Literature / The Nightmare Room

When the lights fade and the moon rises, anything can happen. The world becomes a carnival of shocks and chills. A whirling merry-go-round that never stops, spinning faster and faster, taking you on a frightening ride. I'm R. L. Stine, don't fall asleep... or you might find yourself in The Nightmare Room.

The Nightmare Room is a series of YA horror books written by R. L. Stine in the early 2000s. Much like Goosebumps, it is a horror Genre Anthology series featuring a different short story filled with young kids facing off against ghosts, monsters, and other supernatural beings. Unlike Goosebumps, the stories are much darker and the kid heroes don't always win in the end.

It mostly pools from from The Twilight Zone with its title, and its storytelling style.

It was adapted for television series in 2001 as part of the Kids' WB line-up. Sadly, because of the 9/11 attacks and the shift to have Saturday morning cartoons wiped from network TV in favor of either news or educational kids' TV, the show only lasted for 13 episodes.

This show provides examples of:

  • Accidental Truth: At the end of "Full Moon Halloween".
  • Alien Among Us: A whole unit of alien invaders disguise themselves as humans in "Four Eyes".
  • The Bad Guy Wins: Approximately 90% of the episodes have the villain win or get away.
  • Black Dude Dies First: The episodes "School Spirit" and "Full Moon Halloween" feature the same cast of characters and in both of them, the character of Freddie Goal suffers some type of horrible fate.
    • "School Spirit": He's the first person to be taken by the ghost.
    • "Full Moon Halloween": He is attacked by a werewolf at the end.
  • Blatant Lies: The protagonist in "Tangled Web" dishes these out frequently. He stops after learning a valuable lesson.
  • Butt-Monkey: Dylan from "Scareful What You Wish For'' and Jeremy from "Four Eyes" are trying to stop supernatural evil forces and suffer a lot because of it. They both end up in a Fate Worse Than Death.
  • Cassandra Truth: Dylan in "Scareful What You Wish For".
  • Creepy Doll: Buddy in "Scareful What You Wish For".
  • Cruel Twist Ending:
    • "Scareful What You Wish For": It's revealed that Dylan's doll was brought to life by the party magician when he was a kid and he made the doll to be Dylan's best friend forever and the doll turned Dylan into a doll so he can do just that.
    • "The Howler": After the kids stop the three spirits from possessing them and destroys the machine that can communicate with the spirits, the machine repairs itself. A security guard finds the machine and turns it on, which causes one of the spirits to possess the security guard. The possessed security guard takes the machine and plans to find two more victims for his friends to possess.
    • "Full Moon Halloween": It turns out Freddie's lie that he thought he made up about one of his classmates being a werewolf is true and he gets attacked by them.
    • "Four Eyes": Jeremy's new glasses reveals that he can see monsters which are really aliens living among the humans and they plan to take over the world by replacing the humans as aliens. When they find out about him, they try to capture him. When his friend Cindy and her mom save him, they reveal that they were aliens the whole time and Cindy is actually the leader.
    • "Dear Diary, I'm Dead": After Tess took the diary from Alex, he takes it back and reads the last entry revealing that Tess is going to die. Alex tries to save her, but they both soon realize that the diary entry changes depending on who's reading it and the entry was actually meant for Alex who ends up dying. Then the episode ends at the beginning of the episode revealing that Alex has no future because he's trapped in a time warp where he is forced to relive every moment in the diary and he has no idea about it.
  • Darker and Edgier: Than Goosebumps, and if it continued for more than a season, it would've been way darker than The Haunting Hour.
  • Earn Your Happy Ending: While the main characters and their friends and family make it out okay (for the most part), the problems they had are shifted to someone else. ("Don't Forget Me", "The Howler", "Tangled Web", "Fear Games", "School Spirit", "Locker 13", "My Name is Evil", and "Camp Nowhere")
  • Expy: The ghost living in "Locker 13" is obviously a ghost version of the Emperor.
  • Face–Heel Turn: The protagonist in "My Name is Evil" fully embraces his power to make others suffer.
  • Fate Worse Than Death: In "Scareful What You Wish For", Dylan is turned into a doll so he'll be best friends with Buddy forever.
  • For the Evulz: The Alpha Bitch in "My Name is Evil" ruins the protagonist's friendships for her own amusement. However, he gets even with her.
  • Foreshadowing: In "Four Eyes", Dr. Young tells Jeremy that his new glasses are going to make him see the world like he has never seen it before. His glasses reveal that he can see aliens. Also, the fact that Jeremy never saw Cindy's face with his glasses on and her mom's face being obscured when Jeremy first meets her hinted of their true nature at the end.
  • "Groundhog Day" Loop: At the end of "Dear Diary, I'm Dead", it's revealed that the diary knew what was going to happen to Alex because he is trapped in a time warp forced to relive every moment in the diary.
  • Halloween Episode: "Full Moon Halloween"
  • Heel–Face Turn: The protagonist in "Tangled Web" stops lying and becomes a better person after the nightmares he experienced in the episode.
  • The Hero Dies: The majority of the shows' episodes, have the hero fight an useless battle against evil, and end up dead.
  • Hope Spot: In "Four Eyes," just when Dylan escapes from pursuing alien invaders, he's picked up by his best friend, who turns out to be the alien leader.
  • Karma Houdini: This is a horror show. The Bad Guy Wins almost all the time.
  • Kick the Dog: The Alpha Bitch in "My Name is Evil," coldly rejects the protagonist's attempts to date her, and ruins his life For the Evulz.
  • Kick the Son of a Bitch: The protagonist in "My Name is Evil" frames the Alpha Bitch, who's been breaking apart his friendships For the Evulz, as the true monster. Unfortunately, he pulls a Face–Heel Turn in the ending.
  • Made of Evil: The protagonist in "My Name is Evil."
  • No Good Deed Goes Unpunished: Doing all he can to prevent aliens from conquering his hometown, Dylan is rewarded with an impending death, when captured by the alien leader, who was really his best friend.
  • Pay Evil unto Evil: The protagonist in "My Name is Evil," decides to use his powers to punish jerkasses only.
  • 13 Is Unlucky: Only had 13 episodes.
    • In "Locker 13," take a wild guess on what the number of the locker is, that the main character has to use.
  • Together in Death: In the darkest example yet, Buddy turns Dylan into a doll, so they'll be best friends forever.
  • Ungrateful Bastard: Everyone in "Four Eyes" treats Jeremy like dirt, despite the fact that he's trying to save them from alien invaders.
  • Unwitting Instigator of Doom: The magician at Dylan' birthday party, casts a spell on his doll Buddy, so they'll be best friends forever. The doll becomes obsessed with Dylan, and eventually kills him.
  • Villain Protagonist: The protagonist in "My Name is Evil" is trying not to become this, but ends up accepting this fate anyway.
  • Wicked Witch: Appears as the main villain of the trilogy finale.
  • Yandere: Buddy in "Scareful What You Wish For".
  • Your Mind Makes It Real: "Tangled Web" has the protagonist's lies come true.