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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 and Night of the Living Dummy III.

The cover illustration depicts Slappy the Dummy evilly staring at the reader, his mouth agape.

Blurb

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?

Plot

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. A couple of days later, Kris finds a small card in Mr. Wood's pocket that reads, "KARRU MARRI ODONNA LOMA MOLONU KARRANO," which can be translated to "You and I are one now." After reading the card out loud, Kris thinks she sees Mr. Wood blink.

Mrs. Berman, Kris's music teacher, asks her to perform a ventriloquist act for the school's 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 insist 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.

A couple of days later, 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. Kris decides to go first. Before she 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 punished. Despite this, Kris is 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. Kris is suspended from school.

Kris asks her father to return her dummy to the pawn shop. Mr. Powell says he won't return the dummy until 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. 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.

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

Differences

  • The 2003 reprint's cover has Slappy facing straight, unlike the original cover, which has him slightly tilted to the left. As such, it is accurate to Tim's original art piece. 
  • The Classic Goosebumps reprint was released as a tie-in to the first Goosebumps HorrorLand book, Revenge of the Living Dummy.
  • In the Arabic release, the cover art from Night of the Living Dummy II was used instead of the original cover art, therefore 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 is no longer present.

International releases

Differences

  • In the French release, this is the second book in the original series.
    • Kris Powell is called "Lucy Lafaye"
    • Lindy Powell is called "Caro Lafaye"
    • Slappy is called "Clac-Clac"

Merchandise

Adaptations

TV series

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.

Goosebumps Graphix

Night of the Living Dummy was adapted into a Goosebumps Graphix story by Dave Roman in 2015 as the fourth story in Slappy's Tales of Horror. There were some changes, including:

  • When Mr. Wood is killed, his spirit goes inside Slappy and possesses him.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • Kris 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 grey sweater.

Audiobook

Audiobook Release date Length Narrated by Published by
Nightofthelivingdummy-audiobook
April 2015 2 hours, 51 minutes Carol Schneider Scholastic Inc.

Artwork

Trivia

  • The artwork for both the original and 2008 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 story 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.
  • Another inspiration for the Night of the Living Dummy books more than likely comes from the 1962 episode of The Twilight Zone entitled "The Dummyin which a ventriloquist believes that dummy is only alive, but evil.
  • According to the Goosebumps Official Collector's Caps Book, another inspiration for the Night of the Living Dummy books came from when Stine was a child and would use his ventriloquist dummy to scare his brother.
  • The title of the 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. 
  • This is the first Goosebumps book where the protagonists are twins, as well as the first Goosebumps book to feature sister protagonists.
  • Certain reprints feature an error on the 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 prints from 1993. Certain editions, including the 1995 reprints (Which 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 later reprints.
  • 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.
  • The book makes references to Coca-Cola and Stephen King.
  • Mr. Wood having a red head with a red flannel shirt and blue jeans is reminiscent of Howdy Doody.

References in other Goosebumps media

NotTheLivingDummysNight

"Not The Living Dummy's Night" Trophy

  • 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.
  • 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.  
  • Since Night of the Living Dummy, Slappy has made more appearances in Goosebumps books and media than any other character. He has also replaced Curly as the mascot of the entire franchise.
  • 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.
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