Goosebumps: Halls of Horrors: The Five Masks of Dr. Screem
Written by: R.L. Stine
Published by: Scholactic
Pub Date: July 1, 2011
I guess I am considered a first generation Goosebumps fan as I remember my mother bringing home the first book in the series for me to read back in the early 90s. Since then I have continued to collect them and other R.L. Stine books. A new Goosebumps series is going to start in the fall and I have four unread books on my desk. Naturally, I decided to take a break in between book reviews and picked up book three in the Hall of Horrors series.
The series has an introduction by The Story-Keeper from Horrorland, in which a kid is telling him a true scary story. Monica Anderson is looking forward to going trick-or-treating with her friends, but she has taken her annoying karate-chopping brother, Peter, with her. Things are going great until Peter bothers her friends and the friends go their separate ways. Monica puts her foot down, telling him they are going home, but Peter runs ahead of her toward another street.
She catches up to him and agrees to go trick-or-treating at one more house - a creepy old house. They are greeted by a woman, Bella, who invites them inside as she has been expecting them. They are the ones that are going to help her. How does Bella know this?
Bella is the protector of five scary masks - a skull, a mummy, a wolf, a pig, and an insect. Every year the dangerous Dr. Screem steals and hides them. Bella has until midnight to retrieve them, or Dr. Screem will have control of the masks...forever. There is one little catch - Bella can't leave the house because of the curse, therefore she is allowed every year to bring two kids, who names are listed in The Hallows Book, and this year it's Monica and Peter's turn to join the nightmare.
Unlike the other Hall of Horrors, this one is a double-edition at almost two-hundred pages long. By the title, I thought this was a sequel to the Haunted Mask books, but even though it has masks in it, they are not connected in anyway. The plot this time around is little more developed than the last Hall of Horrors, and considering it is targeted for the 9 to 12 year-old, it is darker than most Goosebumps books. I am glad that I am not a nine-year-old, because if I read this book prior to going trick-or-treating, I would be afraid to ring a door bell.
If your kids like an original horror story with several creepy twists, then I recommend The Five Masks of Dr. Screem.
In the mail at the end of last week was The Garfield Show: Summer Adventures. Even though I am over thirty years old, I am still a Garfield fan. I grew up on the Saturday Morning Garfield & Friends cartoon and I now own them on DVD. I was disappointed with the two live/CGI movies and I had mixed feeling about the three direct-to-DVD computer animated movies. The Garfield Show is actually made in France and it airs in the United States on the Cartoon Network. At first I was a little skeptical about the new computerized animation, but after a few episodes I got use to it. Frank Welker, who voiced the fat cat in the three animated movies, returns for the new series. Unlike the movies, it follows a similar format to Garfield & Friends, minus the U.S. Acres; with normally two eleven minutes episodes.
In the newest release titled Summer Adventures, Garfield and his friends stumble upon a pot of gold in Lucky Charms; Garfield tries to save his favorite pizza place in Perfect Pizza; Garfield goes to a strange theme park in It's a Cheese World; John sends Garfield to a pet school in Extreme Housebreaking; Garfield takes on a new mailman in Mailman Blues; Garfield becomes a superhero in Super Me; and in the bonus episode Fame Fatale, Garfield switches places with a famous cat.
What disappoints me with The Garfield Show DVDs is that they only have six to seven 11 minute episodes. I wish they would just release a full season set. I understand that their main target is kids, and in this economy parents would rather buy a $10 dollar cartoon than a $40 one.
The Garfield Show: Summer Adventures is a great DVD to own for Garfield fans and a great way to introduce kids to Garfield.