I don’t really intend on making such a yak out of Goosebumps #07: Night of the Living Dummy (the first, you got that right), but it is outright genius. This is the book that made the nine-year old me really afraid of ever owning a dummy, and taught me the word “ventriloquist” at such a confused age. After Let’s Get Invisible (we all know how “well” that went), I thought I better recline from reading Goosebumps for a while. But when I found out that the next one on the shelf was going to be Night of the Living Dummy, I gave it a careful consideration – and I didn’t regret my choice. I still am in love with the Dummy installments, I admit. I have all three of them in fact (the second one is only the Goosebumps TV Series Episode Five companion book though; a condensed version), and I can still remember watching the third one on VHS (that’s right!) as a kid.
It all sets in motion when twins, Lindy and Kris wander off to the knocked-down house next door. In some such way, Lindy finds a ventriloquist dummy in a dumpster and starts playing with it; even giving it a nickname: Slappy. Kris then starts to become envious – for they really are rather jealous girls and constantly argued with one another. And because Lindy is extremely good at ventriloquism, she often catches the attention of people around her, and even manages to get herself a few gigs – and gets paid for them. Kris then decides to get a dummy of her own, and she calls him Mr. Wood. Following Mr. Wood’s arrival to the Powell household, strange things begin to happen, and somehow the girls always seem to find Kris’s dummy (literally) in the center of them all. Mr. Wood’s character is frightening, all right. I remembered most of the events that ensued in the book, but even so I still received a few prickles at the back of my neck while reading. It’s a shame that what I really actually forgot was the most important part of the book: when Kris reads the words that would have brought Mr. Wood to existence; the very words I (still) refuse to say out loud!
I can’t help but give a little character evaluation. Okay. I have a twin sister – and trust me arguments come and go time and again, but the twins in this book are irritating. Lindy is the irksome one. Because she is so much better than Kris at almost everything, she has this erratic realization that she must always put her sister down through any means possible. I never believed how resentful and vain she could really be until I reached the end of Chapter 15, in where her spitefulness clearly appeared like a bitch-slap from hell. Kris on the other hand is the more dispirited twin. She always has to prove that she is better than Lindy when clearly she might not be. RL Stine writes from both twins’ points-of view, but usually just Kris’s. So the horrors and the truths behind them are very much kept preserved until the later parts in the book. I was a little displeased that Kris hadn’t had the chance of ever avenging herself from Lindy’s vindictiveness. If I were in her position
I would have done a backbreaker on Lindy, just kidding now.
Seriously, this is a scary installment. The scariest I’ve read since Welcome to Dead House, I think. But in my honest opinion, this one is definitely more interesting. It was worth my time (one and half day), that’s for sure. It almost seemed not very kid-friendly (perhaps it’s just the way I can never imagine twins do things like these to one another). The time I started reading Night of the Living Dummy again, I just couldn’t stop as though I were sucked inside the book itself. And once I do cease to proceed with my daily doings, I get some kind of paranoia especially every time I enter a shaded place. The ending is classic; the logic suddenly took over me as soon as I closed the book. There still is two more Night of the Living Dummy paperbacks after all. I can’t wait to read them and have that thrilling sensation again. It’s the best Goosebumps on the shelf so far. And quick verity: the new cover art version is different from the one released in 1993. I just noticed that in the old version, Slappy’s (I think it’s Slappy on the cover) head is tilted on the side, as seen on the photo above. Whereas in the updated edition – which I have – his countenance stares straight ahead.
4 out of 5.