Which version are you getting?

Book Review: Goosebumps: The Scarecrow Walks At Midnight

Brother and sister Jodie and Mark are making their annual month long summer visit to their grandparent’s farm. Jodie is excited to go and get out off the stuffy old city, but is allergic to a lot of things and has to take a lot of medication. Mark just wants to be chill and play some Game Boy, listen to music, and read comic books. While still at the train station, Stanley, the hired help of the farm who is driving them, tells Jodie “The scarecrow walks at midnight.” Jodie doesn’t take him seriously, which is rational, but Stanley is telling the truth, as Jodie discovers.

After happily meeting with their grandparents and eating dinner, Stanley shows Jodie and Mark around the farm. They see his scarecrows, and  he takes off an ear of corn to find it was all brown and covered in squirming worms. Why? The scarecrows.

Stanley tells them that the worm infested corn is a sign of bad luck and that he read it in a book, which told him how to make the scarecrows. It also told him how to walk, and that now he was the boss. Even Jodie and Mark’s grandparent’s were scared of him, though Stanley’s son Sticks doesn’t seem to take him seriously.

Various things happen. Jodie and Mark think they see the scarecrows try to break off their stakes, Jodie mistakes Grandma Miriam holding a broom as a straw hand, and she thinks a clump of weed is a scarecrow grabbing her during the fishing trip. Later, she gets shut up in the barn and thinks a scarecrow is chasing her in there. She swings out via rope, runs around the side of the barn she thought she saw a scarecrow go and finds Sticks.

She immediately accuses him of pulling a bunch of cruel tricks on her, and she tells him that his dad was even scared. This worries Sticks and he runs off to check on Stanley.

That night, Jodie sees something enter through her window. Totally frightful,she feels even worse when it turns out to be Grandpa Kurt, frowning deeply and with no hands, just straw sticking above the sleeves. She tries to run out of the room, and sees a scarecrow version of Grandma Miriam there. Her scarecrow’d Grandfather gets hold of her and… it was just a nightmare.

Mark and Jodie go for a ride on a couple horses the next day, and they then encounter a scarecrow on the path. The two of them are thrown from their horses. Stanley comes to help them. He also saw the scarecrow that startled the horses while he was in the field. And the scarecrow just lied there on the ground near them, motionless.

Jodie goes to confront Sticks, thinking he was the reason the scarecrow fell on the path like it had. She doesn’t find him at the guest house where he and Stanley live, so she check the barn, where she finds scarecrow-making supplies and torches with kerosene. She also finds Sticks there, who denies everything, but does warn them to stay away.

Jodie dresses Mark up a scarecrow, planning to get Sticks back. Apparently, she does such a convincing job he looks more like a scarecrow than an actual scarecrow. Huh. Anyway, going to get Sticks to come to the cornfield, Jodie sees a scarecrow coming towards the guest house. She thinks it’s Mark, but it does not listen to, and she figures out it isn’t Mark.

Sticks exits the guest house as the scarecrow attacks Jodie. He knocks it to the ground to find out there is nothing beneath its burlap sack. Sticks tells Jodie the whole truth behind the scarecrows, and while some were but back to sleep, some weren’t.

Stanley sees the scarecrow on the ground and becomes eager to bring the rest back to life so he can take charge. Sticks convinces him he just dropped the scarecrow where it was and that none of them were alive. That’s when Mark  predictably walks out of the cornfield and frightens Stanley, who goes running into the field to say the words that awaken the scarecrows.

Stanley completes the chant, but at first it doesn’t seem like it worked. But then the scarecrows start moving for real. Sticks tells Jodie to go warn her grandparents, as Stanley admires his handy work. Miriam and Kurt had been awoken by the screams from the cornfield.

The scarecrows won’t listen Stanley when he tells to stop as they approach him and the others. Jodie sneezes, causing Mark to jump, which makes all the scarecrows jump along with him. They figure out the scarecrows think Mark is their leader, and since they’re copying, Jodie tells him to remove the burlap sack from his head.

The scarecrows remove their head, but they start moving forward again after their heads drop. They swarm everybody, but Sticks had left to get the torches and started lighting the headless scarecrows on fire. They all burned to ash.

The next day, Jodie is alone in the living room as Stanley reads to himself in the kitchen. All of the sudden, a large, stuffed brown bear that Kurt shot on a hunting trip came to life, hungry an licking its lips while approaching Jodie. I guess we’re just supposed to assume the worst here.

Final thoughts: Really good book. Suspenseful for a kid, and does make you question what’s behind everything. The ending is really well done ,and the twist ending is dark. Definitely worth a read.

Book Review: Goosebumps: Welcome to Dead House

In honor of Goosebumps’s 20th anniversary, I have decided to do a week of Goosebumps. Yes, a full week of Goosebumps. That children’s horror/thriller/suspense series that was never really that frightening. At least from an adult perspective. Don’t get me wrong, if I was menaced by a talking dummy in real life, I’d be terrified. But these books where meant for children, and scary or not, they were still good, fun, entertaining books. So let’s get right to it with the first book in the series, “Welcome to Dead House.”

The Benson family has moved to the town of Dark Falls, where the evil toothfai… oh wait, that’s Darkness Falls, not Dark Falls. Easy enough mistake to make, I guess. Anyway, the family has moved to the town of Dark Falls. This is because Mr. Benson received a letter he and his family have inherited a house there from a great uncle nobody in the family had ever heard of. Seems legit!

The children, Josh and Amanda (Amanda being the narrator) hate the fact they have to move away from their friends. Which is something I’m sure plenty of people can relate to, so I do sort of sympathize, though they take it a little far in not giving it a chance, particularly Josh at first.

Mr. Dawes, the real estate agent handling the paperwork, seems to be a decent guy. But is he?!?! Well… Upon trying to convince the kids the place is okay, they insist it is strange and creepy. Because its an old house and sure to be full of ghost.

The Lutz…. oh wrong thing again… Bensons move into the house and weird stuff goes down. Amanda keeps seeing what she thinks are other kids all over the house. Petey goes missing. Josh and Amanda try to scare each other a couple times. Amanda has a nightmare that the whole family is dead, rotting, and eating plates of the Colonel’s original recipe bones. Finger lickin’ good mood ghoul food.

Anyway, they meet some other kids who used to live in their house. Hmm… that’s odd. I’m sure there’s a logical explanation. Like the whole town is inhabited by ghouls, who attract families yearly to what is now the Benson’s house to feed to sustain their un-life. Sounds pretty reasonable to me.

These ghouls are kind of zombie-vampire crosses, though any high intensity light bothers them. And Dawes attracts every family there with the exact same story. Hmm. How do so many people fall for the “great uncle I don’t know of died and I’m getting his house” scam?

Anyway, the family gets caught up in this mess, and Amanda and Josh are separated from there parents. They go to the town’s graveyard to find out he is also a ghoul. Shocked and awed. Dawes does get really creepy here and tells Amanda and Josh he’d take to join their parents, implying their mother and father are dead. He also tell Amanda to “come with him” and that it “doesn’t hurt to die.” Creepiest part of the book for so, so many reasons.

Also, we get a back story about how the town of Dark Falls was once a normal town, until one day everyone was killed by a poisonous, yellow gas from a chemical plant. Only using my suspension of disbelief does that make sense for that to be the reason their all ghouls now.

Josh kills Dawes with the flashlight and they rescue their parents, and sunlight kills all the ghouls of the town. They immediately move out; but as they do, they see a new family moving in. With Mr. Dawes as the real estate agent. ZOMG!!!!

Anyway, final thoughts are this. A decent book, and pretty dark for a kids book. But then again, that was the point of the Goosebumps series, and while I don’t find most of them scary, I can’t deny how dark these books were. This particular book is ok, but not one of my favorites. The protagonists are good and R.L.’s writing as good here as it is anywhere else. It lacks scariness, but has plenty of creepiness and disturbing-ness to make up for it. I’d recommend reading it for the nostalgia factor, or if you need a good light read to kill some time.

Comic Review: Justice League #1 (2011)

Let’s get this started by saying I’m not a big comic fan. But I HAVE read comics before and watch AT4W, so I’m sure that’s enough knowledge for me to cover this. Plus, I do have the internet, the most accurate source of information 100% of the time, to turn to. Then there’s my knowledge of comic cartoons, like the Justice League one.

Only have seen the first episode of that one.

Yeah, that’s the one.

Anyway… as I was saying… moving forward… I do know enough to do as close a fair review I can do for this comic.

This seems to come with at least two covers, but the only difference I see in them is one has a blue background and is more expensive, it’s a combo back with a digital copy inside. Any, on the art of the cover, it’s pretty good. Though I’m confused to why so many heroes appear on the cover, as only Batman, Green Lantern, and Superman appear in this issue. And Soups is only at the end of it. But anyway, no real complaints on it.

We open with the Gotham City Police Department with their guns trained on Batman. A very intriguing way to start a comic, I must say, even knowing Batman and Commissioner Gordon’s relationship. Then we cut to 5 years before that, since the very next panel says “5 Years Ago.” I guess all this happened 5 years in the past of something, but the panels kind of seem weird.

Anyway, we then see Batman dodging a hail of bullets, being shot from some helicopters’ machine guns. At the same time, Batman is chasing some large, alien robot of unknown origin. Said robot can shoot fire from its mouth, and detach and fire its fist.

A green light envelopes The Dark Knight and a glowing green firetruck has appeared. Of course, the source of this firetruck is none other than the Green Lantern. GL for some reason surprised to find out that Batman exist. DK tells GL to turn down his light or they (the police) will see him. Greenie asks who Bruceman means, and the GCPD immediately tell him to put his hands in the air. Smooth. Guess Lantern didn’t see the helicopters because he could only see that one robot despite all the choppers in the air.

Green Linguine seems shocked to find the bears in the air just want him to put his hands in the air, like it’s something new for cops to be hostile towards superheroes. Which is kind of surprising, seeing how Batman points out the Lantern’s own run-ins with the Air Force. Bats says that the world is scared of them and that it’s necessary for them to be.

The robot shifts forms and Green Lanman jokingly ask if it’s a Transformer.

Must be a Beast Wars one if so.

The two start arguing about whether Lantern should be there or not, and then Lanny starts inquiring about Bat’s powers, and is shocked to find he is just some guy in a bat suit. After this, Bruce takes off the GL’s ring and ask what it does. He easily figures out the ring works through concentration as it has no buttons on it. Batman answers the question of how the hell Bats got it off with “You– weren’t concentrating.”

They see the robot plant something on the wall, at which point it self-destructs in an attempt to take The Dark Knight and Luigi out with it. Of course, this is a fruitless attempt as Greenbean simply conjures up a willpower field. Unsure it the object left behind is a bomb, they decide to question Superman about it. Because he’s not from this planet. Pretty poor judgement, as space is huge, and not everybody knows everybody up there. “World’s Greatest Detective” Batman couldn’t think of that?

Anyway, we cut to a game of–

FOOTBALL!!!!!

High school football to be precise. And there’s this amazing receiver named Vic Stone, who is so good, all the agents want him. They all clamor to the coach’s office, while Vic is on the phone with his father, seen only in silhouette. The coach won’t let the agents talk to the boy with his father there, but the dad is busy with work. Obviously wanting his dad to be proud and supporting of him, Vic is hurt when he doesn’t show up, and finishes off his speech to his dad by saying they won, though he doubted his dad cared. Vic tells his coach that his dad will show up “next game, for sure.”

The panel following we get someone saying “Oh, my God!” That emphasis seems a little weird to me, and I much prefer the way Arnold from Troll 2 said it. Anyway, that reaction was cause by the Grandpa Lou-nter’s GIANT FREAKING GREEN JET RIGHT IN PLAIN VIEW!

“It’s okay, Bats. I’ve got it on ‘stealth’ mode.”

Somebody else on the football team ask if Vic’s dad studies the superhuman’s, to which Vic says yes, but his father never talks about it to him.

Green Lemon goes in half-cocked, sure that he can defeat The Man of Steel. For a Lantern, this guy isn’t very bright. The Dark Knight dives to the side as GL gets sent flying back out of Superman’s place, Soups ask the Bat what he can do, and we get promised an epic showdown between Superman and Batman.

And there we have the first issue of The New 52’s first comic of the DC relaunch, and honestly it’s a fun read. Good art, good writing, and pretty light, even with the fire-spewing extra-terrestrial robot. The parts with Vic Stone are touching, and the interaction between Batman,  Green Lantern, and Superman is great.

I want to read more of this comic, as well as reading the other comics of the reboot. Fans of the original can criticize, complain about, or avoid the pot-reboot DC comics all they want to, assuming they do. But to those who read it who were fans of the original and it enjoyed this comic, or to new fans like myself, these are certainly worth a shot checking out.

“I’m being inconspicuous :3”