I Gots Goosebumps Episode 5 - Phantom of the Auditorium

It's tough to get a hold of quality images for any episode, especially this one, hence two-face kitty.

Watching Phantom of the Auditorium reminded me of an incident that happened when I was in the fifth grade. I remember I had brought several Goosebumps books with me to class. I can’t remember the reason. I want to say it was for show and tell, but I’d like to believe I had something better to bring in than books anyone can just go to the store and buy. Anyway, at the end of the day I noticed several of them, including Phantom of the Auditorium,had been taken from my desk. The next morning, my classmate brought in Goosebump books he claimed he went and bought the previous night. The rub? They were the exact same ones taken from me the previous day! Oh and did I mention my fucking name was written inside one of them? The last I heard about that kid he was repeating the 8th grade, and apparently the signs were there years earlier.

Anyway, let’s talk about the episode! There’s not a whole lot to say, hence the preamble.

 

We open with a bunch of drama students sitting around in a circle and talking about the fact they are doing drama. It goes on for longer than necessary, but to the show and actors’ credit, they do a pretty good job of replicating what it would be like if a bunch of pre-teens were sitting around, shooting the shit and trading tame insults. They’re doing a production of Phantom of the Opera, which one of the kids mentions is cursed. This girl is my favourite character in the episode because her sole purpose every time she shows up is to remind people “Don’t forget, shit is cursed”.

Also there’s a mechanical trapdoor in the floor from a production that was done decades earlier. It’s old, broken and unsafe, and yet the teacher feels it’s not worth mentioning until one of the kids has already tripped the mechanism and scared the shit out of everyone by vanishing down into the floor. You would think the first piece of business on this set would be to rope off the dangerous trap door, but eh, let’s just wait and see what happens instead.

So we see them rehearsing and the lead girl occasionally has visions of a phantom calling to her on a smoky stage. Oh and a new kid who is crazy enthusiastic about being a part of the Phantom show has joined the team, and I bet you he is not up to anything at all. No way.

Eventually, for reasons I don’t entirely remember, one night our two leads go down into the basement via the trap door. It’s there they encounter a creepy dude who claims to be the night janitor. As with all horror janitors who never end up being actually evil, he talks in a low, threatening voice and speaks in nothing but vague, ominous statements. Although now that I think about it, I don’t believe I have ever once encountered a friendly janitor, so these horror movie makers may be right on the money actually.

Our lead girl (I think her name is Brooke) starts getting warnings to stay away from the production, and her best friend keeps getting blamed, eventually leading to him getting booted from the play. I felt bad for the guy because he really gets screwed. He adamantly defends himself and Brooke backs him up, yet the teacher just decides fuck him so he’s out. So the new guy, who I still bet you is completely on the level and is not at all a ghost or some shit, takes his place as the Phantom in the play. I think....actually I’m pretty sure that maybe didn’t happen since the original kid (I don’t at all remember what his name would have been) ends up playing the role anyway. I think they let him back in after some freaky shit happens that he clearly couldn’t have been responsible for. The fact that I already can’t remember says a lot about this episode.

The night of the show arrives, and during the performance, the Phantom is knocked down the trapdoor and replaced by, oh shit it’s the new kid! He WAS up to something! Can you believe that shit? I never saw it coming! So he deviates from the dialogue and instead tells a story about how he was supposed to play the role of the Phantom decades prior, but he died, which of course made it tricky to do so. Sadly this then became his sole post death goal. Seems one could have higher post-mortem aspirations than “do some middle school drama” but it’s what he wants so I guess all the power to him. Also, nobody seems to mind at all that the lead has completely tossed the script aside and given a monologue that I can’t imagine would make a lick of sense within the context of the play they’re performing. How are they not picking up that this is a real story being told and not just nonsense improvisation? I don’t know but they are pumped as shit about the performance when the scene is done. I’m pretty sure that isn’t where the play would normally end, but they were just so excited that they had to rush the stage and fuck it all up.

Then, in the most hilariously blunt ending to any episode of a show ever, they find out the new kid has in fact been dead for decades when they see a newspaper headline. SLAM TO CREDITS! I assume the writers knew we would figure that reveal out 20 minutes earlier and decided it wasn’t worth devoting any time to.

Oh and there never was a night-time janitor, so I guess that guy was also a ghost? I don’t remember them explaining it. They may have but I distinctly remember that by this point in the episode I was pretty into some Mrs. Vickies’ chips, so you can’t fault me for not giving the show my full attention.

This is another ok episode. The obvious twist hurts things as you then have to spend the majority of the episode waiting for the characters to catch-up. The character interaction feels natural though, and the acting is solid, and that seems to be the best thing I can hope for with these things. Forgettable, but watchable.