Series number: 3
Number of pages: 128
Release date: September 1992
Tagline: It’s a monster blood drive!
Did I Read It as a Child?: No
The Story On the Back
While staying with his weird Great Aunt Kathryn, Evan visits a funky old store and buys a dusty can of Monster Blood. It’s fun to play with at first, and Evan’s dog, Trigger, likes it so much, he eats some! But then Evan notices something weird about the green, slimy stuff. It seems to be growing. And growing. And growing. And all that growing has given the monster blood a monstrous appetite…
The Story On the Pages
We’ve already seen Monster Blood II, III, and IV on this ranked dissection of Goosebumps books, but it’s finally time to see where it all started in Monster Blood! And notice how it’s still not very high in this ranking. Yeah. It’s still awful.
Let’s just get our last foray in with Monster Blood over with, shall we?
The first of four stories that revolve around the titular Monster Blood has our plucky twelve year old protagonist Evan being dragged to his Great Aunt Kathryn’s house to spend the last few weeks of summer with her while his parents are in the midst of finding a house in Atlanta so his father can transfer there for his job. For whatever reason their son can’t be a part of the process and Evan and his dog Trigger are dumped on deaf, old Kathryn as a last resort.
Kathryn answers the door with a blood covered knife in her hand and demands to know if Evan likes beef and girls. I swear I’m not yanking you, this eighty year old woman with the speech pattern of a sturdy Eastern European communist wants to know if Evan likes girls. I assume so she can pick him up?
All this (understandably) freaks Evan out and he leaves Kathryn and her sassy cat Sarabeth to their own devices, opting to explore the neighbourhood with Trigger as soon as he possibly can. He meets two bullies who relentlessly torment the area because no one tells them to stop, and Andy, who is a girl named Andrea and a bit of an odd-ball. She and Evan hit it off over his dog (which Andy likes because it has a stupid name) and they head downtown to a toy store.
It’s at the strange little toy store where Evan finds the Monster Blood. It’s in the back, no longer being sold because it’s too old. But Evan insists and for two dollars, it’s all his. His aunt is interested in it and reads the packaging. She gives it back to him with the warning to “be careful”. What does he need to be careful for? Turns out that it’s just some old crazy slime and he quickly loses interest.
But that’s hardly the end of it! Trigger eats some and begins to undergo a supernatural growth sprout. Not only that, the Monster Blood left in the container begins to grow. Soon it’s too big for its original packaging. Then a coffee can. Then a bathtub. Soon, the blob is out of control and chasing Evan through the neighbourhood, swallowing anything in its path whole. Quick! Call the obviously teenage Steve McQueen from The Blob to help deal with all this!
Heading back to Kathryn’s house (because he and Andy can’t think of anything else to do), they lead the Monster Blood right into her living room. Kathryn is backed against the wall and she seems to go willingly to death, saying that “she must pay for what she created”.
Believing his aunt to have been a witch from the beginning, Evan wastes no time accusing Kathryn of being an evil witch out to kill him. But it wasn’t Kathryn who wanted to kill him. It was Sarabeth controlling Kathryn.
That’s right. The cat is evil!
Sarabeth changes out of cat form and into a human. She goes over her plan of how she made Kathryn deaf so she had to be her slave. The witch believed Evan to be a threat when he arrived and made Kathryn put a spell on the Monster Blood to make it grow and eat him.
Just as her blob of Monster Blood is about to finish its task, Trigger runs in. Now twenty feet tall from the Monster Blood he ate, he accidentally pushes Sarabeth into the Monster Blood, saving the day in the process. Sarabeth and her spell cancel each other out and everything goes back to normal. The Monster Blood shrinks, the things it swallowed are spit out, Trigger shrinks, Sarabeth disappears, and Kathryn can hear again.
Monster Blood ends with Evan making a lifelong friend in Andy, but while the two of them are awkwardly talking about writing letters to each other and long distance phone calls, the small blob of Monster Blood disappears.
To be seen again in three subsequent sequels that I’ve already bitched about! Except, have you noticed how the substance I described in the last articles is not the substance I’ve talked about here? Monster Blood started out as a benign tub of crazy slime that got cursed, whereas in the next three books it seems that every damn can of the stuff is slime that grows without a way to stop it once you open the can.
Why would that ever be sold to children in the first place? Who would produce this? How would a factory stay in business making this shit? It’s time to ask the hard questions since Stine never did.
Monster Blood offers up more standard fare in terms of main protagonists. Evan is a redhead with curly hair and has a dog. Andy is your standard weirdo in the vein of Allison from The Breakfast Club. I know standard weirdo is a bit of an oxymoron, but it does her justice.
Aunt Kathryn and her cat/witch Sarabeth are a little more interesting, I think, for the obvious reasons that her cat is an evil witch, but that might just be me. Kathryn is entrusted with a small child because Evan’s dad was raised by her years ago before she went deaf. She can usually be found either doing a puzzle, arguing with her cat, or cutting up beef for stew.
Also, it’s August, Kathryn. Maybe something a little more refreshing than stew?
Sarabeth, Kathryn’s cat/witch pal is the main antagonist of the piece and spends the book (up to the point she reveals herself to be human) hissing, glaring, and attempting to drown Evan. So, you know, just regular cat things.
As mentioned above, there are two other characters that get quite a bit of time in the narrative: the twin bullies. These two are monsters that I won’t even name because I hate them so much. These two lurk around the neighbourhood, completely out of control because no adults ever tell them to stop being dickheads. They steal bikes, attempt to steal Evan’s dog, beat people up, and tie animals to trees.
The torture of animals is literally stage one of a serial killer. Today they’re stealing bikes and tormenting animals, tomorrow they’re leaving heads in boxes as part of a grand diorama of the Seven Deadly Sins!
There’s no right and wrong for these two assholes. And even though they’re swallowed up by the Monster Blood in the end, they’re still fine afterwards. Will it have taught them their lesson? Doubtful. Psychopaths rarely learn anything.
Spooks and Scares
I think what needs to be said right away is that Monster Blood is not scary. Like a lot of the unscary Goosebumps, it’s because it gets too silly. A shape-shifting witch who’s spent thirty years as a cat to enslave an old woman? Then casting a spell to bring crazy slime to life to kill a kid that’s only staying a few weeks?
Yeah, I’m not buying it.
Why would a witch do this? Is she the Blair witch? Does she delight in killing children? It’s not the 1600s, Stine. You can’t just point your finger and say a witch did it, okay? Now I want you to go into the basement corner and think about what you did wrong with the Monster Blood books, Mister Stine.