One Day at Horrorland was initially published in February 1994 (Backbone #16). The collection adaptation aired on Saturday October 25 & Saturday November 1, 1997 (runtime: 22 minutes).
My eyes glossed over as they watched the timber skinny via the automobile window and provides solution to seemingly limitless stretches of farmland. We had solely been driving for a number of hours however already I used to be drifting into the boorish mindlessness that solely appeared to settle in on the longest, most meandering household highway journeys. Nonetheless, there was hope on the horizon, the promise of enjoyable, pleasure and an escape from the mundane.
In spite of everything, what child doesn’t love an amusement park?
My backpack sat open by my aspect, creating an all too mandatory barrier between my youthful brother and I within the backseat. Inside I may simply make out the acquainted blue-green font effervescent up from the comfortable purple background and abruptly remembered that I didn’t have to take a seat in a perpetual state of wait— I had Goosebumps to maintain me firm.
And what higher R.L. Stine foray into the unknown to usher me into the throngs of a fun-filled household trip than One Day at Horrorland, a story that’s as a lot concerning the untapped need to be thrilled as leisure as it’s concerning the risks inherent in searching for out such terror. I eliminated the e-book, locking eyes with the large Horrorland Horror pictured there, gripping the bleeding signal of the ominous amusement park with its large claws as I warily learn the promise (or, maybe, menace) scribed beneath the park’s moniker, “WHERE NIGHTMARES COME TO LIFE!”
One of many collection’ most iconic and oft-referenced works, be it in video games, merchandise or franchise imagery, it was tailored for the display within the TV present’s third season, airing in two components over a number of weeks. An bold endeavor, the episode transposes the creatures described on the web page with power and a way of amusing wonderment, absolutely embracing the campier implications of the rubbery-looking beasts versus the extra unsettling elements of the phrases on the web page.
And but this explicit story presents one of many collection’ most noticeable divergences from the supply materials, dramatically altering the final act and omitting among the web page’s most harrowing moments. Nonetheless, the 2 finally work as complimentary variations of the opposite, the present specifically increasing the mythology offered within the e-book and leaning heavier into the world of televised leisure that it and its material so embody.
As my eyes moved from the flat fields to the ever altering phrases on the pages of R.L. Stine’s darkish imaginative and prescient of household enjoyable, I couldn’t assist however assume what an journey dropping our personal method may be. About how my coronary heart may skip a beat have been my circle of relatives to come back upon the big signal and accompanying horror because the phrases, “WELCOME TO HORRORLAND” swept into view. About my very own plain curiosity which may draw me to a spot the place monsters may flip for their very own demented model of what we people seek advice from as enjoyable.
Like most children, I liked amusement parks, however, as R.L. Stine so clearly understood, even the very best locations may use a number of horrors thrown in right here and there for good measure.
The Morris household is misplaced. Their vacation spot, Zoo Gardens, is nowhere to be discovered and their solely choice for a fun-filled day trip appears to be an unsettling place known as Horrorland. Ran by self-proclaimed “Horrors”, the park employees are garbed in unusual, monstrous costumes and though they provide free admission and appear pleasant sufficient, their elusive methods do nothing to assuage the unusual feeling that one thing on the park simply isn’t proper.
From the explosion of the household automobile to the more and more harmful and terrifying nature of the park points of interest, it turns into rapidly clear that the place just isn’t all that it appears. And if the Morris household isn’t cautious, their go to to Horrorland may grow to be a everlasting keep.
One Day at Horrorland hit cabinets forward of trip season in February of 1994, a yr and a half after the collection’ debut. With a Tim Jacobus cowl touting a sinister and forbidding panorama of overgrown vegetation, craggy timber and a theme park beckoning within the distant nightfall as a pink eyed beast glares ahead in wait, the story offers within the type of iconography that invitations curiosity, pleasure and shivers in equal measure. Rising as one of many collection’ most acknowledged and lauded efforts, One Day at Horrorland is crucial Goosebumps fare and essential summer time studying (and viewing) for any burgeoning horror fiend.
The e-book and the episode open in largely the identical method, with the Morris household hopelessly misplaced on their solution to Zoo Gardens. Whereas the present will get virtually instantly to the park’s disturbing signal, a inexperienced monster materialized within the sky and flanked by giant fireballs flying towards the household automobile, the e-book takes its time attending to know the characters. The mother and father combat, the youngsters play “alphabet” with highway indicators, Luke pinches his sister and, most notably, an extra character is current, Clay, Lizzy’s brother Luke’s nervous pal.
Within the episode, the Morris’ pull proper into the parking zone and a monster is seen rising up from a sewer beneath the automobile and inserting one thing beneath it. Failing to note, the Morris household approaches the ticket counter and meets one of many park’s Horrors. Sporting a pink and white striped shirt with blue and white suspenders and a blue bowtie with white stars, the Horror is inexperienced and horned with an expression locked in a snarled glare of wrinkled, pocked coarseness paying homage to a very spectacular Halloween masks.
“You’re our visitor in the present day!” It pronounces in a demeanor that stands in direct distinction to its look, “admission is free! Have a scary day!” One other Horror passes by carrying a severed head and remarks, “First time at Horrorland?” The top in its arms warns, “Keep off the guillotine journey!” To which the Horror responds, “She likes to stay her neck out the place it doesn’t belong.” The Horror and the pinnacle stroll off arguing as Lizzy and Luke touch upon the spectacular results and marvel on the potential of the indicators that lay earlier than them, like “Vampire Village” or “The Home of Mirrors”.
Within the e-book, the Morris household has a a lot much less nice introduction to the park, as after they method the ticket sales space, their automobile explodes within the empty parking zone. Dumbfounded, terrified and indignant, the household gawks on the smoldering cinders of their car till lastly mustering the energy to ask the ticket taker for entry to a cellphone— one factor Horrorland doesn’t appear to have.
Regardless of Mr. Morris’ misgivings on the web page, the youngsters persuade him to allow them to spend a while within the park whereas he makes an attempt to determine the state of affairs along with his automobile. Whereas they go a Horror carrying a head on the web page, there’s no interplay with it as there’s onscreen, honing in on the spooky in lieu of the foolish. As an alternative Lizzy, Luke and Clay instantly discover themselves head to head with a wolf in “Werewolf Village” earlier than escaping and labeling it not more than a powerful animatronic and winding up at an attraction known as the “Doom Slide”.
With the query, “Will you be the one to slip perpetually?”, the journey sits atop a tall, purple mountain, with numbered sliding boards unfold throughout a large platform. Different youngsters could be seen mounting the boards as Horrors help and warn them to watch out to not decide the “doom slide”. Lightning quick and plunging right into a seemingly limitless darkness, the slide terrifies and exhilarates Lizzy and Luke, nevertheless leaves them each feeling disturbed when Clay by no means emerges from the slide’s exit. A passing Horror means that, maybe, Clay selected the fallacious slide.
The present excises the “Doom Slide” totally, moderately skipping to “The Home of Mirrors” which doesn’t come into play for a number of extra chapters within the e-book. Budgetary constraints and an obvious need to streamline this portion of the story lead Lizzy and her brother to a carnivalesque mirror home, full with exaggerated imagery and the standard maze of reflections to get misplaced inside. Because the mirrors start to shut in on Lizzy and Luke disappears, the present juxtaposes their journey with their mother and father trying to purchase “Monster Punch” from a Horror who squirts their drink right into a novelty cup from his finger and remarks how odd it’s that they might let their youngsters discover the park on their very own.
After falling into a wierd vortex each Lizzy and Luke discover themselves again outdoors and secure whereas their mother and father overhear cheering from inside a closed door close by as one other household is ushered inside, a lot to their clear dismay. Deciding that they simply need to get the youngsters and go away, the Morris’ got down to discover Lizzy and Luke who’ve simply determined to attempt one final journey. They climb into coffin river boats as a Horror settles them and tells them to benefit from the journey, as a result of it could be their final!
Whereas the coffins do come into play on the web page, it’s not till a lot later. The e-book opts as an alternative to spend much more time within the park, exploring its many aspects and unusual places via the eyes of Lizzy and Luke. Following their exit from the “Doom Slide” the 2 determine to climb again up the ramp and try to slip down the quantity that Clay selected within the hopes of exiting wherever it was that Clay received out. Terrified that the warnings may presumably be true, the 2 settled in on the tenth slide and kicked off. Longer and darker than earlier than, they plummet into silent nothingness as scorching, damp air offers solution to sticky, itchy cobwebs till lastly they see towering, blazing flames earlier than them making a thick curtain of black smoke.
Colliding with the explosive warmth, Lizzy imagines herself burning up solely to seek out her and her brother touchdown safely via a shoot and onto comfortable grass. It’s there they discover Clay and an indication that claims “Welcome to Doom — inhabitants 0 people” and indicators that say “no pinching”. Ignoring a warning from one of many Horrors telling them to flee as quick as they will, the reunited trio units off towards an indication that claims “Home of Mirrors”.
This sequence performs out a lot the identical method it does on display, with Lizzy turning into progressively extra misplaced within the maze of mirrors till the reflections start to shut in on her. There’s a palpable sense of rising worry within the e-book because the rides transfer from being enjoyable to scary that’s considerably misplaced within the televised model, given how few rides are literally featured. Like on the display, ultimately Lizzy, Luke and Clay fall via a shoot and discover themselves again outdoors. They proceed to see different park guests round them, youngsters crying and a few hurrying by, once more offering the park a way of liveliness that the present’s lack of extras is lacking.
They go via a “Bat Barn” the place shadowy shapes flutter in opposition to them within the darkness and hurry previous a spot known as “Alligator Pond” with out pondering twice. They hurry again to the plaza, which lies within the shadow of the “Doom Slide”, desperately searching for their mother and father however discovering solely strangers there. A Horror informs them that their mother and father left them a message: “Goodbye.” Ignoring this, they think about their choices, like visiting “Monster Zoo” or the “Guillotine Museum”.
In contrast to the present which cuts forwards and backwards between the mother and father and the kids, Mr. and Mrs. Morris are absent within the e-book from the early chapters. Whereas a certain quantity of aid accompanies their look when they’re lastly reunited with the youngsters, Mr. Morris’ frustration at how tough it was to seek out them and the traditional friction that exists between stressed adults and their equally anxious youngsters rapidly assures that any repose is brief lived. Nonetheless, earlier than they go, they determine on one final journey. A pleasant, soothing float in a coffin-shaped boat, a journey, the close by Horror expresses, which may be their final.
It’s right here the place the TV adaptation and the web page once more join, solely within the e-book with all 5 members of the story in coffins versus simply Lizzy and Luke on the display. In each circumstances, the lids slam shut, enveloping the riders in darkness. Unable to scream, Lizzy feels spiders crawling on her. The present visualizes this by displaying a tarantula in Luke’s coffin. Within the e-book after they attain land and climb out, the others complain concerning the varied issues that have been climbing on them within the coffins and Mrs. Morris specifically exclaims that “they’ve gone too far!” On the lookout for somebody to report their expertise to, the household approaches the ticket sales space as soon as extra. Discovering it abandoned, they head to the entrance gates solely to find that they’re locked inside.
On the display, Lizzy and Luke additionally head off in quest of somebody, discovering the park abandoned. Horrors watch from the peripheral, unseen by Lizzy and Luke, grumbling and grunting. The youngsters discover the gates to Horrorland locked as on the web page. On the similar time, Mrs. Morris asks for a supervisor and Mr. Morris mentions that he sees a possible lawsuit with the park. That’s when a number of Horrors seem and shut in on them. The credit roll right here, concluding Half One of many tv adaptation.
Half Two of the episode collection opens the place Chapter 21 (out of 29) begins on the web page, showcasing the extent of what was edited within the leap to the display. On the web page, the Morris’ discover themselves in opposition to a padlocked, twenty foot tall iron gate as a whole lot of Horrors march towards them. Cornered, they ask what the creatures need and the Horrors grin warmly in response, thanking them for being on “Horrorland Hidden Digicam”! Revealing that they’ve been on digital camera the complete time and featured on “The Monster Channel”, the household is ushered towards the exit. It’s then that they discover themselves in darkness as soon as extra as a voice informs them that they’ve one minute to get via the “Monster Impediment Course”. The video games are throughout, they’re advised, that is actual. “You’re enjoying in your life!”
On the display, the Morris’ are chased via the nondescript door they noticed earlier solely to emerge onstage in entrance of a large studio viewers of Horrors. A Horror host steps up jovially and informs them, as on the web page, they’ve been on “Horrorland Hidden Digicam”. As an alternative of leaving nevertheless, they’re satisfied by the wise-cracking host to play an extra sport for the possibility to win a brand new automobile. From the second the reality is revealed, the tone leans closely into the absurd, presenting the Horrors as flamboyant, show-biz hungry, larger-than-life characterizations. One make-up artist Horror donning a lightweight, pink gown, for instance, sifts via “Eye of Doyle”, “Ear of Holyfield” and “Booger Shock” earlier than informing the Morris’, “darling, we’re monsters however we’re not monsters!”
Within the e-book, the Morris’ and Clay are thrust right into a terrifying impediment course, coming upon all method of murderous monster of their try to flee. A disgusting, multi-armed factor with pink fur, big eyes and a number of rows of hideously lengthy fangs, ten foot tall birds, snarling pig-like creatures, fur coated snakes, bear-like creatures strolling on two legs, monumental bugs and a hopping furry ball with three mouths of sharp enamel are simply among the terrors that stalk the trail to freedom for the characters. A cavalcade of creepy that the thoughts reels at imagining on the display, even when the creation of such issues for a Saturday morning youngsters present do appear decidedly out of attain.
As an alternative, the Morris household on display performs the sport “Uncooked Deal”, a sport present resembling “Wheel of Fortune” with the added caveat that penalties for dropping embrace consuming worms and dropping a limb. The episode is enamored with constructing out the foolish, monstrous world of the horrors, even interrupting the sport present to play commercials for “Biggest Monster Love Songs” (together with hits like “Wart to Wart” and “I wanna maintain your claws”) and real looking Human motion figures for monster youngsters. Whereas the household fails to guess the puzzle, which seems to be “The Morris Household is Lunch”, they stick round for an opportunity to win a brand new, absolutely loaded SUV. All they must do is decide a door— behind one is a brand new automobile and behind the opposite is Ripper the killer beast.
On the web page, Lizzy escapes the impediment course to the Horror Host’s announcement that “3 out of 5” of the Morris household has survived. Whereas the host rapidly corrects himself to say that every one have lived, the shock urges the 5 collectively in a sobbing huddle. Sweaty, bruised and in some circumstances bloody, they’re slid off a platform again into the plaza outdoors the place Lizzy lastly makes an attempt to unmask the Horror earlier than her. After all, there’s no masks to tug off. Worry and desperation mark the actions of the Morris’ right here; there’s little time to marvel on the ridiculousness of the Horror’s tv obsessed tradition because the menace has not been sacrificed for the glitz and glamor of present enterprise.
On the display the Morris’ select the fallacious door and discover themselves within the den of the proclaimed killer referred to as Ripper. They’re saved by a distinct Horror, the previous host of “Uncooked Deal” and one with an axe to grind as a result of being ousted from the present. They escape and handle to seek out their automobile. The Horrors pursue and bang on the home windows to get in. Nonetheless, the Morris’ automobile pulls away and bursts via the gate. That’s when the machine from the start of the episode’s first half involves life, taking management of the automobile as a Horror pilots the car remotely. Teetering on the sting of a cliff, the Horror host smiles on the viewers, “Now that’s what I name a cliffhanger!” It’s then that a mean monster couple clicks off their tv set in a traditional wanting house and remarks, “I’m sick of those scary human exhibits” earlier than deciding that it could be good to simply sit and discuss.
Within the e-book, the Horror reveals that the Morris’ have been actually interacting with monsters, watched by over two million monsters everywhere in the world, and that it’s time to say goodbye. The Horrors push them towards a thick, gurgling pond which sucks in no matter is available in contact with its effervescent floor. Because the Horrors shut in, Lizzy remembers the “no pinching” indicators and pinches certainly one of them on the arm. The Horror deflates like a balloon and the 5 start pinching each Horror they will get their fingers on.
Whereas the creatures try to as soon as extra inflate themselves, the 5 make it to the parking zone. Their automobile nothing greater than a black spot on the pavement, they hurry towards the Horrorland buses they noticed earlier. As soon as inside they discover the keys already within the ignition. A legion of Horrors shut behind, Mr. Morris begins the bus and peels off escaping the park and the monsters. They drive for hours and pull as much as their driveway beneath the total moon, solely to discover a Horror clinging to the again of the bus. Terrified and uncertain of what the factor needs, it merely extends out its hand to the Morris’ and Clay with the phrases, “Right here, we forgot to offer you your free passes for subsequent yr!”
It appears in each occasions, it’s the Horrors which have the final phrase.
My eyes raced throughout the phrases earlier than me, scanning in Lizzy’s macabre web page one promise that she and the Morris’s would quickly all be mendacity of their coffins. Stalks of corn and empty fields could have framed the view via my window, however from the place I used to be sitting, the e-book in my arms ensured that my viewpoint was something however uninteresting. Bat stuffed barns, werewolf villas and spider-filled coffin boats have been greater than sufficient to maintain me happy on any household highway journey, regardless of how uninteresting the setting.
The magic of R.L. Stine’s creations just isn’t merely the raised pores and skin their overarching title so eerily guarantees the reader, however the way in which through which the relatable tales and characters so simply permeate the zeitgeist which revolves round a younger child’s life. Few youngsters are unable to narrate to the meandering household highway journey, the prospect of a theme park, of an ideal day within the solar, driving rides and consuming snacks. In response, Stine posits the query: what if such a spot was run by monsters, and really, for monsters?
Consequently, it doesn’t get way more iconic than One Day at Horrorland, a Goosebumps staple that continues to be eternally related. Tailored for the display by an all-star crew of Goosebumps collection creatives like director William Fruet (A Night time in Terror Tower and Welcome to Useless Home) and famed creature designer Ron Stefaniuk, the e-book involves life with a way of caprice and playfulness that carries the supply materials into new, preposterous territory, surpassing even the web page’s most amusing parts.
Whereas scares and a sure diploma of rigidity are sacrificed on this transition, the difference presents fascinating perception into the leisure the present itself is entrenched in whereas leaning into the elements of camp that have been at all times going to be inescapable given the manufacturing and its artistic and budgetary constraints. In the long run, each variations provide extremely completely different tonal interpretations. The e-book focuses on realizing a full-fledged amusement park of horrors, filled with dying defying rides and unforgettable monstrosities whereas the present makes use of that concept as a leaping off level to discover leisure as a subculture, sarcastically poking enjoyable on the horrors of actuality TV as seen via a moderately monstrous lens.
Each the e-book and the TV adaptation are about uncertainty within the face of leisure designed to breed uncertainty, the flavour of manufactured worry that R.L. Stine’s books are so playfully infused with. The range and variation of what the park holds inside is exceptional in its personal proper, igniting the creativeness with every signal put up and vacation spot, even when solely ever glanced at for a fleeting second. All of it quantities to the concept even on a household highway journey to a spot designed for households to highway journey to, there could also be horrors in retailer. Positive, on this occasion these self proclaimed Horrors are speculated to be there and so they’re admittedly fairly welcoming, however a horror is a horror.
Nonetheless, whether or not it’s a rollercoaster or a “Doom Slide”, what’s a journey with no little danger? Furthermore, what’s a Horror if there isn’t at the very least an opportunity that it isn’t simply inexperienced latex? R.L. Stine, like most of us youngsters, knew the solutions to such questions and when you expertise One Day at Horrorland, I believe it’s secure to say that you’ll too.