Hello, Spongey here.
Well, 2020 is coming to an end. … I’m not doing the thing. You all recall my whole thing i 2018, it won’t take all of…this to break it. Yeah, I will admit I came close but at this point I’m getting sick of all the doomers and such that I’m burnt out. I’m sure Norty’s video will go into all that and whatnot.
(Correct: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9csX8XM-I68 )
However, I don’t want to sugar coat everything either. We had plenty of large scale problems, like the pandemic and racial injustices that lead to big protests. It all really sucked and in some ways goes beyond typical bad things. Yet the way people made “2020 sucks” into a meme almost kind of trivialize it. I don’t know, could be just me.
Either way, I am aware of how 2020 was for the world, I just choose not to a debbie downer about all of it. That aside, is it really that hard to wear a mask when you go out?! Anyway, as for how 2020 was for me, if it were not for the world stuff, it would be another just average one.
The worst stuff, that is too personal to get into at the moment, was near the start of the year. Otherwise, it more or less the same. As far my mental state goes, some of the 2018 woes did return at some points as a result of the world stuff. It doesn’t affect me super directly, no one I know got COVID or anything like that so it so it almost felt weird looking at the news and such compared to where I am. That said, I do really miss theaters, even if it at least helped me save money.
On the brighter side of world stuff, and sorry for being political but Trump is out and while sure, Biden is a complicated matter, at least we don’t have to worry about being on the verge of World War 3 for a while. Yeah, remember that?
As far as the blog goes, I reached a point where the idea well seemed to run dry and I got worried I was finally running out of what little steam I had. Thankfully, I got inspired and now I’m in idea overload so 2021 should be fun. As far the projects go, I hit some milestones.
I finally watched every DCOM and reviewed every all the the Friday the 13th. I covered some Goosebumps ripoff reviews, and while that Erik Patterson interview still isn’t out (I swear it’ll happen eventually), I did at least get Jim Kreig for my Spooksville post. Between the usual stuff I had some neat projects that I just enjoyed doing.
It seems like every year has me doing the usual scene by scene film/book stuff than a couple big projects, and a few disposable ones that I still enjoyed. If that’s how it will be, I’m cool with that as I still have ideas to last a while.
As for a random good thing outside of the blog no one else cares about, there’s been a new surge of Goosebumps/Stine podcasts, most of which have already mentioned me. And even before then, I found out about them through them following that Out of Context account I made. I swear this was the year of me either using or gaining connections via social media. I found out that Taye Diggs follows me. No, I don’t know either, maybe too many people do follow for follow. (Oh and speaking of Goosebumps, I finished collection the original 62 which is a big personal win for me tbh)
So yeah, 2020 had some things to like and this blog is still going to go strong for as long as I can do it. I will have my bouts of being unsure or having weak posts but ah well. So after all that, I want to reflect further. I was going to do my usual thing of looking at the best things I reviewed, as I have more to pick from.
However, there are some things I just want to talk about in a general way so here we go again. Once again we’re just generally looking at every post I did this year, except for General Reviews as there isn’t much to say and of course there were hardly any. Remember, if you want more in a way, follow me on Letterboxd.
So let’s reflect on what I managed to do this year and get a peek into my messed up mind.
This, is the 2020 Blog Post Retrospective
I’m going to split up between the three main type of things I do: Scene by Scene movie reviews, Stine reviews, aaand the rest!
Scene by Scene Movie Reviews
So I want to focus more on the movies/media than the reviews themselves for the most part since I tend to repeat myself. You all know I generally don’t do the best with these unless the movie is of a certain type. Anyway…
Ah yes, my first review of the 2020’s. These movies always gave me plenty to work with. They are the kind with all the ingredients needed for a good snarky review along with plenty of things to analyze.
These movies are flawed in concept from the get go but they did manage to do some good things. It’s just that they bite off more than they can chew. They try to have character moments and these big plot point and more often than note they don’t blend them amazingly well.
This one take a step down from the second one’s improvement, with that forced border stuff and the forced forgiveness of the villain stuff. This had some interesting additions but I think it’s a good thing this seems like the end of the trilogy. Really is a shame about Cameron Boyce though. Seriously, it’s still kind of surreal in a way to think about that.
I think I did well on going into the mixed-ness of these and especially this one. Honestly, my spiel about Mal/Evie in the review of the 2nd one might be one of my best moments. I got to do more of that here, as it just got more silly to me. Side note, despite Jen Vaughn’s involvement, I’ll just assume that the one off comic does not resolve this issue.
Anyway, some good stuff came out of this trilogy but as a whole, they fell short. I suppose I’ll take them over Zombies at least but we’ll get to that later.
Of the fairly few movies I covered this year, this was easily the worst, which is impressive given I did a Dingo movie. This is a review I think came out as well as I was worried I would get repetitive but I did well in explaining where it went wrong. It would be easy to say that trying to do shock comedy at all is bad but it’s more complicated than that.
This tries to be kind of traditional and weird at the same time but doesn’t really go all the way with it. Some of the joke already make it unappealing to a more normal audience so why not embrace the weird-ness more? Thing like that period scene could have been funny in a shocking way if they went all the with it.
As it is, the directing is kind of off so the joke generally don’t land. If they went further some of the jokes, it may not have appealed to everyone but at least some people would like it. That kind of thing has an audience so why not appeal to it? Perhaps the world just wasn’t ready for that.
Either way, it’s bad. Not funny and just becomes weirdly sad after a while. If it worked on a general way, it would have made up for other problems but nah. If it went more out there some of the bits, I could at least respect it depending on the execution at least. It could have been either worse for all I know, especially if they keep the weak writing as is but whatever.
I’m not how Broken Hearts ending up being the best of the Valentine’s tie ins I have done, but here we are. Overall, at least half of the title is accurate. Oh and I still haven’t seen Norbit but I want just I can be sure about it compared to this.
Friday the 13th Part 7: The New Blood
Oh yeah, this was the year I finally finished these. It has been such a long year. I am so glad I finally finished these. I would have finished them earlier but I took some break for various reasons.
I did enjoy reviewing these but eventually it got a bit repetitive. These are easy to make fun of it, it is just that the last few I did really made it clear these had a fomrula that made it hard to say new things about. They were usually at least kinda fun but I will admit it’s not my favorite series.
Even the first one wasn’t really that great per say. For a series I did all of, I’m kinda lukewarm on them. I did have less fun with them as the reviews went on, as I don’t focus as much on humor these days. Still, they are fun to do and it was interesting to see the quality differences over time.
I hope that legal stuff is cleared eventually. This one represented the quality of some of these, with standard Jason stuff but some cool things outside of that which can feel a bi short changed in the end. It was a noble attempt to mix things up though.
While I claimed to be done, there may still be more. There was a TV Show that actually has no real connection outside of the title but may still be worth a look, maybe as a marathon thing. I’m also interested in a short lived series of YA novels they did in the 90’s, that was a clear attempt to cash in on the whole Point Horror craze. One of those could be fun to do, we’ll see.
But as for the main film series, I’m glad I can put Jason to rest for now.
Moses: Prince of Egypt
I’m not mad, I’m just disappointed. When I finally covered a Dino Pictures movie, I expected a really painful experience that would lead to a great review but instead it was just…bad. Yes, it had everything I expected, especially with the awful animation.
But compared to the reviews I’ve seen of their movies, this was pretty tame. The story is just a rushed version of the original story, nothing nearly as wild as some of their other movies. The shitty-ness mainly comes from the animation, which gives some hilarious moments.
It’s bad but not in an anger inducing way. As I said, I was let down. That’s what I get for going after a less known one, I guess. The review wasn’t too bad though, I get enough out of the animation at least.
Otherwise, like a lot of things this year, something I wanted to be big was kind of a let down. I’m not doing another one though, one was enough and again, we have Phelous for that anyway. I just wish my one journey into Dingo madness was at least a bit more interesting. Ah well.
Shadow Zone: The Undead Express
So as I teased in the previous review, my plan was do Cop and a Half next but that got changed when I found out about this. Well, actually I heard of it back when I first heard that one podcast on the book. But at the time I figured it was too obscure to be able to find so I left it alone.
When I did the Goosebumps Ripoff Month, I was reminded me of the series and looked further into these movies and was surprised to see they were on Amazon Prime and Tubi. Well maybe the latter isn’t too surprising but whatever. Thus I watched this to see if it was worth talking about and here we are.
Thanks to my totally legal sources, I have access to some of the books but not this one, although it is on Amazon Kindle. Should have checked to see if it on Unlimited when I had the trial but ah well. Still cool that the surprise got slightly relevant in the 2010’s.
This movie feels like an extended Are You Afraid of the Dark episode in a way, with it’s attempt to have a bit deeper of a story. It just didn’t really work in the end. Their attempt to turn this short book into a full movie just made it overlong. The main arc wasn’t developed full enough and the whole thing feels like a good faith effort that felt undercooked.
I can certainly appreciate adding more depth to what I imagine was thin source materiel, just needed to be perhaps an anthology movie with multiple stories instead of what they did. Impressive that they had Wes Craven for a cameo though and it’s still decently made for what it is.
As for the other movie, if it is reviewable, I will do it AND read the book so I can compare them. That will be fun to do, and it will be an excuse to cover one of the books in some way. I might make it by Halloween review so I don’t have to struggle to think of one to do when I get there.
I’m glad I did this one first though. See, Teacher Ate My Home features Mackenzie Gray, who was actually later in two Haunting Hour episodes…and Spiney in Spooksville. Thus review during that time when that post was taking while and it seems like actors from it were appearing everywhere I go, jut to taunt me.
This would have just added more to it lol. Anyway, we’ll see how the books fare someday, but this an underwhelming outing that is a weird piece of history for me. I just wanna know why these were made to begin with, really.
Cop and a Half: New Recruit
So I had a hankering to take another peek at this odd current trend of Direct to Video sequels to movies no one even care about anymore. Universal has especially been doing these and it seems like they get more odd. I wasn’t sure which one to do and I planned to watch more but once I saw this one, I figured I’d do it.
It wasn’t so bad so much as that I didn’t wanna waste too much time and this was reviewable enough. I also watched Benchwarmers 2 which was just meh but was actually the only one to actually be a sequel, sort of. I’m curious about Granddaddy Day Care but at least that one admits the connection is only vague.
This really wasn’t super awful but it was super pointless. It was at least more watchable than I expected but it didn’t really justify its existence. There really isn’t much to add here, it’s not hugely interesting. It generally doesn’t do anything that awful and some of the actors can bring a few laughs at times.
It’s a filler review but it had enough to comment on to make it a bit better than other filler reviews I have done. I actually wrote this one in Google Docs as it has a better spellchecker and yet a few things slipped through. Huh. I’m just surprised the movie wasn’t worse, I’d likely forget if not for the review.
I wish I was able to watch the original and maybe I didn’t look hard enough. Someday I’ll watch it and see how it compares. For now, we have this very pointless but not awful remake.
Oh boy, the return to the Zombies universe. This is one of those sequels that is improvement, but only because it got all the setup out of the way and so naturally the sequel will have gotten past all the more cringey stuff. Everything I didn’t care for is still there, just lessened a bit.
The commentary is still trying too hard and as I sad, feels especially kind one tone deaf now. But it’s so goofy it’s bard to get that offended, at least to me. There’s not much in terms of nuance but the sequel tones it down so it’s not as bad. Although…the backstory is literally primarily white settlers coming in and taking something from another culture that was already there.
Maybe I’m reading too much into it, whatever.
Anyway, it’s all pretty easy to make fun of but there are certain parts that still have a certain charm to them that makes not wanna be too hard on these in some aspects. It’s like Descendants where they manage to have similar good things through the sequel, there are just problems baked into the franchise that are hard to get over.
Weirdly, they haven’t fully announced a third one yet despite the odd sequel bait that implies aliens. They have recently done this one music video and shorts that are…let’s charitably call them animated. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=N0I09lvj1dg
This could be a sign that announcement is coming soon, but it’s odd that it hasn’t come already. But the second wasn’t announced until around a year after the first came out so I suppose it makes sense. Anyway, I suppose you wouldn’t count me among the critics who helped give this a 100 on Rotten Tomatoes.
I’m not kidding. There’s only a few reviews but still.
So yeah, this sequel may have at least given me good materiel and had good aspects but overall, I wouldn’t say they have much in terms of brains. I know I kinda make that kind of joke before, I don’t care.
Ah yes, the brother birthday review. I really did have to go through a few movies before settling on this one. I really thought those Nick movies would have more to talk about but sadly not really. I do want to do more Nick TV Movies someday though.
It was fun to look back at this as it holds up okay. It didn’t have quite as much to make jokes about as I expected though, so it wasn’t as big of a review as I wanted. Still, the movie is fine. It’s just a fun little romp with some wild things and decent heart.
It doesn’t do anything great per say but it was balanced and better than expected in some areas. Perhaps not quite for the full on acclaim it had at the time but it may have just stood out from so many other family films at the time.
I certainly have to respect it, even if the franchise got a bit drawn out. Also, they did a Netflix cartoon recently, maybe someday I’ll finally watch it. Maybe. This is another one where I can’t add much from the review.
I can say that I have no idea if I will have seen We Will Be Heroes by now but I’m curious about the return of Lavagirl and Sharkboy. Again. why not at this point? But yeah, this is a weird little romp that has fun to be decent family viewing. Not my best review ever but eh, it happens sometimes.’
And…yeah, we can move on, not much more to say.Also, between this and Bad Moonlight, I dealt with some weird werewolves this year.
For a while I was stumped on what to do for Halloween this year. I wanted to go through a bunch of movies but once I saw this one, I settled on it. It was a solid storm of crappy-ness all around. An interesting note is that while I found out about it through Tubi, I watched it on Amazon Prime…and it was taken off there literally just a day after the review went up. It even told me in advance. Guess even they are embarrassed about it.
It’s the kind of movie that to me didn’t go into being totally awful but still didn’t have much going through it. I didn’t mention but the production values, while not good, aren’t as awful as in other movies like this. Mostly just slightly competent but mediocre, which is sadly high praise all things considered.
It’s just a dumb and sloppy movie that can’t it’s plot points very well. There isn’t much to add to this one really, it kind of speaks for itself. Although I will mention that when I first watched this, I didn’t notice the scenes with the dog outside showed him in the shade so when they brought up his sun problems I thought they were just that incompetent but nope, I just wasn’t paying enough attention. Glad I caught that when I did the review at least.
Side note, should I watch all of that Pup Academy show? A second season came out this year so Robert Vince is still hard at work, maybe I should honor that. Anyway, this movie is bad, end of story.
(Also, this years in a row where the official Halloween review movie had a Haunting Hour actor in it. I swear I didn’t plan that…but if I do that other Shadow Zone movie, it will keep up the trend.. Gee)
Gremlins 2: The New Batch
I first wanted to watch the movie on my own to see if it was worth reviewing, since I am more picky about that these days. However, I didn’t know what else to do for November so I figured screw it. I needed something good that would be easy to talk about so here it is.
Not much to add here. Still a sequel that I appreciate for the meta turn and creativity, even if it can still be a bit same-y at spots and it takes a bit to get going. But man, that discover of the whole president line in a deleted scene was….something.
I will mention something neat I can’t fit in elsewhere: Tim Jacobus did some Gremlins art that Joe Dante shared on Twitter. Thought this was nice, and fitting given the whole thing of Don’t Sit on the Gronk being inspired by Gremlins.
Anyway, that’ll do for this one.
Honestly the weirdest posts to take about on these are always the last ones as I basically just did them, so it’s hard to reminisce about them. With this movie, I wasn’t sure how well it would hold up. Would it be great or just pretty good? It more more in the middle it those.
It has those drawbacks but as it went on it won be other further with the nice moments and such. It has enough heart to make it a pretty solid one, even with all the antics. Not a huge favorite per say but it is very enjoyable and good.
And…that’s about it, really nothing to say regarding how the review went or anything like that. Except that it feels like a movie I should own on DVD but I’ll get it eventually I swear. A nice movie to end on, I think.
R.L Stine Reviews
Now for the ones I will somehow have way more to say about.
Goosebumps IDW-Download and Die
Well, we certainly started with a bang. Even if I brought this up before, I should mention it again: I read this before Monsters at Midnight, mostly due to hearing about Keith’s appearance. Little did I know there would be a far more interesting surprise in here. Honestly, the main reason I did Monsters at Midnight when I did so I could just get to this one and fully talk about Mitra.
I full admit I am kind of obsessed with that aspect but you can’t blame me. If you told me even just a few years ago that there would be a gay character in this franchise, I wouldn’t believe you but here we are. In my mind it overshadows everything else but the rest is certainly interesting too.
I do wish I liked this just a bit more, as I do feel it bites off more than it can chew. It could have been longer but I’d just cut out things like Sybil’s cameo since it doesn’t add much. and just leaves less room to develop other things. I also would honestly take out Slappy all together and have Keith be the main villain since ya know, he’s the one with the dream powers.
But the things that do work do make up for the bloated nature of it. I would weirdly want a follow up, not just to explain the ending but because I do really like the main group would enjoy seeing more of them. Doubt that will happen but hey, you never know. I didn’t expect more to come at all after Witch House but here we are!
Also, I hadn’t mentioned that whole possibility of Fear Street gays in the movies anywhere and was gonna post about it on Twitter but I saved it for this as it was fitting. Seriously, that aspect better in them or I will be quite cross.
Anyway, this comic may have gotten a bit bloated but as a whole it had plenty of enjoyable surprises.Even taking aside the gayness, it showed further the interesting things other people can do with this franchise.
Goosebumps Series 2000 I Am Your Evil Twin
What I said was true, this is one that I had been wanting to do for a while and would have been the one I came back with, if Revenge R Us did not exist. I swear I owned this book more than once in my life, in the sense that I had it, lost it, then had to re get it. I could be wrong but I swear I have memory of that.
Anyway, this book really was kind of impressive, especially when it comes to the setup and payoff. Everything feels important and it gets about everything else right to. That mysterious teasing got to be a bit much upon reviewing it, as it works better when you are recapping it.
Otherwise, it is mostly that ending that holds it back. I really wanted to rate it higher as the best moments are really great but boy that twist was a mess. On its own its just pointless given the part right before it did the same thing, but the POV switching was just odd. Maybe in a Fear Street where this happens more often it could work but even then it would feel cheap.
Ah well, it’s still very good either way. It mostly avoids the more common problems of the series and creates a pretty solid and surprisingly well written ride. Also, I didn’t mention this but at one point they watch Twilight Zone the Movie. I knew at some point Stine had the name drop, just odd that it was the movie. Apparently Nan has seen it a lot. Actually, this lead to me putting it on a poll and after watching, I got to finally marathon every version of the series so…that’s something.
So yeah, a nice guy one I had to for myself before I jumped in into the big stuff in the next couple months.
(By the way, one of Stine’s stand alone kids books from 2000, Three Faces of Me, basically borrows the same concept to the point where in the 2011 reprint he has an introduction where he basically admits he did the idea in thi9s book. Nice. Also he refers to Monty by his full name, Montgomery which is amusing as it’s only mention at the start, in the context of Monty hating it but Mom still calling him that as it’s what dad would have wanted. Okay, d’aww)
Tales to Give You Goosebumps
Oh I was so happy to finally do this. Yes, I only did it just to set up the Christmas one. I knew I would do that but it would be weird to just jump to it, given it is the best one. So here is the first one.
My feelings on the Tales series overall is complicated but at least I’m easier on them then Troy often was. Most do follow in the same vein as this one but the same time, I don’t how hard I can really be. This does have the excuse of being the very first one.
And I would call it Average rather than bad or anything like that. They are just short stories, they don’t need to be amazing, just fill the time well and be enjoyable. I do find too many just fall a bit short. It us up to tastes though, I can see some liking Strangers in the Woods more since it at least flows well.
Plus, even the weaker ones have things to like. Good Friends at least feels different and has a good twist, and Teacher’s Pet has some decent build up, even if it amounts to not that much. And of course we have the actually good ones. I do wish Broken Dolls was better in places as it’s almost great but not quite.
Still, it’s a creepy stand out. The short stories tend to be mostly just silly which I get but it’s cool to get one that’s geuingely unnerving like this one. Reviewing these is hard since it’s easy to go into recap mode or make each section too long with how short the subject matter is.
Still, it is fun to do. I do enjoy short story collections like this, even when they aren’t good, they are always fun to read and talk about. This isn’t exactly a good one, but for a start, it has its moments. Even it would far outclassed later but we’ll get to that when it comes up.
One last thing, I got sick during the process of doing this review…and this was right as you know what was really hitting. Thankfully it was a normal cold but man I was scared for a moment. Also, I got sick one other time this year…the week before I did the Christmas Tales review. Whoa. Thankfully it was shorter and not to be gross, but it was also less bad for me.
Goosebumps Ripoff Month
Now for my favorite thing I did on the blog this month. I wanted to just talk about the month as a whole to mention things that would clog up the sections. I’ve known about these since a bit after I got into looking up this stuff alone back in the late 2000’s. I know Blogger Beware commenters would sometimes mention them and I think Troy mentioned having read one Bone Chillers book as a kid.
Most people are aware of at least one of these but not too many dive into them. At least as adults. On Reddit, I actually did a thread asking if anyone had experiences with them and got a few responses, seems like plenty at least tried one of from some of them at some point.
Some reviews exist for these, but it was cool to do my own take. I did plenty of research and well done a lot of rabbit holes in the process. I’ve never done a theme month only for books before so it was different at least.
I actually added the tons of other entries in these series I have access to in my reading rotation, so for most of these I have read more of them and will go into how that went as we go.
One last thing before I get into the books themselves. There’s one series I didn’t mention that I did straight up forget as I knew about it. It’s called Hair-raisers and it’s from Australia, and they are so hard to get a hold of that I doubt I’ll ever get to do one, sadly. I did listen to a podcast about one though, the same one that did that Shadow Zone and Bone Chillers ghostwriter interview.
I mention this due to one awesome thing: The author is Margret Clark but she used the name Lee Striker. This is because, according to her own website, this meant the name would appear next to Stine’s in libraries and such. …The honesty is so refreshing, I love her already.
Also, this must have been the year of Goosebumps reviewers diving into these, as both Retro and Goosebuds did some of Shivers. Neat. Now, as I said on Twitter, I plan to do this all again next year to cover some of the ones I didn’t do the first time.
I’m doing Spinetinglers, Fright Time, Galaxy of Fear, and Graveyard School. That should certainly be interesting, hopefully. I also may some good Goodreads reviews for some others I don’t feel like doing in full like Choose Your Own Nightmare….and maybe Heebie Jeebies, just to see how they compare to Spinechillers.
And speaking of which…
Spinechillers Mysteries-Dr. Shivers Carnival
I first heard about this series in Retro’s blog on the second Gooflumps, it was among the ripoff series they could do. The description alone got me interested so I looked it up and found a video on a few entries from a channel that sadly does not do Goosebumps anymore and infact deleted most of those videos. Weird.
This series is just so odd, I know Christian knock offs are a thing, just didn’t think there would be one for Goosebumps. I honestly wanted to be harder on this but it ended up being more boring than anything else. The very reason it exists prevents it from being anything of worth. When you take away the religious aspect, it’s just kind of a lame story that isn’t that fun.
As I said, the whole thing seems pointless as they all have the same moral it seems, and this book especially gets insulting at the tail end. I can respect the idea in some ways but in other ways it’s just preachy and pointless. That whole discovery of the versions with the religious stuff cut out was pretty interesting, I really do go all out for these.
In the review, I made a crack about Chris T Ian so I should explain that. Reviewer The Media Wiz has some other shows besides his main one and Chris T Ian is, as the name implies, a parody of certain Christians and he looks at certain and often odd Christian media.
We had already talked a few times and I teased this review a bit before I posted it. Then come October, there’s a Chris T Ian video about this book where an excerpt from my review is in the thumbnail! Plus I gained the name of SpongeyThreeNumbers, which is almost as good as The Editor. ..Don’t ask.
So, that was cool. Also, you may notice that his copy is actually that De-Christian-ified version I mentioned, heh.
One last thing, I found Tim Ayers website during my research and saw he had a contact there. While I was decdicated to trying to contact most of these authors, this one I wasn’t sure about given I was kind of hard on his work. …But later I broke down and sent an email asking in a nice way how this came about and…..well, he responded.
Well, that was actually interesting insight. I don’t take back what I said, but it’s nice to know he’s a fine enough guy regardless of how I feel about the series. Interesting to know that someone else also wrote some I guess before he took over. And yeah, I asked if knew of Heebie Geebies, I just had to lol.
But anyway, a weird and fun one to start the month of, as well as a good April Fool’s post. Also, I agree with Cartoon Hero, Godbumps works better than Jesusbumps.
Strange Matter-Creature Features
It’s funny to think that I only did this because of a random Haunting Hour episode. This one I bumped into on TV Tropes and was interested based on how they described it. Then when I re-watching the Haunting Hour episode, I noticed that “based on” credit and looked it up, discovering that it was based on this book.
It’s still weird that this even happened, especially since the episode was In Name Only. Engle & Barnes are credited for the story outside of the adaptation credit, so maybe they come up with the idea for the changes. I know from their blog, that you gotta use Wayback to look at some of, that they quite enjoyed the experience so I wouldn’t worry too much about how different it is.
Anyway, having read a few more, plus the first three of those Strange Forces ones, I can say this is my favorite of the ripoff series I covered. Outside of the books just generally being fun and mostly well written, the approach to continuity is fascinating. Upon further gleaming, it turns out it goes deeper into than just simply the Fear Street approach.
There are the expected name drops but sometimes characters will have more notable roles in other books than just a cameo. Infact, Simon from this book was previously the protagonist of another one, which may be why he got shafted here lol. Thankfully he got another chance as the leads of this book are also the leads in a later entry, called Under Wraps. Insert DCOM joke here.
I wanna get access to that one someday. Then we have the case of a bully from one book getting more tame to the point of becoming the protagonist of one of the entries I read. Between that and Strange Forces, this series was honestly kind of ambitious for the time. They sometimes tow that line between the usual middle grade of the time and the more complex YA books we have these days.
This was the series I was the most hyped to read more from and they generally managed to be solid. You can tell this series had plenty of effort put into it, so it’s good that it lasted a little while and got at least one shot at an adaptation. Doorway to Doom is my favorite main series one so far, btw.
Also, there are audio-books that are actually on Audible and the first like 18 or so are there, quite a lot. One last thing is that the series planned to go on longer, as rhe final book even has a preview for the next one, but the series was canned after that. Darn. Also, the last few books shifted to a bigger focus on action, complete with covers done by a graphic novel studio. Neat.
Oh and this book itself was still a fun B movie tribute, if a bit undercooked in some ways. Overall, this is a strange but still solid matter indeed.
Deadtime Stories-Terror in Tiny Town
Not counting Spinechillers, this is my least favorite out of these series. It’s not bad, but it’s more middling and less interesting. This book was mostly just typical with some notable flaws like the unlikable leads and dumb reason for this all happening. And the TV episode didn’t really fix much. I do enjoy it but more in spite of the flaws due to anything super good.
The other ones I read were better though. If the books were more like Invasion of the Appleheads, then we’d have something here. Even that had flaws but it flowed well and had a more creative and well executed idea. Nightmare on Planet X was lesser than that but still at least interesting and mostly fun. Still has some nagging problems though.
This series is mainly in that middle of the quality and honestly feels the closest to Goosebumps in objectivity quality. But hey, still usually at least fine, and perhaps future entries I read will prove me wrong. I do find the TV Show the least entries out of the 3 “ripoff” series that got shows though. Bone Chillers was at least really wild and Spooksville was geuingely good all the way through. I would say I like the Deadtime Stories show from what I’ve seen, just wish they had other writers aside from the authors handling it.
Actually, there are some interesting notes about it. First, I noticed they always showed the reprint covers during the babysitter segments, even for ones did get ones. I was curious about if there were unpublished reprints out there…so I found the artist of the reprints’ website and asked him about and basically I was told that that he did only did the 6 or so that were published, so some other guy did the ones seen in the show. K.
The show had one totally original episode that was still written by the Cascones so it’s like a new book. We do still see a book in the opening so I wonder if that would have been published had the show done better. This episode is Who’s Giggling Now and it wasn’t released until a year after the short run on Nick. …And it was only Viemo of all places.
But that’s not all. That Nancy character from one episode not only appears in another (Deadtime Stories Cinematic Universe confirmed!) even though that wasn’t the case in that book from what I could skim, but Who’s Giggling Now stars her as the protagonist. That’s pretty interesting thing.
There’s one last thing to get off my chest. I mentioned that Gina ghostwrote one Animorphs book and that has an odd deal. So in Poparena’s video on that book, The Other, her name was spelled differently and that spelling gave him no results so his theory was that this was actually Gina Cascone and in a later video talking about all the ghostwriters for the series, he showed an image of them and under Gina it says “Theory confirmed”. I don’t know how he confirmed it but I don’t feel like asking him.
The thing is, prior in The Other video, he found an email from the sisters’ agent, Roger Williams, pitching them to someone else I think and there he said they are connected to series such as Animorphs, and Greg just wasn’t sure if the guy was being truthful. Seems like he was which is important…because one of the other series mentioned….was Goosebumps.
And since he was right about Animorphs…this is pretty interesting. And hey, we know of two Ghosts of Fear Street ghostwriters that wrote on the Tales series soi t would fit…just saying.
Anyway, this series exists.
Bone Chillers-Little Pet Shop of Horrors/Frankenturkey
This one sent me on a big rabbit hole. Betsy Haynes really is an experienced author and it was interesting looking into her other work. I wanna review one of the Taffy Sinclair/Fabulous Five books just to talk about it all cuz it’s pretty interesting.
It also showed that one of her strengths is solid and generally believable character stuff. She doesn’t nail it all the time but those other books being mainly slice of stuff does mean she got good at that and it carried over. This has the bully redemption, as did Frankenturkey and the latter had the actually good sibling stuff. Toilet Terror had it too but was a ghostwritten one. So at least Elizabeth Winfrey is good at replicating that.
This series doesn’t take itself too seriously despite some dark stuff, it feels more cartoon-y then even Goosebumps itself. That gives it a fun edge despite some flaws that bug me in each book. Frankenturkey did have the biggest highs to me despite some awkward parts.
The TV show is certainly a wild one but frankly it seems like they peaked at Frankenturkey. The show isn’t one you should a watch ton of at once kind it’s uh…brand of humor can grate after a bit. That’s likely why it didn’t last too long. Man, that’s another thing the 3 shows of the ripoff series have in common: getting shafted by the networks.
Something neat is that the final book in the series, Romeo and Ghouliette was actually based on one of the episodes. Yes, really. I guess Betsy was a fan of that one but enough to write it herself since again, every book from Toilet Terror onwards, except one, was not her. Although weirdly enough, some books were miscredited and at least one was like half rewritten by someone else, according to that one that got interviewed anyway.
Before I move on to my last note, I said that Adam Rifkin retweeted me but also talked a tad bit. Nothing too big, just the short version of how he got the job and how Betsy very much approved, as you can see. Plus she actually shot little segments for some episodes that were cute little reading PSAs. Only some of the eps on YouTube have this but they are cool.
Anyway, there’s an odd mystery about one book in the series. There was one book that was only published in France but was clearly meant to be come out in America. It’s a Christmas book called Here Comes Sandy Claws. I have no clue what the deal is there. I actually contacted Tim Jacobus and sadly he is only an artist so while he did do that cover, he doesn’t know what came of the book either.
Jude of Point Horror actually got a hold of it, as it’s actually easy to find online and discovered it credits a ghostwriter who thankfully has an online presence. And…we were told it was another misprint, he has no idea who actually wrote it or why it was not published over here. Drat.
And good luck getting Betsy’s help, she had an online presence at some point but has been MIA since 2014. On her now merely archived website, someone did leave a comment asking about this but got no answer. I suppose this case of “lost” media will remain unsolved for now but please, find out more if you can.
Anyway, when Marathon Edition 4, for this year, fell through, I needed a replacement. At first I thought of a filler book review, possibly of one of those Taffy Sinclair ones. Then I recalled I was already gonna read Frankenturkey via that Unlimited Trial so….this came about as a result of that. And yeah, still gonna do the sequel next year, hopefully it’s as good as the original.
So yeah,Bone Chillers is fun and Betsy Haynes is an actual queen. Moving on.
Shivers-The Ghosts of Devil’s Marsh
We finally close it out with a series that turned out to be….quite interesting. So first off, I did this one as I saw Point Horror’s review and that opening bit talked about the nature of it and I knew this would be the really good book I needed to close things out. I didn’t read the rest of that review at the time, I wanted to be surprised while with some of these others I skimmed beforehand to make sure this would the right choice.
While it has some clunky moments, this ended up being a surprisingly mature one. The vllain here really is sympathetic with her tragic backstory. You can really understand what they were going through and it being tied to Sam’s family makes it all feel more personal. It’s not exactly scare, generally but it creates a good story and ends up doing what good Middle Grade/YA books like this should do. I wish more could reach this level.
I have access to Weirdo Waldo now and while I’m unsure about fully reviewing it, I can’t wait to talk about on some level as it is…a doozy. The Shivers series, at least from what I read and what I gleamed from that one blog, is sadly usually not this good all the time. It has entries like this thst seem to hit you with a dose of dark reailty. And the series is willing to go dark even in lesser entires,
To the point of almost feeling like it goes too far. Like, I can appreciate it but as I read more, I saw sometimes it’s to make up for a lack of a good story otherwise. The next book I read, Ghosts of Camp Massacre was…bad, like woooow it was not good. The prose was awful, the story barely exists and the protagonist was insufferable. And yet besides an overly dark backstory, it actually tries to have a deep point by the end that I can…almost get behind.
It’s why the book is merely a hard Meh and not a one star, as it at least tries to have a good purpose. Otherwise it takes the flaw of these and amplifies them. Then came Pool Ghoul which was a Captain Planet episode disguised as a Horror book. Seriously. It was mostly fine though. Guess Who’s Coming for Dinner was also fine but a bit undercooked, let’s see.
Shivers is easily the biggest mixed bag. It can hit the highest highs but a typical entry will have issues and not be as good as you want. It’s sad but that’s what happens when you have 36 entries in the span of two years. Seriously, the first was 1996 and the last, at least according to the copyright date, is 1997. That many in only 2 year. And I thought Stine worked fast!
Spenser isn’t the best writer around but he has good ideas and at least can give us some shocking darkness. Even if it’s there to cover up the flaws. By the way, later I tweeted to someone a list of some people I consider to be notable who follow me. I mention Spenser and he replied, thanking me. So he may not have gotten back to my DM, which I am still salty about, but at least there’s that.
I’m glad this month ended on a high note. Shivers is the most interesting of these just for how wild it can in the quality. That makes it interesting at least, so I’ll give it that. Going back to the blog, MD actually commented on the entry for Watch ‘Em Kill. That review was a bit harsh so what was MD’s reply?
…Damn, he was not happy. Honestly, I love this is a good note to end on. Shivers may be mixed but this book was very good and a good way to end this wild month. Can’t wait to read even more from these.
Fear Street-Bad Moonlight
Ah yes, the first of the Twitter poll ones. While I was rooting for The Thrill Club due to a certain fact about it that will be so fun to talk about someday, I was so glad to do this one sooner than I expected. I remember reading this last year and being surprised by the wild third act turn.
It really is something else. I find that these wild turns Stine throws in can be mixed for some, and for me it depends on how I felt beforehand. If I was generally into it, I will be in a good enough mood to accept it and just laugh with it. But if I’m not into that much, I will just see it as frustrating. That’s why I liked this and not The Sleepwalker, as that one was just so not engaging and dull that the wild stuff just didn’t work for me.
I did knock points but I still rated it as positive enough since I enjoyed it ironically. It was nice to dive into a slightly later Fear Street to show just how off the wall these got as they went along.
I actually got a comment that brought up something I discovered myself by accident. You know that movie I Was a Teenage Werewolf? Yeah, that has a teen seeing a psychiatrist to deal with his problems but he turns out to be evil and uses the teen as a front to this special hypnotism that basically turns you into a werewolf.
Yeah, I think Stine took that idea from this. He’s taken from old B movies before, wouldn’t be out of place. I have to take off those originality points though. Nice to know this odd way to turn someone into a werewolf comes from somewhere at least.
Overall, the best cover ever got a wild story to go with it.
Fear Street-Silent Night
This is the rare book that I liked more when I reviewed it. Usually doing the recap exposes more problems but it made me appreciate the way the story slowly unraveled. When I first read it, it more of a high Decent as I wasn’t too impressive with the story construction and thought it moved too slowly.
That is still true but I found more to appreciate on that front. This may be one of the few Fear Street books that worked better when I was analyzing the way it was done than when I’m trying to just read and enjoy it, to an extent anyway.
That’s why I do wish it was better. It’s one of the best written ones in the series, with solid set up and payoff all around, and even a bit more I didn’t mention like a throwaway line about “Foxy” getting a job at Dalby’s. Then of course there’s Reva.
That scene with Hank really is great. It’s weird to see one of those more focused on development and themes, at least compared to the usual. I do find her transition to be a bit rushed since they gotta juggle so much but the way they built up to that big scene made it somewhat believable to me.
Reva can be a bit….much and I wish got toned down so this could be a bit easier to swallow but after reading Halloween Night, it’s good to see a bitch-y lead at least some reason for being how she is and actually having some nice moments. Both the story and character stuff could stand to be better but I am somewhat impressive by what was done here.
I noticed the theme of someone holding in their emotions and letting things out through anger is actually common in Stine’s work but we’ll go more into that when I review The Stepsister 2. It is probably the most apparent here though and it’s interesting.
I will likely review the sequel for Christmas next year so watch out for that. I hope it’s still good despite Reva being reset. So yeah, it may not be as high on my ranking as I want but this had some impressive moments that made for a solid Christmas in July special.
Ghosts of Fear Street-I Was a Sixth Grade Zombie
As I said, I thought Granny’s had it in the bag so I am surprised this won but it did seem more interesting than a couple of the others on there. Plus that cover really is…something. I actually had not fully read the book beforehand like usual but I did skim through Point Horror’s recap so I generally knew what happened so I felt okay with putting it on the poll.
This ended up being a weird but solid one. The whole feel of it is good with the mystery angle and all the future stuff. You can tell the author mostly does Sci-Fi, it shows in those scenes. It gets bogged down in exposition though so it could have been cleaned up a bit to be a little better.
But I personally liked the third act turn since it added neat ideas even if those poor future people are still screwed. I never expected climate change to be mentioned one of these but there ya go. There isn’t as much add to this book, I said what needs to be said and it sort of speaks for itself.
I will say I find the author’s facebook and her email was mentioned there. Of course I tried to see if I could get some contact but she never replied back. Ah well. Also, around when I posted this, they announced an upcoming Slappyworld title, which was “5th Grade Zombies”,
That is one grade away from me being suspicious.
Anyway, with all its future antics, my followers picked a good one.
Give Yourself Goosebumps-Little Comic Shop of Horrors
The third and final poll winner. I figured the most unique one would win, but man Creature Teacher really put up a good fight for a bit there. I tried something different here and it was neat but oh boy I would suggest anyone else try it as it was a big pain in the ass.
This took a bit longer than usual since I do these over the course of about 4 0r 5 days, covering the same amount of pages each time. In this format, that’s a bit hard. I should have covered a certain amount of endings to make it more managable. Ah well.
This book represents the standard quality of the better ones in the series. It’s pretty creative, doesn’t usually make sense and will often punish you for doing the smart thing. Still it’s fun but man are these better if you don’t do what I did lol. That whole comment about having switch to the ebook was true btw, my copy is quite trashed at this point.
Despite my amusement at Dr. Doof, I didn’t have a joke for it at first but just kinda forced one in later. Certaily one of the better things that includes both a Doof and a Milo. …Sorry.
I don’t have much else to say. I would like to do another one someday but there’s so many series I am more interested in, who knows if I’ll ever do it. Still, I’m glad I got to do at least two in my lifetime. If you’re wondering, my favorite so far is Attack of the Beastly Babysitter but there’s also Zapped in Space and Return to Terror Tower. I almost threw in the latter instead of this one but I wanted to do a more typical one instead.
So yeah, not a bad comic book adventure.
Point Horror-Halloween Night
I first heard about this one through that one podcast I’ve mentioned already and got curious to see if it really was that bad. I read it last year and then got really anxious to review this just to talk about it. I read it before I read Halloween Party so that was quite the palate cleanser.
This is also the reason I was nice to Silent Night as it did a better job at handling an unlikable protagonist. I know I harped on it but Brenda really is the worst. I can almost give it leeway as we’re meant to think she’s gonna kill Hailey but it hardly corrects itself at the very end. I just don’t buy it and she basically blames Dina and doesn’t at all think about she played a part in her doing this.
The plot itself is just a lot of boring teen drama which not a lot of scares. If the characters were merely bland like usual, I’d more forgiving but they just had to be the worst. Characters aren’t exactly Stine’s strength but usually they will be tolerable enough or the plot will be just interesting enough to make up for it. But here the plot is either either standard or dull, and the things that fill up the time are botched.
And seriously, the most likable character being the villain is just bad. The internet has a tendency to claim a villain “did nothing wrong” just for some clout, ignoring their crimes but this time it is totally warranted.
The villain planned to murder someone by the end, and yet she came across as being the better person. It’s not even a good Halloween book, that’s the real nail in the coffin. I will admit I got a bit repetitive, it’s mostly just one big problem for most of it but it was still worth talking about it.
I wish this was a Fear Street book so I could have a more interesting pick for my least favorite one than the boring sleepwalking one. I should have read another Stine Point Horror by now as I know they at least tend to be a bit better than this. Maybe we’ll get there someday.
As the sequel, once I got over the shock of more Brenda, I looked into it and it’s supposed to be even worse in some ways. Will I do it next year? There’s a chance, wink wink. But for now, we have this very….not good book to look back on.
Goosebumps IDW-Horrors of the Witch House
I know I have at least one more of these comics to cover someday but I still wanna further into them in general here. This one sort of represents them as I do have quibbles and wish they could be better despite all the things I like them. I like that the story is easy to follow and it doesn’t bite off too much for the most part. I like that the twist is just simple instead of confusing and forced.
I really like Veruca, and especially the way she connects to the Gooseverse. Thank you Say Podcast and Die for that name. I like how they deal with the parents and how things ramp up. I just wish it were better. The pacing can bet a bit fast and things don’t ramp up quite as well as they should. While the characters being basic fits this series, I feel even Monsters at Midnight has a bit more going on in that department, even if this is better overall.
Monsters is honestly the only where 3 issues was enough for the kind of story it is. While I would take out certain parts of Download all together, this I’d keep the same but add at least one more issue to flesh things out more. It’s not too damming, as I thought this was still good overall, just had more room for improvement. I’m still glad they managed to address some flaws from the others at least.
These in general are like that, tons to appreciate but do feel restrained in some areas. I don’t mind them not going for the scares as while comics go the non-cartoon-y way, this franchises has decided for a while now it’s gonna be more like this in general. As long as it’s good, I don’t care. If you want kids horror that’s actually scary, there’s plenty of places to go for that. (Plus Download did have its moments at least. Interestingly enough, I found one podcast artist Chris Fengelio was on where he did talk about this a bit)
You can tell the writers have plenty of love for this franchise, what with the deep cuts going on, like Keith, to finally doing more with Sarabeth here. And of course all that representation helps shake things up nicely. As for Secrets of the Swamp, the trade comes out April 20 (Nice) so perhaps I can get a review in near the end of the year. I don’t want to push it into 2022 but it could happen. We’ll see.
Seeing certain reactions to these has been interesting. Similar praises and criticisms that I have but it’s also taught me some lessons. For one, some people clearly have more appreciation for Stine’s actual writing than I do, and while I get it’s clearly notable when it’s not a 70+ year old man, some people are against just anyone else doing it even they make improvements.
And most importantly, I learned some Cishet white men are indeed so fragile that even a Goosebumps story that happens to have POC or LGBT characters hurt their poor feelings. Really makes me wish this comic had the latter just to stick to them. I mean, it’s not like that HorrorTown mobile game made up for this year or anything like that.
….Okay maybe this year wasn’t so bad.
More & More & More Tales to Give you Goosebumps
We close out the Stine 2020 reviews with this gem. I said plenty about the Tales already so this can be a bit shorter. I’ll always remember that Blogger Beware review that lead to me wanting to read this. I will admit he overpraised it a tad but I do still quite like this book.
The quality is a lot higher with even the weaker stories having their good points. Sure, I was a bit nice to them and those lesser ones aren’t ideal but there’s just a small spark that makes me forgive their flaws. Marshmallow Surprise comes the closest to being a true clunker here but that ending really is amazingly dumb, and good as parody if that was the intention.
Either way, those strong stories make up for any weak ones. Nutcracker Nightmare is legit scary to an extent and Double Dip Horror has that awesome twist. Kathryn Lance’s Jack Frost story is also solid. Yeah, the fact that I bumped into that may be my proudest moment ever. I bumped into last year so it’s not quite a victory for 2020, but still.
Full disclosure, after the reply she left me, we took things email to talk a bit more. Nothing too big went on, she was just nice to talk to. At one point she asked me if I did any writing, and when I said nah, just this blog, she said that still counted. So that was nice.
And of course, A Holly Jolly Holiday is the greatest work of art of all time. Susie Snowflake is our lord and savior. I agree with Troy, we need Susie Snowflake T-shirts. Jokes aside, that story is basically perfect, and just so charming. The whole point is that everyone turning into Susie is bad yet I want to revolve my life around her.
That’s a good transition to something rather interesting HorrorTown did. First off, they added Susie in their current event despite it being 12 Screams of Christmas, and I love it. But before that…well okay, let’s go back a bit. In Point Horror’s recap for this book, they had these gag subtitles named like levels in Sonic games (don’t ask) and for this story it was Sugar Cookie Speedway Zone.
Fast forward to December 2018, when HorrorTown had the Attack of the Christmas Presents event. The story is more of a general one at one point people get presents that lead to side quests that are adaptations of certain stories. Jack Frost got one for example. Holly Jolly got one and in it, the special is called…Sugar Cookie Speedway Zone.
Coindience? I think not. And yet their Chicken Chicken event had no Blogger Beware references, 0/10.
…But anyway, I may be a bit too picky about these collecitons but I strongly beleive this is a better quality entry than usual, and I’d say that even if I liked those others more. It is interesting how I like Nightmare/Haunting Hour more than most of these despite them being clearly Stine while the Tales is not him. Thinking it over, that may actually be the reason. The Tales writers struggled to replicate Stine’s style and of course likely had restraints, not too much were rushed since they were cranking these out.
That might be why the Hour duology turned out better for the most part. Either way, this collection is full of some jolly scary fun. I greatly enjoyed getting to cover it. Too bad for the Tales review, it’s all downhill from hhere lol.
The Best and Worst Films of 2019
“I’ll keep doing these for that reason so hopefully 2020 will bring us plenty to talk about, good or bad.”-Me, 2020
Let’s get this out of the way: Yes I will do this for 2020. For one, these always get big views. Second, while I will struggle to have enough, I will try my best as I’m no quitter. Anyway, it’s amazing how many movies I keep being able to watch and how more detailed these lists get. I had to down to the wire on this and it took longer to come out.
Honestly, 2019 feels like so long ago that I wouldn’t recall certain details I went into if not for this post. As for the films I caught up on since then, Uncut Gems was pretty good and another great turn from Sandler, Little Women certainly existed and Cats…actually wouldn’t come that close to the worst list, Yes, really. It’s bad for sure, but there’s a weird ambition and charm to it that made me not really hate it. Take away the CGI and it’s just weird. Would be somewhere on the dishonorable mentions.
That worst came down to the wire but boy was it easier than it will be for this year but again, more on that when the time comes. I keep forgetting Loqueesha existed which is good. After is one I’ll get to talk about in a way when that time comes, wink wink. Oh and that Blockbuster Buster post in The Fanatic wasn’t a joke. It’s real
Wild. Also, I say Serenity had a “Wannabe Twilight Zone twist” and it just so happens that an episode of the 2002 version had the exact same twist. And they did it so much better. As for the best list, I straight up sections written that had to be ditched when I saw more. Still, I’m glad Jojo and Knives Out generally lived up to the hype. This may be one of the few times the Best Picture winner ends up on my personal list.
These are always fun to do, it lets me watch and talk about movies I wouldn’t talk about otherwise. I’m sure Waves wouldn’t come up otherwise so I’m glad I get to go into it. I stand by everything I said regarding my number one…and yeah I had to get that last kick in. I don’t wanna be one of those people getting overly defensive, it was just an easy comment to make. I forgot I wanted to do something about the 2010’s decade…eh, he moment is gone, a bit late to do it now to be honest.
This is a pretty good list here and it’s good to look back on, not much else to say. But man…the part where I go into my anticipated 2020 movies is just sad now. Okay I’ll stop.
Spongey’s Favorite Episodes: Friendship is Magic Seasons 6-9
And here I closed the door on something that has been somewhat close to me for a while. I think I covered my feelings on the show pretty well in the past. I don’t quite hold it in the same regard as some shows I’m into but it became a big part of my life anyway, My thoughts on the later series are a bit weird so it made this list weird to make.
I wish I had infinite time so I could re-watch certain ones to get a better idea of what to put here. Sound of Silence is one I actually didn’t re-watch and perhaps I should have. I did get one comment being surprised it wasn’t there. Trust me, I’m as surprised as you I didn’t totally fall head over heels for something involving Rachael Bloom. Ah well, we all have our regrets.
Still, I had solid picks even if it wasn’t as super passionate as other lists. If I ranked them, the finale would still be at the top but right behind that is The Perfect Pear. I get how Norty put it ahead of that, as it had to make us care about new characters and did it amazingly well.
This also has one my favorite weird typing mistakes ever, that I fixed: “Actor acting”
As for how I feel about Pony Life, I haven’t it but aside from maybe not needing to exist, it seems cute. I really don’t see any reason to worked about one way or another. I do wanna get back into the comics someday, it’s a good way to explore more without worrying about a big comeback ruining everything.
Friendship is Magic was really was a wild ride and while it had its ups and downs, it at least ended well and I made some good memories with it. My feelings made it so this lsit wasn’t the best but I got some good stuff out of it and talked about some really good episodes. There truly was a magic here.
To close us out there’s something something I mentioned on DA but I don’t mind repeating it here: Season 9 introduces Scootaloo’s two aunts which yes, mean a full gay couple. They first appeared in one of the chapter books, created by the show staff so it wasn’t a case of some outsider making this. But before the episode, they also popped up in the IDW comics.
So yes, I will count this as another example of IDW saying gay rights. …That is all.
Requested Reviews #5
I don’t have much to say here. I’m just glad I finally did another. The main reason really is that they dried up in general. I don’t like to make too many calls for them as it makes it seem like I’m forcing people to make them. I feel like that it somewhat defeats the purpose of these being requests, ya know?
Still, a call sometimes is fine so feel free to drop some if you have any. Also, my Twitter polls basically count when you think about it. As for what I covered here, I got to a few I had been meaning to see for a while, like AI and the Layton movie which turned out pretty well. Beach Bum I heard of but wasn’t on my radar and it was a pleasant enough surprise.
Detective Pikachu was fun to revisit, didn’t have a ton to really say though. And Big Momma’s House 2…I meant to get to anyway so at least I got to closet to finishing the epic trilogy.And finally, It’s Such a Beautiful Day showed that I don’t have the best skills when it comes to reviewing art house movies. I’m not a big theory person and these tend to be more for that crowd. I came into that again with I’m Thinking of Ending Thing but I digress.
Doing requests is always fun so it'[s nice I got to another batch. Hopefully I get to do another in 2021.
A Look at the theatrical DC Movies
Here’s a big one I came up with last year, after that Misc Marvel one. I actually wrote the Mask of the Phantasm and Joker sections a bit before properly starting on this. I was marathoning Batman TAS earlier in the year so I figured I’d get it out of the way and I did Joker around when the Oscars were happening, Talking about the latter sure was…fun but hopefully I did get job.,
I’m glad I finally get to see some of these like the Superman sequels and Watchmen, even if meant getting through some middling fare and stuff like Steel. I also really enjoyed revisiting The Dark Knight and others. It was awkward having my opinion of Rises lower like that but it was still pretty good.
I got a few more pleasant surprises with the Misc Marvel one while here I was more likely to get disappointing movies like Swamp Thing and Constantine. DC has an interesting collection of films that was fun to go through. Their bad ones do have more forgettable ones in there though but Catwoman alone makes up for that. That movie is still a big oof.
I enjoy doing these posts where I cover a bunch of things, even if they can take a bit to get through. I usually do it with subject I care about and that does apply here. I like talking about comic book movies, even if the discourse can get tiring.
Oh and if you want the short version of my Letterboxd review, I thought Wonder Woman 1984 was good. Not as good as the first but still fun and fine. Did I mention I hate movie discourse?
I teased it but I can confirm that I am doing the direct to video animated movies next year. Oh that will be quite the journey when we get there. DC’s current future looks pretty interesting and I’m looking forward to seeing what they have in store for us.
As for these movies, it made for a post that was fun to do so I’m glad I got to do it.
In the Land of the Lawn Weenies
Here’s a series I finally got to revisit. I got back into them last year and that was fun. I even read this one collection David published digitally of stories that were planned for these but got kicked due to having certain elements that didn’t make them fit for having in a classroom. Don’t get excited, it’s mostly things like gambling, even if it’s fake. Figures that is banned but killing a room full of kids? Perfectly fun!
Then again, one of the stories had a kid bringing a seemingly useless alien death ray to school and I can see how a story about bringing a weapon to school wouldn’t be in the best taste. David did also a collection called Extreminites which is for a YA crowd. I may review it but for now, just know the only big difference between those and these and the lack of wacky humor.
By the way, me not tagging him lead to him not noticing this, boo. But one time I RT’d something he had to delete than re-do (still waiting on that edit button), so thus he tweeted at me to inform me that he did so. So there’s that.
Anyway, reviewing these was hard due to how short they are. They just don’t lend themselves to my usual snark-y stuff. Again, this means I may only do like one more and it may be a while. Might to something else he did before then, really. Still I enjoyed doing this as there are some wild stories.
I will do a DA journal ranking the titular stories someday though. Of the others besides the one I reviewed, my favorites were honestly the last couple, including the at the time time final one which has more sweet stories than usual. My least favorites were Campfire Weenies for feeling a bit restrained and Vampire Weenies for being where the fomrula becomes slightly tired but the next ones made up for that.
But anyway this book is pretty solid. I like the variety and darkness that they have. The Substitute really was my main reason for doing this, it is just so interesting in how dark it gets. I think the key to getting away with stuff like that is A. not have it be technically gorey and B. cover it with a joke, which these mostly do.
I will say that someone letting all their classmates die as revenge…would not fly today. Also, Class Trip did the same ending as Marshmallow Surprise but better.
But yeah, I get some passion for these and hey, maybe I’ll read one of Lubar’s Non Short Story books someday1 One last thing: I mentioned those Psycho Zone books that they came from and the person who has the critic quote on these was Christoper Pike.
And that’s a good transition to…
A Look at Spooksville
This is like the Nightmare Room post where it’s my favorite one I did in the year, and also covers a book series with a TV show. And neither did super well in terms of views. This only just this week hit 100. I don’t exactly care about views but I still my more “ambitious ” posts did a bit better but ah well.
This is one I was pretty passionate about. I still remember discovering these for the first time way back when. I may not be quite as in love as I was back then but it was pretty fun revisiting the books. My joke wasn’t actually joke I did kind of get to the point where I used Google Translate on some French PDFs of most of the later ones. It was as tedious as it sounds but eventually I got good and could plow through one this way in under 2 hours.
I later got access to the original version one of them and comparing them was interesting, mostly just small wording things. But importantly, “You are 12” became “You are are 12 like us”. This is important as this book states it has been 2 years since the start of the series which is odd as the timeline was fairly normal, moving but not fast so I had no idea it had even been one year. The original line makes it ambiguous as to if they’ve aged while the French one makes it seem like this is one of those series where time passes but no one ages.
Okay, that random tangent, I do wish the series was a bit better. If more entries were on par with Invasion of the No Ones, it would be a great series. As it it, it’s merely pretty good with really good moments here and there. Btw, No-Ones is the only to get higher than Good from me but man Phone Fear came so close. Damn that weak ending.
Still, at least it never got below Good. Seriously, even those weaker one still had some charm to make them enjoyable, at least to me. The biggest surprise in the whole thing was Watch, I was not expecting him to be as weirdly tragic as he was. While I know it’s best left to our imagination, I still want that backstory, damn it.
I’m still surprise I got a reply from Pike, I just figured it’d be a worth a shot when I saw his email over on his Facebook. Even if it’s clear he didn’t think of a backstory and just pulled a shrug of god lol.
Speaking of connections, as I said, I already had Jim following me so when I came up with this, getting him was pretty easy to do. Of course, that ended up being how this got delayed but I get it, that’s what happens when you work with people who actually have a life and career.
Still, it was cool to talk to him and get some insights. I’m also glad I re-listended to those commentaries as it’s where I found the reason behind changing Bum’s name from there. Another neat bit I didn’t fit in: Blood Drive was gonna be based on the book Night of the Vampire but they come up with a different but similar vampire idea so they made it an original one instead of pretending it’s an adaption.
But the book had a section in a hopital and they liked that setting. So they took that and made Critical Care. Yep, the most out there one only exists because of a certain book, go figure.
The show was generally a bit lesser than the books but is on a similar wave of being flawed but almost always fun with some standout moments. The decision to make it arc based was a smart one in the long run.
I got a bit uh…obsessed with this series in both versions so that lead to a pretty detailed post. There was a fair bit to go over and I think it was well organized for the most part. I said what I needed to and went into what made the series tick. This was so much fun to do and having Jim on board made it even more special.
I will say that talking about that Autism line was awkward, and I had to re-write that part to make sure ya’ll understood me. I’m not exactly qualified to talk about this so hopefully I wasn’t too off base. Still, gotta give them credit for even trying given the kind of show this is.
Anyway, I mentioned those canned scripts but uh, between you and me, I was actually sent them as he indeed found them. I’m pushing it by saying this much but I quite enjoyed reading new Spooksville content in some way and they were mostly fun. Honestly, the highlight was seeing how Cindy got incorporated into the gang here.
That about this wraps up. Frankly I could go for hours about this series, but I wasted enough time as it is. It was fun to go deep into it and it made for one of my favorite posts. It’s not often I can someone involved with a thing I talk about to this extent so thank you again Jim for helping making this whole thing more special.
Plus, I always love ranting about how dumb Discovery Family is.
The Disney Channel Happy Madison Trilogy
This is the post got me creative juices flowing again somewhat. When I hit a small snag when failing to be able to do a movie battle this year, I thought of some ideas I may have wanted to do for a while. I recalled this as I was getting back into the Disney sitcom stuff. This floated in my head for years, it was also a collab with someone until that fell through so that halted things a bit.
But this year I felt it was time. Granted, it wasn’t that big but it was an interesting thing for Disney Channel to do so I did it. Once I had this idea, I thought of other Disney sitcom based projects and that lead to other ideas. And thus an idea boom was born and hopefully they will carry over into next year.
That’s an aspect of creator’s block I hadn’t thought of before. Sometimes whe you get stuck but eventually find at least one idea, more will follow from there. It’s not always a ton hitting you at once. These blocks happen to everyone, this was just an intereting example of it.
Anyway, these episodes were typical fare but I liked seeing their guests fared in them. All had good moments but some made more an impact. It’s weird how Jessie got the best one but it was before Season 3 so that it was why. It’s not a great episode but it was fairly good, while ANT Farm was mixed and Liv and Maddie was…fine. That’s about right when it comes to these shows at that period, generally.
I wish I put this out closet to when Hubie Halloween came out since it had Disney Sitcom people all over it. Heck, Cameron Boyce was originally cast in it before his unfortunate passing. Still, at least I got to this before then.
It’s so weird to see Adam be better in a Jessie episode than a good chunk of his films but stranger things have happened. It’s cool he was able to make fun of himself here but that Grown ups, too line is…ugh.
I have fun just reviewing random episodes like this without wanting to fully skewer them, just see how they are. They all had their moments and were fun to talk about. Overall, this odd trilogy was an interesting experiment on Disney’s part and all things considered, it paid off well.
…And yeah, may as well do these Dwayne Johnson episodes when Jungle Cruise comes out.
More Better Versions of Bad Episodes I’ve Reviewed
Here’s my followup to that 2018 post. Christ, how has it been two years since it already? So I made a call to some extra ideas for this, making sure to point to my rankings of the dud cartoon/kidcom episodes. I had no takers which is especially sad as I wanted to find the good version of Guilt Tripping but haven’t found it yet.
There were a handful of leftovers I had to cut because either I talked about them in a Vs meme on DA already or I didn’t quite feel as passionate as the stuff that made it. Meaning even if I made another, it may not be as good for that reason plus not having as many.
Most of these picks were ones I was aware of before I did the first one but didn’t recall until I got those out of the way. I remember watching Linda and Heather a Rooney when it aired and thinking it was the better version of Wedding Bells but for some reason it didn’t pop up back in my head until now. And since I mentioned Liv and Maddie, Kang a Rooney happened to also be the episode directly after Steal, which may be the fastest fixing ever.
For a few Disney sitcom ones, I came across them when just scrolling through Disney+. That’s how I got reminded of Spike Fright, for example. A case like #YayDay is interesting as back in the day I wanted to fully review it but got less interested and it became a last minute pick for this.
I’m proud myself for the Breakup and Shakeup section. It’s one I had been wanting to talk about in detail for a while and kind of did on DA back in the day. It was a stretch to compare it to Love Ty-agle but I think I made my case and it was quite the interesting episode.
Thunder Punch was considered the first time but I thought it would be a stretch it ended up here and was honestly even better than I remembered. I was worried it wouldn’t hold up but it saved itself pretty nicely.
The recent episodes were easier, with Meat Your Maker still being my favorite out of these. I am still “ticked” off that the DVD version I watched didn’t have the pissed version though. Who Loves Orange Soda was an easy one once I saw it in my re-watch, and The S Word was the easier pick even if it was a filler one. And…I haven’t mentioned Adventure Buddies so there you go. Now Chowder’s Girlfriend, I was worried about that one but thankfully it was still good.
I do wish these episodes were better as episodes but the point isn’t really to praise amazing work. It’s to point out when shows do certain things right and show that any idea can work if you try, or do it in a certain way. So that’s how these tend to be simply good but not fantastic. At least they do tend to be good, I don’t think I’ve went with a merely decent one.
I had enough inspired choices to make up for the obvious ones. At this point I’ve gone for all the ideas I had, I think there’s only like…less than 5 of the rejected ideas for this. Maybe someday I’ll cover those leftovers, but only perhaps if I get more ideas. I linked those DA rankings in this post so you know where to go.
But even if I never do a third one, it was cool doing these two. I got to show off some neat episodes I wouldn’t talk about otherwise and again, showed any idea can work with the right execution. It’s fun and also yeah I forgot about Your Ed Here when going over the ones Norty did, whoops.
Anyway, that is all, moving on.
A look at the other Disney Sitcom Crossovers
I got this idea when Raven about Bunk’d come out as it made realized how many of these I haven’t talked about yet. So here we are. I do miss when they did these often, they aren’t always great but they were fun for me to go through. For the claws in the Bunk’d one, it was nice for them to do it again.
These were about what I expected, generally flawed but they were better than I expected in some ways. I wasn’t expecting to like Charlie Shakes it Up as much as I did but that’s mostly because it’s just a Good Luck Charlie episode where Cece and Rocky pop up. Still, it was fun.
I wouldn’t day these stood out a lot but there at least of fine quality but you all know my low standards for these. Trust me, the Bunk’d one could have been far worse. I did have to stretch for a couple but that Mosbey episode was a pleasant surprise so i didn’t mind including it.
These could have been better in some areas but given the shows they are, I can’t be too picky. There isn’t much to add from these, I had fun doing these since it’s nice to just talk about this stuff, as I’ve said.
I said I wanted to review some of the few Nick ones…and perhaps, I can’t promise it but that could be fun, there is enough. As it stands, we have these fine little episodes to look back on.
A Look at Weird Al in Live Action Shows
Man it took way too long to get to this. I have had this planned for what feels like years. It probably did take years! It was a while ago where I first did the research and made the list of what I needed to cover, and this year after I got more ideas I finally revisited this one.
Let’s get this out of the way: I missed one I did know existed. Yes, really. See, there’s a Handy Manny episode he was in. Yep. I’m aware of that show but still missed it. That’s because there is no mention of it on IMDB or Wikipedia. Seriously, the internet wants to just hide it for some reason even though this is a Disney show that is on Disney+ and everything.
It was Tony Goldmark who brought it’s existence to light. It’s called The Twisty Turn Twist and just for fun I watched it and it was fine but Al is underused. He voices a music producer and doesn’t that much to do. Nothing that interesting or funny. Kind of a let down but there was a catchy song…that does not involve Al. Yeah it wasn’t really worth it.
With that out of the way, what I did mange to cover was interesting. The cartoons were about what I expected, with a few pleasant surprises from shows I finally got to see some of like Danger & Eggs. I also got to say a Mr. Pickles episode is better than a Star Vs episode. That still shocks to me, that episode really was a confusing mess.
I actually hadn’t gotten around to Close Enough yet when I did this so I watched the first episode to get a feel before jumping in the Weird Al was actually the season finale. I wanna watch more, those episodes were fun.
On the live action front, there were so damn many…okay episodes that didn’t use Al that much. I get he can’t hog the spotlight all the time but that did make this a bit of a chore at times. There were interesting shows I hadn’t heard of that seemed decent like Work in Progress and some I knew of and finally got check out here, like Galavent. The Goldbergs was a big surprise, I didn’t expect to like that one as much as I did. Live Action, it’s basically the perfect Weird Al episode.
I wasn’t expecting the Wet Hot American Summer show to be one of the ones that had the most lost, nor did I quite expect Happy to be so long. I got some weird experiences here but it was worth it. I mean, would I have any other chance to talk about half of these? I hadn’t even heard of a lot of these!
I can appreciate how odd his TV choice can be at times, even if he isn’t always used well. This was an exhausting project, it actually took a while. I did the cartoons during one month and waited until the month this was gonna go up to go through the live action ones it was just that much.
But the most part, it was worth for the weird things I had to cover. It was one of my grueling projects from this show but certainly an interesting one.
A Look at 2020’s Halloween/Christmas Episodes
There isn’t much to say here. I’ve said what I can about these holiday reviews. They are fun even if I had a period where I wasn’t sure about doing them. It’s mostly an excuse to look at each networks lineup for the year. You can tell how things are going based on what they have for the holidays. This year was not too bad of one for Nick…for the most part, and Disney is doing well animation wise at least. CN weirdly didn’t have any original Christmas episodes this year, just the Warner Bros stuff.
As long as the future is about the same going forward, I’ll be here to inform you that preschool shows are not for me, Kidcoms are mixed and kid/family cartoons are better then those generally. Aren’t you glad you have me around?
Top 5 Favorite and Least Favorite Disney Channel Movies
Well, here we are. The end of an era for me. Oh, not the end of me talking about DCOMs forever. I’ll review upcoming ones and you could count those pre-1997 Disney Channel “Premiere” movies. But for me, I have reviewed all of them and given you my personal highlights and low lights. For all their flaws, they are my jam and it has been a treat to go over all of them.
It took a while but I did it. I will admit Disney+ helped a lot, by having almost all of them. Seriously, why is the Jennie Project just not there? As for my picks, I know some may find my worst list weak compared to most people but my standards for these are weird. Camp Rock got in instead of things people may hate more like Zombies or whatever. But frankly that was more fun to watch.
I’m more happy with the best list though, re-watching some of these was fun. I wish I had gotten to re-watch the Wizards movie to see if it should be there but eh, it’s number 6 at least. But as a whole, this post was fun. I got the close book and these share how odd Ready to Run is.
It’s always weird to close out something big in some way but at least we’ll have plenty more to talk about in the future.
Spongey’s Favorite Christmas Episodes
It’s fitting that we close out with what I used to celebrate 10 years. That is still so weird to think about. First off, I said I’d hint at what I’ll do for the 10 year anniversary of my first actual review of some sort. I never did, whoops. So, how to hint at it? Well, one post already hinted at it and let’s just say…it’s a much needed follow up to that very first review that will be…fun.
Anyway, I wish this could as all encompassing as I wanted but that project for next year should make up for it. Seriously, I’m excited to see what the randomizer holds for me. Thankfully this list turned out well despite that it’s good to point out just the big standout ones for me. I finally got talk about Arnold’s Christmas, that was awesome.
Poparena talked about it recently and managed to make me love it even more, I didn’t know that was possible but he did it. Go ahead and watch that video, the overall message it ends up making is a very good one.
The rest of my choices were either fun to talk about or were nice to revisit. It’s Christmas You Dorks is a weirdly relaxing one to revisit, I should watch it even outside of Christmas if I need a pick me up. Danny Phantom’s is one I don’t watch often enough given how great it is.
It’s good to have a list where everything is straight up really great, no half hearted “yeah it’s good” picks here. That honorable mentions was a bit to go through but I got a pretty solid and big list of great ones worth a look.
I’ll talk more about my experience doing 10 years of this around when we get to February 2011. For now I just have to say this was a good way to celebrate all of this. The ride has been quite wild and it has been interesting going on all this with you all. While not perfect, the post was good to do and it made for a good way to celebrate 10 years of crappy blog posts.
And those were my blog posts of 2020. Overall, the year has been more of the same on that front and I got to do some neat projects that were long overdue. I’m pretty proud to getting some of these and the I got to some pretty great stuff. I mean, Mask of the Phantasm/The Dark Knight, Arnold’s Christmas and even I am Your Evil Twin and Ghosts of Devil’s Marsh? Plus A Holly Jolly Holiday and many other really great things were covered here.
I didn’t mention this at the start but my most viewed post from this year was Download and Die which makes me very happy as it was outclassed by Descendants 3 at first. That did end up being the only scene by scene one to be highly viewed which is interesting. The misc projects aren’t always highly viewed but a couple made it in there most notably the Best/Worst films of 2019. Told ya they get views.
Of these 3 categories, Stine reviews get the best views which is very fascinating to me. Granted, it may be because I post them to subreddits and Facebooks which I don’t have as many places to share the other stuff but still. The other highly viewed ones for Little Comic Shop of Horrors and most of the ripoff month ones, especially Bone Chillers. Going back to Download, Monsters was one of the highest viewed last year but poor Witch House isn’t close to catching up. Maybe it wasn’t gay enough for some. Meanwhile, I like that More & More & More Tales easily has more views than the first Tales review already.
I don’t care about views (mainly since if you count up every view the blog gets total each day…it’s a lot, trust me) but it’s interesting. Speaking of views, the Radio Rebel review got a huge surge in views back in May. Finally, dumb Tik Tok memes are good for something!
Anyway, 2020 was one of the wildest years I’ve lived through and it could be pretty bad at times. But my personal life was fairly tame and this blog go to do some cool things. No matter how bad things get, there’s always hope for the future and while reflection on the year is fine, all this doom and gloom is just too much when you pile it all up.
It may take a bit but hopefully 2021 can be better for all of us. Just have a little bit of optimistic while still being realistic, that can go a long way. Seriously, the number changing won’t magically fix everything so all those kind of comments are annoying too. As for the blog, I’ve said a few ideas and I’ve more in store that should be very interesting. Hopefully I get even more ideas.
With all that said, hope you all have a safe and happy new year’s and no matter how the year was for you, I hope 2021 is even better. For our sake, it better be.