Sunday, October 30, 2016

Recap: Goosebumps "One Day at Horrorland Part II"

Okay, so. The Morrises found themselves in a theme park run by monsters where the rides are deadly. Once they started trying to escape, they also started being chased by the monsters running the place.

And now for something completely different.

The plot isn't just going to go off the rails, it found new rails going in the other direction.
The Morris family, fed up with Horrorland and unable to leave, is surrounded by Horrors. The dad in particular is especially fed up, and yanks on one of the Horrors' masks, discovering the obvious twist: It ain't a mask.

The Horrors chase them around the park and into the forbidden door, where they come across... a TV studio filled with Horrors. The audience applauds as the Horror Host welcomes them to the stage to thank them for being the latest guests on Horrorland Hidden Camera, the most popular show on the Monster Channel.

So Mr. Morris tells his family to stay calm while he talks to the Host.

Horror Host: "Oh, and we know how well you do that."

The Host replays some of their most terrified looks on the big screen in slow-mo while the audience laughs and laughs. But alas, today's show is over, so they have to get the Morris family ready for the next show. A game show!

This... is starting to diverge from the book. And sense.

Wait... Those green Horrors with the red hair....
Good Lord, there are more of him.
Lizzy says that she and her family just want to go home.

Horror Host: "You can't go home. Because if you do, you won't get that new car!"
Mrs. Morris: "What new car? Who said anything about a new car?"

He did. Right then.

Horror Host: "It's the grand prize! On the game show."
Lizzy: "I don't get it."

It's a prize. On a game show. What is there to not get?

Or maybe she's confused as to his sudden grabbiness.
But the host sympathizes with them.

Horror Host: "First you find out that monsters really do exist, and then you find out we have our own cable channel."

I'm not too surprised. I figured that some kind of inhuman legion was responsible for TLC.

Horror Host: "It's a shock. Well, I guess we'll just have to give that caaaaarrrrrr to some other family."

And in the same way that Isildur was tempted by the power of the One Ring, the strength of men fails yet again as the parents start wondering what kind of caaaaarrrrrr they'll be playing for.

Horror Host: "A brand new sports utility vehicle!"

That means nothing. Are we talking Chevy? Ford? Toyota?

The kids just want to leave, but the adults are too tempted to resist a new car. So the Morrises are officially entered and sent over to makeup, where....

Stylist Horror: "Oh, my dear! Oh! Oh, my heavens, oh! Oh, my stars! Oh, my word. Well, there's not much I can do with them, is there?"

Oh my God, there's a stereotypically gay monster in Goosebumps.

I'm not sure whether to cringe at the effeminate mannerisms or praise this show for including a gay character on a kids' show in the '90s, when kids' shows today are getting attention for including the occasional same-sex couple. Of course, that depends on whether or not perpetuating broad stereotypes can be considered a step forward. But representation is representation, right...?

Mmmm... I'll settle for complaining that he isn't funny, since "Ha ha, he's gay!" isn't a joke.

Stylist Horror: "Oh, well, they call me the 'miracle worker.'"

Why? Are you Annie Sullivan? Or Montgomery Scott?
He offers them a snack before they begin, since he is a polite monster.

Stylist Horror: "Eye of Doyle? Hear of Holyfield? Booger Surprise?"

Was... was that a reference to The French Connection?

The Stylist Horror quickly does their makeup as he says one of the more obvious lines.

Stylist Horror: "Darling, we're monsters, but we're not monsters."

And after that pointless filler sequence, the Morrises are taken to the set of the game show while thinking about their new car.

Mrs. Morris: "They said it was sporty!"

They never said that. Sure, they called it a "Sports Utility Vehicle," but that doesn't automatically equate with "sporty."

Anyway, it's time to play Raw Deal. The Host Horror explains the rules, and I'll sum them up. Basically, it's a Wheel of Fortune knockoff, complete with a green butterface Vanna White wannabe named Holly Tosis.

And if the internet has taught me anything, it's that somebody has posted fan art of Holly Tosis.
Wait, what? Did Google just give up?
You're kidding me. Not a single sketch, cosplay, or even an honest-to-Bob sexy pinup?

In a world where Thriftie has a devoted fandom?
I'm sorry, what? I have to make this right. I mean, tributes to obscure characters are what the internet's for.

There you go, internet. Now get your game together.
First, they draw a card, which will either have a punishment or a dollar amount. Then they get to guess a letter. If the letter they guess is in the secret phrase, they win the dollar amount on their card for each letter, as well as a chance to guess the phrase.

Luke: "I don't get it."

It's Hangman, you dumb kid.

And since the adults are playing against the kids, they assume they can't lose.

Simple, right? Well, wait and see.

Skipping the unfunny host shtick before they play the game, the first card they pick is the $200 card, which means they lucked out. Some of the penalty cards apparently include "Lose a Limb" and "Eat Worms," which I can only assume means they're forced to watch "Go Eat Worms."

Anyway, the parents begin the game. They guess the letter "M," and there are two of them, earning them $400. Next, they guess "F," which means that they must never have seen Wheel of Fortune before in their lives.

RSTLNE, people. Those are some of the most common consonants, the most common vowel, the ones they give you for the final round of Wheel, and the ones you should always guess first in a game of Hangman. And you'd think the writers could have had the Morisses guess them in the order of RL STNE, but c'est la vie.

That's a once in forever to turn the Wheel of Fortune RSTLNE into an R.L. Stine reference, and you missed it, show.
You done blew it. That's on you and I will never forgive you for it.
Anyway, the game proceeds, but not before a "hilarious" commercial break advertising for monster love songs. And while the commercial promises 50 of these songs on one CD set, they only mention four.

"Your Heart is in My Pocket, and Your Lips Are in My Drawer" would be really dirty if you added the letter S to the end.
Pretty lazy of the writers to not come up with more names to at least show scrolling onscreen, considering I can do ten without even trying.
  1. Scream Weaver, by Gary Fright
  2. Here Comes the Scum, by the Beetles
  3. Brandy, You're a Fine Ghoul, by Broken Glass
  4. Sixteen Tongues, by Tennessee Eerie Ford
  5. Fifty Ways to Eat Your Liver, by Maul Simon
  6. Gonna Die Now, by Kill Conti
  7. Innard-Gadda-Da-Vida, by Iron Butter-die
  8. Hooked on Congealing, by Blood Sweat
  9. Because the Fright, by Patti Smith Grue
  10. Twenty Knives or Sick Igor, by Sick Agh! Oh!
...Yeah, that last one's stretching it a bit, but the writers aren't even trying.

But apparently, within the space of that 30-second commercial, the kids have unveiled most of the puzzle... which is a bit odd, since you'd think they'd actually televise the main action on this game show. They don't do Final Jeopardy during the commercial break, you know?

Anyway, the board stands as follows.


Luke guess that the answer is "The Morris Family is Lucky," but he's incorrect, resulting in a bucket of worms getting dropped on the kids.

At least he's not watching "Go Eat Worms."
Mrs. Morris guesses "The Morris Family is Lunch," and she wins the game!

...Even though that H at the end of "lunch" should have already been revealed, since they must have guessed the letter "H," seeing as how there's an "H" already revealed.

Boy, the Horrors cheat like nobody's business.
The Morris family jumps up and down at the thought of winning a car... then they realize exactly what the phrase means.

Host Horror: "The Morris family will find out exactly what we mean when we return to Raw Deal right after this!"

It seems a little early for Raw Deal to be putting in a commercial break, but it's just in time for Goosebumps to have one. And since I'm not watching this live on TV, the show immediately returns... only to cut from the Raw Deal studio to another fake advertisement for toy humans. It's padding that's barely worth mentioning.

Host Horror: "We're back! Are we ever! And a big monster hello to Danielle out in Kalamazoo, Michigan!"

Well, that was a random shout out.

Yes, readers, Kalamazoo is a real place. It's within driving distance for me. It has many possible name origins, all stemming from various Ojibwa/Potwotami words or phrases referring to the local river.

Seriously, you non-Michiganders have this weird obsession with Kalamazoo. So much so that we've been making quite a bit of money selling t-shirts saying "Yes, there really is a Kalamazoo."

No, it doesn't really have Kreepy Klowns.
But it is the place where Tim Allen's infamous mugshot was taken.
But wouldn't it make more sense for the Horror to say hello to a monster in Hell, Michigan? That's a real place, too. It freezes over surprisingly often. You know, because it's in Michigan.

Anyway, they draw another card, and this one has the car on it. But that doesn't mean they win it just yet. They have to pick the correct door to leave the studio with their new car.

Ah, the Generic Motors Nonspecifica. Good vehicle.
Behind the other door is a monster named Ripper waiting to make them into lunch.

As played by reused stock footage from "Welcome to Camp Nightmare."
And it seems as though their luck has run out, since they pick the wrong door and get shoved in. They make their way through the passageway inside, finding dismembered body parts lying around.

Mrs. Morris: "I thought they were nice monsters...."

No, that was just the Stockholm kicking in.

But before the offscreen terror that is Ripper can do its thing, the Horror that warned the kids to leave in the first episode unlocks the cage and tells them to follow him to the exit. Once free and outside, the Horror (Blek) explains in his thick, Russian accent that he's doing this to spite the host, who only got the job because the producer's his brother-in-law.

Blek: "P-tooey! What a no-talent."

After he does his version of the intro to Raw Deal to show off his talents, Ripper bursts through the door to eat him, which, frankly, comes as a relief.

The Morris family does more running from Horrors, and nothing of note really happens until they escape through a hole in a chainlink fence, with Horrors close on their heels. They manage to get into their car, but the Horrors climb all over it in an attempt to keep them from leaving.  And then we get the most drawn out sequence of Mr. Morris attempting to put the key in the ignition as the Horrors paw all over their car. It's not like they're stopping him in anyway, he's just suddenly become a klutz in order to pad things out some more.

Mrs. Morris: "If we had that new car, this wouldn't be happening!"

Right, because that's the reaction of a sane person.

But finally, Mr. Morris manages to start the car and get into gear.

Mr. Morris: "So long, fuckers!"

Now, the subtitles claim he says "suckers," but once you hear it....

With the Morrises leaving, the Horrors whip out their last resort to stop them.

Oh, yeah, that'll work.
The Morrises speed off, away from Horrorland toward a cliff. You might think that this would be a stupid place to go, and you'd be right. Remember that little gizmo that was snuck onto their car in the first episode? The Horrors are using it to control the car and have it teeter on the edge of a cliff.

The Horror Host starts turning this into an actual cliffhanger to keep people's attention on the Monster Channel, but we cut to a monster and his wife at home, deciding not to watch this crap.

Mrs. Horror: "Well, perhaps we should just talk."

"We're talkin' now, aren't we?"
So this episode ends by showing somebody watching the same thing we are... then having them decide that it's not worth watching? Guess what? I agree.

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