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Episode

"Stay Out of the Basement" is the eleventh and twelfth episode of season one of the Goosebumps TV series. Part one and two premiered on January 27, 1996 on Fox Kids Network respectively.

Cast

Blurb

Margaret is really worried about her father. Ever since he lost his job, he spends all of his time locked in the basement. What is going on down there? He says he is just doing a little plant testing . . . harmless really. But when Dad does come up for air, he acts strange and is only getting stranger. All he ever says is "stay out of the basement!" So when her Mom goes out of town, Margaret's worry turns to fear. Especially when she and her brother discover the root of the problem.

Plot

The episode opens with Mrs. Brewer leaving for the airport to visit a relative. She leaves Casey and Margaret alone for the weekend with their father, Dr. Brewer. Dr. Brewer is obsessed with plants and has secret experiments going on in the basement. Mrs. Brewer, Margaret, and Casey have been instructed to stay out of the basement for unexplained reasons.

Dr. Brewer begins to act erratically. At one point, he tries to feed Margaret and Casey an unidentifiable, green substance. Margaret and Casey manage to avoid eating the substance when Dr. Brewer's colleague, Dr. Marek, visits, effectively distracting Dr. Brewer. After meeting with Dr. Brewer, Dr. Marek goes missing. Later, Margaret and Casey are playing in the backyard, and a vine appears to attack Casey on its own. The plant tries to drag the boy down into the basement via the access point in the backyard. Margaret rescues Casey and cuts the vine in half. Later that same night, Margaret is seen walking down the hall, and she sees Dr. Brewer accidentally cut himself while shaving. The blood produced from the cut is green and slimy. Margaret is disturbed by this, but she chooses not to confront Dr. Brewer.

The next day, Mrs. Brewer returns home from the airport. When she arrives, she realizes that her husband is acting stranger than before, so she begins to investigate on her own. Margaret and Casey decide to sneak into the basement. They want to investigate and see what is causing their father to behave so strangely. Meanwhile, we see Mrs. Brewer investigating upstairs, approaching a closet, from which she is hearing noises. Mrs. Brewer opens it and finds Dr. Marek is inside, bound and gagged. The camera cuts back to Margaret and Casey. While they are downstairs, they find Dr. Brewer tied up, in a closet, bound, and gagged. Margaret unties the man who appears to be her father, but an identical version of Dr. Brewer appears and insists that he is her real father. However, the real Dr. Brewer — the one who was tied up — calls Margaret "princess." By using Margaret's nickname, he proves that he is her real father. Margaret grabs weed killer and sprays the chemicals on the clone of her father, eviscerating the clone. Margaret and Casey hug their real father, and Mrs. Brewer shows up, accompanied by Dr. Marek.

The episode closes with Dr. Marek leaving, thanking Mrs. Brewer for saving him. He also thanks Margaret and Casey for defeating the evil clone. Dr. Brewer and Margaret help Dr. Marek leave. When she's alone, a plant in the family's yard grabs onto Margaret's hand and whispers to her, saying "I'm your father."

Differences from the book

  • The Brewer household is set in New York City instead of California.
  • Dr. Brewer’s companion from the Polytech campus is ‘Dr. A. Marek’ instead of ‘Dr. Martinez’.
  • Margaret calls her mom in regard to her father’s strange behavior, instead of calling to see how her Aunt Eleanor is doing.
  • In the book, Margaret sees her dad bleeding green blood in his bathroom given that the bathroom door is slightly ajar. In the episode, the bathroom door has horizontal slats (similar to old style wardrobes) which Margaret is able to flip open to spy on her father.
  • When Casey and Margaret go into the basement for the first time, he takes his sweater off. In the book, he takes his shirt off.
  • The basement is dark and glowing with low green light, unlike the book, where the basement is incredibly bright, using lights to replicate the sun and help the plants grow indoors. 
  • In the book, one of the basement plants grabs Casey while he is downstairs in the basement. In the episode, a plant grabs Casey through the basement window while is outside in the yard, and Margaret is grabbed by a plant when she goes down in the basement for the first time. 
  • In the book, Dr. Brewer wears an LA Dodgers baseball cap, which makes sense given that the book’s setting is somewhere in California. In the episode, he is wearing a hat with an ‘S’ logo on it, unaffiliated with any MLB team.
  • The ‘plant food’ that Dr. Brewer is seen devouring is a screw-lid can of plant fertilizer. In the book, it was described as a medium sized bag of fertilizer
  • Margaret’s friend Dianne is absent.
  • In the book, it is revealed that ‘Dr. Martinez’ never left the house when the kids find his clothes. In the TV episode, the kids find a message on the Brewer’s answering machine from ‘Gloria Marek’, Dr. Marek’s wife, who says that he never came home.
  • When the kids find the real Dr. Brewer tied up in the supply closet, his hands are tied up with rope. In the book, his hands are tied with plant tendrils.
  • Margaret knows who her real father is, when he calls her 'Princess', her old nickname. In the book, she finds out by after pricking him with a knife to reveal red blood.
  • The 'plant' Dr. Brewer is killed by Margaret with a spray bottle weed poison. In the book, he is killed by the real Dr. Brewer with an axe.
  • Dr. Brewer and the rescued Dr. Marek load up Marek's truck with the plants from the basement. In the book, Dr. Brewer gets rid of the majority of his plants in a bonfire, while transplanting a few to the garden.
  • At the very end of the book, the single flower that nudges Margaret's ankle is small and yellow, whispering to her that he is her real father. In the episode, there are multiple red flowers in rectangle pots by the front steps. One of these nudge Margaret as she ties her shoe, saying ‘I’m your real father!’, followed by the rest of the red flowers who all claim to be her real father.

Home Media

Title Release date Media type

Stay Out of the Basement


Stayoutofthebasement-VHS
September 3, 1996 VHS

A Night in Terror Tower


Goosebumps TerrorTower
September 16, 2008 DVD

3-Pack Thriller


3-Pack Thriller - GhostBeach-TerrorTower-ScaryHouse
August 26, 2014 DVD

Trivia

  • When Dr. Brewer leaves to take Mrs. Brewer to the airport, Casey appears to be playing a video game on the TV. It appears as though he is playing a video game. However, the living room television actually shows a pixellated frame from "Welcome to Camp Nightmare" If you listen closely, the music for the ‘video game’ is actually the Goosebumps theme.
  • Rebecca Henderson, who played Margaret Brewer in the episode, also played Kareen Hawlings in season four's "How I Got My Shrunken Head"
  • R.L. Stine selected Stay Out of the Basement to be one of the first Goosebumps books to be adapted for an episode, as he wanted to ensure that his favorites were made into television episodes.

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