March 7, 2015

#29 Monster Blood III

Judging a Book by its Cover

More Monster Blood. When will these kids learn that messing with Monster Blood never works out well for
them. Now in the previous books a dog and a hamster consumed the slime and grew huge. From the looks of things, this time one of the kids eats it and it's attack of the 50 foot fifth grader. I notice you can only see his legs, which is a pretty good tactic. Makes him look unknowably huge. It makes me think of the nanny from The Muppet Babies. Something mysterious about not seeing the top half of a person.

Now this giant kid appears to be rampaging on an empty playground. It would kind of be more fun if we could see normal sized kids reactions to this giant. Or perhaps a stuffy upset adult mad at the crushing of the swing set. On the ground appears to be a can of Monster Blood... or some Slurm from Futurama. Also, stylishly, the kid seems to be wearing some Converse All-Stars.  If he becomes an outcast, surely it will be due to his size and not his fashion sense.

Tagline time! The front line is "Evan's growing up way too fast!" which is clever enough. It is turned from a phrase your aunt says when she sees you at Christmas to a declaration that you can now crush Dodge Caravan under your feet. The bag tagline is "It's the slime that never dies!" I don't really get that. Does slime die? Is the slime alive? It never seemed to be suggested that it was. Is "the _____ that never dies," a saying I am unaware of? Oh well. 1 out of 2 at bad. Lets get Goosebumps.

Getting Goosebumps

We open up in a daydream of Evan Ross getting attacked by slimy green balls of Monster Blood. He recalls his past confrontations with it, where it caused his pets to grow huge in size. His mother snaps him out of the daydream and back into the real world where he is not being attacked by ooze but is instead merely eating green Jell-o. He seems not to be a fan, due to its tendency to remind him of the horrible ooze of his nightmares. Well it seems in this book we will be treated to a new character. Evan has to babysit for 8 year old nephew Kermit who doesn't just have a geeky name, but is a genuine geek. He, it seems, is a total genius who has a tendency to make concoctions that are a wee bit devious. Evan has to put up with it, however, because that sweet sweet 3 dollars an hour will help him save up for a Walkman, which is a very 90s thing to save up for.

On his way to the little dork's house, Evan is confronted by stereotypical bully with stereotypical bully name Conan. Hassling him over nothing of any importance, Kermit appears with a liquid mixture that he purports will cause Conan to disappear. Instead it just makes his sure disappear... which makes Evan's nose get a wee bit broken by Conan. Later Evan talks these events over with Andy at a school. Now if you remember from the previous books, Andy is in fact a female, and she has a love of day-glo clothes, which is also a very 90s thing. Evan explains how Kermit claimed that Evan had picked the fight with Conan, Evan's baby sitter credentials to be questioned. Also, Evan claims Kermit did all this deliberately.  The evidence, he says, is in the kid's shit eating grin. Ok, maybe he didn't call it a shit eating grin, but I can read between the lines. Andy recommends retribution via Monster Blood which causes Evan to panic. Her claims that she also put some Monster Blood in his sandwich make panic even more. Thankfully it is too early in the book for actual Monster Blood to come into play. After he realizes this, he taunts her with her true name, Andrea, and makes her tell him where she has hidden the last "gift" of the titular ooze she was sent. Finally, he convinces her to come over to Kermit's with him. Supposedly he is not as bad when she's around. I find this doubtful!

Kermit's house smelled a little weird. The the kid comes bursting out screaming "It's gonna blow!" and Evan scrambled for his life. Andy, however, realizes it is a joke. Kermit cackles deviously. Evan beats him to death. Wait no, that last part is just what I wish happened. He actually tries to play it off like he didn't really believe the room was going to explode. Smooth. Next up, Kermit curse Andy's nasty mosquito bite with that shrinking serum he used on Conan's shirt, and it actually works with no ill effects. He decides that for his next project he is going to cure his dogs hiccups. Evan seems worried that if Kermit kills the dog the blame will be placed on the babysitter. Sensible. Andy, however, has been won over by his bug bite cure and thinks he should do it. Apparently that whole thing about pretending the house was going to explode is water under the bridge. She might have an ulterior motive though, she gets the nerd to do her math homework. Then he moves on to the hiccup cure. It does in fact cure the hiccups. It also causes the dog to bound around crazily yipping like a puppy. The problem is, it is not a puppy, it is a very large dog. It smashes up all kind of stuff, and naturally, Evan gets blamed. Even Kermit's fan Andy gets thrown under the bus and has to help clean up. She beats him to death instead. Wait no, once again I'm just saying what I wish would happen.

Anyway, after Andy finds out the "help" he gave her on her homework was all wrong, she convinces Evan it's time to break out the Monster Blood. What they plan to do with a slime that makes thing giant though, I really don't know. They gonna have a giant 8 year old pain in the ass on their hands? Evan almost immediately wusses out and backtracks on their plans. He realizes that a giant Kermit is a bad plan. Andy seems to think slipping the junk into one of the mixtures Kermit makes will have a cool result though. Sounds like she hasn't exactly thought this one through. Well, they call off the Monster Blood plans and go to Kermit's. They convince him to come outside and play for once, but first he gives them some delicious orange soda. Outside they start laughing uncontrollably. He drugged the pop with a laughing potion! And then, laughing endlessly, they beat him to death. Argh, man, I really gotta stop just typing my desires. Naturally, it's at this time that Conan comes out and doesn't take kindly to their fits of laughing. So in typical bully fashion, he beats em up, egged on of course by Kermit.

Finally, pushed to their limits, they decide to unleash Monster Blood. Evan distracted the dweeb with a candy bar while Andy planted the Monster Blood in his latest concoction. It works and the mixture starts growing in size! Kermit gets noticeably worried. Unfortunately, so do the too other kids when it starts engulfing them. POP it explodes. Their plan fails when Kermit in fact is totally delighted by the explosion. It fails again when Evan realizes he accidentally swallowed some and is now growing. First thing I would do as a giant? Stomp on Kermit. That little schmuck thinks it would be cool to grow giant like his cousin. Quickly he begins outgrowing the room and realizes he has to get out of the house before he bursts out of it! Struggling, he makes it. Outside, he notices that he is nearly as tall as the garage. Andy keeps making back jokes, and mad scientist Kermit thinks it is pretty much the coolest thing ever. Seriously, when is this little shit going to get stomped on?

Then Evan notices Conan picking on some kids. Now that even towers over the bully it is his turn to exact revenge. Ever the prick, Conan still picks on Evan even though he's huge, the doofus promptly gets placed into the branches of a rather tall tree. Personally I would have flung him like a rag doll through the air, but to each their own. Having fun with his new found size, he starts heading toward the playground, accidentally stomping cars and completely neglecting to SMASH KERMIT INTO THE GROUND! He heads to the baseball field where the children eagerly all urge him to play with them instead of running in fucking terror at the sight of human being that is large enough to smash cars with a single foot.

Just when he was starting to have some fun, the fuzz shows up. Cops and firefighters lead by Conan march against giant Evan. They ask him questions, and don't particularly care about the answers before they start blasting him with fire hoses. Apparently this is how you handle giant children. This causes Evan predictably to flee. Since he has long ass legs, he can do a pretty good job of it. Kermit gets the idea to use the potion he mixed to shrink Andy's bug bite to shrink kid ginormo. Unfortunately he doesn't have any left so he has to mix up another batch. Instead of shrinking him, this new mix turns him blue and gives him the hiccups. The next mix gave him feathers so he looked like a giant blue eagle. The last potion works, right as cops roll up and ask if they've seen any giant children around. Whew! All is right with the world again. That night Evan had a nightmare about what had happened. When he woke up his dog Trigger came in and picked him up in his mouth. Evan shrunk! FUCK YOU KERMIT!

What I Thought

I am getting a little sick of having annoying frustrating characters not getting their comeuppance. Doesn't RL Stine know how deeply satisfying it is to have little shits like Kermit get exactly what they deserve? Can't that happen like, once? And sure, though I may have shared my desire to see him pulverized, perhaps a more kid friendly retribution. For example, instead of the silly quick twist at the very end of Evan getting tiny, perhaps a freak lab accident leaves Kermit with a shrunken head? Or a wayward blast of the fire house and a bump on the head lower Kermits IQ by 20 points or such? Would that be so wrong? Maybe schadenfreude isn't the healthy attribute to cultivate in young people, but it's not like these books are filled with morals anyway! Clearly Evan and Andy have not learned their lessons about messing with Monster Blood after all this time. I think there is even Monster Blood IV yet to come (though I don't currently own it, I'll have to keep an eye out a thrift stores.)

So anyway, this was basically the same as the other Monster Bloods. Kids mess with it, it makes a thing big, they panic, and then unbig things. The difference this time was Kermit the annoying and the biggening happening to a kid instead of a pet. This actually was an interesting change for a couple reasons. 1) His fun at being huge and getting some revenge on his bully. 2) His fun quickly turning to terror as he is pursued by the authorities. Honestly though, I think it would have been fun if they mimicked some classic movies. Have him climb a building like King Kong! Let him destroy a little more than a car. Really there was too much them dealing with frustrating Kermit, and not enough rampaging around as a Giant. It seems like there is always too little payoff in these books.

Basically... this book is as mediocre as the rest of the book. It blends in fine. It did something slightly different with the theme of Monster Blood. After 30 books though, it's just nothing special. I can understand why it was about about this time that I started getting burnt out on these books 20ish years ago.

My Rating: 3 out of 5 Giants

Up Next

Well #30 in the series is It Came From Beneath the Sink. However, April Fools Day is coming up and I thought that'd be the perfect time to cover the second and final book in the spoof series Gooflumps. I recently found it for a buck at a thrift store and have been looking for an excuse to read it. So check back April 1st for the literary classic Eat Cheese and Barf!