Welcome to Dead House by R.L. Stine
And now for something different. For as long as I can remember I’ve wanted to be a writer. Up until a few years ago, I always imagined that I’d write MG or YA. Books to inspire kids to read. Except the only thing I’ve written has been for adults. In order to channel this part of me, I’ve decided to re-read a number of books from my youth. I recently purchased several of R.L. Stine’s Goosebumps books, the only books from my childhood I’ve ever regretted getting rid of.
The first in my MG installment is Welcome To Dead House the very first Goosebumps book! Amanda and Josh have just moved to Dark Falls with their parents. Their father is a writer who inherited an old house from some old dead uncle that no one has ever heard of. Josh and Amanda share a bit of typical sibling rivalry. Scaring each other, bickering, general overall complaining about life and having to move 500 miles away from their friends.
From the very day in Dark Falls, Amanda notices that something is wrong when she sees a boy in her bedroom. Although she tries to convince herself that it’s all in her head, fear starts to boil when she’s the boy again, in the hall of her house. Of course, no one believes Amanda’s suspicions. All that changes when Amanda and Josh go for a walk and meet up with some local kid, all of whom are acting particularly strange. When their dog Petey takes off one afternoon, Josh and Amanda sneak out in the middle of the night to find him. They find him in the cemetery, and they find Ray. A local kid who seems to keep showing up randomly, and in the middle of the night. Ray fails to convince Josh and Amanda to leave the cemetery, when they stumble upon Ray’s grave. The kids find graves of several of their new friends and realize that everyone they know is dead.
Everyone in Darkness Falls is dead!
“Viewers beware you’re in for a scare!” So after finishing the first book, I decided I’d pair each book with the old Goosebumps episode that matched! Would they hold up to the book? I found this first book amidst season two.
What I liked about watching the show and reading the books, was they complemented one another so well. The book makes the living dead out to be something a bit closer to crossbreed between vampirism and ghosts, while the TV show really depicts the town as zombies. There are quite a few significant differences between the two, I’d be shocked if I ever said the movie/show followed the book exactly. I’d even say that the TV show was a bit milder than the book.
The book on a whole is fairly cheesy and far less scary then I remember it being when I was in elementary school. Weird, who’d have thought! But you know what? It still brings up all those wonderful memories of reading into the night, being scared with the turn of a page, finding goosebumps covering my arms (pun intended). I’d still full heartedly recommend this book to those in the 8-11 range. It’s a classic and they only get better from here!