Night of the Living Dummy is the seventh book in the original Goosebumps book series, and the first book in the Living Dummy saga. It was first published in 1993. It was later followed up by Night of the Living Dummy II in 1995 and Night of the Living Dummy III in 1996.
Both the original and the reprint cover illustrations depict Slappy the Dummy evilly staring at the reader, his mouth agape.
HE'S NO DUMMY!
Lindy names the ventriloquist's dummy she finds Slappy. Slappy is kind of ugly, but he's a lot of fun. Lindy's having a great time learning to make Slappy move and talk. But Kris is jealous of all the attention her sister is getting. It's no fair. Why does Lindy have all the luck? Kris decides to get a dummy of her own. She'll show Lindy. Then weird things begin to happen. Nasty things. Evil things. No way a dummy can be causing all the trouble. Or is there?
Lindy and Kris Powell are walking through their neighborhood. The two girls decide to inspect a house that is under construction. While searching through a garbage container near the house, Lindy finds a mysterious ventriloquist's dummy and decides to call him Slappy. Lindy uses her dummy to gain popularity, and Kris quickly becomes jealous. Since some of the neighborhood kids seem to love her ventriloquism, Lindy decides to start using Slappy for children's acts and birthday parties. Lindy and Kris's parents ask the two girls to share the dummy. However, when Kris tries to take Slappy from Lindy, Slappy hits Kris in the face.
The next morning, Mr. Powell reveals that he has bought a ventriloquist dummy for Kris from a pawn shop. She decides to call him Mr. Wood. Mrs. Berman, Kris's music teacher, asks her to perform a ventriloquist act for the school's upcoming spring concert. Lindy offers to help Kris improve her act, but Mr. Wood, currently being held by Lindy, begins hurling insults at Kris. Kris assumes that Lindy is the one speaking, but Lindy insists that she isn't controlling the dummy. That night, Lindy and Kris hear strange noises coming from inside their house. When they go to investigate, they find Mr. Wood strangling Slappy. When the sisters tell their mother what happened, Mrs. Powell doesn't believe them and tells the girls to go to bed. Kris continues to hear noises coming from the kitchen throughout the night. Kris ventures to the kitchen and sees Mr. Wood lying near the refrigerator with food around him. Before Kris and Lindy can clean everything up, Mrs. Powell goes downstairs and sees the disarray. Both girls try to convince their mother that Mr. Wood is responsible for the mess, but Mrs. Powell threatens to take Slappy and Mr. Wood away if the girls keep insisting that Mr. Wood is alive.
While the girls clean up the mess, Lindy reveals to Kris that she is the one who has been doing all these horrible things. She was tired of Kris being a copycat, so she decided to pull this big prank on Kris. She mocks Kris for buying it. Kris is infuriated, but doesn't tell their Mom about this, as they have been banned from talking about the dummies. A couple of days later, Kris finds a small card in Mr. Wood's pocket that reads, "KARRU MARRI ODONNA LOMA MOLONU KARRANO,". After reading the card out loud, Kris thinks she sees Mr. Wood blink.
That night, the Powell's elderly neighbors, Mr. and Mrs. Miller, come to visit them. Lindy and Kris's parents ask that their daughters perform a ventriloquist act for their neighbors. Lindy decides to go first, and hers is a success. Before Kris can perform her act, Mr. Wood begins to insult the elderly couple, making fun of their appearances and their breath. Because of this, Kris is grounded but still allowed to attend the school's spring concert the following day. At the concert, while Mrs. Berman is adjusting a microphone for Kris, Mr. Wood begins to insult the teacher for being overweight. Mrs. Berman demands an apology, but Mr. Wood responds by spewing a green substance on the teacher and the audience. Mrs. Bergman tells Kris that she will be suspended from school for this, possibly for life.
Mr. Powell announces he will return the dummy to the pawn shop on Monday. Kris locks Mr. Wood in a closet and goes to sleep. Kris is awakened by the sound of footsteps. When Kris decides to investigate, she discovers that Mr. Wood is alive. Mr. Wood tells her that she and Lindy are now his slaves and that the magic words brought him to life. Kris tries to fight the dummy, but Mr. Wood hits her fiercely in the stomach. Kris crawls away from Mr. Wood and screams for help. Lindy hears her sister and goes downstairs to find out what has happened. While Kris tells her sister that the dummy is alive, Mr. Wood surprises the girls. Lindy manages to pin the dummy to the ground and keep him from fleeing. When the girls' parents arrive, Mr. Wood stops moving. Lindy and Kris try to explain what has happened, but their parents refuse to believe the girls. Mr. and Mrs. Powell begin to question Kris's mental well-being, suggesting that they should take her to a doctor. As soon as the parents leave, Mr. Wood comes back to life, insisting that Lindy and Kris are his slaves.
The girls try to decapitate the dummy, but they are unable to harm him. Next, the girls trap Mr. Wood in a suitcase and bury him in the backyard. Since they are exhausted, Lindy and Kris go to sleep. When the girls wake up the next morning, they discover that Mr. Wood has freed himself and is waiting for them. Lindy and Kris seek help, but their parents have gone out. To show how serious he is, Mr. Wood begins to choke Barky, the family dog. In an attempt to separate the two, the girls drag Mr. Wood and Barky outside. When Mr. Wood releases Barky, the girls chase the dummy into the path of a nearby steamroller being used for construction at the house next door. Mr. Wood dodges the first steamroller and tells them that both will be his slaves forever. He doesn't notice the second steamroller, however, and it crushes Mr. Wood. A mysterious green mist rises from the smashed dummy's body. The alarmed driver of the steamroller rushes out, thinking it was a kid he ran over, but the kids assure him it was nothing more than a dummy.
Lindy, Kris, and Barky return home. When the girls get to their room, they find Slappy waiting for them. Slappy asks if the other dummy is gone.
Reprints and rereleases
- The Classic Goosebumps reprint was released as a tie-in to the first Goosebumps HorrorLand book Revenge of the Living Dummy.
- The 2003 reprint's cover has Slappy facing straight, unlike the original cover, which has him slightly tilted to the left. As such, it's accurate to Tim's original art piece, though the shading and colors are brighter.
- The page count for the 2015 Retro Collector's Tin reprint is lowered from 134 to 132 pages.
- In the French release, this is the second book in the original series.
- In the Arabic release, the cover art from the Classic Goosebumps reprint of Night of the Living Dummy II was used instead of the original cover art. No other Slappy book was released except for Slappy's Nightmare and Slappy New Year. However, Slappy's Nightmare was part of the old Arabic series, which used Jacobus' art and is no longer in print.
Despite the popularity of the book, it was never adapted into an episode for the Goosebumps TV series. However, several subsequent books about Slappy were, which were: Night of the Living Dummy II, Night of the Living Dummy III and Bride of the Living Dummy.
- Lindy and Kris' mother isn't reading a Stephen King novel; she is doing computer work.
- Lindy has brown hair and Kris has green hair. In the original novel, both girls have blond hair.
- The girls' father is not in the story.
- Lindy, Kris, and Barky chase Mr. Wood before he chases the girls.
- Mr. and Mrs. Miller don't appear.
- Lindy is notified about the party by looking at her cell phone instead of a watch.
- Mr. Wood's outfit is different from what was described in the book. Instead of a red flannel shirt, he wears a gray sweater.
|Audiobook||Release date||Length||Narrated by||Published by|
|April 2015||2 hours, 51 minutes||Carol Schneider||Scholastic Inc.|
- The artwork for both the original and Classic Goosebumps covers feature Slappy, not Mr. Wood, the main villain of the story. Despite being the main antagonist of the later Living Dummy books, Slappy is not the main villain of this book. In fact, he only speaks at the end of the book.
- This is similar to Friday the 13th, where the first installment has a different villain, with the primary series villain making an appearance near the books end. Similarly, further installments feature the more famous icon that would be more associated with the source.
- As for Mr. Wood, he would make another book appearance 24 years later with his origin being revealed in the prologue of I Am Slappy's Evil Twin.
- According to R.L. Stine's autobiography, he got the idea for the first three Night of the Living Dummy books from reading The Adventures of Pinocchio when he was young.
- According to the Goosebumps Official Collector's Caps Book, another inspiration for the Living Dummy books came from when Stine was a child and would use his ventriloquist dummy to scare his brother.
- Yet another inspiration likely comes from the 1962 episode of The Twilight Zone entitled "The Dummy" in which a ventriloquist believes that his dummy is not only alive, but evil. However, nobody believes him due to his alcoholism.
- The title of this book is a spoof of the classic 1968 horror film, Night of the Living Dead.
- Slappy's eyes are green on both the original and 2008 cover art, despite being described as blue in-book.
- Certain prints of this book feature an error involving the book synopsis on the back cover. Normally, the synopsis should read "Kris decides to get a dummy of her own. She'll show Lindy", which was the original description on the earliest editions. Certain editions, including the 1995 reprints (which were the first to feature a small ® after the Goosebumps logo), accidentally printed "Kris decides to get a dummy of her own. She'll show Kris". This error would be corrected in some of the reprints that followed, including the 2003 reprints and 2015's Retro Scream Collection edition.
- According to the back cover of the Classic Goosebumps reprint, Night of the Living Dummy has sold over 2 million copies.
- The scene where Mr. Wood vomits a green pea soup-like substance is a likely reference to the 1973 film The Exorcist.
- This book references Coca-Cola, Stephen King, and Betsey Johnson.
- Mr. Wood's description of having a head of red hair with a red flannel shirt and blue jeans is slightly reminiscent of classic television marionette Howdy Doody.
- Slappy's (or possibly Mr. Wood's) UK cover design is slightly reminiscent of Edgar Bergen's ventriloquist dummy Charlie McCarthy.
- Coincidentally, Bergen and McCarthy are directly mentioned by the Millers in the book.
References in other Goosebumps media
- In the first Goosebumps film, the title of the book is mentioned, and a homage to the original cover is seen in the end credits animation.
- In Goosebumps: The Game, Slappy appears as the main antagonist. Mr. Wood also appears at the very end of the game. The book's manuscript also makes an appearance.
- The game also features an in-game trophy titled "Not the Living Dummy's Night" which is earned by completing the game.
- The magic words are used in one of the bad endings from the first Give Yourself Goosebumps book, Escape from the Carnival of Horrors, which bring a ventriloquist dummy to life who forces the characters to be his slaves. While it's unclear if the dummy is actually Slappy or Mr. Wood, Patty mentions the dummy looks similar to the one from the book.
- This book's title is also mentioned.
- Slappy is one of the Monster Cards that can be collected in the 2008 video game, Goosebumps HorrorLand. The card is #0 and features this book's original cover art.
- Since Night of the Living Dummy, Slappy has made more appearances in Goosebumps books and media than any other character.
- His number of appearances would be further expanded when in 2017, Slappy was given his own book series entitled Goosebumps SlappyWorld.
- Slappy has since replaced Curly as the franchise mascot, particularly after the Goosebumps series was revived in 2008.
- Slappy appears on both the original and 2015 covers for It Came From Ohio!
- Slappy also appeared in the 1998 Goosebumps Live on Stage show.
- Both Slappy and Mr. Wood appear in Goosebumps HorrorTown.
- Slappy appears as the main antagonist in Goosebumps Dead of Night.
- In Goosebumps HorrorTown, Slappy will appear and talk to the player from time-to-time.