The Headless Ghost is the fifth episode of Season 2 of the Goosebumps TV series. The episode aired on Fox Network on September 21, 1996. The episode was based on the Goosebumps book of the same name. It was directed by Brian R.R. Hebb.
- Andreanne Benidir as Stephanie Alpert
- Kenny Vadas as Duane Comack
- Dennis O'Connor as Otto
- Sean Ryan as Seth
- Daniel Goodfellow as Andrew Craw
Differences from the Book
- The episode includes the ghost of a bratty boy (Seth) who died falling down the dumbwaiter shaft to get his strawberry ice cream, his favorite ice cream flavor.
- Edna is omitted from the episode.
- The gargoyle-faced knocker on the door of Hill House is evidently possessed, as it growls while its eyes glow green at least twice.
- Andrew is much nastier and brattier in the TV version than in the book, insulting and threatening Stephanie after she finds his head instead of thanking her, like in the book.
- Stephanie constantly annoys Otto and her fellow visitors to Hill House by pulling scary pranks on them and sneaking away to look for Andrew's head, with Duane roped along as a reluctant accessory who has concerns about the effects their pranks may have, especially on the younger children in the tour. Stephanie is also not above pranking Duane, continually pretending to see a ghost and then laughing when she gets him to look. Eventually Otto ejects them from the house, warning them that the ghosts have little patience for disrespectful visitors. This leads to their meeting with Seth, who, having been observing them without their knowledge, challenges them to sneak into the house with him after hours for their own ghost hunt.
- The climax is different from the book. After the confrontation with Andrew's ghost in the attic, Otto appears, revealing Seth as his assistant, then dismisses Duane but insists that Stephanie remain as he wishes to have a word with her. Duane understandably hesitates to leave Stephanie, but cocky as ever, she assures him that all Otto can do is lecture her. But after Duane leaves, Stephanie is terrified for real when Otto reveals himself to be the ghost of the old sea-captain (therefore Otto becomes the story's main antagonist instead with Andrew and Seth as his henchmen), while Seth turns out to be the ghost of the boy who fell down the dumbwaiter shaft. The ghosts decide to punish Stephanie by painting her portrait with the Captain's cursed paints which, when they finish, will turn her into a ghost doomed to haunt the house forever. Fortunately Duane is still within earshot when Stephanie cries for help, and he rushes back upstairs to the attic, arriving just in time to save Stephanie by splashing her portrait with paint thinner. He and Stephanie then flee from the house with the angry Otto in pursuit; it is left unclear whether they actually escape or not. In the epilogue, some time later, we see that the house been shut down as a museum and is up for sale, but as a couple interested in purchasing it ask about the rumors that it is haunted, the real estate agent comments, "Sure, and I'm a ghost." As he ushers his prospective clients into the house, he turns, revealing that he is Otto in disguise. He smiles evilly at the camera before slamming the door shut, and then the gargoyle knocker growls as its eyes glow green yet again.
- This episode was adapted into Goosebumps Presents Book #7.
- Hill House may have been named after the haunted house of the same name in Shirley Jackson's famous novel, The Haunting of Hill House.
- Andreanne Benidir (Stephanie Alpert) played Jillian Zinman in Season 3's Bride of the Living Dummy.
- The original airing of the episode featured a different closing credits theme, fitting with the music of the episode. It is currently not available on any form of Home media, and any airing of the episode just features the normal closing theme.
- During the closing credits, the end music is still the Goosebumps theme, but this time played with an accordion, in the style of an old sea shanty.