Sunday, October 03, 2010

Series 2000 #23 Slappy's Nightmare



Goosebumps Series 2000 23 Slappy's Nightmare

Front Tagline: Sweet Screams!

Brief Synopsis:
The book begins with a depiction of a rowdy theatre audience "eager" for ventriloquism, so already this is one of the more fantastical Goosebumps adventures. A dummist with the unlikely name of Jimmy O'James attempts to share his ventriloquy with the audience, but wouldn't you know it, his dummy Slappy interferes with the ventriloquist's plans for boring the audience by entertaining them with insults, threats, and physical violence. Slappy has lots of gross and insulting things to lob at the kids in attendance and the audience members are more than willing to lend him their ear. Literally. Slappy bites into a child's ear mid-performance and refuses to let go for several paragraphs as the child howls out in pain. When Slappy finally lets the kid's ear go, the child slumps down onto the stage in an unconscious heap. Then Slappy, who's being led offstage by Jimmy, leaves the audience with a siren song of his own: A screeching whistle that leaves all other kids in attendance clutching their heads in agony, with one girl crying out
"It feels like there's a knife in my ears!"
Hey, enjoy the free WAVVES concert, kid.

Backstage, Jimmy O'James raises a good point unanswered by this book: Why would Slappy sabotage the reputation of his only outlet for exposure? Slappy argues that his new brand of cartoonish offensiveness and contempt for the audience will be revolutionary, and O'James reminds him that the world already has one Sarah Silverman too many. Slappy tries to come up with a new unfunny way to say someone is ugly before being alerted by O'James to the small wooden box in the dressing room. Slappy opens the carton to reveal a doll identical to himself. Slappy then actually gives a compliment-- to himself, for looking so good. O'James tells Slappy that he went to the same evil toy maker who created him and got another doll named Wally. Because when you're stuck with one horrible thing, a good solution is to double it. O'James reveals that the evil sorcerer / toy maker / other ridiculous identifier revealed how to channel Slappy's evil into another dummy.

Slappy doesn't like the sound of this siphoned sorcery and tears off Wally's head. He then tries to do the same to O'James before being rudely interrupted by a pair of sisters with the even unliklier surname of Boonshoft. Georgia Boonshoft is quite interested in O'James abilities, but her boor of a sister, Stella, has red hair, so of course she's a terrible human being. The two unpleasant girls trade insults so efficiently that they effectively render Slappy more redundant than any sorcerer's spell ever could. Jimmy excuses himself from their sniping and casts a spell on Slappy requiring him to commit three good deeds within a week or face death. He warns Slappy that he'll be watching and then gives the cursed doll to the two girls as a gift. Well, secret monitoring of two preteens by an entertainer can only turn out well.

If only the Biblical warning against casting girls before Stine had been heeded. Unfortunately, once again, the abusive doll is going to be placed in the hands of some young female victims. Only this time it's different, as he's going to be a better man. Yeah, I've seen this Tyler Perry movie and it doesn't end well (for the viewer, at least). Thankfully however, Slappy does not offer pandering relationship advice while dressed as an elderly black matron, but he does try his best to try his best.

His first attempt at a good deed finds him cleaning up Georgia's room while she sleeps. If kids don't want to clean their rooms in real life, why would they escape into a book that depicts such an action in great detail? And of course, after all of Slappy's hard work, he awakes to discover someone has undone his good deed and wrecked the place. Georgia of course blames Stella, who angrily denies having caused the damage. Slappy doesn't back off as easily, as he takes Stella aside and threatens her with a reverse-puppet:
"The next time you ruin my good deed, I'm going to stick my hand so far down your throat, you'll have splinters in your stomach!"
Stella runs to tell her mom. Slappy overreacts and resigns himself to having to kill all three now that his secret is out. Frailty, thy name is wooden. Fortunately, the parent in this book behaves the exact same way as every other parent in every other Goosebumps book, several of which Slappy himself should already be familiar with, and he is able to put his murder-spree on pause.

The next morning, Mrs. Boonshoft tells Georgia of poor Mrs. Kramer's daughter, Maggie, who is now confined to a wheelchair, and how much a ventriloquism show would cheer her up. With a subtlety befitting the family's namesake, Stine takes a plotline featuring a character in a wheelchair pretty much exactly where you'd expect. Maggie gets pushed down a hill and hits a van. Well, now disabled women are getting targeted. This is getting specific!

Even though she distracted by a squirrel, Stella insists Slappy must have pushed Maggie's wheelchair. Hey, I like watching some squirrels too



But even I don't such jump to such insane conclusions quite so freely. Slappy knows he didn't push the girl and decides that since Stella is trying to ruin his good deeds, he'll have to kill her. I know it's difficult to see the flaw in the logic here, but try.

Mrs. Boonshoft too is now convinced that Stella pushed the girl in the wheelchair, and around this point I realized that it's pretty hard to even figure which of the girls is the protagonist before it dawned on me that it's supposed to be the doll. Uh, if I wanted to sit through a work of fiction celebrating an insufferable asshole, I'd watch As Good As It Gets, and I would not watch As Good As It Gets.

Slappy enacts his devious plan to kill a preteen girl. He sneaks into Stella's room, only to be greeted with the swing of an axe across his head. Stella chops Slappy to splinters and the doll reacts by... waking up. That's right, this book has a dream sequence from a doll. ARE YOU FUCKING WHAT.-ING ME?

In a twist worthy of RL Stine, Slappy then enters Stella's room and is hit over the head with a metal baseball bat. I don't really know much about sports, but now that's what I call a Slam Dunk! Stella claims she thought the walking dummy was a burglar. What is a 20" burglar going to get away with besides shoes and any valuables left on the bottom shelf of bookcases? While the girls argue, Slappy debates whether or not killing Stella would take up too much time. Given that his track record with killing people still stands at zero, he's probably right to reconfigure his time management.

Slappy gets another chance to not kill Stella when Georgia takes him across the street to babysit two-year-old Robby. Later that night, Slappy overhears a strange sound from Robby's room and discovers his blanket tied around his neck. Slappy first pauses to delight in the infant's accidental strangulation, because it's been a couple pages since I've read something really horrible, then proceeds to do a good deed by untangling him. Slappy walks away knowing he finally did his first good deed. Unfortunately, when Robby's parents arrive home, they find their son hung up in the drapes. What personal issues was the author of this book working through, exactly?

Slappy, faced with sabotage yet again, tries to figure out why Stella is behaving like him. He admires her work, but reasons that it's not normal for a kid to act like an evil ventriloquist doll. I don't think this counts as an epiphany, because duh. Slappy reasons that yes, he does have to kill her so that he may live. After all:
Evil is live spelled backwards.
I don't think that counts either.

Slappy decides to smother Stella in her sleep. His plan is interrupted by the victim, who snaps a Polaroid of the dummy in action. Unfortunately the blurry photo looks like Slappy is at worst short-sheeting her bed. Stella freaks out and starts kicking Slappy all over the room as her sister and mother watch with a mixture of confusion and embarrassment.

Mrs. Boonshoft asks Georgia to lock Slappy in her closet, but Georgia reminds her mother that she's taking Slappy to school with her tomorrow. I've heard of Show and Tell, but Show Her Hell? Hahahhahahaa sorry, I let Slappy write that one for me. It's no worse than the over abundance and over indulgence of the jokes Georgia practices with her dummy, such as
Q: Why are you so bad?
A: Because I'm made of naughty pine!
That's so funny I forgot to Lagerstroemia.

Georgia is nervous about performing her act for her classmates during their lunch, as only last week the school jazz band received a great response at the same venue. A great response from middle schoolers to a jazz band during lunch has to be indifference, right? Also, how could something that could never exist get any response at all? Nevertheless, Georgia begins her act and receives mostly awkward silence from the eating audience. Slappy isn't really paying attention to Georgia even though her hand is inside him, as he's just spotted Stella's trademark purple hat and knows she's there to sabotage him yet again.

Slappy loses it and then loses Georgia's hand as he leaps off her and into the crowded lunchroom. This effectively freaks everyone out and the walking dummy pursues the purple-hatted figure only to discover that it's Wally, the identical dummy from earlier. Because a ventriloquist dummy and a twelve-year-old girl are roughly the same build. Also, the purple hat is definitely an additional faux pas, as Slappy/Wally are definitely not a Winter with that complexion, gurl!

Slappy and Wally start to argue in the lunchroom's kitchen, and Wally cops to all the nefarious deeds. He did it because he wanted to live. Slappy starts to reply with a biting comment about him being stupid or ugly or fat or Polish or a woman, but before he can get it out, Wally gets his anger out by slamming Slappy's head against the tile floor. Slappy evades his grasp and jumps up on-top of the stovetop and pushes a boiling pot of soup onto Wally. Wally writhes around in pain as the boiling concoction scalds him, which makes less sense the more you think about it, and if you think about it at all you've already devoted more time to the plot point than Stine.

Georgia runs into the kitchen and sees Slappy is alive. She steps between him and Wally and demands to know what's going on. Slappy responds by grabbing her midsection and hurling her into a wall. He then throws a vat of spaghetti at her. That's something less than amore.

Georgia finally stands up for herself and grabs each of the dolls. She carries them across the kitchen and throws them into the trash compactor. Now that's what I call taking out the evil ventriloquist dummies!

But the Twist is
Slappy wakes up. He is greeted at the airport by Jimmy O'James, who has with him Slappy's two children. Slappy spins the top on the kitchen counter and the book ends before the reader can discern whether it fell or kept spinning.

Speaking of Spinning
You can spin on my dick for ending a book with "It was all a doll's dream," whoever actually wrote this.

The Platonic Boy-Girl Relationship
There isn't any, because boys don't play with dolls, and any boys who read about dolls will turn gay halfway through the book.

(I kid, but I do wonder if the off-putting violence towards the female characters in the Slappy books is there to compensate for the lack of perceived masculine interest in books with no male characters. But, in that case, why not have Slappy's owners be occasionally male? Or would that screw up the next Mad Lib-crafted Slappy adventure?)

Questionable Parenting
Mrs. Boonshoft really took her husband's name?

Jessica Valenti Alert
Slappy attacks another female victim by telling her she's "hisssstory."

Not Worth the Wait Alert
http://www.bloggerbeware.com/2010/10/series-2000-23-slappys-nightmare.html

Memorable Cliffhanger Chapter Ending
Ch. 7/8:

Jimmy O'James tells the girls to wait outside his dressing room for a moment, as he has a big surprise for them. Really, the resolution of this being an evil doll is still something of a relief.

Great Prose Alert
The toy maker that made you was an evil sorcerer. There's no other way to describe him.

Conclusions
Slappy? More like crappy! I'VE STILL GOT IT, FOLKS!

111 comments:

Ahrimanius said...

Glad to see your back Troy I honestly thought this blog wasnt going to continue.

Glad I was wrong.

UnclGhost said...

I like the reference to the film adaptation of "I Live in Your Basement" at the end.

Anonymous said...

So what is the actual twist ending?

revengeofevan said...

So...Why does slappy have purple sheep on his bedsheets?

Also...

YOU ARE ALIVE!

DarkfireTaimatsu said...

I knew checking this site every day since August would pay off. =3

As a Slappy book, I knew this book would be awful, but I didn't think it would be quite that awful. I guess that's when you make the antagonist the protagonist without actually changing him.

Sad that you apparently decided not to do the new HorrorLand books after all, as some of those are also horrible. Or at least monotonous and predictable.

troy steele said...

I'm no longer saying yes or no to the Horrorland books. Let me actually get through my existing obligations to Blogger Beware as outlined in the sidebar and then decide if it ends or keeps going from there

Christopher said...

I needed those laughs today, sir. Thanks.

Rhomega said...

Thanks for not completely quitting on us, Troy!

Anonymous said...

Updated! YES!!!!

I remembered why I've been checking this blog ever day since July 17th when I read the conclusion. Troy, you're the best.

Anonymous said...

WOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO

glad to see it's not dead!

Anonymous said...

Christmas has come early.

Thank you so much, Troy. I love all of your reviews.

Damian Garcia said...

Wonderful to see a new post finally. God I never realized Slappy was such a crappy villain. Luckily I never read this one.

Ryan Ferneau said...

Oh no, you said "Slappy" and "squirrel" in the same sentence, now you've got me thinking of Animaniacs again

Anonymous said...

Good lord Troy...If only we'd known...

aj.e said...

Sweet. A new post. I can't seem to follow your blog.

Pizza said...

the final two books left are two of the only three books I've read in this series so it's good to see they will be reviewed soon.

Anonymous said...

Hey, way to give away the twist in the fucking title, stine! While we're at it, let' rename my Hairiest Adventure "The kids turn out to be dogs or something"

Also, I liked this book, the next one is....odd to say the least,

Anonymous said...

AWESOME! You finally updated! These are as funny as ever, Troy!

Ken said...

Ahh Troy, tis a joyful time.
Scary book, but for all the wrong reasons. haha

Zenuk said...

You still got it. Although, there were not enough werewolves or vomit to keep my interest.

Millie said...

Troy's back! Hooray!

... Wait, Slappy has children? How is that possible? Not with Jillian "Bride of Slappy" I hope??

Anonymous said...

...Was it just this book that kept you from updating, Troy? Because I never, ever imagined it would be that bad. I know NotLD books have always had that undercurrent of misogynist violence, but just reading parts of this review was uncomfortable enough. How did this thing get published? Did Scholastic stop reading the manuscripts Stine submitted and just sent 'em straight to the printers?

Glad to hear you're going to try and finish off 2000, though. I'm pretty confident that the remaining two books aren't as horrible as this. Or if they are, they'll be horrible in a different way.

Anon e Mouse Jr. said...

"I'm no longer saying yes or no to the Horrorland books. Let me actually get through my existing obligations to Blogger Beware as outlined in the sidebar and then decide if it ends or keeps going from there"

So just four books to go (and possibly a retrospective on the GB2K series)... well, I hope you continue on after that, but it's your choice.

Until next time...

Anon e Mouse Jr.

Groggy Dundee said...

A Stanley Kramer joke!? Good to know someone's been reading my blog. ;-)

You're awesome, Troy.

forgotten sin said...

http://tooncrap.blogspot.com/2010/10/frightening-failures-month-1-goosebumps.html

Yeah, I reviewed a Goosebumps episode on my blog that's supposed to be about cartoons, big whoop. Wanna fight about it?

But seriously, I hope nobody minds my shameless plug.

Anonymous said...

The Wizard of Ooze, Part One: A sweaty man with a moustache posing as a figure of authority lures two pre-teens to his secret basement with promises of games and prizes. In ten years Stine has learnt nothing.

Groggy Dundee said...

Weirdo Halloween: An orange alien who sounds like SpongeBob comes to Earth to demand back rubs from a 12 year old girl.

It's just as gripping as it sounds. And it's 200 pages long.

David T. said...

Thanks for the update. Most enjoyable.

tj said...

I ave yet to read Wizard of ooze, but Weirdo Halloween was great.

Groggy Dundee said...

Wizard of Ooze is basically a cross between Attack of the Mutant and How I Learned to Fly. I think Stine is getting lazy in his old age.

Anonymous said...

FUCK YES!!!!!!!!

Anonymous said...

I haven't been a story so bad in a while. Stine is still 2nd place to Tara Gilesbie in my book. I've read some of the Horrorland books, and I get the feeling that you'll be throwing books against the wall. I hope you do them so I don't have to read them.
So, the twist is that the events foretold in this awful book happen again?

Christ, help us.

Michael Harwood said...

Troy, you're like a father figure to me, so thank you dad.

Anonymous said...

Troy, you're like a father figure to me, so please don't beat me when I wonder if the blog is actually back on schedule this time.

Anonymous said...

Two things I noticed - someone else sabotaging a good deed you've already done doesn't change the fact you still did a good deed, so Slappy was technically in the clear after the Robbie incident, and Wally trying to sabotage Slappy because he wanted to live makes no sense as HE'S ALREADY ALIVE IF HE'S ABLE TO DO THOSE THINGS IN THE FIRST PLACE

HE'S ALREADY WALKING AND STALKING FOLKS


But as the twist was a dream (The Inception reference killed me by the way, nice one) I guess all of that is moot anyway.

HeatMa said...

are you fucking WHAT.ing me?

hahaha classic. So glad you're back.

Anonymous said...

Yeah, reading this made me realise how much I'd missed this blog. I'm really looking forward to more, and I hope you'll feel up to going through some more, Troy.

Anonymous said...

i had a terrible, terrible, day yesterday. today, i decided to see if there was an update. I LOVE YOU

Anonymous said...

I'm sad to see the original intent of reviewing the horrorland books/ghosts of fear street/and one choose your own adventure book has vanished into dust, but I salute you either way, sir.

I've been here since the original series was only a quarter done (07), and I'm with you no matter what you decide.

Elizabeth said...

Boonshoft. The last name makes me wonder if Georgia and Stella are going to marry two guys named Leeroy and Cletus.

Anonymous said...

Don't you find it interesting that Slappy never calls Jimmy his slave, even though it's implied that before the events of this book he's been doing whatever Slappy says, but with all the other (female) characters in other books, he uses that word in every other sentence?

Elizabeth said...

Troy, my wedding is in December and I would love another update sometime before then. It would be my favorite wedding gift. Just something for you to think about.

(Actually, a greater wedding gift would be a review of a Give Yourself Goosebumps book...but I don't want to push my luck.)

troy steele said...

I guess I can just return that Sangria set then

Anonymous said...

Regarding your comment in the Relationship section, apparently in the new book Slappy New Year (Yes that's actually the title) he does get a male owner. A male owner with a younger brother! No girls here, no sir.

Anonymous said...

"You can spin on my dick..."

LOL!!!!!!!!!!

And yeah. My reaction to this story is something you've always said best:

What.

Frogster said...

Awesome!

Travis C said...

So ummmmmm. Wow this reminds me of Steven Kings "Lamp Monster" on family guy. "your not even trying anymore are you?" LOL. Glad to see ur back.

Elizabeth said...

Travis C., I can easily envision that clip with R.L. Stine instead of Stephen King. :)

Elizabeth said...

"If we fail to anticipate the unforeseen or expect the unexpected in a universe of infinite possibilities, we may find ourselves at the mercy of anyone or anything that cannot be programmed, categorized, or easily referenced."
- Fox Mulder

Callum said...

Randomly stumbled on this blog looking for a picture of a giant blob, hilarious

Lord Seth said...

Slappy wakes up. He is greeted at the airport by Jimmy O'James, who has with him Slappy's two children. Slappy spins the top on the kitchen counter and the book ends before the reader can discern whether it fell or kept spinning.

Been a while since I read the book, but...I thought it ended with Slappy waking up, telling Jimmy about his dream, and then Jimmy starts to cast the spell from the dream and says "sometimes dreams come true."

Natasha said...

Did Slappy puke? I don't get it, how did Slappy turn into an angel? Ande to have kids, did he marry? Do dummies marry? Why was he at the airport? Do evil-dummy-idiots have nightmares?

Groggy Dundee said...

Two above comments: Dats da joke.

Misterbluesky said...

Anyone who hasn't watched Inception and therefore hasn't gotten the twist ending reference should be ASHAMED. This is basically Troy's own twist on the twist endings. You think it's gonna be the actual twist ending from the book, but as much of the book's foul excrements have already made too much of a presence in this entry as it is, there was therefore no reason to give the book further satisfaction.

troy steele said...

It's Morbidiculous' fault for not updating the Reference Guide, really (Because I should be the first one to throw that stone)

cowowlet said...

Fuck.
Troy: Since you mentioned it.. Morbidiculous has been, um, 'missing' from the internet for over 4 weeks now; I am an internet friend of his and he has not been present anywhere that I know of, nor do I have any clue where he is. He has vanished. He introduced me to this blog, he <3s it muchly and I know for sure he would not just abandon it. Thus cast stones and aspersions not. This is a very grave and.. morbidiculous.. situation indeed.
Take it from me, he is a brilliant and amazing person and let us all give him a well-deserved shoutout RIGHT. NOW.
As he once commented, "Anybody else here ever watch 'Silk Stelkings'?"

Just thought you guys here should know, I suppose... :(

Ryan Ferneau said...

The Inception ending joke would have been funnier if Troy Steele's previous entry wasn't a really bad Inception joke.

I mean I've seen Star Trek episodes that were much more like I Live In Your Basement than that

troy steele said...

Inception jokes are never funny unless they're about Ellen Page's neckerchiefs

nodoctors said...

"Hey, enjoy the free WAVVES concert, kid."

Made me lol for real. Though, WAVVES recently ditched the overly distorted wall of static for super generic pop hooks so...actually...the ear knife joke still works. Nevermind.

Anonymous said...

Ugh, I just thought of something that makes the creepiness level of the NotLD books go up another few notches:

Basically all of Slappy's "owners" have been girls, right? Which means he'd be in their rooms all day. And not everyone dresses/undresses in the bathroom, so does that mean whenever the girls are changing in their bedrooms, he's watching them...? D:

Anonymous said...

So glad to see the blog back! And with a good update, too. Hope it continues :)

Elizabeth said...

The NOTLD books aren't my favorite because it's mostly the same story - a doll coming to life and causing trouble - just with different girls and settings. It seems like this one was somewhat different, though.

Doesn't Slappy appear in the GYG book about a carnival?

Anonymous said...

I had a feeling that it was going to be the other puppet. Pretty godamn obvious really...

Glad to see you back! I've missed this place.

Anonymous said...

I definitely remember Slappy in one of the GYGB books.

Troy, it's almost Halloween! You can't let that pass by without another update!

Right?

Elizabeth said...

I hope we get an update before Halloween. Halloween is supposed to be like Christmas here. :(

tj said...

You known, In the upcoming Slappy new year, the protagonists is supposed to be male. I think Stine is stalking this blog.

Laura said...

R.L. Stine wrote an op-ed in the NYTimes about Halloween. It's actually really sweet.

http://www.nytimes.com/2010/10/31/opinion/31stine.html?hp

Welcome back, Troy!

Anonymous said...

That is actually a great article by Stine, and well worth a read. Thanks for the link, Laura.

Elizabeth said...

There was no Halloween update. :(

VNightmare said...

To be honest, I actually thought this was the -best- NotLD book simply because it forced Slappy to take a dose of his own medicine and reversed the usual formula.

Slappy has to work for someone else, the girls are relatively safe from him because of it (up until the end, anyway), Mrs. Boonshoft actually DID come to the conclusion the the dummy was (even in this case unwillingly/unknowingly) responsible for all the antics---a step-up from parents of the previous NotLD books, and Stine even pointed out in-text that most kids simply aren't that interested din ventriloquism (when Georgia brought him to school and tried to start an act, a kid burped and got more laughs than she did, for example). It upped the realism a little bit, at least for me.

Still, I am not disappointed at the wait. I expected it to be lampooned like all of the others, but hilariously so, as usual (I seriously had to stifle my laughter out of fear I'd wake my neighbors). My sides still hurt, good job.

One flaw that you (rightfully) pointed out that did bug me when reading it, though: Jimmy specifically told Slappy not to do ANY evil while he was under the duration of the curse, yet twice he tried to kill Stella. Could be chalked up to Slappy is simply an evil little bastard who would not have thought about it, but logically, if he was doing everything in his power to LIVE, surely killing someone would be the LAST thing he would want to do, since it would theoretically cancel out a good deed (if not put him to sleep immediately)?

Not to mention Jimmy disappears halfway---er, a third of the way---through the book after telling Slappy he'd be keeping an eye on him. And I am disappointed that this joke went to waste. Shame, Troy.

At least there was no vomit in this one, though.

And as confirmed by others already, "Slappy New Year!" has a male owner with a little brother. The story is cliched and feels like a rehash of the original first three books (Stine at least did something slightly different with Revenge, including actually giving Slappy a motive for his antics, and I was hoping he would change it up again...nope), and it had some funny moments, but the story is -barely- above the bad cover art. Which is not saying much.

Aside from the re-hash, Stine actually re-used some of Slappy's insults from previous books (which he has NEVER done before---he IS getting lazy!), Slappy briefly (like for five seconds) comes to life and RUNS in front of his owner's family and friends and NO ONE notices except his owner (and the ensuing crash after is, of course, blamed on him...), and the twist in the end not only feels like a cop-out, but it directly contradicts NotLD III (but that was SO LONG AGO, amirite? Unless different series = different rules, even though they stayed consistent in all the previous ones...). It was at least better than Bride, anyway (which has to be the WORST NotLD book ever, period. I will take a rehash over something that wallbanger-ly terrible any day).

Also, Wally's hair color was never mentioned. It could actually be Mr. Wood for all we know. Kind of makes his beat down on Slappy a bit more satisfying.

@Lord Seth: Yes, that IS the actual twist, but Troy's reference was funnier.

VNightmare said...

"Not Worth the Wait Alert"? Please. I would wait another year if I had to.

I expected this book to be lampooned like the rest of the NotLD ones (and hilariously so---I was afraid of waking my neighbors, and my sides still hurt from laughter). I am a bit disappointed, however, that Jimmy disappears partway through the book (he said he was going to keep an eye on Slappy and never did...), and that this joke went to waste.

Oddly enough, I actually think this one was the BEST of the NotLD books simply because of the formula reversal, and Slappy being forced to swallow a dose of his own medicine. Also, Wally's hair color was never mentioned. It could be Mr. Wood for all we know, which, to me, makes his beat down on Slappy more satisfying.

As mentioned already, Slappy New Year! has a male owner and his little brother. It is also a re-hash of the first three books, but the worst parts were Stine actually re-used some of Slappy's insults (which he has NEVER done before---he IS getting lazy!), Slappy (for like five seconds) comes to life and RUNS in front of his owner's family and the ensuing crash is STILL blamed on the owner, and the ending was not only a cop-out, but directly contradicted NotLDIII (but that was SO LONG AGO, amirite? Unless the HorrorLand series has different rules, but previous series have always been consistent before...).

Still better than Bride, though (which is the worst NotLD book ever. Period. Even a re-hash is better than that monstrosity).

Niji said...

Hmmmm hello? Since the "contact the author" button doesn't work, I'll just join you this way.
I wanted to thank you a lot for all you wrote. Your blog is just wonderful and I just couldn't stop reading until I was at the end. Thank you for making me laugh so much, I just loved it, even if I didn't know half the books you presented (we don't have all of them in France. Maybe it's a bless).
Anyway! Thanks for the laughs, the entertainment, the laughs, the tests, the laughs, and the twist endings. And maybe the laughs too, but I don't know if I mentionned it.

Nijichan

troy steele said...

Well, that explains why my emails have gotten less frequent. Fixed, and thanks

Anonymous said...

@ VNightmare: Good points you made, and making it Mr. Wood would have been interesting indeed.

Actually, even though Slappy New Year had some really stupid moments I liked the parts with the hedge clippers and the paint buckets. Also, how did it contradict part 3? I'm not suggesting it didn't, it's just been a while and I want to know your reasoning.

And yes, bride was the worst, for many reasons.

Elizabeth said...

Troy, my wedding is in 480 hours, according to the calculator at timeanddate.com. There's still time for you to give me an update as a wedding present...

chickenlover said...

I LOVE YOU TROY!!!

troy steele said...

Don't call me a chicken

Eponine said...

So worth the wait. Troy, you're the best.

Zak said...

Definitely worth the wait. Can't wait until the next one...

Anonymous said...

Just want to say thank you for the blog and after reading this summary, I can see why it took so long between reviews.

God this "book" sounds horrible.

Keep it up. And thanks for dealing with the pain.

Groggy Dundee said...

I read Slappy New Year today. It's exactly the same as every other book except the protagonists are boys. Please retire Slappy, Mr. Stine.

Anonymous said...

I'm disappointed to hear that SNY is another generic Slappy novella, but I'm not surprised. I guess it does occur that any request for Stine to write a Slappy book that's different from the rest might result in another Slappy's Nightmare, and nobody wants that.

Jess said...

Troy, I hate to break it to you, but you won't be done Horrorland for a while. After Slappy New Year!'s epilogue, there's a paragraph stating that the man who gave Slappy to Ray (for free, which in itself should have raised questions because according to R.L. Stine himself well made, antique wooden dummies can go for over $1000 now) will be bringing a total of 6 kids back to "play a game".

Also Slappy is on the cover of the next book as well. HAVE FUN!

Anonymous said...

Wait.. I dont get the twist.. at all.

M.A.VARGAS said...

lol! I stumbled upon this blog randomly and like what you write! Keep it coming

Anonymous said...

@ Anon on 11.16.10 - See Inception then you'll get the twist

Anonymous said...

These posts are going downhill just like the goosebumps book series... meta

Anonymous said...

July 2011, Write Your Fright!:
---
Think you can out-scare the Master of Horror, R.L. Stine? Write your own endings to six of his scariest stories and keep your work safe behind the oozing hand lock, which screams in alarm when opened!
Six exciting chapters from the Goosebumps HorrorLand series, including Revenge of the Living Dummy, Monster Blood for Breakfast!, The Scream of the Haunted Mask, My Friends Call Me Monster, Welcome to Camp Slither, and Escape from HorrorLand. For the first time ever, you can decide the outcome of these cliffhangers. Write your own endings to R.L. Stine's scariest HorrorLand moments!
The front cover will include a burst about the creepy hand clasp and the sound chip of frightening laughter every time you open the book.
---

Anonymous said...

boo!

Chris said...

Some of the Horrorland books don't totally suck. Well, "Help! We Have Strange Powers!" is actually interesting, until halfway through when it turns into typical Stine. But before that point, it actually doesn't feel like Goosebumps.

I'd love to see your take on it.

Anonymous said...

www.youtube.com/watch?v=8_Y2nBr_c4w

Anonymous said...

here's the thing....there are only three books left...and yes, i do know that you do this voluntarily....but wouldn't it be fun to just wrap the whole thing up?

Ryan Ferneau said...

Troy must enjoy Series 2000 so much, he doesn't want it to end!

I've already gotten used to the one-review-a-year schedule though.

Anonymous said...

Troy used to write these entries at roughly the same rate R.L. wrote the books, so I guess this is his equivalent to the gap between 2000 and HorrorLand.

Revengeofevan said...

Merry Christmas troy,but...
WHERE IS DA FRIGGIN UPDATE?
By the way i got more&more&more for christmas. it is already getting framed.

chickenlover said...

santa better bring me a belated Xmas update or else i am eating Rudolph's nose!

chickenlover said...

Boo! to u 2 anonymous & thanks for the url 4 the Emo Self Harm Song!

chickenlover said...

Anonymous #10 i have no idea who tara gilesbie is but im pretty sceptical she could be worse than emily rodda unless shes the reincarnation of emily bronte

chickenlover said...

nope i was wrong

Anonymous said...

troy theres still 4 hours & 50 minutes till 2011 in the southern hemisphere u still hav time for an update

Anonymous said...

Remember when we would all complain about troy taking too long when he schedule was two reviews a month. Those were good times.

Groggy Dundee said...

I just saw on Amazon that you can buy an actual, real-life Slappy dummy! Excuse me while I scream until my lungs give out.

MJN SEIFER said...

The only thing scary about Slappy is the fact that he's a fan favorite. I mean, what exactly is the appeal?

Nick S. said...

I took a break from reading your blog regularly and came back thinking "I wonder if he's made a reference to Community since then."

You did not disappoint, Troy. Great work, per usual.

Anonymous said...

I've read this review like two times and I still have no idea what is supposed to be going on. Slappy tries to be a good person (dummy)? There are two Slappys? He has kids? Some girl strangles an infant in curtains? Then this was all supposed to be a dream? I am so confused. This might be the worst Goosebumps book I've never read.

Anonymous said...

Troy, this blog is amazing. I can only imagine your reactions if you ever catch wind of the Shivers series by MD Spencer (CLEARLY not a rip-off).

Keep on tearing apart a beloved child series, its hilarious.

Jacob Dunstan said...

It goes without saying but I'll say it anyway: I'd love more reviews. If I could just read a paragraph worth of snark authored by Troy on 'Welcome to Camp Slither' I'd be happy. Here's hoping more material awaits us.

VNightmare said...

Lol, waaaaaaay to late to the party on this response, but for the anonymous party who asked how "Slappy New Year" contradicts NotLD III:

"Slappy New Year" has Slappy defeated by reading the words that brought him to life again. In NotLD III, he laughed in his owners' faces when they tried that (and it was confirmed again that this doesn't work in the TV episode based off it when they tried reading the words backwords).

So, either Stine forgot that reading the words only brings Slappy to life, but doesn't do jack else, or he's going in a new direction with the HorrorLand series. And really, that ending had the potential to have a good climax...and all the life deflated from it in one sentence (I think I threw the book at the wall).

Which...really disappoints me. I know the general opinion of the Slappy books aren't very high on this blog (I know I'm a rare exception who enjoys them, even if I laugh just as hard as anyone at these reviews, because they're true), but I thought "Revenge" did a good job by at least changing the formula a little (Ethan being a little prick and the cause for most of the trouble in the book instead of Slappy, and Slappy actually having a motive beyond, "I want slaves," and actually doing more to ACHIEVE that goal than just beating the shit out of his owners and blaming them for the trouble he causes). Same with this book, as pointed out above.

Compared to older books, this IS actually progressive in both plot and writing style, and as a whole, the first HorrorLand arc may not be the best thing ever, but I liked seeing Stine stretch his limits a bit, which made the first arc worth reading to me. Then the second arc comes around, and it's like, "Welp, that was fun, back to routine!"

"Slappy New Year" is just a perfect demonstration of, "Okay, I did something different, happy? Now back to basics and Mad Libs." I don't doubt Stine loves writing these books, and he loves the recurring characters; I just wish he'd step back and see there's a LOT more plot potential with the Slappy books than just "copy/paste formula, change a few pranks and insults." I mean, he keeps bringing up the fact that Slappy's built from coffin wood, and the sorcerer who brought him to life (and I'll be honest, little tidbits like this are the other reason I enjoy these books, because they peak my curiosity and get my brain going). Why not focus on that for a change? Or look more into Mr. Wood and Mary-Ellen? Why would this toymaker create evil toys (and "Bride" mentioned he made more than just dolls and dummies) to begin with? And I know that most of the books take place in modern day, but "A Night in Terror Tower" and "Heads, You Lose" both have going back in time. It would be easy enough to one) have actual justification for ventriloquism by going back to the time Slappy was built (late 1800's) when that WAS interesting to the general populace, unlike modern day, and two) break the usual formula by focusing more on the inventor, his motives, and other evil toys than just Slappy.

...Oh, right. Formulas are easier, he has a ton of other books to write and deadlines to keep up with, and having a set formula keeps the clockwork going smoothly.

But I still seriously think that he could (for once) write a Slappy book that's not formulaic, more interesting, and not just lampoon fodder for this blog (and even then, I would expect such a book to still have plenty of mockable things in it, and I would still laugh at the review. XD).

I think it's the laziness about these books as a whole that get people.

/tangent

Anonymous said...

@VNightmare: Hey it's the same Anon that asked that question, and here's another late reply.

I like the ideas you've come up with, going back to Slappy's roots as well as focusing on the other living dolls would indeed make for a more interesting story than the rehashes we've been getting. Speaking of, how did you like Son of Slappy? I thought the twist at the end was neat, in so far as Slappy has finally won (and, would you look at that, it was with a female first before the male).

Now would be the time to see some sort of continuation at work, so we can finally see what he'd do with this victory. Of course I don't doubt that these characters will be forgotten in future installments like pretty much everyone else so far. Oh well.

Anonymous said...

How many times has stein had the whole book be a dream? Like three?! And that's not counting the random dream sequences

Rose said...

hi just found your blog as i am a fan of goosebumps, especially Slappy :D But i dont get one thing - Slappy has children?? How did this come about? Can anyone please enlighten me? Its funny because I once made up a fanfic where Slappy does have children, twin girls which are half dummy and half human, and one is evil, the other good. I based it on a dream I had, before even finding this blog entry!!! Can someone please explain?!