Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Goosebumps: The Haunted Mask (Part 1)

Before we get started, if you guys want to watch this episode for yourself, you can find it here on youtube.

Intro. The camera pans past a bunch of ugly masks to the most hideous one of all.

(Sidenote, Sadako to R.L.: "Nice FX for once! How'd you get the facial mole to throb like that?" R.L.: "It's a side effect of Lipitor and if you look directly at it, I'll get your soul in the mail along with my residuals.")

Okay, R.L. introduces us to the first episode ever of Goosebumps before joining me to feast on Milky Ways as he tries to defend his artistic integrity from my snark like Tom Wolfe's Charlotte Simmons defending her virtue from frat boys armed with Rohypnol and Smirnoff Ice. Blah blah blah, haunted mask, Carly Beth learns about the love of her family, yeah. Got it. The episode begins.

Carly Beth and her friend Sabrina walk through a pumpkin patch. They stare at a weird looking Halloween store and wonder aloud about it. The store owner stares at them. Then they traipse through the patch looking for a last minute pumpkin. Sabrina exposits that Carly Beth is terrified of her own shadow and that these guys at school are always picking on her.

Then Carly Beth screams. Two creatures in pumpkin head regalia jump out and assault her. It turns out it's just two boys from school, Chuck and Steve.

This is only the first time we see Pumpkinheads depicted as The Scariest Thing Ever. Jesus, R.L., is this inspired by an event where you were held down and sodomized nightly by a creature with a gigantic oozing Pumpkinhead? (He pipes up with, "I'll thank you not to refer to Mrs. Stine that way.")

Carly Beth stalks off in a rage. Sabrina tries to comfort her but ends up laughing, saying it was pretty funny. Shut up, Sabrina the Pre-Teenage Bitch. When Chuck and Steve end up publicly teabagging you after a few too many shots of tequila, you're going to be crying on Carly Beth's shoulder, begging for a little coke and sympathy.

At home, Carly Beth's mom tries to show her a mask she made at art class of Carly Beth's head. You know, there are some moms who really shouldn't go the extra mile to express love by creating face masks of their offspring. Carly Beth's mom, Judy Garland, and Katherine Jackson fall into that category. Carly Beth freaks, thinking that the mask smiled at her and her mom rolls her eyes. (Yeah, if this took place only a decade in the future, you could just reach for the Kiddie Prozac.) To be fair...look at that creepy head. It's so Uncanny Valley.

Oops. Wrong head.

Carly Beth's mom tells her Excitable Offspring that she bought her a duck costume for Halloween. In the last scene, we see the plaster of Paris head smiling.

Upstairs, Carly Beth goes to find her costume, but then her little brother, wearing it, attacks her. She freaks out before realizing it's her kid brother. Man, can we get this girl together with the loser from Calling All Creeps?

At school the next day, Chuck and Steve manage to put a worm in Carly Beth's sandwich. The final nail in the coffin. She freaks out and runs home crying and rips up the horrid duck costume in a rage. She goes to the Halloween store she saw last night in the hopes of something that will scare Chuck and Steve. In the costume store, she goes into a secret hidden room and finds a bunch of hideous masks.

I'll take Likenesses of Things Coughed Up by Amy Winehouse on Day 3 of the Honeymoon with Blake Fielder Civil for a thousand, Alex. Carly Beth reaches out for the scariest. It looks...oddly familiar.

Ooh, I know! Nicole Ritchie without any make up, with the same expression she made when she found out Cosmos had calories. Do I get a prize? Where's my Kewpie doll?

The store owner steps in and stops Carly Beth. He tells her about how the masks are truly dangerous and horrifying and possibly cursed. But Carly Beth is stupid and passes up the Frogurt with free toppings in favor of the hideous mask. She throws her life savings (thirty dollars) on the ground and runs out of the store as the man howls in rage.

Later, she scares her brother in revenge for the duck trick. She tries to remove the mask. It won't come first. Carly Beth puts it back on.

Then she sneaks out of the house with the face-mask her mother fashioned for her. She scares some kids whom she thinks are Chuck and Steve by ripping off their costumes and screaming that if she had been coherent enough to figure out who they were, she'd make them sorry.

(And somewhere David Gest shudders and reaches for the Klonopin as he gets a flashback to his wedding night with Liza.)

Then she meets up with Sabrina who's dressed as a cat.

This is soon followed by a predictable barrage of comments on the order of "Aw, what an adorable SEWER RAT" or "Oh, what a scary mouse costume!" (Well, at least it isn't the Halle Berry as Catwoman costume, complete with CGI whip.)

MJ and Ben head down the street. Sabrina says that Carly Beth's costume is a little gross and that it feels like real skin.

Sabrina wants to know if it's real and begs her friend to take off the mask. Carly Beth gets pissed at this line of questioning and starts to strangle her. Years later, Tyra Banks would re-enact this scene when Paulina Porizkova just would not step down about the weave issue. And that's the end of Part the First. Is this the end of Zombie Sabrina? Will Carly Beth make the Bad Seed girl look wholesome? And will Sarah Jessica Parker give R.L. Stine the name of her plastic surgeon?