Book 24: The Phantom of the Auditorium
After a couple books that were quite lackluster to me, this book I loved. I genuinely loved it. I was completely pulled in from the first page and unlike some of the other books there is no fake outs. All the scares are genuine scares and not just ‘someone playing a prank’.
Zeke and Brooke have been best friends for years. Their friendship stems out of a mutual love of horror movies, so when they hear that their school’s play is called the Phantom they HAVE to audition. To their surprise they both get the lead roles. It’s at the first practice they first hear the horrifying story of the first performance 72 years ago.
The first year the school was built they decided to perform the play, but on the day of the boy who was cast as the phantom never showed up and was never heard from again. Suddenly weird things start happening, Brooke and Zeke meet a weird old man who claims to be the night janitor as well as befriending Brian a new student at the school who’s on the stage crew.
Zeke gets kicked out of the play when the Phantom’s haunts get blamed on him. Finally they discover that the messages and frightening moments weren’t from the Phantom but Emilie, a homeless man who’s been living under the school’s stage. Knowing that there is no Phantom and Emilie has left from under the stage the school decides to continue with the play.
However when the Phantom hits the stage Brooke immediately realizes it’s not Zeke. The mysterious performer tells the tale of how many years ago before his big night he fell down the trapdoor and died. The crowd loves the performance and Zeke and Brooke go out to celebrate. That’s when they find a year book from 72 years ago and see that the boy originally casted to play the Phantom was Brian.
THE BAD: There’s really nothing I can complain about. If there’s anything that struck me as weird it’d be Brooke and Zeke are huge horror fans but the first movie they reference is Creature from the Black Lagoon. This seemed weird to me because I figured they’d be fans of scarier movies than that (they later reference Poltergeist and Friday the 13th which were more what I was expecting them to like). I think what’s even more weird is as a kid Creature from the Black Lagoon was my favorite horror movie, so many R.L. Stine actually hit the nail on the head with that.
THE GOOD: The book is just paced perfectly and even has a sympathetic aspect to it. I love the way the book ends. AT 27 I knew the twist about midway through (although Emilie being a homeless man under the stage I didn’t expect at all), but I still loved it and I’m sure at 10 I’d love it even more. I think this is my biggest recommended of the 31 books.
THE TV SHOW EPISODE: This was a well done episode but definitely changed up a lot of the story and omitted character elements. It makes sense to me however, many of the Goosebump books are easy to adapt as their filled with lots of plot points that aren’t important, Stine didn’t waste a page on this one so even though it’s only 123 (which is actually long for a Goosebumps book) it’s impossible to do it correctly in just 19 minutes.
The performances are also quite good in this particular episode (not like yesterday’s Return of the Mummy which was quite unbearable).
<----- Book 23. The Return of the Mummy
Book 25 ---->