Wednesday, October 31, 2012

31 Days of Goosebumps Part 1 - 31. Night of the Living Dummy Part 2

Well it’s been fun. I’m excited to get to end this first round on the only sequel that’s arguably more famous than the original. You see while most people talk about how much they loved Night of the Living Dummy... usually they’re actually talking about the sequel. There’s two reasons for this.

Reason 1: People remember “SLAPPY” who wasn’t the evil dummy in the first book. In fact he only comes to life in the last sentence of the original book

Reason 2: It’s a way better book

The book follows Amy who loves Ventriloquism, however her dummy Dennis’ head always falls off. Eventually her dad buys her a new dummy Slappy. She’s excited until the dummy starts causing trouble around the house and Amy is getting blamed.

Suddenly Slappy begins speaking to her and telling her that if she doesn’t be his slave he’ll make sure that her life is miserable forever. Eventually she convinces her family to believe her and the put together a plan. Her brother Jed will dress up in Dennis’ clothes and attacks Slappy, cracking his head. 

However as they celebrate Jed runs out of his room admitting her forgot to set his alarm. Dennis came to life all by himself.

THE BAD: I realize the supernatural circumstances and all but the parents are pretty quick to just believe that their daughter (who before the whole dummy showed up was typically good) is suddenly this cruel and destructive monster. Also the ending is basically the same as the first book... just less dark.

THE GOOD: Slappy is a great villain and that’s why he’s always been the face of Goosebumps. I believe he’s also had more books than any other Goosebumps creature (if you don’t count Horrorland having an entire spin-off series).

THE TV SHOW EPISODE:  It’s a pretty good episode. They sped up the plot to keep it down to just 20 minutes. The dummy is terrifying looking which is kind of the point. While there’s been plenty of these episodes where the horror is downplayed they really keep the horror of the situation at the forefront. That being said when Slappy is walking around the midget in a costume effect looks pretty awful.

<------ 30.="30." a="a" book="book" href="">It Came From Beneath the Sink

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

31 Days of Goosebumps Part 1 - 30. It Came From Beneath the Sink

I didn’t expect to like this one as much as I did. I think because there’s such an underlying feeling of hopelessness throughout the book. When I put myself in the shoes of Kat and her possible “forever bad luck” I couldn’t help but think about how it would have driven me crazy. 

You see when Kat and her family move into a new house she finds a weird living, breathing sponge under the sink. After further investigation she discovers it’s a Grool. It feeds off bad luck and can’t be killed by violence. Furthermore if she gives it away she’ll die in 24 hours.

People all around her are getting injured and no one will believe her or her brother Daniel. Kat decides that she’s clearly going to be stuck with bad luck forever until she realizes the only way to stop the Grool is to love it.

Okay so the ending is a little cheesy but overall imagine having to choose between bad luck for the rest of your life or death. Pretty heavy shit for a 12 year old. 

I realized that this is probably the 15th book out of the 30 I’ve read where the main character is celebrating their 12th birthday. Pretty lazy R.L. Stine.

THE BAD:  The ending. It’s usually the best part of the book or the worst. This one it’s actually both. The killing the monster with love is kinda lame but the very very end (which I won’t spoil because it involves way too much explanation) is a nice one.

THE GOOD: As I stated before (much like Cuckoo Clock of Doom) this one proposes some pretty heavy issues for a 12 year old to handle.

THE TV SHOW EPISODE:  Holy Hell! Ginger from Ginger Snaps! That’s awesome! It’s been a while since I’ve seen a ‘recognizably well know actor/actress’ before they were famous. The look of the Groll (the few times that they show) isnt’ terrible looking. However when I read the book I continually wanted it to look like the parasite from Brain Damage. 

For obviously reasons this one is rushed to fit into 20 minutes but I’d argue this is another one that could have been a two-parter quiet comfortably.

<----- 29.="29." a="a" href="">Monster Blood III
Book 31 ----->

Monday, October 29, 2012

31 Days of Goosebumps Part 1 - 29. Monster Blood III

So while I really liked the first Monster Blood I still don’t get why there were so many sequels to this particular story. It’s not really sequel worthy. Even The Blob didnt’ get this many reboots.

This particular book kind of annoyed me though because this time it’s Evan who eats the Monster Blood and grows giant. This already happened in Monster Blood II but throughout the book they just act like that never happened. That really annoyed me.

The book revolves around Evan, Andy and Evan’s obnoxious super-genius cousin Kermit. Kermit spends all day in a lab making weird mixtures that alway lead to Evan getting in trouble. Finally Evan has had enough and decides to put some Monster Blood in one mixture and see what will happen. It causes the experiment to explode and Evan accident eats some of it causing him to grow to giant proportions.

Kermit manages to mix up something that shrinks him down to normal size, however in the morning he realizes that he has shrunk to the size of a mouse. His dog picks him up in his mouth and the book ends.

THE BAD:  There’s a lot of things that just never get brought up. I’ve already mentioned that they never mention that Evan has eaten Monster Blood once previously, but they also never mention how Evan’s aunt (Kermit’s mom) reacts to the destruction in his house. He talks about breaking railings, walls and shelves, but he seems to never get in trouble for this. Meanwhile in the middle of the book she flips a shit that he drank all the Orange Juice.

THE GOOD: This was definitely the most depressing Monster Blood book ending. The fact that Monster Blood 4 didn’t come out until 30+ books later I’m sure scarred a few kids into thinking that one of their favorite characters was eaten by his own dog.

THE TV SHOW EPISODE:  None Ever Produced

<---- 28.="28." a="a" href="">The Cuckoo Clock of Doom
Book 30 -------->

Sunday, October 28, 2012

31 Days of Goosebumps Part 1 - 28. The Cuckoo Clock of Doom

I’ve seen this pop-up on quite a few ‘best goosebumps book’ lists and even read that this is R.L. Stine’s favorite book. I will say this much, while it’s not my favorite book of Stine’s it’s very different than his previous books and has a very psychologically deep ending.

Michael is about to celebrate his 12 birthday however his sister Tara ruins everything. When his father buys a weird cuckoo clock Michael sees his chance to get Tara in trouble as revenge for all the times Tara has gotten Michael in trouble. He decides to turn the cuckoo birds head backwards.

When he wakes up the next morning it’s his birthday again. Michael continues traveling backwards in time. When he walks up as a one year old baby he knows that this is his last chance to turn the head back into the correct direction otherwise erase his entire existence. 

Luckily his parents go to the antique shop that the clock was first found in. Michael manages to crawl up the clock and turn the birds head, when he returns to the present day Tara is no longer around. The book ends with Michael promising one day he’ll go back for her.

THE BAD: The book is a little slow at times. Michael is a little whiny and Tara is total bitch (even if she is only 7)

THE GOOD: The ending of the book pitches a delightfully dark question. WIll Michael actually go back in time and get Tara? Most likely not. It raises some questions of what you’d do in that situation. Obviously deeper than R.L. Stine probably intended but what the hell’s the point of reading these books 15 years later if you’re not gonna read into this stuff.

THE TV SHOW EPISODE:  They did a good job of telling a rushed version of this story, it managed to not be nearly as slow as the book and actually had some interesting camerawork. Since there’s no much new though there’s really nothing to say in relation to the episode vs. the book.

<------ 27. Night in Terror Tower

Book 29 ------>

Saturday, October 27, 2012

31 Days of Goosebumps Part 1 - 27. A Night in Terror Tower

I know I never read this book. In fact I think it’s possible this book was around the time I stopped buying every Goosebump book. This was definitely not a book who’s cover would have enticed me back then, specifically do to my lack of interest in things from Medieval Times... perhaps it’s a weird irony that I’m now 27 and writing this the night before I got celebrate my birthday AT Medieval Times... oh how things change.

Sue and Eddie are in England for their parents job. While their parents attend a big meeting Sue and Eddie are on a tour of Europe. The final stop is the infamous Terror Tower where a cruel king tortured and slaughtered his enemies (including his niece and nephew Susannah and Edward out of fear they’d over throw him). The room instantly brings deja vu to the two children.

They suddenly find themselves separated from the tour group and being chased by a strange man dressed in executioner garbs. As they attempt to escape him they realize they can’t remember there parents, last names or anything else. Suddenly they find themselves taken back in time.

It’s revealed to them that they are Prince Edward and Princess Susannah. Their Magician friend Morgred had transported them forward into the future to save their lives. In a last ditch effort they try the time travel one last time, bring Morgred with them as their surrogate father.

THE BAD: They reveal the “Prince Edward and Princess Susannah” thing too early in the book in my opinion. It became obvious to me that they were at least descendants.

THE GOOD: The book is just a good book. I genuinely was curious as to the answers to all the mysteries and the fact that they couldn’t remember their parents names or their own last names was a nice touch. It reminded me of great ‘what is reality’ stories. I enjoyed it this far more than I anticipated.

THE TV SHOW EPISODE:  This is a very very faithful adaptation, but I don’t think everything in the story was important. This could have been a 20 minute episode instead of a two-part 40 minute episode. All the child actors are good in it though... which makes it a shame that the girl who plays Sue only did Goosebumps episodes and then never acted again.

<------ Book 26. My Hairiest Adventure
Book 28 ------>

Friday, October 26, 2012

31 Days of Goosebumps Part 1 - 26. My Hairiest Adventure

Fun fact... this book is what inspired this 31 book idea. About a year ago I drove my dad to have some blood drawn. While sitting in the waiting room I saw this book amongst the magazines so I picked it up and re-read most of it. I decided it’d be fun to revisit these books. When I found out that the original run of Goosebumps was 62 books I decided that I would do this for the next two Octobers.

Larry and his friends are in a rock band. They hate their classmate (and drummer of rival band) Howie and practice every day after class with the hopes of beating him in the battle of the bands. It’s after one particular practice they find a bottle of Insta-Tan that expired a few years earlier.

The next morning Larry starts to find thick black hair growing on his body. He tells his doctor about it during his bi-weekly insulin shot but the doctor just laughs at him about it. 

Soon his fellow band mates Lily and Manny go missing. However when Larry finds a dog who has similar features as Lily Larry begins to fear the Insta-Tan is causing them to transform. He runs and tells his parents who tell him their dark secret.

All kids in town were dogs who the local doctor turned into children through bi-weekly shots (aka the insulin shot). The serum has stopped working and Larry is returning to his original dog form. The final chapter is from the perspective from Larry (now a dog), his former parents return home with a new baby who has eyes exactly like their cat.

All in all I like this story and always have. I love most stories about werewolfs, transformation and anything else related to people becoming animals (In the near future I want to re-read and review all of the Animorphs books). It has a great red herring with the Insta-tan. I’m glad this book continues to hold up.

THE BAD: In retrospect the whole “expires in 1991” thing seems ridiculous in 2012. I’d definitely not put 20 year old lotion on my body. Also I didn’t enjoy that the bands only played music from the 70’s, I mean sure kids like that stuff... and sure there’s the occasional band that would play classic rock but for both school bands to play only classic rock (as well as everyone fucking LOVING it) is a little far fetched. This was written when Rap, Grunge and Punk dominated the radio.

THE GOOD: The red herring is awesome and Larry is one of the more likable Goosebumps main characters. He doesn’t play pranks, he’s not whiny... he’s just a kid in a shitty situation. I like that.

THE TV SHOW EPISODE:  This book isn’t interesting enough to be a two part episode, but it’s kinda dull as a half hour episode. Most of the parts that made the book interesting (Howie, Larry’s friends mocking him, The battle of the bands) have all been cut to sped up the story, the band is basically just a side thing now, where as in the book it was almost as important as Insta-Tan.

<---- Book 25. Attack of the Mutant
Book 27 ----->

Thursday, October 25, 2012

31 Days of Goosebumps Part 1 - 25. Attack of the Mutant

It’s pretty obviously that I loved yesterday’s book Phantom of the Auditorium so I wasn’t sure what to expect from Attack of the Mutant. I was on a pretty solid Goosebumps high. I was not disappointed at all. Attack of the Mutant is a very different novel than some of the other Goosebumps books and while it has a few serious problems all in all it’s fun book (not too mention any geeks dream).

The book follows Skipper Matthews who collects comics. While most of them he collects with the hope of selling them when they’re valuable he can’t help but read every issues of the Masked Mutant. The comic follows a super Villain who can shapeshift into anything solid.

One day Skipper is riding the bus to his comic shop when he meets Libby. He misses his stop and gets off on her’s where he sees the masked mutants secret headquarters. He becomes obsessed with entering it. Once he walks in he finds a printing press of the comics and disappointedly realizes that it’s probably just where the comics are printed.

The next day however he gets the newest issue of Masked Mutant and sees himself in the comic. This makes him decide to enter the building again where he finds the Masked Mutant. Skipper thinks he’s about to die but then Libby walks in and shots the mutant with a toy gun melting him.

That’s when LIbby transforms into the real Masked Mutant. The mutant tells him that he is now made of ink and part of the comic book world, he must fight the mutant or die in this issue. Skipper says his only weakness is Acid. The mutant transforms and Skipper leaves the building giving up on comics forever... until he pricks his finger and bleeds ink.

THE BAD: Skipper visits Libby’s house... it’s never explained how the masked mutant had a second place to live strictly for tricking people. Also Skipper is a douche’ for the first 50 pages. He always brags about how expensive his collection is and treats everyone else like idiots.

THE GOOD: It’s just a fun concept. I know I’d have loved this as a kid (although I’m sure this was one of the many books I owned but never really read).

THE TV SHOW EPISODE:  I couldn’t find the episode but apparently they made a video game of this and someone also uploaded the audiobook... but no one uploaded the episode. I was pretty stoked to watch it too, apparently Adam West was in it.

Book 26 ------>

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

31 Days of Goosebumps Part 1 - 24. Phantom of the Auditorium

After a couple books that were quite lackluster to me, this book I loved. I genuinely loved it. I was completely pulled in from the first page and unlike some of the other books there is no fake outs. All the scares are genuine scares and not just ‘someone playing a prank’.

Zeke and Brooke have been best friends for years. Their friendship stems out of a mutual love of horror movies, so when they hear that their school’s play is called the Phantom they HAVE to audition. To their surprise they both get the lead roles. It’s at the first practice they first hear the horrifying story of the first performance 72 years ago.

The first year the school was built they decided to perform the play, but on the day of the boy who was cast as the phantom never showed up and was never heard from again. Suddenly weird things start happening, Brooke and Zeke meet a weird old man who claims to be the night janitor as well as befriending Brian a new student at the school who’s on the stage crew.

Zeke gets kicked out of the play when the Phantom’s haunts get blamed on him. Finally they discover that the messages and frightening moments weren’t from the Phantom but Emilie, a homeless man who’s been living under the school’s stage. Knowing that there is no Phantom and Emilie has left from under the stage the school decides to continue with the play.

However when the Phantom hits the stage Brooke immediately realizes it’s not Zeke. The mysterious performer tells the tale of how many years ago before his big night he fell down the trapdoor and died. The crowd loves the performance and Zeke and Brooke go out to celebrate. That’s when they find a year book from 72 years ago and see that the boy originally casted to play the Phantom was Brian.

THE BAD: There’s really nothing I can complain about. If there’s anything that struck me as weird it’d be Brooke and Zeke are huge horror fans but the first movie they reference is Creature from the Black Lagoon. This seemed weird to me because I figured they’d be fans of scarier movies than that (they later reference Poltergeist and Friday the 13th which were more what I was expecting them to like). I think what’s even more weird is as a kid Creature from the Black Lagoon was my favorite horror movie, so many R.L. Stine actually hit the nail on the head with that.

THE GOOD: The book is just paced perfectly and even has a sympathetic aspect to it. I love the way the book ends. AT 27 I knew the twist about midway through (although Emilie being a homeless man under the stage I didn’t expect at all), but I still loved it and I’m sure at 10 I’d love it even more. I think this is my biggest recommended of the 31 books.

THE TV SHOW EPISODE: This was a well done episode but definitely changed up a lot of the story and omitted character elements. It makes sense to me however, many of the Goosebump books are easy to adapt as their filled with lots of plot points that aren’t important, Stine didn’t waste a page on this one so even though it’s only 123 (which is actually long for a Goosebumps book) it’s impossible to do it correctly in just 19 minutes.

The performances are also quite good in this particular episode (not like yesterday’s Return of the Mummy which was quite unbearable).

<----- Book 23. The Return of the Mummy
Book 25 ---->

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

31 Days of Goosebumps Part 1 - 23. The Return of the Mummy

It’s no secret that I disliked Book 5: the Curse of the Mummy; The Return of the Mummy is no different. I don’t think it’s R.L. Stine though, I just don’t like Mummy stories.

Much like the previous Mummy book there’s very little ‘supernatural’ aspects to the book until the very end where the mummy rises. In fact most of the book is just about kids at a dig with their uncle. I won’t lie this book took me longer to read than any other Goosebump tale so far because I was just so bored by it.

Gabe (from book 5) has returned to Egypt to visit his cousin Sari and Uncle Ben. His uncle is digging up a new tomb and Gabe is excited to be there. Also on the expedition is Ben’s assistant Dr. Fleming and a reporter from the Cairo Sun Nila.

In the end it turns out that Nila is actually the dead Prince (now mummy’s) long lost sister come to raise her brother. However her brother enjoys his eternal slumber and attacks her. She turns into a scrab and runs off. Gabe saves the day (until the next Mummy book)

THE BAD: There’s nothing boring about this book, it’s just dull. I don’t like Mummy stories in general so this ALWAYS feels like a chore when I have to read them. 

THE GOOD: This is lame to say but I really dug the cover on this one. Probably one of my all time favorite covers.

THE TV SHOW EPISODE: So they never did an episode for Curse of the Mummy and just did Return of the mummy. They did a good job of making this adaptation make sense without having to change too much. It’s not a terrible episode really (except that the kids voice is pretty obnoxious... and yes that is Jason from Mean Girls).

<---- Book 22. Ghost Beach
Book 24 ------>

Monday, October 22, 2012

31 Days of Goosebumps Part 1 - 22. Ghost Beach

Book 22: Ghost Beach

I have to start off by saying that the cover to this particular book is awesome. I wish the story lived up to it. It’s not that the book is particularly bad, just lackluster. 

Jerry and his sister Terri visit some distant cousins for a month and make friends with the local kids. Terri loves going into the old graveyard and see tombstones for all the locals. 

They are all named after their ancestors who died 300+ years ago and fear the ghost who lives in the cave. Jerry and Terri go to the cave and meet the “ghost” who turns out to be an old man. He tells him everyone in town is a ghost that he’s been trying to capture but the cave is the only save place to be. 

He destorys the ghosts while sacrificing himself. Terri and Jerry return to their cousins’ house only to discover they are also ghosts.

THE BAD: The plot is basically the same as Welcome to Dead House; just at a beach. 

THE GOOD: Someone actually died in this book which is a rare twist for R.L. Stine. THe book wasn’t bad, it just wasn’t good either. Very mediocre offering from the Goosebumps series.

THE TV SHOW EPISODE: This was the first Goosebumps episode that was made but I couldn’t find anywhere to view it. Not really disappointed though since the book is rather lackluster

Book 23---->

Sunday, October 21, 2012

31 Days of Goosebumps Part 1: 21. Go Eat Worms

Book 21: Go Eat Worms

I don’t think this was anyone’s favorite Goosebumps book. Not that it was a particularly bad book just not a very good one. It had a lot of problems that worked against it. 

The story is about Todd. He’s obsessed with worms. He collects them, experiments with them, uses them to gross out his sister and uses them for his science project. It seems as though the worms have had enough. Worms keep popping up everywhere in his life. In his bed, hidden in his food. He’s convinced that it’s his sister but she seems completely clueless to the events... of course around page 110 of the 120 page book we find out that yes it was his sister.

The next day Todd is digging for worms when a giant worm appears to attach him. Luckily his sister is carrying a giant paper robin she made for the science fair and scares the worm off. TOdd gives up collecting worms and focuses on butterflies instead; until a giant butterfly attacks him.

THE BAD: My issue with this book is almost exactly the same as my problem with Night of the Living Dummy. First off the lead character is obnoxious and deserves all the bad that he has coming to him. Secondly the first 110 pages are basically a moot point as they were a giant prank on Todd. That being said I genuinely believe the worms were seeking vengence and was really digging the story, so the ‘all a prank’ thing was a big let down.

THE GOOD: Let’s face it, worms are gross. People biting into worms is really fucking foul so the book definitely caused me to have the desired reaction. That being said not excited to watch a child eat a worm in the TV episode.

THE TV SHOW EPISODE: The episode didn’t disappoint in being gross. It’s not a very accurate adaptation of the book but it actually works for the better because it. They introduce the giant worm in the middle of the episode instead of saving it for the very end and don’t reveal the worm attacks to be all part of an elaborate prank. All in all I preferred this over the actual source material. Also I recommend all my readers skip to the end of the episode at the very least so they can watch the most unintentionally funny ending to a goosebumps episode where a boy is "fished" by a fish who's bait is a sandwich with a hook and string inside it.

<------ Book 20. The Scarecrow Walks At Midnight
Book 22 ------>

Saturday, October 20, 2012

31 Days of Goosebumps Part 1 - 20. The Scarecrow Walks At Midnight

I know that I owned this book (because bought pretty much every Goosebump book at one point or another); but I also know I never read it because i figured ‘who cares’. That being said when I read this one of the first time today I was shocked by how much I liked it.

There is something kinda creepy about Scarecrows (although i rarely see them as a threat). What’s funny is that I thought for sure I knew the ending but I over thought it. But I’m getting ahead of myself.

The story follows Jodie and Mark. They’re visiting their grandparents farm for a month and are excited for all the fun things they do every year. However this year things are weird. Their grandparents don’t tell scary stories or make chocolate chip pancakes anymore. Meanwhile their helper who is ‘a little slow’ keeps mumbling about the Scarecrows walking around at midnight and his book of superstitions.

Now for some reason in my mind I convinced myself that Stanley had managed to switch the minds of some Scarecrows with Jodie’s grandparents. However the answer is far more simple, Stanley brought the scarecrows to life.

THE BAD: There’s not too much I had to complain about. This was a great book. It’s a shame I put it off this many years.

THE GOOD: The concept is quite an original concept.  

THE TV SHOW EPISODE: The TV show adaptation wasn’t too bad. The scarecrows are appropriately creepy looking however I have one complaint. The performance of Stanley has far too much malice to it. He’s written as the simple friendly but strange guy who you’d never expect to do something awful, instead he’s introduced as stern and cold.

Book 21 -------->

Friday, October 19, 2012

31 Days of Goosebumps Part 1 - 19. Deep Trouble

Book 19: Deep Trouble

I don’t think there’s any kid in the world that wasn’t at least a little disappointed by this book. The fact is the cover is a straight up lie, which is rare for Goosebumps. Normally the cover has some representation of the central plotline. However for Deep Trouble we have a drawing of a very angry Hammerhead shark sneaking up on a kid in the ocean. 

However that occurs around chapter 10 and is resolved by Chapter 12. The story is actually about Mermaids. Since Goosebumps had a bit of a male demographic I can only assume this cover choice was to sell more books as an adolescent boy (regardless of how big of a Goosebumps fan he is) probably wouldn’t buy a book with a mermaid on the cover.

Billy and his sister Sheena are on their Uncle (Dr. Deep)’s boat. Dr. Deep has been hired to find a mermaid in the local lagoon. Billy finds her and the capture her and put her in a cage. The next night a group of thugs show up and kidnap the mermaid. Dr. Deep, Billy and Sheena free her with the help of her mermaid friends. The next day Billy sneaks out into the lagoon to say goodbye and is attached by a vicious Sea Monster.

THE BAD: The book is pretty dull. Nothing particularly scary or exciting happens. It doesn’t really feel much like a Goosebumps book. Somehow this book got a sequel.

THE GOOD: The ending. The ending is so insanely unexpected and dark despite the light hearted nature of the rest of the story. I love it.

THE TV SHOW EPISODE: This episode had NOTHING to do with the book except for the characters having the same names. According to the Goosebumps Wiki parts of the plot are from Deep Trouble II. I’m not even going to really discuss it here.

Book 20 ------>

Thursday, October 18, 2012

31 Days of Goosebumps Part 1 - Book 18. Monster Blood II

Here it is the first of what would be quite a few sequels to Stine’s Monster Blood. As I said when reviewing the previous Monster Blood entry, I don’t completely understand why this particular story got so many sequels. I don’t ever remember it being a popular entry in the series amongst my classmates.

Anyway Monster Blood II takes place about 2-3 months after the original book. Evan keeps telling everyone about his summer with Monster Blood (because he’s an idiot) and is constantly being mocked by teachers and classmates who don’t believe him (because they’re sane). 

Once again (much like yesterdays Why I’m Afraid of Bees) Stine writes a bully to insane levels. The teacher/basketball coach Mr. Murphy by all accounts would be fired and sued for allowing the things that happen to Evan to happen without punishment. The most ridiculous being when the main bully Conan shoves Evan into a basketball net or when he gets punished for being late after being shoved and locked into his locker (in front of VARIOUS witnesses).

Everything changes for Evan when Evan’s friend Andy (from the original Monster Blood) arrives with the can of Monster Blood. They feed it to Mr. Murphy’s favorite pet hamster and he grows and grows. Suddenly it’s too big that it might destroy the school. Evan eats some Monster Blood to beat the giant hamster. Then they both return to their regular size for no reason other than that day was the Monster Blood expiration date.

THE BAD: The Bully and Teacher are really over the top in their lack of realism. This book doesn’t live up to how fun I found the original story, also the first 3 chapters’ cliffhangers are all ‘but that was just a dream’ which is a motif Stine uses FAR too often.

THE GOOD: The resolution is actually pretty hilarious when you think about it.

THE TV SHOW EPISODE: None Made For This Episode instead they did an original script where the Monster Blood is loose on an airplane.

Book 19 -------->

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

31 Days of Goosebumps Part 1 - 17. Why I'm Afraid of Bees

This wasn’t a particularly good book but it was certainly better than You Can’t Scare Me. For starters it actually has a supernatural aspect to it earlier than the last two pages. But all in all the book didn’t sit well with me.

You see this is one of the least original books R.L. Stine wrote. This isn’t new though, I mean Welcome to Camp Nightmare is basically the plot line of 2 or 3 Twilight Zone episodes. But this book there’s a bigger issue.

You see the book is about Gary Lutz. He’s terrified of bees and gets picked on MERCILESSLY. I mean this kid should be in that recent documentary Bully. However one day he sees an ad for a company that will switch your body with someone else. Deciding any body is better than his own he signs up for one week.

However there is a mix up with the machine and instead of being switched with the cool kid Dirk Davis a bee gets mixed into the machine causing Davis to get Gary’s body, a Bee to get Davis’ body and Gary to be trapped as a bee.

Gary is able to communicate with a few people through the help of a microphone (I’ll suspend disbelief because it sped up the story) and a telepathic connection with Davis (because some bee stuff got mixed in probably as Davis puts in). However Davis refuses to switch bodies which forces Gary to sting him in rage and as he dies he wakes up in his back lawn back in his normal body.

The book is basically a combination of The Fly and a bad after school special since Gary is constantly being remained what a great life he has by various people. I almost feel like someone paid Stine to write a book with a positive message.

THE BAD: There’s a few too many logic laws throughout the story. The one that bugged me the most is when the person in charge of the body switching company tells Gary (while he’s a bee) that she can’t switch him back because Dirk Davis likes Gary’s life and has decided to keep it. She literally says “My hands are tied”. This woman has no control over her company.

THE GOOD: I enjoyed the language in this particular book. It’s one of Stine’s best ‘writing in the voice of his audience’ books thus far. It actually made the book an interesting read despite the book itself not being that interesting. If anything it’s more educational than entertaining (seriously there’s like 10 bee facts in it).

THE TV SHOW EPISODE: None Made For This Episode (Not Shocked)

Book 18 ------>

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

31 Days of Goosebumps Part 1 - 16. One Day at Horrorland

I’ve come this far... I guess it’s fair to confess this now. I was always a collector. If I found something I loved I’d collect as much of it as I possibly could. Goosebumps was something I collected. One Day At Horrorland is a book I know for a fact I owned and then never read.

Of all the Goosebumps books I’ve read thus far this one felt the most like a Tales From the Crypt episode. It had that awesome blend of humor and terrifying situations. While the book itself is no longer scary to me; I think the general idea of an amusement park gone wrong is an unsettling one.

The Morris family can’t catch a break. Although it seems their luck has changed. After driving around aimlessly and getting lost attempting to find Zoo Gardens Amusement Park they find a new amusement park called Horrorland. Filled with Monsters and horrifying rides they find the place to be an exciting adventure... until they realize the horrors they face are very real.

In the end the amusement park all a game show for Monsters. The Morris’ assume that they’re safe, until the Monster’s show how they say “goodbye” at the end of the show. Luckily Lizzy and her brother Luke figure out how to stop the Monsters. They escape home only to have a monster show up at their doorstep to give them free passes for their next visit.

THE BAD: I really have nothing bad to say about this one. It knew exactly the type of story it was. It was full of humor and nice little scares (specifically for a children’s book). I’d genuinely re-read this one!

THE GOOD: As I said this book knew what it was. The ending actually made me laugh out loud. I’m excited to watch the TV episode of this one.

THE TV SHOW EPISODE: Okay... a lot to process. This adaptation isn’t exactly accurate. I mean it follows the book but they’ve combined two male characters into one. The problem with this is that one character was a coward and the other overly excited about the amusement park so mid-episode the character just changes completely. The actress who plays Lizzy is actually a solid actress I’m actually let down to see she hasn’t done much in a few years (her last role being in 2005). The second half of the episode focuses entirely on the Monster Channel GameShows... this is extremely entertaining. This was the ‘Tales from the Crypt’ style humor I was hoping the episode would contain. The one thing that bugs me is how some of the costumes look great and other’s look like they were made from the same person who designed the Goblins in Troll 2.

<------- Book 15. You Can't Scare Me

Book 17 ------->

Monday, October 15, 2012

31 Days of Goosebumps Part 1 - 15. You Can't Scare Me

I know I read this book. I say this a lot I realize but unlike those other books I distinctly remember where I read this book. It was during a vacation I read it in the backseat of my parents Oldsmobile... sadly that’s all I really remember about the book.

The story follows Eddie and his group of friends as they attempt to scare the ‘unscarable’ Courtney. Every attempt fails. Finally they decide to use Eddie’s brother’s Mud Monster costumes. 

You see there’s a local legend about these Mud Monsters, so infamous that Eddie’s brother decided to make a horror movie about them. However when they arrive to scare Courtney they see the Mud Monsters and shortly afterwards Eddie’s brother shows up with the costumes. 

This could have been a 20 page short story. There is almost no reason this is a Goosebumps book until the last 2 pages.

THE BAD: The first 117 are insanely repeatative. Eddie and friends try to scare courtney and fail, then try again, and fail. They do this about 3 or 4 times never really learning anything from the failures. We know this is going to lead to the Mud Monsters but it takes 100 pages for them to do so. There is no supernatural aspect to this story until the last 2 pages.

THE GOOD: It’s a good ending. Just would have been just as good in a story 100 pages shorter.

THE TV SHOW EPISODE: This is one of the episodes that they improved on the book slightly. They cut out characters, sped up the pace of the failed ‘scare attempts’ and kicked the story off with a nice creepy “Mud Monster” segment. For some reason nostalgia left me imagining that the mud monsters looked a little better in this than they actually did but all in all this was far from a bad episode.It was humorous even though the main character Courtney is insanely obnoxious.

<------- Book 14. Werewolf of Fever Swamp

Book 16 -------->

Sunday, October 14, 2012

31 Days of Goosebumps Part 1 - 14. The Werewolf of Fever Swamp

I’m not gonna lie I had a very short attention span on this particular book. It wasn’t bad per say it just wasn’t very interesting either. It’s mostly just a kid fighting with his parents about a dog.

You see the main character is Grady. His family has moved to Fever Swamp to raise Swamp deer. One day Grady goes out to explore and meets Will and Cassie. Cassie tells him about the werewolf that haunts the swamp and Will shows him where the creepy old hermit lives in the swamp.

Grady finds a dog randomly in the woods and names it Wolf. Suddenly dead animals start appearing everywhere. Grady’s family things it’s Wolf killing everything but Grady swears in a werewolf.

Finally Grady and Will go into the woods searching for the werewolf assuming it’s the old hermit. In the end it turns out that Will is the werewolf and attacks Grady. Luckily Wolf saves his life before he’s killed but it’s too late.

The book ends with Grady turning into a wolf and hunting with his dog Wolf.

THE BAD: I would have named the dog something other than Wolf. As you can see in the description it’s confusing to write up anyway. Plus the hermit is mostly just a red herring throughout the book... but that leads me to...

THE GOOD: Perhaps I’m an idiot but I genuinely didn’t foresee the reveal of Will as the werewolf coming so that kinda shocked me.

THE TV SHOW EPISODE: This episode stars that kid from Freddy Vs Jason and Ginger Snaps 2, so it’s always cool to see an actor I know when he was like 10. Beyond that though there are few reasons why this episode needed to be a two parter. The first 20 minutes could have been told in about 5 minutes. They just keep repeating the same information over and over again. I do like that they changed Wolf’s name to Vandal. I wish Stine had thought of that. As far as adaptations go this starts off relatively faithful but then goes completely in it’s own direction with the Hermit kidnapping Grady in the middle of the story.

<------ Book 13: Piano Lessons Can Be Murder

Book 15 ------->