Series: Goosebumps #4
Published by Scholastic
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Greg thinks there is something wrong with the old camera he found. The photos keep turning out . . . different.When Greg takes a picture of his father's brand-new car, it's wrecked in the photo. And then his dad crashes the car.It's like the camera can tell the future--or worse. Maybe it makes the future!
Finally we are getting somewhere.
After 2 books that were decidedly meh I finally got a book that moved at a decent pace and was interesting to boot!
Here is a story that plays with the old superstition that you shouldn’t have a photo taken because the camera will steal your soul. This is a superstition that everyone knows but is actually rarely the subject of scary stories because… well… put simply…. how in the hell do you write something like that? R.L. Stine did it in the 90’s with Say Cheese and Die, and I can think of one other story, well film, that did it well, if in a much scarier way off the top of my head. Can you guess what it is? No? I’ll give you a clue. Ethan Hawke is the lead… Still nothing? That’s OK this film, whilst amazing, has more of a cult following than a mainstream one. It’s the 2012 horror flick, Sinister.
The concept of this is one that I actually find fascinating, the idea that a still image can capture your soul and cause bad things to happen. It’s not completely unlike the belief that you should cover all the mirrors in the house where a person dies so that their soul doesn’t get trapped in them (Can anyone say Bloody Mary? I dare you)
Anyway, this tale centres on 4 friends. Greg, Shari (WoC ftw!), Michael, and Bird (His real name is Doug but everyone, literally, calls him Bird). These four friends find themselves bored one weekend day and decide to break into the local “haunted” house to explore, well kids will be kids I guess. I know I’ve done that in the past. You tell a kid a creepy old deserted house is haunted and they sure as hell will want to go and explore the crap out of it.
And that’s not because they’re disobedient per se, it’s stems from a natural curiosity, so when you find an old dusty camera in a supposedly haunted house then it’s natural that you’d be interested in it. But alas, this camera is not your usual Polaroid. No matter what you snap with this particular camera the pictures turn out… odd. Whether the camera shows future misfortune or actually causes it is unclear but the results can not be denied as the camera tries to kill and steal multiple characters throughout the story.
Ultimately the kids survive and put the camera back but the story is left with sequel baiting in progress, and we all know there’ll be sequels, it’s 2016, just look at the book list. But the originality of this concept for the time, and for a children’s book. That a camera will kill you to steal your soul? yeah this is something that border on genius and is one of the high water marks for the goosebumps series as a whole.
And it explains why a whole generation of kids don’t like having their photo taken… Myself included.
Happy reading and remember,