REVIEW: GOOSEBUMPS – SEASON 3

Recurring / Notable Guest Cast

Brooke Nevin (The Comebacks)
Chris Britton (Riverdale)
Martin Roach (Cube Zero)
Anthony De Longis (Masters of The Universe)
Tabitha Lupien (Hairspray)
Patricia Gage (Highlander: The Raven)
Kyle Downes (Proxy Kill)
Jonathan Whittaker (Deep Six)
Laura Vandervoort (Bitten)
Shawn Roberts (Resident Evil: Afterlife)
Malcolm Stewart (Jumanji)
Victor A. Young (Nemesis Game)
Ron Lea (Saw IV)
Terra Vnesa (Wrong Turn 4)
Mpho Koaho (Saw III)
Wayne Robson (Cube)
Janet-Laine Green (Seeing Things)
Daniel Kash (Aliens)
Caterina Scorsone (Alice)
Philip Akin (Highlander: The Series)

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SHOCKER ON SHOCK STREET

Erin and her best friend Marty sneak inside their favorite horror movie studio to check out the special effects department that her Father creates for their horror films. After being caught by Erin’s Father, instead of punishing her, he joyfully gives the two the opportunity to be the first kids to experience a theme park ride based on the “Shock Street” horror films. Everything starts out promising for the two, until the ride suddenly breaks down as the kids find themselves being attacked by animatronics that are modeled after the many monsters that the studio has created.Goosebumps2The premise is awesome! I love the whole idea of two kids experiencing a ride that’s based off of horror movies where they find themselves being attacked by the monsters. It’d be like going on a Universal Studio tour where monsters like the Shark from “JAWS” or King Kong would actually come alive and kill you, rather than it being staged. It’s a very amusing concept. I also love that we’re not just seeing the kids explore the ride; we see them explore many other places such as the special effects room where costumes and animatronics start to move, and walking on the set for “Shock Street” itself where some of the monsters lurk. And the sets and designs for some of the monsters are colorful and creative.

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MY BEST FRIEND IS INVISIBLE

 

Sam lives with his scientist parents who are conducting a top secret experiment in the basement (never seen that before), and is constantly being dragged along by his adventurous friend Roxanne to sneak inside a haunted house that he lives right next door too, so that they can capture footage of the ghost that haunts the place. After having an encounter with the ghost inside the house, the ghost goes to Sam’s house to be his invisible ghost friend. But all the ghost does is accidentally makes Sam’s life miserable.247aae66ebdd9870b1657ee2f11aeb215dcbbc8bThe acting from our stars, while not good, it’s definitely not the worst, or feels as staged as the previous episode. It’s serviceable at best, and I do buy the majority of the kid’s reactions when he’s interacting with the ghost, even if it is a little too over exaggerated. But as passable as the acting is, the characters are pretty much the generic stereotypes that we keep seeing on the show. You have the protagonist who’s always petrified, the female best friend who’s rebellious and snarky, the scientist parents, the snobby teacher, and the bully who bullies our lead for no reason at all. The only character who comes across as interesting is the ghost, since we have no idea of how he died, or what he looks like since he’s invisible. And watching him accidentally humiliate Sam, while nowhere near as funny as seeing a comical character like Clarissa mess up a wish every time a character makes one in “Be Careful What You Wish For”, is still fun to watch. The reveal of the ghost does lead to a very intense ending, and when the episode ends, you still find yourself wanting to learn more after discovering this shocking piece of information that the ending throws at you.jeffdavis_1238280876

 

THE HOUSE OF NO RETURN

 

Three kids, who have formed their own club called “Danger Incorporated” for brave kids only, wish to have a new member join their club for how boring it is. So they try to get kids in the neighborhood to join their club if they will stay inside a local haunted house for an hour, but none of them pass the initiation test. Things seem hopeless for their chances of gaining a new member until a new kid named Chris moves into the town trying to make new friends. But he refuses to be part of the club since he gets spooked easily. So the kids desperately trap him inside the house so he can pass the test and have a new member, where Chris witnesses’ some strange paranormal activities going on.x1080-lhqUnlike most Goosebumps episodes where we get characters who are so black and white, and cliched to the point where they mostly all feel the same, these characters aren’t generic. You have the new kid in town (though I don’t see that too often in the series itself), and the kids who act like jerks that will eventually get what’s coming to them, but they aren’t as boring as you think they would be. The trio of kids, despite that they do crazy things, they aren’t as goofy as the other characters in the series who share a similar trait like the kids in “You Can’t Scare Me” or Todd in “Go Eat Worms”, they do feel like actual kids, who just do crazy things, and are acted pretty well (given the show’s standards that is). The kid Chris, I will admit does fall close in being a standard character of the series with his socially awkward behavior that’s resembles previous characters like Walker in “Attack Of The Jack-O’-Lanterns” and Duane in “The Headless Ghost”. But what separates him from the two is his action in the ending (which I won’t spoil) that makes him a character that you shouldn’t underestimate, despite that he seems like an easy push-over.MV5BZGY2NDEzODYtNGQ4MS00NThjLTliZDAtYzNhOTM4NjA1NTQxXkEyXkFqcGdeQXVyMzM4MjM0Nzg@._V1_

 

DON’T GO TO SLEEP

 

Matt is sick of being a kid as he envy’s all the privileges that his older siblings get to have. But rather than wishing to be an adult, he just lays on a bed in the attic complaining about how much reality sucks. The next morning, Matt wakes up and not only finds out that he now has more privileges then his siblings do, but he’s also a famous Hockey player. Not knowing what’s going on, Matt naturally sucks at playing Hockey as he finds himself being stalked by two agents. Things only get worse for Matt where he keeps transporting into different realities of not being able to do things that adults are successful at doing, despite that everyone around him says that he’s professional at it.MV5BOTQxNjFmZjAtODEyZi00M2JiLTkwNTItNzY1MzhhNWM4YjZlXkEyXkFqcGdeQXVyMzM4MjM0Nzg@._V1_The idea of a kid going through one alternate reality to another learning that adults have things harder than kids do is not a bad way of telling the moral of enjoying your youth and the things that you do have while you still can, but the execution is far from good. The reason why I say that is because the episode isn’t anywhere near scary. And I know that shouldn’t be a surprise considering that there are tons of episodes in the show that aren’t scary, but this one has to be by far the goofiest episode that I’ve ever had to sit through. Everything about it is so goofy and exaggerated that it hardly takes its time to come off as creepy or atmospheric. Right after the rushed exposition of the kid getting nearly the same kind of cruelty as Kevin McCalister in the “Home Alone” films gets, where he’s up in the attic talking to a mannequin and planning to live up there (because any kid would love to live in a dark and scary looking attic) I knew the episode was in trouble for how crazy and questionable the first few minutes were. Now to be fair, the episode does intentionally play on the goofy camp, like having the kid getting married to an ugly woman as everyone around him thinks she’s beautiful, or the number of adults that the kid meets who act all childish, but since those scenes are trying to come off as a tad bit creepy and suspenseful, they miserable fall apart for being way too silly for their own good.MV5BNzBjMTA4ZjItY2E2NC00MWQyLTlhOTctNzE5NzgwNWFmMDBlXkEyXkFqcGdeQXVyMzM4MjM0Nzg@._V1_

CLICK

 

Seth receives a remote control that he ordered through the mail, and quickly discovers that it doesn’t only control all the household appliances, but also time itself. Despite getting numerous phone calls, E-mails, and TV messages from the salesman who sold him the remote to warn him about the consequences if he abuses the power of it, he obviously abuses the power of it for his own selfish needs, until the remote breaks where his family are standing frozen in time.MV5BOTYwMmQ3MjYtOTU0MC00OTlmLTg4NjgtZDgxODdjYWQ4NjJmXkEyXkFqcGdeQXVyMzM4MjM0Nzg@._V1_The episodes’ story is as simple and basic as a story of messing with the space time condominium can get. But what makes it plausible aside from the unique concept of using a remote control (you know before Sandler could make it famous, or by many infamous) is unlike the last episode I reviewed where the show’s camp and humor went way too over board to the point where the final result was goofy and far from scary, this episode finds the right balance between humor and tension like the episodes “The Cuckoo Clock Of Doom” and “Be Careful What You Wish For”. There are plenty of enjoyable scenes of the kid screwing around with the remote, with some decent effects and plenty of fun gags in both the visuals and the writing revolving around the remote’s power and ability. But there is still a feeling of risk as you see this kid become obsessed with the remote’s powers for his own personal gain that only gets him into nothing but trouble as he may risk losing his loved ones forever. The salesman who warns the kid is another example of the episode having a good balance between humor and terror. How he pops out of nowhere trying to warn the kid is always surprising as you are constantly wondering and even at times hoping when he’ll try to contact the kid again. But his personality while a tad bit creepy at times, is mostly a riot for how he tries to warn the kid about the dangers of misusing the item as if he was doing a commercial by fast-talking through the rules of how the item should be handled, and what the item isn’t suitable for. The kid they got to play our lead is the same kid who played Skipper in the two part “Goosebumps” episode “Attack Of The Mutant”, who I think is a fitting casting choice considering that he played the role of a kid obsessed with comics so well. And here he does just as good of a job, only this time he’s addicted to a time controlling device that turns him into a spoiled selfish brat, instead of being a geeky kid who becomes a hero for his knowledge of reading and collecting comics.MV5BYmE1ZDU0MWItMzI3NC00OTZiLTkwZTctYzgzYmY5YmQxNTM4L2ltYWdlXkEyXkFqcGdeQXVyNzIxNDY5NTA@._V1_

AN OLD STORY

 

Tom and Jon are home alone as their parents are out on vacation, but find themselves surprised when they discover that their weird Aunt Dahlia has come unannounced to babysit them. Aunt Dahlia for some odd reason has an obsession of feeding the kids prunes, but they don’t mind since they love eating them. The next morning when they awake, they find themselves feeling tired and worn-out and noticed that their hair is turning grey and falling off. They eventually turn into seniors and must now find a way to be young again, while avoiding their suspicious aunt and her two flirty friends.MV5BMTA4OWY4MjgtNDExNS00NjVjLWFmOGEtODk5OWNmMWJhOTZmL2ltYWdlXkEyXkFqcGdeQXVyNzIxNDY5NTA@._V1_Just like the last episode I reviewed, this is another one of those episodes where the humor and thrills are balanced just as well. The jokes and reactions of the kids getting old are funny, but still keep to the intensity of what they are experiencing. The Aunt’s presence is threatening, but she still maintains a fun villainous personality that’s as entertaining as watching someone like Tim Curry play it up as a villain. Even her motivation of turning the kids old, is funny but yet disturbing. The finale to this episode also goes a bit bio-polar by on us with its comedy and horror for having a climax that’s silly but pretty graphic for a “Goosebumps” episode, to having an ending that leaves you in suspense (like the majority of episode’s on the show) but also has you giggling a bit.Thebarkingghost_3

THE BARKING GHOST

Cooper moves into a new house and hears some strange barking noises coming from the woods. The barking is of course coming from dogs in the woods, but they appear to be ghosts that are after Cooper and his new friend Fergie. Oh and for some odd reason there are pirates in the beginning of the episode who are being hunted by the same dog’s millenniums ago, and I’m just going to take a wild guess that they have some kind hand with the dogs that are attacking Cooper and Fergie.MV5BZGE3YmE3MzgtZmEyYS00YzA3LTlhODYtZDdjZThmNGYwNTdjXkEyXkFqcGdeQXVyMzM4MjM0Nzg@._V1_I’ve read somewhere that this story and “Go Eat Worms” are R.L. Stine’s least favorite story’s that he wrote. And while I can agree with “Go Eat Worms” being his worst story (and worst episode of the show by far), I actually don’t think that this one was that bad. It’s not one of his greatest, because the build-up to the reveal of the dogs was predictable, and the suspense regarding the build-up while not horrible and does in many respects almost feel like the build-up you get in a legit horror, still felt lacking. I’ll also admit that having the story involve pirates felt kind of weird. It leads to some fun comedy during the climax. But really the concept of having pirates as the victims felt pointless and unnecessary. Having two kids being attacked by the dogs would have been a better choice than this. But with those aside, I was still invested in what’s going on, and I do like how the first half is built on mystery, as the second half is built on both thrills and comedy that’s done as well as the last two episodes.Clipboard04

 

ONE DAY AT HORRORLAND

The Morris Family is lost in the middle of nowhere as they try to find a theme park that they’re planning to go to on their vacation. And after seeing fire balls being thrown at them, and a ghostly face of a monster vanishing, they see a sign for a horror themed amusement park called “Horrorland” and decide to go there instead, despite that they were almost killed by what they think was some kind of gimmick to advertise for the park. Upon arriving to this middle of the desert park, the place looks deserted, everything there is for free, and yet they still don’t find any of it a tad suspicious, at least not until they split-up as the kids go on rides operated by the creatures of Horrorland that go past the boundaries of being frightening, but rather hazardous where it may be their last. This episode in many ways amazes me. It amazes me how a two part episode like this can have such a strong and creative first act that’s at times legitimately scary, to having a second act that is absolutely terrible, with the exception of the climax.MV5BOTA3YjI3MjQtMmEwZS00NTQ3LTkwN2YtNDNkMjdkOTA2YjhkXkEyXkFqcGdeQXVyMzM4MjM0Nzg@._V1_The first half of the episode is as perfect as a “Goosebumps” episode can get. The characters as cliche as they are, are not only better actors than most of the actors we get on the show, but they’re also very likable for how they interact with each other. You totally buy that they are a family, and that they’re legitimately creeped out by this park. It’s stupid that they don’t catch on to the park not being safe till later on, but then we wouldn’t have an episode. The creatures in the park who are called Horrors, like Slappy or the Mutant, are fun to watch for how colorful their personalities are, but still come off as creepy for how strange they act, and glare at the characters. The make-up designs for them are also one of the best imaginative designs that the show has to offer. And I love how each horror has their own distinctive personality and design to make them stand out. The rides we see them go on, are inventive but also thrilling at the same time, especially when the kids go on the “Coffin Cruise” that feels claustrophobic. Just by looking at the colorful and goth-like sets and props that give this desert horror theme park plenty of personality, you can tell that the people making this episode had a bigger budget compared to most episodes of the show. Sure some of the effects at times look cheesy like the fireball effect, and the talking head that a horror carries around, but they are in some ways still fun to look at.MV5BODdkNjQ2M2QtYjUxOS00MjRjLWI0MjktMjMwMDU2MzY0ZWZkXkEyXkFqcGdeQXVyMzM4MjM0Nzg@._V1_Then we get to the second half of the episode, where the story decides to change from being a story about a horror theme park, to having our characters competing on a game show in front of a live monster audience, where it turns out that the monsters have their own cable network as well. This whole lay-out feels like that it could’ve easily been its own story. I mean how do you go from a family being trapped in a theme park with monsters, to a family being forced to play on a game show hosted by monsters in the same story? It’s pretty ridiculous if you ask me. I don’t want to watch a game show, I want to see the family go on more deadly rides, and visit different parts of the park as they try to find a way out.

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THE HAUNTED HOUSE GAME

 

Nadine and Johnathan enter an old abandon house to find a little girl’s missing cat, but instead find a board game with an illustration of the house that they’re in on the cover of it. They open up the box under curiosity only to find themselves teleported into the board game where they must play to get out of the game and survive. Along the way they come across two kids who have been trapped inside the game for years, and are seeking a way out too.228802As “Jumanji” like as this premise is, there’s not only tons of original elements for it to stand on its own, but they’re also very ingenious. I like how they’re literally on a board game as living pieces where the lay-out for the game acts very much like a regular board game, and that they simply can’t move from their space since there’s a force field in the way and can only move depending on what the dice tells them to move after they roll it. I also love that each space they stand on teleports them to a different world where they have to figure what the giant card tells them to do, as they are being chased by ghosts which makes each scenario they get into after landing on each space unpredictable. But as clever as the game functions are, a part of me dislikes that the episode completely ignores the board game element during the last 10 minutes, and decides to have them trapped in a fun house type of location that’s filled with puzzles that (just like the second half in “One Day At Horrorland”) could’ve been an idea for a stand-alone episode. But with that said, I don’t think it really killed the episode by any means since the concept is executed well since the kids getting to a model of the abandon house was being built up, and that half of the things that they get on their journey does pay-off when they enter as they try to solve the puzzles that the house throws at them. So I can’t say the idea was that unnecessary.

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THE PERFECT SCHOOL

For pranking his little brother so many times, Brian is sent to a summer school (that’s literally called “The Perfect School”) that’s guaranteed to make him a better person. After making a friend on the bus named CJ, he discovers that the school is treated more as a prison than it is as a typical boarding school. But to make things worse, he suspects something sinister about the staff, and wonders what makes the kids appear to be so perfect when they leave.ShawnGB9When this two part episode began I didn’t think it was going to be good after getting an opening tease scare that was so predictable that I didn’t feel the need for it to build-on it, even if it is relevant to the story. And when I saw the obvious nerd and the rebellious cool kid on the bus I was rolling my eyes thinking “oh great, here are more of the bland stereotypes on the show that are just getting old”. But once they get to the school, I was hooked. All the way from when we first enter the school, to the end I felt just as curious as Brian is to know what was happening for how intense the build-up is. The actors playing the people who work at the school (especially the actor playing the head master) are genuine jerks who barely come off as comical, or over dramatic. The kids who act perfect all of sudden give a subtle creepy vibe for how unnaturally nice and pleasant they behave. The school looking like one big prison is eerie. How we discover each and every clue keeps you wanting to know more of what’s going on. And the pay-off to all this mystery, even though it was one of my guesses when the episode was near its end, it was still executed quite effectively. But I will admit that once we get our pay-off and the episode gives one last twist, while it’s a good one, I do hate that it feels like it’s setting itself up for a third part instead of being an ending, like the endings to “A Night In Terror Tower” and “The Haunted Mask 2” for example. And it also didn’t help as much that it left me with a few questions that will never be answered.

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WEREWOLF SKIN

 

An aspiring photographer named Alex is staying with his Aunt and Uncle out in the country for vacation (and yet for some reason is going to school there, that’s never explained why) at a town called “Werewolf Creek” (that sounds nothing like “Fever Swamp” at all). While staying with them, his relatives only give him two important rules to follow which is to never go to the creepy looking house across the street where their crazy neighbors (who we never see) live. And to NEVER go into the woods after dark since there are werewolves lurking around in there, which Alex refuses to believe. During his stay he makes friends with a girl named Hannah (where they first meet in the woods, like how Cooper and Fergie met in “The Barking Ghost”) but notices that the people are acting strange when werewolves are brought up, including his new friend. Eventually Alex does come across some werewolves to find a shocking discovery.313_WerewolfSkinAfter watching a successful two part “Goosebumps” episode that had nice thrills, a great mystery, and acting that’s good enough to keep to the intensity of it; here we get another two part episode that lacks all of it. As I was watching this episode, I was so uninterested in its story feeling not scared by any of it, that I found myself pin-pointing every plot thread and gimmick that the episode does that’s already been done before! The relatives hiding something from our lead; the wolves located in a Swamp; the stupid and unneeded bullies; the fast-moving POV shots that feels like watching a less scary version of “Fever Swamp” and “Camp Nightmare” for how overused the effect is; and oooh man, it feels like that almost everything in terms of story and visuals are just being half-assed. They even make the twist of the best friend being a werewolf the whole time crystal clear before it even happens, since the clues and how she reacts to werewolves are far from subtle by any stretch of the imagination! The werewolves costume design and how the skin moves by itself are decent effects, but is lacking of thrills. The only thing I enjoyed when it came to story and visuals was what the werewolf skin is used for; and the reveal of who’s wearing the skin before we get the “twist” with Hannah (though I’m sure you can guess who the first few werewolves were before her).

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AWESOME ANTS

Dave meets an eccentric exterminator during an infestation of ants at the Ice cream parlor, and decides to study ants for a school project after witnessing the event. He orders an ant farm to help him with his studies, but he gets one the size of a cage that can trap any man or animal, as he’s given a large manual for him to read before using the ant farm. The kid ignores reading the book, and over-feeds the ants that causes them to get stronger and eventually grow gigantic.goosebumpss03e18-002In my review of the Season 2 episode “Go Eat Worms”, I talked about how using ants and spiders would be a much scarier premise then worms just crawling around doing practically nothing. And the story to this episode is exactly what that episode should have been like. The kid wants to study ants for a project that’s sparked by his curiosity from an event involving them, rather than the kid just being a total creep who obsesses over them for the wrong reasons. The reason for the ants attacking him feels more clear and fleshed out. And I love that there’s a reason for them to grow, instead of just having one large bug of its kind.x1080-4A1

BRIDE OF THE LIVING DUMMY

 

Low-life bum Jimmie O’James finds Slappy the dummy inside his case (who’s perfectly intact, despite that he was struck by lightning, and possessed Hayden Christiane to make sure he helps ruin the Star Wars film franchise, in the end of the last episode he appeared in) and foolishly reads the card that makes him come to life. Jimmie starts doing stage shows with Slappy, until Slappy sees a doll in the audience that he’s attracted too. He forces Jimmie to send him to the doll by giving him to the owner’s older sister Jillian who he has met earlier as a gift. Slappy begins to terrorize Jillian and her little sister Katie, but Katie for some reason is behaving strange towards the doll that Slappy wants to marry.MV5BYmJjNTY0MjEtYjc4Yi00ODhjLWI1MjItNjk4MTgxMzA1YmY5XkEyXkFqcGdeQXVyMzM4MjM0Nzg@._V1_This is the third and final appearance of Slappy in the show and despite the ignored continuity from the previous episode (though I’m willing to bet that this trilogy doesn’t even want to follow continuity at all), and the odd motivation, he still carries all the qualities that we love about him. He has his creepy moments from when he’s coming after the characters, or frightening them when he’s pretending to be a lifeless dummy. But he has his comical moments as well thanks to his wisecracking personality that’s always fun to watch. The costume effect that was used for Slappy in the last episode he appeared in for the scenes when he’s walking around and fighting another dummy is completely gone where the effects team is using a regular dummy for all of his screen-time. I did find it a tad bit disappointing that they didn’t keep the costume effect since it made him look more animated despite how obvious it was when they switch between effects, but they do just a solid job with using a regular dummy as they did in his debut episode. I will admit however that when we get to the climax, you get a sense on a couple of small occasions that someone off-screen is moving the dummy around. And when he fights against somebody since they don’t have a guy in a costume to make the attack seem real, they use the slow-motion effect, which granted does work to the scenes advantage since it would look like that somebody is moving him around, but it still feels out of nowhere, and inconsistent since we see the other characters move in regular speed.Cg4kf157eaXCwe4GAJWJIyDsa0

STRAINED PEAS

Nicholas’ parents bring home his new baby sister Grace, but during his attempts to bond with her, he notices the baby to be acting strange. She can walk around, she’s intelligent enough to spell out words through her blocks, and she can talk. Nicholas suspects that Grace wants him out so that she can be the only one to get all the love and attention, and tries to tell his parents about her, but of course they don’t believe him.goosebumpss03e13-002We all know about the bratty siblings on the show and how some of them can be worse than the actual monsters themselves (like Tara from “The Cuckoo Clock Of Doom” for example), and since Stine loves giving us that stereotype so much, it seems fitting that he would do one about a baby. This is obviously not a new concept, but it should be at least scary or entertaining to see R.L. Stine have a baby be both the brat and the monster. And while I’m sure that Stine did a better job with the story when he wrote the book, this episode is hardly any of that.

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SAY CHEESE AND DIE…AGAIN

 

In this sequel to a mediocre “Goosebumps” episode at best, Greg writes a paper on his experience with the cursed camera, but his teacher fails him unless he can prove to him that the camera is real. Greg goes back to the building where he found the camera, but it turns out that it’s been demolished, and Spidey the creator of the camera is nowhere to be found. He eventually manages to find it, and just when he has the evidence, all the chaos that the camera has brought to his life is starting all over again.goosebumpss03e04For a sequel to an episode that’s deliberately trying to follow continuity this time (unlike the Slappy sequels) as if it was the second half of the episode just like “The Haunted Mask 2” for example, it does an inexcusable poor job at doing so. When the last episode that involved the camera ended, Spidey who was after Greg and Shari for finding the camera and threatening to silence them from ever telling anybody about it, only to be trapped inside it by our heroes, to eventually being set free when a duo of one-dimensional bullies steal the camera. I was expecting this second half to have Spidey chase after the kids again, as the kids would wonder what happened to the bullies that used to harass them. But nope, that entire cliffhanger ending is completely ignored here! For the love of god, could they at least have Spidey show-up in at least one scene and do something, as opposed to seeing him in the flashbacks. All throughout the episode Greg is paranoid wondering where Spidey is and if he’s going to come after him, and as you’re eagerly waiting for him to appear, it never happens, nor do we ever find out what happened him. They couldn’t even make up some excuse about him dying, or being arrested or something? It would at least make some kind of sense for his absence in a sequel that’s begging to have him back.MV5BMTgwNzM4MDMtZGQxYi00M2EwLWI2NjctM2JhYTNkYWI4NWM3XkEyXkFqcGdeQXVyODQ1OTU2MDI@._V1_

TEACHER’S PET

 

Becca and her friend Benjy are on an overnight class-field to learn about how the food chain works at a nature center. But Becca suspects something strange going on in the woods when she sees a rabbit with a lizard’s face. Eventually she and Benjy discover an old abandon cabin in the woods, where someone appears to be experimenting animals by turning them into monstrous creatures. The episode’s story from what I read to my understanding doesn’t follow the book, but as always I’m reviewing it on its own merits, just like how I reviewed all the others.b8e46aee9d0f6c88ed51bc78f7d79b2d8ce16fa7It’s important to know that the episode is dedicated to the actress who played Becca, Michelle Risi, who sadly died of meningitis following its production at the age of 16, which is very sad and unfortunate. And truth be told, even if she didn’t die I’d still say she’s not bad of an actress. But while her acting isn’t bad, the character she portrays and the material she’s given to work with isn’t much. I know you expect that from the leading characters of the show, but there’s nothing really about her performance or her character’s personality that stands-out. And to be fair, it’s not just her alone, so is pretty much all the other characters. The best friend, the snobby bullies, her teacher, they’re all just so forgettable for how boring and cliched they are. The only character and performance that stands-out from the rest is the actor playing the instructor of the nature center, for how weird he acts which is way too obvious that he’s the one doing all the experiments. Surprisingly the actor they got to play him, is the same actor who played Spidey in the episode “Say Cheese And Die”, and rather than giving a loud and over dramatic performance like he did as Spidey where he loses all sense of scares and creep, here he comes off as a little more creepier for how quiet and monotone he is. It is a little too mellow-dramatic, but it still fits the character just fine.f9df6da24f8fcb352cfc6be7a171ba10The Season does have more good episodes that are imaginative, entertaining, and at times scary that I would actually find myself re-watching compared to half of the episodes from the Second Season, but it still has its share of strong weaknesses. It’s not just the same old problems that the previous seasons had, by having some cheesy effects, bad acting, and being too silly instead of scary, it’s mainly because the cliches are now getting old at this point. In pretty much half of the episodes, I knew where a story was going for how predictable the lay-out and formula was. Most of the characters I know I’ve seen before in the other two Seasons, just with a different name and monster to face. And the effects and camera work that looked impressive and scary in the first two Seasons are starting to look boring since we’re seeing the same old tricks used too many times. The episodes that I praised are still good and some of the show’s finest, and I especially admired when the show pulled off a 3 part mini-series that was completely original. But if you’re expecting plenty of changes to the shows formula, you’re not going to get much of that here and may find them to be tiring after sitting through two whole Seasons of it.

 

 

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: ALICE (2009)

CAST

Caterina Scorsone (Grey’s Anatomy)
Andrew-Lee Potts (Primeval)
Matt Frewer (Lawnmower Man 2)
Kathy Bates (Misery)
Philip Winchester (Solomon Kane)
Colm Meaney (Star Trek: DS9)
Tim Curry (IT)
Harry Dean Stanton (The Avengers)
Zak Santiago (Caprica)
Charlotte Sullivan (Smallville)
Alessandro Juliani (Battlestar Galactica)
Teryl Rothery (Stargate SG.1)
Eugene Lipinski (Arrow)
Alex Diakun (Andromeda)
Kevan Ohtsji (Godzilla)
Jason Schombing (Sanctuary)
Fiona Vroom (Power Rangers)

Alice Hamilton is a judo sensei living with her mother Carol. Her father disappeared when she was ten, and she has spent much of her life looking for him. She invites her new boyfriend Jack Chase to dinner, but is shocked when he gives her a valuable-looking ring as a gift. Jack abruptly leaves, Alice following only to witness Jack being abducted by several men. A man (the White Rabbit) appears and finds out that Alice is in possession of the ring because he hears the click of the mechanical box that contains the ring opening behind her back. He manages to take the box from her, thinking the ring is still in it, but Alice had already quickly taken it out and resealed the box. The White Rabbit runs away and Alice chases him to find out where they had taken Jack, but falls through a giant looking glass and lands in Wonderland, which has evolved over the past 150 years. The Queen of Hearts rules over Wonderland from the Heart Casino, where people from Alice’s world (“Oysters”) are taken to, sedated and play games in the casino, their positive emotions drained from them and turned into drug-like substances for the people of Wonderland to digest, keeping them under the Queen’s control.

Alice escapes her own capture, with the ring still in her possession. Identified as an “Oyster” by the tattoo she gains, Alice is taken to the Hatter, a member of the resistance seeking to free the Oysters from the Queen’s control. The Hatter takes Alice to ask Dodo to help save Jack, but Dodo refuses, until the Hatter reveals the ring Alice wears, which Dodo recognizes as the Stone of Wonderland, able to open the Looking Glass back to the human world. Alice flees when Dodo tries to kill her, the Hatter accompanying her to the forest where they escape a jabberwock and meet Charlie, a surviving White Knight, who fled a battle years ago where Wonderland’s knights were wiped out by the Queen. The Queen has the White Rabbit executed, and has the Walrus and Carpenter revive Mad March, her favorite assassin to track Alice.

Alice deliberately allows Mad March to capture her, so she can negotiate with the Queen to free Jack in return for the ring, which Alice has hidden. Jack appears, revealed as the Queen’s son and to already be engaged to the Duchess. However, Jack passes Alice her father’s watch, implying he is alive and in Wonderland. Alice is put in the Truth Room, where Tweedledum and Tweedledee interrogate her to learn the ring’s location, but she is freed by the Hatter and Charlie, the trio escaping back to the forests, whilst Jack also escapes. In hopes of aiding the resistance and returning Alice home, Hatter uses his connections to find someone who can bring them to Caterpillar, leader of the resistance, using the ring as leverage. To their surprise, the agent who arrives is Jack, revealing him as an agent of the resistance who had originally stolen the ring as part of a ploy to initiate a coup to overthrow the queen. Trusting him, Alice retrieves the ring, and accompanies Jack to meet Caterpillar, who reveals that Alice’s father is Carpenter, but he has no memory of her. As the Carpenter has been crucial in process for extracting emotions for the Queen, Jack had deliberately approached Alice in hopes that she could help the Carpenter break away from the Queen’s control. Just as the Carpenter shows signs of regaining memories, Mad March and his minions arrive, capturing Alice and Jack whilst Caterpillar escapes.
Harry Dean Stanton, Caterina Scorsone, and Philip Winchester in Alice (2009)
Reunited with her ring, the Queen decides to send Alice home and execute Jack. The Hatter stages a rescue with Charlie but is captured by Mad March after Charlie loses his courage and flees. Charlie, after feeling guilty for deserting the Hatter, uses the skeletons of the extinct White Knights as a distraction to trick the Hearts into believing they are under attack. After being tortured by Dr. Dum and Dee, Hatter kills Mad March and escapes. Alice escapes again, joining up with the Hatter to snap the Oysters out of their sedations and rally them to escape. Carpenter appears, having regained his memories, but is killed by Walrus. The Oysters’ unpleasant emotions run high, causing the casino to start collapsing. Alice, the Hatter, Jack, the Duchess and the Queen escape but Winston, the loyal King of Hearts willingly perishes knowing his wife never loved him. With her followers no longer listening to or fearing her, the powerless Queen surrenders the Stone of Wonderland to Alice. Alice returns home, learning her experience may have been a dream when she awakens in hospital to find she had been found unconscious an hour after chasing Jack. However, the next day she discovers the “construction worker” who found her was the Hatter. The two share a passionate kiss in front of a looking glass, as Carol stares in shock.

Scorsone makes an excellent modern Alice — intelligent, capable and capable of butt-kicking her way out, but still vulnerable and young (“You don’t remember me!”). Potts makes a quirky, disheveled Hatter, and Frewer rounds out the main trio as a mildly insane White Knight. Winchester and Colm Meaney are also excellent, Tim Curry is brilliant but underused, and Kathy Bates absolutely rules as the casually cruel, petulant Queen. And yes, she does say “off with his head!. lots of action, a touch of romance, and just enough surreality.