One Day at Horrorland was initially published in February 1994 (Backbone #16). The sequence adaptation aired on Saturday October 25 & Saturday November 1, 1997 (runtime: 22 minutes).
My eyes glossed over as they watched the bushes skinny by means of the automobile window and provides option to seemingly limitless stretches of farmland. We had solely been driving for just a few hours however already I used to be drifting into the boorish mindlessness that solely appeared to settle in on the longest, most meandering household street 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 needed barrier between my youthful brother and I within the backseat. Inside I might simply make out the acquainted blue-green font effervescent up from the gentle purple background and all of the sudden 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 in regards to the untapped want to be thrilled as leisure as it’s in regards to the risks inherent in searching for out such terror. I eliminated the guide, locking eyes with the enormous Horrorland Horror pictured there, gripping the bleeding signal of the ominous amusement park with its huge claws as I warily learn the promise (or, maybe, risk) scribed under the park’s moniker, “WHERE NIGHTMARES COME TO LIFE!”
One of many sequence’ most iconic and oft-referenced works, be it in video games, merchandise or franchise imagery, it was tailored for the display screen within the TV present’s third season, airing in two components over a number of weeks. An formidable enterprise, the episode transposes the creatures described on the web page with vitality and a way of amusing wonderment, totally embracing the campier implications of the rubbery-looking beasts versus the extra unsettling facets of the phrases on the web page.
And but this explicit story provides one of many sequence’ most noticeable divergences from the supply materials, dramatically altering the final act and omitting a number of the web page’s most harrowing moments. Nevertheless, the 2 in the end work as complimentary variations of the opposite, the present specifically increasing the mythology offered within the guide and leaning heavier into the world of televised leisure that it and its subject 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 is likely to be. About how my coronary heart would possibly skip a beat have been my circle of relatives to come back upon the massive signal and accompanying horror because the phrases, “WELCOME TO HORRORLAND” swept into view. About my very own plain curiosity that may draw me to a spot the place monsters would possibly flip for their very own demented model of what we people seek advice from as enjoyable.
Like most children, I cherished amusement parks, however, as R.L. Stine so clearly understood, even the very best locations might use just a few 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 possibility for a fun-filled time out appears to be an unsettling place referred to 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 sights, it turns into shortly clear that the place isn’t all that it appears. And if the Morris household isn’t cautious, their go to to Horrorland would possibly turn into a everlasting keep.
One Day at Horrorland hit cabinets forward of trip season in February of 1994, a 12 months and a half after the sequence’ debut. With a Tim Jacobus cowl touting a sinister and forbidding panorama of overgrown vegetation, craggy bushes and a theme park beckoning within the distant nightfall as a purple eyed beast glares ahead in wait, the story offers within the form of iconography that invitations curiosity, pleasure and shivers in equal measure. Rising as one of many sequence’ most acknowledged and lauded efforts, One Day at Horrorland is crucial Goosebumps fare and essential summer season studying (and viewing) for any burgeoning horror fiend.
The guide and the episode open in largely the identical method, with the Morris household hopelessly misplaced on their option 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 guide takes its time attending to know the characters. The dad and mom struggle, the children play “alphabet” with street indicators, Luke pinches his sister and, most notably, a further character is current, Clay, Lizzy’s brother Luke’s nervous good friend.
Within the episode, the Morris’ pull proper into the car 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. Carrying a purple 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 harking back to a very spectacular Halloween masks.
“You’re our visitor in the present day!” It publicizes 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 guide, the Morris household has a a lot much less nice introduction to the park, as once they strategy the ticket sales space, their automobile explodes within the empty car parking zone. Dumbfounded, terrified and offended, the household gawks on the smoldering cinders of their car till lastly mustering the power 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 children persuade him to allow them to spend a while within the park whereas he makes an attempt to determine the scenario together with his automobile. Whereas they go a Horror carrying a head on the web page, there’s no interplay with it as there may be onscreen, honing in on the spooky in lieu of the foolish. As a substitute 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 referred to as the “Doom Slide”.
With the query, “Will you be the one to slip endlessly?”, the journey sits atop a tall, purple mountain, with numbered sliding boards unfold throughout a large platform. Different children could be seen mounting the boards as Horrors help and warn them to watch out to not choose the “doom slide”. Lightning quick and plunging right into a seemingly limitless darkness, the slide terrifies and exhilarates Lizzy and Luke, nonetheless 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 unsuitable slide.
The present excises the “Doom Slide” totally, reasonably skipping to “The Home of Mirrors” which doesn’t come into play for a number of extra chapters within the guide. Budgetary constraints and an obvious want to streamline this portion of the story lead Lizzy and her brother to a carnivalesque mirror home, full with exaggerated imagery and the everyday 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 dad and mom making an attempt 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 children discover the park on their very own.
After falling into an odd vortex each Lizzy and Luke discover themselves again outdoors and protected whereas their dad and mom 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 wish to get the children and go away, the Morris’ got down to discover Lizzy and Luke who’ve simply determined to strive 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 guide opts as a substitute to spend way more time within the park, exploring its many aspects and unusual places by means of 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 acquired out. Terrified that the warnings would possibly 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 provides option 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 by means of a shoot and onto gentle 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’ll, 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 screen, with Lizzy changing 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 guide because the rides transfer from being enjoyable to horrifying that’s considerably misplaced within the televised model, given how few rides are literally featured. Like on the display screen, finally Lizzy, Luke and Clay fall by means of 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 by means of a “Bat Barn” the place shadowy shapes flutter in opposition to them within the darkness and hurry previous a spot referred to as “Alligator Pond” with out considering twice. They hurry again to the plaza, which lies within the shadow of the “Doom Slide”, desperately searching for their dad and mom however discovering solely strangers there. A Horror informs them that their dad and mom left them a message: “Goodbye.” Ignoring this, they contemplate their choices, like visiting “Monster Zoo” or the “Guillotine Museum”.
In contrast to the present which cuts forwards and backwards between the dad and mom and the youngsters, Mr. and Mrs. Morris are absent within the guide from the early chapters. Whereas a certain quantity of aid accompanies their look when they’re lastly reunited with the children, Mr. Morris’ frustration at how troublesome it was to seek out them and the traditional friction that exists between stressed adults and their equally anxious youngsters shortly 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 guide with all 5 members of the story in coffins versus simply Lizzy and Luke on the display screen. In each instances, 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 guide once they attain land and climb out, the others complain in regards to the numerous issues that have been climbing on them within the coffins and Mrs. Morris specifically exclaims that “they’ve gone too far!” In search of 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 screen, Lizzy and Luke additionally head off looking for somebody, discovering the park abandoned. Horrors watch from the peripheral, unseen by Lizzy and Luke, grumbling and grunting. The children 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 sequence 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 screen. On the web page, the Morris’ discover themselves in opposition to a padlocked, twenty foot tall iron gate as tons of 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 your 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 by means of the “Monster Impediment Course”. The video games are throughout, they’re informed, that is actual. “You’re taking part in on your life!”
On the display screen, the Morris’ are chased by means of 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 a substitute of leaving nonetheless, they’re satisfied by the wise-cracking host to play a further recreation for the prospect 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 by means of “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 guide, 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 purple fur, big eyes and a number of rows of hideously lengthy fangs, ten foot tall birds, snarling pig-like creatures, fur lined snakes, bear-like creatures strolling on two legs, monumental bugs and a hopping furry ball with three mouths of sharp tooth are simply a number of the terrors that stalk the trail to freedom for the characters. A cavalcade of creepy that the thoughts reels at imagining on the display screen, even when the creation of such issues for a Saturday morning children present do appear decidedly out of attain.
As a substitute, the Morris household on display screen performs the sport “Uncooked Deal”, a recreation 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 lifelike Human motion figures for monster children. 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, totally loaded SUV. All they must do is choose 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 shortly corrects himself to say that every one have lived, the shock urges the 5 collectively in a sobbing huddle. Sweaty, bruised and in some instances 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. In fact, 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 screen the Morris’ select the unsuitable door and discover themselves within the den of the proclaimed killer referred to as Ripper. They’re saved by a special Horror, the previous host of “Uncooked Deal” and one with an axe to grind as a consequence 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 by means of 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 residence 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 guide, the Horror reveals that the Morris’ have been actually interacting with monsters, watched by over two million monsters all around 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 one among them on the arm. The Horror deflates like a balloon and the 5 start pinching each Horror they’ll get their fingers on.
Whereas the creatures try and as soon as extra inflate themselves, the 5 make it to the car 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 not sure of what the factor desires, it merely extends out its hand to the Morris’ and Clay with the phrases, “Right here, we forgot to present you your free passes for subsequent 12 months!”
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 might have framed the view by means of my window, however from the place I used to be sitting, the guide in my fingers ensured that my perspective 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 street journey, regardless of how uninteresting the atmosphere.
The magic of R.L. Stine’s creations isn’t merely the raised pores and skin their overarching title so eerily guarantees the reader, however the best way wherein the relatable tales and characters so simply permeate the zeitgeist which revolves round a younger child’s life. Few children are unable to narrate to the meandering household street journey, the prospect of a theme park, of an ideal day within the solar, using rides and consuming snacks. In response, Stine posits the query: what if such a spot was run by monsters, and actually, for monsters?
Because of this, it doesn’t get rather more iconic than One Day at Horrorland, a Goosebumps staple that continues to be eternally related. Tailored for the display screen by an all-star crew of Goosebumps sequence creatives like director William Fruet (A Night time in Terror Tower and Welcome to Lifeless Home) and famed creature designer Ron Stefaniuk, the guide 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 components.
Whereas scares and a sure diploma of stress are sacrificed on this transition, the difference provides fascinating perception into the leisure the present itself is entrenched in whereas leaning into the facets of camp that have been all the time going to be inescapable given the manufacturing and its inventive and budgetary constraints. In the long run, each diversifications supply extremely completely different tonal interpretations. The guide focuses on realizing a full-fledged amusement park of horrors, filled with loss of life defying rides and unforgettable monstrosities whereas the present makes use of that concept as a leaping off level to discover leisure as a subculture, satirically poking enjoyable on the horrors of actuality TV as seen by means of a reasonably monstrous lens.
Each the guide 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 variability and variation of what the park holds inside is outstanding in its personal proper, igniting the creativeness with every signal publish and vacation spot, even when solely ever glanced at for a fleeting second. All of it quantities to the concept even on a household street journey to a spot designed for households to street journey to, there could also be horrors in retailer. Positive, on this occasion these self proclaimed Horrors are imagined 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 out a 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 children, knew the solutions to such questions and when you expertise One Day at Horrorland, I believe it’s protected to say that you’ll too.