Title: Bone Chillers #23 – Romeo and Ghouliette a.k.a. “Hail, Hail Sirbania, A Land I Didn’t Make Up”
Author: Betsy Haynes (Ryan Chipman (Based on the script by Regge Bulman and Clay Eide))
Cover Artist: Tim Jacobus
Tagline: What fright through yonder window breaks? [Wing: Okay, that’s kind of delightful.]
Summary: Cooking up trouble…
Lexi knows there’s something weird about Julie, the new girl at Edgar Allen Poe High School. [Wing: I want to go to school there.] Julie was practically drooling over a worm in biology lab. Then Lexi swears she saw Julie snatch a fly out of the air in homeroom – and eat it!
Now Julie is after Lexi’s best friend, Fitz. And Fitz is totally falling for her. He loves everything about Julie – especially the cookies and candies she brings him. Lexi suspects Julie is fattening Fitz up for a feast – and that he’s going to be the main course!
February is the month of LUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUV, and even though I’d already done “The Abandoned” for Valentine’s Day I felt for the extra recap this would be an appropriate addition.
Bone Chillers was another Goosebumps knock-off series from the 90s, one of the few that stuck to the formula of a brand new cast and universe in each book. But what set the series apart is it was the only series besides Goosebumps to get a TV show during its time of publication. With a single season of 13 episodes, the show took place at Edgar Allen Poe High School and focused on the horrifying misadventures of four friends.
The artistic Fitz Crump, gothic Sarah Moss, brainy wannabee casanova Brian Hoseapple, and sunny Lexi Orwell, got into all sorts of terrifying shenanigans at school, alongside the downright evil Principal Pussman, ditzy Ms. Dewberry, and their ally Arnie, the creepy school janitor who knew about all sorts of weird shit. Only three of the episodes (Back to School, Creature Teacher, and Frankenturkey) were based on the books written by Betsy Haynes, while all of them featured educational segments at the end that were narrated by Miss Haynes. Whereas the cheesiness of the Goosebumps TV show was mostly unintentional, Bone Chillers deliberately played up the comedy angle alongside the horror. You’d be amazed at how much the kids scream.
“Romeo and Ghouliette” is special, because in its case, the BOOK was based on the EPISODE. Two years after the show ended, the screenplay was adapted and expanded into an addition of the book series, and was the last entry published. The cover sort of reflects that, featuring a broken TV, and the male character is obviously modeled after Fitz. What also makes this special is that book is fucking expensive (I was lucky to find a cheap copy) and much sought after by fans because there exists no DVD set of the entire show and absolutely NO videos anywhere for sale or online of the episode.
Well, at least until a brave American hero uploaded videos of every episode that hadn’t been put on VHS to Youtube.
Being able to watch the episode made me realize a lot of changes were put in the book adaption. Such as:
- Part of the plot involves the school’s production of “Romeo and Juliet,” so the name isn’t just a joke. That wasn’t in the TV show.
- Lexi was the one worried about Fitz in the TV show. Despite what the summary said, in the book it’s Sarah who’s the main character.
- Ms. Dewberry isn’t ditzy or lovey dovey in the book, instead she looks like someone’s grandmother.
- While the school appears creepy in the TV show, it retains the Edgar Allen Poe name but feels like a regular school in the book.
- The antagonists aren’t from “Sirbania” in the TV show.