Thursday, October 1, 2009

Goosebumps: How to Kill a Monster

Gretchen and Clark's parents have just gotten married and are off on their honeymoon, leaving their new stepchildren to stay with Gretchen's grandparents in the bayou during their adjustment period. Parenting at its finest. Gretchen and Clark are off to a rocky start already, too, what with their constant bickering. Hey, kids, want to truly piss off your parents? Make like Josh and Cher from Clueless and I foresee a really awesomely dysfunctional transition period. It's like I always say--incest is best.

The kids enter a house decorated in taxidermy. But no old people are to be found. Upstairs, they open a door to a closet when suddenly they're greeted by Gretchen's grandma. As she escorts them downstairs for gumbo, the camera pulls back to see...something under a sheet. Uh, Grandma, you might want to close the door.

Next scene. Gumbo.

Clark's having a hard time eating his gumbo because it's so spicy. He comments that this doesn't taste like any chicken he's ever eaten. A man in coveralls that don't quite cover all enters and tells them that it ain't chicken--it's gator!

Gretchen says hi to her grandpa who grins and says he didn't recognize his lil Gretchen. Grandpa tastes Clark's gumbo and adds more hot sauce. Heh. Then again, I can't find fault with Clark's inability to eat hot sauce. I myself choose the mildest salsa at Chipotle. Yes, Chipotle.

There's a horrible noise, and the kids ask what it is. "That was...swamp gas," grins Grandpaw. At this point, the prospect of there being no monster is a lot more frightening. Here's hoping you guys packed Depends and a shitload (so to speak) of Metamucil.

That night, Gretchen wakes up and goes to get a glass of water. She's curious about the closet, though, so she starts to open it. Grandpaw and Grandmaw appear and tell her it's just a storage closet, and she asks if she and Clark can go organize it tomorrow. (Or at the very least, make it preteen girl friendly with a lot of elbow grease and some Lisa Frank stickers.) Grandmaw tells her it's dangerous and things could fall on her.

Yeah, that's not suspicious at all. Honestly--when it comes to keeping nasty little family secrets, Grandma and Grandpaw need to take Philip Garrido's Correspondence Course.

Next day, Clark scares Gretchen by dressing up as an alligator. She freaks out and he runs off giggling. She tries to find him and then nearly falls down--turns out that the hallway is unfinished and the floorboards just end at one point. (Uh, wouldn't she have noticed this when she was DOWNSTAIRS? What kind of crazy house is this?) Gretchen turns on the light and looks around. She uncovers a white sheet and sees a monster lying there. She shrieks and hits the bulb which dangles around.

I see what you did, there, Stine. (I was about to congratulate him for having great taste by referencing Psycho--a film that I myself adore--but when I asked him his favorite character in the movie, he replied, "The one played by Vince Vaughan.")

Side note. I think it's hella odd that the monster is covered by a blanket. Does Grandpaw sneak in and tuck in lil Godzooky every night? Anyway, Gretchen backs out and sees Clark. She tries to tell him what's going on but he won't believe her and he goes inside the closet. He screams, but it's a fake out. There's nothing in there when they go in. Then the two of them go to the window, hearing something. Grandmaw and Grandpaw have driven off and left them unsupervised in a closet. Seriously, Grandmaw, have you never heard of a little thing called Flowers in the Attic? Or at the very least--R. Kelley?

Gretchen and Clark hear a noise and turn around.

They run out, locking the door, but the monster breaks through. (Why now?) Gretchen figures that they can use the ending hallway to make the monster fall and plummet to its death. They run and grab onto the railing and the monster falls.

Clark and Gretchen go downstairs, talking about how they're going to get out of here. Clark wants to go home to the city where the monsters are all human. But it turns out they're locked in. Gretchen says they'll have to go out a window or something and Clark points out there are no windows.

Then they see a letter from the grandparents. It reads that they needed to go into town on a special errand and to stay out of the storage room. Gretchen thinks that her Grandpaw must have thought he killed it when he was out hunting and brought it back...only for it to revive.

Just then, the monster appears. Turns out it was only mostly dead. Damn. Gretchen and Clark slam the door shut and put a bunch of horrifying chemicals in Grandmaw's gumbo. Then they hide and wait for the monster to eat it. It digs in as Clark sarcastically says to Gretchen that, "Great, it LIKES it." Monster likes it!

Binge, monster, binge! Binge like Blair Waldorf on some Godivas, after a wait list letter from Yale and finding out that Nate's fucking Serena again!

The monster falls over dead, and the kids head for the cellar to go out the coal shoot. Clark starts arguing that it probably won't work, and the two get into fight...and suddenly, the monster's back. Clark helps Gretchen up into the coal shoot but the monster tries to attack him. He sticks his fist down its throat and it looks floored and backs off. Okay, I turn to Stine and tell him that this is genuinely scary. But Stine just looks pissed.

"Um, you know my son Matt was on set that week. And we're STILL paying the psychiatrist bills." For a second I think he means his kid was traumatized for life until he tells me therapy started a few days later when he found his kid in the bathroom with a lot of lube, a couple of monster magazines, a how to guide entitled "Fist Your Way to Glory," and a photograph that can only be described as Goatse-illa.

Back to the episode. The monster sneezes and falls over. "Is it really dead this time?" Ah, budding skeptics. You guys will be ready in a matter of weeks. To answer your question, yes. Yes it is. The monster explodes covering the two kids with monster goo.

Next scene, the kids have left M.C. Escher's House of Taxidermy and are strolling through the swamp. Gretchen figures out that the monster must have been allergic to Clark. The kids start apologizing for all the arguing they did earlier and decide they make a good team. Nothing like battling a monster and dealing with demented old relatives to restore family unity. (It's how Howard Hughes' two pugnacious grandkids finally settled their differences.) Clark asks Gretchen to check the letter from her grandparents to see if there's any more info. And here we have it--the twist!

According to the letter, there might be more monsters out in the swamp (presumably pissed that Grandpaw pulled an Elizabeth Smart on their monster), so don't go out after dark. All of a sudden, it gets dark and the kids look scared.

Okay, can the REAL twist be that PETA, pissed at Clark and Gretchen for killing a poor defenseless swamp sea kitten, is going to bring a class action lawsuit against them?