Two young girls are fending off wild raccoons, as they dig up a plot in the cemetery. The main heroine, Britney Crosby, then takes the reader back about two weeks to explain how the pair ended up in their graveyard predicament. At home, drama occurs as Britney is told that her new room will be up in the sewing room so that they can make room for her visiting cousin, someone she does not really like, Ethan. So she calls her best friend, Molly Molloy, on her cellphone to complain.
The telephone call is cut short, when Britney's clumsy mother accidentally drops something! Britney goes to help her mother, who then tries to tell her to be nice to Ethan. Since his parents are going to be gone for some time, they need to do their best to make him feel as if he is part of their family now. But Britney is at all eager, given the many incidents she has had with her cousin previously...
Like last time when he deleted her term paper. But he claims he did not do it, since it did not even exist to begin with. Though Britney claimed it did. It is then someone suddenly shows up: Ethan! And he has brought a small friend, a dummy he has named Mr. Badboy. Unbeknownst to the protagonists, the dummy is Slappy.
Ethan tries to get Mr. Badboy to perform, but all it will utter are guttural grunts, affirmations, and so fourth. Mr. Badboy then punches Britney on the head. So Britney, who does not want to deal with this, escapes by going to Molly's house. This seems to work, until her mother has Ethan and Mr. Badboy go with her to see Molly.
Molly's father "Wild Man" Molloy is revealed to be a globetrotting explorer, who has a private doll museum in his attic. He stops Ethan momentarily to check out Mr. Badboy for a few moments, before calling him interesting. Mr. Badboy looks all too familiar to Molly's father and he quickly changes the subject and invites them up to the attic. He then begins to show them things, a whole bunch of weird, or strange things! Such as shrunken heads, animal skulls and more.
The aforementioned shrunken head is attached to a foot-long wooden body. Wild Man introduces the glass-encased doll as "The Mind Stealer," a forbidden object that promises doom to anyone who touches it. Britney is terrified of the mind-stealing doll, but he assures her that it is safe behind "triple-thick glass." Britney then accidentally hits her head on the case, hears a buzzing in her ears and screams, only to figure out it was a text from her mother to let them know that dinner would be ready soon.
Back at home, Ethan puts on a "comedy" act involving Mr. Badboy, but it does not really appeal to anybody and most of the family gets really mad except for Britney who enjoys Mr. Badboy's rude humor.
When Britney attempts to finish taking her belongings out of her room Ethan stops her when she tries to remove the poster of her favorite band, Skullboy. See, Skullboy is Mr. Badboy's favorite band too and he will be upset if it goes. But, Britney really wants her poster as it means a lot to her. Plus she has the hots for Buzzy, one of the members. Britney also is required to have all of her needed tools. She likes to dream up scenes on imaginary planets and paints them. Then she downloads photographs of movie and music stars off the Internet and prints them out to add to her painting.
Soon, Britney's Skullboy poster is subsequently torn up, presumably by Mr. Badboy. She goes into Ethan's room when Ethan is not present and Mr. Badboy tells her how much he strongly doesn't like her. Britney tries to get her parents to believe that it was the evil doll's doing, but they do not believe her. However, in the morning Mr. Badboy pushes Britney down the stairs! He then threatens her to never snitch on him again!
A few days later, Molly calls Britney in the middle of the night and insists that she come over to help her bury the Mind Stealer doll. The reason is that a strange doll expert called her and told her it was unsafe to keep it anywhere but a graveyard. So the girls successfully bury the doll and face the raccoons. Time passes and Britney gives a painting lesson to a group of shut-ins at an old folks home. They do not seem to enjoy it though when Ethan believes that he can try to please them with Mr. Badboy. But it does not work either! He only tells morbid and just downright mean jokes, then begins to chuck paint at all of them!
After the show, Britney calls Molly and pleads for her father's number. But she informs her that her father is away on business somewhere near Australia. Desperate to have Molly believe her, Britney sneaks over and the two take a look in Wild Man's private ventriloquism files. Inside the large file is a picture of Slappy! Revealing his true name and origins and the six secret words to both wake him up and put him to sleep.
Britney corners the inanimate object and says the secret words, only to find a remote controlling Mr. Badboy's speech and movements. Believing that Ethan was pranking her the whole time, Britney becomes furious and swears revenge. Unfortunately, the words that she read bring Slappy to life...
Later, Slappy overhears Ethan talking about the mind stealer doll and decides the object that would vacate the minds of any chosen subject would be ideal in creating better and more obedient slaves. So, he goes to wake Britney up and informs her that she is now his slave. When Britney refuses to obey, Slappy vows to Britney that she will be his first victim and that she will be his most perfect slave. He then takes off for the cemetery. Just as Slappy's about to uncover the doll from its triple-glassed container, Britney lunges at the dummy and hurls it into the glass case!
Slappy breaks through all three layers and knocks noggins with the Mind Stealer doll, which, true to form, steals Slappy's mind...
Brintey's father ask her what's happening but she just tells him their troubles are over and gives him Slappy's lifeless body, telling him to give it back to Ethan.
As Britney exists the graveyard, she hears the buried doll crying out with Slappy's voice. The voice says, "I’ll be back, Britney. I’m a BAAAAAAD boy!"
Britney and Molly are excited about going to visit HorrorLand. Molly briefly questions how HorrorLand knew to invite her along with Britney's family. However, Britney's father insists it is normal for theme parks to know a lot about people.
Upon entering the park, the Horror working the ticket booth pretends to eat the girls' invitation. The Horror can't admit the family until he makes every member scream so they can log it for identification purposes, which he achieves by burning their luggage with a flamethrower! Another Horror pulls up in themed cab and drives the family at quick speed through HorrorLand. They pass many, many punned attractions, then the driver soon crashes the taxi and they come to a stop.
Everyone gets out to wander the grounds, while looking for their on-site hotel. Britney and Molly check out a mask shop that ominously features masks of their faces! The family eventually finds the hotel, which of course is called the Stagger Inn. While waiting for their rooms, a renegade Horror tells the family that they are in danger. The helpful Horror pleads with them to escape while they still can and find the "other park"...
The hotel's guide, Druella, leads Britney's parents to their room on the second floor, then takes the girls up to their private suite on the thirteenth floor. The girls are delighted to see an awesome room. The room has a flat-screen television and plenty of clothes in their size but no mirrors! The girls are so excited that they want to tell their parents, but the girls cannot find them anywhere. Both girls go to the main counter. The Horror working behind it informs them that Britney's parents checked out.
When the girls go back to their parents room, they find a single camera. The camera contains a picture of Slappy...
Cover art gallery
- Britney's parents are Sean and Roz Crosby in the book.
- The director of Sunset House has the same name as the music teacher from Night of the Living Dummy.
- This is the second book in which Slappy is at first referred to by a different name, the first being Night of the Living Dummy III. (He was first referred to as, "Smiley" in that book.)
|Goosebumps HorrorLand series|
|#01 Revenge of the Living Dummy||#8 Say Cheese — and Die Screaming!||#15 Heads, You Lose!|
|#02 Creep from the Deep||#9 Welcome to Camp Slither||#16 Weirdo Halloween|
|#03 Monster Blood for Breakfast!||#10 Help! We Have Strange Powers!||#17 The Wizard of Ooze|
|#04 The Scream of the Haunted Mask||#11 Escape from HorrorLand||#18 Slappy New Year!|
|#05 Dr. Maniac vs. Robby Schwartz||#12 The Streets of Panic Park||#19 The Horror at Chiller House|
|#06 Who's Your Mummy?||#13 When the Ghost Dog Howls|
|#07 My Friends Call Me Monster||#14 Little Shop of Hamsters|