I hope everyone’s enjoying our Second Annual Halloween Goosebumps Celebration so far! But you know what else is a scary/not-actually-scary thing that people enjoy around Halloween? Why, The Rocky Horror Picture Show! And, hahaha, how crazy is this, I just happen to have a new article on NPR’s pop culture blog about the Rocky Horror midnight showing community and body positivity this week! How fortuitous!
Also don’t forget that if you buy our brand new eBook of our complete Bared To You reading before Sunday, you’ll be entered into our FIRST EVER CONTEST (click for details on how to enter) to win my personal, annotated copy of the sequel, Reflected In You. It sounds like a prize, but it’s really just a clever way for me to get rid of the awful thing and force it on, um, one lucky winner!
Anyway, back in Goosebumps-land, the last chapter ended on A CLIFFHANGER.
“Greg – Donny and I went to the Coffman house!” [Brian] exclaimed, grinning, holding me in place. “We found the evil camera!”
“Say cheese!” Danny cried.
He pointed the camera and flashed it in my face.
When I opened my eyes, Brian and Donny were laughing. They snapped each other a high five. I stared at the camera in Donny’s hand.
A yellow cardboard camera. One of those cheap throwaway cameras.
-HHHHHHHHHHH, wait, seriously? Aw, man, it was a Goosebumps fakeout cliffhanger! The scariest part about this is that any kids who read this book today will have no clue what a “throwaway camera” is.
Ariel says: Can you instagram that stuff? OH EM GEE!! HASHTAG Throwback Thursday!!!!
Brian and Donny tease Greg, who leaves the scene quietly plotting to murder them with a demonic camera.
“Maybe you won’t be laughing tomorrow,” I murmured.
It’s okay, though. His English grade is on the line!
Ariel says: And they laughed at our hero, so death is a just punishment.
Greg has dinner with his parents and his older brother, who works at a camera store. MAYBE THIS WILL BE IMPORTANT LATER IN THIS HORROR STORY ABOUT CAMERAS? After dinner, Greg goes out on his mission to retrieve the evil camera, and it’s time for a Goosebumps cliffhanger!
Past the sloping lawn. Past the ancient oak trees.
Up to the old house – and gasped in shock.
AAAAAA- wait, there’s nothing even scaring us about this. We’re just watching someone else get scared. AHEM. R.L. STINE, YOU TOLD ME TO BEWARE BECAUSE I’M IN FOR A SCARE. THIS ISN’T THE SAME.
The house is gone!
The house was gone.
Ariel says: Wait, I missed it, where’s the house?
Greg spends a lot of time explaining that the house is gone and how surprised he is about this, which makes sense, but runs toward the house wondering if the basement is still in tact, which makes less sense.
Halfway up the lawn, I could see what else was left of the house. Wooden doors stacked in a high pile. Broken glass over the ground. Window frames leaning against a wall of rotting boards. Cracked shingles everywhere. A white sink on its side against a tree. An old washtub resting beside it.
But what about the basement?
Ariel says: The weirdest thing is that he wonders this like three times in a row. He even goes so far as to be like, “I remember exactly what the basement looks like, let me tell you.” So I guess maybe he thinks if he remembers it harder, it’ll show up?
Greg quickly realizes that this means the location of the demonic camera that caused physical harm to so many people is now unknown, and he dwells on the important and terrible implications of this.
I’m going to get an F, I thought unhappily.
Ariel says: The way Matt edits this makes it sound like Greg is being unreasonable. But this F will ruin his summer! AND HIS LIFE!!!!
But then someone finds him! AAAAAAAAAAAAAA-
-AAAAAAAAAAAA, oh wait, it’s just a kid whose father bought and knocked down the haunted house who conveniently happens to be there right now at night.
“You – you’re not him! […] I’m sorry,” he said, shaking his head. “I thought you were someone else.”
“Well… I’m not someone else!” I replied.
Good one, Greg.
Other kid (Jon) tells Greg that some other kid (not Jon) has been sneaking into the yard and stealing stuff. Ordinarily, I’d point out what obvious foreshadowing this is, except this is Goosebumps and – based on what I remember from last year about characters and subplots appearing and disappearing out of nowhere – it’s actually anybody’s guess whether this detail about some other kid snooping around in the same place where the evil camera used to be will ever become important or not.
Jon asks why Greg is there and Greg says he’s looking for an old camera, which Jon very conveniently observed the workers throw out into the dumpster. Greg immediately jumps into the dumpster, which Jon finds, you know, a little weird.
Ariel says: At least he’s not as weird as that Michael kid. Chugging milk and crushing milk cartons all willy nilly. Do people even still drink out of milk cartons? I haven’t seen that since the 90s!
Also, Greg’s already going crazy.
I dropped onto my hands and knees and dug deeper into the garbage. The stale odor of dust and decay floated up to me, swept over me. I held my breath and kept pawing away.
I had to find it. I had to.
And then he sees glowing yellow eyes and he realizes he’s not alone in the dumpster! AAAAAAAAAAAAA-
And it’s a dead raccoon. Which, yeah, that would scare me too. Although I wouldn’t be digging through a dumpster looking for a demonic camera that has previously caused bodily harm to my friends and family just so I could pass a school assignment on telling a true story that I decided to tell on a magical camera in the first place, so… maybe not? GUESS GREG’S JUST TOO FAR GONE BY THIS POINT.
Underneath the dead raccoon, Greg finds the camera, which is totally symbolism for the monster that Greg has had to become to save his English grade. It’s basically just like Watchmen. Greg excitedly shows the camera to Jon, who doesn’t really give a shit. Although Greg’s weird behavior makes Jon think that maybe he shouldn’t just let this kid who showed up out of nowhere just take this camera he dug through a dumpster for, so he thinks he should show it to his dad. He reaches for the camera and in the ensuing struggle, Greg accidentally takes a picture of Jon!
Happy Second Annual Halloween Goosebumps Celebration! THE FIRST BLOOD HAS BEEN SPILLED.
Ariel says: I’m going to open my next post with a poll about this picture. Get pumped! But right now I’m going to bet that it’s a picture of a raccoon mauling Jon’s face!