Amanda and Josh move into a new house in Dark Falls. Neither of the kids are too happy about the move, but their parents don’t want to hear about it. So, when Amanda keeps seeing and hearing strange things in their new house, it’s up to her and Josh to find out what’s wrong with their new house.
Maybe it’s because R.L. Stine was aiming for a different demographic with these books, but as the first book in the Goosebumps series, Welcome to the Dead House is much more straight forward than its Fear Street predecessors. On the one hand, this means that it’s a slightly harder book to do a humorous post about; while, on the other hand, it also means that Welcome to the Dead House is a pretty simple story about a couple of kids murdering an entire town, and then leaving another family to die in their stead.
Yep. You read that right.
So, the premise of the story is that everyone in the town was killed at some point by a yellow cloud coming from the plastics factory, where most people worked. Only it didn’t finish the job, and everyone was left in a kind of undead state, somewhere between ghosts and…vampires, I guess? They can’t go out into the sunlight or they’ll fall to pieces, and – for reasons never actually explained – they need the blood of a new family every year.
Amanda and Josh’s family are meant to be the latest sacrifice, but their dog – the real hero of the story – ultimately leads the two kids to the information that reveals the truth of their situation just in time to save their parents, who have already been captured by the townspeople. They knock over the giant tree that’s providing the ghost-vampire-things with the shade to perform their sacrifice (because doing it inside apparently never occurred to anyone?), potentially killing them all in the process, despite the fact that they’ve been playing with several of the neighbourhood kids that they just killed for who knows how long. So, yes, it’s a somewhat justified mass murder, sure, but it’s still kind of a dick move, IMO.
The ultimate – and arguably indefensible – dickery comes at the end of the book, though. The now-safe family has packed up and is readying to move back to their old house, when a new family shows up to move into the “Dead House,” and they’re being accompanied by someone that Amanda thinks looks exactly like the guy who welcomed them into the neighbourhood. Y’know, one of the killer ghost-vampire-things. And, instead of warning the family that’s about to be murdered in their place by said ghost-vampire-things, she’s all, “Huh, nah, couldn’t be him,” and they continue driving off into the distance. Because of course you wouldn’t want to make sure you’re wrong first, just on the off chance that it might save another family’s lives. Right?!