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This Review Reveals Minor Details About the Plot.

Life Lessons

Goosebumps 2: Haunted Halloween (2018) on IMDb

Plot Overview

The camera pans over a bay afloat with watercraft at night, to land on a New York town: “Welcome to Warden­clyffe.” In her cozy bed­room, high school senior Sarah (Madison Iseman) struggles with a paper she's writing to gain entrance to Columbia University, whose emblem flies high on her wall. Her topic is to define fear: “Recall a time when you felt a fear. How did it define you? or how did you over­come it?” She seems more the over­coming type than one to let a fear define her. Her boy­friend Tyler (Bryce Cass) shows up at her window wanting to goof off with her. He'd be happier if she went to a second tier college closer to home. Sarah has better options than “Two Timing Tyler.” She looks up an author on the WEB who admits, “All the horror of the world can't compare to the blank page.” Sarah has writer's block. Ouch!

Sarah's mom Kathy (Wendi McLendon-Covey) clerk's at Fred's Pharmacy and works nights at a care facility. Fellow clerk Walter (Chris Parnell) hits on her, but her busy schedule allows her no time to pursue it. How­ever, she does have time to check up on her daughter and ground her. Bummer!

Sarah's younger brother Sonny (Jeremy Ray Taylor) is ambitiously constructing a replica of Tesla's Tower for the Nikola Tesla Science Fair. It needs some work. Tesla's historic home in Warden­clyffe needs to be gone through, and the Junk Brothers (“Junk is our middle name”) include Sonny who gets the job. Tesla's portrait hangs prominently on the wall. This family is on the road to prosperity.

boy at windowThe other Junk Brother is a black kid Sammy (Caleel Harris) who is staying with Sonny while his dad is out of town. Kathy is minding all three, with Sarah sharing some of the responsibility.
bully w/slingSome bullies accost the Junk Brothers and take their junk. Sarah sticks up for the boys and they get it back … except for a (latched) book that's back in the bully's house. The two boys break into the house while the mom is asleep on the couch, to get the book. Sammy can't resist sticking his hand in the gummy bear dish for a treat. The burglar gets caught. There's a Halloween hand sticking up out of the dish like a drowning man in a sea of gummy bears, grasping for a life­line. In this movie gummy bears are a gate­way drug. Sammy's success in life is more doubtful than for the other two.

kid with hand puppetThe recovered junk includes an animated ventriloquist dummy named Slappy whom we met in the earlier movie, “Goosebumps.” Pappy can magically energize objects within his field of vision: here a lot of Halloween paraphernalia. Once they get the Tesla Tower operational Pappy's magic can be beamed all over town. The only way to stop it is to suck the magic back into the book held open within the target's sight line.


“Haunted Halloween” is the first of R.L Stine's books. As such it will correspond to Genesis in the Bible, the book of beginnings. The opening scene of water­craft on the bay conjure up images of Noah and his ark, whose story is in Genesis. The end of “Haunted” passes it off as “weather patterns” of which Noah had plenty. The hand reaching up out of the gummy bears reminds us of drowning humanity in the midst of drowning animals in the flood.

Noah had a little family with him. (Gen. 9:18-19) “And the sons of Noah, that went forth of the ark, were Shem, and Ham, and Japheth: and Ham is the father of Canaan. These are the three sons of Noah: and of them was the whole earth over­spread.” Kathy had a son and a daughter, and another boy she was watching for his dad. There is some question whether Noah's youngest Ham (the father of Canaan) was of his aging wife as they had no more children after the flood—even though it was imperative that they all multiply—meaning she could have quit bearing before the flood and had her hand­maid bear the youngest, as was the custom back then. Whatever.

There is a critical incident in the Bible where Noah was observed passed out in his tent. And there's a critical scene in the movie where the bully's mother is observed passed out on the couch. Gen. 9:20-22, Noah got drunk on wine and was exposed in all his glory to his son Ham who brazenly viewed him uncovered in his tent. Noah's other two sons, Shem and Japheth, covered him up, Gen. 9:23. Ham had violated him in some way that Noah sniffed out upon awakening, Gen. 9:24. Noah's curse puts Ham's youngest son Canaan in a position of servitude, Gen. 9:25. Noah's other two sons Shem, Gen. 9:26, and Japheth, Gen. 9:27, were blessed by Noah. The blessing of Shem was shared by Japheth who was to dwell in the tents of Shem.

From Shem come the Semites, of course. Writer Bodie Hodge holds forth that: “Generally, from the Middle East in the land of Shinar (modern-day Iraq, where Babel was), Japheth's descendants went north toward Europe and Asia, Ham's went toward Africa, and Shem's remained in the Middle East” (183). Kathy and her two children were White. The servitude of Ham as passing to his youngest son Canaan also encompassed his son Cush, see Gen. 10:6. Cush is Hebrew for black, whose descendants settled in Africa. Writer Bodie Hodge (134) quotes “Bible Questions and Answers,” from The Golden Age (July 24, 1929): p. 702.

Question: Is there anything in the Bible that reveals the origin of the Negro?

Answer: It is generally believed that the curse which Noah pronounced upon Canaan was the origin of the Black race. Certain it is that when Noah said, “Cursed be Canaan, a servant of servants shall he be to his brethren,” he pictured the future of the Colored race.

Canaan is the youngest son of Ham carrying the curse on the whole family by a figure of speech called a synecdoche where a part stands for the whole. (Jasher 73:35) “For the Lord our God gave Ham the son of Noah, and his children and all his seed, as slaves to the children of Shem and to the children of Japheth, and unto their seed after them for slaves, forever.” To any question of should not we descendants of Japheth and/or Shem be willing to share some or all of our Noahic blessing with descendants of Ham, I refer my reader to Grace Goldin's Midrash on Ruth (36–7):

“You were too harsh with Orpah,” Ruth declared. “Had you but coaxed her as she dared you to She might have gone the difficult way with you.” “We are forbidden bribery, my Ruth,” Replied Naomi, marching steadily now, … “Since only those who come with extreme love For heaven and heavenly things, and love of God, Are welcome to be Jews.”

Orpah was unwilling to travel the tough road of being Jewish, so she was allowed to return to her Moab people, while a more determined Ruth went with her Jewish mother-in-law to Israel. In “Haunted Halloween” black Sammy is fully integrated with the White folk: He shares the same middle name—Junk—as his White business partner, and for the time being he resides with a White family in a White neigh­bor­hood. At a critical moment, his hand dips into the candy jar of a house he's broken into. The movie will end with the other two kids going on to what­ever successes their blessed lives bring, while Sammy will go back to his father and what­ever that life brings him. The movie isn't overly concerned with these out­comes; they have their hands full just trying to survive haunted Halloween night.

Noah had blessed his first two sons for respectfully covering him up, but he'd cursed the third, Ham, through Ham's youngest son Canaan, Gen. 9:26-27; Ham's descendants are to be slaves to the descendants of Noah's other two sons. Ham's youngest son Canaan is the noted recipient of the punishment. The Canaanites were due for destruction when the Israelites invaded the land, but the Gibeonite branch did a deal with Joshua. They'd heard what happened to other Canaanite tribes, so they sent ambassadors dressed as if they'd come from a long journey (Joshua 9:3-6) and persuaded Joshua to make a league with these distant cousins. When it was discovered they'd tricked Joshua into sparing them the destruction to be visited on the Canaanites in the land, (Joshua 9:24-27) Joshua spared their lives but made them bond­men, which was more to their liking. Also, a lot of wicked people were wiped out in the Flood, but Ham got a better deal.

The Antediluvian earth had been (Gen. 6:11) “filled with violence.” Now Noah notes what Ham had (Gen. 9:24) “done unto him.” Because of bringing wickedness into this cleansed world, Ham's progeny was cursed with servitude to the progeny of his two brothers. Also Ham, the brother from another mother, had an evil imagination like unto (Gen. 6:5) what was part of the wicked world that God had just destroyed. Since Ham would not take the hard, righteous path that Noah blazed for the cleansed world, he would be given a hard servitude to the two brothers who'd chosen better. Still, it was better than being destroyed out­right, as the later incident with the Gibeonites makes clear.

Come Halloween the neighbor kids all dress up as if they're not from around here at all, just as the Gibeonites had done. They make a deal with the neighbors—“Trick or treat”—that they won't be at war with them (“Trick”) if the neighbors will give them a peace offering (“treat.”) Thus Halloween is a celebration of Ham who'd escaped drowning with the rest of the wicked of his day.

Neighbor Mr. Chu (Ken Jeong) has decorated his house extraordinaire for Halloween. He's the most popular destination for all the trick-or-treaters. This trick-or-treating that morphs into a magic free-for-all swamps the rest of the plot of the movie until they get the magic tucked back in the book. It's a gas.

Production Values

This Halloween flick, “” (2018) was directed by Ari Sandel. The screen­play was by Rob Lieber based on a story by Rob Lieber. It stars Wendi McLendon-Covey, Madison Iseman, Jeremy Ray Taylor, and Jack Black. Madison Iseman as Sarah gives a good performance. The rest of the cast is rather droll, although Ken Jeong playing the neighbor obsessed with Halloween decorations is infectious in his zeal. Wendi McLendon-Covey, Chris Parnell, and Ken Jeong all rather enjoy their roles be they small parts. The movie is rated PG. Dominic Lewis's driving music propelled the story forward. The traditional Halloween anthem “Monster Mash” appeared, too.

Review Conclusion w/ Christian Recommendation

This one is a family movie. The monsters aren't too scary for the young 'uns. A little older and they'll be joining in trying to out­wit the spooks. Older still and they'll like the Tesla science equipment. Then they have the lesson to say no to drugs, and the example to prepare for college as a priority. Adults might find it thoughtful the way the races play to type. The intellectual can appreciate the hidden Noah theme. Some­thing for everybody.

Movie Ratings

Action factor: Well done action flick. Suitability for children: Suitable for children with guidance. Special effects: Well done special effects. Video Occasion: Fit For a Friday Evening. Suspense: Keeps you on the edge of your seat. Overall movie rating: Four stars out of five.

Works Cited

Scripture quoted from the King James Version. Pub. 1611, rev. 1769. Software.

The Book of Jasher. Translated from the Hebrew into English (1840). Photo litho­graphic reprint of exact edition published by J.H. Parry & Co., Salt Lake City: 1887. Muskogee, OK: Artisan Pub., 1988. Print, WEB.

Goldin, Grace. Come Under the Wings, A Midrash on Ruth. Philadelphia: The Jewish Society of America, 1958, 1980 / 5740. Print.

Hodge, Bodie. Tower of Babel: The Cultural History of Our Ancestors. Green Forest, AR: New Leaf Pub., 2013. Print.