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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 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 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 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 chokes 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 finds 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 art, which has him slightly tilted to the left.
  • The Classic Goosebumps reprint was released as a tie-in to the first Goosebumps HorrorLand book, Revenge of the Living Dummy.

International releases

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.

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 girl's father is not in the story.
  • Lindy, Kris, and Barky chase Mr. Wood before he chases the girls.

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 on the cover shows a close-up of 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, and the further installments feature the more famous icon that would be more associated with the source.
  • 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.
  • The title of the book is a spoof of the classic 1968 horror film, Night of the Living Dead.
  • The official description of the original 1993 print contains an error. It says, "Kris decides to get a dummy of her own. She'll show Kris.". It's supposed to say, "She'll show Lindy". This error was fixed in reprints.
  • According to the back cover of the Classic Goosebumps reprint, Night of the Living Dummy has sold over 2 million copies.

References in other Goosebumps media

  • In the Goosebumps film, the title of the book is mentioned, and a homage to the original cover is seen in the end credits. Also, Slappy appears as the film's main antagonist.
  • 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.