The Haunted Mask Part 1
The Haunted Mask Part 2
The Girl Who Cried Wolf
It Came From Beneath The Sink
Cuckoo Clock Of Doom
Welcome To Camp Nightmare Part 1
Welcome To Camp Nightmare Part 2
Phantom Of The Auditorium
Piano Lessons Can Be Murder
Stay Out The Basement Part 1
Stay Out The Basement Part 2
Return Of The Mummy
My Hairiest Adventure
Night Of The Living Dummy II
Say Cheese And Die
A Night In Terror Tower Part 1
A Night In Terror Tower Part 2
The Werewolf Of Fever Swamp Part 1
The Werewolf Of Fever Swamp Part 2
When it comes to endearing anthologies from the 90s, very few come close to the excellent Goosebumps. Based on the series of books written by R.L. Stine, the series constantly jumps between dark and lighthearted episodes with light elements of horror contrasting with goofy cheesiness throughout the 15 episodes. With most episodes ending on an ominous, unnerving note whilst reveling in its over-acted dialogue, Goosebumps is a show that manages to appeal to both adults and children whilst standing the test of time with its well written tales.
The first season begins with one of the most memorable title sequences from the 90s. While this is an odd thing to call out, the unnerving imagery coupled with the iconic G floating down the street and then inside the house is greeted by minor key piano strums and dark orchestral hums. It’s a really good way of building the mood of the series and from here, every episode follows a consistent pattern of establishing the character, their basic traits and family life before showcasing the chilling story they embark on. All of this continues through to an ending that either leaves enough open for interpretation or ends on an ominous note.
From killer sponges to a time travelling clock, the 15 episodes are bursting with originality. At 20 minutes each, at times the stories do feel a little rushed and anticlimactic but for the most part the series does well to keep a consistent pace running throughout. By far the best episodes of the series (with the exception of the incredible Cuckoo Clock Of Doom) are the two parters which do the best job of establishing a consistent pace and building the mystery up before its big reveal at the end. Each of these end on a massive cliffhanger at the final frame of the first half, leaving you eager to watch the second part. As a personal favourite, Welcome To Camp Nightmare is one of the best written episodes although the contrived ending is a little bit disappointing for an episode that does so well to keep its mystery going until the end.
It is worth noting that although the series is rating as PG (parental guidance) it is strongly advised not to let little children watch some of these episodes. While episodes like Piano Lessons Can Be Murder and My Hairiest Adventure revel in the cheesy silliness of the plots, contrasting this are incredibly dark episodes like The Girl Who Cried Wolf and Night Of The Living Dummy II. If you’re not familiar with the show and intend to watch this with kids, it is recommended to at least skip through parts of the episode to make sure your little ones won’t get too scared by some of the light horror content.
Goosebumps’ ability to tailor itself to both kids and adults alike is one of the most impressive parts of the show. Those who grew up with this one in the 90s will absolutely love reliving some of the classic episodes whilst there’s enough light elements of horror and maturely written plots to engage children new to the series too. Of course, some of the horror may be a little full on for those under 6 so it’s recommended to at least watch these with your kids if they fall into this age bracket to gauge their tolerance level. Still, this is hardly a punishment and Goosebumps continues to impress even after all these years.
Verdict - 8/10