Ready for more Goosebumps? Beware, because today we have some real spooky things to worry about so let’s get right into it. Cue the show intro.

The Cuckoo Clock of Doom

The episode opens up with Michael dribbling a basketball and being a normal kid when he stumbles upon some blood. Deciding to investigate he is jump-spooked by the neighborhood bullies, and by that, I mean this 6-year-old girl.

She decides to call him a “Krej” …. I’m sorry what? Krej is apparently jerk spelled backwards and means the writers got very creative with their kid friendly insults. Wait hold up, Krej is on Urban Dictionary,

Krej (Adj) : Jerk spelled backwards but it goes with everything jerk goes with and more. (see examples)

My mom was such a krej last night when she wouldn’t let me go to Mason’s house.

My math teacher made us take a quiz today, which was so krej.

the quiz i had to take in math today was krej.

Michael is then reminded of his Birthday party in which he flashes back to receiving a Christian Rock CD from his friend and having to pretend not to be mad that you didn’t give him the receipt.

That's the fake grin of someone obviously re-gifting.
That’s the fake grin of someone obviously re-gifting.

His traumatic experience is that his little sister made him smash his face in a cake and then people laughed at him. I hope he got appropriate therapy for that. The titular character the cuckoo clock arrives and Michael sees an opportunity to seek revenge on his annoying sibling as the clock. So Michael sees that Tera has been warned not to touch the clock so during the night he goes to it and does his best impression of Superman defeating general Zod. This raises the question would this even work, if he has to outstretch his arm to reach the bird near the top, can Tera even reach it. Maybe she can pull up a chair but still I think it’s kind of a stretch to believe that she reached up and twisted the birds neck, and didn’t leave any noticeable evidence like a chair being out of place.

While, it’s was looking like the Ides of March, apparently, it’s Groundhog’s Day as Michael is forced to repeat his birthday, but this time at a lower frame rate. Michael then proceeds to have a nightmare where he’s forced to run in place behind a green screen dark hallway while then clock gives him chase. Here, I thought Salvador Dali had a surreal vision of clocks. Michael wakes up, to realize that he is now six years-old and proceeds to give a good reaction.

Haha get it, because we all love that movie. Shawshank Redemption.I’ve watched three episodes now and again the scariest thing is unintentional.This episode is getting more frightening by the minute.Michael having an existential crisis decides to not fall asleep, despite his parents reading him multiple bedtime stories. I’d recommend trying this one:

Michael transforms into a baby, and through extreme coincidences is able to turn the clock and return to normal.

What a thrilling episode, honestly this is a very weird episode that admittedly I found pretty neat. Essentially it keeps with childish fears of things like humiliation but also edges towards a more mature audience with the concept of confronting one of everyone’s most daunting fears and that’s not existing. I think production wise this episode is goofy but props for using full resources in wigs and costuming, using voice-over to represent Michael’s subconscious, child and baby actors, green screen, and lower frame rate editing to build suspense. The twist ending is sort of a dark comedic moment, so if you want to learn why this picture below is a little off, I suppose you should give the episode a watch yourself.

SPOOK GRADE: B

Phantom of the Auditorium

Opening with a montage of horror and it blows my mind…. How come when we see the script it The Phantom but as it cross-dissolves into the next scene its “The Phantom” and quotations and then as the page is turning it appears that the quotation marks disappear. I have completely lost my mind, did Kubrick direct this episode, what’s going on?

Magic?
Magic?
Ahh! The Guy from last episode is back.
Ahh! The Guy from last episode is back.
If you see man do not stop and tell him the time!
If you see man do not stop and tell him the time!

That was just a kid, joking around but, the amount of creepy men at this school is starting to add up. Let’s count them shall we:

The Night Janitor/ Creepy Guy #1
The Night Janitor/Creepy Guy #1
The Principle/ Creepy Guy #2
The Principal/ Creepy Guy #2
The Day Janitor/Creepy guy #3
The Day Janitor/Creepy guy #3

With spooky things continuing to plague the show’s production a group of kids decide to explore who exactly this “night janitor” or Creepy guy #1 is? Prior to that they are tipped off by creepy guy #3 that “the school doesn’t have a night janitor”. So, could it be true that a real phantom is lurking under the stage, don’t be ridiculous it’s actually “just a homeless guy who’s been living under the stage”. Is it just me, or is that way more terrifying! A homeless man, who’s been living under a middle school theater play is on the loose and nobody seems really concerned about this. No time! I guess we have a middle school theater production to put on! It turns out the kid who randomly showed up in the middle of this episode really wanted to perform this play because he knocks out the kid casted as the phantom and goes on stage. This kid is apparently a huge enough WWE fan as he’s able to channel Kane’s Titantron inside his mask eye-holes.

Probably shouldn't have looked at that Solar eclipse.
Probably shouldn’t have looked at that Solar eclipse.

I’m sure you can figure out the twist by now but still maybe go watch the episode and make fun of this dork’s yearbook photo.

Overall, this episode had the most interesting set design and got pretty creative with dark lighting design mixing naturalistic dark scenes lit by flashlights and blue gel lighting kits to still present an overall darkness aesthetic. The idea of a homeless man creepin’ around my junior high and a magic theater script are honestly things that might show up in my nightmares. Enjoyable play on the Phantom of the Opera, rather spooky.

SPOOK GRADE: B+


[Images are from Goosebumps (1995-1998): Credit: Lenz Entertainment, Protocol Entertainment, and Scholastic Productions.]

In for more of a scare? Check out previous Goosebumps episodes review.

The Girl Who Cried Monster & It Came From Beneath the Sink

Thanks for reading, and have yourself a spooky October.

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