Sunday, December 06, 2009

Series 2000 #21 the Haunted Car



Goosebumps Series 2000 21: the Haunted Car

Front Tagline:
Ghosts, start your engines! (What.)

Brief Summary
Mitchell is a bit of a car fanatic. The shelves in his room hold multiple model cars, racing posters adorn his wall, and he once even mistakenly rented Separate Tables. Mitchell is such a neutral when it comes to the automobiles that he claims he can identify any car just by closing his eyes and listening, a skill he brags about picking up from reading a lot of car magazines. I'm sure the editor of Shiny Bikini Babes Leaning Against Cars Magazine feels pretty validated for running that monthly Sputter Sputter Pop Vroooom Pop Vroooom Swishhhhhhhhhh Swishhhhhhhh Swishhhhhhh Vroooooooooom column now.

Unfortunately, all the car knowledge in the world fails to prepare Mitchell for being a character in a Goosebumps book and he is tricked by his seven year old brother, Todd, into thinking a bag of laundry is a ghost. Todd is convinced that ghosts exist, and Mitchell is convinced that ghost cars probably don't make noises he can identify with his eyes closed so why even bother considering their existence. Suddenly, the two boys hear a crash from the basement. It doesn't sound like any car Mitchell's ever read about, so the two go down to investigate. The origin of the noise in the basement was indeed not car-related, so I don't even know why I'm bothering to relay it. Nevertheless, a poorly-constructed bookcase their amateur handyman father built had collapsed. Todd insists ghosts were behind the damage, but their father disagrees, as he knows it's the poor craftsman who blames his ghouls.

Mitchell's dad announces a trip to the hardware store, which means Mitchell and his brother get to ride in the flyest hoopty on the block: Their dad's "puke green" '85 LaBaron. Clearly the trio are in for a spooky trip to the hardware store, as stormclouds ominously begin to permeate the skies. While the damp weather may hamper Todd's plan of suggesting their father ghostride the whip on the way, the jaunt is not entirely uneventful: The brakes go out and the car rams into a tree. Like most who experience a horrendous Crash, the response of Mitchell's father is to vomit. Mitchell smartly waits until about twenty seconds have passed before he pesters his father about getting a new set of wheels.

Mitchell spots a totally awesome classified ad for a car with no model or manufacturer name. He thinks it sounds great even though it is literally the only car in the entire book to not be labeled by model and manufacturer. His reasoning for being smitten with the write-up is basically one step above the stereotype of the teenage girl who goes to a car lot and picks out her ride based on the color. Plus, how can Mitchell possibly gauge how good of a car it is without closing his eyes and hearing it first?

Mitchell and his father go to see the advertised car. The seller, Mr. Douglas, who is dressed like a train conductor, interrupts his breakfast to show his visitors the car. The amazing white sportscar is locked in the garage behind six padlocks. Mr. Douglas claims the extra precautions are due to the bad neighborhood, but it's not like the retiree doesn't have the time to devote to Gran Torino-ing the 'hood. What else has he got to do to pass the time besides age?

Mr. Douglas giddily shows off the sports car. Mitchell thinks the blue auto looks like a Corvette, only with twice as many seats and without the hassle of being a totally awesome Corvette. Father and son admire the car, which appears flawless. The vehicle has less than a thousand miles. Surely there must be something wrong with the car for this shifty man to be so insistent on selling it. But since Mr. Douglas tells them there's nothing wrong with it, they believe him. Because who is more trustworthy than someone trying to sell you a car?

Mr. Douglas insists the two go for a test drive. However, the old man refuses to ride along, as he hasn't finished his breakfast. Yet the two don't get very suspicious when the man just stands still as a statue on the front lawn, watching them drive around in the car. They're even less suspicious when the man reveals another twist: If they buy the car, they have to take it with them right away. And then the car cost five thousand dollars. It's a good price and while the man is "one weird dude," to quote Mitchell, they take the bait regardless. While Mr. Douglas goes inside to get the bill of sale and title ready, Mitchell does cartwheels on his front lawn. I guess the neighborhood wasn't quite dangerous enough.

That night, Mitchell can barely get through dinner without talking about the car. His parents bar him from even mentioning the car due to the fact that he has homework due. They don't buy that his math teacher assigned him slope-interecept problems that can only be solved by plugging in for X and Y while sitting in a car either. Nevertheless, Mitchell decides to sneak out to the car anyways. He figures no harm can come from sitting in a motionless car, and in any other book series, he'd be right. But this kid goes and gets himself locked in the car. Oh and the car talks to him or something.

A mysterious waif happens along and lets Mitchell out of the locked car. Marissa Medding, the girl, claims she just moved in the neighborhood and ominously points to the requisite Old Abandoned House as her new digs. Then Todd comes out and glitches the Girl Talk by blackmailing Mitchell into letting him sample the car. After much arguing and Marissa-disappearing, the two brothers reluctantly head back into the house, where the two then confuse their dad getting electrocuted for a ghost.

That night, Mitchell dreams about the car. He then takes a quick break to wake up, note that he dreamt about the car, and then go back to dreaming some more about the car. He also dreams that Marissa goads him into crashing the new car. Todd sagely interprets his brother's dream to be a sign the next morning. Well, it was already a sigh on my part, so he's close.

Despite the nefarious dream and strange locking of the previous night, Mitchell still harbors his auto-erotic fixation. He goads his father into going for another nighttime ride, this time to buy some milk. But this brief trip does not do a body good. On the way back, torrential rain begins to fall. Unfortunately Mitchell's father can't find the button to turn on the windshield wipers. He directs his son to look for the car's manual in the glove compartment. But the glove compartment is empty except for a single sheet of paper with two words written on it:
I'M EVIL
Mitchell is terrified, but, like, who cares if a piece of paper is evil?

The next night, Mitchell's friends Steve and Allan come to visit. I guess his friends Ed and Sullivan were unavailable. The two convince Mitchell to show them the new car with little to no prompting. Todd tags along and all four pile into the car, shut the doors behind them, and whaddaya know, the doors lock again. Suddenly the interior of the car gets colder. The boys can see their breath and the windows begin to frost. Stine shows remarkable restraint here. I mean, there's no "We know you said your new car was cool, Mitchell, but this is ridiculous!" No "I know we came over here to chill, Mitchell, but this is ridiculous!" No "I asked for them in my grocer's freezer, Mitchell, not a roadster's freezer!" Perhaps if the boys had come closer to death inside the icy car we'd have been treated to a pun. Marissa, exhibiting the most convenient of timings yet again, pops up and opens the car door-- but not before Mitchell hears the faint sound of a girl laughing. Todd runs inside to warm up and his two friends leave, convinced that Mitchell was playing a mean trick on them involving the air conditioner. Marissa expresses exaggerated concern over the danger of faulty car locks.

Todd wakes Mitchell up from a dream about, let's assume, cars, to tell him that the car is haunted. Mitchell tells him he's crazy and to go back to bed. Giving it some thought, Mitchell then goes down to investigate if the car is haunted. It's haunted. Mitchell shows little apparition, as when a girl's voice tells him to climb inside the car yet again, he does. In a familiar act, the car locks and drives off with him inside. There's little joy to be found in this ride, as the ghostly car with a girl's voice drives poor Mitchell onto the railroad tracks. The train narrowly misses hitting the car and the girl's voice laughs menacingly. Mitchell continues to go where the spirit moves him, all the while begging her to stop. I don't know what he specter to do, but she merely replies to all his pleas with "I'm so evil." This Ghostmusters very little else in response, but before I can come up with another ghost pun, the car poltergeists home.

Mitchell's dad is furious when he sees his son pull into the driveway, as he hates oil stains. Also the whole 12-year-old stealing a car thing. Mitchell's dad grabs his arm and violently pulls him from the car when he returns from his phantasm voyage. He continues to take thing a shade too far and squeezes his son's arm hard while laying into him for the theft. Before he can face more of his father's wraith, Marissa pops up again and tries to smooth things over with Mitchell's parents. But they simply can't phantom what possessed their son to do such a Okay, I've run out of ghost puns.

Mitchell tells his parents that the car is haunted. They don't believe him enough and Marissa believes him too much. Mitchell gets grounded for life and there's no Uncle Eddie-style silver lining to the whole thing. He mopes around the house for a while before Todd drops the bombshell: Not only does he believe Mitchell's story about the car being haunted, but he knows who the ghost is: Marissa. Mitchell is somehow shocked at this news. People who've never even heard of a book had this figured out before Mitchell.

Mitchell thinks Todd is crazy and to prove it he calls Marissa's house. But the operator can find no listing for the Meddings! Oh my God, does this mean that every person with an unlisted number is secretly a ghost?

____________________


Mitchell and Todd sneak across the street to peek into the Old Abandoned House and discover it is old, abandoned, and a house. But there aren't any Marissa ghosts hanging around. Mitchell decides he'll pay Mr. Douglas, the car's original owner, a visit. Upon seeing the boy at his door, Mr. Douglas insists that he's very busy doing nothing and can't be interrupted. Before he can close the door though, Mitchell sees a picture in his living room. It's of Marissa, with the words "In Loving Memory" written on the frame. I don't know why this is a shock, I thought it was already well-established that Mr. Douglas has a hard time letting go of things that happened in the past.

Mitchell chooses dinner time to tell his parents the big news. But they're more interested in pizza than the ghosts their son has apparently seen. This is actually more Qustionable Son-ing than anything, because hello, pizza time. Mitchell gets sent up to his room to eat his pizza alone. As though one could ever be alone when they're with pizza. But this coupling soon turns into a ménage à trois when the phone rings and who do you think is on the other line. No, not more pizza, it's Marissa. Mitchell tells her he knows her big secret and she demands to know what he's going to do with it. Eat it, he says. No, not the pizza, she says, the secret. He hadn't thought far enough beyond the pizza and hangs up on her.

After pizza time draws to a close, Mitchell's entire family informs him that they're getting picked up to enchant sick Cousin Ella with a visit and he's not invited. That's right, he's all alone with the haunted car in the driveway. So, here's a thought: If you're scared of the car in the driveway, stay upstairs. But man, this kid doesn't even wait until the family's ride pulls out before climbing into the haunted car. The car locks behind him. The interior lights come on. He's not alone inside.

A blonde girl is in the passenger seat, wearing all black. He assumes it's Marissa. The blonde figure has taken the form of a rapidly decaying ghost, described in disgusting detail that I'll not relay here. Ugly deady tells Mitchell she's evil some more times in case he forgot and then sends the car rapidly careening down the city streets. The ghost transforms into a vapor and wafts into the car, speaking to Mitchell from the speakers. She tells him that she died in this car and now it was his turn. She was only fourteen when she took the car on a joyride and died in a crash. Ever since, she's been lonely and desperately wants some company. Mitchell, far from being flattered, continues to beg her to take him home. She agrees, as he can just as easily die in front of his house. She causes the engine to rev up and the car careens forward. Mitchell can tell that she intends to crash the car through the living room. As the car gets closer though, both can tell something is happening in front of the house and the car slows down.

Orange flames have engulfed the house. Mitchell gleefully tells the ghost that if it hadn't been for her kidnapping him, he'd have died in the fire. Praise be to ghost a bad thing, as she materializes and howls in anger. She accidentally did good, not evil, and will now be punished in the afterworld. She then tears herself apart. Really. It's gross. His parents run up to the car and pluck him from the vehicle. He tells them all about how the ghost saved his life. They don't believe him, but they're sure glad their son is a recalcitrant repeat offender.

But the Twist is
Todd asks Mitchell if the ghost was Marissa and he tells her that of course it was. Then he sees Marissa, standing on the front lawn. He yells at her for being evil and a ghost and not pizza until she grabs him by the arm like a rag doll and forces him to follow her away from the crowds of people.

It dawns on Mitchell that perhaps ghosts can't grab humans. Marissa reveals that the ghost was her evil twin sister, Becka. Marissa's father, Mr. Douglas, went sick with grief and wanted to be rid of the car his daughter died in as soon as possible. One afternoon while hanging around the empty car in the garage, the decaying ghost of her sister appeared to her and laid out the whole scheme. Marissa tells the hurt Mitchell that she tried to figure out how to tell him and that once he said on the phone that he knew what was going on, she didn't have to drop the g-bomb. Marissa starts crying and Mitchell tells her how her sister accidentally saved his life. She smiles a little and he tells her he's lost interest in cars.

the Platonic Boy-Girl Relationship
Mitchell and the conveniently-located Marissa, who appears halfway thru every crisis in the book.

Questionable Parenting
Fantasy child abuse, meet real child abuse. With all the aggressive arm grabbing on display here, it felt a little bit like a child's novelization of the Haunted Career.

Oh cool
I've read Christine too. Nah, not really.

Know Your Audience Alert
Todd crosses his arms over his X-Files t-shirt and ominously proclaims that "The truth is out there."

RL Stine Shows He's Down With the Kids
Mitchell sits transfixed in the passenger seat while his father demonstrates how power steering works.

Late 90s Cultural References
You Don't Know Jack, The X-Files, haunted cars

Memorable Cliffhanger Chapter Ending
Ch. 11/12:
"I'M EVIL" ... "I'M EVIL"
Yeah, and repetitive.

Memorable Cliffhanger Chapter Ending
Ch. 11/12:
"I'M EVIL" ... "I'M EVIL"
Yeah, and repetitive.

Great Prose Alert
Our front lawn glistened wetly.

Conclusions
Even though it took me forever to get around to writing this update, this is the best entry in the Series 2000 line yet. Oh man, Laffy Taffy time:
Q: Since it seems that ghost stories are the only thing Stine writes well, why aren't all of the Goosebumps books about ghosts?
A: BECAUSE HE'S AFRAID OF BEING LABELED A GHOSTWRITER

88 comments:

Ken said...

Troy, I love you man. This did not disappoint. Ah. The world is right again.

Anonymous said...

i'm so happy to have this back, but i have a question: Are we ever going to see the last tales to give yourself goosebumps? I only ask because i loved that one (spirit of the harvest moon <3)

Justin said...

Mitchell seems awfully unconcerned that the universe is trying so hard to kill him, it interferes with itself.

Christopher said...

YES. Thanks for the awesome update!

Anonymous said...

You've still got it. Thank you, Troy.

morbidiculous said...

It's either an early Christmas present or a late inversed Black Friday spree. It could be a coincidence, too, but they almost never crop up.

About the fire Mitchell missed his appointment with: was there a valid reason the house was on fire or was it just a random act of plot resolution? :/

Elizabeth said...

Yay!

Nummysammich said...

Yes! An update! This made my entire month! Thanks Troy!

Anonymous said...

I think you overdid yourself, Troy. I've only had more fun during the 'stelks' one, but this one was so much fun that I can't wait for more.

J_S_P said...

Dear God, Troy.

Between Uncle Eddie and THEN THE CAR COST FIVE THOUSAND DOLLARS, I love you.

You're forgiven.

For a week.

DarkfireTaimatsu said...

I haven't decided if this is an early Decemberween gift, or a rather late Halloween treat. Either way, Troy does it again.

Incidentally, this entry is now my number one resource for ghost puns.

Groggy Dundee said...

Jeez, Troy, all those cold puns and no reference to Mr. Freeze? For shame.

Anyway, thanks a lot for this. Not your absolute best work but a real treat in the middle of studying for finals.

Ruslana said...

I've been checking this blog at 7 in the morning every day for a few months now.

THANK YOU TROY STEELE.

troy steele said...

You're all welcome! I had fun writing this one, hopefully this is the start of a more regular schedule

And Morbidiculous: It was an electrical fire. The father is a bad electrician, which runs throughout the book. I guess I missed an opportunity for Tim "the Toolman" Taylor jokes by glossing over this, but such is life

Elizabeth said...

Troy, THANK YOU for calling that movie, Crash, "horrendous". It annoys me when people act like that's the greatest, most important movie in recent history. I had to sit through it in a class at college.

Flo said...

I love you a little for updating, and a lot for ghost puns.

Zenuk said...

Great entry. These puns are 'driving' me crazy. I tried.

troy steele said...

Not bad. There's some 'vrooom' for improvement, of course

C.L. Young said...

Really, Troy? You thought "The Haunted Car" was the best G2K (Goosebumps 2000) story? Because you should have branded it a kiddie knock-off of "Christine" in the actual summary (none of that "Oh, cool, I read/saw/heard of" crap--it wasn't funny the first time around, it ain't funny now).

You didn't point out that the car featured in the book has no comparison with any real-life car. In the book, the haunted car is described as a silver-blue sports car similar to a Corvette, which is impossible because a Corvette is a coupe rather than a sports sedan. Really? Frankly I would have expected more from the man/woman/child who found plotholes in "Phantom of the Auditorium" (one of my personal favorite Goosebumps books, in case you friggin' care), but this goes to show that you'd rather fall back on stupid catchphrases and tired gags than provide any real, biting humor. If I wanted that, I would have watched "The Simpsons" after season nine.

And really, Troy, kids can't have interests in cars (re: "R.L. Gets Down With the Kids")? When was that a crime? Do I need to remind you that this was back before kids had some semblance of interest in things that weren't computer-related or related to being a bunch of shallow whores and douchebags?

And you mentioned NOTHING about the continuity error of the ghost being related to the sister, despite having two different last names? Maybe it has a logical explanation, but you're a snarky blogger. You're supposed to tear this a new "A" and then some. I guess I should have known you lost your edge when you did that godawful review for "Be Afraid -- Be Very Afraid." Wait, lemme rephrase that: You NEVER had an edge to begin with.

You want a tl;dr (too long; didn't read) version: I hated this update, I hate your blog, and consider this my last time posting her.

Up yours!

Author and Filmmaker said...

Very poignant, C.L. Young. This just proves that every person who writes with just their two front initials cannot write coherently or in a clever manner. (J.K. Rowling excluded)
So, in Troy's defense, I would like to say that if you hate this blog, why do you take the time to read updates and comment on them? You said yourself that he never had an edge, implying that you've been reading this blog for some time. Why did you even take the effort to write this up if you hate the blog? You can bitch about it on Little Snarky Two Shoes.
Late updates are just so much sweeter.
Also, what was that about lame old gags? The only repeat gag I caught was the car wash. You know why he repeats it? BECAUSE PEOPLE LOVE RUNNING GAGS.
So, in conclusion, I would say up yours, but since you've already proven that you have no brain, why should I assume you have an ass as well?
P.S. The Simpsons didn't get tired until Season Fourteen.

Chad Walters said...

It's always good to see a new review! My favorite parts were all the ghost puns, "AND THEN THE CAR COST FIVE THOUSAND DOLLARS", and "Nah, not really".

Speaking of which, I *have* read Christine (3/5 of it, anyway), and you're not missing a thing.

Jenn said...

Whew. Hello, rude.

I personally loved this update. Totally worth the wait, and I'd be willing to wait what ever length of time until the next one. The edge is still there, for sure. Keep up the good work!

J_S_P said...

I really need realism in my Goosebumps books,

Regular schedule? Don't tease!

Tayyab said...

Troy, so what are going to do next? Choose one:

Full Moon Fever
More Tales to Give You Goosebumps
Triple Header Book 1

Tayyab said...

I just found an interesting thing!

http://www.scholastic.ca/goosebumps/books/stine/writeown.htm

It's "How to Write Your Own Give Yourself Goosebumps Books".

Author and Filmmaker said...

I think most people on here have been on the official Scholastic site enough to see that. Points for trying.

Mishmash said...

Back in good shape, my good sir.

Thank you oh so kindly.

Mishmash said...

Oh, and to cl young: Evidently there's already something up yours.

Anonymous said...

Nice link, Tayyab. Check out these astonishing twists from the mind of R.L. Stine.

"You think the big dragon is bad, BUT he is actually the good guy.
You think you are never going to get out of a situation, BUT then you realize it was all a bad dream."

Genius!

(P.S. I'm well aware he's toning it down for the 9-12 audience.)

Anonymous said...

"The next night, Mitchell's friends Steve and Allan come to visit. I guess his friends Ed and Sullivan were unavailable."

It would have been funnier if you said "His friends Jack and Benny" instead.

Zach said...

Thank you, Troy! This was wonderful...great to have you back, man

Anonymous said...

Benny would have been a great opportunity for a "WA-PAH!" joke. A joke-within-a-joke is apparently too far out of Troy's mental capacity.

troy steele said...

To be fair, none of the Steve Allen references are funny, including mine

Tayyab said...

When is the next review coming?

Celtic Guardian 7 said...

Geez, I didn't even see this until I posted my remark in the previous one. I'm six days late, for shame!

Epic entry is epic. Mitchell may be the dumbest protagonist in the series though. Either that or he has a death wish if he keeps getting into a car that he knows is haunted and EVIL.

Can't wait for more!

Mishmash said...

@tayyab: Don't ask. It's for your own good.

Anonymous said...

Well worth the wait, Troy. As a huge Stephen King fan, I would rate Christine a 9/10. I remember thinking of The Haunted Car when I first read that book and how certain parts were ripped off of it.

The part about people who have never heard of a book seeing that plot twist was great.

Hodgepodge said...

Your checklist, Troy:

1. Hyperlink the Haunted Car entry.

2. Finish off the final Tales to Give You Goosebumps entry (Just pretend it's summer for now and you'll definitely get it)

3. Start on some Give Yourself Goosebumps books to get your stressed-out mind out of the 2000 series. I cannot guarantee that the GYG series will be any less gyrating on one's sanity, but they are still pretty fun to read, if for nothing else than the whole choose-your-own-adventure aspect of it. I haven't read all of them, but some of the ones I have read have endings ranging from deficient to positively eerie (a grandma that will either eat your knees or turn into a werewolf in "Under the Magician's Spell". There's no way out of that once you've visited her, it's creepy!) I'm sure you'll find a way to present those entries. Of course, if you find that you'll need help...well...I can't promise much, but...

Elizabeth said...

Troy, this is off-topic, but I've been meaning to ask: what made "Please Don't Feed The Bears" (from one of the "Tales" books) so bad that you couldn't summarize it?

Mishmash said...

@Elizabeth: there is like an entry in wikipedia or something that does summarize what happens in the teddy bear story...though you really don't want to know what happens in there. It really illustrates the whole demonic aspect of the typical cutesy characters that we're finally beginning to see in the deconstructions of cartoon characters such as, but not limited to, Mickey Mouse.

Groggy Dundee said...

It's dumb beyond belief. If you really want a plot summary I could provide it.

Elizabeth said...

I read it several years ago but don't remember it all. *spoilers* Didn't it end with the older sister starting to like the bear theme park after she ate some magic cookies?

Author and Filmmaker said...

"Don't Feed the Bears," I thought, was kind of a retread on "Teddy." Neither worked well.

Catbread said...

I always believed in my heart that you would return.

Nick S. said...

"... and consider this my last time posting her."

Ooh, is that what they're calling it these days?

Groggy Dundee said...

She started to like it after her YOUNGER sister started to eat the cookies.

Christian said...

Troy, in honor of your return, and the holidays, I've decided to compose a special song: "The Twelve Days of Goosebumps." C'mon, everyone! Type your favorite Blogger Beware references, and we'll have us a wonderful wassail!

I've the first verse:

"On the first day of Christmas,
R.L. Stine gave to me,
One character in a minority!"

Someone, take up the torch! We've got eleven days to fill!

So good to have you back, Troy.

Anonymous said...

On the second day of Christmas,
R.L. Stine gave to me,
Two redundant sequels
And one character in a minority!

Author and Filmmaker said...

On the third day of Christmas, R.L. Stine gave to me...
Three shitty cliffhangers
Two redundant sequels
And a character in a minority!

forgotten sin said...

On the third day of Christmas
R.L Stine gave to me
Three decent ghost tales
Two redundant sequels
And one character in a minority!

morbidiculous said...

On the fourth day of Christmas, R.L Stine gave to me
Four recycled Hannahs
Three decent ghost tales
Two redundant sequels
And one character in a minority!

Hehe, cue car wash.

Anonymous said...

I vote to keep "three decent ghost tales," since that's about how many decent ghost tales there were, compared to dozens of terrible cliffhangers.

Groggy Dundee said...

On the fifth day of Christmas, R.L Stine gave to me

Five dollar car wash!
Four recycled Hannahs
Three decent ghost tales
Two redundant sequels
And one character in a minority!

Anonymous said...

On the (??) day of Christmas R.L. Stine gave to me:

Six surplus werewolves
Five dollar car wash!
Four recycled Hannahs
Three decent ghost tales
Two redundant sequels
And one character in a minority!

Elizabeth said...

Seven or eight (whichever I am) ventriloquism-loving kids!

Six surplus werewolves
Five dollar car wash!
Four recycled Hannahs
Three decent ghost tales
Two redundant sequels
And one character in a minority!

troy steele said...

My readers rule so hard

forgotten sin said...

Eight 90's references
Seven ventriloquism-loving kids
Six surplus werewolves
Five dollar car wash!
Four recycled Hannahs
Three decent ghost tales
Two redundant sequels
And one character in a minority!

Author and Filmmaker said...

On the ninth day of Christmas R.L. Stine gave to me,
Nine great short stories
Eight 90's references
Seven ventriloquism-loving kids
Six surplus werewolves
Five dollar car wash!
Four recycled Hannahs
Three decent ghost tales
Two redundant sequels
And a character in a minority!

troy steele said...

//Nine great short stories//

[citation needed]

Millie said...

OK, I went through the reviews for the "Tales to Give You Goosebumps" series and found nine short stories that Troy listed as halfway decent:

Broken Dolls
The Thumbprint of Doom
The Goblin's Glare
Bats About Bats
Don't Sit on the Gronk
Nutcracker Nightmare
Holly Jolly Holiday
Why I Hate Jack Frost
Marshmallow Surprise

It's telling that half of those were from the Christmas-themed one, but still, that's nine!!

On the tenth day of Christmas R.L. Stine gave to me:

Ten questionable parents
Nine OK short stories
Eight 90's references
Seven ventriloquism-loving kids
Six surplus werewolves
Five dollar car wash!
Four recycled Hannahs
Three decent ghost tales
Two redundant sequels
And a character in a minority!

forgotten sin said...

Eleven acts of cruelty
Ten questionable parents
Nine OK short stories
Eight 90's references
Seven ventriloquism-loving kids
Six surplus werewolves
Five dollar car wash!
Four recycled Hannahs
Three decent ghost tales
Two redundant sequels
And a character in a minority!

Anonymous said...

Twelve pints of vomit
Eleven acts of cruelty
Ten questionable parents
Nine OK short stories
Eight 90's references
Seven ventriloquism-loving kids
Six surplus werewolves
Five dollar car wash!
Four recycled Hannahs
Three decent ghost tales
Two redundant sequels
And a character in a minority!

All done!!

Elizabeth said...

'Twas the night before Christmas

When, all through the house

Not a creature was stirring

Not even a Gronk that you aren't supposed to take outside, bounce, or sit on

Christian said...

Matt Amsterdam was nestled all snug in the guest bed,
With visions of stupid alternate realities dancing in his head.

Author and Filmmaker said...

Justifying my decision is that if Troy rated them well, then they're great compared to a lot of the full-length books.

The kids were in bed, images of werewolves and haunted masks dancing in their heads.

Mother in her kerchief and I in my scientist's outfit, had just settled down leaving the kids to entertain themselves in a wholly new town.

Elizabeth said...

"images of werewolves and haunted masks dancing in their heads" <-- That reminds me of the scene in the Haunted Mask TV episode, when the mask is following Carly Beth in the woods.

Tayyab said...

Amazon has created a link of "looking inside" "When the Ghost Dog Howls" already! It's surprising, considering that the book will be released at least a week later. Here's the link to the "When the Ghost Dog Howls" Amazon page:
http://www.amazon.com/When-Ghost-Howls-Goosebumps-HorrorLand/dp/0545161940/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1261473839&sr=8-1

Anonymous said...

Why is the back cover of the new Goosebumps HorrorLand book promoting EnterHorrorLand.com when they've killed the site and redirected it to a Scholastic page?

tj said...

While we are on the subject of Horrorland. What did you guys think of the series overall? Here's what I think of each book:

Revenge Of The Living Dummy: Horrible

Creep From The Deep: OK

Monster Blood For Breakfast: Best Monster Blood book ever,good.

Scream Of The Haunted Mask: Good

Dr.Manic VS Robbie Schwartz: Good,better then Attack Of The Mutant

Who's Your Mummy: Good,but the fact that the mummy uncle eats hair made it shitty.


My Friends Call Me Monster: AWESOME

Say Cheese and Die Screaming: Decent

Welcome To Camp Slither: Good

Help We Have Strange Powers: Great

Escape Hororland: Haven't read It Yet.


Streets Of Panic Park: FUCKING AWESOME!

Author and Filmmaker said...

Revenge of the Living Dummy: Slappy Shit.
Creep from the Deep: Somewhat redeemed Deep Trouble II while shaming the original.
Monster Blood for Breakfast: Superior Monster Blood book, introducing the second most-annoying Monster Blood character.
Scream of the Haunted Mask: Slow, but better near the end.
Dr. Maniac vs. Robby Schwartz: Enters "superior" realm when you figure out the series is spoofing itself halfway through.
Who's Your Mummy: Tedious.
My Friends Call Me Monster: At the same time homage, satire, and redux of corny 50s alien invasion movies, sheer brilliance from this series.
Say Cheese and Die Screaming: I almost forgot this book exists.
Welcome to Camp Slither: Mad scientists + summer camp means that this series is far from taking itself seriously and allows us to enjoy the book far more.
Help! We Have Strange Powers: Forget spoofing, this is full-on cheesiness. Unfortunately the cop-outs throughout drive it back from being a stand-out entry. All right, but not separating from the pack.
Escape from HorrorLand: I was pleasantly surprised with this entry, it actually excited me to see everyone working together, meeting their past terrors, etc.
Streets of Panic Park: You can tell Stine has a propensity for 50s B-movies. It's still an above-par entry and appropriate close for the first arc.

sabrina_diamond said...

On the thirteenth day of Christmas RL Stine gave to me:

Thirteen reader bewares
Twelve pints of throw-up
Eleven acts of cruelty
Ten questionable parents
Nine OK short stories
Eight 90's references
Seven ventriloquism-loving kids
Six surplus werewolves
Five dollar car wash!
Four Hannahs
Three decent ghost tales
Two redundant sequels
And a character in a minority!

I really liked that summary Steele, and my favourite scene was when the car kept saying it's evil and I really do think the protagonist got almost brainwashed xD.

Are you going to do the Escape to Horrorland series after this? As well as the Midnight Hour book series? The Midnight Hour book series were the only stories which scared me

Anonymous said...

Oh good, I enjoy lists and reviewing. The following assessments don't include the "HorrorLand" segment:
Revenge Of The Living Dummy: Mediocre. Pretty much any other Slappy book.
Creep From The Deep: Just kinda strange. Not bad, but odd.
Monster Blood For Breakfast!: I see this as the "canonical" Monster Blood, but it's still bad.
The Scream Of The Haunted Mask: Amazingly good.
Dr. Maniac vs. Robby Schwartz: I agree, this becomes great and also slightly poignant when you realise that it's basically about R.L. Stine's childhood.
Who's Your Mummy?: Another strange book, but not really too bad, except for the gross-out that the plot hinges on.
My Friends Call Me Monster: I thought this one was terrible, actually.
Say Cheese - And Die Screaming!: As I think I said before, this book is great right until you get to the alligator skin.
Welcome To Camp Slither: Just kinda meh, really.
Help! We Have Strange Powers!: A bit all over the place; I wasn't too fond of it.
I find that how good a book is is generally in an inverse relationship to how good its HorrorLand segment is. #4's HorrorLand segment was pretty lame, for example, but #10 has a brilliant cliffhanger that's the best thing I've ever read in Goosebumps.
Escape From HorrorLand: This was okay.
The Streets Of Panic Park: So much wasted potential. Write books with more than 120 pages, R.L.!

Paigealicious! said...

"The next night, Mitchell's friends Steve and Allan come to visit. I guess his friends Ed and Sullivan were unavailable."

*dead*

bobs chilli said...

what was the best goosebumps cliffhanger anonymous?

deep_friar said...

Well-played sir. Brum just turned me on to the blog, look forward to seeing what you guys come up with.

tj said...

If you love this book so much,how come you didn't sound all that enthused in the "Brief Plot Synopsis"?

Anonymous said...

Favorite entry, hands down. I have a hard time picking a favorite part from this entry. Probably "Todd insists ghosts were behind the damage, but their father disagrees, as he knows it's the poor craftsman who blames his ghouls," but only because I'm a fool for malapropism.

I've been reading for about two weeks. . . and have almost caught up now. Well done, sir.

tj said...

How come Troy hasn't answered my question yet?

Elle said...

I read the book, but reading this was just so much sweeter. =D

cowlet said...

This is my favorite one I've read so far!, (what). Hilarious. Also, rollicking. I very nearly... GAVE UP THE GHOST.

p.s., Shout out to my peep, morbidiculous. ;D

Anon e Mouse Jr. said...

Little bit of trivia for this one... some years ago (back in '99, if my data is correct), I found an image of the front cover with a different tagline:

"She's a lean, mean, horror machine!"

Would this one be any better than the one they actually used? Or is it deserving of an even bigger "What."?

Until next time...

Anon e Mouse Jr.

Natasha said...

THE TRUE STORY OF STINE'S BOOKS
by fabulous miss Natasha

GRAND HORROR STORY COMPETITION!

Where: Somewhere
When: Whateva
Time: Blank


Stine saw the following (^) notice stapled on to a tree. (I dunno how to staple it on a tree either, so turn that inna nailed) He entered and the 'big' day came. The 'judges' came and blah blah blah, how d'ya written it, and whew... At last, they came to Stine's story. Eventually, the judges loved it (WHAT THE ****) and gave him first place.

Anonymous said...

Troy you doing Ghosts of Fear Street next?

Anonymous said...

"as he knows it's the poor craftsman who blames his ghouls."

Is this my reward for having read all of the entries to this point?

Anonymous said...

on the infinite day of christmas R.L. Stine gave to me

an infinite number of shitty/decent books
Thirteen reader bewares
Twelve pints of throw-up
Eleven acts of cruelty
Ten questionable parents
Nine OK short stories
Eight 90's references
Seven ventriloquism-loving kids
Six surplus werewolves
Five dollar car wash!
Four Hannahs
Three decent ghost tales
Two redundant sequels
And a character in a minority!

Groggy Dundee said...

I read this book over the weekend. Not bad, though I found it irritating in its following the Girl Who Cried Monster plot. Eg., if a haunted car repeatedly tries to kill you, why on Earth do you keep getting in it? The ending was pretty clever though.

Geddy said...

"Suddenly, the two boys hear a crash from the basement. It doesn't sound like any car Mitchell's ever read about, so the two go down to investigate"

And with that quote you're officially my hero.

Nyxthekingofthenight said...

About the horrorland books i agree with tj and a&f 100%.Some of the books did seem to be spoofing the sries and the chracters I lked were
Matt(needs to meet Andy in the inevitable next Monster Blood book.Now that I think about it Stine made Matt like the anti-Evan:Athletic ,popular in school,the person who is being annoyed rather than the annoying person,intelligent,leaderly,and I-kid-you-not buff).
Carly Beth:Every good series needs a strong female protagonist and C.B. delivers.She acts like an actual human being and she is the only character to experience character development in this series.
Micheal:Has the same attributes as Matt but a different personality.Also he is part monster,which is awesome)
Lizzy:She goes into an evil,murderous theme park to save 14 random strangers.Most chracters in these books are wimps but not her.Also her character undergoes chracter development between the books she stars in.Shitty character development is still character development.)
Abby:(Same as Carly but still good)
Note:All of these characters get watered down personalities 3 books after their initial appearance in Horrorland.
I know i'm like a year late but I saw this and felt like commenting .
Also,Wheres the update?

11/19/12