I’ve taken a while about it but I’m finally back with the second part of my top 10 best episodes of the classic 90s TV show Goosebumps.
05 – Attack Of The Mutant
Skipper Matthews is an overweight twelve-year-old comic-book collector who loves collecting many comics yet only reads one: the Masked Mutant. The Masked Mutant is an evil super-villain who can change his molecular form into any solid material. He is constantly opposed by a league of superheroes led by the Galloping Gazelle, the world’s fastest man. Skipper has a friend named Wilson who is into collecting rubber stamps and attempts at various times throughout the episode to share his passion with Skipper to no avail. Skipper also has a little nine-year-old sister Mitzy who always likes to mess around with him.
One day while on his way to a dentist appointment, Skipper finds himself lost in a strange part of town and finds a building that looks exactly like The Mutant’s headquarters which just so happens to be a building that appears and reappears whenever it feels like it. Has Skipper read one too many comic books? Or does The Masked Mutant really live in Riverview Falls?
Like quite a few Goosebumps episodes this one was split into two parts but for some strange reason the second part was rarely shown which is a serious shame because it’s a huge improvement over the first part. Basically the first part is just an introduction to the characters and a build up to Skipper entering the headquarters and the second part surrounds his time in the headquarters. For me the reason why the second part is so strong is because it contains many scenes with the masked mutant who’s played by a relatively unknown actor but who does an amazing job of making the mutant seem utterly insane and hilariously eccentric. Adam West (yes THE Adam West) also does a fine job as the Galloping Gazelle and it’s just an all-round entertaining story. The sets, effects and costumes for this episode are really creative and the plot has a few nice twists and turns along the way. This is one of those episodes that while watching it as a child you really wish you could stumble upon a villain’s lair and help the hero in his quest to stop the bad guy.
04 – One Day At Horror Land
The Morris family are on their way to Zoo Garden; however, they seem to have lost their way. They soon find themselves in a theme park called “Horror Land”. Luke and Lizzy want to try out a few rides, so the parents decide to ask for directions. After a ride in which Lizzy is locked in a casket traveling down a river, the three of them attempt to convince the parents that they all should leave. However, soon the Morris’s discover that this theme park is not entirely safe and not everything is as it seems.
In my opinion this episode has one of the best sets of the series in terms of scale and the ending in which the Morris’s are forced onto a game show that is broadcast to a species named ‘horrors’ is really entertaining and quite amusing as the parents attempt to play along once they believe they may win a new car. Sure the effects are quite dated compared to today’s standards but everything looks as it’s supposed to. I remember watching this one when I was younger and finding the ‘coffin ride’ to be really scary. It was the idea of being trapped in a coffin with a tarantula while zooming down rapids, it just didn’t sound very enjoyable.
03 – The Scarecrow Walks At Midnight
Jodie loves visiting her grandparents’ farm, listening to Grandpa Kurt’s spooky stories and devouring Grandma Miriam’s chocolate chip pancakes. But she and her brother Mark haven’t been to the farm in a year, and it appears to have changed. The cornfields are sparse, their grandparents look terrible, and the single scarecrow has been replaced by 12 towering, dark, evil-looking ones that seem to have a life of their own.
This episode does a brilliant job of building suspense and creates some genuinely interesting characters especially that of Stanley; the slow farm hand who claims to have awakened the scarecrows with a book of spells. I really loved the costumes that they used for the scarecrows because watching them come alive at night is genuinely creepy even to an adult. My favourite part of this episode is the fact that it’s brave enough not to end with a happy ending.
02 – Stay Out Of The Basement
When Margaret’s dad gets fired from his job as a botanist, he begins acting weird and spending all his time down in the basement. But no one seems to notice his odd behavior or hear the strange noises coming from below-except Margaret. She’s really scared. Has her father turned into a mad scientist? Her brother, Casey, thinks she’s nuts-that is until he finds out that dad has been eating plant food! What is going on? Together Margaret and Casey venture down into the dark, creepy basement to unearth their father’s spooky secret.
What’s so great about this story? This isn’t a “parents-don’t-believe-us” entry because the father IS the one at the center of the horror. It’s truly frightening because these two kids suddenly can’t trust/believe a parent who’s plunged into madness. In fact, one of the greatest aspects of the episode is the kids’ reactions and worries. There’s one shocking discovery after another, like the disturbing scene when the father’s baseball cap gets knocked off and his hair has been replaced with leaves. It sounds silly, but when you see it, you can’t deny that the scene is creepy…and uncomfortable. And that’s just the beginning of several eye-openers. There’s the scene when he’s forcing them to eat plant food, for instance which is just plain unnerving.
All of this culminates into a heart-pounding climax with an incredibly sinister twist that you won’t see coming. What’s not only scary are the life-threatening dangers and the graphic scenes, but the realization that the kids don’t know what to believe anymore. And if that isn’t enough, it closes on a freakishly twisted ending that’ll leave you shocked. This episode is an absolute classic and in terms of an adaption from the novel I think it completely nails it.
01 – The Headless Ghost
(Couldn’t find many decent images sadly)
Pranksters Duane Cormack and his partner-in-crime Stephanie Alpert love to visit Hill House, a place said to be haunted by a ghost of a young boy who was decapitated by an evil sea-captain. One night, they decide to go to the house after it closes to find the boy’s head, but actually end up encountering the ghost, as well as a few other restless spirits.
This may or may not come as a surprise but I consider this to be my favorite Goosebumps episode. Obviously it’s quite impossible to really say what the best episode is because that’s a matter of opinion but for me it has to be The Headless Ghost. I just love the back story surrounding the young boy who was decapitated and the additional story of the young man who was obsessed with eating iced cream whom eventually fell to his death down a dumbwaiter. It’s such a dark episode and in my opinion it has the best twist-ending of any episode that I won’t spoil for anyone who hasn’t seen it.
It turned out to be quite a tough task to choose 10 episodes that I considered to be the best because I had to miss out so many that I loved, a few of which I’ll mention below:
During an air-hockey game, Freddy Martinez and his best friend, Cara, accidentally knock over a china cabinet and find a secret room housing a coffin and a bottle labelled, “Vampire Breath,” which brings to life a vampire in search of his fanged dentures.
Attack Of The Jack ‘O Lanterns:
To get payback on two bad kids, Tabitha and Lee, who always ruin her Halloween, Drew Brockman and her friend, Walker, recruit the help of twins, Shane and Shana, to scare Tabitha and Lee, but instead of the twins, two pumpkin-headed monsters appear and force Drew, Walker, Lee, and Tabitha to trick-or-treat all night so they can be fattened up for eating.
Welcome To Dead House:
Amanda and Josh Benson move into a new house in Dark Falls, where the residents are all ghosts who have died while living in the same house and are preparing to make the Benson family one of them, as they need blood to survive. Amanda and Josh realize their weakness is sunlight and shine it at them and their spirits rest.
Don’t agree with me? What’s your favourite episode?