horror · television

Retro Rundown: Goosebumps “The Haunted Mask” Review

Ahh another day, another episode of Goosebumps.

However, unlike A Night in Terror Tower, this episode is the definition of iconic. An episode that was first premiered in primetime television hosted by The Cryptkeeper from Tales From the Crypt and did very well in the ratings.

This isn’t the first book in the Goosebumps book series but the television series was launched with a two part episode that we will quickly review.

Premiering in October of 1995, let’s discuss The Haunted Mask.

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First off, this is one of the better (or best) episodes of Goosebumps. It’s the episode most people would recognize or identify or the “face” of what you think Goosebumps is. Rewatching the episode, I definitely noticed more things.

For example, the mention of eyes. The eyes are the window to the soul as they say and it seems like it’s a huge part of this episode. Carly Beth (played by Kathryn Long) sees her eyes in the mask, recognizing that the eyes she’s seeing aren’t hers. “My eyes don’t look like that”, it’s a powerful little line that says EVERYTHING about what’s happening. The actress as well gives a really great performance as Carly Beth. You have sympathy for her, you care for her, she’s a very jittery, nervous young girl who is an easy target to be scared. The switch from manically crying and tearing up the handmade duck costume to then talking to herself in a sweet voice, brushing her hair, all calm and cool. thehauntedmask_goosebumps1

Her only true friend, Sabrina (played by Kathryn Short, also featured in A Night in Terror Tower as Sue), is there for comfort but she can only do so much. This story is really about building up Carly Beth’s self esteem and coming to love herself. Even if that means she goes to a suspected costume store, steals a mask that the owner said no to, throws money, harasses random kids, scares your own brother and talks in a creepy demonic, on the verge of a breakdown voice, she learns her lesson in the end.

Her deep hidden inhibitions are out in full force with the mask on, she becomes the bully and she claims “Halloween is MY night”, and it is. I understand that being shielded and shy makes her feel like for one day, well one night, she can be anything she wants, hide herself in a costume. It’s unfortunate that she picked a costume that was more than she could handle or wanted to be quite honest. She wanted to be scary, she got scary!

The pacing is good, the acting is fine but the standout is Long obviously, and this is an episode that did need a two part episode.

Side note: the floating masks are pretty damn creepy and with 90s CGI, it’s not great and that makes it creepier.

The Haunted Mask stars Kathryn Long, Kathryn Short, Colin Fox, Brenda Bazinet, Cody Jones, George Kinamis and Amos Crawley. I’d give this episode a 4.5 out of 5. It deserves it and maybe I’m a little biased but I consider this episode one of the stronger ones out of the series.

3 thoughts on “Retro Rundown: Goosebumps “The Haunted Mask” Review

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