BackgroundThe Haunted Mask was created by a nameless shopkeeper long ago. The shopkeeper had no love for himself, for he was born with an ugly face. As a grown man, the shopkeeper became a scientist in the field of Biological Engineering and in turn used this to create a beautiful human prosthetic face. He made this face of human flesh and made it so that when he put it on it would attach itself to his flesh and would remain so forever. But something went wrong. When he put on the beautiful mask it changed, it became hideous. No matter what he did to stop the decay, the face turned into an ugly monstrosity. The face turned a dead green, its teeth grew into animal fangs, and its flesh became contorted and deformed. The shopkeeper did the only thing he could do. Knowing that the face he made was never supposed to be removed, he took a knife and carved deep into the skin where the mask was supposed to end. This first failed attempt became the Haunted Mask.
After painfully removing the mask, he tried countless other times to create the perfect flesh mask for him to wear to hide his face. They all failed just the same. It was after his failures that he realized that the reason the masks had failed to remain as they were created was because they changed his outside appearance but not the way he still felt inside: ugly. These feelings in turn were what transformed the faces. They changed to reflect the man he still was on the inside, hideous. The shopkeeper took his failed attempts and put them on a shelf in the back room of a mask shop that he was still working on setting up. He put them there as a reminder of what he was still trying to accomplish. Meanwhile, in the back room of the shop, the first mask, the first failed attempt on the shelf waited and watched, for the day it would gain a body.
The Haunted Mask
In the events of R.L. Stine's book and in the television series' adaptation of the book, the Mask was "purchased" by a young girl by the name of Carly Beth Caldwell, whose intention were to use the mask in a revenge scheme against two bullies from her school known as Chuck and Steve, who like to exploit her cowardliness. Sensing her intentions, this suited the mask just fine. Allowing itself to be stolen, the Mask was taken to Carly Beth's home where she tried it on, it was then that the mask began to work its black magic.
Its plan was to slowly take over her body rather than forcefully, as its nature would normally have done. Her will power had been weakened by her dark plan and her conscience blinded by years of torment. Wearing the mask, Carly Beth terrified her younger brother until he was pleading with her to remove the mask, which she did. This angered the mask, as it had not expected her to remove it. It didn't matter, she would put the mask back on. She soon did, and the grotesque mask would have to work faster this time.
After scaring her young brother, which the mask thoroughly enjoyed doing, its host went into the living room of her house to pick up something, a Plaster of Paris head that her mother had made of her. The mask suddenly felt weak. Nothing of any such power had ever kept it from taking over a body it desired. Except, of course, the knife the old man had used. She placed the fake head on a stick to make it appear as though she stole her own head. The mask had to give her credit for her intelligent plan. Wearing the mask, it would look as though a maniac had killed her and stolen her head. The mask basked in the humorous irony for a few moments. Clever or not, though, the head had to go.
After a close call with Caldwell's mother, Carly Beth headed out the door. She used the mask to scare two children she believed were Chuck and Steve. They weren't. Even so, their fear fueled the Mask's power. However, once she and her friend Sabrina Mason met up and went out trick-or-treating, she seemed fine once again until Sabrina's constant chatter about how disgusting the mask was managed to anger Carly Beth and the Haunted Mask, nearly choking her best friend. Realizing her mistake, Carly Beth made up the excuse that she was trying to "stay in character."
At one house, she managed to successfully frighten a little girl who is scared of Carly Beth's "funny mask" (according to the girl's mother). Eventually, Carly Beth met up with Chuck and Steve in a cemetery, and managed to successfully scare them to the point of crying and running away. Laughing all the way home, Carly Beth accidentally dropped the Plaster of Paris head of herself.
With her revenge complete, Carly Beth goes home with Sabrina to take the mask off. The mask had attached to her skin and became her face. The mask was now in full power. Panic-stricken, Carly Beth rushed over to the novelty shop to get help from the shopkeeper. There, she learned the truth about the Haunted Mask, and the shopkeeper told her there could be hope; the mask could possibly be removed with a symbol of love. However, Carly Beth's outbursts awake the other masks, which begin to chase her. Only then she realized she DID have a symbol of love: the Plaster of Paris head Carly Beth's mother made for her! Among presenting it to the other Unloved heads, they left, and the Haunted Mask became a mask again, and she tugged it off. Overjoyed, Carly Beth knew that it was now best to be herself, and has since attempted to hide away the mask by burying it.
The Haunted Mask II
The Haunted Mask II takes place one Halloween, after the events of The Haunted Mask. It involves Steve Boswell and his friend Chuck, who were both scared by The Haunted Mask. Steve, wanting revenge against first-graders whom he coaches basketball for, asks Carly Beth where she got her mask. After playing catch with Carly Beth Caldwell's plaster head, she grudgingly tells them where the shop is. The Haunted Mask has by now been brought back to life by the power of Halloween, taken over the body of the shopkeeper, and has begun stalking Carly Beth, Chuck and Sabrina, wanting to take over Carly Beth's body again, as both an act of vengeance, and also, to find a permanent body. Steve arrives at the shop and takes one of "The Unloved" masks from the basement, this one having deteriorated into the form of a hideous old man.
Steve puts the mask on three times and winds up possessed by the mask, having his voice and behavior change radically as a result of the possession. Steve begins scaring people, but soon finds himself becoming tired, weak, thirsty, in need of a cane, and his hands changing, old and wrinkly, and discovers live spiders in his hair. Steve, horrified, attempts to take the mask off, but discovers he cannot. To make matters worse, when he asks for help, pleading to take the mask off, people are either too scared to even get close to him. When a pair of boys tries to remove the mask, the discover that they can't, leading them to believe that it is actually Steve's real face.
That is when the Shopkeeper, possessed by The Haunted Mask arrives. He tells Steve to destroy the plaster head of Carly Beth, her "only available" love symbol, therefore leaving her vulnerable to possession.
Steve destroys the head, only after repeated threats from the evil mask. But right before The Haunted Mask can possess Carly Beth, Steve leaps in front of her, striking the mask down dead, as his protection was another symbol of love. The shopkeeper thanks Steve for freeing him from The Haunted Mask's possession, and says that Halloween brought the evil of the Haunted Mask back and that Steve's actions put it to rest. "Let us hope it stays that way," he says, before leaving for his home. The children go back to Steve's house, where Steve decides that he is too old for Halloween.
They melt both of The Haunted Masks inside Steve's fireplace and leave the room for hot chocolate. Steve's dog (Sparky) then sees the original Haunted Mask, coming to life again, and takes the mask, rips it apart, and buries it in the yard, implying that the mask is still not destroyed and will come to life again next Halloween. This occurred only in the television episode though.
What happened in the book was this: The Haunted Mask II is about Steve, Chuck's friend, but Carly Beth plays an important role. She is now harder to scare, due to being scared by the mask not coming off, and learning to appreciate herself. Steve, sick of being a pirate for Halloween, just like Carly Beth was sick of being a duck, wants to scare some first graders who have been being mean to him, so he asks her where she got the mask. She refuses, but after Chuck and Steve begin tossing Carly's plaster head around in a game of catch, she gives in and tells them about the shop. Carly Beth had put the mask in her basement. Steve decides to go to the store's basement and, without listening to the shop keeper's warnings, takes a mask that resembles a hideous old man.
The same thing that happens to Carly happens to Steve. So Steve becomes weak and frail, like an old man. When he realizes that the mask will not come off, Steve decides to call Carly Beth for help getting the mask off. When Carly Beth's father answers the telephone, he does not know who is calling, for Steve's voice is now soft and hard to understand. So Steve decides to go to Carly Beth's house. While he is hobbling to his friend's house he sees the first-graders he was so much wanting to scare but the first graders are not scared of him; they wonder if he needs help so Steve asks them to bring him to Carly Beth's house. When he gets there, Carly Beth tells him to find a symbol of love. They try his favorite cookies that his mother got because she knew he loved them and his dog, Sparky. But it does not work, so they go back to the party store and they find the costume to the mask. The mask comes off and they find that Chuck found a mask too and it will not come off.
The Haunted Mask Lives!
The Haunted Mask Lives! was never actually written or published, as a result of R.L. Stine's contract ending with Scholastic. It was one of the four books scheduled to be released under the umbrella title Goosebumps Gold. The book cover, which was the only thing about the book which was finished, as the plot was unknown, depicted the original Haunted Mask, sticking to a girl's face.
The Scream of the Haunted Mask
The Scream of the Haunted Mask, a Goosebumps HorrorLand book, involves The Haunted Mask arriving at Horrorland, along with other villains of the series, who want to stop the children who originally defeated them, to stop Carly Beth once and for all.
In the 2015 Goosebumps movie, the Haunted Mask is played by Clare Halstead