Project Goosebumps: Book 1: Welcome to Dead House

What in the…

Where in the…

This doesn’t look like my workstation…

I remember Nemo and Taneika… we were hanging out chatting about nostalgia… they offered me chocolate and a unicorn, I mean who in the hell wouldn’t say yes to a unicorn?.. and then everything is a happy blur of Nightwish and books and hearts and kitties… And then I wake up here, in a mauve office… Daisy chained to a desk… I have gone where no Redshirt has gone before… Well time for an introduction I suppose.

Good day readers!

I am Archer. I’ve been floating around the blogosphere for about 6 years under various guises and urls… I used to be a co-blogger at Cuddlebuggery book blog, but now I mostly write about games, films, pop culture and nostalgia at Ballad of the Red Shirts… Which brings me to why I am here…

I have, apparently, volunteered (they say ‘volunteered’ I say ‘been coerced by way of pretty girls’) into doing the nostalgia reviews of Goosebumps, as I am a fan boy of all things horror, and R.L. Stine was my literary god as a child.

So keep an eye peeled for me popping up and being… well… me. I promise I’ll try to keep my inner monster under wraps and if you like what you read check out more of my posts over at Ballad of the Red Shirts. All are welcome, and we have a gold logo to boot.

*Archer proceeds to pick up Book #1 of 62 and reads whilst his female overlords look on drinking cold drinks under the beating Australian sun*

“I don’t think he’ll survive,” suggests Taneika as she sips her OJ.

“Of course he won’t,’ chuckles Nemo, “He’s a redshirt. They’re totally expendable.”


Project Goosebumps: Book 1: Welcome to Dead HouseWelcome to Dead House by R.L. Stine
Series: Goosebumps #1
Published by Scholastic
Published on January 16 1992
Pages: 126
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4 Stars

Amanda and Josh Benson move into a new house in Dark Falls, where the residents are all zombies who have died while living in the same house and are preparing to make the Benson family one of them, as they need blood to survive.

Hot damn this is a nostalgia trip for me. I only  started reading these again after watching the movie (which is amazeballs by the way). Within 2 hours of reading I had finished the first novel (or more technically a novella I suppose).

Good sweet merciful Odin the writing holds up. It’s cheesy and so painfully 90’s that it’s hilarious. I couldn’t help but be whipped back to childhood memories of spending days of the British summer… you know the ones… cold, wet, bloody miserable. You curl up under a blanket and just read. Good times.

Dead House is the perfect introduction to zombie fiction for children. I oddly remembered it as more of a ghost story,  but it’s not. The titular dead have physical bodies and melt in sunlight. Not unlike vampires but they weren’t all bleh bleh bleh…

bleh

The tale starts off innocuously enough with a family moving house. What would be an exciting prospect for most kids I knew (or maybe it was just me being weird) is treated as a chore by Amanda and Josh, our hilariously suburban main characters.

They quickly settle and make friends with some of the local kids and find themselves playing softball with them daily.

But everything is not as idyllic as it seems. Amanda sees children in their home, has creepy skeletal nightmares, and apparently all of the local kids had lived there at some point in the past… which is where I’d then turn tail and set up camp in the basement or attic with a bat… hey it’s not paranoia if a  town of undead creeps wanna eat your face!

But the tale of prepubescent terror culminates one night in the local cemetery when Amanda and Josh are looking for their lost dog…

And I’ll be truly honest… I did not actually expect this to be as well written as it was. I was ecstatic to read a middle grade book that didn’t talk down to the target demographic to such a degree that it’s painful for an adult to read years later.

All in all I’d definitely recommend this to fans who read the series as kids themselves or for parents whose children are looking for creepy kid friendly stories it remains immensely readable nearly 25 years later.

A solid 4 stars… or hearts…. or whatever.

Archer
Archer

About Archer

Cleverly disguised as a responsible adult, I will devour pretty much anything that can hold me. Outside of that I’m a professional woodworker, a serious gamer, and a keen cook.

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4 thoughts on “Project Goosebumps: Book 1: Welcome to Dead House

  1. Valancy

    Hey this is awesome!! I remember not being allowed to read Goosebumps (overly-conscientious parents + impressionable school-bound days = clandestinely acquired, secretly read books) and sneaking them home after covertly borrowing them from the library. I read them after dark, hiding under the blankets even though they scared me ridiculously. I am totally going to have to re-read them!

    1. Archer

      Definitely do,it really is surprising how well they stand up after 20+ years. They lose a lot of the creep, well so far they have for me, but they’re still very readable. My parents were pretty chill with what I read as a kid. They didn’t really stop me reading anything. I guess they thought it kept me out of trouble… Oh how wrong they were… I mean what?

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