Previously on Goosebumps At 33…
Well hello there, spoils and gruels! I’m excited to welcome you back to yet another season of Goosebumps At 33! We are now in our 6th season of this silly segment, which only begs the question: who would’ve thought I’d milk this dead cow for so long?! Milked to death or not, this season of Goosebumps At 33 is sure to be LEGENDARY!! Or at least mediocre. Maybe somewhere in between there. Either way, it’s sure to be something.
In any event, for any of you who aren’t sure what this segment is all about, I encourage you to hit up this introductory post for more info. For the rest of you warriors, grab yourself a couple wine coolers, pull up a seat and settle in as I tell you the horrific tale of…
NIGHT OF THE LIVING DUMMY II!
After her dummy breaks one too many times, a young ventriloquist named Amy (Maggie Castle) receives a new one from her parents. Well, it’s not actually a “new” dummy, as Amy’s parents bought it at a pawn shop. Because their daughter is worth nothing more. In any event, the dummy, who goes by the name Slappy, happens to be alive and begins wreaking havoc for Amy and her family. Naturally, Amy is the fall guy for all the shenanigans that Slappy pulls, as her parents and siblings refuse to believe her stories about Slappy being the cause of all the problems. As bad as all of this is, Amy’s also a pre-teen ventriloquist, which ensures a life of ridicule and loneliness, something of which she has clearly accepted based on her penchant for wearing overalls.
What’s immediately obvious from the onset of Night of the Living Dummy II (or Night of the Living Dummy 2, if you’re not vain) this family is, like, THE WEIRDEST. For example, the episode opens with Amy and her siblings participating in show and tell with their parents. Okay, now, who has show and tell with their parents and not at school? They’re their parents! They already know all the dumb crap their kids have! The next day, the dad plays “If You're Happy and You Know It” on guitar and sings it for the entire family, in the living room, while wearing a cowboy hat and a vest. What kind of family does this type of crap? The Duggars? People who partake sister wivery? As it turns out, it’s all part of what this creepy family calls “The Family Night Stage.” Let’s face it, it should probably just be renamed The Socially Awkward Kids Will Live Alone and Die Alone Only to Have Their Cats Eat Their Rotting Corpse After They've Passed Stage.
In any event, it’s during "The Family Night Stage" where Amy is given the opportunity to show off her badass new ventriloquist skills. Shortly after she begins, however, Slappy takes over the performance and starts dissing each member of the family. This doesn’t go over well in such a clean-cut and controlling household, so Amy’s pretty much getting all sorts of shade tossed her way. From there, Slappy causes a number of problems for the family, and in a variety of ways, and of course everyone blames Amy for everything that's happening. As things begin to escalate into possible violence, however, Amy comes to realize that she must figure out how she can put an end to Slappy’s reign of terror before someone is hurt.
Airing on January 12, 1996, Night of the Living Dummy II is certainly a notable episode of Goosebumps for being the celluloid introduction of one of the most beloved characters from the book series, Slappy. What’s interesting about Night of the Living Dummy II is the fact that it is the first appearance of Slappy while being a sequel, and this is because Night of the Living Dummy was never adapted into an episode. The reasons for this are unknown, or at least I wasn’t able to find one. Regardless, despite being a sequel, Night of the Living Dummy II stands on its own as a story, and a mostly satisfying one at that.
Slappy is the perfect type of villain character for a scary children’s story, as ventriloquist’s dummies are inherently creepy, and are so without even having to try. While not nearly as effective to an adult such as myself who is watching Night of the Living Dummy II for the first time, I know from experience that Slappy was and is likely quite frightening to children. I too was somewhat afraid of ventriloquist's dummies as a kid, and that was a direct result of a short film simply titled The Dummy, which used to air on the USA network.
Nevertheless, Night of the Living Dummy II is an enjoyable episode of Goosebumps, and most definitely a fun way to start off a brand new season of Goosebumps At 33!
Until next time, kiddies, keep your nightlight on and your head under the covers…