REVIEW: GOOSEBUMPS – SEASON 1

Recurring / Notable Guest Cast

Kathryn Long (Wind at My Back)
Colin Fox (Daylight)
Brenda Bazinet (Catwalk)
Cody Jones (The Santa Clause)
George Kinamis (Tommy Boy)
Amos Crawley (Billy Madison)
Anne Marie DeLuise (Stargate SG.1)
Eugene Lipinski (Superman II)
Kaj-Erik Eriksen (The 4400)
Michèle Duquet (3 Men and a Baby)
Boyd Banks (Jason X)
Barclay Hope (Final Destination 5)
Géza Kovács (Scanners)
Erica Luttrell (Reign of The Supermen)
Daniel DeSanto (Mean Girls)
Annick Obonsawin (Charlie Bartlett)
Maggie Castle (The time Traveler’s Wife)
Caterina Scorsone (Alice)
Gina Clayton (Odyssey 5)
Shadia Simmons (Life With Derek)
Suzanne Cyr (Extracurricular)
Katharine Isabelle (Ginger Snaps)
Amanda Tapping (Stargate SG.1)
Ryan Gosling (The Ides of March)
Scott Speedman (Underworld)
Corey Sevier (Immortals)
Brendan Fletcher (Arrow)
Maria Ricossa (The In-Laws)
Don Francks (My Bloody Valentine)

mmpr-4R.L. Stine, The Stephen King of horror stories for kids once had a TV show based on his classic “Goosebumps” books back in the 90s. If you were a kid who grew up in that era, then you might remember this show. The show is like the classic “Nickelodeon” show “Are you Afraid of the Dark?” having scary episodes with a good story but uses unknown child actors, cheap special effects, and usually having scary endings as opposed to happy endings. Season Episodes are as follows….HauntedMask-630x420

THE HAUNTED MASK

The Pilot Episode is about a girl named Carly Beth who gets scared very easily, and has been picked on by two boys at school named Steve and Chuck for most of her life, and is now seeking for revenge. She goes to a party store owned by a creepy man, and finds the world’s scariest mask. She uses the Mask to scare people and get revenge on Steve and Chuck, but little does she know that the mask will now become a part of her for all eternity.Goosebumps_HauntedMask1_Review_6The kids act like regular people instead of being over the top which gives the episode a little realism to it, but there were two performances that stole the show. The girl who played Carly Beth really had me moved by all the terrible things that happen to her throughout the entire episode. She makes you feel so bad for her character is going through that you just want to hug her. When she finds that the mask is stuck to her skin, I totally got the impression that really is. Even her last scene of the episode brings a smile to my face. My only criticism for her performance is the creepy voice she uses when she’s wearing the Mask, it gets annoying after a while but I can see that the actress is trying hard to make it sound creature-like. The second performance I enjoyed is the actor who plays the shop owner. He gives me the creeps when I see him in the beginning of the episode. The actor kind of reminds me of Bela Lugosi in a way. He just does an overall solid job of creepy, mysterious and being sensitive. What I really think is his best scene is when he tells Carly Beth about the secrets of the masks he’s created.Goosebumps_HauntedMask1Part2_Recap_2As far the episode goes it’s a good start for the series. The make up design for the mask is scary and realistic; the cinematography is thrilling especially in the scenes when we see through the eyes of the mask; and the story is good and has a great moral. With that said there were parts of the episode that didn’t make any sense like the Statue head of Carly Beth for example. Why is that creepy statue head alive when her mother made it in art class, it makes no sense at all and is never explained why, we the audience just have to accept the fact that it’s alive with no explanation what so ever. The special effects also are kind of cheesy like the when the masks are floating and when the creepy statue head is alive, but I’d be lying if I said “They weren’t scary”. This episode does a great job of being scary and emotional and is a great start to the series!cropped_Cookooclock_03_the_clock

 

THE CUCKOO CLOCK OF DOOM

A 12 year old boy named Michael who has been picked on by his little sister Tara has the idea to frame her for wrecking his father’s magic Cuckoo Clock by twisting the cuckoo head from forward to backwards. Unfortunately, his plan backfires, and Michael now finds himself going backwards in time, where if he doesn’t switch the Cuckoos head to forward, he will be lost in time forever. The kid actors do a good job with their portrayal of their characters, especially the girl who plays Tara. She’s such a brat that I want to spank her for all the horrible pranks she does to her older brother, while making herself look sweet and innocent to her parents. The kid who plays 12 year old Michael is very convincing, especially when you hear his thoughts in his find about him traveling back. Sadly the kid who played the younger Michael didn’t convince me, but I will admit this, I did love his “Home Alone” face and scream when he finds out he’s six years old. The adult actors also do an ok job.GB_103_CuckooClockThe story is good, but can get kind of confusing at points. The scenery for the kid running away from the cuckoo clock in the dark hall is strange and creepy; the design of the Cuckoo Clock is nice and gives the episode it’s thrilling touch; and the camera angles and use of slow motion raises my suspense level higher and higher. This episode is like an episode for “The Twilight Zone”, having a good story and keeping you on the edge of your seat.0000000003

THE GIRL WHO CRIED MONSTER

Lucy is a girl who’s obsessed with Monster stories and enjoys scaring her little brother, until she one day finds out a dark secret in the library that she goes too. She discovers the librarian Mr. Mortman is a monster and nobody believes her. The characters and the acting in this episode are pretty boring and don’t have too much development. The actress who plays Lucy is fair but for some reason is still as boring as the rest of the characters. However, the actor who plays Mr. Mortman gave one of the best creepiest performances in this whole season. Every scene he’s in you feel uncomfortable, like you don’t know what he’s thinking but you can tell it means death to Lucy. The scenes when he’s alone are his best scenes as you see him eat bugs and expose the monster he truly is. It really makes my heart beat fast, plus Lucy is spying on him and you don’t know when he’s going to turn around and spot her. The whole library chase scene is the most frightening scene in the whole episode because you’re in the dark, you got book shelves at every corner (like a maze) and you hear his eerie voice calling out Lucy’s name.tumblr_inline_nxh03yyXmI1t29esf_640Even though most of the character are boring, badly acted or feel like you can run the whole episode without a few of them, it still has a nice story, as well as having one of the best plot twists in the “Goosebumps” series that makes the episode worth while. The make-up they use on Mr. Mortman as a monster is scary, along with the performance. And the camera shots are nice, especially when they censor a scene that looks extremely violent for kids.x1080-WEu

WELCOME TO CAMP NIGHTMARE

A boy named Billy is going to a camp called “Camp Nightmoon”for the summer. However, the camp is not what it appears to be. The camp is runned by a crazy man named Uncle Al; the head camp counselor is a bully named Larry; the campers are regular kids who either die or disappear; there’s a strong policy of keeping the boys separated from the girls (Just like the Hell Hole Camp that I’ve been too); there’s a bunker that’s forbidden; and on top of it, a monster named Sabre lurks around the woods to only feed on innocent campers. With a set up of like that you know this episode has to be good and believe me it is good. The episode just keeps getting more intense by the minute, there’s so many horrible things going on in that camp, that you might want to call it “Camp Hell”, Nightmare just sounds way to light. You don’t know what’s going to happen; you’re not sure if Uncle Al is with or against the campers; you don’t know for sure if the campers will live or not; and you keep guessing and guessing until the end adding up to a very clever plot twist.Ca59188be6e5383d25511b3f462d22cb52eb8ee9The acting is decent. Most of the kid actors are good but at times they can act cheesy or over the top in scenes when they’re scared or in trouble. The kid who plays the main character is a good actor where his acting matches his character. When he’s in trouble you feel his pain; when he’s scared you’re worried about him; and when he’s trying to help his fellow campers you solute him. The character is also probably one of the best “Goosebumps” heroes I ever saw because he takes risks and does what is best for his friends. When he’s in a bad situation he thinks quick, and does what he can to save his friends.2112-6-1-0-3543296908-xlarge-608x342

THE PHANTOM OF THE AUDITORIUM

A girl named Brooke got the lead female in a play called “The Phantom”, and her prankster friend Zeke also got a lead role as the Phantom. However, the play they’re about to perform is actually a cursed play. Zeke has been pullin a few pranks to scare his friend, but there have been other things going on. There’s a new kid who just moved to the school; a creepy night janitor; a trap door that leads to a mysterious part of the Auditorium; and a few messages from the phantom himself. As good as the plot sounds and also being one of the many spins to the classic story “The Phantom Of The Opera”, it’s unfortunately one of the weakest episodes made this season.MV5BZTU1Y2I4NzEtMDYxYy00N2E5LTlkZDAtMWY0ZDA3NThmN2I4XkEyXkFqcGdeQXVyMzM4MjM0Nzg@._V1_

PIANO LESSONS CAN BE MURDER

Jerry is an only child who lives in his own little pretend world. He and his family move into an old house, and Jerry finds an old piano that plays by itself, and discovers that there’s a ghost haunting his new home. He eventually begins to take piano lessons at a high tech security school owned by a weird old teacher and a suspicious looking Janitor who uses robots to clean up for him. This is another weak episode made in this season. I actually find our main character more freighting than the other creepy characters. In every scene you see him in, he’s talking to himself and acting like his imagination is real. If it was a young kid it can work, however, if it’s an older kid, that just makes things weird. The actor who plays him even gives a poor performance. He can’t even make him likable or sound like he’s in trouble.Return_of_the_Mummy_-_Daniel_DeSanto_1

RETURN OF THE MUMMY

A kid name Gabe visits his Uncle Ben and bratty cousin Sari in Egypt where the three of them embark on an adventure in search for a mummy’s tomb in an old pyramid. Gabe carry’s with him a Mummy hand (That he bought at the airport) that can communicate with the dead, and a necklace (A gift from his Uncle) with a pendant made of amber with a scarab inside it. A reporter wishes to join them on their quest in the pyramid, but before they find the tomb, they find out it’s cursed. This episode has a really good set up. It takes place in a frail old cursed tomb that’s a maze of rooms, halls and secret passage ways full of Spiders and Snakes; two items that the character Gabe carry’s later on play an important role in the story; and there’s a Mummy that chases after the characters. The set designs for the tomb are creepy looking; the special effects are decent especially for the Mummy hand that moves; and I love the eerie noises and music for whenever Gabe is alone inside the tomb.IMG_6564

 

THE NIGHT OF THE LIVING DUMMY 2

 

A girl named Amy gets a new Dummy named Slappy to replace her old broken dummy Dennis. However, the dummy is alive and causes mischief to get Amy in trouble. Amy tries to tell her friends and family that the dummy is doing all this but no one believes her. This is the first episode where we first meet the famous “Goosebumps” character Slappy the living dummy. This monster is the Chucky for young kids. He frames Amy by destroying stuff; he talks rudely to people, while Amy’s holding him (Making it look like Amy is saying those mean words); and makes her look crazy, which her parents might consider of sending her away. Ok, so he’s not a murderer, but remember, there are so many evil things you could do to someone without hurting them, and this episode defiantly proves that. Just because he doesn’t kill or hurt anyone that doesn’t mean he hasn’t tried. He tries to pull a little girls finger off; nearly kills Amy’s dad with a guitar; and chases after our main character probably thinking of killing her. He even tells Amy he can hurt her family in a 100 ways, which not only sounds threatening, but looking at the scenes when he’s sneaky around and framing Amy; it proves that he can hurt Amy’s family if he felt like it. This is one villain you don’t want to mess with. Overall, it’s a really suspenseful episode and a great introduction to this famous “Goosebumps” villain!Image5

STAY OUT OF THE BASEMENT

Casey and Margret’s Dad has been acting very strange lately. Ever since he lost his job, he spends night and day working in his basement to create a new kind of plant. However, Margret notices her Dad’s odd behavior and wonders why he is acting so strange. She knows that the answer to her questions can be found in the basement. This has to be one of the creepiest episodes in the “Goosebumps” series! The acting’s is not Emmy worthy but it’s good enough for a kids show, and is mostly top notch given the show’s standards. The kids they got to play the roles of Casey and Margret are one of the better child actors that the show has to offer (even if they are bit stilted), but my real praise goes to the actor who plays the Dad. He’s creepy as hell. You don’t know when he’s going to snap; you don’t know what he’s thinking or planing; and the episode keeps making you wonder why he’s acting so weird. I think his best creepy moments is when he’s eating plant food; serving the kids breakfast; taking the phone away from Margret; but what tops them all is when he’s in the bathroom talking to himself as you see green ooze coming out of his cut and levees growing out of his hair. His facial expressions, odd behavior and eerie monotone voice keeps getting creepier and creepier as the episode moves on.Hairiest_06

MY HAIRIEST ADVENTURE

Meet Larry, a kid with allergies, has a fear of dogs, and is part of a garage band. One day he and his friends put on some old tanning lotion to look cool. But as a side affect, Larry has been growing hair all over his body. Not only is he getting hairy, but his parents are acting strange and his friends are disappearing. I do like the set-up to the episode. We get a narrative perspective from our main character, something weird is happening to him, and his friends one by one are disappearing. But the execution is terrible. The acting is horrible! Every ones acting is over the top and hardly ever believable. There wasn’t a single actor who did a good job. The worst one out of all them is the kid who plays our main character. He can’t act at all; he’s not funny; he’s not likable; and above all he can’t make a scene intense. Every time he worries about his friends disappearing, or when he worries about hair growing on him, it sounds like he’s reading a cue card or just saying the lines. He doesn’t even sound like he’s trying to be intense, even his scream doesn’t sound convincing. It’s not just the actors that stink, the characters are also very bland and forgettable.

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IT CAME FROM BENEATH THE SINK

Kat and her family just moved to a new house that’s not that far away from their old neighborhood. Kat finds a sponge under the sink but she finds out it’s not just a sponge, it’s a monster sponge that brings bad luck. Yes, I’m not lying, a sponge is our monster. When you have a corny title called “It Came From Beneath The Sink”, chances are our monster is going to be an extremely poor payoff. Just look at it, it’s not even close to scary, it looks like a monster from a campy B Movie made in the 50’s. It doesn’t even do anything except cause bad luck; ruin a garden; and make the audience assume it kills the family dog; and usually most of the bad luck that occurs are actually accidents caused by our main character Kat. To me that’s not bad luck, she’s just clumsy. By the way, when we first meet the monster, Kat thinks it’s a cat because she can only see it’s evil red eyes in the dark. Seriously, how dumb is this girl, if I saw red eyes under my sink, the last thing I would assume it would be is a cat.

Say_Cheese_and_Die_-_Ryan_Gosling_1

SAY CHEESE AND DIE

Three friends find a camera in an abandon building where a creepy old man named Spidey lives. Once they use the camera, they find out the camera creates bad luck. One of the members from the trio also goes missing and the last time they saw her, she got her picture taken. The idea sounds cool and the title sounds scary, but sadly the title is misleading, why because NO ONE DIES! All the camera does is just create accidents or make people vanish that’s it! I know it’s a kid show but couldn’t they make the accidents more intense? The accidents in the last episode were more intense than the accidents here. Though the scene when our lead character has to ride with his family and car that’s going to be damaged after when he took a picture of it was pretty tense for the time being. Another question I must ask is why does any of these characters use a freaky looking camera? It looks like it has the word evil written all over it! Plus getting a freaky camera in a freaky area where a creepy man lives, chances are there has to be something not right about it.a-night-in-terror-tower

A NIGHT IN TERROR TOWER

Eddie and Sue are on vacation in England. Their parents left them to go on a tour bus while they’re at a conference. One of the stops on the tour is “Terror Tower”, and once they go into the Tower, they see some weird things and are being chased by a man dressed in black. Can they escape from him? This episode has another extraordinary set-up. It takes place in a dark castle filled with hundreds of passages and staircases; they’re being chased by a mysterious man; they see scary images and are not sure if those images are real or in their head; they can’t remember anything; and they go back in time to be executed. This episode has so many scenes of thrills and scary moments, that I couldn’t think of a moment when I felt at ease until the episode was wrapping. There’s even a interesting and chilling back story to the Tower. Our main characters Eddie and Sue are very likable and are the kind of characters that you pray will be alright. Again, the actors aren’t the greatest, but they’re enough to make the characters likable and make the audience feel as scared as they are. The man in black has to be one of the scariest “Goosebumps” villains ever. Instead of being over the top, he’s more serious and threatening. He’s bigger than the kids; he talks in a dark sinister voice; and will stop at nothing to kill our main characters, showing no sign or remorse or hesitation.A_Night_in_Terror_TowerThe supporting characters are just as great as our leads and villain. There’s the sorcerer Morgred, who’s just as likable as the kids and is really well acted. The only flaw in the character (And story) is why does he need three magic stones to become powerful? I know they’re magic, but couldn’t the writer be more creative with the idea. Oh well, it’s not a terrible idea I mean there is “The Sorcerers Stone” but couldn’t it be just one magic stone instead of three? Anyway getting back to the supporting characters you also have a nasty Cab Driver, scared looking peasants, a firm hotel clerk, but my favorite out of all them is the tour guide. He brings a lot of laughs in the episode and can come out as creepy every once in a while. In my opinion, it’s definitely of the best episodes in the whole series!The Werewolf of Fever Swamp

THE WEREWOLF OF FEVER SWAMP

Here’s our season finale! Grady and his family have moved to a swamp called “Fever Swamp” to do an animal experiment. His older sister hates the place, but Grady tries to make the best of things. However, the swamp carries a deadly disease; there’s a creepy and mysterious old hermit who lives in the swamp; and there’s a werewolf that haunts it and feeds on a full moon. What can I say about the set-up and story, it’s great. The idea of having a wolf in a jungle like swamp is bizarre, but it’s very creepy and inventive. The cinematography really captures the thrill; the lighting and use of mist not only helps with the foreboding atmosphere but it also pays homage to those old werewolf films. Speaking of homage, look for the haunted mask, it’s somewhere in this episode. The story also has tons of plot twists and even a few deaths (Not just animals). R.L. Stine even turned the tables a bit on character. Instead of the older one being smart and the little sibling being annoying, it’s the other way around. R.L. Stine even throws in a dog to make the heroes parents blame the animal for the deaths to animals that’s been going around, which surprisingly I did give a crap about the dog.Download_(3)

 

The build-up to the werewolf is really creepy. You don’t see a werewolf until the climax. When you first see it, you see it’s sharp claws, hear it howl, and see it chase its victims through its eyes in slow motion. You even don’t know where it is or when it will pop out to scare you. I’m not going to tell you who the werewolf is but I think you’ll be very surprised, especially when you see the person become half human and half wolf with very scary realistic make up. With all that praise on the wolf, I must honestly say when we see it fully, it not only looks cheesy but it kind of looks like a Gorilla than a werewolf. I wish Sabre was the episode’s wolf.dimsIt’s a campy show and has it’s over the top nonsense but it is still good. The stories are creative; the ideas and settings are creepy; and some of the monsters can be scary. The acting’s not so great but the actors do fit their characters and make (Most of them) them likable. The special effects can be very lame and laughable at times but there are a lot of good effects as well. Is it a scary show, not too scary but it’s scary enough to scare it’s target audience and SOME of it can be scary to an adult as well.

 

REVIEW: TRAFFIC – THE MINISERIES

 

CAST

Elias Koteas (Crash)
Cliff Curtis (Blow)
Balthazar Getty (Alias)
Martin Donovan (Legends of Tomorrow)
Mary McCormack (Deep Impact)
Ritchie Coster (The Tuxedo)
Nelson Lee (Blade: The Series)
Justin Chatwin (War of The Worlds)
Amanda Tapping (Stargate SG.1)
Moneca Delain (Agent Cody Banks)
Brian George (The Big Bang Theory)
Bill Mondy (Postal)
Ty Olsson (X-Men 2)
Kevan Ohtsji (Godzilla)
A.C. Peterson (Narc)
Zak Santiago (Caprica)
Christopher Shyer (The Core)
Apollonia Vanova (Man of Steel)
Tygh Runyan (Versailles)

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It’s easy to get confused about what, exactly, is Traffic: The Miniseries, considering that there’s a feature film of the same name, and a British miniseries called Traffik that’s regarded as having inspired both the film and the U.S. miniseries. But the only thing that Traffic: The Miniseries has in common with these productions is its use of drug trafficking as the central plot point, and its use of an ensemble cast and multiple, interwoven story threads. Other than that loose connection, Traffic: The Miniseries stands on its own… and it stands very solidly indeed.

Four main stories are at the core of Traffic: Mike McKay (Elias Koteas) a DEA agent working to track down heroin delivery routes in Afghanistan; his wife Carole (Mary McCormack) and teenaged son Tyler (Justin Chatwin) who have just moved to Seattle; an ambitious businessman (Balthazar Getty) who discovers the shady but profitable world of smuggling; and a Russian taxi driver (Cliff Curtis) who is waiting for the arrival of his wife and daughter through the network of smuggled “illegals.” In one way or another, all four stories connect to the mysterious sinking of a ship off the coast of Seattle, to the drug trade, and potentially also to a global terrorist network.

Traffic runs a total of four hours and 23 minutes, but its pace is so gripping that you could almost watch it in one sitting; certainly after you watch the first half you’ll be dying to see the second half. The stories are deftly laid out and intriguingly developed: in each case, we see the characters getting more and more entangled in the larger web of the story. Each story thread has its own impetus, so even before we sense any connections between them, we’re completely hooked to find out what’s going to happen in each case.