The Haunted Mask II by R. L. Stine is a sequel to the original The Haunted Mask. This is Goosebumps book 36 in the original series order. It has Carly Beth back as one of the most rememberable human characters from Goosebumps, but she is just a supporting character and one of her friends that would scare her in The original The Haunted Mask is the lead protagonist in The Haunted Mask II. It has 5 character in total it brings back from the first which is the most recurring characters so far, after Monster Blood brought back 4 characters. The story which I will give credit is not a retelling of The Haunted Mask but has it’s own idea, the set up is the same but thing go differently. Where in the first one Carly Beth turned into the haunt, Steve is kind of haunted by his own mask. I liked the first half but the second half fell apart. The story is different from the first Haunted Mask but not that good. The reason to put on the mask and scare people is good, but when that story has a twist and diverts the story, it has no direction going forward. The endings to goosebumps always have a final twist and this one is one of the worst, I rolled my eyes pretty hard. This story isn’t all that scary unlike the first, but the way Stine described the mask is really good and quite scary. The Haunted Mask 2 was published on October 1 1995.
Plot Summary: Steve, 12 got in trouble at school and he had two options multiple detentions or to coach a first grade soccer team after school. He chose coaching and is now the coach of the Hogs. The Hogs are filled with terrorizing first graders that torture Steve and he wants revenge in the form of scaring them. For this to work he will need a terrifying mask, he remembers the one mask his friend Carly Beth scared him for last year’s Halloween. Carly Beth doesn’t want to tell him where she got it since the mask possessed her last year, but she eventually does and the store is closed but Steve finds a way in, before he can find the right one the owner comes back and Steve barely escaped, but Steve stole a mask as he was fleeing an Old rotting man. When he puts the mask on their is something wrong he can’t take off the mask and embodies the characteristics of the mask. Will Stave be able to escape the mask?
What I Liked: I loved the Hogs and how they were described and I love the twist when Steve meets them with the mask. I like that the story isn’t a remake of the first one it has the same premise but goes in a different route, I might have not liked the way it went but give credit for it being different. I loved seeing Carly Beth at first I thought it would just be a cameo but she ended up impacting the story and was in a quarter of the overall story.
What I Disliked: The second half of the book was just not good, it felt that it just wasn’t focused. I felt there was no payoff where the story went with the Hogs. Does Steve still want to scare them still after everything happened? The final twist made no sense since Halloween was over, why would this character hide this, it made this sense. All the poster show a green skinned mask yet there is no mention of a green skinned mask only green slime coming out of his nose.
Recommendations: This is the 36 Goosebumps book that I have read and I love them all this book is okay far from the worst but not the best. The original The Haunted Mask is one of my favorites and my favorite television episodes (since it is a two-parter) from the original series. I rated The Haunted Mask 2 or II by R. L. Stine 3 out of 5 stars. Here’s my full ranking of the 36 Goosebumps books that I have read in order to my favorite to least favorite: 1) A Night in Terror Tower, 2) Stay Out of the Basement, 3) Ghost Beach, 4) Piano Lessons Can Be Murder, 5) The Haunted Mask, 6) The Horror at Camp Jellyjam, 7) One Day At Horrorland, 8) Night of the Living Dummy, 9) Welcome to Camp Nightmare, 10) A Shocker on Shock Street, 11)The Phantom of the Auditorium, 12) It Came From Beneath the Sink, 13) The Curse of the Mummy’s Tomb, 14) Say Cheese and Die, 15) Let’s Get Invisible, 16) The Scarecrow Walks at Midnight, 17) Welcome to Dead House, 18) Monster Blood II, 19) The Girl who Cried Monster, 20)Deep Trouble, 21) The Ghost Next Door, 22)Night of the Living Dummy 2, 23) My Hairiest Adventure, 24) Be Careful What You Wish For… , 25) Return of the Mummy, 26) Why I’m Afraid of Bees, 27)The Haunted Mask II, 28)Attack of the Mutant, 29) Go Eat Worms!, 30) Revenge of the Lawn Gnomes, 31)The Werewolf of Fever Swamp, 32) Cuckoo Clock of Doom, 33) Monster Blood, 34) The Barking Ghost, 35) You Can’t Scare Me!, and 36) Monster Blood III.