Goosebumps Season One REVIEW

Release Date: 26 November 2012
1995-1996 | PG | 475 minutes | £19.99
Distributor: Revelation Films
Creator: Deborah Forte
Cast: Ryan Gosling (squeal!!!) and some anonymous Canadian losers

Kids TV doesn’t come much creepier than Goosebumps. Based on the hugely popular children’s horror novels by RL Stine, this Canadian anthology series aired at 6.00pm between 1996 and 2000 on CBBC. It may only warrant a PG rating nowadays, but for viewers of a certain age, teatime in the ‘90s was the dark heart of the day.

Halloween masks that turn innocent young things into monsters, piano lessons that last an eternity, homicidal ventriloquist dummies, bodysnatching plant monsters… almost all the 20 episodes in this first season deal in horror clichés, but always with a sinister twist. Each story is adapted from a single Stine book, and only a handful are actively dull (“Return Of The Mummy” and the Camp Nightmare two-parter). As spine-chilling stories, they still hold up today.

As television, however, Goosebumps has aged badly. The show was put together on a shoestring, with typically awful child actors occupying all the major roles. Show it to anyone raised on new Who and they’ll probably give themselves stomach cramps laughing, but viewed through nostalgia goggles there’s an undeniable, primitive charm to the shonky special effects and ramshackle performances.

None. But nostalgia fans take note: this DVD release marks the first time all the episodes have been presented completely uncut in the UK – many were heavily cut by the Beeb, some even running without their twist endings!

Jordan Farley

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