I’ve never met a person without a single pop-culture-caused childhood scar — and I don’t mean horseplay gone wrong because you thought you could fight like the kids on Three Ninjas without it ending in disaster. No, I’m talking about the real childhood scars. The ones that are so embedded in your brain that they still make you shudder just a little, like when you get up from bed to close the closet door before turning out the light (guilty!) or when you realize your toes are hanging over the bed (not that this shrimp knows what that feels like) and quickly curl up to get them back on mattress territory. For me, a lot of my irrational minor fears actually stem from one of my absolute favorite shows: Goosebumps.
I liked the books just fine, and in some cases, they were definitely better than the TV series. But the TV show was always something I could share with my little sister (sorry, I was a good sister, but certainly didn’t have the patience to read to the little booger). So we always watched the episodes together, while also slowly and unknowingly building our irrational fears together.
Our favorite episode — and I still think of every time I walk into a Halloween mask store — was The Haunted Mask. In it, the inexplicably Canadian Carly Beth, the subject of the tale, found herself trapped in the grips of a magic monster mask. It taught us, if nothing else, that you never put spooky looking masks on your face because they’ll attach themselves to you forever. Kidding. I know that wasn’t the point, but that’s what we all took away, right? Personally, I’m now much more worried about the germs the person who wore the mask before me left on it. That‘s why I don’t try on masks. (At least, that’s what I conveniently tell myself.)
Point being, I still think about that story today. I’ve had dreams as an adult that I’m pretty sure were inspired by it. And I still hate masks. (Again, it’s mostly because of the germs…I think.) I can’t tell you how pleased I am by this. Despite my possibly still-present trauma, I love that Goosebumps was, at least at the time, genuinely scary. Personally, any price — even my adult rationality — is well worth it as long as I, at one time, got a good scare out of it.
So, as PopWatch revisits some of our favorites from the ’90s, let’s hat tip to Goosebumps for the scares and scars. Cheers!
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