Slappy the Dummy is the main antagonist of the Goosebumps franchise. He is a living ventriloquist dummy that comes to life when the words "Karru Marri Odonna Loma Molonu Karrano" are read aloud; which translates to "You and I are one now," and they can be found on a sheet of paper in Slappy's dress jacket pocket. After coming to life, Slappy will try to make the person who brought him back to life serve him as a slave.
Since his debut in 1993 at the end of Night of the Living Dummy, Slappy has become the most popular villain and the mascot of the Goosebumps franchise, appearing in more books and media than any other Goosebumps character. He received his own book series in 2017, with the title of Goosebumps SlappyWorld. He has also appeared in three episodes of the Goosebumps TV series and appeared as the main antagonist in the Goosebumps film, as well as its sequel Goosebumps 2: Haunted Halloween.
- For a more comprehensive overview of Slappy's history, detailing his many appearances, please visit the subpage Slappy the Dummy/History.
As stated in I Am Slappy's Evil Twin, long Ago, a man named Franz Maher lived in England until he decided to move to America in the 1920s and became a ventriloquist star due to the realistic dummies he made. He learned a lot of magic from an evil sorcerer named Kanduu, who was also his colleague, Kanduu used his magic to bring his dummy's to life so they wouldn't feel so lonely.
As revealed in Bride of the Living Dummy, Slappy was carved out of coffin wood by an ancient sorcerer. When the sorcerer died, he placed his soul inside of the dummy. He waits for the day someone will say the magic words written on a card kept in Slappy's pocket, "Karru Marri Odonna Loma Molonu Karrano," which will awaken him again. Slappy's Nightmare reveals that Slappy has a twin brother named Wally carved from the same coffin. However, this is only viewed as a dream until Jimmy O'James gets a crate with Wally and a set of instructions inside.
However, in Slappy, Beware!, the origin is changed once more as in this story, Slappy was built by a man named Ephraim Darkwell, also known as Darkwell the Magician, 200 years before the events of the book. Despite a different name, Darkwell's origins are similar to that of Franz Mahar in that he created living dummies to do his evil deeds, but soon the village rebels against him.
Slappy the Dummy was inspired by multiple characters and pieces of media, as well as memories of R.L. Stine's own childhood.
- In the book It Came from Ohio!, R.L. Stine stated that the idea of Slappy came from his childhood experiences with the original story of Pinocchio since it scared him so much as a kid.
- In the Goosebumps Official Collector's Caps Book, Stine mentions that one of the inspirations for Slappy came from when he was a kid and would use his ventriloquist dummy to scare his brother.
- The 1945 British anthology horror film Dead of Night is also mentioned in interviews as an inspiration for Slappy.
- Slappy may have been at least partially inspired by Chucky from the "Child's Play" horror films.
- For instance, both have similar-sounding names, and both are living dolls. In his television appearance, Slappy has orange/red hair—like Chuck. Additionally, in the Night of the Living Dummy II TV episode, Slappy says "Wanna play?", which is Chucky's catchphrase.
- Slappy may be based on Willie, a ventriloquist's dummy from Rod Serling's The Twilight Zone. R.L. Stine has stated that he views Serling was an inspirational figure.
In his early appearances, Slappy has brown hair and blue eyes. His lips are painted bright red, which curl in a sinister smile. There is also a chip on his lower lip. He wears a gray suit over a white collar and red bow tie. The collar has been stapled as his body is just painted white.
However, Slappy's appearance is changed for television and film. While he has wavy dark brown hair and cold and realistic blue eyes in the books, he is a curly-haired redhead in the television episodes, and his skin is made a bit lighter. In the film, his appearance is based more closely on his original depiction but with brown eyes
Slappy the Dummy constantly insists he is not a "dummy" or a fool...he insists you are! He's evil and even sadistic. One of his primary objectives is to enslave humans to serve his bidding. Slappy has a cutting sense of humor, and he takes pleasure in slewing insults. Slappy is a cruel prankster, often making a terrible mess wherever he goes. Typically, he allows others to take the blame for his misdoings. Slappy also loves bragging about himself, usually boasting about how smart and awesome he is. This is mostly present in the introductions and interruptions in Goosebumps SlappyWorld.
In the 1990s television show, Slappy is shown to be the same sadistic control freak he is in the books, and in some ways is even more dangerous. In his debut episode, Slappy set out to ruin his new owner Amy's life by framing her for a series of escalating misdeeds, from breaking a child's hand to sneaking into her parents' room to smash a guitar over them for fun. Slappy brought a dummy named Rocky to life in his second appearance as part of his scheme to take the household and convert the family into his slaves. For amusement, Slappy transforms the protagonists' cousin into a helpless dummy aware of his current state but unable to do anything about it. In his final appearance, Slappy targets another pair of sisters after striking a deal with a failing ventriloquist. Around that time, Slappy entertains himself with murdering other sapient dummies and keeping their shards as trophies. He then tries to make the protagonist's younger sister his bride and, upon being destroyed, latches himself onto the protagonist's younger brother.
However, Slappy is presented as an anti-hero in Slappy's Nightmare, The Streets of Panic Park and The Dummy Meets the Mummy. In Slappy's Nightmare, he even does good deeds for his own self-preservation.
The powers Slappy has are inconsistent and vary greatly. In the original trilogy, he does not seem to have any. In the television adaptation of Night of the Living Dummy III, he can turn humans into dummies and bring other dummies to life. In Son of Slappy, he can control other people through a chirping sound. In The Dummy Meets the Mummy, he has laser vision and can bring the things in the museum to life. In Diary of a Dummy, he can freeze people in place. In My Friend Slappy, he can control people and use electric zaps.
Slappy is considered to be one of the most dangerous villains in the series, as he seemingly dies and comes back to life numerous times. The ancient words that bring Slappy to life can be used to put him back to sleep temporarily, but Slappy's biggest fear is that someone will find a way to put him back to sleep for good. It is also mentioned in the Monster Survival Guide that one of Slappy's other weaknesses is termites.
List of appearances
- Cathal J. Dodd (TV series)
- Annick Obonsawin (High-pitched voice)
- Jack Black (2015 film and Goosebumps Night of Scares)
- Avery Jones (promotional footage)
- Mick Wingert (2018 film and Goosebumps Dead of Night)
- Carol Schneider (Night of the Living Dummy audiobook)
- Renee Dorian (Night of the Living Dummy II audiobook)
- Alissa Hunnicutt (Revenge of the Living Dummy audiobook)
- Suzy Jackson (The Streets of Panic Park audiobook)
- Joe Fria (Goosebumps SlappyWorld audiobooks)
- Avery Jones (film primary puppeteer)
- Ron Stefaniuk (series puppeteer)
- Jake McKinnon (2015 film assistant puppeteer)
- Rick Galinson (Haunted Halloween assistant puppeteer)
- Ted Haines (Haunted Halloween assistant puppeteer)
- BJ Guyer (Haunted Halloween assistant puppeteer)
- For a fuller list of quotes from Slappy, please see Slappy the Dummy/Quotes.
- "Hey, Amy. Guess who?"
- ―Slappy (Night of the Living Dummy II, TV episode)
- "Oh, Papa. There's no escaping from us."
- ―Slappy (Goosebumps film)
- To see the full image gallery, please view Slappy the Dummy/Gallery.
- During a Q&A at the Macaulay Honors College building on November 13, 2012, R.L. Stine mentioned that Slappy was his favorite character from the Goosebumps books.
- He is the first Goosebumps villain to be an anti-hero in Slappy's Nightmare.
- Slappy appears in the short story Gaslighted: Slappy the Ventriloquist Dummy vs. Aloysius Pendergast. In the story, Aloysius encounters Slappy in Stony Mountain Sanatorium and finds himself either dreaming or going insane.
- YouTube channel Watchmojo placed Slappy in 7th place in their "Top 20 Scariest Dolls in Horror Movies" list.
- They also placed him in 4th place in their "Top 10 Evil Toys in Movies" list.
- Slappy was one of the inspirations for the ventriloquist dummies seen in Toy Story 4.
- According to Ron Stefaniuk, Slappy's appearance in the episodes differed from his appearance on the covers because the show sometimes allowed them a certain amount of creative freedom over the design elements. They would typically come up with a few different drawings for each creature, with one being selected by the higher ups for the final design.