Friday, October 25, 2013

Monster Mania Day 21: Goosebumps "The Haunted Mask"

Written by Stu Cooper

If you were a child of the 90's then you most likely experienced the gigantic "Goosebumps" book fad. Every kid in my school had a collection of Goosebumps books. The book fairs at school would shill them left and right, and we often had reading time in class and kids would always bring their newest Goosebumps story. Capitalizing on the massive popularity of the book series FOX began developing a "Goosebumps" television show. I actually remember when the show made its debut and it was immediately terrifying and interesting. The first episode was actually a two parter entitled "The Haunted Mask". The episode itself was based on one of the early books. The series would continue to just adapt books that had already been released, making the books we grew up reading into visualizations to scare kids even more. It was essentially "Tales From The Crypt" for children.

"The Haunted Mask" told the story of a young girl named Carly Beth who is in a rush to find a mask for Halloween that will scare everyone and leave a lasting impression. Carly Beth will get more than she bargained for when she finds an old shop with some strange masks in the backroom. She wants one mask that is particularly frightening and when the shopkeeper refuses to sell it, she steals the mask. Later in the evening Carly puts on the mask and goes trick or treating. While trick or treating with her friend, Carly begins experiencing difficulty with the mask. Soon after this Carly's mood begins to change and its clear she is becoming more sinister and egotistical. The mask begins to fuse with Carly Beth and before we know it we have a full on horror story. The idea of a mask fusing to your skin after you put it on...absolutely petrifying. The tension in the episode is built up nicely and it's actually a pretty disturbing first episode considering the show is made for a younger audience. There is a back-story about the shopkeeper that unfolds and it is similar to a "Phantom of the Opera" kind of story, so there is another layer of storytelling added on. There is also several sequels to this story that follow other children experiencing the same problem, so you can always check those out if you liked this one. The episode is available on Netflix, but if you don't have that then you can check out the link below for the feature!
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