More Tales to Give You Goosebumps: Goosebumps Special Edition #2
Back Tagline: Reader Beware-- You're In For Ten Summertime Scares!
Official Summary: Is Matt's summer camp being taken over by an evil patch of poison ivy? Will Eric escape from his tank, now that he's been turned into a fish? Can Tara help the terrified voice she hears inside a beautiful seashell?
Find out in these ten creepy Goosebumps short stories perfect for reading around the campfire or under the covers!
As I'm sure you all remember from the last time I talked about these books some thirteen years ago, the first Special Edition Goosebumps gift set came exclusively packed with a logo-branded Itty Bitty Book Light. I had assumed that the exorbitant price of the hastily-compiled short story collection did little to help coat the pill of one of the earliest (and nowhere near last) cash-grabs in the history of the series. So even in retrospect it's somewhat surprising that the set sold well enough to warrant a second entry. Following in the true Goosebumps-fashion of when in doubt, recreate an existing product, this set's special feature is unbelievably another Itty Bitty Book Light. Surely kids aren't that dumb, right? Well, they made four more gift sets after this one, so add that to your Gen Y denunciations, American Media.
the Werewolf's First Night
How to write your very own Goosebumps short story:
Name your main character (Sex unimportant, must be twelve years old)
Brian is twelve years old.
Quickly introduce, then separate the parents from the protagonist
Brian's parents have signed him up for a day camp that appears to employ no counselors and only a handful of other kids enrolled. So basically they've signed him up to join a gang.
Have protagonist jump to conclusions that eventually turn out to be false
Everyone at this camp is a werewolf.
In stunning twist, have false conclusion bring about the actual conclusion, which must either be as or less credible than the perceived conclusion
No one at this camp is a werewolf. Except for Brian, who is a werewolf.
P.S. Don't Write Back
David Stevenson is having a great time at Camp Timber Lake Hills. He's keen on his bunkmates but not so keen on their grumpy camp counselor, Sam. Sam likes to tease David about how few letters he receives. And by few, I mean zero. And by tease, I mean mock. And by David, I mean David. Finally though, one day David has reason to wag his tail and wail when Sam announces that the camp's secretary found a letter addressed to him at the bottom of a drawer. But the letter's contents put a damper in this camper, as his mom has only written to tell him that they won't be visiting him on Visiting Day. Uh, is it even legal for them to refer to it as that, then? The note ends with the titular postscript:
Love,This news bothers David, as he's a kid and the world revolves around him. Take comfort in knowing that at least this story revolves around you, David. David gets another letter the next day announcing that after camp ends, he is going to be sent to live with his Great-Uncle John. David's now very confused, as his life is starting to resemble a terrible Hallmark special: Great-Uncle John is 87 years old and probably not the best guardian for a child. Or is he? Watch Welcome to Gramp's Nightmare next Sunday at 8/7c, only on ION.
Mom and Dad
PS: More Tales To Give You Goosebumps
David sneaks into the offices to phone his mother (remember, this is a Goosebumps camp story, so the phones are OFF LIMITS) but is interrupted by Sam. On his way out, David notices a mistake in the letter addressed to him: It's for David Stevenson from Camp Timber Lane Hills. He's at Camp Timber Lake Hills, Camp Timber Lane Hills is across the lake. So the Lake is across the lake from the Lane in the hills, which sounds like the start of a Danny Kaye routine.
David comes up with a brilliant plan: Since the letters were obviously meant for a camper with his same name and family across the lake, he'll sneak over in a rowboat and deliver them. But the flaw in his reasoning is made clear when he encounters the other camp's David Stevenson and discovers he's some dead kid or something. David Alive shows the zombies some what for before quickly retreating back to his camp.
Upon arriving back, he makes the terrifying discovery that the camp across the lake burned down thirty years ago. He then checks the postmark on his letter and notices it's from 1964. Okay, so I get the first letter being stuck in a drawer, but where did that second letter come from? USPS is inefficient, sure, but not to the extent that they go so far bad that they circle back and inadvertently become efficient from a plot perspective. So, what I'm saying is, enjoy getting dumped at your uncle's, dude.
In case you're convinced this one deserves more than my glib YouTube response, feast on this:
"Please don't flush me! Please don't flush your only son, Mom!"
You Gotta Believe Me!
A parable of class consciousness, Red Labor Stine has finally produced a work fit for the fit to work. A young child, free of technological ties to mass media, uses his spare time to survey the night sky for potential threats to the homeland. One night, the intrepid child spies colored lights in the sky. Upon investigating crop-circles at a for-profit farm, the boy is met with disgust from the bourgeois landowner and instructed to leave "his" land. The boy tries to tell his parents of his experience over breakfast the next morning, but his father, distraught from the news of local plant shutting its doors on the unionized workers, speaks only to his son of "Another defeat for the workers." The child respects his father's compassion for his brothers, but presses the importance of the alien threat.
That night, in the spirit of communal ownership, the boy "borrows" his father's camera in order to snap photographic surveillance of the aerial invaders. The child snakes back to the farm and witnesses the alien crafts land in the fields of the bougie baddie, who luckily is spotted from his living room window, enraptured by the false comforts of television. The boy overhears the plans of the alien race to enslave the common man via mass televised signal the following night. The boy is caught by the creatures and feigns hypnosis to buy his freedom. After the aliens release him, he takes $140 worth of aluminum foil on credit from the local capitalist merchant and creates a giant foil screen to scramble the signal and foul the aliens' plot. His plan is successful, proving that there ain't no party like the communist party cuz the communist party stops aliens.
The only thing worth mentioning about story, other than it being one big "Oh cool, I've seen the Blob and Creepshow 2," is that it takes place on "Black Island."
Dr. Horror's House of Video
Ben Adams is a huge horror fan, so he's spent his entire summer vacation indoors watching scary movies. As the story opens, he's watching a flick about a plant that lifts its victims "Up Up Up". I dunno, a plant that gets people high... who'd ever believe that?
But all bud things must come to a spent and his mom eventually boots Ben out of the house. Like many have done in his situation before him, Ben goes to the video store. Only this is no ordinary video store... it's Dr. Horror's House of Video? It's no surprise that the owner is stuck running a video store, as I could have told him that a doctorate in horror has about as much real job market value as an undergraduate degree in broadcasting.
Things go from sad to sadder when it is revealed that Dr. Horror is an amateur low budget horror filmmaker. Dr. Horror shows him a scene from his latest opus, Lizardman, but Ben gets dragged off before he can finish watching. But one cannot watch only part of a part-lizard, part-man movie, so Ben races back the following day to finish viewing the film. The store is closed but Ben goes in anyways, since breaking and entering in the Goosebumps world is about as frowned upon as MDMA use in Skins. Ben finishes the film but now finds the front door locked. Luckily there's a back door... leading right to Dr. Horror's makeshift garage studio. Rather than being upset that Ben's broken into his closed business, Dr. Horror Swanbergs him into starring in the new Lizardman sequel. But first he must call his parents to get permission for a strange doctor to tape him doing various acts in his garage.
Unfortunately, before Ben can Gerwig out for Dr. Horror, the entire cast of the General Mills Breakfast Brigade descends on the boy and is suddenly dawns on him that hey, wait a minute, slasher-style horror movies only serve to fuel misanthropic misogynistic angst on the part of the viewer by feeding into their basest fantasies borne out of social rejection.
the Cat's Tale
Marla is upset that her family packed up and moved from NYC to River Falls. She misses taxis. She misses her friends. She misses Friends. She misses the total lack of anything resembling legroom at the Film Forum. But at least River Falls has thunderstorms! Apparently it never rains in NYC, which will be news to NYC.
Marla's family takes advantage of the storm to start exchanging spooky tales, but like RL Stine, Marla has no interest in telling scary stories. She'd much rather prefer for a large black cat to jump through the open window and attack her. She's in luck! Marla begs her parents to let her keep the cat and they relent. Marla jumps at the opportunity to shower her new pet with attention but her attention is diverted when her new pet jumps into the shower with her. No, I'm not going to make that joke. Stop looking for it.
Turns out the cat is trying to steal Marla's life before it runs out of its nine lives or something. And there's cat whispering.
Tara and Tommy are arguing about who has rightful claim to a beautiful seashell found washed ashore at the beach. Tommy only wants it to listen to the ocean, even though Tara knows you can't really hear the ocean inside a shell. Tara desperately wants the shell as her own and envisions an elaborate reception awaits her subsequent arrival at school with the shell in tow. And yet somehow she finds time to make fun of her brother for being stupid?
Tara wins and when she humors her brother, she hears a dim voice from within the shell crying out to be saved. Tara believes the voice and follows its directions towards an out of the way cave where she is promised the biggest seashell in the world if she helps the being trapped in the smaller shell. And so it goes, as Tara is tricked into traveling deep within the cave and is greeted with her prize: the giant shell. And inside, of course, is the giant hermit crab, who snatches her in its claws as the little voice from within the smaller shell cries out to his mother that he's tricked yet another victim. So, okay, this one was actually pretty good.
Leave it be.
the Spirit of the Harvest Moon
Jenny and her family camp out at a friendly nearly-abandoned lodge deep in the woods. Their first night in the cabins, Jenny hears a ghostly voice call out her name. The next day she is warned that the lodge is haunted and should the ghost catch her on the night of the harvest moon, she will be forced to live a year as mist. This is some threat, because I didn't want to see the Mist for two hours, so I certainly wouldn't want to be it for a year. She tries to laugh off the warning, but the friendly cabin hand tells her if she thinks she can escape the wrath of the spiritual delinquents, she's got another thing comin'!
Harvest moon night arrives and Jenny becomes convinced that Tyler, the twelve year old son of the cabin owners, is actually the spirit he warned against. Her suspicions seemingly prove accurate when Tyler starts banging on her door, demanding she come a little bit closer and hear what he has to say. Luckily, her dog, Bravo, chases after the boy and scares away the spirit for good. Only, turns out he wasn't the spirit at all, as the dog then turns to Jenny and spookily intones, "Roll that ethereal being footage." I guess his bark was worse than his sprite?
Here's to a Blogger Beware season that's all summer, no bummer!