Family Matters: Dark and Stormy Night

When the weather is too bad to go out on Halloween night, the Winslow family decides to play “pass the ghost story” instead.

Carl starts the story and we are transported to the castle of Count von Winslow (Carl). He then passes the torch to Harriette, who continues the story. She describes the countess (Harriette) as “the brains of the family.” And really ups the ante in this next part — the count and countess are VAMPIRES. We then see the count and countess drinking juice boxes of blood, which is cute and gross at the same time!

Now it’s Eddie’s turn to continue the story. He describes the “teen heartthrob” son of the family — who is like a 90’s Elvis Vampire version of Eddie Winslow. The big drama thus far is that Eddie Vampire is a rebel who doesn’t torture the townspeople.

Eddie passes the story to Urkel. And I’d like to pause a moment and give Jaleel White a lot of credit for maintaining the Urkel voice for NINE YEARS on this show.

Urkel describe an Earl, who is passing by and asks to stay at the castle overnight because his carriage has broken. The von Winslows are more than happy to have some fresh blood in the house. Urkel then passes the story to Waldo.

Waldo describe the von Winslow’s faithful butler, who ushers Urkel to his room for the night. Yeah…he doesn’t really contribute all that much before swiftly passing the story to Laura. And here’s where things get really interesting.

Laura describes the Earl checking out his bedroom and eventually hanging his coat on a hook on the wall. This hook reveals a secret revolving door with one of the von Winslow’s victims (Laura) chained to it.

The Earl removes her gag and she explains that she is a peasant girl and has been trapped by the von Winslows ever since her carriage broke down!!!! She explains that they are vampires and the Earl should absolutely not drink the wine because it’s drugged so that they can suck his blood more easily.

Laura then passes the story to Rachel. She describes how the Earl avoids drinking the wine. (There’s a lot of switching the cups Princess Bride style during this portion.) When Count von Winslow realizes the Earl won’t drink the wine, he flat out admits that he wants to drink his blood and challenges him to a duel.

After a harrowing battle in which the teeny tiny Earl fights off the much bigger and stronger Count with a wedge of garlic brie and then pulls down a large curtain to expose all the von Winslows to a ton of sunlight, he rushes upstairs to save peasant Laura.

To make things truly spooky, the Earl looks up right before he is about to kiss Laura and reveals that HE IS A VAMPIRE.

Very Special Halloween Lesson: Don’t ask to spend the night at strange homes!!!

Family Matters: Stevil

This episode is terrifying. It’s so abnormal for Family Matters to pull something like this that they had to have Steve warn the audience that this episode is “a little scary” (a.k.a. get the kids out of the room, or they will all have nightmares forever). Well, I was a kid that was not removed from the room, and thus ventriloquist dummies have been horrifying to me ever since. Today, I conquer that fear.

Steve makes a ventriloquist dummy that looks exactly like him. But he sucks at being a ventriloquist. So he goes to bed feeling dejected, and in the night lightning/a demon spirit strikes the dummy and he basically becomes the spawn of Satan. You know, good clean Halloween fun.

Steve wakes up in the night and the dummy speaks to him in the most frightening voice I can imagine. It’s second only in scariness to a Furby when the batteries start to die. (I even removed the batteries from mine and it still talked!!! So I locked it in a cabinet for years because it was obviously evil.) Steve tries to tell everyone about the demon in their house, but no one believes him.

Then we learn that apparently this only happened because Steve wished that the dummy could talk. Also, the dummy hates the Winslows and pretty much wants to murder all of them. And by pretty much I mean literally. Wtf. This is a family show. It’s called Family Matters. You can’t just have creepy dummies murdering the family puts the family in Family Matters.

Blissfully unaware, the two youngest Winslows head out to trick-or-treat as Michael Jordan and Scottie Pippin. Carl warns them not to eat any of it until he has time to inspect it because everyone was worried about razor blades in candy in the 90’s. Anyway, Steve thinks they’re all safe because he’s locked Stevil away (just like my Furby), only Stevil finds a way out of his prison!

He sneaks down the chimney and tricks poor, dumb Eddie into thinking he’s Santa. Then he straight up kills him. One of the Winslows is already dead! Then Stevil chops Laura up into pieces and puts her body in all of the kitchen cabinets. It’s horrible, but she can still talk and quip and I guess that’s somehow supposed to make us feel better. But it doesn’t make us feel better! It makes us think that we could be chopped into pieces and live to tell about it as a decapitated person. Ugh!

But the worst, the absolute worst, is when Stevil turns Harriet into a jack-in-the-box. Like this is actually going to give me nightmares right now at 25 and I have no shame in that. So then, Steve goes into the living room to tell Carl that Stevil has dismembered literally everyone in his family.

And Carl laughs. He doesn’t believe him. It’s all so ridiculous. He tells Steve to lighten up. AND THEN IT TURNS OUT THAT CARL IS STEVIL’S VENTRILOQUIST DUMMY. The only thing left to do is for Steve to physically fight Stevil, which is surprisingly hard. I mean Steve doesn’t have the best hand-eye coordinator, and for a while it seems like Stevil will probably win this fight.

But then Steve rips off Stevil’s head and dismembers him like Stevil did to the Winslows. But then Stevil’s body parts find all of their missing pieces and reconnect. And like basically at this point, if I were Steve, I’d pretty much decide I was doomed. But then Steve wakes up and it’s just a dream. (Ah, yes. The dream trope.) And then Eddie threatens to lobotomize Steve with a hand-mixer. But that’s just a dream too! So then Steve wakes up for real and he and Eddie go off to have a nice day and the dummy is just a dummy.

VERY Early Halloween Lesson: But, like do you guys think I should call my dad and warn him about the Furby that’s locked in a cabinet in my childhood bedroom?