not work. The first series was popular in-part due to its uniform look and cover template. No kid would want to collect this ugly, neon-green adorned book that screams "Little boys with anger issues, c'mon in!" But I guess someone forgot to tell Scholastic. Let me reiterate: these books look hideous, and this is actually the best cover of the lot. Reader beware indeed. Oh, that reminds me: No more "Reader beware, you're in for a scare." Nope, now it's "2000 Times the Scares!" Also no.

Brief Synopsis:
I was fully prepared to claim that the Goosebumps Series 2000 books were just regular Goosebumps books arbitrarily given a new name and layout to keep up with the changing market trends of 1998. Oh how wrong I was. Oh sure, Cry of the Cat is still very much identifiable as a Goosebumps book, but it also contains new elements not found in the sixty-two volumes which preceded it. Elements such as adults acting like adults, needless gore, and tornados made of cats. But I'm getting ahead of myself.

The book begins with an extended scenario involving a monstrous, spittle-spewing feline attacking a child in the upper arm and back. I worked so hard on trying to come up with a way to make "a shoulder to Cry of the Cat on" work, but it just didn't happen. This sequence is revealed to be a scene from a film called, oddly enough, Cry of the Cat. Our heroine Alison is watching the flick with her little brother, Tanner, but the movie is so scary that he makes her shut the VCR off. Oh man, is that a nostalgia trip or what? Remember VCRs man, like, wow, totally takes me back to childhood and stuff. Check out this awesome new nostalgia blog for VCRs: http://vcr-u-srs.blogspot.com/

Alison's friend Ryan shows up and they both ride their bikes to school for practice. See, both are starring in something called the Princess and the Jewel Thief, and they're in such a rush to make it on time that Alison decapitates a cat with her bike. Wait, she does what? I wrote that sentence and even I had to go back and read it again. The force of Alison hitting the cat with her bike sends the cat's head flying out into traffic with a shocked look of surprise on its face. With an expression that wide-eyed and in awe, I bet I know what that cat was thinking: "They renewed the Nanny agaaaaaaaaain?!?!"

When Alison races over to the decapitated animal, she discovers that the cat has magically regained its head, but sadly not its life. She wraps the limp body of the cat up in her jacket. Alison figures it probably came from the big house full of cats across the street, which is a remarkable deduction.

Inside the cat house, Alison finds a saloon girl with a heart of gold. Wait, wrong cat house. She finds a young girl who introduces herself as Crystal. Crystal is furious upon being told that one of her cats has died. Luckily the cat chooses that opportunity to come back to life and scramble out of Alison's arms. Crystal changes gears and becomes furious that her cat is alive. There's just no pleasing some people.

Crystal freaks out that Alison killed her cat Rip, that she should have run over any of her cats other than Rip. Alison suggests that would have been great information five minutes ago but it's a little too late to go back in time and kill another of her cats and she'd kill another one now but she's late for rehearsal. Crystal screams that her mother is going to be upset and warns Alison that she shouldn't have killed Rip, that Rip is no ordinary cat. You mean cats don't usually come back to life after being decapitated?



Alison rushes off to practice. Ryan is waiting for her at the school, because like a true friend, he ditched her when the going got tough. Alison tells him about the cat coming back to life, but he just mocks her. She hears cat calls, and modestly pulls her skirt hem down to a respectable level.

Mr. Keanes, the teacher in charge of the play, initiates the practice and instructs Alison to get a scepter out of "the Royal Cabinet," which sounds like a supply closet to me. But Alison must have misheard his direction as "Get attacked by a dead cat," as Rip jumps out of the closet and gets tangled up in her hair. She pries the cat from her head and throws it as hard as she can across the stage. Wait for it. This startles the stagehands so badly that they drop the giant king's throne on top of the cat. The kids all gather around the flattened animal, only to have the cat come back to life and exit, stage-left even!

Mr. Keanes dismisses practice early because
"I can see you're all very upset about that cat. What a strange thing!"
At dinner, Alison tries to tell her parents about how she killed a cat twice in one afternoon. Unfortuantely, they're not interested in anything other than the homemade chicken noodle soup Alison's mom made. Alison becomes less-enamored with the soup than her parents when she somehow scoops a big spoonful of wet cat fur into mouth. She tries to go to her room to relax, only to find her toy mice collection thrown all over the place. Her toy mice collection.

At school the next day, the decapitated head of the cat appears in her lunch bag and sticks its tongue out at her. She's disgusted, but some people enjoy having lunch with The Cat.



That night, Rip jumps on Alison's face while she's sleeping. She responds to getting smothered by gently removing the cat from her face and throwing it out the second-story window. If it didn't take itself so seriously I'd swear this book was a comedy. Alison goes outside to investigate whether the cat is dead or not. Three guesses. Rip scratches her leg but the wound draws no blood.

The following morning, Alison finds herself craving tuna fish. That's right, it's one of those books. At practice that night, she thinks she can land on all fours, so she jumps from the roof of the auditorium onto the stage. So a child can jump several stories down and nothing bad will happen?



Alison's cattiness gets worse, as she hacks up a furball and begins posting on ONTD. Sadly, half of that wasn't a joke and Alison really does hack up a furball. It's exactly as pleasant a moment as it sounds. She also starts licking the back of her palms like a cat. Get it, she's doing things a cat does. Like a cat. She's becoming like a cat. A cat. She's like a cat. Cat. A cat.

That night, she races off to confront Crystal about Rip. She is shocked to hear that Alison has killed her cat two more times and warns her to watch out, as Rip only has nine lives and he's now used up lives six through eight. Alison promises to avoid another cat-astrophe, but soon a strange force compels her towards a pet cemetery. Also Ryan shows up and follows Alison to the pet cemetery. Alison walks among the gravestones until she comes across the RIP RIP tombstone.

Perhaps you're saying to yourself, "No wonder she can't kill the cat, it's already dead!' Well, speculation like that isn't good enough for Alison, so she gets on her hands and knees and starts digging up the cat's grave. Gravedigging. Decapitation. Toy mice collections. We're in uncharted territory here, folks.

Alison finally digs up the cat coffin and opens it to find... the corpse of Rip, which springs out of the coffin and attacks her. If that weren't bad enough, Ryan draws her attention to the rumbling ground and smoke pouring out of the gravestones. Rip begins walking on his hind legs and commands the corpses of all the other cats out of their graves. The ghost cats are his slaves and he commands them to take the form of a giant black ghost cat tornado. The ghost cat tornado chases after Alison and Ryan as they race back to Crystal's house.

In a moment of karmic justice, Alison ditches Ryan in the chase and convinces Crystal to let her in the house. The young girl finally agrees just as the swirling wall of cats reaches the front door. Crystal tells her they only have a few minutes before the kitty twister breaks in. She whisks Alison to the other side of the house, insisting that only her mother can help them now. The two walk down the dark basement steps to meet her.

Gang, I know this book is blowing your mind, but are you ready to meet Crystal's mom? You'll like her, after all, she is a scientist. Oh, and she's also half-cat. The humanoid cat woman purrs with delight upon seeing Alison. See, Rip prolongs his life by stealing lives from humans. Every time he scratches a human, he takes away some of their life and replaces it with cat-life. Oh, now I don't see!

Crystal's mom did scientific experiments on all the cats from the graveyard and that's why they're now Rip's slaves. A-h--nah, that still doesn't make any sense. She also made a deal with Rip to be his sole human resource provided that he didn't harm her daughter. However, cat mom reveals that she no longer has any human life to give Rip, so she's sacrificing Alison to be his new living scratching post. She tries to tell her it won't be so bad, but somehow Alison is resistant to the idea of turning into a horrible half-cat creature. Probably mostly because it sounds like it still involves being a scientist and who has time for that.

The ghost cat tornado breaks into the house, led by Rip, who walks on his hind legs down the stairs. That sounds like the cutest horrific thing ever. Ryan shows up just in time to get scratched by the evil walking cat. All hope seems lost until Alison remembers that she has a toy mouse with her. She throws the mouse to the ground right in front of Rip. All the ghost cats turn their attention to the mouse and attack, killing Rip in the process and the ensuing chaos causes the tornado to disappear. Just like real non-cat-containing weather!

But the Twist is:
Alison and Ryan are still like cats and so they fight over who gets to eat a field mouse. Oh RL Stine, finger on the pulse, as always!

the Platonic Boy-Girl Relationship:
Alison and her friend Ryan, who disappears a third and two thirds of the way through the book.

Questionable Parenting:
Alison's mom practices her observational humor routine regarding women's blouses instead of listening to her daughter complain about becoming a cat. Sentences like that would never have been written without this book.

Questionable Manners Alert:
Crystal's mom thanks Alison for saving them from Rip. Um, that's nice and all, but did she never hear of "Sorry about willing to mutilate and sacrifice you to the evil cat"? What's worse, that exact quote is on like page twelve of Judith Martin's book, so this is an all too common faux-pas. That's looooow rent, ma'am.

Memorable Cliffhanger Chapter Ending:
Ch. 9/10:
Alison cries out in horror as she looks in her lunch and sees... that she accidentally grabbed Ryan's lunch. She must have had an unspeakably traumatic run-in with a Lunchable in the past.

Great Prose Alert:
Egg salad always reminds me of dog vomit.

Conclusions:
Three letters come to mind: WTF

60 comments:

Anonymous said...

oh god, love the part about ONTD!

Anonymous said...

and I second: omg ontd!

Anonymous said...

I now remember the cat-woman, but have no recollection of any ghost cat tornado. I think I would have been happier for it to stay that way.

And the next books are Bride Of The Living Dummy and Creature Teacher? You're really being thrown in at the deep end here, Troy.

Great escaper said...

0.o This is like a mashup like the worse plots combined, people turning into things, scientists, uncomfortable gross experiences happening to the main character. Not to mention RL stine being "in touch" with preteens/teens with the toy mouse collection. And seriously wtf, cat tornado?

Anonymous said...

All that craziness and not one "what."?

Anonymous said...

Grew out of reading Goosebumps before the 2000 series started. I think that was a smart choice.

Rhomega said...

Okaaaay, glad I dropped Goosebumps when this series came out. Mostly because I didn't like the cover, it didn't have the Back Tagling or Official Book Description, and the idea of an evil cat was very interesting.

Anonymous said...

Ghost Cat Tornado would have made an excellent name for a garage band when I was a little boy with anger issues.

Anonymous said...

Ghost Cat Tornado would have made an excellent name for a garage band when I was a little boy with anger issues.

Rabbito said...

Please tell me it's all downhill from here, because that would be amazingly great news. For us.

For you, it would mean prolonged suffering at the hands of these terrible tomes. But so does the artist suffer for his art. Thank you, Troy Steele, for your noble sacrifice.

Lumi said...

Hahaha, how messed up.

Kickass blog! Is there any possible chance you're going to do something with the Give Yourself Goosebumps series? They were my absolute favorite as a kid -- all so terrible. Every book had a nice smattering of Stine's terrible, terrible endings.

Never read the 2000 series, so I'm very much looking forward to the rest!

snarfoogle said...

Oh cool, I've read Pet Sematary, to--wait, what?

Anonymous said...

That book sounds awesome. 'Nuff said.

Anonymous said...

So the the twist is the two start arguing. Scary stuff there mate.

Anonymous said...

rabbito: My gods is it downhill from here. Having had difficulty getting my hands on most of Goosebumps, I was determined, as a youngster, to acquire as many of the new-fangled 2000 books as I could. Mis-take! From what I recall of the unbelievably awful plots, I honestly can't wait for the reviews.

The Guindo said...

Sadly (or fortunately?) this is one of the only two Goosebumps 2000 books I've read (Bride of the Living Dummy being the other one) and seriously. This basically killed the series for me. It was just beyond ridiculous.

troy steele said...

For those who think that the worse the book, the better the blog, we might be entering the Golden Age of Blogger Beware.

Andy said...

If that's the case, Troy, then can we expect more reviews a week (or so)?

Robert said...

I still remember Invasion of the Body Sqeezers being the last two Goosebumps books I read, and while I think I enjoyed them at the time, the few details that I can remember about the books are beyond ridiculous.

Jon said...

This was the first Goosembumps I ever started reading and quit halfway through.

And I didn't even make it to the catwoman.

morbidiculous said...

"That sounds like the cutest horrific thing ever"

Aw, I have to agree. I'm going to round up some cats right now and train them to do exactly that (I mean BOTH steal the life of human beings nine times to sustain their evil and then walk down some stairs on their hind legs, not just the one)

Anonymous said...

So they all turned out to be cats or something...

Ryan said...

They made this into an episode of goosebumps on tv but it was a little different then the book, like always.

troy steele said...

I think I remember seeing that, was this it? http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0117998/

Anonymous said...

Good Idea: Reading this blog.

Bad Idea: Reading this blog in the hallway of your dorm where people can hear you laughing.

"A kitty cat tornado," does not properly cover what I am laughing at, nor make me seem more sane.

Michael said...

I'm surprised you made it the whole time without posting a LOLcat...

troy steele said...

Thank you for noticing, because I went out of my way to not make a LOLCat reference. In fact, there was an entire deleted section of the entry with mock-ups of "Hang In There, Baby"-type posters but I decided it was too similar to LOLCats and discarded them.

Anonymous said...

Maybe you could include the deleted scenes on the Blogger Beware DVD version, along with other hilarious moments that got cut in mid-production.

Meanwhile, turns out the new Goosebumps HorrorLand game is going to come out on DS; I've been wondering whether I should get it so that you can all know how awful it is. I doubt it'll be a patch on the Escape From HorrorLand computer game, twelve years old or no.

Great escaper said...

To Micheal:

I can haz a cat-tornado??

Anonymous said...

Believe me when I say the golden age of this blog is coming with not series 2000 but goosebumps horrorland. Not only do they suck in general but also gone are the fond memories of the old series when I read them as a child. I like to think of this series as the second coming, well technically the third, but the twist is everyone goes to hell.

Anonymous said...

The first three books suck, but I liked The Scream Of The Haunted Mask.

Zak said...

sup Troy... I know you probably already have the second update done, but just a little request/proposition: If you're gonna do them in order, I don't know about the others but I'LL MISS the spotaneity (sp?) of the blog, like how every week it was a surprise. Knowing that "Earth Geeks Must Go" and "Slappy's Nightmare" are gonna be around the end and half a year away will just... bah, I liked the randomness of what comes next. That adds more excitement to looking forward to each update, not knowing which will show up, and you'll probably see this comment at some point, so would you put that into consideration? Pretty please?

I know I shouldn't speak for the other readers but I'm sure a good deal of them would like it that way. Horrorland would make sense to do in order, but it would be nice to see the old randomness "wonder what's coming next" to the blog.

Of course if you hadn't read a single GB2K book as a child I'd sort of understand. But then again, you hadn't read the entire original series before blogger beware opened up, had you now?

troy steele said...

Thanks for the suggestion Zak. It's hard for me to say what the future holds outside of the very next update, and even that has a way of changing at the last moment. I can tell you there's a better than good chance Bride of the Living Dummy will be the next update. Beyond that, who knows

Andy said...

Have you read all of them so far?

I was just curious about this Troy, how long does it take to write an entry?

troy steele said...

It takes about three hours to read the book and write the entry.

Anonymous said...

the real question is how long does it take rl stein to write the book.. if it's less than 3 hours (probably) this blog may never need to come to an end

Cerebelle said...

Love it, love this blog.

I can't wait to see you do a Give Yourself Goosebumps book! I read Tapped in Bat Wing Hall over and over again when I was a kid--not the turned-into-a-bat storyline, that one was boring. I loved the one that takes place in the house, it was so dumb but awesome.

I know Secret Agent Grandma is pretty tempting, but I'm casting my vote for Bat Wing Hall. Pretty please?

Great escaper said...

Thats a good point, Scholastic will make Stine/Ghostwriters keep churning out these books until the End times. =/

Matt said...

Ghost Cat Tornado. BAND NAME.

Also, I love the ONTD bit and I'm glad I'm not the only one to catch the reference.

Keep up the good work!

Anonymous said...

Well, there are some rides with very bad reasons to be closed in the Goosebumps HorrorLand DS game such as......... Ghost Train, Ferris Squeal, Acid Bath, and Terrible Teacups. And I own the game....... but I'm stuck with 49 frights! I need a hint to defeating the Vampires in Flash Fright for the Gold fright. Please? Pretty please? I just need a hint!

Zonis said...

Reminds me of a story that Goosebumps acquired the rights to and haven't seen since, called, wait for it, Cry of the Cat. In that story, however, it starts off with an old crazy cat woman getting killed, and all her cats killed. Later, a little girl finds a cat with a star on its forehead on her front porch. Soon, everyone starts finding kittens with stars on their foreheads. Still later, said cats start attacking everyone. Everyone flees, they somehow solve the thing, but if I remember correctly, they decide to move away because of all the trauma. And low and behold, the day after they move, she opens the door, and there is a little white cat with a star on its forehead.

beautifiers said...

"Alison's cattiness gets worse, as she hacks up a furball and begins posting on ONTD."

As a member of ONTD for 5 years now, I have to say this line made my black, cold, catty heart swell up three times its regular size. Kudos, my friend.

Reed said...

Did anyone read any of those "10 short stories in one" Goosebumps books? Like "More Tales to Give You Goosebumps" or something? Because I remember this book basically remakes/rips off one of those short stories. It was blatant enough that as a kid who loved the series, I recognized it.

Anonymous said...

That is a hall of fame-worthy cliffhanger chapter ending.

Anonymous said...

WTF, mate? This sounds like something straight out of a particularly coked-up anime.

Revengeofevan said...

So if it takes three hours to read and write an entry,Why it take 3 months for updates?

shouvik sarkar said...

you know what this review is rediculous! what do you complain about hah?the cover art?

then answer me kid-do you read goosebumps for cover art???

these are my words and i mean them-"all the books in goosebumps series 2000 have got better than the best stories"

the cover arts are given a beautiful 3d look which makes me feel even more better to collect these.


and this is to all those people who think that r.l.stine has written bad for 'series 2000' and good for 'goosebumps' let me tell you that any writer would always try to improve his quality of writing and not ruin it.


and those who said that they gave up collecting goosebumps due to one or may be two bad stories i would simply ask them-do you call yourself enthusiasts?



and for troy- do you know how much hardwork it needs to make a simple cover art?
think about it always before criticising someones hard work.



and i dont think true fans really care about the tagline!!!



the final thing i want to declare is that this blog completely sucks!!!!!!!!!!!!!!1

Anonymous said...

i agree with the comment above. But I actually do love your blogs. don't hate me people or troy.

Anonymous said...

...a third and two thirds?

Anonymous said...

Troy, I love your blog and I've been reading it for a few months now. And guess what? I'm from Portugal! You've got a portuguese reader, how cool is that? And I couldn't believe when you posted that entry today about your other blog (shuelogy) - YOU'RE ALIVE!! YAY!!! Anyway, I just wanted to ask you how long this hiatus is going to take, because I'm looking forward to your reviews on the horrorland ones... Love your work, man! Thank you!
PS: I'm 17

Anonymous said...

So, Troy... how long is this hiatus going to take?? Could you answer my question? Thank you

Anonymous said...

The tv episode is so differnet. There is no cat tornado and there is no wrong cat house and Alison is a movie star filming a movie called Cry of the cat. I say all of you who are scared of weird deformed things popping up do NOT watch the tv episode.

Anonymous said...

Wait, they made episodes of the 2000's series?

Harry Manback said...

Oh wow. Just... holy shit. I laughed pretty hard at some of the regular-series entries, but this is just whole-new-level shit right here. I think I was already laughing harder in the first paragraph of the synopsis ("Elements such as [...] tornadoes made of cats") than I have at anything online in some time. And it only got better from there. The VCR blog? I can't believe you went out of your way to make that, I got a few sentences in before I realized it was BS and looked at the author. And man, even the comments in this one are classic. Can't wait to read the rest. Man, now that Shueology is on hiatus, hopefully you'll come back in time for me to be an impatient asshole between new posts like the rest of your loyal following?

Anonymous said...

Benny here. I have just came here to announce that for christmas i have gotten 23 out of the 25 Goosebumps 2000 book. All except for #4 and 21. I Have read 4 so far. And that is a low for me. Its not that I dont like them. Its just that i dont know which one to read next. Their all really strange but ive got to say I love #18 Horrors of the black ring,but its so short though:(. And since i have them all i will be reporting on each and everyone of them. I recently bought number 4 beacuse i cant read five without it. As for number 21 it probably hasnt come yet. But if it doesent i'll have to go and buy it. By the way was that your favorite one. The thing is is that i have read #21 but do not own it beacuse it belongs to the public Library. Sadly it is the only goosebumps 2000 book there. Oh and one more thing ARE YOU STILL ALIVE.

Anonymous said...

Who would have thought someone would've seen the whole concept of a tornado made of animals and thought, "Hey, that would make for an awesome movie, but how about we spice it up with some sharks!"

Nia Ariel said...

Not sure which was worse, this book, or the TV episode.

Anonymous said...

If only this were written in 2013, then we could've had Sharknado references up the wazoo! (Seriously though I have to wonder where the SciFi people got the idea from...)

Anonymous said...

Troy,you are being a little harsh on R.L Stine honestlly,I think the bad quality of the goosebumps series was mostly because editors couldn't decide between scary and funny. And now it looks like their trying to"scare" kids by going for the disgust factor. Also Troy while I am sure you have your reasons for taking so long please UPDATE.

Cyberchao X said...

Yeah, my thoughts exactly. We could have "Oh, cool, I read Cry of the Cat too" in a Sharknado review. Wait, let me go back over that again. This book actually may have inspired something.