Thursday, April 10, 2008

Night of the Living... aww hell with it...

Of course, that should have been, "Night of the Living Dummy," going back to the good old days of Goosebumps.  Yes, I know Goosebumps were books, but it did make it to television for 4 whole seasons between 1995-98.  I think it warrants a little discussion, especially considering a great deal of inspiration for R.L. Stine's spooky tales came straight from from past television shows, specifically from my favorite and yours, The Twilight Zone.  

Some episodes of Goosebumps are dead ringers for the sci-fi classics from days of yore. Night of the Living Dummy (link goes to the second version) is one of them, paying homage (or ripping off, whichever you prefer) to Night of the Living Dead.  However the story itself gains some of its content from another source... an episode the the Twilight Zone entitled "The Dummy." In it, a ventriloquist dummy seems to take over the life of his puppeteer, and they end up doing a little switcheroo, in which the puppet starts working the other man's strings.  The Goosebumps version plays right off the idea presented in the Twilight Zone,  the owner of the puppet gets the blame for all the misdoings of the dummy.  

Another Goosebumps episode in particular is one called "Click"  Here, a boy figures out that a remote control he just bought controls more than just the tv and stereo, he can stop, pause, and rewind everything around him.  The Twilight Zone version, "A Kind of Stopwatch," a man who gets a special pocketwatch that's able to stop time, starts abusing his gift for all sorts of debauchery, breaks the watch, and is stuck in a world where time is completely stopped, the same fate as the boy in "Click."  (Which also happens to be the title of a rather poor Adam Sandler movie, just to mention)

While some may say this is kind of a rip off of these classics, (which in a way, it is) it's also bringing these stories that entertained many a viewer in the 60's, to the kids of the 90's.  It got kids to read, and when on TV, brought many fond memories of rushing home from school to a darkened basement with a few good friends and getting ready to be scared.  And in my own case, it actually sparked my interest in the Twilight Zone, as I really wanted to know where these stories came from.  

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Several Goosebumps episodes have been influenced by the Twilight Zone such as (excluding the two you mentioned):

The Girl Who Cried Monster(1995)- Will the Real Martian Please Stand Up?(1961)

The Haunted Mask(1995)- The Masks(1964)

Be Careful What You Wish For(1996)- The Man in the Bottle(1960)

Awesome Ants(1998)- The Little People(1962)

Welcome To Camp Nightmare(1995)- Third From the Sun(1960)

Say Cheese and Die(1996)- A Most Unusual Camera(1960)

An Old Story(1997)- A Short Drink From a Certain Fountain(1963)