Headscratchers / Goosebumps
- So, Stine has been allowing Hannah to pose as his daughter in the real world. If he's keeping all the other monsters locked away in their manuscripts, why would he keep the extremely dangerous Cuckoo Clock of Doom in his basement? By the way, stay out of there.
- Because the monsters are actively malicious, but as long as you mess don't with the cuckoo, the clock will just be a clock.
- Okay, so Stine's stories are a way to keep his monsters from menacing the world. But just what is the definition of "monster" in this case? Hannah is a protagonist who turns out to be a ghost, making her a supernatural creature. What about the other guys who don't stay human, like Erin, Grady, Larry, Ricky, Gary, and Lucy? Are they in the same situation as Hannah? And furthermore, what about the books where there's no definitive monster or creature, like How I learned to Fly, My Hairiest Adventure, Welcome to Camp Nightmare, or Don't Go To Sleep?
- Welcome to Camp Nightmare had Sabre and Uncle Al, and Don't Go To Sleep had the Reality Police.
- Maybe ghosts count as monsters, and Stine was just particularly fond of Hannah, hence keeping her outside the book. And if we're being slightly fair, Don't Go to Sleep has the creepy reality police (which in and of themselves can be terrifying with reality being re-written because now fictional monsters are out and destroying the town), but the others, I have some thoughts:
- There was a Goosebumps prequel game released on Steam not too long ago, where the house from Welcome to Dead House replaced the protagonist's. With that in mind, maybe in the cases of the books that lack monsters, their stories would force their version of reality onto the world. So, for example, Welcome to Camp Nightmare might take over an actual summer camp in our world and turn it into a terrifying training camp.
- Alternatively, since those books lack actual monsters, they need to be locked so their protagonists aren't unwittingly revealed as non-humans, like Hannah. Imagine if someone from one of those books, say, got shot in front of a lot of witnesses and reformed. That's begging for an investigation, which in turn could lead to the discovery of the actual monsters.
- The human characters seem to use the term "monster" to refer to any non-human, supernatural creature — an inaccurate term, some may argue (insulting, others may argue), but not farfetched or unheard of before (and what fun is it hearing characters run around saying "non-human, supernatural creatures" all movie?). As for why they're all locked up — the cast of supernatural creatures may include some who don't pose an inherent threat to humanity, but pulling them out of their reality into another that's not built to deal with them would still be a bad idea; Refugee from TV Land situations shouldn't be encouraged or sought simply because said refugee might not be very mean or dangerous. The portal that can pull non-malicious supernatural creatures out of their world should still be closed for the sake of stability if not for an instant, severe threat to human life and society. Hannah was a major exception because Stine grew to care very deeply about her (after reading her story, who didn't?) and she could blend in among regular humans without causing mayhem (as long as she stayed out of the moonlight...). As for books without a physical being who could travel through a portal, maybe nothing would come through if they were unlocked — Slappy is never shown unlocking/opening/burning, for example, How I Learned to Fly or Welcome to Camp Nightmare.
- Zach being in a relationship with Hannah gets more and more squicky if you give it too much thought. First of all, Hannah isn't real. Not only that, she's specifically a creation of R.L. Stine's imagination. So how much of her thoughts are her own? How much of her is influenced by her "father"? Is she basically a glorified AI who can't technically make any decisions that aren't based on how she was written?. Second, Hannah explicitly states that she doesn't age. So in two years, if they're still going out, Zach runs the risk of going to jail for statutory rape. That is, if fictional characters brought to life even count as real people in a legal court. Of course, all of that I can forgive, except for the ending, which has R.L. Stile dating Zach's Aunt. So, if they get married R.L. Stine will be Zach's uncle, and Zach will be dating his cousin/step-cousin. Why? They could have just as easily had his Aunt date ANYONE ELSE.
- With regards to the aging thing, I think that Stine got around that. It's implied that Hannah's creation was just as accidental as the other monsters, and that Stine only wrote her as a teenage ghost the first time. But now that he knows what she is and what her life was like, and what it needs to be, he would have written her as a "real" person who can age and isn't stuck as a single teenage character. And she must have thoughts of her own because she often tries to rebel against her dad's wishes; if he could control her then she would just go along with everything he asked of her. I got no answer for the aunt thing, though.
- If Stine's creations were mindless AIs with no free will or thoughts of their own, the plot of the film couldn't have happened — Hannah's as much of a free agent as Slappy and the rest. She's also not biologically related to Zach's possibly future uncle in any way.
- What actually happened on the night Zach saw Hannah and Stine arguing? It's never brought up again or explained, but it raises some really unfortunate implications given how violent the argument sounded. Why does Stine lie to the cops instead of bringing Hannah herself down to tell them what happened if it was just a misunderstanding and she was never really in any danger? Why doesn't she tell Zach and Champ as much when they break into her house? I can't be the only one who thought that scene was really out of place and a little too on the nose for what was mostly just a horror-comedy.
- I originally assumed they were arguing when some monster happened to get loose and the struggle ensued, that Zach assumed Hannah's father was attacking her but they were both really being attacked by something else; I spent some time waiting for Zach to find out or Stine to reveal what monster(s) got out earlier, but since nothing like that ever came up, I've got no other theories. As for why Stine hid Hannah instead of having her explain things to the cops, it's probably because she doesn't legally exist — she probably has no birth certificate, no Social Security number, there's probably no legal record of her birth or existence, meaning he doesn't officially have a daughter, and suddenly claiming he did would only lead to awkward questions, the cops digging into his background... better to just make sure no one believes Zach, as no matter how suspicious one kid gets, if he can't prove anything, what's the harm? Not the smartest plan, but understandable given his situation.
- Who would come out if you unlocked Deep Trouble — mermaids, a shark, a sea monster, or the four masked thugs who were the actual villains?
- Who would come out of How I Learned To Fly — Wilson, or all the media/government people who hound him and Jack because of their flying powers?
- In response to both the above, I think "monster" in this case means either a supernatural entity, or someone altered by or wielding magic(The Executioner could be considered a spirit from ancient times who knows time travel). The human villains we see in Slappy's army all have powers in some way. Therefore, in cases like those we'd probably see Jack, Wilson, or the Mermaid, and not regular human villains like Spidey, Dr. Gray, or Alexander.
- We saw the Shock Street mantis, the Blob That Ate Everyone, and Dr. Brewer's plants, but where were the rest of the larger monsters, like the giant worm, Cuddles, King Jellyjam, Monster Blood, the beasts, etc.? Are those maybe being saved for the sequel?
The Haunted Mask
- The shopkeeper tells Carly Beth that the Haunted Mask can only be removed once. Early in the story, Carly Beth puts on the mask and has to pry it off of her face. Doesn't that mean that the mask shouldn't come off at the end of the book?
Don't Go To Sleep!
- How did Matt cause a reality warp by falling asleep in the guest room when his family has guests sleep there on an annual basis?
- Matt caused a reality warp because he disobeyed his mom (and, in a sense, his place in reality).
- Nobody else noticed that reality had changed (except the bad guys), so how do we know there isn't a warp every time someone sleeps in there? Matt wouldn't have realised.
- I haven't read this one in awhile, but didn't reality go back to normal when he went to sleep in his own bed? So maybe it's OK to sleep in the reality warping bed, as long as someone is asleep in the other bed.
- Watching JonTron review it, it made me realize something; If the main Character was altering Reality, enough so that the Reality Police would arrest him and put him on trial, why was he putting himself into situations where he had no idea what he was doing? If I were trying to Alter reality, I would make it so that I could play hockey, or I could perform operations on the brain or the bomb, or I'd be marrying a dream girl or something. I understand he wasn't aware that he was altering reality, but the fact that the Reality around him was warped would mean that he himself would also be warped to fit that reality, even if he was aware of it. Why was he altering reality into situations where he couldn't do what the "reality" said he could do?
- He was just warping reality by fluke because he kept sleeping in the wrong bed; that's it. He wasn't in control of anything. Secondly, it wasn't his biggest concern. He just wanted to get back home; and that's all he wanted, so the power potential was never tapped into because it wasn't the focus.
- He could've easily avoided the plot by wishing he was home again.
Let's Get Invisible
- They continually make a big deal of the younger brother being left-handed, to the point where he's called "Lefty" in the book. How is it that nobody noticed that he was suddenly right-handed before the end of the book/episode? I'm sure he would've had to have used a fork and knife or something like that in the interim. Did he fake being left-handed until he was alone with Max?
- It means that Lefty got replaced with his mirror counterpart...who can throw right-handed.
- I probably could have phrased that better...thanks to finding this buried in my bedroom, I remember that in the book there's at least a full day that passes between Lefty being replaced and Max finding out, since they're going out for dinner, then the 'contest'(which Mirror Lefty un-cancels) is the next day. So my point there is: how did his parents or Max not realize BEFORE the ending that Lefty was suddenly right handed. What I mean is: I'm assuming he would've had to eat between those two events, and if he were using a fork and knife, why did no one notice he's using his right hand to cut his food? That's all I meant.
- Not all food needs to be eaten with a knife and fork. I often eat cereal while holding the spoon in whichever hand is convenient, and the same for popcorn and sandwiches. As for dinners, it's easy to switch hands for cutting when it's something soft or of a consistent cutting difficulty. Heck, it's considered normal in the U.S. to cut with your left hand and eat with your right, and in Great Britain to cut with your right hand then switch the fork over to put the bite in your mouth, so that alone goes to show that if Mirror-Lefty wanted to disguise who he was, he could have just used the other hand. If they had TV Dinners, like at least a few Stine characters have on a regular basis, he wouldn't need a knife even if it was something with a lump- or "fillet"-meat entree instead of something like macaroni or taco salad.
- Actually, in the United Kingdom, we use forks in the left hand and the knife in our right. Switching hands is usually regarded as bad or sloppy manners, and using your cutlery the other way round means you're left handed. However it is also common to only use your fork in one hand (usually the right) if you're eating something that requires no cutting (like noodles or beans and mash), but usually it's only done when you're eating alone or in an informal setting. Doing so at a formal setting (like a meal with your family) is considered bad manners. In other words, either the characters are idiots or Lefty is nearly ambidextrous when it comes to things other than writing (as some people are).
- True...I'm just speaking as someone who always cuts his food with his left-hand simply because I'm left-handed and cut better that way; I was just simply wondering if Mirror Lefty had been disguising himself until it was dramatically convenient, so I guess the answer is: yes.
- I think they just never payed that much attention to what lefty was doing until Max saw him throwing the ball. And in the TV Episode, he disappears on the morning that the climax takes place, so there would be no time to notice.
My Best Friend is Invisible
- How the hell did the fact that every single character bar the invisible one is naked, gelatinous, multi-limbed, multi-eyed (More than two, I mean), and tentacled not come up in the story before the reveal? They explicitly have a footrace, and that didn't become noticeably different one time!
- It's a tomato surprise, albeit stupid, but a tomato surprise.
- The book is also very vague when it comes to describing the characters up until then. Especially their physical appearance.
- Why does the school personnel keep the original kids alive? From a logistic point of view, it would make more sense to kill them: no money would be wasted to feed them, and there would be no chance of them running away and reveal the secret. They could even be recycled and fed to the clones, to save even more money.
- Why does the car of the monsters at the end have a symbol that looks like a military emblem? Is there a nation of monsters, with an army? And why would a family (no matter what species it is) travel in a military car? Did the monsters consider the humans to be so dangerous that they require military escort whenever they have contact with humans?
Attack of the Mutant
- It's implied that the Masked Mutant himself is the one who writes his own comics. But if he is indeed a fictional character and is aware of this, it presents a "chicken or egg" question as to which came first, the Mutant or his comics? Also, what about the guy Skipper mentioned as the author of the comics, Starenko? Is he even real, or one of the Mutant's personas, like Libby?
- If Libby was the Masked Mutant in disguise, how did she acquire a house and a massive collection of those comics that Skipper thought were so lame? Did Molecule Man, presumably the Mutant's Dragon, pose as her mom and/or dad?
Why I Am Afraid Of Bees
- It is never explained how the protagonist suddenly got back in his human body after he died as a bee. What the heck happened? The hero says he intends to get explanations, but they are never revealed.
- My guess is that the bee dying shocked them all back in their bodies, but the bee ended up sharing Gary's, hence the Twist ending.
- It was probably Mind Screw, and all in his little phobic mind.
- When he is stuck as a bee and finally manages to communicate with the employee who transferred his mind in the first place, she doesn't do a damn thing to help him and says she cannot restore him to his original body just because the guy occupying his body doesn't want to leave it. Of course, it can be explained by this mind-swapping company being an underground one that has little to no safety compliance. Anyway, why doesn't the protagonist just ask to have his mind transferred in the other guy's body (which is occupied by the bee's) just as it was meant to in the first place?? Wouldn't it make his life much easier?
- Perhaps the other guy needs to be hooked up the machine? After all, we don't know where Dirk even was when the switch began. perhaps he was in another machine somewhere else.
- Also, Gary probably wanted nothing more to do with these idiots. Their fuck up with the device caused his predicament in the first place, why risk that again? His primary concern was getting back to normal and appreciating his life for what is.
- Always remember the characters are morons
- And last but not least, how can he still talk when being a bee? Bees don't have vocal organs, do they?
A Night in Terror Tower
- Why exactly did the High Lord Executioner go after them? Once they were in the future it didn't really matter what they did, they couldn't interfere with his rule. All he had to do was kill the magician and that would have been the end of it.
The Cuckoo Clock of Doom
- The "flaw" in the clock is mentioned before the time travel shenanigans begin, before the protagonist starts going back in time. At the end of the book, his father reveals that he's discovered what the flaw is—the year dial is missing a year, namely the one that he himself knocked off as a baby when he was fixing the clock, and as a result, when things were reset to normal his bratty little sister, born in that year, was never born. But then how was there a "flaw" in the original timeline?
- Magic, powerful, time-altering clock? It could be that there was a different flaw initially, and the missing year is a new one that replaced the old one.
- If removing the year 1996 causes Tara to not be born, does that mean that everything in 1996 never happened? If 1996 never happened, are people aware that 1996 never happened?
The Horror at Camp Jellyjam
- My post at Blogger Beware's article for this story: "King Jellyjam just raises too many questions, all of which I asked when reading this book as a grade-schooler. Where did he come from? Just what the hell is he? How is he strong enough to shake the ground when belching? Why the fuck does he sweat snails? If he can't survive without slaves to clean him, how did he exist before he obtained slaves? And being a giant blob monster, how did he get slaves in the first place? Where did he get his crown? I need to lie down, my head hurts... "
- According to Word of God, he was created when a camper left a cup of gelatin inside a radioactive cave full of snails.
- That covers some of it, at least, thank you. But it also raises the question: what was the camp like before his creation? Was it just a normal sports camp?
- Perhaps he was in a larval stage when he took over the camp. As he matured, so did his stench, but most of the time he had kids cleaning him. By the time they stopped, he died of shock because his lungs had never adapted to the smell.
It's also implied he has some kind of telepathic powers.
- What exactly did the merpeople do to Alexander and the other bad guys? They're never mentioned being arrested,and Billy only tells us that Alexander is "gone." Did these guys actually get drowned and eaten by mermaids?
- Mermaids do drag their male victims down for a snack, so yeah.
Night of the Living Dummy III
- Can someone explain the ending of the TV episode to me? In the book, Trina gives Slappy to Zane as revenge for getting her and her brother grounded for life, and Slappy winked at her as if to say, "don't worry, I'm going to fuck up his life just like I did yours". But what happens in the TV episode? Does Slappy possess him or something?
- Slappy possessed him for a time, but he got blown up by lightning after declaring himself invincible. The fact that Zane could turn his head around a'la The Exorcist likely does mean Slappy possessed him after his dummy body was obliterated, since Bride of the Living Dummy ended in a similar manner, which in and of itself presents its own Fridge Logic: in the TV show, is Bride an alternate universe, or was Slappy "exorcised" from Zane and into a new dummy body exactly like his old one?
- When Jimmy O'James puts the curse on him, and tells Slappy that the only way out is he has to do three good deeds in a week or go to sleep forever (which, for Slappy, is equivalent to a death sentence), the exact phrasing is, "You have to do three good deeds - and no evil. If you don't do three good deeds in a week, you will fall asleep and never come to life again." It was made VERY clear that he can't do any evil deeds. No evil. None. So later in the book, Slappy attempts to murder a girl, because he thinks she's standing between him and his life. What was the repercussion for it? Sure, he never got to actually do it, but the fact that he thought about it, planned it, and would have done it if some contrived thing didn't stop him doesn't trigger the curse? Or would that have only been the result if he actually succeeded?
- The only other reason I can think of is if Jimmy was there to witness it and end it there, which leads to:
- Jimmy threatened to be watching his every move (which would have in and of itself ended the book before the halfway point). Where the hell was he, then?
- I would think Reality Ensues can excuse this, at least. What would the mom or neighbors think if they saw some teenage boy randomly stalking the house with two young girls?
- Despite publication dates, does this book take place before Bride of the Living Dummy? Why else would Slappy still be with Jimmy?
Dr. Maniac vs. Robby Schwartz!
- The Purple Rage decides to help Robby find his brother, Sam, who was kidnapped by Dr. Maniac. The Purple Rage's plan is the following:
- Step #1 - Feed Robby to scorpions.
- Step #2 - If Sam sees Robby in danger, he will choose to escape so that he can rescue Robby... Somehow...
Streets of Panic Park!
- The Menace has the villains of the previous books working for him, promised revenge against the protagonists. Towards the end they are all assembled in the same place. They include a mummy, to menace Abbey from Who's Your Mummy. Only thing; anyone who read Who's Your Mummy would know that the mummies in that story are NOT the villains. You COULD make the argument that the villains were a sort of mummy, but they aren't featured, it's specifically a classic bandaged mummy. I get the idea some Ghost Writing was involved here.
- The kids were brought to Horror Land because their enemies, the villains of the books, were promised revenge. So, why were Matt and Julie involved? Their 'villains' were a container of Monster Blood and a cursed camera; inanimate objects. Not even sentient inanimate objects! They're never even brought up when the other villains are involved.
- Abbey probably shouldn't be involved either. While she does have a villain representing her book, it falls straight under fridge logic (see above).
- The Menace specifically needed kids who could survive the fear, and faced surreal, scary situations that normal kids don't face. Therefore, Abbey, Matt, and Julie still qualify, if only because the Menace needs their fear to bring back Panic Park. More batteries, so to speak.
Slappy New Year!
Oh, where do I begin with this book?
- There's a scene at a Christmas party with a HUGE family gathering. Ray is trying to put on a show with Slappy, with expected results. His dad tries to take Slappy away, and then Slappy hits him, jumps out of Ray's and runs right for the Christmas tree! Yes, on his own gets down and runs! In a room full of witnesses! How the HELL is Ray still getting the blame for this?! It's obvious he dove at Slappy to stop him (with the poor tree getting taken down in the process).
- The scene with Slappy and the hedgeclippers. There was a garbage man nearby who apparently didn't notice the kids screaming and running from the possessed dummy wielding a dangerous weapon. Or the fact that the kids threw said dummy into his garbage truck to try to get rid of him.
- The New Year's Eve party. Slappy crashes the party (in a basement, with a lot of paint cans against one wall, which contribute to the mess...) and a lot of kids step in to stop him. And NO ONE thinks to get the parents and show that they aren't responsible for this mess while Slappy's still up and walking? Or even to get video of a living dummy up and about, since this book takes place in modern day when a lot of kids have cell phones?
- The ending. Ray reads the words that brought Slappy to life again to put him back to sleep. In the third book, this didn't work, and Slappy actually laughed in his owners' faces when they tried it. Aside from "new series, new continuity", why does this work now? This is especially frustrating when the Night of the Living Dummy books in both the original series and the 2000 books shared some semblance of continuity, despite being different series.
- Also on this note, in the show, the words apparently mean, "You and I are one now." Which makes even less sense that this works.
- Slappy loves screwing with people. He probably planned to let Ray think he was safe for a while before showing himself again and rubbing the kid's helplessness to stop him in his face — true, he usually does that immediately after someone tries reading the words again, but maybe he got bored and decided to take a different approach this time. Ray's mother apparently waking him up again was probably unplanned but affects nothing.
The whole book runs on everyone but Slappy holding the Idiot Ball