Production: Twentieth Century Fox, 1996
Running Time: 46 minutes
While their parents attend a conference in London, Sue and Eddie go sightseeing. Inside "Terror Tower," both see ghosts and moving statues. The kids linger behind their tour group to investigate. They find an ancient carving inside a chamber where a young prince and princess were once left to die.
Fleeing from a dark-robed guard, Sue and Eddie rush to their hotel. Strangely, they can't remember their own last name, and their parents have vanished. Returning to Terror Tower, they find themselves in a feudal society hundreds of years past. The pair must acknowledge that they themselves are the lost prince and princess, magically sent into the future for safekeeping, but now returned to their own deadly era.
Best For Ages:
5-8: This time-travel tale isn't very frightening compared to other "Goosebumps" installments.
9-12: Strong costumes and sets, along with a complicated fantasy scenario, make this a good bet for older viewers.
Educational Value: Out to recess. There isn't enough real history here for kids to learn much.
Entertainment Value: Exceptional makeup, costumes, and use of accents set this "Goosebumps" installment apart. A NIGHT IN TERROR TOWER is one of the series' strongest offerings.
Violence: Knights carry spears and swords. The Lord High Executioner wields an axe.
Frightening Situations: Two children discover that they were really born in another century; not only are their parents long dead, but they are being pursued by the enemies of their family.
Questionable Behavior: Siblings taunt one another. A boy twice steals valuable sorcerer stones.
Mature Themes: Sue and Eddie discover that they are future versions of Susanna and Edward, a prince and princess left to die in the forbidding tower. This video makes no effort to explain the historical politics that led to the murders of children.
A NIGHT IN TERROR TOWER doesn't offer real terror. A six-year-old viewer thought the ghosts were silly, and he laughed at the executioner. But he was enthralled by the story of the siblings who discover their secret past, and he was too young to recognize the historical liberties taken by the writers.
On a visit to an ancient castle, a brother and sister discover that they have a personal link to the torture chamber and dungeon. Historical flashbacks and beautiful sets make A NIGHT IN TERROR TOWER one of the best in the "Goosebumps" series.
Though the Lord High Executioner looks silly during the first chase sequence, he becomes a threat after the children travel through time. Unfortunately the video does not provide any back-story for the prince and princess. We never even learn the name of the wicked uncle who ordered their deaths. The tale has similarities to the deaths of the young princes in Shakespeare's RICHARD III, but this is primarily historical fantasy.
Many "Goosebumps" episodes feature a smart older sister beleaguered by a hip younger brother. In this episode, the discovery of their true destiny transforms Sue and Eddie's relationship. The young actors play convincing Brits and have surprising poise as the doomed royals. It's a common childhood fantasy to believe that one is really a prince or princess; not even the threat of execution dims the excitement here.
Kids intrigued by the possibility of entering another realm might enjoy a video like BEDKNOBS AND BROOMSTICKS, in which three kids find themselves in a fantasy land.