Quarantine Post #36: Goosebumps


Prior to the phenomena that is Harry Potter took over my life, it was hard to get me to read as a kid. My mother picked things and while I read them… it really didn’t hold my attention. At 2 years old, I was watching Tales from the Crypt with my mother… Good Times. So I remember being in the 3rd grade and taking a trip to the library. My teacher wanted to teach us how to search for content within the library. We were starting out our accelerated reader program… which rewarded kids with points for every book they read and tested on. When were turned loose to look at the books on our own… I came across R.L. Stine and the rest is history. I had to get approval to read it… because they felt as though my reading level was higher and they wanted me to read something more challenging. So I did end up picking something else but I still got my Goosebumps… And when I found out it was a series… that was really the only reason I went to the school library after that first introduction.

I remember consuming these in large chunks and being annoyed when I had to pick something else for class. Because it is published by Scholastic Publishing, it had me begging to visit the book fair and save my money to do some real damage. It was the talk of the town again when the series was given a television show. So not only could I read it… I could also watch to my hearts content. I am pretty sure that I annoyed my dad by taking over the tv on Saturday mornings… or looking for a tape so that I didn’t miss anything. So I am back here since my cousins wanted to know what I used to watch as a kid.. and I showed them the Goosebumps tv show on Netflix… Yes it is there… so check it out. I remember having avid conversations with the kids at lunch about the books… so you were not cool if you were not reading them.

Goosebumps is a series of children’s horror fiction novels by American author R. L. Stine. The stories follow child characters, who find themselves in scary situations, usually involving monsters and other supernatural elements. From 1992 to 1997, sixty-two books were published under the Goosebumps umbrella title. (I have not read them all but I got damn close. The older that I got I moved on to some of Stine’s other books aimed at older kids… so Stine was with me for a long time before I decided to switch from horror and thriller to the fantasy that is Harry Potter.) Various spin-off series were written by Stine: Goosebumps Series 2000Give Yourself GoosebumpsTales to Give You GoosebumpsGoosebumps Triple HeaderGoosebumps HorrorLandGoosebumps Most Wanted and Goosebumps SlappyWorld. The series has sold over 400 million books worldwide in thirty-two languages since the first book, Welcome to Dead House in 1992, becoming the second-best-selling book series in history, after J. K. Rowling’s Harry Potter. Individual books in the series have been listed in several bestseller lists, including the New York Times Best Seller list for children. Fifty Give Yourself Goosebumps books were published from 1995 to 2000, starting with Escape from the Carnival of Horrors.  The books in this series were ghostwritten by several authors, including Kathryn Lance and Stine’s sister-in-law Megan Stine. Of these I have read Give Yourself Goosebumps… that was fun as I would continuously start over and still end up bad off. I am older now so I know that is really the only way it was going to unfold. Due to declining Goosebumps sales and increasing competition (primarily from another series from Scholastic, Animorphs), Scholastic and R. L. Stine decided to create Goosebumps Series 2000. From 1998 to 2000, 25 books in the series were published, beginning with Cry of the Cat. The books in this series were written in a similar format and featured similar content to the original series, but Stine classified them as being “much scarier.”

Goosebumps was listed 15th in the list of most frequently challenged books during 1990–1999 and 94th in the list of top banned/challenged books during 2000–2009 by the American Library Association (ALA). According to the ALA, a challenge is an attempt by a person or group to remove or restrict materials from a library or school curriculum. The series was challenged for being too frightening for young people and depicting occult or demonic themes. In the hearing, most of the parents and children felt the books should not be banned, and the school district’s book review committee decided to keep the books. I wonder when people will get that when you try to have something banned… it just causes more interest in it…

So as I normally do I am going to pick a few of my favorite stories or the ones that scared the shit out of me as a kid. I am only going to pick a handful. I may even throw in how the coinciding episode played out for me. I look forward to gifting my niece and nephew these sets because they, like me, love to scare themselves. So they are already watching the shows, but once they start reading they will love these. So without further ado, let’s jump into it.

  1. Stay Out of the Basement – This really messed with my sense of what I knew to be true. And if you read the story you know what I am talking about. The episode was just as disconcerting to my 9 year old mind. Stay Out of the Basement is the second book in the original Goosebumps book series. It was first published in 1992. The book follows Margaret and Casey Brewer, whose father has been acting very strange since losing his job as a botanist at a nearby university. When Mrs. Brewer goes out of town, his obsession with his plants gets out of hand.  When Margaret and Casey try to go down to the basement to see his works, their father, whose hand is bleeding, warns them not to enter. Margaret and Casey are suspicious of their father wearing a cap all the time… day or night…. Margaret discovers that he was eating plant food… A few days later, the kids are playing Frisbee, and Dr. Brewer is outside with them. The kids accidentally hit Dr. Brewer on the head. This knocks off his hat, revealing green leaves growing on his head. Dr. Brewer sits down with his children again and explains that the leaves are only a side effect of his experiments. Dr. Brewer goes to the basement again quickly. My young mind railed against this explanation. HE IS NOT YOUR FATHER MARGARET!!! That night, Margaret spies her father in the bathroom, watching as he removes the bandage from his hand, revealing bright green blood instead of red blood. Before returning to her room, Margaret takes a small look at her father’s room, discovering moist dirt and worms in his bed. The kids hear noises coming from a supply closet. When they open it, they find Dr. Brewer bound and gagged with plant tendrils. They untie him, and Dr. Brewer tells them that the one who went to the airport to pick up his mother is not him. Instead, it is a hybrid plant clone created during his experiments. Dr. Brewer grabs an ax and waits for his clone to return. Dr. Brewer’s clone appears on the basement stairs. He tries to trick the kids into believing that their real father is the clone. However, Margaret grabs a knife and makes a small cut to her father’s hand, revealing red blood. The real Dr. Brewer uses the ax and cuts his clone in half, revealing bright green blood and a stem-like interior. One week later, Dr. Brewer burns all the mutant plants in the yard, planting a few into the garden. He tells Margaret and Casey that he will stop doing experiments permanently. The kids are walking back inside when one of the plants begins to touch Margaret with its leaves and beckons for help. The plant assures her that it is her real father. (R.L. Stine is the king of cliffhangers… I would like to point out I had no clue what the term cliffhanger even meant before this series.)

  2. The Girl Who Cried Monster – I understood this book’s protagonist. I am sure every kid has tried to point out something and the parents or adults in their lives dismissed them. Lucy is twelve years old and lives in Timberland Falls. Lucy loves to scare her younger brother, Randy, with terrifying monster stories. Much to the irritation of her parents, Lucy is obsessed with monsters. Lucy also participates in a summer reading program at the local library. The librarian, a balding man with glasses named Mr. Mortman, tries to get Lucy to read classic literature, but Lucy only wants to read books about monsters. Shortly after leaving the library one day, Lucy returns having left her roller blades. Lucy goes back inside. She observes Mr. Mortman through the window of his office. Mr. Mortman is sitting in front of his desk, and he pulls out a container full of flies, which he uses to feed his pet turtles. Without warning, Mr. Mortman’s head begins to swell, and his eyes bulge and turn black. His mouth becomes a long row of sharp teeth, and he grows claws. He proceeds to eat flies from the pan. Horrified, Lucy flees the library. Lucy tries explaining that Mr. Mortman is a monster to her parents and friends, but nobody believes her story. Refusing to give up, Lucy formulates a new plan; instead of going to the library, Lucy will investigate Mr. Mortman’s house. Lucy, accompanied by her friend Aaron, follows the librarian to his house. Lucy spies on Mr. Mortman through an open window. Wanting to gain a better vantage point, Aaron looks for a ladder. While he is distracted, Lucy watches Mr. Mortman eating unpleasant dishes such as raw fish, snails, and eels. Aaron doesn’t see any of this. Mr. Mortman’s sees Lucy, and Aaron flees. When Mr. Mortman asks her what she is doing at his house, Lucy says that she was visiting him to tell him that she will no longer be attending his reading program. The next morning, Lucy is forced to go to the library. When she arrives, she discovers that nobody is there. Mr. Mortman appears and locks the door behind her, telling her that he won’t let her escape. (I remember closing the book then and being incredibly shaken.) Mr. Mortman transforms into a monster and tries to attack Lucy, but she quickly runs away from him. Lucy exits the library through a window. Lucy runs into Aaron. He tells her that he had hidden in the library and observed Mr. Mortman turning into a monster. Aaron apologizes for his prior disbelief. With Aaron as a witness, Lucy tells her parents about Mr. Mortman. Lucy’s parents decide to invite Mr. Mortman to dinner. A few nights later, Mr. Mortman appears at Lucy’s house. After a brief talk, Mr. Mortman asks what they will be eating for dinner, and Lucy’s parents say that they will be eating him. Mr. Mortman is frightened by this comment. Lucy’s parents begin to transform into monsters, and they devour the librarian alive. Lucy and Randy encourage their parents all the while. Although Lucy and Randy are also monsters, they can’t join in as their fangs haven’t grown yet. Lucy’s parents explain that they don’t want more monsters moving into their neighborhood. My young mind could have exploded. The episode does this story justice… it was just as creepy to me….
  3. The Haunted Mask – This story still kind of creeps me out even as an adult. But it is a simple story. It is the first story in what becomes a 3 part saga and was actually the first special when the show was being brought to television.  Carly Beth is a quiet, shy, and overly trusting girl. She is easily scared of almost everything, and repeatedly humiliated by her friends, Chuck Greene and Steve Boswell, at school who call her a “scaredy cat”, and delight in making her life a misery. After being tricked by Steve into eating a sandwich that contained a live worm, Carly Beth flees home in shame and vows revenge. At home, Carly Beth discovers her mother, Kate, has made a perfect likeness of Carly Beth’s face from plaster of Paris as a symbol of her love for her. Carly Beth is also annoyed to discover her mother has made her a silly duck costume. She calls Sabrina on the telephone. They talk about the cruel prank Steve played on her and Carly Beth swears she will never fall for one of their stunts again. Then she muses about buying a horrible mask from a new shop that has just opened.  On Halloween day, she collects her money and sets off for the costume shop, distraught that it is closed. However the mysterious owner of the shop allows her entry and she unwillingly stumbles upon a back room filled with the many of the most hideous masks she has ever seen. The owner refuses to sell her the one she wants. But she is insistent and takes off with the mask while throwing the money at him. Thrilled, she goes home, puts on the mask, and scares her brother. However the mask will not come off at first, when it finally does, Carly Beth and Noah are unsure as to how she unintentionally changed her voice to a hoarse growl. Carly Beth simply remarks, “I don’t know…but I like it”. She then makes her way to the front door, and stares at the mirror for a second or two, hesitating to put the mask back on, but she does anyway. Carly Beth steals the Plaster of Paris mold of her head that her mother made, and goes in search of Chuck and Steve, determined to make them pay. Yet strange things start happening to her. She acts like a totally different person: she attacks Sabrina, frightens young children, and vandalizes the neighborhood. After finding Chuck and Steve and scaring them, however, Carly Beth is horrified to notice that the mold of her face spoke, imploring Steve and Chuck to “help” her. Steve and Chuck run off in fear and Carly Beth gleefully abandon the plaster face. Back at Sabrina’s house, Carly Beth tries but cannot remove the mask. Sabrina tugs and pulls at Carly Beth’s sweaty mask, but it does not seem to give. To her horror, Sabrina discovers that there is no space between the mask and her skin. The mask has somehow fused itself to Carly Beth’s own face. Rather than seeing her own normal eyes staring back at her in the mirror, Carly Beth sees evil, animal-like, orange eyes leering back at her. Now, I was creeped out but honestly, I wasn’t sure I felt that badly about her… since she stole the mask that the guy didn’t want to sell. Despite her desperate pleas, the shopkeeper tells Carly Beth over and over that the mask cannot be removed as it is not simply a mask…it is a real, living face. He tells her that he created them and they were once beautiful, but they slowly decayed over time and became hideous, repulsive monsters. He refers to them as “The Unloved Ones”. It turns out every so often a young, innocent person like Carly Beth, finds one thinking it to only be a latex mask, puts it on and the mask begins to become one with the victim’s skin as the mask fuses with them and begins to slowly take over their mind. The shopkeeper says, “The only way to remove the mask is to find a ‘symbol of love’. But if the mask is ever put on a third time, it will be forever.” Carly Beth begins to cry out and scream in horror, realizing that she might possibly never see her true, young face ever again. Unfortunately, Carly Beth’s hysterical screams and shrieks begin to slowly awaken the evil masks who before laid dormant, lying in wait for their next victims to consume. They begin floating off of their model heads and start to slowly, but surely, fly at Carly Beth. They pursue her down the street and Carly Beth finally realizes that the mold her mother gave her is a symbol of love she needs to remove the mask from her body. Carly Beth uses it to deter the masks and remove the monstrous face that has attached itself to her. 
  4. Night of the Living Dummy – This is definitely the reason that I hate ventriloquist dummies and the show didn’t help that image. Scared the shit out of me. Lindy and Kris Powell are walking through their neighborhood. The two girls decide to inspect a house that is under construction. While searching through a garbage container near the house, Lindy finds a mysterious ventriloquist’s dummy and decides to call him Slappy. Lindy uses her dummy to gain popularity, and Kris becomes jealous. Since some of the neighborhood kids seem to love her ventriloquism, Lindy decides to start using Slappy for children’s acts and birthday parties. Lindy and Kris’s parents ask the two girls to share the dummy. However, when Kris tries to take Slappy from Lindy, Slappy hits Kris in the face. Mr. Powell gives a ventriloquist dummy to Kris that he purchased from a pawn shop. She decides to call him Mr. Wood. Mrs. Berman, Kris’s music teacher, asks her to perform a ventriloquist act for the school’s upcoming spring concert. Lindy offers to help Kris improve her act, but Mr. Wood begins hurling insults at Kris. Since Lindy is the one operating Mr. Wood at the time, Kris assumes that Lindy is the one speaking, but Lindy insists that she isn’t controlling the dummy. That night, Lindy and Kris hear strange noises coming from inside their house.  When they go to find the source of the noise, they find Mr. Wood strangling Slappy. (Weirdness.) When the sisters tell their mother what happened, of course, she doesn’t believe them and tells the girls to go to bed. Kris continues to hear noises coming from the kitchen throughout the night. Kris investigates the kitchen and sees Mr. Wood lying near the refrigerator with food around him. Before Kris and Lindy can clean everything up, Mrs. Powell goes downstairs and sees the giant mess. Both girls try to convince their mother that Mr. Wood is responsible for the mess, but Mrs. Powell threatens to take Slappy and Mr. Wood away if the girls keep insisting that Mr. Wood is alive. While the girls clean up the mess, Lindy reveals to Kris that she is the one who has been doing all these horrible things. She was tired of Kris being a copycat, so she decided to pull this big prank on Kris. She mocks Kris for buying it. (I wanted to punch her in the face.) Kris is infuriated but doesn’t tell their Mom about this, as they have been banned from talking about the dummies. A couple of days later, Kris finds a small card in Mr. Wood’s pocket that reads, “KARRU MARRI ODONNA LOMA MOLONU KARRANO,”. After reading the card out loud, Kris thinks she sees Mr. Wood blink. The Miller’s come to visit the Powell’s come to visit. The Powells make Lindy and Kris perform a ventriloquist act for their neighbors. Lindy decides to go first, and hers is a success. Before Kris can perform her act, Mr. Wood begins to insult the elderly couple, making fun of their appearances and their breath. Kris is grounded but still allowed to attend the school’s spring concert the following day. However, at the concert, while Mrs. Berman is adjusting a microphone for Kris, Mr. Wood begins to insult the teacher for being overweight. Mrs. Berman demands an apology, but Mr. Wood responds by spewing a green substance on the teacher and the audience. Mrs. Bergman tells Kris that she will be suspended from school for this. Mr. Powell announces he will return the dummy to the pawn shop on Monday. Kris locks Mr. Wood in a closet and goes to sleep. Kris is awakened by the sound of footsteps. When Kris decides to investigate, she discovers that Mr. Wood is alive. Mr. Wood tells her that she and Lindy are now his slaves and that the magic words brought him to life. Eventually, a fight breaks out and the dummy end being run over my a steamroller. A mysterious green mist rises from the smashed dummy’s body.  When the girls get to their room, they find Slappy waiting for them. Slappy asks if the other dummy is gone. (Again with a freaky cliffhanger… enough to leave 9 year old me on edge. The episode creepy good.)

  5. The Ghost Next Door – Again R.L. Stine knows how to give you a twist in a story… It was his thing and I could never decide whether or not I liked it. It could be argued that since I kept reading it… I loved it. I think this made me better at recognizing foreshadowing as there is a lot here. Hannah Fairchild isn’t having much fun since all her friends have left for the summer vacation. Even though Hannah writes letters to her friends, they never write back. Not even Hannah’s neighbors seem to pay attention to her. To pass the time, Hannah makes campfires in the backyard of her house and tells ghost stories to her younger brothers, Bill and Herb. (So much foreshadowing… I can laugh about it now.)  Hannah discovers that a new family has moved into the house next door. Hannah meets one member of this new family, Danny Anderson; Danny is twelve years old, the same age as Hannah. Hannah does not recall Danny’s family moving into the house. She thought the house was abandoned. (But was it??????) As the days go by, Hannah begins to become suspicious of Danny. He mysteriously disappears every time she turns around or becomes distracted. Hannah begins to suspect that Danny is actually a ghost. Meanwhile, Danny befriends Alan Miller and Fred Drakes, two spoiled children who are always getting into trouble. Danny decides to go with Alan and Fred as they vandalize around Greenwood Falls. They decide to go to the home of Mr. Chesney, the postmaster of the city, to destroy his mailbox. They are quickly caught by Mr. Chesney, but the postmaster only seems to pay attention to Alan and Fred. Hannah, observing in silence, witnesses this, and this event seems to validate her theory that Danny is a ghost since he can seemingly avoid Mr. Chesney’s detection. After their scolding, Alan and Fred tell Danny that they are going to get revenge. Hannah confronts Danny. The two begin arguing, and Hannah accuses Danny of being a ghost. Danny tries to push Hannah, but his hand passes through her chest. Scared, Danny runs away. Hannah slowly realizes the truth; she is the ghost. Danny and his friends end up breaking into Mr. Chesney’s house again but they end up setting his house on fire. Hannah had overheard some neighbors talking about how she and her family died in a house fire and here it was happening again. Refusing to let her friend die, Hannah manages to save Danny, leaving the shadowy figure behind. Hannah and Danny manage to escape from the burning house as ambulances begin arriving at the scene. Back home, Danny explains to his mother and Mr. Chesney that Hannah saved him, but nobody believes him. They try to explain to him that Hannah passed away five years ago. Hannah begins to notice that everything around her is fading. She hears the voices of her parents calling for her to return to them. As Hannah begins fading away from the real world, she cries a final goodbye to Danny, asking that he never forget her.

  6. Say Cheese and Die –  Greg Banks and his 3 friends,  Shari Walker, Doug Arthur, and Michael Warner, decide to sneak into the mysterious Coffman House to entertain themselves for fall break. (It is things like this that made shoot down friend’s ideas of exploring… It never ended well for the kids in these stories. ) The old Coffman house is said to be haunted. Greg finds a camera hidden inside a compartment in the wall. (I would like to point out that I probably take something from a haunted house.) Greg is interested in photography, so he picks up the camera. He asks Michael to pose for a picture. Michael stands against a staircase railing. After Greg takes the picture a photo comes out of the front of the camera. Michael asks to see it and leans against the railing. The railing breaks, and Michael falls to the ground, hurting his ankle. The group later inspects Michael’s photograph. To everyone’s surprise, Michael’s picture shows him falling instead of leaning on the railing. Later that day, Greg takes multiple photographs with the camera. First, he takes a photo of his father’s new car, but the picture shows the vehicle wrecked. Then, he takes a photo of his older brother, Terry, but the picture shows him on a baseball field in a worried state. Greg, Shari, and Michael go to Doug’s baseball game. Before it starts, Greg takes a photo. The picture shows his friend lying on the ground with his neck at an unnatural angle. Doug refuses to believe that anything bad could happen to him. He assumes the camera is broken. However, during the game, a baseball hits him, causing him to fall to the ground. His neck bends to an unnatural angle, as the picture predicted. Greg is completely sure that the camera is responsible for these events, but his friends refuse to believe him.  Greg, Shari, and Michael go to Doug’s baseball game. Before it starts, Greg takes a photo. The picture shows his friend lying on the ground with his neck at an unnatural angle. Doug refuses to believe that anything bad could happen to him. He assumes the camera is broken. However, during the game, a baseball hits him, causing him to fall to the ground. His neck bends to an unnatural angle, as the picture predicted. Greg is completely sure that the camera is responsible for these events, but his friends refuse to believe him. Terry appears on the baseball field in a worried state. Terry tells Greg that their father has just suffered an accident and that the car is completely totaled.  Shari continues to be skeptical of the alleged camera’s “powers” and asks Greg to take it to her birthday. Initially, he refuses, but he eventually takes the camera to the party. During the party, Greg takes a photo of Shari, but the pictures don’t show her. Soon after, Shari disappears mysteriously without a trace. Greg gets an idea: to tear up Shari’s picture. When he does this, she reappears, but she doesn’t have any memory of where she had been. Later, the kids decide that the camera is too dangerous and resolve to return it to its hiding place in the Coffman House. But, when Greg and Shari enter the old house, Spidey, a man who had attempted to keep them from leaving with the camera in the first place, catches them and reveals the camera’s origins. It turns out that Spidey’s real name is Dr. Fritz Fredericks, and he is a deranged scientist. His lab partner created the camera. Spidey’s greed led him to steal it and present it as his own invention. What he didn’t know was that his partner also was a master of the dark arts. His partner placed a curse on the camera. Now, whenever a photo is taken, something bad will happen to the subject of the photo. Spidey mentions that the camera caused the death of all of the people he ever loved. He spent his whole life trying to hide it. Now that the four kids know the truth, Spidey believes that he must keep them prisoners in his house forever. Greg and Shari try to escape. During the struggle, Shari takes the camera from Spidey and takes Spidey’s photo with it. Spidey dies of fright, an event that the photograph seems to depict. Finally, Greg and Shari return the camera to its hiding place and leave the building. They tell the Pitts Landing police that they found Spidey’s corpse in the house. Joey Ferris and Mickey Ward, two local bullies, had followed Greg and his friends to the Coffman House. The bullies retrieve the camera, and they take their own photo. They wait for their picture to develop. (I still can’t find myself feeling bad for them.)

  7. The Werewolf of Fever Swamp – This one prayed on my sense of knowing who was in my inner circle. I would never want to visit a place named Fever Swamp much less live there. This one was pretty scary because it actually involved attacks and people dying. Grady Tucker and his sister, Emily, are forced to move to Fever Swamp in Florida because of their father. Their father is a scientist attempting to study the effects of a Floridian swamp’s environment on a group of deer, which he keeps in a pen outside of his family’s new house. The siblings decide to explore the swamp, but they quickly become lost. Eventually, they come across an old shack. The two enter to see if there’s anyone inside who can help them. However, they are scared away by the crazy looking hermit that lives there. That night, while Grady is hanging out by his family’s new house, he is befriended by a local boy named Will Blake. As Grady learns from Will, the only other local kid close to their age is a strange girl, but Will doesn’t elaborate on this. Will also tells Grady about how the swamp was named. According to him, many years ago, the residents of the swamp all came down with a terrible fever. The fever caused madness or death in everyone who had it.  At night, as Grady tries to sleep, he hears howling coming from somewhere outdoors. The following morning, he decides to go outside. A dog jumps out at him, but it appears to be friendly. Grady’s father allows him to keep the dog, and Grady names it Wolf because it looks like it might be part wolf. The Tuckers decide that Wolf was probably the one causing the noises they heard last night. Later, Grady and Will explore the swamp, and Wolf follows. The kids find a dead heron, which they are puzzled by. Grady goes home. Grady lets his dog out at night, and the next day he is shocked to discover a badly mutilated rabbit by their home. His family is quick to blame Wolf, but Grady defends his dog, not believing that he was the culprit. Later in the day, Grady meets Cassie O’Rourke, the strange local girl that Will mentioned. Cassie tells Grady about the werewolf of Fever Swamp, explaining that the swamp hermit is a werewolf. Then, the children are approached by the hermit. Wolf growls at the man. The hermit’s shirt is covered in blood, he’s carrying a dead turkey, and he cries out, claiming to be the werewolf. The kids try to run away, but the man catches up to them. The hermit admits that he had been hunting and had wanted to play a joke on the kids. Before separating, the old man warns Grady about trusting Wolf. Deers in the pen are being killed and Wolf is blamed. Grady’s father plans on taking him to the pound. Grady sets the dog free into the woods and that night goes into the woods to investigate. The swamp, he discovers that Will is also sneaking about. Will says that he was investigating some howling that he heard. Grady tries to stick with Will, but he loses track of the boy. Suddenly, a werewolf jumps out at Grady. As the creature attacks, Grady recognizes the distorted, monstrous face. He can tell that the werewolf is Will. The monster bites Grady, but Wolf appears and attacks Will, scaring him off. Grady falls unconscious. When Grady regains consciousness, he’s back home. As he learns, the swamp hermit carried him back to safety. He tells his father that Will was also in the swamp… when the doctor goes to check on Will, they find the house abandoned. A month passes, and Grady is staring up at a full moon. When Will bit him, Grady became a werewolf. Now, whenever there is a full moon, Grady goes hunting in the swamp. The book ends with Grady running side-by-side with Wolf into the swamp. Crazy scary.

  8. The Horror at Camp JellyJam – I think that prior to reading this one, I was all for going to a sleep-away camp. R.L. Stine sure knew how to ruin a thing. I read another book about a camp and it sealed the deal. Wendy and her younger brother, Elliot, are on a long road trip with their parents. To quell their boredom, the kids decide to ride in the trailer hitched to their parents’ car. After several minutes of riding in the trailer, the kids notice something odd: the trailer appears to be rolling in reverse. The kids soon discover that the trailer has become unhitched, and they are rolling uncontrollably down a hill. Once the trailer finally stops, they are rescued by a camp counselor named buddy who works at a nearby camp King JellyJam’s Sports Camp. Buddy offers to let Elliot and Wendy stay at this camp until they can make contact with the authorities. While making their way to the camp, Wendy sees a small girl in the woods. The girl warns Wendy not to go to the sports camp, but Wendy ignores this. (RED FLAG!! Of course it was… but I was too young to know or care.) The siblings are brought to the camp. They see that the camp’s logo is a purple blob monster. (What kind of logo is this?) Wendy and Elliot are taken to separate bunks. Wendy meets her three bunk-mates: Dierdre, Ivy, and Jan. The girls want to go swimming, so Wendy borrows a swimsuit from Dierdre. Despite the fact that Wendy wants to relax in the pool, all swimmers must be competing.  Wendy races with several other campers, but she ends up losing. Dierdre wins and receives a “King Coin”; when campers win six of these, they get to walk in the “Winners’ Walk”. Wendy doesn’t really mind losing the race, but she is lectured by Counselor Holly for not living by the camp slogan, “Only The Best.”, Elliot is having a great time at camp. Wendy gets to watch Eliot play ping-pong against another kid named Jeff. Elliot wins and receives a King Coin. After Elliot leaves, Wendy feels an earthquake-like tremor. Noticing Wendy’s concern, Counselor Buddy says that the tremors are a normal occurrence at the camp. The next day, Wendy begins searching for Dierdre again. Wendy asks Buddy about Dierdre and Alicia, he simply says that Dierdre and Alicia are both gone. Later, Wendy tries to call her parents, but she finds that all of the accessible phones don’t allow for outgoing calls. Wendy watches her brother compete against Jeff in basketball and lose, winning Jeff his sixth King Coin. After this, Wendy is told by Buddy that she needs to compete for more. Wendy meets a girl named Rose. Rose wins her sixth King Coin. The next day, Rose and Jeff are both gone. Wendy begins planning an escape for her and Elliot. Sadly, Wendy can’t convince Elliot to leave. Elliot wants to compete in a race the following morning to win his sixth King Coin. (Noooooo Elliot NOOOOO). That night, Wendy sneaks out. She follows several counselors. They lead her into a theater in a clearing. Wendy decides to investigate the building. She witnesses Counselor Buddy hypnotizing all of the counselors. Wendy finds a passage to a cave. She enters and sees dozens of kids working hard, including Alicia and Jeff. All of the Winners’ Walk champions are moving furiously with mops and hoses around an enormous, purple, gelatinous creature wearing a gold crown. The children are trying to clean him. Wendy finds Dierdre, and Dierdre explains that the monster is King Jellyjam. She says that the camp counselors are hypnotized and pushing the kids in sports because “Only The Best” are chosen to be King Jellyjam’s slaves.  The creature can’t stand his own stench so he needs the most athletic beings to keep him clean and he sweats snails. The earthquakes were from his burping. Anyone who stops cleaning King Jellyjam, or refuses to clean him, gets eaten. Wendy sneaks out. She devises a plan to get the slaves to stop cleaning him. King Jellyjam suffocates on his own stench. They watch as he melts into a pile of his own rancid, purple goo. There is still the counselors that need to be dealt with. Those counselors arrive and are about to attack but the police arrive to investigate the source of the campground’s stench, which had been plaguing a nearby town. The officer’s whistles seemingly snap the counselors out of their trances. Wendy and Elliot are soon reunited with their parents and they go home.
  9. Monster Blood – There are a few things that are synonymous with the world of Goosebumps but Monster Blood is one of them. Monster Blood started out as third book in the series but ended up as a long running saga. Evan Ross and his friend Andy find Monster Blood in an old toy store in a metal can.  It’s innocuous at first, cool to the touch, glowing, stretchy, and bouncy. It evolves and becomes warm, sticky, and bubbling. Soon after Evan and Andy open the Monster Blood, Evan’s dog eats some and grows very large. The Monster Blood itself grows larger and larger as the story progresses, eating several objects and even a couple people. Creepy!  It’s later revealed that the Monster Blood’s abilities were caused by a spell cast by a witch named Sarabeth. She meets her demise when Trigger knocks her into the huge mass of Monster Blood, which causes it to shrink to a puddle. Later when Evan and Andy go to collect it, they find that it mysteriously vanished.

  10. Ghost Camp – Another camp one… No wonder I was hellbent on not going to any sleep-away camps. Harry and his brother Alex Altman are on a bus traveling to Camp Spirit Moon. Alex, a talented singer, is sad that his parents didn’t sign him up for a music camp. Camp Counselor Chris introduces the boys to Uncle Marv, the giant man who runs the camp. Uncle Marv alludes to a test that will take place at the camp’s campfire gathering later that night. Uncle Marv takes the boys to their cabin, and they unpack. They notice a strange blue liquid pooling in multiple places on the floor. After unpacking, the boys go to the camp’s campfire. A girl named Lucy greets Harry, and the two begin roasting hot dogs. Harry’s hot dog falls into the fire, and, to Harry’s shock, Lucy unflinchingly retrieves it. Uncle Marv guides the campers in a song.  Uncle Marv begins telling a ghost story about a group of campers who wanted to spend a night in the woods. The group stopped and set up their tents, but they heard thumping noises. The group realized that they were camping on a giant monster, and the monster ate them. Next, Uncle Marv tells the story of a ghost camp. A mysterious fog settled over an entire camp and turned everyone there into ghosts. (Red Flag… older me knows this is what actually happened at the camp but 10 year old me….) Harry is shocked when he sees a dark fog descending on the camp. Uncle Marv begins leading another song. Suddenly, Harry notices that everyone except for his brother has disappeared from the campfire. Harry assumes that this is another joke. This is confirmed when the boys head back to their cabin and find other campers. Harry enters his cabin and sees more puddles on the floor. Harry lies down in his bed and tries to rest. Harry wakes up and thinks he sees Joey floating above his bed. When he jumps up, Joey is not floating. The next day, Harry goes to the soccer field and practices setting up tents alongside Sam and Joey, two of his bunk-mates. Sam and Joey start wrestling. Sam steps on a tent pole, and Harry sees the pole goes through his foot. Sam pulls it out and says that the pole missed his toes. Later, Harry goes to the mess hall. Joey scares Harry by stabbing himself in the neck with a fork. Joey says that this is a trick, but he never explains how he did it. During a camp soccer game later in the day, Harry and Alex talk about some of the weird things that they’ve witnessed. Harry suddenly sees a girl get hit in the head with a soccer ball. Harry thinks that he sees the girl’s head fly off, but she is fine when he goes to check on her. The next day after dinner, Uncle Marv leads the campers on a night hike. Near the end of the hike, Lucy pulls Harry aside. Lucy reveals that Uncle Marv’s second ghost story was true; all of the campers at Camp Spirit Moon are ghosts. Harry touches the girl’s hand and feels that it’s icy cold. Lucy explains that the blue puddles in the cabin are protoplasm that the ghosts create when they appear. (GROSS ME OUT!) Harry tells Alex that all of the other campers are ghosts, but Alex says that he already knew that because had Elvis told him and previously tried to possess his mind. Suddenly, campers and counselors appear and surround the boys. Uncle Marv instructs the ghosts to take the boys back to camp so their bodies can be possessed by spirits. The mist floats away, and the two boys begin running in search of a nearby highway. As the boys run, Harry hears Alex humming a song. Harry stops running and demands to hear more of the song. Alex continues singing, but his singing sounds horrible. Harry deduces that Elvis possessed Alex’s body. Elvis promises that he will never sing again if Harry will keep the possession a secret. That is it. That is how the story ends…. Do they go back and get the brother? I NEED ANSWERS.

I eventually graduated from Goosebumps books and the tv show. But that didn’t mean that I left R.L. Stine behind. I moves on to Ghosts of Fear Street and later his Fear Street series. All of which were great in their own right, although I just found out those were ghostwritten. So I can’t wait for my nieces and nephews to get a bit older so that I can give them the gift that is goosebumps. That is all for now… This was a fun write up and a trip down memory lane. There is nothing like being the talk of the lunch table when you have read the latest thing.

Quarantine Post #35: Scooby Doo… I want a talking dog


Having nephews and a niece makes for fun times when they introduce me to things they love that are new to them but not me. So far it has been Power Rangers, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles and Ducktails. Mostly because Ducktails just got a reboot. It is pretty good actually. Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles has had many changes and Power Rangers kept evolving. I may do blog post of all the great shows I used to watch as a child. I had to purchase the Boomerang App to get access to all of the incarnations of Scooby Doo at once. It helps for effortless change between as my nephew likes to refer to him… Big Scooby and Little Scooby (A Pup Named Scooby Doo). They looked shocked to find out that I used to watch these as a kid too. Fun times. So I figured I would do a blog post of my favorite incarnations of Scooby Doo and episodes as a kid. Nothing like more blog material.

In 2019, Warner Bros celebrated 50 years of Scooby-Doo.

As of right now Scooby Doo and the gang is 51 years old and that is one hell of a milestone for a cartoon. He originally debuted in 1969 with Scooby Doo, Where are you? And let me tell you… I had no idea that at the time I was watching him and the other Hanna-Barbera cartoons that I enjoyed so much… (Josie and the Pussycats, Jonny Quest, The Herculoids, The Perils of Penelope Pittstop and Wacky Races) that they were already about 25 years old. Good times. Some formulas work… and always will. The formula hasn’t changed much since its inception. Teenagers Fred Jones, Daphne Blake, Velma Dinkley, and Norville “Shaggy” Rogers, and their talking brown Great Dane named Scooby-Doo, who solve mysteries involving supposedly supernatural creatures through a series of antics and mis-steps. Now I loved Scooby because I always wanted a dog… a talking dog was a plus. Scooby was apart of my nightly routine. My bedtime was 8, and he came on at 7 and 7:30. So after that second episode… that was it. With the Boomerang app, I get to relive a bit of childhood with my nieces and nephews. My sister recently watched Scoob, the movie that came out this year… and she loved it… so it seems like Scooby and the gang will continue to endure…

  • Freddie Jones –  Fred usually takes the lead in solving mysteries. Although generally a very nice guy, Fred can be bossy at times and will force Shaggy and Scooby to hang around until the mystery is solved. I would say after rewatching Scooby Doo, Where are you? I realized that Freddie loved sending Shaggy to do all of the dirty work. And was never actually up for being bait for a ghost ever. I am sure that was toned down in later installments. I know that is played up for the actual stars of the show… and to play up the “boy and his dog” of Shaggy and Scooby-Doo.
  • Norville “Shaggy” Rogers – He is a cowardly slacker and the long-time best friend of his equally cowardly Great Dane, Scooby-Doo. Both Scooby and Shaggy are readily bribed with Scooby Snacks due to their mutual large appetites. Is it weird that he eats dog biscuits too? There is a lot of descriptions of Shaggy being a coward but I will say Shaggy seemed to be the only one to have realistic responses to danger. There is an episode where Freddie wants to visit the cave of death… and Shaggy is the only one to question it.. Props to Shaggy.
  • Velma Dinkley – Velma is highly intelligent and has highly specific interests in science (which in the Scooby and Scrappy-Doo series leads her to pursue a career as a NASA research scientist). She is also often portrayed as being very well-read on obscure fields, such as Viking writing (as in the third Scooby-Doo series The Scooby-Doo Show). Velma is usually the first one to solve the mystery. She strikes me as the kid to carry a group in a project at school.
  • Daphne Blake – Daphne comes from a wealthy family has a terrific sense of fashion, and a knack for getting into trouble, hence the nickname “Danger Prone Daphne”. She has appeared in more adaptations than the other characters, aside from Shaggy Rogers and Scooby-Doo. Which even though I watched most of the installments as a kid… still surprised me to read.
  • Scooby-Doo – He is a Great Dane and lifelong companion of amateur detective Shaggy Rogers. He is able to speak in broken English, and usually puts the letter “R” in front of words and noises made. (In a Pup Named Scooby Doo, people usually tried correcting his speech pattern. He has the same level of intelligence as his friends, while also being subject to the same knack for clumsiness and moments of being dimwitted as well.

I have watched a few incarnations with my family the past couple of days and it is good to know that the show is still as entertaining as I remember. That almost never happens. So let’s jump right into my favorites countdown in now particular order. I will only be going as far as A Pup Named Scooby Doo. And since he is 50 years old, I will forego the the spoiler alert I normally do here.

  1. Scooby Doo Meets Josie and the Pussycats (The New Scooby Doo Movies) – The New Scooby Doo Movies was a treat for me as a kid even if I had no clue who the celebrity guest was supposed to be. It was really my introduction to people like Laurel & Hardy, the Three Stooges, and Cass Elliot. But it was the episode where my two favorite Hanna Barbera cartoons collided… Literally, that was my favorite. I remember being a kid and being so giddy that I was going to watch both gangs work together to solve a mystery. Alexander books the Pussycats on the Haunted Showboat (The name of the episode). Scooby and the Gang investigate a showboat that is believed to be haunted and they encounter Josie and her gang. They decided to team up and of course solve the entire case. Trying to help the boat’s owner so he can go back into business, they all band together to get the ship in tip-top shape but are hindered by the ghosts of Captain Scavenger and Injun Joe. Casey Kasem and Don Messick take on a lot of voice acting work here with Casey doing both Shaggy and Alexander and Don voicing both Scooby and Sebastian. It is one of the episodes that always stood out to me. Good times.

  2. Jeeper’s. It’s the Creeper (Scooby Doo, Where Are You?) – I have to say I love the Creeper episode. It is probably one of the more intricate plots but not so intricate that it went over my head as a kid. The gang is on its way to a barn dance.  They happen upon the scene of a bank guard’s accident. He has been knocked out and his car ransacked which Shaggy points out. The guard regains consciousness long enough to give the gang a blank piece of paper and mutter, “The flame will tell… the Creeper.” The gang take the guard to the nearby house of Mr. Carswell, the bank’s president, who explains that the Creeper is a phantom who has been robbing the bank. He agrees to look after the guard and sends the kids along to the dance. At the barn dance, everyone’s having fun until the lights go out. The gang decides to relocate the dance to the Malt Shop, and leave a team to stay behind to clean up. But as Shaggy and Scooby are taking the garbage outside they run into the Creeper, who demands the “paper” from them. The Creeper chases the kids around the countryside but is eventually unmasked as Mr. Carswell, who had been robbing his own bank and using the Creeper disguise to throw people off track. But the security guard had secretly installed an infra-red camera that caught Carswell in the act, and so Carswell had to silence the guard. The blank paper was actually a photograph (activated by heat) that showed Carswell looting the safe.

  3. Watt A Shocking Ghost (The Scooby-Doo Show) – Also one of my favorite monsters from The Scooby Doo Show installment. This ghost has the most interesting back story and costume. While driving through a terrible snow storm and low on gas, the gang come to the small town of Winterhaven, which seems to be deserted. They explore and find the town deserted and all of the shops are out of business, as well as the gas station. Our gang finds out the town is deserted because of a 10,000 volt ghost from Mayor Dudley.  He tells the gang that a while back the town was thriving and popular, but a snowstorm occurred and the power line snapped loose. Voltner, an electrician, climbed the tower to repair the power line and a small explosion occurred. Voltner’s body was never found. Of course, our gang is chased all over WinterHaven by the ghost as they search for clues. Fred sets up a trap in the power plant and it succeeds, catching the 10,000 Volt Ghost with an electric magnet. The 10,000 Volt Ghost is unmasked as Voltner, who never disappeared. He wore an insulated rubber suit to protect him from the electricity and he attached a battery pack to the suit. Voltner was also acting under Mayor Dudley’s commands.

  4. Bedlam in the Big Top (Scooby Doo, Where Are You?) – My hatred for clowns may have started young because this loser caused the gang to do his bidding. The gang stumble upon a circus that is supposedly haunted by a ghost clown who hypnotizes people with a gold coin. The Gang is driving through the woods and encounter Samson the Strongman and Max the Midget experiencing bike trouble. They reveal they are leaving the circus do to strange happening so of course the gang minus Scooby and Shaggy want to check it out. Scooby, Shaggy and Daphne are all hypnotized by the ghost clown with a gold coin. “Watch the pretty coin of gold… and you will do what you are told…. “ Scooby does the high wire act, Daphne rides a unicycle and Shaggy does the lion tamers act. Scooby and Shaggy manage to trick the clown into hypnotizing himself. The two counter-act with a mirror (while closing their eyes) and trick the clown into hypnotizing himself into acting like a chimp. They lure the chimp-clown into a cage and then unmask him as Harry the Hypnotist. Harry used to be a hypnotist in his own act with the circus, but he was caught stealing and was fired and imprisoned as a result.

  5. The Chiller Diller Movie Thriller (The Scooby Doo Show) – If you only understood how much I really enjoyed the character of Scooby Dum. Maybe it’s that cool hat. I received my Funko pop of him the other day… I shall proudly display in my collection. Scooby-Doo, Scooby-Dum, and the gang set out to protect Doo and Dum’s cousin, Scooby-Dee, from the phantom of Milo Booth, a long dead silent film actor, determined to keep Dee from remaking one of his greatest films. The gang set up a plan and disguise Scooby Doo as Scooby Dee and use him as a decoy but it doesn’t help since Scooby Dee ends up kidnapped anyway. Hilarity ensues with Scooby Dum and Scooby Doo attempting to find her and eventually locating her and saving her from the ghost. Velma notices something and she solves the mystery. She notices that the real Milo Booth wore glasses, while the Phantom of Milo Booth never wore any glasses. They find the Phantom, fake Scooby Dee, and real Scooby Dee who is being held hostage. They chase the Phantom, rescue Scooby Dee and eventually capture him. The Phantom of Milo Booth is unmasked as Jim Moss and the fake Scooby Dee was his dog in a costume. The trio that is Scooby Doo, Scooby Dum and Shaggy made for some hilarious comedy for me.

  6. The No Face Zombie Chase Case (The Scooby Show) – A no face zombie and a large gorilla… I am here for it. My nephew was not though… at least until the very end. While eating dinner, Scooby witnesses a burglary. A valuable coin (the Golden Galleon) was stolen by a faceless zombie. I would like to point out people never take Scooby-Doo seriously. If he says he saw a no face zombie, he saw a no face zombie. The gang follow the zombie to the Dilly Dally Dolly Co. toy factory. The gang is greeted by a night watchman, who scolds them and tells them to leave. Mr. Dilly and Mr. Dally hear the gang’s story, Mr. Dilly and Mr. Dally instructs them to stay in the office while they search for the zombie. Mr. Dilly and the watchman begin searching and Mr. Dally is grabbed by the No-Face Zombie. The gang manage to swipe the Golden Galleon and flee from the zombie. When they make a run for it, they discover another villain-a giant gorilla is now after the gang! Many chases ensue, the zombie crashes and is revealed to be a robot. Shaggy and Scooby act fast and trap the gorilla. The gorilla is unmasked as Mr. Dilly. He read about the coin article in that magazine and programmed that robot to steal the coin because it was worth a million dollars. Then when the gang was onto him, he donned the gorilla costume to scare them off.

  7. Nowhere to Hyde (Scooby Doo, Where are you?) – This Ghost of Hyde villain actually hides out in the mystery machine. Nothing like seeing the gang scramble out of the car in a panic. On their way home from the malt shop, the gang encounter the “Ghost of Mr. Hyde”, a known jewel thief. They chase him into the marsh (and I am not sure my friend and I would ever do this. Actually I am totally sure we would never do this.) and to a spooky house. The house turns out to be the home of Dr. Jekyll, who fears he may be transforming into the Ghost of Mr. Hyde. The gang begin searching the house for clues, pegging the maid as a likely suspect, but are pursued at every turn by the ghost. It isn’t until Velma finds a newspaper clipping that the maid used to be a trapeze artist and Shaggy discovers suction cups in the fruit basket that they set out to capture the ghost. Eventually the Ghost of Hyde is caught and revealed to be Dr. Jekyll. He was behind the Ghost of Hyde jewel robberies and turned to a life of crime when all of his experiments failed, and when he figured he would be caught, he came up with the idea of framing Helga by placing false clues for the gang to find that would make it look like Helga was behind the Ghost of Hyde.

  8. Scooby Doo Meets Batman and Robin (The New Scooby Doo Movies) –  It consisted of two episodes the Dynamic Scooby-Doo Affair and the Caped Crusader Caper, where Scooby-Doo and the gang team up with Batman and Robin to capture Joker and the Penguin. In The Dynamic Scooby-Doo Affair, Scooby-Doo and the gang are driving one night when the Mystery Machine’s battery goes dead (this seems to happen a lot… either they run out of gas, get flat tires or there is something wrong with the van Radiator or battery. Etc etc.) They notice a plane and 2 men unloading a crate onto a truck. They follow the truck to what looks like an abandoned house. The truck drives away and they investigate the house and find that it is not deserted. Batman and Robin enter the house to find Mystery Inc there and the housekeeper Mrs. Baker. The Dynamic Duo then tell the gang that they have been investigating a counterfeit smuggling operation, which is exactly what’s in the crate: counterfeit money. They follow the trucks tire tracks to an auto graveyard where they see a hooded figure creeping around, they then return to the house to find that it isn’t still there, gone along with the Batmobile. Batman and Robin track the Batmobile to The Gotham City Amusement Park in front of the Batman exhibit. The peace and quiet is interrupted by the Joker and the Penguin who are hiding in a haunted house walkthrough. The Joker and the Penguin dress up in skeleton costumes and try to scare the gang away and Scooby scares The Joker and Penguin who accidentally run through the door that leads into the pit. Where they are caught and unmasked by The Caped Crusaders. the Joker and Penguin reveal that they have been stashing the same counterfeit money as in the crate. The Penguin said “My dear boy, we didn’t print it, it was given to us by, an anonymous benefactor.” revealing that they are not the counterfeit culprits, after which they were sent to jail.  After a bunch of confusion they all end up in the cave and see the cloaked figure and chase him through a secret underground warehouse full of toys. They catch the hooded figure to find that it was actually Mrs. Baker all along and they arrest her. In The Caped Crusader Caper, The gang meet up with Batman and Robin for a second time, while out camping. They join forces to try and foil the Joker and the Penguin’s attempts to steal Professor Flakey’s flying suit. Eventually, a fight breaks out in the factory involving tires and beach balls. Scooby tries on the flying suit and ends up flying. Scooby learns to control the flying suit just in time for him and Shaggy to be rescued by the Dynamic Duo and Joker and Penguin to be caught by a balloon that resembles Batman. Joker and Penguin have a falling-out while Penguin accidentally activates the flying suit.

  9. Wanted Cheddar Alive (A Pup Named Scooby Doo) – I was totally into all of the kid versions of Hanna Barbera cartoons. A Pup Named Scooby Doo is by far the funniest to me and my favorite. Mostly because it is somewhat of a parody of the original and that it has awesome music. In this episode, a cheese monster has put the Scooby Snacks factory out of business and Scooby is determined to solve the case. It was just another night at the Scooby Snack Factory, as two co-workers did their usual job of making sure the different flavors were up to standards. The two workers hear the commotion and find a cheese explosion has occurred. They look around to see a huge monster made out of cheese, foaming at the mouth. The entire workforce evacuate the factory as the monster declares “No more Scooby Snacks!”… Later a tired Scooby comes into the kitchen for breakfast. The only thing that gets his attention is the offer of a Scooby Snack which brings him fully alert. Unfortunately, they are all empty. He dashes to the nearest supermarket, Shaggy holding onto Scooby’s leash for dear life. The Supermarket is also out of Scooby Snacks. The monster and the kids take turns pulling one over another until he captures everyone expect Scooby. Scooby finds them being tied up by the monster, scaring him away, only to bravely return when he hears Shaggy’s cries for help. The monster chases Scooby into a small room, with the door closing behind them. Scooby was trapped with the monster and the gang can’t get in. They hear slurping noises from the inside and fear the worst. When the door bursts open; a man running out in his boxers and tank-top shirt, his costume having been reduced to the mask still covering his face. The kids find their puppy greatly fed from consuming most of the monster’s costume and congratulate him for his achievement.  Now that the monster has been caught, Constance McSnack can re-open her factory. Velma says that the culprit was also the one person who’d want to run the Scooby Snack Factory out of business… and it’s revealed to be Larry P. Acme, owner of the rival dog biscuit company, Acme Dog Biscuits. Without the competition, his company would take over the market and could use the formula to improve his own ingredients, making them a huge success.

  10. The Babysitter from Beyond (A Pup Named Scooby Doo) – This episode has a lot going on but it has probably one of the best songs for a chase scene ever. The gang take Shaggy’s baby sister, Sugie, to the babysitter, but the babysitter’s house turns out to be the old lair of a master criminal, who just escaped jail. Poor Shaggy and the gang just want to go to the movies to see “Boogedy Bones Rises from the Grave”. Shaggy’s dad informs him that they’re already late for the Policeman’s Ball. His mom asked him to drop Sugie off at the new Babysitter’s house, which is right by the movie theater. The babysitter appears looking like the bride of Frankenstein and scaring Shaggy and Scooby. The babysitter demands they hand Sugie over, but Shaggy grabs her, and the rest of the gang follow him out of the house, with the babysitter pursuing them. They go back inside the house, locking the babysitter out, but Shaggy and Scooby hide in the basement. Boogedy Bones emerges from a hole in the floor, and scares them back upstairs. Velma finds broken glass from a window, meaning that someone broke into the basement. Shaggy shows them the hole where Boogedy Bones came out. Turning on the TV, they see a news report, saying that Manny the Mauler has escaped from prison. The news reporter goes on saying that Manny is expecting to meet up with his accomplice Molly the Moll, who was never captured. Later after being chased all over the police arrive. In the basement, Velma explains that the babysitter isn’t Molly at all, but the best babysitter in town, which is why nothing could keep her from getting Sugie. Manny was here for the stolen money, which he hid in the house. But the holes were dug by Boogedy Bones, who was really Molly the Moll. Molly heard Manny escaped from prison, so she tried to steal the money before he could get to the house.

  11. Now Museum, Now You Don’t (A Pup Named Scooby Doo)– Shaggy and Scooby are accused of stealing valuable Japanese swords from the Coolsonian Museum, but it was really the Samurai Ghost, and it’s up to the gang to prove their innocence. The gang’s class took a field trip to the Coolsonian Museum and Shaggy and Scooby are looking forward to seeing the samurai exhibit. During the tour the guide Ms. Takai shows the kids two golden swords that belonged to an evil samurai warlord Asakari. She also warned them that the swords are cursed and if they’re touched will be haunted by the warlord’s ghost. Scooby and Shaggy are too scared by the story to leave the exhibit and find the samurai ghost right behind them. They hide in a chest while the ghost steals the swords. By the time everyone returns, the ghost was gone. Shaggy and Scooby are accused of stealing the swords by the guard Mr. Thornsby. (Great breaking 4th wall here.) After searching Shaggy, the curator Mr. Dayton yells at Thornsby demanding him to find the swords. Takai states that someone who works at the museum stolen the swords and the men began suspecting her since she could make a million dollars since the swords are insured. They find a broken sarcophagus and realized that it’s the same one the ghost was trapped in and they also found the swords. The ghost shows up after they grabbed them and a chase ensues. The ghost corners them and Velma speaks to him in Japanese, but the ghost doesn’t understand her, takes the swords and leaves. However, Velma brings out the real swords and she said to him in Japanese “Those swords are fake.” The ghost tries to take the real swords, but Velma kicks butt (I really should have seen that coming and Fred releases a rope that holds a dinosaur skeleton that traps the ghost. The ghost is handed over to Ms. Takai and Thornsby, who apologizes to Shaggy and Scooby for cruelly accusing them. Mr. Dayton is revealed to be the monster and is taken away in handcuffs.

  12. Vampire Bats and Scaredy Cats (The Scooby Doo Show) – Scooby Dum is back you guys… And I loved every minute of it. The gang go to visit Daphne’s friend, Lisa, for her birthday, which is at a very old hotel that Lisa would inherit on the day after her eighteenth birthday. Velma says that it is believed that there are vampires on the island, but she herself thinks it is nonsense. But when a real vampire shows up and Lisa is turned into a vampire herself, the legend becomes real. As soon as they arrive on land, the ferry captain asked them to take a box to the hotel for one of the guests. As Shaggy and Fred carry it, they drop it, revealing the package to be a coffin. Scooby Dum opens it and a bat flies out. They arrive at the hotel, and give the coffin to Mr. Dracul, who needed it for an undertaker’s convention. They meet Lisa and her uncle, Leon, and decide to turn in for the night. While they sleep, Daphne awakens and sees a vampire standing in front of her bed. She calls for help and everyone arrives causing the vampire to flee. They begin searching for clues, when Scooby Dum discovers a ventilating duct, explaining how the vampire got into the room. Velma and Daphne tell Lisa what has been going on. The phone then rings, and Daphne answers it, hearing only a high pitched bell. Meanwhile, Shaggy, Scooby and Dum search the room, and the vampire then appears and begins to chase them. After escaping, Uncle Leon then arrives and reveals to Lisa that her grandfather was actually a vampire, who was determined to turn Lisa into one. The gang begins to split up and look for clues. Shaggy, Scooby and Dum stay to guard Lisa, who answers the phone, hears the high pitched bell, and turns into a vampire. They then devise a scheme to trap Gramp the Vamp. They succeed (but not in the way they intended), and the vampire turns out to be Uncle Leon. His motive was to get the inheritance of the hotel away from Lisa. He invented the story of Lisa’s grandfather being a vampire, and somehow unknowingly hypnotized her, with the bell being a post-hypnotic trigger that would make her think she was a vampire. That way, she would be put in a mental institution, and the hotel would be given to him. (Sometimes it is your own people. They could have been partners… but greed took over and now he is in jail.)

  13. The Headless Horseman of Halloween (The Scooby Doo Show) – Dum, Dum, Dum, Dum…. In Sleepy Hollow, the gang investigate the legendary Headless Horseman, when he shows up at a Halloween costume party at Crane Manor. The Gang and Scooby Dum are at Crane Manor and are accosted by the Headless Horseman. Daphne, Fred and Velma are in the library with Mrs. Crane’s niece, Beth. Beth mentions her great-great grandfather was Ichabod Crane. Scooby and Shaggy run in and tell their story, and Beth fears that the Headless Horseman has come back to haunt her family, considering her grandfather Ichabod was chased by one years earlier. (Interestingly enough, I knew a bit about the story when I started reading it in high school just based on the blurb by Beth.) Back on the party floor, the Headless Horseman makes an entrance causing havoc. He claims he wants a head and scares away the guests, but not Mystery Inc. Beth says her cousin Elwood thinks that ever since Mrs. Crane brought the necklace into the house, the Horseman has been appearing. Elwood makes an exit. Elwood takes Mrs. Crane’s necklace to the bank and then after his car disappears into the fog, the gang notices Headless Horseman ride by again, now with by Elwood’s head! Finally the Horseman is captured. The Headless Horseman turns out to be Cousin Elwood who was after Mrs. Crane’s diamond necklace all along, so he made up the Headless Horseman to trick Mrs. Crane into believing the necklace was cursed. Elwood’s shoe company, APEX, had filed for bankruptcy, so he tried to steal the diamonds.

  14. The Tar Monster (The Scooby Doo Show) – The gang encounter a tar monster on a visit to an archeological site in Turkey. Something about tar pools creeps me out. That and quicksand. The gang head to Turkey to visit their friend, Dr. Brixton, who has discovered a buried city that has remained untouched for thousands of years. Dr. Brixton informs the gang that his workers were all frightened off by a tar monster, meaning the digging had be postponed. The assistant, Stoner was supposedly kidnapped by the Tar Monster. After a brief encounter with the tar monster, the gang follow his tracks to a nearby tar pool. There they find an ancient piece of pottery. The next day, they head down to the ancient city with Dr. Brixton, who discovers that the ancient treasure has been stolen. The gang trap the monster, who turns out to be Stoner. (Not shocking right?) He used an air compressor and a scuba suit to swim through the tar pools so he could steal the treasure. After he was arrested, the gang uses the map to find the missing treasure. They locate it behind a hidden wall in the inner sanctum.

  15. Scooby Doo Meets The Addams Family (The New Scooby Doo Movies) – Wednesday goes missing. The Mystery Machine gets stuck in the mud outside The Addams Family Mansion. The Gang ends up becoming housekeepers for The Addams Family and watching the children while Gomez and Morticia go on vacation in the Okeefenokee swamp. It was great to see the gang interact with the oddities that are the Addams Family. The culprit was the neighboring housekeeping couple. They thought that the Addams were frightening to the neighborhood children. They dressed up a helicopter as a giant vulture and controlled various objects in the house attached to special steel cubes to try and frighten the Addams Family out of the area.

  16. The Spooky Case of the Grand Prix Race (The Scooby Doo Show) – At the Grand Prix Time Trials, Carl Conover disappears while racing and trying to evade the Phantom Racer. The gang read about the Phantom Racer in the newspaper and decide to investigate. Mr Osbourne explains that the Phantom Racer’s the ghost of a racer who drove off a cliff in the fog a few years ago, and he’s seeking vengeance on all race car drivers. He also tells the gang that he can’t cancel the race, or else he will be ruined. All of a sudden Carl, the missing driver, apparently having gotten away from the Phantom Racer somehow, but Carl doesn’t remember a thing about what happened. Scooby and Shaggy go undercover as drivers, and then drive down the track to see if the Phantom Racer shows up. Then the decoy works and then the Phantom chases Shaggy and Scooby. The Phantom Racer manages to kidnap Shaggy. Velma and Scooby get Shaggy back. The Phantom Racer shows back up and chases the gang in his racecar, with the gang riding two of the missing racecars. The chase ends with the capture of the Phantom Racer. Then the Phantom Racer’s revealed to be Ken Rogers, who faked his disappearance as part of his scheme to steal all the racecars, re-paint them, and sell them overseas. Then he covered up his plan by using the legend of the Phantom Racer. 

  17. A Night of Fright is No Delight (Scooby Doo, Where are you?) – This had to the be episode with one of my favorite ghosts as a kid and even now. The villain’s names are perfect. Scooby-Doo is named in the will of Colonel Beauregard Sanders, an eccentric millionaire whose life he saved several years earlier (Scooby saved from drowning in a fishpond years before.). The only way to claim the inheritance is for Scooby, and the other four heirs to spend the night in the Colonel’s mansion — which they quickly learn is haunted by two phantoms. The Colonel’s lawyer, Cosgood Creeps, comes to greet them and ushers them into the mansion, where they meet the other four heirs, Cousin Slicker, Cousin Simple, Nephew Norble and Sweet Cousin Maldahyde. Cosgood tells the heirs that the only instructions from the Colonel was to play a record. The recording tells them they must stay the night to get the fortune and that the mansion is haunted, much to Scooby’s and Shaggy’s horror. The whole gang decides they’ll stay with Scooby. Fred, Shaggy, and Scooby are getting ready for the night, Scooby decides to take a bath.  he is scrubbing up when a ghost appears from a tile trapdoor. The bathtub slides through a secret passage and down a chute into a coal cellar with Scooby in it. While he is sitting on a pile of coal, a green, chain-rattling phantom shadow appears, laughing. Scooby is terrified and he breaks out of the basement. The gang decide to rig up a dummy of Scooby-Doo to catch the ghost when he comes to grab the dummy. Scooby and Shaggy are watching from outside on the drainpipe, when suddenly the ghost pushes the drainpipe loose. Velma tries to help them, but gets pulled out of the window, too. The gang all meet up and realize that all of the other heirs are missing, and Scooby is the only remaining heir. The gang follow the sound of an organ playing. They find the organ and then see something written down on a music book. It reads “Feed the organ, and watch the floor”. Velma deduces that Feed means notes. F-E-E-D. Playing the notes, a trapdoor opens and the gang climb down steps to the catacombs. There they see the heirs inside coffins, and one more coffin that is empty and dog shaped. Fred devises a trap, including a fan, soap suds, a spring-loaded ironing board, and a washing machine. It backfires when Scooby turns on the fan not only too soon, but also the wrong way. (now if he wants there to be a real execution he needs to do it himself lol.) however it still catches the Phantoms, who are unmasked as Cosgood Creeps and his partner, Crawls. They were trying to scare all of the heirs off of the island so they could keep the million dollars to themselves. The bodies in the coffins were dummies, and they painted themselves to be green ghosts. Scooby inherits the million dollars, only to learn it’s all worthless Confederate money.

  18. The Sludge Monster from the Earth’s Core (A Pup Named Scooby Doo) – The thing that I loved most was the dog house that Scooby lives in. And if you have seen this episode you know what I am talking about. The pup lives good. So just know that. The Coolsville bank is robbed, and the bank’s janitor reports that he saw the Sludge Monster from the Earth’s Core in the vault that was responsible for the theft. However, nobody believes him and actually accuses him of being the bank robber. On TV the news reporter announces, that the last national bank of Coolsville was robbed, Shaggy remembers that the last national bank is in downtown, so he believes they’re safe from the monster. Scooby out to went to doghouse for bedtime, but when he opened the door, the Sludge monster emerges from inside.  a majority of the police force is searching the neighborhood. Shaggy’s father explains that they’re looking for the bank robber who was seen in the neighborhood. He didn’t believe that Scooby’s doghouse is haunted, and tells the kids to leave the rest to the police. Then the Bank President, Mr. Buckston arrives and asked if they had found the janitor. The police said that they’ve been searching for him since they received the President’s call, but they can’t find him. Buckston blames the robbery on the janitor, since he had the key to the vault, he then leaves, but Velma noticed something suspicious about him. Daphne notices that something’s wrong with the sink’s faucet, Velma says that the problem can be found in the basement. When they got there, they found bags of gold and money, and Scooby didn’t know how it got there. They also found a big hole in the floor, and heard a groan from inside. They found themselves in the sewers, and after looking around, they found a ladder that leads to another hole, upon climbing it, they find themselves inside the bank’s vault. They figured out, that the monster escaped with the money to the sewers, and it hid the money in Scooby’s basement. Luckily, Velma comes with a plan. The monster ends up getting trapped in Scooby’s doggie door.

  19. The Ghost That Sacked the Quarterback (The Scooby Doo Show) – Football, football, football! The gang is attending a Hawks football game when the star player vanishes — and the ghost of a long dead 1930s football player known as the Rambling Ghost shows up. Scooby, Shaggy, Fred, Velma and Daphne are attending a Hawks vs. Cougars football game, rooting for the Hawks. But all of a sudden, fireworks occur, and in the midst of all the smoke and the excitement, the team’s star player, Flash Granger, disappears. The gang goes to the team’s practice session and are warned away by another player, Crunch Connors. Then they search the area where Flash disappeared. Crunch Connors begins jumping tires and then he disappears too. The ghost appears and chases them all. Scooby and Shaggy get away from the Rambler and meet up with the gang. They then split up to look for clues (Insert Eyeroll). Scooby and Shaggy go into the locker room and find a newspaper clipping, a valuable clue. But the Rambler appears and snatches the newspaper and chases Scooby and Shaggy into the steam room and then into the showers. With a far-fetched trap, they manage to trap the ghost. He is unmasked as Mr. Ellsworth, the scoreboard operator. But then they pull off his face, and it’s not Mr. Ellsworth: it’s Buck Bender, an old coach that Mr. Prentice fired years ago. That newspaper clipping had incrimination evidence against Buck Bender. He was taking revenge on the stadium for firing him.

  20. Scooby Doo and the Mummy too (Scooby Doo, Where Are You?) – What is a set of scary stories without a mummy? The Gang visits the Department of Archeology, where they see an ancient mummy. But the mummy comes with a curse for any who remove him from his tomb. The Mummy of Anka haunts a museum, in search of its ancient coin. Shaggy accidentally leaves a museum with an ancient coin, and when the gang goes to return it, they discover that the Professor has been turned to stone. Fred and Daphne discover Dr. Najib, in his car, turned to stone. The Mummy chases Shaggy and Scooby into a tool shed where the Professor is tied up. Using a lawn mower, the duo plow into the Mummy, knocking him to the ground, allowing Fred to remove his bandages, unmasking Dr. Najib.

  21. Snow Place Like Home (A Pup Named Scooby) – The gang decides to go on a vacation at Snowy Mountain Lodge. When they get there, they hear about the Ice Demon from Mr. Peterson, a man who wants to buy the property and build a mall on it. The Morganson’s, the lodge’s owners, claim that there was no Ice Demon, and the gang believes them and head to bed. However, the Ice Demon appeared in Shaggy and Scooby’s bed and chased them around the lodge, shooting ice at them. The gang wakes up the Morganson’s to complain about their false claim regarding there being no Ice Demon. They confessed that the demon had been scaring their customers away for months, killing their business. The next day, the gang meets Mr. Forester, a ranger who wanted to buy the land and build a park. He shows the gang a map of an old mine that used to have gold in it. Velma notices that the map was torn; Mr. Forester claims that it had been that way for years. The gang decides to check out the mine, only for the Ice Demon to start an avalanche. They escaped from the avalanche and found the mine entrance. The gang stand outside the mine and act as if they found diamonds. The demon takes the bait and comes after Scooby and his bag of “diamonds”. He is lured into the beam of a heating lamp, causing the Ice Demon to start melting. The demon flees, and the gang chased after him with the lamp. They chased him into the ranger station, where they found Mr. Forester. Forester tried to run, but Scooby caught him by using his own costume against him, freezing him in his tracks. It turned out that Forester had discovered that the mine was full of diamonds, and he wanted the Morgansons’ land so he could claim ownership of them. Mr. Forester was arrested, and the Morgansons were able to keep their land because of the diamonds.

So it seems as though Scooby has lasted a long time for a reason. My niece and nephew really enjoy the dance breaks that happen in A Pup Named Scooby Doo. But even with the movies… he seemed to transition fine to modern times even with changes in voice actors. A shot of nostalgia a day keeps me young. And it was great to see that these episodes still warmed my heart as they did as a kid. There are a few Honorable mentions for this countdown… all coming from The New Scooby Doo Mysteries… I mean that catchy theme song with the homage to Michael Jackson is definitely worth talking about. But I never watched those seriously as a kid, or even recently as an adult (because Scrappy)… I would have to take them all in before properly ranking them… and even still Scrappy is not a character that ranks high on my list. And I just pretend that the 13 Ghosts of Scooby Doo never happened. Anyways…. That is all for now peeps.

Quarantine Post #34 – Samurai Champloo


So as I do all things slowly and well after other people… I watched Samurai Champloo years after it debuted. But it was like a 2 day sit down because I love the show. Of course it was the first thing that was recommended to me when I decided to get back into anime. And people were right. I love it. I enjoy the way it mixed in hop to the show. It only lasted one season but there is a lot of action packed into those 26 episodes. I should say it only needed one season. Not to mention the awesome soundtrack which I still bumping to. So I figured I would create a blog about what I enjoyed about the show…

This is my fave image from the show

Samurai Champloo is set in an alternate version of Edo-era Japan with an anachronistic and mainly  hip hop setting. It is considered to be an example of the popular Chanbara film and television genre. The genre’s staples include the Edo setting, a focus on samurai or other swordsman characters, and lots of thrilling, dramatic fights. Chanbara was used in the early days of Japanese cinema (when government political censorship ran high) as a way of expressing veiled social critiques. So that was a fun thing that I learned.

The plot is a simple one. Three strangers coming together and head off on a journey. We get Mugen, a freedom-loving vagrant swordsman; Jin, a stoic rōnin and the exact opposite of Mugen; and Fuu, a brave girl who asks them to accompany her in her quest across Japan. It is all laid out quite nicely in the first epic episode.

Fuu knew she needed protection.

I have yet to find another anime where I am intrigued by all the main character’s stories. I usually love one character or one character catches my eye and I watch it for one character and one character only. I hopped on it when I learned that it was directed by Shinichirō Watanabe, the same guy who directed Cowboy Bebop and Space Dandy. I am all for it. So I am going to take a look at some of my favorite moments. So let’s jump into it. And as always spoilers ahead…

  1. The Jin/Mugen Battle: Tempestuous Temperaments (Episode 1) – I mean what else can hook viewers in the first episode but two awesome swordsman going head to head. Not even wanting to leave even when the building they are battling in catches fire. The animation is tight and the battle is epic. There was no point where I knew what may happen next or who would win. Fuu is working as a waitress in a teahouse who is being intimidated by the village prefect’s son, Ryujiro and his guard. She begs 19-year-old vagabond Mugen for help. Mugen easily dismantles the competition after agreeing to help with the promise of free food. Across town, the skilled 20-year-old Jin kills the prefect’s bodyguards as they prepare to kill a peasant. When Jin enters the restaurant, Mugen mistakes him for the prefect’s elite bodyguards and determined to have an actual battle, engages him in combat. One of Ryujiro’s guards sets the restaurant on fire but that doesn’t stop the battle between Jin and Mugen… at least until the last possible moment. It burns to the ground. The local authorities capture both Mugen and Jin, who were knocked unconscious by coal gas. They are sentenced to death for their crimes. Things look bleak for the two but both men remain defiant until the very “end” basically giving the executioners the finger. Fuu helps them escape but with the promise that they will accompany her on her quest to find the man who smells of sunflowers. Mugen stands for chaos and freedom, while Jin stands for justice and the order of the world. 

  2. Oniwakamaru Versus Mugen: Redeye Reprisal (Episode 2) – So this one is set up like a lot of the episodes… they don’t have enough money to eat. This is usually the start of the trouble. While trying to get food, the trio overhear from a group of samurai about an ogre who kills people. Mugen offers to kill the ogre after obtaining information from an innkeeper. It is a ploy to lure Mugen out and to lead them to Ryujiro, the prefect’s son out for revenge against Mugen for chopping one of his arms off. Ryujiro hired the ogre name Oniwakamaru who attacks Mugen off guard and kidnaps Fuu to lure him. One some level you feel bad for Oniwakamaru, he is not actually an ogre just disfigured. He has suffered countless instances of unkindness by people who call him an ogre. Fuu is the only one who treats him with any kindness even though he has kidnapped her. Fuu befriends him and in turn she is protected by him when he kills Ryujiro. But he is still killed by Mugen. It is a sad end for Oniwakamaru.

  3. Mugen and the Ganja: Beatbox Bandits (Episode 9)– Our trio needs to cross the border but they don’t have proper passes to do so… The issues is that they bought passes which turn out to be fake. So our group is sentenced to death. The guards offer Mugen a chance to save his friends; if he can deliver an object through a forest full of bandits and return in time, Jin and Fuu will be spared. At this point, you wonder if Mugen cares enough to even return to save his companions. Have they been together long enough to forge that kind of bond yet? Mugen struggles through setback after setback, then Jin and Fuu begin to believe that he won’t be back in time either. Mugen notices he’s followed by a warrior priest group who wears Tengu masks, and is captured. One of the border patrols sends out a man named Yamane to meet up with Mugen, and frees him. Although they inadvertently set a field of crops on fire which causes Mugen to hallucinate and be late. We find out later that the crop is marijuana. Just as Fuu and Jin are about to be sentenced to death, the odor of the devil cabbage makes the border patrol hallucinate. Fuu and Jin manage to get away, and are angered to see Mugen hanging out with the warrior priests. He may not have succeeded in his mission, but this episode was hilarious and memorable. I laughed my ass off at the final look at Mugen in the field.

  4. Mugen’s Pride: Lethal Lunacy (Episode 10) – We are back to trying to get the trio some food. They meet a priest who will buy them food and supplies if he cleans their dojo. Lack of food gets them into all kinds of trouble. Fuu is sent to do errands when she encounters a group of people discussing a string of mysterious killings where the victims are all skilled samurai, with a bounty of 10 ryō being offered for his capture. Mugen is the only one interested, and while going to a bar he meets a man named Shoryu. They talk about the mystery killer but Mugen soon realizes Shoryu is the mystery killer, and jumps in to attack. My goodness Mugen always had me at a loss for words because he jumps right in. During the battle, Mugen is briefly overwhelmed by Shoryu’s non-contact attacks before the police arrive, with Shoryu promising to fight Mugen in the next full moon. It was startling to watch Mugen struggle for even a bit.  Mugen starts training in preparation for his fight. And I mean it is a bit intense. Running, chopping wood, carrying heavy loads. Fuu seems a bit worried about him but Jin seems to know the intent behind Mugen’s actions. The full moon appears and Mugen heads off to his fate. Shoryu is impressed with Mugen’s skill, but still manages to disarm him. It looks like death for Mugen. But Mugen always comes prepared.

  5. Jin’s Love Life (Or Lack thereof) Gamblers and Gallantry (Episode 11) – Our trio is in town on an extremely rainy night trying to find any work they can because food. Mugen trains a rhinoceros beetle for a bug tournament and I could not imagine him doing anything else.  Jin meets a woman on a bridge and gives nonchalant advice on how she can drown herself. The two go to a stall where the stall-owner leaves the running of it momentarily. The two share an intimate moment together until she reveals that she will become a prostitute the next day to pay for her husband’s gambling debts. If I had 1000 guesses I would not be able to come up with that. She tells Jin her name is Shino and he visits her the next day at the brothel. Jin buys time to be with her and then insists that the two escape together after witnessing Shino’s husband beat her. She follows Jin and the brothel guards are hot on their trail. Shino meets her husband one last time, buying her own freedom from him before Jin puts her on a boat to find shelter on the next island. While Shino watches from a distance, Jin kills the guards. It is one of the few times that Jin isn’t cold and distant. It was great to see but I was way sad for him.

  6. Misguided Miscreants (Parts 1 and 2) – We get a bit of backstory on Mugen and I am here for it. The trio meet Mugen’s childhood friends Koza and Mukuro. Koza tells them that the three of them grew up on a small section of the Ryukyu Islands together. Unfortunately, it was an island where criminals would be exiled to, forcing the three of them to grow up only knowing a world of crime. Something about this story set me on edge but I was still not prepared for what actually happens. Because there is something about his friends just doesn’t ring true, especially after it is revealed that Mugen was sentenced to death. But escaped by diving into the ocean. Seems true to his character of wanting to die on his own terms. Mukuro also laughs at the idea of Mugen helping to protect Fuu. Didn’t like him at all. The feeling gets worse when Mukuro forces Mugen to join him on a job after winning a bet. The job is to go on a government ship and try to steal gold. Mukuro secretly reveals to Koza that he plans to kill Mugen to tie loose ends. While Mugen is fighting the government officials, Mukuro blows up the ship Mugen. Fuu screaming Mugen’s name ends the episode and it is so poignant. Fuu and Jin aren’t thrilled with the idea of taking the job for any reason and it seems for good reason. In part 2, Koza asks Jin to kill Mukuro to avenge Mugen. Something about her I couldn’t put my finger on. Fuu finds Mugen’s body near the shores and nurses him back to health. Mukuro and his associate Shiren are discussing matters in a hidden area that they plan to use until it is safe to escape but Jin appears and kills Muruko. Jin realizes a bit too late that he has been used. Jin believes he is the only one worthy to kill Mugen (and by this time I am inclined to agree.) It would seem that Koza has been manipulating both Murkuro and Shiren. Mugen confronts Shiren and Koza, and effortlessly kills Shiren, while sparing Koza. Realizing that with Shiren and Mukuro being the only ones knowing where the location of the gold was, Koza breaks down crying. That loser deserves no one.

  7. Elegy of Entrapment Parts 1 & 2 (Episodes 20 & 21) – Fuu, Mugen and Jin meet up with a blind woman named Sara who is a traveling musician. She is able to sense emotions of those around her. Something about Sara made me believe she was a nice character but was I wrong. Sara asks Fuu which of the men (Mugen or Jin) can accompany her on her journey through the woods. Fuu chooses Jin, thinking Jin would refuse. However, much to her horror, Jin accepts and leaves with Sara. But Jin almost pays the price immediately when Sara attacks Jin on a bridge. In the second part of the episode, we get a shift from Jin to Mugen (who I have dubbed as the savior of the group). Jin and Sara fight, but Sara manages to overpower him. Just before Jin is about to be killed, he cuts the old bridge, with both falling down in the river. My feelings were wrecked. Poor Jin. The next day, Fuu and Mugen find Sara, and Sara lies that she couldn’t find Jin. It is Mugen that figures out that Sara is a big fat liar by finding Sara’s damaged instrument and cane.  Mugen is initially overwhelmed by Sara’s raw strength, but just before Sara kills Mugen, Fuu steps in to cover Mugen’s body. Sara is wandering until she encounters a masked man who says she needs to finish her job or her son will die. It seems her son is the reason she is on this path. Did that make my feelings towards her change? Sure. Mugen meets up with Sara again at nightfall, and they fight once more. Although initially evenly matched, Sara overpowers him. Sara gains the upper hand, stabbing and slicing Mugen a handful of times. Fuu eventually comes across the fight, completely distressed at what she’s witnessing. Mugen’s attempts to fight back fail as his injuries become too severe and he collapses to the ground, helpless as Sara goes in for the kill. Mugen and Sara both try to strike together, but at the last second, Sara pulls back on her strike allowing Mugen to fatally wound her. Mugen asks her why did she hold back, and Sara reveals that she has nothing to live for now that her son is already dead. Angered, Mugen tosses her weapon in a fit of rage.

  8. Baseball Blues (Episode 23) America vs Japan – Let me just say I enjoy baseball so this episode was both fun and funny. The trio is trying to get to the Ikitsuki Islands where the Sunflower Samurai (Fuu’s Father) lives. As Mugen his famous dine and dash gimmick, he gets hit in the head with a baseball. It is thrown by an unknown man who later captures the whole group and strikes up a deal with them. The man needs a team to help him play a game of baseball against another team composed entirely of American travelers. Evidently, an American trade company was looking to do business with the area (chiefly by force), but Japan’s isolationist policies outright forbid this. Mugen agrees almost immediately. Kagemaru spends the night training our heroes in the art of baseball. The game starts and it looks like our trio is going to be slaughtered especially since they have a dog on their team. The game starts with Kagemaru and Jin getting things off to a nice start, but Mugen gets an out due to running bases past his teammates and Fuu gets struck out in her turn. The village elder breaks his back just getting up to bat and is out of the game, and when the dog goes up to bat, it gets struck with the ball and runs away. As the game goes on, the American team eventually resorts to playing dirty, doing everything they can to injure and incapacitate the Japanese team, even managing to kill Hanzo at one point. There are actually a few more deaths than you think would actually occur in a baseball game. At one point, Mugen is the only player left on the Japanese team. he decides to give the Americans a taste of their own medicine, throwing viciously powerful pitches that knock out all but one of the American players. In a one-on-one standoff, Mugen throws another hard pitch at the same time that the batter swings and lets go of the bat, both hitting their targets at the same time. Miraculously, Mugen survives and scares off the Americans back to where they came from.

  9. Evanescent Encounter Parts 1-3 (Episodes 24-26) – This had to be one my favorite endings to a series… EVER. Mostly because I genuinely feared for the trios lives. Would they all make it out alive? Jin duels with the most powerful shogunate. Mugen faces off against three brothers holding a grudge who have kidnapped Fuu. It is a lot to take in and I wasn’t sure that it could be done in 3 episodes. Fuu, Mugen and Jin have finally arrived in Nagasaki to find Ikitsuki Island in search of the Sunflower Samurai. A trio of assassins (Denkibou, Umanosuke, and Toube) are tracking Mugen, Jin and Fuu, and killing people who are nosey or stands in their way. A powerful samurai name Kariya Kagetoki is being recruited by a shogunate councilor to deal with Fuu, Mugen and Jin after hearing one of them killed Sara.  Kariya Kagetoki meets Mugen and Jin, and states that Fuu’s father was one of the leaders of the Shimabara Rebellion, and that the shogunate was tracking the heroes to find Fuu’s father. Kariya Kagetoki challenges them to fight, and Fuu is attacked by the trio of assassins. That girl gets kidnapped a lot for 26 episodes. I am just saying. Mugen fights Kariya Kagetoki, with Kariya Kagetoki praises Mugen’s raw talent and unpredictability, but notes that Mugen doesn’t have the skills to defeat him. Kariya Kageoki easily defeats Mugen, and Denkibou arrives, telling Mugen and Jin to go to the church on Ikitsui Island, or Fuu dies. Jin convinces Mugen to go after Fuu… I wanted it to be Mugen who saved her too. And Mugen did not disappoint. Mugen finds Umanosuke holding Fuu captive, and Umanosuke reveals he, Denkibou, and Toube were government officials that were in the shop when Mugen and Mukuro blew up (in Misguided Miscreants Part 1 and 2). Umanosuke agrees to give up Fuu if Mugen gives up his sword, and Mugen agrees. Umanosuke lets Fuu go, and attacks Mugen viciously while Fuu goes to see her father. Meanwhile Jin fights with Kariya learning that  Jin’s master met with Kariya Kagetoki, and Kagetoki forces Mariya to turn his samurai school into assassins. When Jin refused to do be apart of this as he saw it as dishonorable. Kariya commanded Mariya to slay his own pupil (Jin) in the middle of the night for fear of Jin creating a rebellion in the future. Jin quickly but unexpectedly kills his master, which causes Jin to run away. Fuu confronts Seizo Kasumi the Sunflower Samurai (her father), and finds her father dying from an unknown illness. Fuu is angry that her father left her.  Kariya shows up and allows Seizo Kasumi to say his last words with Fuu before killing him with Fuu watching in horror. He tries to go after Fuu but is surprised to see that Jin survived their encounter. He and Jin battle again with Jin coming out on top using his secret weapon. Mugen, on the other hand, is having a bit of trouble with the band of brothers. Mugen is attacked relentlessly but uses his hidden dagger to wound Umanosuke, giving him enough time to get his sword. The two continue their battle, and the church collapses. Mugen barely manages to kill Umanosuke, and Toube uses a bomb in his wheelchair to try to kill Mugen, but it doesn’t work. Fuu and Jin hear the explosion, and see Mugen barely alive. Since they successfully led Fuu to her father, the two agree to fight each other with Fuu trying to get them to stop. Both of their blades shatter when they hit, and Mugen admits that he doesn’t want to kill Jin because he sees Jin as his friend, with Jin agreeing much to Fuu’s relief. 

In the end, this is a great series. Humor, heartbreak and an impressive journey. The ending was epic. I love it. There is not a lot of anime that I rewatch scenes from and this is in the top 2. So that is it for me for now. If you haven’t seen it… watch it. Let me know your thoughts on it. That is all for now.

Quarantine Post #33 – Ip Man


Usually when I am taking a watch break from anime, I am usually watching something on Hulu or Prime Video. I have always paid for Netflix but I don’t normally watch it that often. They probably get a kick out of customers like me who pay their $8.99 month after month and don’t watch for months at a time. Although, they send me emails all the time asking me if there is a problem… There isn’t and it is no biggie. I decided a few months ago that I was going to watch more martial arts movies. I haven’t watched any kick ass movies in several years… so as I am behind in most things… someone on Twitter told me to check out Ip Man with Donnie Yen. Now Donnie Yen has been a beast on the scene for many years. So I figure to watch several more of his movies very soon. Don’t judge me. I shall return with more reviews of his movies.

Bad ass movie. You will notice that I am into period pieces or movies about a figure and their time in history.
Bad ass table scene… more on that for later.
Don’t ask me why Mike Tyson was in this movie. I have no clue. I was surprisingly okay with it though.
This took a lot of time to get through… SO MUCH RACISM… sticks in my craw… I’ll probably never watch this again.

One of my issues has been the passing of my favorite icon, Bruce Lee. Yes he passed before I was born but when his very awesome movies were presented to me, that was not something I already knew. It was disappointing to find out that he passed away at a young age. So much life left in him. From that point on, I had really stayed away from the martial arts movies. Totally missing out on a lot of great gems. So I decided that I need to get back into a genre that I enjoy. These movies were recommended to me because it talks about Bruce’s mentor Yip Man. Now of course many things are fictionalized for the purposes of the movies… but that doesn’t make them less awesome. I am not going to go into what drives the plot in each film because that is a lot to write out. (Honestly, head to watchmojo’s channel on YouTube. They have a great video about what was fact and what was fiction in these movies.) But don’t get me wrong the acting in the movies was fantastic. My mother even loved them… and she is a hard person to please.

Look at the young Bruce

Here is where Netflix comes back into play. They’re always there when I want them. All of the streaming services have really stepped up and added a buttload of content recently. So of course Netflix had all 4 Ip Man movies. It was free so there was definitely no excuse. With quarantine, I swore that I would get some of the stuff on my watch list completed but while that has happened I have added a good portion of things so essentially I am back to where I started. Anyways I am going to pick my top moments, in no particular order. Now I am going through these movies years after they have been release but my goodness…. I still have to say it… SPOILERS AHEAD…. as if by now you didn’t know. So let’s get to it.

  1. The Cotton Mill Fight. “Ip Man” – In the 1930s, Foshan is a hub of Southern Chinese martial arts, where various schools actively recruit disciples and compete against each other. Although the Wing Chun master Ip Man is the most skilled martial artist in Foshan, he is unassuming and maintains an almost invisible profile. As an independently wealthy man, he feels no need to accept any disciples and instead spends his days training, meeting with friends, and spending time with his family. The Japanese invasion in 1937 adversely affects the life of everyone in Foshan. The Imperial Japanese Army confiscates Ip’s house and repurposes it into their Foshan military headquarters. Ip and his family lose their wealth and are forced to move into a decrepit apartment. Desperate to support his family, Ip finds work at a Japanese coal mine. Ip later visits his friend, Chow Ching-chuen, who owns and runs a cotton mill in Foshan. Chow’s son tells Ip that a bandit gang led by Jin is harassing the workers and trying to extort money from them. He pleads with Ip to teach the workers Wing Chun in order for them to defend themselves. It is an interesting flip from the beginning of the movie where he refused to teach others. Ip concedes and what we get is an awesome montage of the cotton mill workers learning to defend themselves. I have a thing for training montages… When the gang returns, the cotton mill workers don’t necessarily win but that wasn’t the point. It would have been odd if they had… It is funny to kind of see how they are not used to combat but it doesn’t stop from jumping in there and sometimes forget what they are taught in favor of other methods. They were able to hold their own and give Jin’s gang a run for their money. Mostly because the gang wasn’t prepare for them to want to fight. They are able to hold off the gang long enough for Ip man to appear. And then of course all hell breaks loose. Jin’s character doesn’t come off as great in this movie but he’s not actually a villain… he gets better later. Watch the scene here (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AVxDyv1h9Pw)
  2. Ip Man vs The Shipyard Gang “Ip Man 3”– One of the few mass brawls in the franchise… Normally when dealing with a martial arts master, one would be smart enough to know not to anger the person by kidnapping his son and threatening to kill him. In this movie, Ip Man gets involved when the school that his son Ip Ching goes to is under attack. Ma King-sang, a local triad leader, also works for Frank, (Mike Tyson) an American property developer and highly proficient boxer. Frank orders Ma to acquire a piece of land occupied by the school. When Ip goes to collect his son from school, he witnesses Ma and his men beating the headmaster, who refuses to sell. Ip interferes and restrains Ma, but is forced to release him. Ip and his students go on the defense of the school spending nights protecting the school. They fend off an attack by Ma’s men, who set fire to the school and attempt to kidnap the headmaster. Being on the bad side of the land developer made Ip a target but at no point do you worry for him… eventually Ip is set-up by Ma to lure him away from the school; meanwhile, Ma’s gang have abducted some of the students, including Ip Ching. Ip shows up to the shipyard with his trustee bamboo shoot. Ip arrives alone at Ma’s shipyard, where Ma holds Ip Ching at knife point and threatens to sell the children into slavery if the headmaster refuses to surrender the school. Bad idea… Ip goes beast mode…His preferred attack weapon… Bamboo…. I found myself thinking over and over… these people better be glad that Ip didn’t have malicious intent was purely defending himself. Watch the bad ass moment here ( https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-U21R16Vvwk)

  3. Ip Man vs the Masters (Table Top Scene) “Ip Man 2” – Ip Man and his family move to Hong Kong in the mid-1940s after their escape from Japanese-occupied Foshan. Ip desires to open a school to make a living during the difficult times, but he struggles to attract students due to his lack of reputation in the city. One day, a young man named Wong Shun Leung appears and promptly challenges Ip to a fight, but is easily defeated. A humiliated Wong leaves, only to return later with some friends to gang up on him; Ip easily beats them as well. Stunned and impressed by Ip’s skills, Wong and his friends become Ip’s first students, bringing more disciples to help the school thrive. Wong has his own spot on the countdown so I won’t get into it here…. But just know that when Wong starts trying to attract more students to Ip’s school, a gang proceed to challenge him to a fight… word spreads and Ip Man is told that before setting up a school, he needs to attend a special ceremony to test his worth. The Ceremony is held with the Masters of various disciplines and their school looking on. In the center of the room, there is a table with stools overturned all the way around it. Ip is supposed to fight the grandmasters on the table without falling off to prove his worthiness. It is not short on the humor but the scene is epic. My mother and I watched these scenes together and what was great about it is her reaction to the action… “Nothing worse than being beat by a person who you can’t even be mad at.” The Masters’ curiosity of Ip changes to respect as they challenge him and he leads by example. Watch it here (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SajgVNIRdn8) and (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XkvSrgngUrw)
  4. Ip Man vs Jin Shanzhao “Ip Man” – We first meet Jin in the early parts of the first movie. Jin is in Foshan looking for the strongest opponents. His original plan was to start a school in Foshan and he figured the best way to do it was to beat every master in Foshan. He also wanted to prove that Northern Chinese martial arts was better than the Southern styles. He battles two masters in different styles, one with weapons winning against them both. He storms into Ip’s house after being told that he is the best. He demands a fight from Ip who agrees. Again this scene is filled with humor with his son cycling through the fight and telling him not to damage things. Both Ip and Jin damaging things and Jin yelling that he will pay for the broken things. But Ip shows Jin why he is the best. I had to shake my head at the fact that he just waltzes in and throws his challenge down. (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=z1hLLDMkdlM)

  5. Ip Man vs the Muay Thai fighter (Elevator scene) “Ip Man 3” – First of all, I want you to know that this had to be the most epic and disrespectful shit I have ever seen. Who attacks a person on the elevator at the doctors office with his wife no less. There is honestly no honor amongst thieves. After Wing Sing reveals that has been diagnosed with cancer and may live only another six months, Ip accompanies her home from the medical visit. They get on the elevator and as the door closes here comes this hired henchman that steps on and everyone can tell that shit was about to go down. I was not prepared for a fight in an elevator though. I figured the guy would wait. But he swore he was going to win after taking them by surprise. The way he kicks off his sandals… Anyway the epic part of this scene is not actually the fight to me… and don’t me wrong Ip delivers the ass whooping… not so much that this guy deserves because… that disrespect… The great part for me was Ip’s wife (Wing Sing). She knew immediately that there was a threat and moved accordingly. Taking the package from Ip, and managing to stick behind her man… making her self small and staying out of the way. The opponent had no feeling towards the woman or if she got hit or hurt and that was why he needed a good damn thrashing. Shout out to Wing Sing… You don’t live with a man like that and not pick up some stuff and this scene was epic on her part even though she does no talking. When Ip finally steps out of the elevator, you know the real ass whooping is about to ensue. Ip defeats the boxer before the elevator reaches the ground floor. So no need to be so worried Wing Sing. It is the way he kicks the bastard out of the elevator and then steps out never looking back at her… letting her ride down by herself. Watch the tomfoolery here: (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=b_fKzher8QQ)

  6. “I want to fight 10 men.” Ip Man – This is reminiscent of a Bruce Lee movie… where Bruce walks into a dojo and takes on the entire Dojo. In the first movie, things change drastically after the Japanese invasion of 1937. Remember that I mentioned above that Ip and his family are displaced and Ip takes a job in the Japanese coal mines. The Japanese General Miura is a Karate master, and he establishes an arena where Chinese martial artists compete with his military trainees. Those who win get a bag of rice. Li Zhao, a former police officer and Ip’s acquaintance, now works as an interpreter for the Japanese army. (I had a serious dislike for this character but the great thing about it is… It really made me think about how life is not all black and white. Zhao chose to be an interpreter to survive and help put food on the table for his family who are elderly and some disabled which we find out later… before then he just looks like a traitor . So I am not sure I feel that angry towards him anymore.) He offers the martial artists working at the coal mine the chance to earn a bag of rice for every match they win. At first, Ip declines to fight. However, when his friend Lin disappears after taking part in a match, Ip agrees to participate in order to find out what happened. Ip watches fellow Foshan martial arts practitioner, Master Liu, defeat one karateka, but then Liu requests to fighting three at once and loses. When Liu attempts to collect the winning bag of rice from the first match, Miura’s second in-command, Colonel Sato, shoots and kills him. Enraged by the death of Master Liu and figuring out that his friend Lin must have also been killed, Ip demands to fight 10 opponents at once. Despite having not practiced Wing Chun since the Japanese occupied Foshan (to conserve energy and thus save food for his family), he mercilessly defeats them all with a brutal barrage of blows, showing no restraint that he exhibited in earlier matches. Mercilessly being the key word here… prior to this… he showed real restraint and respect to his opponents not matter how disrespectful they were…. (See Jin or guy in elevator.) But here he completely dismantles the competition. Watch the scene here (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Kv9ygN2B8WU)

  7. Ip Man vs the Hung Ga Gang “Ip Man 2” (Wet Market Fight)– Remember Wong Shun Leung who I talked a bit about earlier? He becomes Ip’s student earlier on in the movie. After he is defeated, he leaves and returns with 10 friends who also get beat up and then beg Ip man to teach them Wing Chun. He does… Wong puts up flyers about Ip’s new school and he ends up being challenged. The great pupil that he is…. he beats them to which they don’t seem to take kindly to. They kidnap him and when Ip comes to get his student all hell breaks lose at the fish market. The Hung Ga try and gang up on him and that yields a negative result. It is important to note that Wong seems to be able to hold his own even though his hands are tied behind his back. Watch the scene here (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8kcd603M8vA&t=61s) and then part 2 (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CyGOqLQTww0)

  8. Ip Man vs Cheung Tin Chi “Ip Man 3” – Now Cheung Tin Chi was introduced early on in the movie and you could never really tell what side of the fence he was on. He was about earning money to feed his son which I can’t fault but I was still unsure where his allegiance lie all movie. We first meet him after Ip Ching gets into a fight with his schoolmate Cheung Fong, their teacher, Miss Wong, asks the parents to come to the school, though only the Ips arrive. As an apology, the Ip family invite Fong to their home for dinner. At Ip’s house, Fong displays rudimentary yet impressive Wing Chun skills. When asked who his mentor is, Fong says that it is his father, Cheung Tin-chi, who shows up to collect his son shortly after. There seems to be no ill will between the two so there wasn’t a lot to worry about. (Although this encounter helps set up what happens in the 3rd act of the film.) Tin-chi participates successfully in underground fights to earn extra money but we see him again as Ip and his students defend the school from being taken over by thugs… Cheung happens to be passing by, and helps fight off the invaders and rescue the headmaster. Cheung’s skills impress Ip, and he thanks Cheung for his help.. so okay cool another admiral thing right…? Yeah I thought so too. Ma, the leader of the triads later offers Cheung a large sum of money to get revenge against Ngo-san on his behalf. Ngo-san is Ma’s old teacher. Cheung is hard up for money to open his own martial arts school and accepts the offer and attacks Ngo-san, putting him in the hospital. Poor old man. It is the act that participates the events that get Ip Ching kidnapped. What I left out of the entry above is that the triads make off with Cheung’s son too. Upon learning that his son was also taken, Cheung arrives and is allowed to leave with Fong, but after his son tells him that the triads still have his friends and they must do something, he returns and fights alongside Ip. Ip and Cheung are able to hold their own until a troop of policemen led by Po comes to arrest the gang. Tin-chi opens his martial arts school with the money he obtained from Ma, and claims that his Wing Chun is genuine while Ip’s is not. Building his reputation by defeating a number of local martial arts masters, Tin-chi publicly challenges Ip to a battle that will decide who is the true Grandmaster of Wing Chun. Now why? This man just wants to be left alone. Ip misses the match preferring to stay with his dying wife since he felt ashamed about neglecting her earlier and Cheung is named the winner. But it is Wing Sing who reschedules the fight. Wing Sing accompanies Ip to the fight. After a battle with poles, butterfly swords and a fist fight, Ip eventually overpowers Tin-chi with a one-inch punch while temporarily blinded. The Bruce Lee lover in me loved it.

  9. Ip Man Vs General Miura “Ip Man “ – In the first movie, after Ip realizes his friends have been killed and he destroys the 10 men…. Japanese General Miura is impressed by his skills and wants to watch him fight again. But Ip doesn’t return to coal mining nor to the arena. Miura grows impatient and sends Sato, along with several soldiers, to track Ip down. These men actually come to his house play with his son and threaten to rape his wife. I really just couldn’t take it. Ip defends his wife, incapacitating Sato and three other soldiers accompanying him; however, they are forced to flee their apartment and hide in Li’s house with him and his family. Jin informs Miura of Ip’s connection to the cotton mill. (Jin is so not great in this movie.) The Japanese raid the mill and take Ip who asks Chow to take his wife and son away for protection. Miura says that Ip’s life will be spared if Ip agrees to instruct the Japanese soldiers in Chinese martial arts. Ip refuses and challenges Miura to a match. Miura accepts because of his love for martial arts and to avoid humiliating the Japanese people. It is a very public fight with a lot of pride on the line. So much so that the Sato says that if Ip starts winning, he will be shot. No doubt. Some people delight in other people’s pain. The fight is held in the middle of square in Foshan, and in the beginning it seems they are evenly matched but Ip slowly starts his rise to victory. Ip eventually overwhelms Miura, inflicting on him a severe beating through an impeccable defense and relentless and direct blows. It is fantastic to watch. For me, it is when Ip is shot and the crowd becomes hostile and takes matters into their own hands.

  10. School Yard Fight “Ip Man 4” – Now I am going to start by saying this movie made me feel so much rage. Mostly because of the time period this was and the blatant racism. Now that is not to say that there wasn’t racism in the the other movies but my goodness this movie is over the top with it. That being said… I had to pause this scene several times in order to get through it. In this movie, we see that Wing Sing has passed away and it is just Ip Man and his younger son Ip Ching. Ip is told that he has throat cancer and due to smoking. Ip heads to San Francisco to find better schooling for his son… since Ip Ching has been expelled for fighting back against a bully. In order for Ip to get Ip enrolled in school, he needs a letter of recommendation from the Chinese Consolidated Benevolent Association. This letter is an issue which I will talk about in the next entry. Just know for now that the leader of Benevolent Association Grandmaster Wan doesn’t write the letter. But when Ip arrives at the school, he is kept waiting. So rude and when the person he is there to meet with arrives he is really kind of given the brush off. As he is leaving, he chances upon Wan’s teenage daughter, Yonah, undergoing racist violence from a rival cheerleader, Becky, and her male friends. Becky is mad that Yonah got chosen to be cheerleading captain over her and starts a racist tirade that quickly spills out into a physical altercation. The thing that got me wasn’t the racist tirade… and that in itself was bad… especially since it stemmed from who was picked for cheerleading but the fact that all of these guys on what I thought was the hockey team (because their weapon of choice looked to be hockey sticks.) were going to beat up this girl. They actually involved themselves in a conflict about cheerleading. Yonah fights back somewhat and does quite well, even though she complains when her father wants her to learn martial arts, but she is ultimately outnumbered, and Ip steps in to rescue her. (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tlWuQbMfRBI)

  11. Ip Man vs Grandmaster Wan “Ip Man 4” – Because Grandmaster Wan refuses to give the letter of recommendation to Ip, when Ip escorts Yonah home, Wan incorrectly assumes that Ip is trying to get in his good graces. Wan challenges him to a duel. The interesting thing is when Wan sees that Ip is injured (from helping Yonah) Wan fights with one hand behind his back. Things get destroyed and I always cringe when that happens. The duel is pretty intense but gets interrupted by an epic earthquake. Wan tells Ip they will finish their fight at the upcoming Mid-Autumn Festival. Ip refuses, explaining that he merely accompanied Yonah home for her own safety, and leaves. Watch the scene here. (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WWW2yncWL68)

  12. The Lazy Susan fight “Ip Man 4” – This is not a fight in the traditional sense. By this time, Ip has been training Bruce Lee and Bruce has also relocated to San Francisco. Bruce has upset the local martial arts community in San Francisco by opening a Wing Chun school, teaching non-Chinese people martial arts and writing an English-language book on martial arts. When Ip shows up to the meeting with the Grandmasters, he is told that in order to get a letter of recommendation from them, Ip needs to renounce Bruce which Ip refuses to do. (While in reality there is no evidence to support that Ip ever came to America… his youngest son would not have been in high school but much older, there is truth in the storyline that Bruce Lee was creating waves with teaching anyone who wanted to learn the martial arts. So kudos to the filmmakers for tying that in.) The argument happens at a round table (Lazy Susan) during tea time. Both men keeping pushing it back and forth before leaning on it to show neither are budging in their stance and the poor table to survive under the pressure.
  13. Ip Man vs Twister “Ip Man 2” – Hung, one of the Grandmasters that fights Ip on the tabletop at the beginning of the movie, invites Ip to a boxing event after clearing the air between them. The boxing competition allows for a demonstration by the various martial arts schools to help promote themselves and their Chinese culture. However, the event’s star boxer, Taylor “The Twister” Miller, an arrogant, racist and brutal man, openly insults and attacks the students, causing a brawl that the masters try to quell. Twister challenges Hung to a fight, saying that he will apologize to the Chinese if Hung can beat him, which Hung accepts. At first, Hung’s wider range of skills allows him to overcome Twister’s natural size and muscular physique. Hindered by his asthma, Hung is eventually beaten to death against the ropes, as he refuses to concede and allow the man to insult his culture and people. News of Hung’s death rapidly spreads throughout the city, enraging the Chinese populace. Very Rocky 4 like but I was still annoyed and heartbroken. Twister announces that in order to clear his name he will accept any challenge from the Chinese to participate in a fair, public boxing match, but arrogantly boasts that he could kill every Chinese boxer in Hong Kong and that he doubts any of the Chinese are brave enough to face him. Ip arrives and challenges Twister to a fight. Ip finishes training and begins his fight with Twister, using his more diverse techniques and great speed against Twister’s muscle. Ip later receives an illegal punch from Twister, and is prohibited from kicking due to the judges changing the rules during the match, allowing Twister to seemingly overwhelm him.(Complete Bullshit). Ip changes his strategy by attacking Twister’s arms to weaken him, eventually defeating him. Watch it here (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MTSpAVqgSso) and (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rTy_mgJIIrk) I didn’t feel no kind of way when Twister went down.

  14. Ip Man vs Frank (Mike Tyson) “Ip Man 3” – Remember the American real estate developer that was trying to get the school Ip Ching went to? The same one that sent the fighter who attacked Ip and his wife… Yeah that is Mike Tyson. Weirdest thing ever but then again… I guess not. When none of the attacks on Ip man work, Ip goes to Frank’s office. Frank proposes that the have a three minute fight. If Ip can last the whole fight, Frank will leave him and the school alone. Initially overwhelmed by Frank’s muscle and sheer force, Ip begins turning the tide when he changes his strategy to attack Frank’s lower half. They fight to a draw after the three minutes pass; seemingly impressed, Frank keeps his promise. The fight is so intense I wondered when the damn bell was going to sound. It was dramatic and awesome. (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PhQsxcbo6gk)

  15. Ip Man vs Colin Frater “Ip Man 4” – Hartman, a Staff Sergeant in the United States Marines and student of Bruce Lee attempts to convince Barton Geddes, the Gunnery Sergeant on his base, to incorporate Chinese martial arts into their hand-to-hand combat training. Geddes, an arrogant and openly racist man, proves the Marines’ current Karate training superior by having Hartman fight the Marines’ Karate instructor, Colin Frater, who defeats him.  Hartman doesn’t let the the topic die and goes over Geddes’s head. Hartman later manages to convince the unit’s commanding officer of kung fu’s potential, and is instructed to film the Mid-Autumn Festival happening at the Association for research purposes, infuriating Geddes. At the Mid-Autumn Festival, Frater shows up to challenge the Grandmasters at the festival. I didn’t get why they were so against learning Chinese martial arts if they had already learned Karate but okay. Frater proves his strength by defeating three grandmasters until Ip intervenes. I am always impressed by the grandmasters even in older age than can hold their own. There was even an older woman that really impressed me. I want to be like her when I grow up. Ip man steps in and defends himself surprising Frater and putting him in the hospital. It is great to watch. Check it out here (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ee4eddOmuEQ)

  16. Ip Man vs Geddes “Ip Man 4” – Becky lies to her parents, claiming that she had been bullied even though she and her friends were the aggressors. Her father Walters, an officer of the Immigration and Naturalization Service (INS), is pressured into holding the Association responsible and deporting all Chinese associated with them.  Wan (Yonah the real victim’s father), who was supposed to be present at the festival, is arrested by the immigration officers. Upon seeing Frater in the hospital, Geddes barges into the Association to find out where Wan is. Geddess heads down to the festival and brutally beats down the Grandmasters although I don’t get what they had to do with adding Chinese Martial Arts to the curriculum. He then threatens Walters to release Wan into the Marines’ custody before bringing Wan into the camp to fight him. Wan puts up a valiant fight. I mean the guy is no slouch.  At first, Wan is able to match Geddes’ blows, but is eventually overwhelmed and seriously injured. I believe his leg is broken. Ip is brought into the Marines’ camp by Hartman, and ultimately defeats Geddes in a long and savage fight. And Geddess, even though he is the villain or one of them in the piece, doesn’t mean that he and Colin don’t possess skill but that makes when they go down so much better. Check it out here (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4sWr4h6cABs)

So I can’t leave off the Ip Man movies without talking about Bruce Lee. I love Bruce and even though I knew the movies weren’t about him I was glad that he was featured. There was no guarantee that he would be in the films… depending on the direction that they took. But I will talk about his appearances in the film.

  • Young Bruce at the end of Ip Man 2 – Ip is later introduced to a boy named Bruce Lee, who wishes to learn Wing Chun in order to beat up people he does not like. Ip smiles and simply tells him to come back when he has grown up. (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fSx17Eo9KwY)
  • Bruce returns to ask to be Ip’s studentIp Man 3 –  Bruce Lee visits Ip and asks to become one of his students. After Lee demonstrates his speed, Ip neither accepts nor rejects him, but insinuates for him to leave by opening the door. (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=W-KxBQyVfc0)

  • He teaches Ip to dance at the end of Ip Man 3 – This being a reference to the description that Bruce was an excellent dancer.
  • He makes several appearances in the final installment – starting with Ip attending Bruce’s demonstration on Martial arts where he demonstrates the one inch punch. (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=q3It71OjgX0)

    But be sure to watch the actual footage of this event. (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WR7En1-xJmA)

  • Bruce’s Alleyway fight – He is challenged to an alley fight and it is bad ass. Shout out to Danny Chan who portrayed Bruce. (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lr-f2FJSr60) and (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YY7gZ4JrBKQ)

  • Bruce provides refuge to the Association – Due to a tip-off by Billy, a subordinate of Walters and another student of Lee, the Association is empty by the time the immigration officers conduct their raid. Lee provides refuge for the Association, earning their respect.
  • At Ip’s funeral – When Ip’s dies at the end of the last movie from throat cancer, Bruce attends the funeral of course and that was a hard scene to watch because we know that he dies a year later.

Alright so this was a fun dive into these movies. Be sure to let me know what you enjoyed about the movies or even let me know what your favorite martial arts movie is. I am always down to watch something new. So that is all for now. I loved these movies. I think the acting was great. Donnie Yen did a superb job. So until next time….