Title: Give Yourself Goosebumps Special Edition #4 – One Night In Payne House
Author: R.L. Stine
Cover Artist: Craig White
Tagline: There’s Only One Way Out!
Summary: Talk About Being In The Doghouse!
It’s Halloween. And you’ve just taken the Ultimate Challenge. You’ve entered the town’s most horrifying haunted house – Payne House.
So ready or not, you’ve got exactly one chance to survive. All other paths point to THE END. Your end! Because roaming through Payne House is a giant dog-beast who wants to put a choke-chain leash – on you! Not to mention the drooling Tongue Thin that’s having a major snack attack!
The choice is yours in this scary GOOSEBUMPS adventure! It’s packed with over 20 super-spooky endings – but only one way out!
For this year’s Halloween Extravaganza, join me in my very first recap of the Give Yourself Goosebumps sub-series.
I’ve been on the fence about how to recap these entries for months because they aren’t straightforward tales like the usual Goosebumps books. But when thinking about recapping this particular book for Point Horror, I had an idea. I’ve come up with a system where, instead of recapping the books like a game with a system of lives if I get a bad ending I will review straight through into one of the good endings. If a book branches off into two storylines, I’ll review both in the same article.
As you guessed from the summary, this book claims to have only one good ending out of dozens of bad ones. However, even the supposed good ending is debatable. Like the other special edition stories, these rely on an inventory system as you pick things up along the way. When I first bought and read this, I ALMOST made it to the good ending and then died.
Mark Nagata was the original cover artist for the series (well Tim Jacobus did the first cover), but when the layout got redesigned Craig White was hired as the new artist. I think both are amazing, though.
Oh, and I’ll be referring to the player character as “Jude.”
[Wing: I love Choose Your Own Adventure style books, and am thrilled to have Jude taking on Give Yourself Goosebumps. I used to mark spots in CYOA style books where I wanted to come back and take another path, until pretty much every option was flagged, which was useless, baby!Wing. Happy Halloween, all!]
Jude and his best friend Trevor stood face to face in Jude’s room. It was Halloween night; Trevor was dressed as a vampire while Jude wore a monster costume. They’d just finished trick-or-treating and now it was time to get down to business.
You see, Jude and Trevor have decided to explore Payne House, their town’s legendary haunted abode. It was named after the original owners, the Payne Family, who left town one day and never returned. Last year they made Jude’s favorite horror flick, [INSERT TITLE HERE], in the aforementioned house. Jude’s seen the movie at least seven times, but he knows all the gross creatures in the film don’t exist in real life. The monster dogs, the giant tongue, the ghost spider with two heads…
Still, Trevor asks Jude what they’re bringing with them to explore. It pays to be prepared, right? But Jude wants to keep his hands free, so he decides to bring only three essential things with him.
The boys arrive at the creepy, abandoned Victorian house and Trevor things he saw something move in one of the windows. Jude jokes maybe it was the Tongue Thing. Trevor has no clue what that is because he’s never seen [INSERT TITLE HERE].
As they’re about to enter the house, Jude seems to hear the sound of something breathing coming from inside. Of course, he’s not sure if that’s his own nervous breathing, and he asks Trevor why they’re doing this. Trevor reminds him they both dared each other and soon the whole school heard about their plan to explore Payne House. They have to do it or they’ll both look like giant chickens.
The moment the boys enter the house, the door slams shut behind them. Trevor frantically tries to open it and discovers it’s locked! Jude tries not to panic, insisting they break one of the windows and climb out. On cue, the wooden shutters slam close over every window. Jude regrets this incredibly bad idea, especially when he hears the sound of creaking footsteps behind him. He turns around to discover a small Pomeranian dog on the stairs leading to the second floor, and knows immediately they’re fucked.
Trevor sees the little dog and doesn’t see what the problem is. Jude immediately explains the plot of [INSERT TITLE HERE]:
Two kids are asked by this old lady to watch her little dogs while she visits her relatives or something. All kinds of shit happen in Payne House, such as the dogs transforming into…
Well Jude doesn’t have to go further because the dog is providing a demonstration.
His fur shoots out in ragged spikes, encircling his head like a razor-sharp mane. His feet have turned into claws. They look as sharp as an eagle’s talons. His yellow teeth are curved like hooks.
[Wing: PUPPY ADORABLE PUPPY.]
Jude recognizes this is exactly what happened in the movie and wonders if all the horrible stuff was for real-real instead of play-play! Before the dog eats them, Jude tells Trevor they have to get out of the house. Trevor doesn’t see how they can escape, when a soft voice warns them there’s only one correct way to escape. The boys don’t know where that voice came from, but for Trevor’s sake Jude is willing to seem brave.
Without anything to use as a weapon, Trevor makes a break for what Jude recognizes is the dining room. Unfortunately, Trevor has no idea what’s inside, but Jude does. It’s where the Tongue Thing lives! As Jude follows after Trevor, both boys scream when they discover the monstrous tongue.
It’s a giant tongue. Ten feet tall. With bumps and drool all over it. The tongue fills the room, reaching almost to the ceiling.
Jude feels like he’s going to gag; the room is filled with the stench of rotting dog food wafting from the giant tongue. Does that mean it’s a dog’s tongue? Trevor is ready to leave, but is shocked when he sees the door the boys entered has vanished! Jude can’t believe that part of the movie was true too, where the doors vanish after someone uses them. There’s one other door, but the boys have to get past the Tongue Thing first. And they better hurry, because the Tongue Thing is about to fall on top of them!
Remembering they brought Halloween candy with them, Jude begins throwing mini chocolate bars at the Tongue Thing.
“Catch – you drooling fool!”
The Tongue Thing moans in delight as it slobbers all over the candy. [Wing: No lie, this may be grosser than a two-headed ghost spider.] Jude is astonished by the sight of the candy melting into the tongue, wrappers and all! Trevor runs as Jude throws more candy at the Tongue Thing, but Jude doesn’t have a chance to warn him about opening the kitchen door. Because inside the kitchen is…
HUNDREDS OF GLOWING BLACK COCKROACHES!
The roaches start flying towards Jude and Trevor; thank GOD Jude brought the bug spray with him! Jude warns Trevor to hold his breath as he sprays a noxious cloud at the horrible insects. The roaches drop to the floor on their backs, their awful little legs kicking at the air. The boys take their opportunity to escape back into the hallway, thankful they didn’t bring any roaches out with them.
Jude suggests he can use his knowledge of the movie to draw out a map of the house. A good idea, but neither of them has paper or anything to write with. And with no matches, they’ll have to be really careful as they make their way through the dark house. Jude remembers where the library is, so they decide to check that room first. At the very last second, Jude stops before he goes in…
Because he remembers the library doesn’t have a floor!
Trevor doesn’t stop and knocks into Jude. Luckily, Jude weighs more than Trevor so he doesn’t get knocked into the bottomless pit. At the very least, there’s a narrow walkway that goes all around the room. On the far end of the room is a mostly empty bookcase, containing a single book. From the doorway, Jude can only just make out it’s a Goosebumps book and wonders why the book is here? Is it a clue?
Trevor doesn’t want to go in, fearing he’ll fall in the pit. Jude advises him they can use the door on the other side of the library to exit. The boys edge their way on the narrow walkway, enough to see the Goosebumps book in question is “Monster Blood.” But for some reason, the pages have been torn out. Suddenly, a voice screams at the boys to put the book down!
Is it the same voice that told them there was one right way to escape? The boys don’t know, but it issues some hints.
The boys don’t know if they can trust the voice, but they don’t have many options, do they? Exiting the library, they decide to explore the second floor to find a way out. Jude remembers from the movie they have the following options:
Jude recalls Monster Blood is green, so that’s the room they should avoid first and foremost. Trevor can’t decide where to look first, so Jude picks the Red Room. The boys aren’t thrilled when they see the walls are the color of blood.
The walls even look like fresh blood. They’re wet.
[Wing: I mean, what exactly do you expected in a terrifying haunted house when you choose The Red Room?]
When the door the boys entered through disappears, Jude assures Trevor they can exit through the Pink Room. Before they leave, Trevor notices something on a table. He picks up a remote control with the number 13 painted on it. Jude figures they might need the remote so he takes it with him as they enter the Pink Room.
The door vanishes just as the boys enter, but what’s that noise? And why does the Pink Room look so small? Trevor inspects the walls and screams they’re closing in! The boys are about to be crushed! But wait, Jude has the remote control! Jude presses the button on the remote, and it stops the walls from moving in. Whew!
Jude fears their next move is to climb the spiral staircase to the Tower Room if they want to escape. But before they do, he feels they need to check out the Pink Room for anything that might come in handy. Inside the closet is a chest of drawers where Jude finds a brass key. Pocketing the key, the boys leave the Pink Room and head for the tower.
Jude and Trevor open the door to the Tower Room with the brass key. Once inside, Jude feels a cool breeze. A breeze? The window is broken! They can use it to escape! Yet just as the boys notice their ticket to freedom, they hear a horrible racket from outside the door. Jude recognizes the sound of the dog monster’s barking and realizes the Payne House creatures are coming after them.
The boys start frantically tying a bunch of sheets together to make a rope to climb out the window. Trevor fears the rope isn’t long enough when Jude remembers he brought that white sheet from home. The rope is now long enough for the boys to reach the ground and they start their descent down the side of the house.
Yet it seems someone doesn’t believe they’ll make it.
A whole LOT of someones.
Jude almost lets go when he hears the sound of laughter coming from the sheet. Only it’s not a sheet, it’s a ghost! They’re ALL ghosts!
“Oh, no!” Trevor screams. “We… we tied ghosts together!”
[Wing: My eyes are like O.O right now. This is amazing.]
The ghosts begin to mock Jude and Trevor as they reveal the knots the boys tied together were the ghosts’ hands. And now they’re gonna let go so the boys will fall to their deaths. But wait! Jude sees the sheet he brought with him snagged on the rain gutter. At the last second he reaches out and grabs the sheet, and then Trevor grabs onto Jude’s ankle.
Hooray they aren’t gonna fall to their deaths!
Boo they’re now stuck dangling from a gutter!
The boys start screaming for help; thank God kids are still out trick-or-treating. A bunch of teenagers in costumes hear the boys crying for help and come to the rescue. They get a ladder out from the garage behind Payne House and help the boys down.
On solid ground, Jude and Trevor begin to cheer because they survived Payne House! The boys can’t believe they made it out alive, and Trevor can’t wait to brag to all the kids in school. The teenagers are confused, asking if the boys were trying to break into Payne House. Jude explains they just broke out, but the teens don’t believe them. Like you little kids would have the guts to spend [INSERT TITLE HERE].
That’s when it dawns on Jude that none of their classmates will believe them either! Not unless they go back inside and get proof…
Yes, that is legit the only good ending. The boys need to find a souvenir to prove they were in the house. But it’s still better than some of the bad endings, like where:
[Wing: I appreciate that.]
The one cheat I can acknowledge is that you don’t need a pencil or paper to map out the house, because once you get to the second floor the book lists all the different rooms anyway.
Stine did get creative with the monsters for this one, since who would expect a monster tongue in a Halloween story?
Now, as a final note, I do intend to recap some of the other GYG books, but I can’t recap all of them since I own a handful compared to my collection of the regular entries. Lemme know what you thought of my recap method or if there was anything I should change.
I still can’t believe how ANNOYING that main character was, though. I don’t know how Trevor had the strength to deal with him.
[Wing: Lies. And this recap was great.]
I REMEMBER THIS ONE
Some of the endings were very bizarre. I remember one where you’re stuck in a room forever because you closed a door and somehow that made every door in the house disappear? Also, Trevor is a dick. There’s an ending where you run through the house screaming because he deliberately scared you (no explanation as to why this is an ending; I guess you’re too panicked to be alert to danger?) and one where he deliberately gets you killed and then reveals that he died earlier and wants you to haunt the house with him. IIRC if you are less than a certain weight, you can also be killed during the library scene because Trevor’s big butt forces you through the doorway and you plummet through the missing floor? So the reader would have to cheat to complete the book successfully
You wouldn’t happen to have the Halloween-themed “Trick or Trapped?” I have never read it (not available outside the US) but I really wanted that one
Yeah, I reference the ending in the library when I mention how Trevor almost knocked “Jude” into the bottomless pit but thankfully “Jude” weighed more. O
I do have Trick or Trapped and considered reviewing it for October, but decided to go with this one because of the single good ending saving time. Maybe next year.
I always side-eye the books where you can’t possibly win unless you cheat. One of them was based around horoscopes and every so often the book would ask your star sign: if it was the wrong one, you would hit a bad ending and it was possible to not be able to get *any* good ones. Why bother with a setup where the reader has to lie to complete the story?!
If you don’t mind my asking, how does the house setup work in “Trick or Trapped” (i.e. choosing from one of several houses to go to for trick or treat?) And how the hell do you get the ending where your dad kills you for losing at Scrabble – I saw that one on the Goosebumps wiki and boggled?
The idea is you have to choose from five houses to get through in order to reach the white mansion, which is the ultimate goal. If you choose the paths carefully you can navigate through three of the houses for a longer story but you can’t go to all of them.
It’s referring to how one of the houses supposedly contains the reader’s family. You get a choice to play a board game and you have to spell out a word related to Halloween.
IMO the “Special Editions” are a bit more fun than the regular ones cuz they’re longer and zanier – “Into the Jaws of Doom” is probably the only really challenging one, but it required you to keep a running track of stats and items acquired and who’s got the patience for that?
Wow, that sounds like a lot of work for a CYOA style book.
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