When I was a kid, I loved TV. The stories on the screen jumped to life with their color and detail. My favorite show to watch in the weeks leading up to Halloween was the television version of R.L. Stine’s novels: Goosebumps. As a kid, this show provided the kind of plot lines and visuals that kept you up at night. See here a clip from The Chillogy part 1: Squeal of Fortune, where a girl is turned into a pig for taking part in unethical business practices.
It was prosthetics like that, and people in dummy and lawn gnome costumes capturing and enslaving children that made the show so terrifying. Watching it now, it’s admittedly still pretty creepy . . . and yes . . . I still watch it, but now I watch Goosebumps for a different reason.
Goosebumps, while scary for children, is the funniest thing for anybody past the age of 12. The terrible acting, cheap effects and extremely convoluted plots make nearly every episode comedic gold. One of my personal favorite episodes is “Piano Lessons Can Be Murder” where, in the beginning, a kid and his family move into a house, which turns out to haunted by a piano playing ghost. After the kid takes his first piano lesson, he gets lost in the building where the lesson was and is chased by a robot, only to be saved by a janitor. At a later lesson it is revealed that not only is the piano teacher a robot, and not only did the janitor create the robot piano teacher, but the ghost that was haunting the kid’s house at the beginning was the janitor’s mom. If you don’t believe the absurdity of that, here’s a scene from the episode in which the teacher, Dr. Shreek, is trying to take the kid’s hands.
Other ridiculous plots include a kid who is afraid of dogs and his friend swapping bodies with pirates trapped inside of the bodies of dogs (also he’s afraid of dogs), a time travelling cuckoo clock, and a type of plankton made with a growth hormone that makes animals giant and turns people into strange sea men.
Perhaps the scariest Goosebumps character is Slappy, the ventriloquist’s dummy that comes to life, enslaving people, turning people into dummies, and having a generally creepy laugh.
Well there are a lot of scary characters . . .
Even after having just turned 18, I still find this show immensely entertaining, and I would never turn down watching an episode. If you’re looking for a good laugh, you can always count on Goosebumps. If you want to watch it for yourself, every episode is on Netflix (and Youtube if that’s your thing), and there a DVD copies you can purchase. “Viewer beware, you’re in for a Scare!”
James McMillin, Co-News Director