I have to wonder whether it would have been possible to make a really outstanding children's horror series, especially 20 years ago when this was fresh. The producers probably lacked the resources to find talented actors, writers, etc. Those things are very much lacking here. The acting is subpar, the writing is usually cringeworthy, the premises are often too childish even to entertain children...and yet, there was the occasional episode that could be kind of charming if you could allow yourself to forget the obvious shortcomings. None of the episodes succeeded in being genuinely unnerving, but some of them had scenes that felt sort of inspired. I would say that the only ones worth watching are the ones that came close to being eerie. Off the top of my head, I remember the following episodes as being halfway decent: The Ghost Next Door, Night of the Living Dummy III, Werewolf Skin, and Stay Out of the Basement.Other notes of possible interest: 1) The casts are usually Canadian, and it's fun to hear them pronounce the word "house". I never would have known Canadians pronounce the "ow" sound differently in certain regions had it not been for this show. 2) Slappy the dummy is surprisingly entertaining. If they were trying to make him a goofy character, they failed; he's closer to creepy than goofy imo, and that's for the best. 4) Special effects are laughably bad (especially the bats), but that's to be expected with the probable low budget. 5) Some episodes were clearly meant to be humorous, and these are complete failures. The best episodes at least attempt to be scary. 6) This show is very much of its time, with giant phones, dated clothing, retro computers, and 90s slang. 7) They managed to get most of the better books, though I would have liked an adaptation of Camp Cold Lake. The show only made significant departures from the books a few times.Would I recommend it? No, frankly. I've only given it this lengthy a review because it was so cool when I was a kid. Not too cool anymore. But there is the rare connoisseur of low production values who might like it. The books are a waste of time for anyone above the age of 12. That doesn't ring quite as true for this show. If only they'd had more resources, who knows how this might have turned out. I've never seen a horror anthology show that's genuinely creepy, so some of the shortcomings here can be blamed on the difficulty of working in this genre.
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