Goosebumps: Ghost Beach (a J!-ENT Children’s DVD Review)
September 14, 2011 by Dennis Amith
If your children are big fans of the “Goosebumps” books or if you want to slowly introduce your children to horror/suspense, you can’t go wrong with “Goosebumps: Ghost Beach”, three episodes that will no doubt give your children the goosebumps.
© 2011 Twentieth Century Fox Home Entertainment LLC. All Rights Reserved.
DVD TITLE: Goosebumps: Ghost Beach
AIR DATE: 1995-1996
DURATION: 67 Minutes
DVD INFORMATION: Full Screen, 1:33:1, English and Spanish Dolby Surround, Subtitles: English SDH, Spanish, French
COMPANY: Twentieth Century Fox
RATED: NOT RATED
RELEASE DATE: September 13, 2011
Directed by Ron Oliver, William Fruet, Timothy Bond
Based on the books by R.L. Stine
Executive Producer: Deborah Forte
Casting by Forrest & Forrest
Ghost Beach includes “The Barking Ghost” and follows Cooper Holmes, a young man who is scared of just about everything. His father says he’s the only kid to scare himself on Halloween! But as he moves into a new house, this time Cooper is not just scared of his own shadow. In “Be Careful What You Wish For,” class klutz Samantha Byrd is the laughingstock of the girls’ basketball team. But now, Samantha has found someone who will grant her three wishes. Too bad she wasn’t more careful as now Sam’s wishes are turning her life into a living nightmare! Lastly, “Ghost Beach” focuses on Jerry, who is thrilled by the prospect of exploring the dark, eerie old cave he discovered down by the beach. When he hears the story of a 300-year-old ghost living inside, Jerry must decide if he will believe the legend or dismiss it as a silly made-up tale.
Goosebumps… You know the feeling right? When someone tells you a scary story late at night and you can’t help but get the feeling of goosebumps on your arms because you are so freaked out.
Of course, we all have experienced those scary stories but for some children, a lot of them experience their first scary story through R.K. Stine’s popular horror fiction novels published by Scholastic Publishing. And with 62 books having been published… Canada would create a TV series adaptation on the novels and from 1995-1998, “Goosebumps” would air in the US on FOX Kids, followed by the Cartoon Network in 2007-2009 and most recently through the Hub starting in Sept. 2011.
But for fans of the series, only several of the episodes have been released on DVD since 2004 and not until 2008-2010, were fans getting continuous “Goosebumps” DVD releases. For those still waiting for more episodes to be released, in 2011, Twentieth Century Fox will be releasing two more DVD’s which will feature three episodes each: “Ghost Beach” and “Attack of the Mutant”.
“Ghost Beach” features three episodes: “Ghost Beach”, “The Barking Ghost” and “Be Careful What You Wish For…”.
“Ghost Beach” is an episode based on the 22nd book in the series (published back in Aug. 1994). “Ghost Beach” revolves around Terri and Jerry Sadler who visit their aunt and uncle near the beach area. While visiting old tombs, they are told by two other siblings with the Sadler family name that the area is haunted and they must be careful not to go by a cave where another Sadler ghost resides or else they will be eaten alive. Of course, instead of scaring them off, Terri and Jerry Sadler now must see what’s inside the cave.
“The Barking Ghost” is an episode based on the 32nd book in the series (published back in June 1995). Cooper Holmes and his family have moved near the woods but for some reason, Cooper has this eerie feeling that the woods are haunted. One day, while venturing through the woods during the daytime, two big dogs go after him but suddenly disappear. He sees them again one night wrecking the house…but these two dogs jump through the walls. Are their ghost dogs running loose near the woods and near their home?
And the final episode featured on the DVD is “Be Careful What You Wish For…”, an episode based on the 12th book in the series (published back in Oct. 1993). The episode revolves around a 12-year-old klutz named Samantha “Fly Away” Byrd and her nemesis is a bully named Judith. One day, she finds a necklace in which an amateur witch named Clarissa gives Samantha three wishes. Unfortunately, with each wish that Samantha wants, each is misinterpreted by the amateur witch.
VIDEO & AUDIO:
“Goosebumps: Ghost Beach” is presented in full screen (1:33:1). While it is important to remind viewers that these episodes aired back in the mid-to-late ’90s, picture quality actually looks a lot better than when they aired on television. But you can tell the series is a product of the ’90s due to the way people are dressed.
But still, picture quality is good and as far as audio quality, the audio is English and Spanish Dolby Surround. Dialogue is clear and I didn’t notice the surround channels being utilized all that much but then again, the series is dialogue-driven and center and front-channel driven.
Subtitles are in English SDH, Spanish and French.
“Goosebumps: Ghost Beach” comes with no special features.
For many children, “Goosebumps” was their first introduction to horror and suspense.
My son is practically scared when it comes to the horror genre or anything remotely scary on television. But when he turned seven years old, he was introduced to R.L. Stine’s “Goosebumps” books and he would continually check them out from the school library and loved it. It was a nice blend of horror, but not to the point where he would freak out.
But after telling him about the televisions how from the mid-’90s, needless to say, he has been curious about them and so “Goosebumps: Ghost Beach” (along with the simultaneous DVD release of “Goosebumps: Attack of the Mask Mutant”) was his first introduction to the “Goosebumps” TV series. I have watched an episode or two back then but I figured it would be a perfect time to be with my son while he watches his first horror series and watch alongside with him and as a parent, to see how he reacts to it or if he puts the hand over his eyes because its too scary but also to remind him that it’s just a TV series and is not real.
But interesting enough, these episodes featured in “Goosebumps: Ghost Beach” were a little bit more scary than Goosebumps: Attack of the Mutant” but he did enjoy them a bit.
The first episode “Ghost Beach” was probably the scariest of the three as two children wander into a graveyard and are scared by two twins who are playing practical jokes. But when warned about a ghost in a nearby cave…the children decide to see if the ghost really exists.
“The Barking Ghost” features a boy who feels his house and the neighboring woods are haunted while the third episode is about a girl who has three wishes, and each wish having its own ramification.
For the most part, these three episodes featured are fun and one of those stories that kids can discuss over a campfire or sleep-in and possibly give someone the goosebumps.
While I never really questioned the series, I’m sure parents will wonder if it’s good for their kids to watch. Well, as a parent, the only thing I can see wrong are just the choices by the children.
In “Ghost Beach”, children should never venture out alone at night on the beach, let alone a cliff area or in a cave. In “The Barking Ghost”, this episode will not do any favors for children who freak out about living near the woods but once again, children should not venture out into the woods by themselves or a friend when its dark at night.
Each of these poor decisions are a recipe for disaster and of course, if you are a parent watching alongside with your children, those are opportunities to remind your children, “do not do what they are doing!”.
Other than that, “Goosebumps” is a safe horror series for children. There is no blood, there is no gross situations for this DVD at least. The acting is not always the best but for children, I don’t think they will care. If anything, they know what to expect from the “Goosebumps” books, but seeing how things play out for the TV episodes.
Overall, if you have been wanting to get your children into watching horror/suspense or if they are really enjoying the books, then definitely give “Goosebumps: Ghost Beach” a chance!
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