General Review: The Angry Birds Movie 2

Hello, Spongey here.

It feels like it has been forever since my last general review. It’s been well over a month, at least. And it’ll be about a month until the next one sorry. Even with having more money now, I want to save up for just the important stuff to make it count.

Anyway, Angry Birds. Back in 2016 we got The Angry Birds Movie and it was …meh. You can read my original review and while I like it a tad more on the re-watch, I’m still not crazy about it.

It actually starts off quite well with some funny gags and a really releatable protagonist in the form of Red. But when the pigs show up, the laughs dry up and it mostly becomes a generic kids movie with with groan worthy puns. I feel like it could have done more with the ‘being angry is fine sometimes’ aspect too.

They certainly tried with it, and it’s one of the better video game movies at least, but it’s fairly meh. It made plenty of money so naturally we have a sequel a few years later.

I wasn’t sure about it even with some of the trailers, but my curiosity grew when I heard it would be directed by Thurop Van Orman. Yes, the creator of Flapjack. Say what you will about it (I like it), but it had a strong creative vision. So having him someone like him as the director was an interesting decision..

(Adding Dove Cameron and Rachel Bloom to the cast didn’t hurt either).

We’ve got three new writers this time as well. One was on Ice 1 and 3, and other 2 had story credit on Cars 3. Not much to say there.

With the surprisingly positive critical reception, I’m interested to see how this sequels pans out. Will it manage to work now they’ve gone past the premise of the game? Let’s see. But first, three side notes:

1.There’s a kickstarted short before the film called Hair Love, and it was super cute. Very charming and was interesting to see before a movie like this. The movie is worth seeing for the short alone.

2.Unlike the first, Sony Pictures Animation put their name on this and apparently they actually were involved so this thankfully isn’t a Peter Rabbit situation.

3.Both Thurop and producer John Cohen have been RT/liking tweets that have reviews of the movie, even ones that don’t tag them. So in the oddly likely chance you’re reading this…hi!)

This, is The Angry Birds Movie 2

When a new threat emerges that puts both Bird and Pig Island in danger, Red, Chuck, Bomb, and Mighty Eagle recruit Chuck’s sister Silver and team up with pigs Leonard, his assistant Courtney, and techpig Garry to forge an unsteady truce and form an unlikely superteam to save their homes.

I’ve honestly been unsure what to rate this one so I guess I’ll just get all my thoughts out before I decide. I’ll start by saying it was fine and an improvement over the first.

It does have some of the same issues though and I’m rather conflict on exactly how much I liked it. I suppose we’ll start with the problems. The crew clearly threw as many gags at the wall as possible and the downside is that this mean they include a fair few dud jokes.

Much like the first movie, there’s some bad jokes in here that clash with the better ones. In the first few minutes alone, we get a few chuckles…then a drawing of Red dabbing.

Because somehow people still think it’s 2016. Then again when I walked out I saw a kid dab but I think the movie inspired him. Either way, good for him.

The bad jokes aren’t as bad as in the first movie but there are still a few too many for my liking. There’s also some that go on or just feel excessive. This movie is not very long but it still feels longer because of how often they stretch things. This naturally also applies for the third act which felt like it went on forever.

The plot is fairly simple and it honestly feels like this could have been a TV episode rather than a movie. Some stuff stretches out fine while some parts feel like padding to get to that 90 minute mark.

It’s sad because that’s plenty to like here. The humor is a lot more consistent than before, as funny jokes can be found in the whole movie and it doesn’t peter out like the first movie did.

The voice cast helps out as Jason Sudekis is a solid standout as Red once again, But there’s plenty a lot of really fun physical gags thanks to the energetic animation. The timing really helps certain gags.

There’s one scene that is usually the worst in this kind of movie but it ended up being the funniest part oft the movie. It got me pretty good, surprisingly. There’s a subplot with the hatchlings that is basically this movie’s version of a Scrat subplot and since it involves kids voiced by kids, I think it would be bad.

But they were actually pretty adorable and most of their jokes landed. Plus, they did tie into the plot okay. Speaking of the plot, let’s talk about it.

It basically amounts to a heist movie with the birds teaming up with the pigs to get into the eagle HQ. They mostly stretch this okay the various attempts and such. It’s the kind of simple plot that can work for a cartoon-y movie.

As I’ve mentioned, it doesn’t work perfectly but for decent portions it works out okay. There’s a few side elements such as Zeta’s connection to someone that feels random at first butt did give another character something to do at least.

The others like Chuck get enough to do but perhaps they could have a subplot or something to flesh out the story more to justify the runtime, instead of just extended certain scenes.

Story-wise the “deepest” element is Red’s character arc. He went from zero to hero and he doesn’t want to let go of that. Thus, he wants to lead the team so he can be a hero again. He doesn’t like being alone/dislike but of course he’s need to take over leads to a monkey wrench being thrown into that.

I liked this since it fit with the first movie and was interesting. Although they still don’t bring up that most of the others only like him cuz he saved them and they don’t fully apologize for treating him badly and basically making him the way he is but ah well.

The person to help teach him his lesson is Silver, Chuck’s sister who comes on board as the brains. She one ups him and he really doesn’t like this. On one hand, she is the female character who exists to be awesome and one up the dumb male lead.

However, she manages to be pretty enjoyable (Rachael Bloom helps with this, of course) with her smarts and energy. It also works with Red’s character arc, as having someone be better and let the others do things helps show him he doesn’t always have to try to be the leader and all that.

Also, there shockingly isn’t a third act split up with them, even though I fully expected it!

As for the others, Dove voices someone who does nothing so she added a lot. The pigs were mostly more tolerable but had some bad jokes, and Zeta was a fun villain with some decent moments.

The animation is about as good as before, no major upgrades but it’s still pretty looking with good varied designs and all that. Nothing else to go into there. The soundtrack is weird though, it goes from playing the most random songs to the most obvious songs.

I generally enjoyed this one okay and it made me laugh quite a few times, with that favorite joke hitting me especially hard. Red’s arc was better realized this time around and the film had a solid zippy feeling to it.

But man those weak jokes and stretched it parts did take a toll on me after a while. Eventually I did settle in but those problem still existed and the overlong climax didn’t help much.

I’m really sure if this falls into up okay, or lower decent. It’s in that bubble of being generally fine and enjoyable, with me riding that high of the especially fun parts. Typically I would go with upper okay but I generally enjoyed it okay and it deserve credits for the good laughs.

But it still needed to shave off those weaker/try hard jokes that the first movie suffered them. The improvement just made all that stick out more. But those problems weren’t too terrible so I’m not really sure.

This is a case where you have to pay attention to my actual review and not whatever rating I give it. As a whole, The Angry Birds Movie 2 improves on the first movie with a better joke ratio with a lot of fun energetic gags and a decent arc for Red.

However, there’s quite a few dud jokes and the story stretches itself thin, and feels longer than its short runtime. But generally I’m okay with how this turned out given where it came from and the improvements they made.

After thinking about it, I’ll just go with the safer rating and maybe in the future I’ll see if it changes. Also, I don’t want to give this a lower rating than Wonder Park. I stand by my rating for that and I liked this more so…

Rating: Decent

The fact that it was between this and Average makes it seem like I liked it less than I did, but I really did appreciate the good stuff here. Either way, tons of credit goes to the makers for having fun and improving on the first one, even if they got a bit indulgent at times.

Also ratings are completely arbitrary to begin with.

Anyway, there will be another wait until the next one but hopefully the film we come back with won’t be too Abominable.

See ya.

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Posted in Animation, General Reviews | Leave a comment

Pete’s Dragon 1977 vs 2016

Hello, Spongey here.

I think it’s finally time for another Movie Battle. So, when I started doing these I wanted to avoid comparing remakes to their originals and things of that nature. Mostly because it would too similar to a certain thing a certain reviewer did.

But even at the time I had a few exceptions, for cases I thought were especially interesting. I wanted to do at least one and the one I picked is indeed interesting.

Disney is currently remaking some of their animated classics and there once was a period where they remade a bunch of their older live action films. So in 2016 they figured they’d combine those periods with a remake of a live action movie that had animation in it.

1977’s Pete’s Dragon was actually originally supposed to be a two part episode of the Disneyland Television series but after it was shelved, they brought it back to do as a full movie. It got mixed reactions at the time but of course became enough of a cult favorite to get a remake in 2016.

This differs quite a bit from the original, which made it one of the better received Disney remakes. Both did fairly well at the box office, although neither were as huge as some of their other films at the time.

I think remaking a movie like Pete’s Dragon makes sense since it is well known but still flawed enough to improve upon. I hadn’t seen either version but had always been interested in them based on what I had heard about them.

So, let’s see which take on this story fared better: The classic or the re-imagining.

This, is Pete’s Dragon 1977 vs 2016

I wasn’t quite sure how to structure this one but we’ll generally talk about each separately, then start comparing. So basically kinda like the Cornetto trilogy one, in a way.

But anyway, let’s start with a comparison point I wanted to get out of the way since it’s not that important to the overall story and I would feel the same about both movies even if this was less confusing. That would be the lore with the titular dragon.

I know it’s weird to bring this up in a movie like this but this was strange to me. In the original, Elliot is with Pete from the start and is a normal dragon that can turn invisible. Later on, Pete reveals that Elliot goes to kids in need and eventually leaves since Pete ends up no longer needing him.

But this is said like we’re supposed to know this and is just brushed aside. It’s not super important but given everything else going on in this movie, it was just a confusing bit of lore. I assume there are other dragons for other kids, that’s not really mentioned.

The remake is more or less the same way, but here we see how Pete first meets Elliot in the forest. The kid in need thing is more implied here, but Elliot seems to want to stay but leaves because he causes too much trouble, what with hunters going after him.

I like to think the kid in need thing isn’t a major part in this version since otherwise I’d wonder why Eliot didn’t help him get a new family a lot sooner, as there’s a time jump between them meeting and the present.

It was more an issue in the original since the remake is at least a tad clearer and I was only thinking it due to having seen how it was done in the original. In both cases, I can overlook it to an extent, especially in the remake.

But onto the things that do matter a bit more. The original runs at around two hours and has a fair amount going on in at times, so you’d think that runtime would thus be justified.

Nope. That’s one of my big things with it right off the bat, it is too damn long. It seems like everything goes on for too long in some way. It is partly due to the musical numbers but even the scenes outside of that can last longer than they need to.

The songs are decent but aside from there being too many, most of them run too long for them to be as good as they could have been. This even applies to the villain songs, which are still my favorites of course. I actually didn’t mind the hillbillies first song on its own, even if the characters themselves were not needed, which I’ll get to.

When it comes to the plot elements, it doesn’t seem like there’s a lot and I feel like it should all work together better than it does. We have Pete being blamed for his invisible dragon, a literal mustache twirling villain wanting Elliot, his hillbilly family coming for him, and the bond he forms with lighthouse people.

This isn’t a lot but it still feels like the plot is more complicated than it needs to be, and it feels like some of this stuff could have been condensed to make for a tighter story.

The weirdest addition to me is a subplot where Nora’s fiance Paul has been lost at sea and Elliot goes to find him. This is brought up once, addressed slightly a bit later, then dropped until the climax where saving him serves as said climax.

It’s such…a random subplot that feels super tacked on to add more conflict, when we already have a villain and a hillbilly family to deal with! I feel ditching the family and making Paul more important would have helped with this problem.

Things like this drag the original down as it feels too padded with content that could have been cut to make the good parts a lot stronger. I enjoy some of what we have here, some of it just isn’t totally fleshed out or has to share screentime with other things. Given the leisurely pacing of it all, this is far from a terrible offender of these kind of problems, but they were indeed problems.

It’s not super overstuffed like so many movies can be so I can see others not having that problem, but most do seem have the overlong issue at least.

Moving on to the remake, it’s shorter (about an hour and a half) and a thankfully much simpler. They basically overhauled almost everything which ended up being a good call, especially when it comes to the story.

The focus is purely on Pete and Elliot, the family Pete finds, and the people that want to take Elliot down. The weird thing is, Elliot gets separated from Pete after Act 1, which actually betters for the most part.

It’s interesting to to see the contrast between Elliot being nice with Pete, then looking a bit scarier when the hunters find him. My only problem here is there’s a part where Elliot finds Pete’s new home and sees Pete with the family, then leaves as he thinks Pete has basically ditched him

…Then Pete finds Elliot later and that is dropped entirely. Well, that was pointless, wasn’t it? As cliche as it is, it could have worked so it’s weird that it’s just a footnote here.

Otherwise, the simple story works thanks to the solid bonds forged here. The concept around the conflict is cliche but there isn’t a total central villain at least, as Karl Urban is the closest and even he isn’t quite as bad as he could have been as far as that kinda character goes.

That conflict does work in the least and gives us a solid climax. The original has more to talk about on its own thanks to the stuffed story, whereas the elements of the original I can say the most on are things I save for the comparing.

So…here we go. I already mentioned that we get to see Pete and Elliot meet the remake, which works better in getting us acquainted to him. I also appreciate changing the set up.

The original has Pete escape from an abusive hillbilly family. Yep. They’re all goofy and over the top and the abusive seems to be more in the form of mockery but it’s still…weird.

As I said, I could have done without them as the remake shows there could have been a better way for Pete to get a new family. In true Disney fashion, the remake just kills off his old family.

Yep, it starts with his parents dying in a car crash. It’s weirdly clunky though, as it goes from them getting into the accident to Pete ending up alone in the Forrest. They just sort of brush past it to get into the story.

Also, I guess he had no other family members or friends back home to look for him, nor was anyone looking him good enough to find him out here in the fair few years between the opening and present. A bit clunky but conceptually it works fine.

One thing I did like in the original was the town it was set in. There was a bit of sense of community as we saw their reactions to some of the stuff going on. I also like the bit where they’ve dealt with the villain before but eventually fall for his scheme anyway.

The remake just focuses solely on the new family and the rest of the town just sort of exists, and the stuff with the hunters and such replaces the larger community This generally works but maybe they could have expanded a bit more.

I’m not sure exactly what I’m trying to say here, but there are some lulls here and there that could have been avoided by fleshing out some side things out. Bryce Dallas Howard’s character is just sort of the nice mom and doesn’t have too much more to her, for example.

Being a simple family film, things like this aren’t a big deal especially if it means no random Paul stuff. Robert Redford was alright but it just reminded me that the same director did Old Man and the Gun. Yeah, an odd choice but it certainly worked out.

The remake has less side elements so it can focus more on the leads so let’s talk about Pete and Elliot. I do like Elliot in both versions. The original has him being animated of course, and there’s some fun stuff there.

There’s bond is decently done but I honestly didn’t feel it as much as I should. It might be because of the other elements but it doesn’t feel like we got quite enough of them. It could be because they wanted to make the animated segments count so they didn’t overload the movie with them.

Either way their bond isn’t quite as strong as it could have been since they mostly felt just there. But again, there are some solid moments. The remake’s bigger on focus on them leads to them working better there for me.

The first 20 minutes or so is basically full of really cute moments with them that really made me enjoy these 2. That sounds like a lot of time before we get to the plot, but around that point they get separated so we needed to get as much of them as possible before then.

And despite them being separated for a large chunk, what we do get with them makes up for that. Elliot is naturally CG and his design is pretty appealing. It’s not a hyper realistic nightmare like it easily could have been. They’re still able to get a solid personalty out of him, with how he doesn’t trust others and things like that.

Their dynamic makes the movie for me, as it is well done even with how they get separated. This is the selling point of both movies, and the remake manages to sell me on it more. They have their moments in the original but it wasn’t quite as strong in places as it could have been.

At this point, I feel you can tell that the remake managed to improve on a lot. Usually overhauling the plot of the movie you’re remaking is not a great idea but here it really helped. Perhaps more things could have been used but it works well on its own so it’s not too big of a deal.

For me, the original was not very good. It has some cute moments but even the best stuff didn’t rise above fine for me. The songs were fine, the villain was fine, the leads were fine but these elements are done better in other movies that do things like this.

It’s one of those Disney movies from that period that tried to recapture the magic of Mary Poppins but couldn’t really pull it off. It’s way too long, and the story feels messier than it really should be. Mary Poppins was also long but it had way better strong points to make up for it.

The remake does what more remakes should do. It does its own thing with the concepts in the original and manages to vastly improve on almost everything. There are a few clunky things, and the supporting characters are meh but it’s still a pretty charming family film.

The main dynamic is really nice and the direction and music gives the whole thing a nice, kind of old school feel. It’s nothing great per say but it does what it sets out to do decently well.

The original does have its charms, and that classic live action Disney feel is what prevents me from liking it even less. But as a whole, it just didn’t 100 percent work for me.

I don’t know how much of that would change if I grew up with it but either way, I’m not a big fan of it. The remake managed to surprise me just with how much it improved and how solid it was on its own.

I wish there was more like this from the current live action Disney movies but you’ve seen your Twitter feed rant about that before so I won’t linger on that.

I think we have a pretty clear winner. Yep, a remake that is actually way better than the original. There’s something you don’t see everyday. It has a simpler story, tighter focus and and the main dynamic was stronger.

That’s about what I got for this one. The original has its place of course, but the remake manged to tell the story a lot better and just be overall more enjoyable. It wins.

WINNER: Pete’s Dragon 2016

I wasn’t really sure which one I would like more since I didn’t know too much about the details of them but there you go. I’m glad I finally got to watch them at least, especially with how surprisingly solid the remake turned out to be.

People seem to like the remake more as well, so at least I’m not alone here. I think that about it does it for this one, I had a better idea of what I wanted to say than in some others and I did it pretty quickly since there wasn’t a lot to say despite how much text there is when I scroll through this document.

I don’t think I’ll be able to fit another movie battle before the year ends and I’m not quite sure what I could do next. So as always, leave me some suggestions.

Either way, that wraps up this one.

See ya.

Posted in Animation, Misc, Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Even More bad episodes of cartoons I like

Hello, Spongey here.

There have been a number of fixtures on my blog, of various kinds, I don’t do a ton of lists but there has been one kind I’ve done a few installments of that have really shown my growth and is an interesting example of one of these fixtures.

I’m talking about the bad episodes of cartoon episodes I like lists. This started because I got into watching and reviewing random cartoon episodes on Deviant Art and through both suggestions and my own personal experiences, I had accumulated a ton of “dud’ episodes.

I went a bit too in depth but otherwise I really enjoyed the first one, as I feel I had more variety alongside the expected choices. I don’t deserve to toot my own horn but I feel I had a slightly better mix than most lists.

Most people just stick with the small pool they know, so they are forced to put some ‘’eh’ ones on there and they tend to go with the choices you’ve heard about tons of times.

Not to knock those lists overall but I do like how over the course of both, I bumped into episodes people don’t talk about as much, like the Sonic SATAM and Code Lyoko ones.

I like the 2nd one more since I was more compact and was able to have different problems. When I started getting into this cartoon reviewing thing, I mostly stuck to disliking episodes where the problem is “too much torture” or the like.

And those still tend to be the ones I find most annoying, but I’ve also talked about botched characterization and messy storytelling. I’ve gone into detail on why certain things don’t work because usually there is a deeper reason why something doesn’t sit well with me.

Since my 2nd list, I’ve stepped down from going out of my way to watch bad cartoons. I stick with with what I actually want to watch as to focus more on my movie stuff.

Thus, my pool is a tad smaller for our final batch. That’s right, this will be the last one. The main reason is that I’m running out of episodes, as I’ve mostly gone over all the interesting ones by now.

There will be new shows with weak episodes of course, but I didn’t feel like bending over backwards to find more options. I’m sad I never got to do any anime ones but I’ve seen way less of those, much less had duds of shows I like.

Maybe someone can do their own list for that. The other reason is that the ones I have here aren’t as bad as the ones from before. Oh, most of there are lackluster but they are closer to mediocre than terrible.

These have enough flaws to discuss, just don’t expect any new lows like last time. I wanted to do this despite all that because there are a few I wanted to get off my chest and I wanted to complete the trilogy.

Either way, it will be another fun batch with examples from all 3 networks and 1 extra one. I should also mention that I’ve talked about a couple examples in other places, usually in looks at a full show, like I did with Elena so check there if you want something else that belongs on here.

Just like last time, we’re going over 10 episodes in airdate order, which will take us from 1997 to 2019. …Sort of, we’ll touch on that.

So, what other duds have I seen lately? How bad are they? We’ll be taking a look with a final look at times cartoons I personally enjoy left me down. I may find more examples but this is the final time I’m really talking about a bunch at once.

This, is Even More Bad Episodes of Cartoons I Like

(Also, at this point I should say I’m using the word “bad” loosely. I mostly mean weak in this case for most of these but saying bad is easier, so keep that in mind. Heck, one of these isn’t even full on mediocre but we’ll get to that)

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Posted in Animation, Lists, Uncategorized | 3 Comments

Goosebumps Series 2000-Revenge R Us

Hello, Spongey here.

So a few weeks ago, I looked at R.L. Stine’s The Nightmare Room. And in previous years, I did monthly reviews of the “modern” Goosebumps books. The main reason I wanted to stop doing those is that a lot of them didn’t leave me with much to say.

I was more or less forcing myself to do them each month, and it wasn’t up to me whether a book gave me a lot to work with. I couldn’t just skip one after all. So with Slappyworld, I am doing a general look at it with mini reviews, like with Nightmare Room.

But before then, I had some Misc Stine stuff I wanted to do. I had already been planning to finally go back to Fear Street but I had other ideas. So thus, we’re going back to monthly reviews, but for Stine stuff in general.

I will skip a month if I can’t squeeze one in due to having other projects, to avoid what happened last time. (I do think I can do it for the rest of this year at least, but we’ll see.) There’s tons I can get into now that I can pass on a book that leaves me with nothing to say.

But anyway, with this one we’re going back to Series 2000. I reviewed a few entries back in 2012 (Cry of the Cat, Fright Camp, Attack of the Graveyard Ghouls and Headless Halloween) and always wanted to cover more, but got caught up in the modern stuff.

Looking back, I have some appreciation for this weird era in the franchise. Yeah, it had some evidence of Stine running on fumes but there were also some bursts of genius that the series really needed at that point.

We’re not looking at an example of that though. This is one I had been interested in reading and when I finally did, I found myself thinking about it a lot, for some reason. You’ll see why by the end of this.

I’ve rambled enough so let’s talk about this sucker.

This, is Revenge R Us

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Posted in R.L Stine Reviews | 1 Comment

Zoo Wars

#NotMyZooWars

Hello, Spongey here.

https://letterboxd.com/spongey444/film/a-cinderella-story-if-the-shoe-fits/

(I was supposed to have a little thing explaining why we’re doing this instead of what I teased but I forgot and also I explained it here anyway)

We’ve talked about some lackluster movies so far this year, but nothing too bad. That is, until today. I might have …overcorrected a tad though.

You all remember A Frozen Christmas, right? I don’t want to but I do. It seemed like just another ripoff movie but ended up being the worst movie I ever reviewed. If you need a refresher, that’s the “movie” that was just a bunch of badly read stories over a screensaver, with random stolen CGI assets.

That movie was directed by Evan Tramel and brought to us by Wownow Entertainment. They’d made tons of movies on that level of quality, but they have made some that actually do count as movies.

In the sense that they have stories where events happen, at least. I knew there’d be no point in watching any of the “A Frozen X” stuff, so I decided to see how those actual movies fared.

I watched two, the other being Star Paws. I was unsure which one to go with but I chose to do this. Oh, Star Paws is more mockable due to its weird mix of horrifying CGI that barely moves and real dogs that can talk without moving their mouths.

But it seemed to at least be trying to go for stylistic suck in some points. For some reason it reminded me of those Thumb movies, but even less amusing. This movie however, has no excuse for being as bad as it is, so I went with it.

I watched this for the first time in a stream with friends. They’re actually part of the same group chat that introduced me to A Frozen Christmas. I swear we don’t hate each other. It was certainly more fun to go through hell with friends…but it’s still hell.

This is indeed better than A Frozen Christmas but only because it can almost call itself a movie. That’s about it for positives. For some reason, this is on Amazon Prime so if you have it, you can peek at this and see it for yourself.

Also, this came out in 2018 and was indeed that movie I was referring to. Get ready for Show Dogs to look like Old Yeller! Let’s just get into it.

This, is Zoo Wars

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Posted in Animation, Scene by Scene Reviews, Uncategorized | 1 Comment

General Review: Spider-Man Far From Home

Hello, Spongey here.

We’ve got another Marvel movie on our hands for this year. Gotta admit, feels a little weird to have one so soon after Endgame. I don’t mind this movie existing, I just wish it was saved for next year.

But ah well, we have the movie now. On a Tuesday, for some reason. This time Tom Holland’s Spider-Man gets his 2nd full shot. He’s proved to be pretty excellent so far, with Homecoming being a very enjoyable film.

It opened the doors for plenty more you can do with him, and I’m excited to see how this goes. This time he’s going on a vacation and Mysterio will be making his film debut. Yeah, that should be fun.

We got the same director as last time so nothing to add there. The two writers were on the first, and they worked on LEGO Batman and Jumanji Welcome to the Jungle.

Now that we’ve had the Endgame, how will the characters go on from there? Will this be another fun adventure? Let’s see.

This, is Spider-Man: Far From Home

Peter Parker is off on a class trip to Europe, hoping to leave Spider-Man at home for the time being, and he hopes to get with MJ. But of course, evil elementals start appearing and a man who is dubbed Mysterio has come from another dimension to help stop them. Although there may be more to what is going than it seems…

This movie was really good. I liked it about as much as Homecoming and it even improved in a few areas. The main one would have to be the action. It’s a lot more energetic this time around and there’s a bit more creativity in the visuals.

Mysterio’s scenes especially involved some neat moments, and one scene in the 2nd half was especially creative. It was really fun and confusing in all the best ways.

A lot of what I liked about Homecoming continues here, with great comedy mixed in with Peter having to juggle his two lives. Every Spider-Man does this but it never gets old because they usually how to do find interesting turns on it.

This has him wondering if he can live up to Tony’s legacy, along with just wanting to be with MJ. I’ll admit they seem to focus more on him being a kid than being a hero but so far it still works pretty well.

Tom Holland’s Peter/Spider-Man continues to be great, with him handling all of this very well. The rest of the cast is also good, Ned has this relationship with a girl that was pretty funny. Actually, the amusing thing is that she’s played by Angourie Rice, and they previously shared the screen in one scene in Every Day. I was amused when I recalled that.

Finally, being one of the few people who remembers Every Day comes in handy.

I know it’s cliche to say an MCU movie is funny, but this movie was especially hilarious. So many moments made me laugh at loud, even more so than I was expecting. Thankfully, one or two felt out of place or went on for too long.

I really enjoyed Mysterio in this. He had a good friendship with Peter and managed to be really enjoyable. Jake Gyllenhaal clearly had fun here and he was very charming.

And we can add another strong MCU villain to the list. They were a ton of fun and had a decent motivation and was surprisingly smart at times. Granted, they’re plan required a few things to be perfectly in places but it was still a pretty smart plan.

Oh and they kinda pull a twist villain but it was really well done so I won’t complain. Besides, this is a Sony movie so I can’t file it under Disney’s fetish for twist villains.

What a find interesting is part of his motivation involves him thinking Peter isn’t fit to be a hero which is also what Peter is thinking at times. They don’t do a ton with this but it was something I noted that I thought was pretty interesting.

Peter and MJ were pretty good together, and I liked Zendaya even more here than in Homecoming. Although him liking her kind of comes out nowhere. At the end of her last movie, he was getting over Liz and people were merely expecting Peter and MJ to hook up since…well, she said people call her MJ.

But right at the start of this, he’s all up on here with no transition. Thankfully, it was done well so it wasn’t a big deal but it was odd.

Also, I liked seeing some of the fallout from Endgame, especially when it comes to how that movie ended. As for flaws, it did feel too long near the end. It’s really well paced for most of it, but the 3rd act does get bloated.

At a point I was kind of wanting it to end. There’s also some things that could have been fleshed out more, a long with a couple idiot moments. Some parts might be a hard sell but it was excusable given the big picture of the story.

Also, some twists explain certain things. Oh, and the post credits scene was good but the mid credits scene was….damn. I was not expecting that and it was amazing. Might be the best part of the movie to be honest.

Overall, Spider-Man: Far From Home managed to live up to Homecoming. I’d say I liked that movie a bit more because it felt more fresh and focused but this managed to be just as good, with a few improvements.

The action is really fun, Tom Holland’s Spider-Man is still great and there’s some great comedy alongside a strong villain and a decently fleshed out story. There’s a couple things people might want more of but otherwise was a delightful followup to both Homecoming and Endgame.

I still wish it was pushed back but this was still really good, being both a change of pace from Endgame and a strong film worth watching on its own. There are some skippable MCU movies but this is thankfully not one of them.

Rating: Very Good

Oh and yes, Spider-Verse existing didn’t diminish this one. Frankly, it’s useless to even compare them but you know the internet. I had a bunch of fun with one and it was exactly what I needed.

Next time, more Angry Birds I guess.

See ya.

Posted in Comic Book/Superhero Reviews, General Reviews | Leave a comment

A Look At The Nightmare Room

Hello, Spongey here.

So I’ve been wanting to make up for the lack of monthly Goosebumps reviews lately, with some reviews of Stine’s other works that I had been neglecting. You’ll start seeing some of those soon enough, hopefully. While I was gathering some ideas for reviews, there was one series I wanted to get back to. I reviewed one book from it and had been wanting to cover its TV series after reviewing all of Haunting Hour.

Man, remember those reviews? I spoiled too much but they were fun to do. That series was The Nightmare Room. Goosebumps ended in 2000 after R.L. Stine chose not to renew his contract with Scholastic after a big dispute. He did some stuff between then and 2008, and in 2000 he tried to replicate the success of his previous series.

It worked in a similar way, with kids facing supernatural scares, complete with random full stops and cliffhanger chapter breaks. Also, twist endings. It was given a big push, with a gloriously early 2000’s website that was advertised and kept up and a tie in TV Show in 2001 on Kids WB, making it their first live action show.

It sadly didn’t quite catch on so the series only lasted 12 books (sort of, we’ll get to that) and the TV show only had 13 episodes. As you saw when I reviewed The Howler, this series tended to be a bit more mature than Goosebumps.

It seems like he was trying to age his kids books up a bit, as this series could often tackle slightly deeper themes while still generally being aimed at the same market, Yes, it worked the same way and most of the books are the same kind of stories but at times it served as a nice medium between Goosebumps and Fear Street.

The TV Show, likewise was less goofy than Goosebumps and was a testing ground for what Haunting Hour was able to do. I actually got into the books in middle school around the same time I got into Goosebumps, as it is fairly close to me and thus I find its underrated-ness to be more of a shame.

I was going to make this post mostly about the TV Show but this year I finally gained access to the whole book series (thank you, Public Libraries) so…yeah, we’re including everything. We are going to (somewhat) quickly review everything this series had to offer.

From the books, to their TV Episodes, to the episodes that weren’t based on any book, we’re going through it all. We’re going headfirst into this nightmare to see how it all holds up. Did Stine make the right move with this series, or was he right in just eventually going back to giving us Goosebumps?

And yes, the title and set up (with Stine intro-ing into the stories) is clearly a take on Twilight Zone, just to make his cribbing of it more obvious. Let’s hold that key and open that door, as we’re heading in.

This, is A Look At The Nightmare Room

(Interesting thing: On the copyright page for some of them, there’s a thing saying “Special Thanks to Mr. George Sheanshang”. I had no idea who this is or what this means. It possibly means ghostwriter but looking him up, I can’t find anything on who this could be. I actually tried asking Stine on Twitter but got nothing back so this will remain a mystery)

(Also, this is missing from the ebooks and I only had a few physically so I’m not sure exactly how many he had a hand in)

Book #1: Don’t Forget Me!

Danielle Warner and her brother, Peter, move into a house where the basement is haunted by the ghosts of children who have been forgotten by their friends and families — and lure living children in by making their friends and families forget about them.

We start with a pretty strong one that shows how this series will do things in general. For one, the protagonist is 15 rather than 12, although the only thing it adds is a reason for her to be left home without a sitter.

Also, it allows her to be more into boys. This actually happens a few times in the series and it’s interesting to see Stine acknowledge romance without going deep into love triangle stuff like in Fear Street.  As for the actual story, it’s pretty effective.

The book does a good job of showing how Peter slowly starts to act strange, forget Danielle, and get forgotten by others. It happens slowly but the pacing is steady and we really see how this affects her. I also like how Peter is only annoying to her due to their clashing personalities, and she learns to appreciate him more.

It’s nice to see a more natural-ish sibling dynamic where the lead starts to like him more, compared to what we get in Goosebumps.  (But Peter is still a redhead, baby steps I guess). The descriptions in this are pretty effective, especially when it comes to the kids in the basement as Peter becomes one of them.

It feeds into that fear of being forgotten and forgetting the things you know, or the people you love. It’s scary in a more mundane but still really interesting way. It’s a different kind of scare that is also pretty sad.

The payoff with this creepy guy that keeps popping up is a tad lame though, I feel he could have been used better.

The climax works and even involves paying off a plot point from earlier. The usual rushed ending is still effective, although you gotta wonder why they stay in the house given the parents do know what it did to them. (Yep, the parents do eventually find out, another miracle!)

The twist is good, leaving you with questions while not being maddening. Overall, this is a great way to start the series as it gives us a scary idea that is executed pretty well, being effective and sad in the right areas.

It shows us what Stine seems to want to do with this series, as its more nature while keeping that winning formula. Some slightly weak points aside, it’s  a tale I won’t forget.

Rating; Great

TV EPISODE;

Writer: Paul Bernbaum

First off, the show has some effective narration by James Avery aka Uncle Phil, who claims to be R.L. Stine. Yeah sure, and Jack Black is R.L. Stine too. Wait…

Anyway, this was actually the first episode and it’s a solid start. The main beats of the story are hit and manage to be effective, like with Peter forgetting how to play his favorite game. The differences mostly come with having to condense the story, so certain things happen a bit quicker and the stuff with this boy she’s into is removed.

Also, the female friend Addie is now a male friend named Chris. I have no idea why.

The pacing isn’t quite as effective as it has to quickly go through the story, so it’s not as effective as the book with how things get worse. While the book was rather sad with the scares coming from that, the episode leans more into the scares which is fine but can sometimes come across as cheesy.

On the positive side, the reveal of who the creepy guy is makes more sense here and leads to a nice moment. And the family actually moves away, although the twist is now changed to be super cliche.

The book works better as a whole, mostly because the episode feels kind of rushed at points, but they did make some improvements and it represents the story well enough.

Also, Danielle is played by Amanda Bynes who is pretty good here, as is Peter which helps make the nice moments more effective. So yeah, it could have been better, but it works pretty well on its own.

Book #2: Locker 13

Superstitious Luke Green gets assigned Locker #13 on his first day of school and tries to quell the bad luck that goes along with it by finding a good-luck charm. But the good-luck charm has a twisted secret of its own.

Remember that Goosebumps Hall of Horrors book The Birthday Party of No Return? I compared it to this book but after re-reading it for this section, I realized just how apt that comparison is…and how much better this one is.

Certain similar scenes happen in both but are switched around. The twist from Birthday Party is an earlier plot point in this one and that works well for both books but it works better here, as we see that Luke’s friend Hannah (Huh, Stine does like that name) was forced to give him the good luck charm by The Fate Master, a creepy figure that decides who gets good or bad luck.

The book starts off slow but picks up once the nature of what is going on becomes clear. Luke is a pretty likable lead, as he is worried about Hannah when her luck gets much worse while his improves. He even has a chance to give her the charm back (he doesn’t know about Fate Master yet) and while he doesn’t take it, he feels totally guilty about it and keeps wondering if that was the right move.

Both kids are proactive and really try to fix the problems they face. It’s such a breath of fresh air compared to what Goosebumps did with this set up, where they were okay but made some dumb mistakes.

The book does a good job with showing just how bad this luck is, with Hannah getting horribly injured at some points, Luke’s parents getting briefly hospitalized at another point, and of course even some bits of blood.

There’s also a surprising and decent message about getting ahead through hard work and skill, rather than relying on luck. Not exactly deep but it is a good one for kids. The main drawback for this one though is how The Fate Master works.

We don’t really know exactly why he’s bothering Hannah and then Luke and how the former even met her. I get making him mysterious but his deal doesn’t make much since and it took away from the story a bit for me.

It also gets repetitive with how it keeps reminding us they have bad luck, and it makes the book feel longer than it is. Things like that do take away from what is otherwise a solid one.

But there’s still some solid scares and really likable and smart protagonists. And hey, no stupid twist ending!  So while it has some damaging issues, it has enough good luck to override the bad luck.

Rating: Good

TV EPISODE:

Writer: Richard Rossner

(I’m not listing all the directors but I have to mention that his highness Ron Oliver did return for a couple of episodes, this being his first that we’re covering.)

This is a case of sticking to the plot well enough, with the main changes being there to streamline the story into 22 minutes. Luke gets the charm right away (and it looks like a cheap toy here) and the bad luck happens in the form of Fate Master draining his life force. I think that’s fair given they still wait a bit to fully show him and it makes Fate Master more proactive.

And smarter. In both versions, Luke is forced to give the charm away to a poor soul but here, Fate Master actually figures it out because he can see him everywhere I guess. Also, TV Fate Master is a discount Emperor for some reason.

On the flip side, the bully is now way more stereotypical and serves no purpose. That’s because Luke now has to give the charm to his friend, who is…NOT Hannah but instead is some annoying boy named Jeff. You still have the moral dilemma with Luke not wanting to give it to someone despite this causing pain for him now it’s with a far less likable friend.

That moral is gone, as the solution is to give the life draining charm to a dying frog  used for a science experiment. He’s still a bit smart but the book did it better. Also, basketball is now wrestling and the coach is played by the dad from Kwnan and Kel. Neat.

Overall, the plot is right and the streamline works but the odd detail changes makes it so the book easily wins out. Episode is still fun enough though.

Book #3: My Name is Evil

A carnival fortuneteller accuses Maggie of being evil. Maggie brushes it off as a joke — until accidents occur in school and all signs point to Maggie as a suspect.

This was a step down but it’s still fine enough. The concept is a good one, with Maggie’s powers making her life a living hell as her friends are driven away from her. There’s some good scares with how they get hurt and the book does a good job of making me feel sorry for Maggie.

She’s a likable lead and the book really pours on the misfortune as things keep going wrong. The book captures the feeling of helpless-ness as everyone turns against here.  The reveal of the true evil here is decently done, even if you will likely see it coming.

That stuff is pretty effective but we have some problems. First off, The foreshadowing is really blatant here, as the book often spells out what bad thing will happen before it happens, often through some subtle dialogue. (The first line of the book is someone calling Maggie evil…for taking a cupcake. Yes) Like the previous book, it can get repetitive with how we get reminded she has evil powers she can’t control.

Her J named friends are also of the jerk variety at times, especially to this kid named Glen and often for little reason. You still feel generally bad for them but they don’t really apologize for those actions and since they factor into the reveal, that is an issue for me.

I like that we again have no stupid twist, but the climax is pretty rushed and gives me questions about the villain. I feel like this idea could have been played around with a more to be honest. Help! We Have Strange Powers honestly did this base idea better in a few ways.

So yeah, it works fine enough with some good scares and such, but it does make a few mistakes that hold the story back despite being a pretty fun concept. It’s a fine read but lesser than the first couple.

Rating: Decent

(Side note: Maggie has divorced parents and we find out her Dad often forgets her birthday and stuff like that. I feel like there’s a sad story going on here we’re not being told about)

TV EPISODE:

Writers: Lee Goldberg & Biff Radkin

Oh boy, if you thought changing the female friends to a male was odd in the previous episodes, this one ups the ante. Instead of a girl named Maggie, we got a boy named Morgan, with his friends Justin and Jordan. In place of Glenn is a girl named Kristen, played by  Kaley Cuoco.

…I don’t get it. The general plot is the same, so why the gender swap? Does this show hate women or something? This episode does have a “bros before hoes'” thing going on, come to think about it..

Anyway, the reveal of the real evil is way more obvious here, and the fortune teller was just goofing in this version, and is played by Zelda from Sabrina the Teenage Witch.  And the climax is pretty lame, it’s barely even a climax.

…But that aside, I actually like the episode a bit more. I think the “driving their friends apart” aspect registers more here because Morgan has a rep of being very nice so this hurts even more on that level. The bad events being blamed on him makes a tad more since here, they happen during moments when he would be jealous/angry.

There’s also the twist they added, which is actually really good and ends this on a haunting note. Overall, it’s a weirdly botched adaptation, but on its own it is a decently suspenseful story with a great twist ending, despite a weak villain and non-climax.

Don’t worry, there are no more missing ladies in the rest of these.

Book #4: Liar Liar

Years of lying suddenly catch up with Ross when he finds himself in a parallel world where an evil twin tells him that he will die in two days.

This series’ general consistency couldn’t be kept up forever, so there was bound to be some weaker ones, but this one frankly kind of sucked. It has a solid set up, with some decent humor as his lies get him in sticky situations early on but the book wastes the potential it all had.

The story is a mess with this odd alternate reality concept that doesn’t make much sense. If it was written better I could let the odd concept slide but alas, it is not. The more we find about what is going, the less sense it makes.

I mean, his alternate reality self is exactly the same down to lying to him a lot, so shouldn’t his lies have made him go into Normal Ross’s reality? It also takes too long for Ross to figure out the obvious and the characters often make dumb decisions that make it hard to care.

Some of the suspense can be good as Ross existing in this reality causes parts of it to crumble, and one part is surprisingly graphic.  But in general this book is messy, complete with a weird solution and a twist that makes no sense and makes the entire book pointless.

The whole thing with Ross’s lying nature biting him in the ass isn’t used as well as it should. Hell, they tease him being an unreliable narrator but then drop it, even  though that would have added to the humor. Plus, it would be a clever way to use the chapter break fake outs

Overall, this feels more like classic Jovial Bob, with a poorly written goofy story that doesn’t work as well as it should. It’s a fun premise, with a weak execution and stands out among a series that is usually at least a tad better than this.

Ah well.

Rating; Meh

Book #5: Dear Diary, I’m Dead!

Alex Smith discovers a diary in his room that predicts the future, including his death.

Both the title and basic concept remind me of Say Cheese and Die but thankfully this is the better version of that one. The diary at first just predicts normal things that give Alex an advantage, as he has a bad betting habit so correctly predicting basketball scores for example will help him out.

So even when it starts predicting bad things, it still predicts good things so it gives him a good reason to press his luck. The diary has a sort of hold on him, causing him to do certain things he can’t control.

Thus, we’re given a reason for why he keeps using the thing, and the power it seems to have over him is pretty creepy. The tone is generally oddly comedic even with the bad things going on but the shock moments still work.

Alex is sort of unlikable but it works in the book’s favor as his betting habit gets him in real trouble and he does eventually realize that the danger he puts himself and others through isn’t worth a few bucks. There’s also a thing with the Alpha Bitch where she starts to become sort of a friend after joining their band.

But sadly the ending kind of ruins the story overall. The twist makes no sense at all and the ending is one of the most abrupt I’ve ever seen. Yes, even by Stine standards. It’s not set up at all and throws away the really solid progression it had going on.

The opening is pretty great though, with the teacher and Tessa nitpicking and critiquing his creative writing story in a way that feels like either Stine making fun of himself or a ghostwriter really taking the piss. (This one of the George Seanshang ones. Just saying)

But yeah, this one is mostly pretty good with a believably flawed lead, a solid progression and some decent suspense. The ending is pretty dumb but it’s good enough before then to be called solid.

This was almost a really good one in the final quarter, but that ending has to be taken into account and some of my praise is forgotten about due to how abrupt it is. Still, it’s a mostly solid way to bounce back after the last couple.

Rating: Good

TV EPISODE:

Writer; Paul Bernbaum

Much like Locker 13, the plot itself is the same, and this at least keeps the same climax but the background stuff is pretty different. Tessa (who is played by Brenda Song)  is in Alex’s (who is played by Drake Bell) friend group/band from the start, although she still does the same stuff Book Tessa did in the 3rd act.

There’s no 2nd male friend, leaving just Shawn, played by the guy from You Wish. Man, even for this show there’s a lot of people I know here. Anyway, Alex is less of a betting man, so he’s a bit more dick-ish but that still fits the kind of story this is.

The diary doesn’t force people to do things here, which I can live with I suppose. The events themselves are different, include a wood shop scare involving a teacher who could not care less about his job.

Sadly, they keep the nonsensical twist ending. Sure, Uncle Phil clarifies things a little bit but it still makes no sense and makes for a bad abrupt ending, despite a better climax.

Overall, it represents the story okay despite the changes and is a fun episode with good comedy ,with it getting more suspenseful as it goes on. However, I’d say I like the book a bit more in terms of story progression.

But yeah, there’s that. On a…note, this episode aired in February 2002, meaning it was likely made in late 2001. And when he first opens the diary, tomorrow’s date is September 12.

That means the opening scene is set on…okay, moving on!

Book #6: They Call Me Creature

Laura’s usually cheerful Dad has been distant ever since he lost his job and that gets worse when he starts doing strange things in the shed and animals start turning out dead in the woods.

Oh boy, this one. We’re finally back to sad times. In terms of how it’s written, this is the biggest example of the series being somewhat mature. The concept in the next book is deeper, but this one becomes mature due to the writing.

The book is surprisingly melancholy, going into how alone Laura feels with her Dad starting to seem like a total stranger, and a dangerous one at that. The book begins with a prologue from the POV of the creature that really sets the mood and tells you what kind of story this will be.

There are small bits of levity with her friend (who naturally disappears halfway through) but it feels natural and there’s not much in the way of Jovial Bob humor. Honestly it gets so depressing I almost wish he’d give us some humor.

Her parents are divorced and there’s a part where Dad suggests possibly sending her to live with Mom back in Chicago and we see how devastated she is by all this. I’m not saying this is the most adult book ever, but even compared to other Nightmare Room books, this gets rather introspective and sad.

The reveal of who the creature is is on the obvious side, but the ride is well written enough that I wasn’t rolling my eyes at how obvious it is like I usually might be. The explanation actually makes sense and the villain is sympathetic but still clearly going too far. Yeah, we have something closer to an Anti Villain this time around.

And we’ve got plenty of Stine style animal violence to go around.

On the downside, while the climax is fine enough, the very ending is weak. It’s abrupt and ends on a note that really makes me want a sequel, or at least a more complete wrap up. It’s also a bit sadder than it needed to be on one character’s part. I do like the bittersweet nature of it though.

If the ending were a bit stronger, this book would be basically perfect as far as these kind of books go but it’s still of a really high  quality. The tone is downbeat in a good way, with tragedy and a very likable protagonist.

And yes, the setup is very similar to Stay Out of the Basement (down to the explanation for how the creature was created)  but it does set itself apart once we get into what is really going on and is on par quality wise.  (It also borrows from Jekyll and Hedi but I haven’t reviewed that one yet)

Despite a weak ending (and being a tad repetitive at times), this is one of Stine’s stronger works to the point where it almost feels ghost-written but I see no point in using those for this series. So I guess he just really hit a stride. (It’s a George Seanshang one. Guess I was wrong)

Either way, it’s good stuff.

Rating; Great

Book #7: The Howler

https://spongey444.wordpress.com/2012/06/26/the-nightmare-room-the-howler/

I reviewed this one so you can go there for plot details. But I will admit I have a different point of view on this one now. It’s still really good, with a sad set up and a good lesson but it has a few too many fake outs at times.

But the biggest issue is the parents really should have been more involved. I get that Spencer is pretending to not be bothered by Ian’s death but he clearly is and most stories like this would have him talking to them and admitting his problem.

Nope, instead everything’s fine once he talks to Ian’s ghost. You could have had a heart to heart talk and perhaps have them try to stop the evil ghosts with him or something like that. (And also have Scott and the brother be less terrible, as they feel rather insensitive given the reason Spencer is doing this)

But despite that, it’s a strong entry with a great premise that is used well.

Rating; Very Good

But I get to have a padded section due to the..

TV EPISODE:

Writer: Scott Murphy

Oh boy. Some of the adaptations in the Stine shows can be loose but this is basically In Name Only. This has the concept of a machine helping kids contact ghosts, but that’s about it. The biggest omission is Ian. Everything regarding him is gone so now it’s a more typical story.

That’s a pretty big and odd change. This show was more interested in being scary than deep, compared to the books but you can do both like Don’t Forget Me’s episode. The other changes are minor in comparison, like how Spencer is now more of a prankster and in place of Scott, we have a coward named Charlie.

The device in this version can store ghosts, the main ones being these kids who want to take over the heroes’ bodies. In the end, thy get trapped again and the device is smashed, but some random guy finds it and it still works well enough for him to be taken over, dun dun dun.

On its own, it’s a fun enough episode but it’s nothing that special. That’s fine, I just think perhaps adding the Ian stuff would help it stand out more. And on top of all that, the guy running the store is playing by Freddy himself, Robert Englund.

And he gets nothing memorable to do and is barely in it. That’s…lame for a horror show. Not a big deal but rather odd.

A fun episode but a bad adaptation. That Are You Afraid of the Dark’s Tale of the Shiny Red Bicycle is a better adaptation than this episode, to be honest. Watch that instead. (Haunting Hour’s Toy Train is another good option)

Book #8: Shadow Girl

While visiting her cousin, a bored girl named Selena discovers that she is really a superheroine named Shadow Girl, and, like all superheroes, has an arch-enemy who wants her dead.

This one is like They Call Me Creature when it comes to the writing style, as they both have a prologue and don’t feel very Stine-y. (I Didn’t have a physical copy to check but I’ll just assume this is Mr. George’s doing again)

Like that one, it works really well. The reveal of what is going on presents us with a really fascinating and sad idea, with people being put in roles they have no desire to be in. When it comes to superhero stories, it’s more Unbreakable than Attack of the Mutant.

I haven’t seen Glass so  I can’t make any jokes about that. (Now I’ve seen it. It was good, don’t have a joke though)

The scenes of Selena figuring things out as Shadow Girl as scary in a different way, with this 12 year old girl having to face actual criminals who want to harm people. I can’t blame her for not wanting to deal with that on a nightly basis.

It’s not quit excellent though. We get enough time to explore these ideas despite it being introduced 20 something chapters in but I do feel like it could have introduced earlier on. Certain elements could have been fleshed out more and some filler scenes could have easily been cut out.

It’s explained well enough for the most part, but there’s just not quite enough time to touch on everything, especially the reveal of who this burglar guy going around is. Although this whole thing revolves around a Book of Fates, so I blame The Fate Master.

The climax is rushed, but works in context, I guess. The twist annoys me because it’s actually a really good twist, but it’s another one that demands a sequel. Maybe if the series went on, we would have had Shadow Girl: Endgame but alas the story just sort of stops on this note that leaves me with a bunch of questions.

It feels like the end to a chapter, instead of the end of a book. But overall, this is a strong  entry with a likable lead, fascinating ideas, and a good sad tone, despite slightly wonky pacing and an ending that leaves me with too many questions.

It’s almost the best one and while the problems take away from it, it’s still a really good read that shows more of how “mature” this series could be.

Rating: Very Good

Book #9: Camp Nowhere

At summer camp, Russell and his friends row over Forbidden Falls — and find themselves in a summer camp haunted by Native American spirits.

I like how the 9th book is a camp one, just like in Goosebumps. It’s nowhere near as good, but it’s still pretty solid. The best thing about this book is that despite the presence of spirits, it feels mores subdued than other entries.

It plays out more like a general survival story, as they get lost and have to fend for themselves, without their guide. It’s a scary situation, even before ghosts get involved. The book has a decent pace to it as things get more intense.

It helps that while some of the characters are shitheads at times, they;re generally smart and seem to care about each other, especially Russel. As in, he’s especially proactive. He clearly takes after Billy. And he’s a redhead while still being all this!

As for the whole Native American thing, I think it could have been worse. The book at least sees them as tragic, as their backstory includes their land being defiled by the white man and being rightfully pissed about it. They don’t even turn out to be that evil in the end when they do show up.

One kid even corrects someone who calls them Indian, even if they go back to calling them that until the end when they go back to Native Americans, weird. Not perfect, but not totally the evil Native American Spirits trope either.

The main drawback for this one is once again the incredibly abrupt ending. Seriously, it basically just stops once they get out. No dumb twist at least but it just feels like Stine ran out of time and ended things on a random note.

There’s also this thing where Russel is picked on for being a bit of a wimp and he wants to prove them wrong, but that’s dropped later on. He still proves to be awesome, even early on but there’s no moment where this arc feels really complete, it’s just a thing to drive him for a little while.

The book is so solid otherwise that this sticks out, it just needed a more fleshed out arc to make the story more complete. It’s almost a really good one but even that issue doesn’t take away from one of the stronger entries.

The pacing is solid, it’s a good adventure, the lead is smart and it overall is a fun camp story that doesn’t’ rely on the usual cliches these stories typically hit. Besides the “Phone doesn’t work” scene, you gotta have that at least.

Rating: Good

By the way, there’s a line in the Camp Nightmare TV Episode where Roger jokes that they’re in ‘Camp Nowhere”. Foreshadowing! Speaking of TV…

TV EPISODE:

Writer: Paul Bernbaum

So only half of Part 1 of this two parter is on YouTube, while they have all of Part 2. So I’m missing like 11 minutes of this 44 minute experience, so I can’t tell you if they keep some of the survival stuff or this prank Ramos pulls.

But I can say what I did see was actually pretty spot on. As far as changes on, the main one is them getting rid of Forbidden Falls in favor  of an overnight where they have to spend the night at a creepy cabin that’s supposed to be near a legendary ghost camp. (Wrong
Stine story, guys)

I don’t mind this given maybe a big falls scene would be hard to film on their budget. It does add in hammered in foreshadowing in though, and focuses more on the “spooky” stuff than the survival element I mentioned.

The characters feel less proactive and are more reactive here which does make the story feel weaker but it’s not too drastic all things considered. Also, I failed to mention Ramos before which is fine as he’s way less important to the episode.

And here he merely has Native American roots while Book Ramos was full on Native American, which they changed so they could cast a white guy. Speaking of, when the spirits show up, they are clearly voiced by some guy doing a generic deep voice. Yikes.

That aside, they got most of the story right, especially when they get to the creepy camp. Ever beat is hit and they keep the ending while making it feel less abrupt. Although the aborted wimp arc is kept, so it’s oddly faithful to a fault.

Overall, if you twisted my arm, I’d say the book was a tad better but both were actually pretty good. This was the final episode and it was a good one to go out on.

Book #10: Full Moon Halloween

It’s a frightful Halloween night as a teacher gets four of his students, and he suspects one of them of being a werewolf.

I’m surprised it took this long to finally get to Stine’s old favorite: Werewolves. Also, Halloween. This one is more straight-forward than most of the others, but in a good way. It’s just these kids trapped in a house, being forced to do these weird games that supposedly will prove one of them is a werewolf.

Mr. Moon and his wife are pretty messed up, even if one of the kids is a werewolf. More dangerous than any big monster I’ve seen in this series. They even bring out these random fictional creatures that are at least somewhat dangerous, even if they only apparently are enemies to werewolves.

They also trap the kids with bars over the doors and such. Again, even if one of them is a werewolf this is really bad. Oh and they have a son, making them the obligatory awful parents.

The situation is decently intense and I do feel for these kids. The pacing is steady as the tension ramps up, and it taking place in only one location doesn’t hinder it too much. It’s a fun change of pace at least. The first twist works overall despite how kind of anger inducing it is, mostly because of a certain magical thing that happens. (Not literally, just to clarify)

The 2nd twist is well handled since there was enough hints without it being too obvious, although it does raise a couple questions. But once again, we’ve got an abrupt ending that takes away from the story. Stine has this issue in general, but these books have it worse since they’re generally better.

It’s not the worst abrupt ending ever, but it just sort of stops and is another one that leaves me wanting a more complete ending. But outside of that (and the Halloween element not being that important), this book works pretty well.

There are no deeper themes, nor is there anything as impressive as there have been in some of these others, it does what it does well. It has an intense situation with solid pacing and despicable villains. Tristan and Rosa are pretty likable leads, who are also smart. That’s cool too.

Overall, just a solid werewolf story with a weak ending. It’s simple in a good way.

Rating: Good

TV EPISODE:

Writer: Naomi Janzen

This adaptation is odd. They kept the basic setup and it flows about the same in the first half, and keep those weird creatures, called plogs. As well as a similar twist.

However, instead of Mr. Moon, a kid named Freddy sets this all up. The first twist from the book is revealed about halfway through here, and it turns out the plogs become human eaters when exposed to light thus putting them all n danger. The focus shifts to getting away from them with the whole werewolf thing being put on hold.

They start to focus more on the mystery aspect than the book did, before shifting gears in  a way that is both closer and further away. As I said, an odd take on the story. It’s still spooky fun though, even with a few Stine style lame fakeouts thrown in.

I do wish they kept the focus on the mystery, as I feel the book could have done that to make the tension work better. Also, the true reason Freddy is doing this is pretty lame to be honest.

Oh and yeah, this has the same exact cast from the original episode School Spirit. Not sure why but I bet after filming that one, they had to do another to meet a quota and this plot was easier to do since it’s a bottle episode. Either way, it’s neat.

So yeah, a weird adaptation but a fun episode, even if it is tad clunky in places.

Book #11: Scare School

Sam is haunted by an imp at his new school who preys on new students.

Here’s another pretty straight forward one, which works out decently well. It’s cool to see Stine tackling a creature he’s never used before. It’s not just a random monster that he just calls an Imp to pretend to be more original either, he takes advantage of the Imp’s mischievous nature with how this imp loves to play with people but hates to be challenged.

He does add his own spin though, as this imp has magic powers and can disguise himself as humans. A bit odd but it makes him more of a threat at least. What I find interesting is that Sam is set up to have a temper that got him in trouble in his old school, and this makes him really not like to be picked on by the imp.

It makes him similar to the villain with how they both hate to be challenged, which I found really neat. But sadly this doesn’t quite go anywhere and Sam doesn’t really learn anything about being easily agitated. Sure, it makes him proactive as hell but it does get him and his new friends in danger at some points.

I feel that could have been addressed but ah well. There’s this thing with wordplay that’s both lame and clever at the same time and the twist they do with that is neat but a tad cheap. The climax is actually good here although the ending is abrupt and the final twist is pretty whatever.

This feels the most Goosebump-y of all the books, but it doesn’t have that many fake-outs or any other major trope (the parents at least have a reason to not believe him since they say he often blames his problems on others and might be making up a silly story) so maybe that’s not true. It’s still basically How to Kill a Monster meets Creature Teacher though.

Overall, a simple but fun entry with good pacing and a solid threat, even if there’s some themes with the lead that could have been touched on. He’s still likable enough in the end since he is proactive, but this needed an extra re-write.

But even with that, it’s a fine one.

Rating: Good

Book #12: Visitors

UFO enthusiast Ben Shipley discovers that aliens are covertly invading Earth.

And so we the main book series ends with a one part version of Invasion of the Body Squeezers, that also has elements My Friends Call Me Monster would later steal from, although that element is already kinda like one part of Calling All Creeps.

Originality aside, this book is pretty solid. I liked Body Squeezers fine, but this showed it could have been told in one book. The book builds up a good mystery that no one else seems to care about since Ben is already a bit alien crazy. It even threatens to end his friendships, which I found to be added an interesting trickle to the story.

We don’t get a ton of time with the evil aliens but we get enough and see how they need to be stopped. Ben is a likable and proactive chap, and there’s some pretty decent tension once we see their full plan.

Most of it is just a fun read with a good mystery, but then there’s a pretty big twist later on. I won’t spoil it but is a major reveal that’s really interesting.

It adds an interesting layer and is done in a really nice way. We see how this affects them and is an interesting idea to have. I hate being so vague but I don’t wanna give it away. It’s not super deep, trust me, it’s just a neat reveal.

But if you guessed the ending is rather abrupt, you’ve been paying attention. After the twist happens, I wish we got more time to explore it before moving to the climax. What we get works fine enough but given how great that scene was, I wish THIS had been a two parter instead of Body Squeezers, it has more to it.

The climax and final scene themselves are fairly lame given what came right before it. There honestly feels there’s page missing between the last two chapters. I think it’s either just a bad abrupt ending or a scene was cut in production and he never really changed things up.

Either way, it makes the ending feel empty although the note it ends on is amusing, and not a dumb twist. It’s nice that this series had a happy ending at least. But even with that, this is a strong entry. It has a good threat, solid build up and is decently written with a great twist that could have been explored more.

Not much to really add. It’s a pretty solid way to end the series, even with the flaws and missed chances here and there.

Rating: Good

But we’re not quite done with the books yet…

Thrillogy #1: Fear Games

Yep. We’ve got a little mini-series that was published in between Camp Nowhere and Full Moon Halloween. Stine claims while he was writing Book 1, he thought it couldn’t all fit into one book so here comes a trilogy with a name only slightly stupider than Chillogy.

It’s not part of the main series, so that’s why I put it here instead of when it was published. I knew very little about this trilogy, since I never read it back in school so this should be interesting. Let’s see how this series handles a trilogy.

Twelve kids with special abilities have been selected to take part in a reality show called Life Games, set on an island haunted by a psychotic witch.

This did feel like a Part 1, but it was a pretty good part 1. It gets off to a rough start as April is kind of a jerk. She is dealing with an Alpha Bitch but she seems overly harsh for no reason. This section does have April jokingly pretending to have evil powers, which does play a part but I feel it could have been done better.

But she gets better once the games begin, being far more likable and even pretty proactive. Although the thing they do where bad things happen that she is blamed for is a rehash of My Name is Evil. At least it’s pretty engaging as her team starts to distrust her, but they gotta push through to win.

It has elements of Camp Nightmare too, but I think that’s always a good thing. The most interesting thing about this book is that it’s structured like some of the Fear Street trilogys, as it is split into parts with one part being set in 1680.

The writing in general is closer to Fear Street than the main series, just with a more kid centered plot. This section has a village girl being accused of cursing everyone and it’s honestly the best part part of the book. It’s written pretty well and I felt so bad for this poor girl. The maturity of stuff like Creature comes back here and it was pretty engaging.

Although the part where two boys seemed to be turned into chickens made me fear this was secretly a prequel to Chicken Chicken.

In the end, this was good for a part 1 as it sets things up decently well, with an intriguing story. I’m really curious to see how this all connects together and if making this a trilogy was justified. Nothing is super complicated but we have an okay cast of kids and a solid cliffhanger.

Despite a rough start, this was a good way to kick off this Thrillogy.

Rating: Good

TV EPISODE:

Writer: Richard Ressner

So…for some reason they just made this one into an episode and didn’t adapt the whole trilogy, and changed things up so this could be just one episode. Not even a two parter either. As a result, it’s pretty dang different.

This version of Life Games is a broadcast reality show while the book one was just a non televised one, and there’s no April being blamed for bad things. Kristen is also quite the bitch, whose actress is pretty bad to be honest. Although it does actually have some token references to the other books, to the point where it arguably spoils a part of them for those who assumed the other books would be ignored.

(I’m glad i wrote the TV Ep sections after doing all the books in this case)

There’s also an extra twist with a bit after it that makes things rather confusing. It’s a really odd “adaptation” but it feels like they read at least a summary of the trilogy, which is more than I can say for others. On its own, I actually enjoy it due to some decent suspense and a fun concept.

And the witch is played by Tippi Hedren. Yes, really. And she’s pretty great in it. It’s fine on its own despite some bad acting from Kristen and a dumb ending but it’s a very odd take on the trilogy. I personally wouldn’t have bothered if they couldn’t fit another multi parter in there. An odd way to end the TV Episodes section.

Thrillogy #2: What scares you the most?

April and her teammates are stranded on the island and must fight their biggest fears in order to escape.

It’s hard to talk about this one without going into spoilers, so this will be shorter. I will spoil that the title is kind of a lie. April goes through some scary stuff, but no one has to conquer their biggest fears, unless April’s biggest fear happens to be a witch. (There is a random title drop though)

It’s more about general survival and dealing with the fall out of a reveal that happens early on. This reveal is kind of cheap and is something Stine has done before but he does make sure some of what came before mattered, and he does make up for it in the end.

This feels like a middle chapter of course, but I feel they are justifying this decision more than I expected given how parts of Fear Games line up with some reveals here. But some parts do make me question their existence now that I see where this book goes.

We’ll see if Part 3 makes things more clear but I do have questions that I feel will not be answered, as well as the usual odd plot holes. That said, it’s still pretty strong with April being much more likable, as I start to really feel for her.

Once again the flashback to 1680 is the best part, even more so as we find out the deal behind the witch. And oh boy, with her Stine has created one of his most hateable villains ever. Trust me, once you see what she has done, you’ll agree. In the process, he also made one of his most sympathetic characters ever given what the villain does to them.

This one is odd, as I actually got into more than the first part, but it does make me question some of what came before and is clearly a middle chapter where less happens than you may expect, at least in a broad sense.

Still, it is a good followup with strong moments, and a great backstory for the villain. Regardless of how it all ends, this is a really solid middle chapter.

Rating: Good

Thrillogy: #3: No Survivors

April has returned to the haunted island in order to rid it of the witch’s spirits.

The trilogy comes to an end and this final note is…fine. Yep, we’ve got one of those cases on our hands. I can’t say too much without spoiling but I’ll try.

t feels like the least amount of things happen in this one, since it’s meant to repeat things and answer questions more than anything else. Most of the stuff that impressed me was already done in the other books so this was just more of that.

As for how it concludes the overall story, some questions were answered well enough and some parts of course made me question why certain things happened. There’s logic issues and a surplus of “Why didn’t you do that earlier?!” moments.

April’s side works out okay, with one moment that did make up for her actions in Part 1 of all this, even if it is small. But seeing Deborah’s story really makes me think this could have been all her, as she ends up being the most important. April has a role in terms of her reactions but that could have been explored more.

My biggest problem is the very ending. The nature of it was to be expected, but the actual note it ends on was confusing and felt off to me, especially one certain small line that made no sense given the context. It doesn’t lessen the good stuff but it does muddy things a tad. Could have been worse I guess.

So yeah, a mostly fine final chapter but it has some problems as a final chapter that prevent it from being more than just a fine ending.

Rating: Decent (a high one but that final note did hurt it in the end, sorry)

In the end, this trilogy was mostly pretty good and while I guess it could have been two books, being a trilogy didn’t hurt it too much. Stine was allowed to flesh certain things out more than usual but it did make some of the problems stand out more, like with the ending and logic issues.

The backstory alone makes this worth more than one book, so it can balance that with April so the problems are more general story ones that are made worse by the format. That said, some of the strongest Nightmare Room stuff is in here, especially all the Deborah scenes which I’ve gushed about.

I compared it to Fear Street and this feels closer to that overall, and in a good way. One part in No Survivors was the darkest thing I’ve seen in this series and belongs more there, even if it’s not as extreme of course.

So yeah, a weak ending is a blight on what was a pretty solid trilogy that could have been the best part of this series. Still, it is pretty good.

Thrillogy Rating: Good

Well, that does it with all the books. But of course, we’re not quite done yet.

ORIGINAL TV EPISODES:

Since there’s only 12/15 books, and they wanted this series to last, they chose to do a few TV Episodes that were original ideas.  It’s an early peek of what they would do with Haunting Hour, in that way. Anyway, here they are.

Scareful What You Wish For

Writer: Naomi Janzen

While packing away all of the toys from his childhood days before his 14th birthday, Dylan Pierce (Shia LaBeouf) is haunted by a strange little boy (Dylan and Cole Sprouse) who turns out to be Dylan’s favorite childhood doll come to life — and not willing to let his human friend go.

This was a good way to start the TV exclusive episodes as it feels like a very Stine idea, but done in its own way. Again, much like what Haunting Hour did in its first outing, interestingly enough. This episode has a bit of a quick pace to it but still manages to be pretty creepy.

Seriously, this was surprisingly effective with its scares. Buddy just has this unnerving feel to him, both as a doll and as a person and Dylan/Cole Sprouse are genuinely good here. I never thought they could be scary but they are here. The direction helps too.

Shia is good too, really selling how Dylan thinks he might be going crazy. I also like how his Mom is actually very caring and is concerned when he starts making these claims, and does take part in the story. I’d make a comment about how that’s how you know it’s not based on something Stine wrote but I think I bust his balls a bit too much on that front.

Wait, I just did, dang it.

Anyway, this episode is about Dylan wanting to grow up and asking if you should put away your childhood stuff or not. It doesn’t make a big statement although it leans towards wanting Dylan to mature, especially with the climax. Sometimes you do have to grow up and if you’re a doll, you should let him do so and not try to hurt his friends.

This episode mostly pulls off the scares really well along with an interesting theme without being preachy about. it. My only complaint is that the explanation for why Buddy is alive was unneeded. It doesn’t hurt the story too much but that kind of story works better without that kind of thing.

But aside from that, this episode was is really strong, and has a great dark ending. It has good scares and a solid story, not much to really dislike here.

(Also, one of the toys Shia tosses away early on is a “Megamorpher”. No comment.)

Rating: Great

Tangled Web

Writer: Paul Bernbaum

An incorrigible liar named Josh (played by Justin Berfeild) suddenly finds all his tall tales are coming true after his substitute teacher tells him he believes everything he says.

If I didn’t know any better, I’d assume the producers read Liar Liar, hoping to adapt it  but realized how dumb it was and just made their own version. Either way, this is the good version of that one. The premise makes more sense with the liar concept and it’s done well.

They create some crazy situations that are both scary and funny, like Josh having a hard ass military brother. There’s a comedic bent to the episode but it  also has decent suspense  and some alright scars. The pacing is a bit quick but it is mostly good as things get crazier.

David Carridine plays the teacher and while he is underused, at least he makes some sort of impact, which is more that I can say for Robert Englund in The Howler. Speaking of special appearances, there’s a very unexpected but awesome one near the end I won’t spoil.

But the thing that really makes this episode is the ending. It’s slightly abrupt but the note it ends on makes up for it. It does something I never expected from this kind of show but it makes for a haunting note to go out on. It’s very well done and drives home the moral further.

Overall, I can see some finding some parts a bit too silly but I think the tones are balanced pretty well. It’s a basic but well told “lying is bad” story with surprisingly good suspense, decent comedy, and a great ending.

I wasn’t expecting to like this one as much as I do but it’s pretty well done.

Rating: Very Good

School Spirit

Writer; Scott Murphy

A group of students that are serving detention must help the ghost of a teacher whose contributions are being buried and forgotten.

This episode sadly has no purgatory but it’s still pretty good. I do feel it can try too hard to be scary though. There’s some effective enough build up and atmosphere as the kids keep getting picked, off, so you don’t need the loud boo noises they use at some points.

They also do that thing where most of the characters don’t have memory of the scary events by the end, which I typically find pointless and that applies here. Aside from that, this works pretty well. As I said, it builds up a solid atmosphere as Mr. Langley pushes them for their sins. His words, not mine.

Well actually, only one of them really did anything to him. The rest are either unlucky enough to be related to someone who wronged him or the like. I think he should have punished the school staff for burying his contributions, but I’m not a ghost so what do I know.

Either way, this does have a good lesson about respecting teachers and such. You do feel bad for the teacher and he’s a solid threat with an okay motivation. The twist ending is a solid enough note to end as well.

This episode could have perhaps gone a bit deeper and toned down the jump scars, but overall it was pretty solid. It’s a good story with a good character in the form of Langley with a pretty decent flow to it. It’s almost really good but I’m happy enough with it to call it pretty good, boo scares and all.

Rating; Good

(Also, are these the exact same characters from Full Moon Halloween? If so, that raises a question regarding the former…)

And FINALLY…

Four Eyes

Writer: Scott Murphy

Jeremy Clark’s new glasses gives him the power to see aliens secretly living among humans and ready to take over the world.

So in other words, They Live for kids. There, got that obvious comment out of the way. Anyway, this episode is a lot of fun. It’s not a comedy one, it’s just that the way it plays out is more fun and suspenseful rather than scary. They never got to do an episode for Visitors so this is a nice way to have almost done one.

The doctor is played by John C McGinley (such range, right?) and he does decently well, but he doesn’t have too much to do. He’s fine, but just sort of there in the end, to give him the glasses and tell him what they do later on.

This feels fairly close to something Stine would do, complete with a fake out where someone claims to see what is going on, but is just kidding around. And it works to give this a more fun vibe. The suspense is solid, as you don’t quite know who will turn out to be an alien.

The make up on the aliens looks decent and the female friend has decent chemistry with Jeremy. The cliche bullies weren’t needed though. The twist is ending is actually well handled, being foreshadowed nicely and was a decent surprise.

My only real problems are that A. I wanted more explanation is how Dr. Cox knows of the aliens to begin with and B. the ending almost feels s like setup for a Part 2 we never got. The climax didn’t quite feel big enough for this to make for a satisfying ending.

But the nature of the episode makes that less of an issue. Overall,it’s a simple setup used to god effect that makes for a fun episode. Nothing deep at all, but it’s good fun with a solid twist. That’s about it, a good end to our journey.

Rating: Good

And that was all of The Nightmare Room. Overall, it was a pretty interesting series for Stine and honestly, it paid off for the most part. It’s able to take the basic set up of his previous series and make it a tad more mature.

The structure is similar enough but does enough different to be worth being another series. This could have just been a cheap attempt to do more Goosebumps with a different skin and while some books like Liar Liar feel like that, most do their own thing.

You’ve seen how the books are able to fix the flaws Goosebumps can have by having more proactive/likable protagonists with some slightly deeper/darker stories. Even some of the lighter entries had some miracles like the proactive leads.

The problems really just come with his natural problems as a writer rather than anything built into this series, most notably the rushed endings which I’ve complained about quite a bit.

I do wish he hadn’t done it monthly, that’s always been more of a thorn, forcing him to rush some of the stories.

I wish it caught on but I get why it didn’t . Stine would later say himself in an interview that looking back, it was presented too much like Goosebumps  so people just assumed it was the same thing and passed on it. I think doing it so soon after Series 2000 ended was a mistake.

That’s sad because he made an effort to age it up a bit, and it managed to be a fair bit better despite how short it was.  As for the TV Show, it was fun but it did peak early on and never rose above “good” after Tangled Web.

That and Scareful are really strong but the rest is simply good fun, and they don’t exactly represent the books very well. It was an important step in the evolution of Stine shows, so it was fun to look back on.

As a whole, The Nightmare Room was a noble attempt to “mature” a bit while still keeping what kids enjoy about how his work. It wasn’t all great, but even with some books having rushed endings and such, I at least appreciate the effort.

I’d say this nightmare turned out well for how it short it was. My favorite book was Don’t Forget Me, by the way. Best Episode was Scareful What You Wish For. Yeah, both the books and TV Show peaked pretty early on, but They Call Me Creature came close.

I’d recommend most of the series if you’re interested, all the books have an ebook so you can have easier access. The show is all mostly on YouTube with a couple DVDs that have 8 of the 13 episodes.

Feel free to dive into the nightmare, it’s a solid footnote in R.L. Stine’s ever growing bibliography. Even with some problems, it’s worth discovering if you’re interested.

Not sure I needed to do such a deep dive on it but there you go, that’s all I got. Should have more Stine reviews soon, but hopefully this is enough for now. Infact, I’m so ready to do more that I think we’ll do monthly Stine book reviews, provided I have room, so I can avoid the problems I got into last time.

So screw it, join me next month as we go back to Goosebumps, and a certain new millennium of fear.

See ya.

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