Monday, April 25, 2011

Series 2000 #25 Ghost in the Mirror



Goosebumps Series 2000 # 25 Ghost in the Mirror

Brief Synopsis
Jason is constantly being tormented by his older sister, Claudia. One time she tied a string to a dead rat and made Jason think it was alive (Claudia somehow thought she came out the winner on that prank). Another time she threw cooked spaghetti in between his sheets and he freaked out because he thought they were snakes. Snakes. Yes Jason, shoestring snakes, that's a perfectly logical conclusion to reach. She even torments him by mocking the fact that he still has to sleep in modified baby furnishings because his family can't afford to upgrade his bedroom set. This is just adding insult to injury, though, as suffering through Tiny Furniture is certainly punishment enough already.

Several weeks later, Jason's parents surprise him with some new wares they picked up at a garage sale: A battered dresser with a couple jammed drawers and a large antique mirror. Jason admires the new additions but finds himself uncomfortably drawn to the mirror, despite possessing neither a digital camera nor a MySpace account.

Somewhat inexplicably, Jason calls his friend Fred over to come see his new mirror and dresser. These new acquisitions lack much drawering power for Fred, even after Jason brags about how the mirror reflects the posters on his wall. What is the proper reaction from his friend supposed to be, exactly? "Holy shit, dude, you mean that mirror is a mirror?!"

As though looking at second-hand furniture wasn't exciting enough, the book kicks it into high gear with a couple pages of the two boys playing a video game called "NBA Basketball." I guess there might be a way to make a long description of someone else playing a video game interesting, but we'll never know with lines like this:
The crowd on the screen cheered. The score changed.
For some reason, Fred wants to leave all this excitement and go home. On his way out, he mentions that he spied something weird moving in the mirror. On the floor in front of the glass, Jason spies a yellowed sheet of paper with a threat penned in "old-fashioned-looking, fancy writing." Calligrapher beware, you're in for a scare! Jason blames his sister, who denies having written the note, but uses the opportunity to trick him into seeing a ghost, which causes Jason to let out a cry and spill his Coke on the carpet. RL Stine apparently forgot what he was writing almost as fast as his readers, because in the next paragraph Jason's using a mop to clean up the spilled soda. The reader is tragically deprived of several pages of detailed cleaning, even though it would be about as or more exciting than the video game play by play which preceded.

As disinterested as Jason's best friend is in the mirror, at least man's best friend gets something out of it: Jason finds his dog, Buzzy, barking at the mirror. A dog barking at a mirror is awarded an entire chapter. When the dog later starts growling and attacks Jason by trying to tear out his throat, we're given a couple paragraphs. Because that clearly is nowhere near as interesting as a video game about basketball.

Or hockey. Fred and Jason are passing around the puck in their video game when Fred takes a break to look at himself in the mirror. That's when the two boys notice that the mirror is reflecting Buzzy, even though he's not in the room. So much excitement makes Jason thirsty, so he excuses himself from his room to grab a Coke to spill when he returns to find Fred has vanished. While looking around the house for his missing friend, his parents tell him they rented "an old Hitchcock movie," which is good, because renting a new one would be some feat. They assure him that it's a "scary" one, but Jason wisely opts out of watching Topaz.

Jason checks back in his room again and hears something in his closet. Upon opening the door, a red-eyed creature leaps out at him, causing him to respond, "Oh no, not an esoteric representation of the impermeability of death in Thai culture!" Turns out it's just Sister Claudia Who Can Recall Her Past Halloween Costumes, as she has just slipped on a mask to spook the easily spookable Jason. Okay, in all fairness, if I'm already in an emotionally vulnerable state and someone jumps out of my closet at me, I'd probably spill the metaphorical Coke too.

As he drifts off to sleep that night, Jason can hear the odd barks of his dog, locked up in the garage so as to prevent more throat-attacks/Coke-spillings. Jason is soon distracted by another noise though, that of Buzzy's whimpering, which is coming from inside the mirror. Despite being terrified, he does not spill any further Coke.

Fred reappears at school the next day, only, like Shirley MacLaine and Audrey Hepburn before him, he's... different. His sports abilities go from Lane to Kobe Bryant and this newfound prowess leads Jason to jokingly suggest that he's "possessed." In an intense moment that nearly causes Jason to spill his Gatorade, Fred gets very exorcist-off and tells Jason to never say that. It's then Fred's turn to spill some choke, as he knocks Jason to the ground and begins attacking and pummeling his friend's face until his nose bloodies.

That night, Jason is awoken by heavy breathing that appears to come from the mirror. Things take a turn for the What. as Jason spies a mysterious cloud-like figure emerging from the mirror. The being grabs Jason and tries to take him into the mirror or something. Jason passes out and wakes up on his bedroom floor. He then meets his ghost, who tells him that he just died of fright and should therefore come with him into the mirror.

Before Jason can walk through the mirror, he's stopped by the bark of his dog Buzzy and the pleas of his friend Fred. Jason wises up and resists entering the now-black mirror. His ghost grows angry and tries to push him into the mirror. When that doesn't work, the ghost turns itself inside out and reveals, well, let's let Jason take this one:
"You lied to me! You're not my ghost! You're a monster!"
The book seriously turns into an acid trip at this point. The weird monster thing tries to drag the kid into the mirror and he resists as long as he can, grabbing a small hand mirror from within the dresser in the process. He throws the smaller mirror in front of the larger one while falling into the big mirror and suddenly the reflections of the reflections of the reflections (c'mon folks, you've seen a mirror before) multiply his monster threat from one to hundreds of monsters all primed to slaughter Jason. Jason backs away as quick as he can and falls back through the mirror again. This probably makes a lot more sense if you're on acid while reading, too.

Jason watches for a little while as the monsters attack each other before hollering for his parents. Because horrible mirror creatures need more victims? His parents arrive and, wouldn't you know it, the monsters are nowhere to be found in the mirror. Jason proves that there were monsters in the mirror by walking into the mirror and injuring his shoulder as he bumps up against the solid glass. His parents chastise him for spilling the awoke.

The next morning, Jason is shocked to discover that Buzzy has apparently burst out of his holding cell in the garage. Riding past Fred's house, he's even more shocked to spy that all of the windows on Fred's home have been shattered. And the rule of threes applies as Jason is finally shocked to discover Fred in the driveway, holding a large car over his head. There are people inside the car and Jason pleas with his friend to quit before he spills the folk. Getting nowhere, Jason speeds away from the scene as a cadre of cops arrive, guns drawn.

That night at dinner, Jason pledges to go back inside the mirror one more time to rescue Fred and Buzzy, who he reasons are stuck inside the mirror. At no point during dinner does his family bring up the fact that his best friend was just swarmed by cops after literally holding up a family. Once in his room, Jason swiftly enters the mirrorworld and falls off a mirror cliff into a mirror hall where he meets up with Fred and Buzzy, neither mirrors. The three journey into a long mirrored corridor until they come upon the mirror that looks out into Jason's room. The two boys try breaking the mirror but have no luck. Jason gets out the magical small mirror from earlier and trains it on Fred, producing multiple Freds to push together on the mirror. This still doesn't work. In frustration, Jason trains the mirror on the mirror and it burns a hole large enough for the three to escape through. Once inside the "real" world, Fred quickly runs home, leaving Jason alone to face off against... Jason. Jason spills the croak on his doppelganger by pulling out his eyes. He then hurls a lamp at the mirror, shattering it into a thousand pieces. The whole family enters upon hearing the noise and Claudia chastises that Jason will get seven years bad luck for spilling the broke.

But the Twist Is
Jason's cleanup is interrupted by a snake-like creature who emerges from the dresser and spills the provoke by asking Jason if he got his warning note.

the Platonic Boy-Girl Relationship
Jason and his sister Claudia, who spills her joke halfway through Jason spilling his Coke.

Questionable Parenting
Jason's parents debate whether they should send Jason to a doctor for help with his delusions, but reason that since he doesn't have a fever, he must be fine.

Questionable Frightening
Early in the book, Claudia points to a closed window and shouts out a warning to Jason about hornets, to which he predictably freaks out. To be fair, maybe he though someone had brought a DVD copy of The Green Hornet into his room, which would certainly threaten the well-being of even the bravest among us.

Late 90s Cultural References
Jason has some sweet WWF posters on his wall-- it's eventually revealed to be the wrestling one, but for a while there I was having fun picturing this kid bragging about having some kick-ass panda pix up in his room.

Out of Context Text Alert
But I could hear the steady breaths at my side...
"Hunnnnh... hunnnnh... hunnnnh..."
I shut my eyes tightly, as if trying to shut out the terrifying sound. My hands suddenly felt cold and wet. I wiped them on my pajama bottoms. Chill after chill swept down my back.

Memorable Cliffhanger Chapter Ending
Ch. 12/13:
We've traced the bark, it's coming from inside the mirror!

Great Prose Alert
"Did you watch the wrestling show on cable last night?"

Conclusions
No one moved away or got married. Kind of a lame series finale.

No need to spill the heartbroke: Thanks to a fan at Scholastic who wishes to remain anonymous for obvious reasons, Blogger Beware has a set of Horrorland books ready to go. See you next week, gang.

37 comments:

squirrl said...

Oh cool, I've read Let's Get Invisible! too.

Anon e Mouse Jr. said...

What, no retrospective on the Series 2000 books like you did for the original series? (Not that I'd blame you for wanting to forget them after all this.)

Until next time...

Anon e Mouse Jr.

Happy_Evil_Dude said...

Nice to have you back Troy. Don't forget to do a Series 2000 retrospective before movig on to the Horrorland series though ;-)

David T. said...

I'm gonna hold out hope for a Series 2000 retrospective - even if it's just a video of a book being thrown across a room.

Groggy Dundee said...

I was going to bitch about your apparently skipping over the retrospective but three other people beat me to it. On the other hand, given your general reaction to these books I'd understand if you didn't.

Anyway, good entry as always.

Revengeofevan said...

Did the turning inside-out thing remind anyone of i live in your basement? Huh? Huh?

Mission Inc said...

I was going to yell happy days at seeing an entry so promisingly fast, until I actually read it and realized just how bored you must have been reading this book. I mean, seriously, from what you've written here, the last book in this junk series was apparently the most boring book in the world. I applaud your ability to make something so damn boring sound so hilarious, and in fact, I see an incredible return to form in this entry (not that I don't think you ever did lose your form in the first place). Indeed, I found a lot of parts in this entry very reminiscent of previous entries. Nostalgia rocks. Being able to make that nostalgia rocks harder. Thank you sir, and I definitely look forward to the Horror that is Horrorland.

Ron said...

I'm so happy you're back, Troy! Going cold turkey on new updates was like torture, man. I love this blog!

Dr. Hiroshi Fujiyama, PhD said...

Reference to Uncle Boonmee Who Can Recall His Past Lives earns you +1,000,000 points.

Millie said...

Do you really want Troy to do a retrospective of the whole 2000 series? No, really?

Paigealicious! said...

I want to marry you, Troy!

Groggy Dundee said...

"Do you really want Troy to do a retrospective of the whole 2000 series? No, really?"

I realize it would be hard given that he only liked three or four of the books, but I'm a list-a-holic and can't subsist on individual reviews alone.

Millie said...

I wanted to make some lame joke about Troy doing a vomit-by-vomit account of this series, but ... no, it's not gonna work, is it?

Spongey444 said...

I'd make a joke about coke spilling, but i only enforce ONE coke meme, thank you very much.

Anyway, so next week is revenge of the living dummy? YAY! Hate that shitty book

Robin said...

"...despite possessing neither a digital camera nor a MySpace account."

I almost wonder why you didn't say Facebook instead. Isn't MySpace almost abandoned now?

troy steele said...

Should have said Makeout Club

Groggy Dundee said...

I just joined Twitter, and I have to say Stine's feed is a hoot.

Groggy Dundee said...

Strangely I do remember getting this book. We were at the mall and I begged and pleaded for my parents to get the book. I didn't know it was the last Series 2000 book but I really, really wanted it, possibly because the preview in Earth Geeks made it sound awesome.

Then I got home, read it, and went the 6th grade equivalent of "What." My childhood might have died that day.

Anonymous said...

Ah, a return to form. This makes me happy. A Series 2000 retrospective doesn't seem that necessary, though I suppose reflecting would allow you to put off having to read Horrorland for a little bit.

Anonymous said...

And Troy just distilled this children's media gimmick convoke.

Spongey444 said...

i myself loved ghost of mirror for the so bad it's good factor

So troy, is the haunted car still your fave 2000?

DarkfireTaimatsu said...

A new Blogger Beware entry always thrills my Coke.

But seriously, fellows, this is no mere entry. This is where we see all of Series 2000 spill up in smoke.

If there's no actual retrospective, I'd at least like a top two (or three?) of the best and worst, and perhaps a grand total number of puking scenes.

Anyways, can't wait for HorrorLand. Finally, some entries I can read along with. I'm totally spilling my stoke.

It's funny that mirrors are the last 2000 book, since they play such a big part in HorrorLand (spoilers?). HorrorLand proves that the piece of literary advice Stine took closest to heart was "Write what you know". Even if you've already published what you know. But I guess that's why Stine has never spilled his broke.

Groggy Dundee said...

Well, Stine needs scary material, and I assume he gets terrified every time he looks in the mirror. [/cheapshot]

Zak said...

How was there not a Freddy Vs Jason reference?!

Frogster said...

I loved this entry, laughed so hard. Can't wait for the HorrorLand entries now.

troy steele said...

I hope all my loyal followers realize that Morbidiculous' reference guide is also back, and is a very entertaining read in its own right

Anonymous said...

I don't think I ever got this one. It... sounds like I wasn't missing much? But whenever Stine introduces alternative worlds, whether through mirrors or some other device, that's generally the point at which he abandons all pretence of logic, except the logic that nothing actually creepy or indeed interesting is allowed to happen until halfway through the book in order to build the suspense.

Also, someone at Scholastic actually gave you the HorrorLand books? That's high treason! I'm looking forward to seeing how you handle them.

Groggy Dundee said...

I'm pretty sure there was a Freddy vs. Jason reference, Zak.

Groggy Dundee said...

I read The Night of the Giant Everything today. I actually liked it a lot - some very interesting red herrings/plot twists and easily the dumbest application of "science" in literary history.

Travis.C said...

More books to review? Hells yes! lol.

cowowlet said...

First of all, in accord and concurrence with the Reference Guide comment above. DAS IST CORRECT.
Somewhat relatedly:

So I just noticed this line in this entry..
"I guess there might be a way to make a long description of someone else playing a video game interesting"

Well, my gloodness, you must've probably read this already, but just in case and for anyone who hasn't:

http://antagonyaunts.wordpress.com/

(Also, contains the word "boomewrangle")

Highly, hyrule-y recommended.

Steph said...

I loved the summary, surprisingly, until the anticlimatic twist ruined the scariness of the book...

Anonymous said...

Come on, Troy, there should be at least ONE good Series 2000 book, surely? What about The Haunted Car and Jekyll and Heidi?

Nulono said...

Hi. New here. What's with all the "spilled the X" lines?

Pragyan Saikia said...

cool!! i read curse of the mummy's tomb, vampire breath , one day at horror land, how to kill a monster,deep trouble, welcome to dead house etc they are all sooo cool!

Kick-Ass said...

Well, guess, I should be grateful I only read a few of the Goosebumps and quickly jumped to the Fear Street series, lol >_<

Rose said...

Fantastic. I've never read this one, but my parents collected antique furniture and it would've actually terrified me as a kid (I had a Victorian mirror in my bedroom actually). I laughed so much at the spilled the jokes my neighbours have probably called the cops/hospital.