Our spooky fare of the week is here, and this time, we are dealing with a bit of antiquated horror, as in, the start of the story. Basically, evil has existed since the beginning of time, but in Goosebumps episode 6, we see it start in 1925. There are some gaps in the story regardless, and we may have those answered in the future while we currently look at this recap of the episode.
What happened to Slappy?
Like all good horror stories, the terror of Goosebumps began almost a century ago, in 1925. Ephraim was a struggling magician who was not willing to give up on his craft, even though all his shows were bombing. He goes to a magic shop, but he cannot afford the good stuff—the kind that will pull in audiences and give him a good set. As he is about to leave, a rundown suitcase calls out to him, and in that is a ventriloquist’s doll that looks like Chucky but is named Slappy. Ephraim brings that home, and his wife is disappointed as they once again don’t have any money for the household. She wants Ephraim to get a different job, but he wants to continue with his magic. Ephraim finds a note in the doll’s pocket that has a spell, and when he reads it out, it brings the doll to life.
The next day, as Ephraim’s show is bombing once again, the doll takes over with his rude jokes and saves the show. From what we have seen in the episode, the power of the doll seems to be his ability to talk. He can make some good jokes, which give the performer a personality and ultimately entertain the audience, bringing in money. It did not seem to be Ephraim’s magic tricks, but the doll’s gift of gab that was working and that could get old anytime. Ephraim gets obsessed with the doll, and eventually, his wife and children leave him because he chooses to spend time with the doll over them. That was the hold that Slappy had over Ephraim.
Over the years, Slappy and Ephraim became very successful, but their act was getting old and repetitive. However, neither had any new tricks up their sleeve, and they simply turned their manager into a doll before Slappy asked Ephraim to hold up his end of the bargain. Slappy wanted a particular spell to be recovered from someone’s grave and read out loud. Ephraim has the coffin stolen, but as he is halfway through the spell, he gets a vision of a burning building, which is what would happen if the spell was completed. We don’t get a clear answer as to what Slappy wants. Maybe it is world dominance through destruction or simply revenge. Either way, the vision scares Ephraim enough that he locks Slappy in a box and vows that no one will ever find him again. He buys a lodge in Port Lawrence, which is Nathan Bratt’s house in the current day, and he buries Slappy behind a wall. He should have also tried to contact his family again, but that did not happen. Ten years after Ephraim’s death, his granddaughter, Georgia, was tracked down, and she got the house that he had left behind. Harold is Ephraim’s great-grandson and the current ghost haunting the kids.
How Did Harold Biddle Die?
Harold and his family moved into the house because they needed a fresh start after everything that Harold had gone through in his previous school. He had been relentlessly bullied, and that had left some deep scars on him, along with the need for a different environment. His parents, Georgia and Barry, are extremely supportive, and even at school, Sarah is his first friend, and she is nice to him, encouraging Harold to become a part of their group.
Harold is unable to get over the scars of his previous school, and he ends up declining Sarah’s invitation. In his frustration, he throws something at the wall, and that shows him Slappy’s case. Right from the beginning, the doll had a hold on him, and he used it to make a great act in his school, much like his great-grandfather had done. Vulnerability and insecurity were in the genes, and Slappy just played along with that. Georgia and Barry are concerned about how much Harold is attached to Slappy, and they are worried that he prefers dolls over real friends. But their concerns are overlooked by Harold, who is ready to fight for the doll if he needs to. Georgia and Barry decide that this is going too far, and they try to burn the doll, but that is unsuccessful. However, the attempt angers Harold, and under the goading of Slappy, he turns his parents into dolls.
At school, Nora sees Slappy talking, and she is instantly scared. When she tells this to her friends, they ignore her like always because she seems to have been going through a goth phase and perhaps wanted everyone to be scared of her. That is why her fear of talking dolls felt like a part of her persona or something. Either way, one particular day, Harold and Slappy take it too far on the stage, and as a part of their set, they end up revealing all the secrets that Sarah had told Harold in private. Harold is unapologetic about it, but the students decide that they need to get payback. Nora is still saying that the doll is evil, but for the others, stealing Slappy is a way of getting back at Harold for what he did to them. At the end of Goosebumps episode 6, they sneak into the house and try to steal Slappy, only for it to start speaking. They understood that Nora was telling the truth. Harold locks himself in his basement, and though the kids try to help him, he is convinced that they are trying to do something else, so he doesn’t allow them to. An accident sets the place on fire, and the kids had to escape with Slappy.
In the present day, the kids are trying to find a way to understand that their parents are not the murderers that the story seems to suggest. But Nathan Bratt insists that Harold was bullied relentlessly by his classmates, even though that is far from the truth. As the kids ask him how he knows all of that, Nathan reveals his true identity, which is that he is Harold Biddle.
The backstory of Slappy and Harold is not complete. We know how Harold died, but we have yet to find out what Slappy wanted from him. Also, where are the dolls of his parents? Were they destroyed in the fire, or did they survive somehow? These are the answers that will turn the story into the episodes to come.