The television adaptation of the many, many, many books by R.L. Stine are a staple of horror, especially geared towards a younger audience. I haven’t talked too much about the show unless it comes up in conversation with AYAOTD and I have done quite a few posts about that show as well and reviewed least/best episode(s). So if you’re interested in that show or Goosebumps, check the tags to see what else has been brought up.
The huge difference is Goosebumps was written towards a younger audience who needed to differentiate weird, wacky parents or adult figures, some comedy thrown in, these ideas that R.L. Stine has said himself.
So these episodes can come off as childish at times or not scary because I don’t think that’s the ultimate goal of the show. Unlike AYAOTD which is more mature, the writing and performances are more mature, the content is borderline creepy at times and is more on the Twilight Zone. Goosebumps is more like… Tales from the Crypt to me.
With that said, I am going to share some of my favorite episodes of Goosebumps. I’m basing it off on nostalgia, longevity, creepy factor, writing/acting and the overall “is this a good episode?”
Let’s get into it!
The Haunted Mask (Part 1 & 2) – What would Goosebumps be if it wasn’t for this very first episode? So much credit is given to this two-parter and the performance from Kathryn Long (as Carly Beth) takes it to a level that a lot of episodes don’t compare to.
The Girl Who Cried Monster – An early episode that I remember really for the gross scenes of maggots being eaten. But also I enjoy the twist at the end of the episode as well. It’s needed in the episode and if it didn’t go that way, the entire concept would be unsatisfactory.
Night of the Living Dummy II – I mean, it’s Slappy. It’s crazy how he’s kind of become the mascot or face of Goosebumps. Wow.
Stay Out of the Basement – The idea of your parental figure changing and as a kid, how do you deal with that? That’s what makes this episode scary: the person you should trust becomes untrustworthy. And a weird plant creature? Also, great use of body horror geared to kids.
The Werewolf of Fever Swamp – A nice spin on werewolf mythology in Goosebumps. I believe there are subtle changes to the episode from the book but not a bad episode at all.
One Day at Horrorland – I love the “Horrors”, they are entertaining throughout this episode. The “rides” are terrifying, you couldn’t pay me enough to go down water in a coffin. No way! But this episode balances the comedy/camp as well. I’ve done a fuller review on this episode, you can read here.
Revenge of the Lawn Gnomes – It’s so wacky and random but we all believe that lawn gnomes are creepy right? And then on top of that, just petty. I remember this show called Monsters and Mysteries in America (on Discovery+) and there was a segment with a gnome and it was just super petty and stalker-ish. Oh, you’re planting? I’m gonna bust all your pots. So that isn’t too far from this episode.
Scarecrow Walks at Midnight – I just don’t like the idea of scarecrows and I’m surprised this wasn’t used a whole lot within Goosebumps. You’re on a farm, it’s supposed to be a good time and yet inanimate objects come to life. Also AYAOTD did something with scarecrows too, it was also creepy. They give me Jeepers Creepers vibes and we don’t talk about that but I just, NO.
The Ghost Next Door – This one feels very similar to an episode of AYAOTD. I can see that show doing an episode like this and handling it with a similar tone. I like our two main protagonists and their evolving friendship. It’s less comedic and more serious.
(A)Shocker on Shock Street – The cover had a huge praying mantis. The show doesn’t have the mantis or wolf boy or whatever else. But I do remember the episode pretty well which says a lot. There’s a lot of animatronic talk, the roller coaster ride is okay but it reminds me of A Night in Terror Tower but without walking. At least that’s the energy I get from it.
Goosebumps has many, many episodes but these are just 10 that I can think are worth looking at. I’ve reviewed some recently and I was so confused about them. What’s interesting as that an adult, you can tell which one they spent $$$ on and having a budget versus dropping the ball. When they go all in, the episodes are memorable. When they don’t, you’re just like “why make this episode?”
What Goosebumps episodes are your favorite? There are a handful that I think could have made it onto the list like A Night in Terror Tower or Piano Lessons can be Murder or Ghost Beach but it was time to give other episodes some moments to shine.