Retro Rundown: Goosebumps “One Day at Horrorland” Review

Another day, another episode of Goosebumps.

I’ve been heavily occupied with the outside world lately and taking care of myself that today that I am typing this out (Tuesday), I rolled the dice and on my list of up to 27 episodes to watch, it landed on 13. Well, it landed on 7 which is an episode from Tales from the Darkside which is one of my least favorite episodes ever so I rolled again and here we are.

The sixteenth book in the series, season 3 episode 8 and 9, we’re talking about an episode that is possibly one of the few that have been expanded upon (The Haunted Mask, Night of the Living Dummy, Monster Blood).

We’re talking about the big two parter: One Day at Horrorland. 


First off, I forgot how fun the opening credits are to Goosebumps. It’s so rare to find the actual credits on the vhs episodes (possibly dvd too) because the other two that I do own have an intro with R.L. Stine and it jumps straight to Goosebumps title card but we all want the music and the cute golden retriever who gets the demon eyes. I was thrilled it was that version of the credits!

Now, this review will be a little shorter, I don’t have too much to say but it is a mixed bag.

The big highlights are the Horrors. I enjoyed the monsters more than our Morris family by a long shot. Once they were on screen I was a bit hungry for more of them. I guess you need a human to keep things grounded but honestly, I would have liked more of them and less of the family. The host who was the main Horror, is very charismatic and even the one who was helping the family escape, let’s know more about him! onedayathorrorland_1

The second part is more favorable than the first, maybe it’s all focused on the Horrors. Again, I’m stanning them. Plus, the first part went by very, very quickly. I looked up and then the episode was ending and right into part two, like what the hell? I think there are more scary elements in the first part with the mirror maze and the weird coffin ride which, who wants to be in a coffin?

Overall the episode is more comedic and silly than scary, spooky. This isn’t Night of the Living Dummy II or The Haunted Mask or even Stay out of the Basement. I would put this episode with… Attack of the Mutant which is more just bizarre than scary OR comedic. BUT there is this lingering disturbing undertone throughout the episode that if you’re old enough, you pick up on it and it does not go away.

The acting was so so, the special effects were a mixed bag too. I know it was the 90s and a Canadian show but what was the budget? The costuming and effects of the Horrors were pretty good but it’s clear with the amusement park set that it looks like a set and looks kind of cheap. Everytime I think about this show’s iteration, I just think and wonder about the budget for this show. Other shows around this time period were AYAOTD, Tales from the Crypt, Disney’s So Weird, Twin Peaks, but the closest demographic is AYAOTD (So Weird was later in 1999) but both are Canadian located shows, but there’s a distinct difference in quality.

However, this is more of an appropriate first episode if you want to introduce a younger viewer into the Goosebumps world. I will still give this episode a 3 out of 5. The Horrors aren’t enough to bump up the score! This episode stars Heather Brown, Michael Caloz, Jonathan Whittaker, Kirsten Bishop and Neil Crone.

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