Books are cool. Well, sort of. I don’t really read much. I know, I should pretend like I’m well-read and enjoyed The Great Gatsby but I didn’t. F. Scott Fitzgerald describes gruesome death in half a sentence. Get a little detailed, will you dude? Talk about how the guts are mangled in the street. Use a simile to describe how Gatsby’s dead body falls into the pool like a constipated turd. Be more like R.L. Stine, the man who created the Goosebumps book series that became an almost equally as good show.
(I get goosebumps whenever I think I see a ghost and whenever someone runs the tip of their fingers along my back)
I remember specifically the last time I saw an episode of Goosebumps. It was summer of 2008. It was the first weekend in months I didn’t go over to someone’s house to drink. I wanted to get my life in order. So I came home from work on a Saturday, watched an episode of Goosebumps, and then went to bed at 7pm. I woke up at 10 and realized I should probably just go back to sleep and I did. What’s this have to do with Goosebumps? Oh child, it has everything to do with it. Not really.
Anyone who was alive during the 90s is familiar with the popular book series known as Goosebumps. They were scary horror books about ghosts, blobs, and werejesuses. Okay, a werejesus isn’t a real thing but it should be.
The first episode debuted on October 27, 1995. It was written by a guy named Timothy Bond which would be my name if I was married to James Bond. Of course I’d take his last name. He beds women like I make excuses not to do the dishes, hourly. This episode was a two parter called The Haunted Mask. It was about a girl who puts on a Halloween mask of a goblin and it turns her into a goblin. I’m not exactly sure why. R.L. Stine wrote so many books he really didn’t have time to come up with plausible plots that solve themselves. His only mission was to write as many books as possible as quickly as possible and fool people into thinking he wasn’t a Jew because the “e” didn’t follow the “t” in his last name.
(I think it’s weird the photographer didn’t ask R.L. Stine to remove the milk dud from his forehead)
Throughout the first season there were many two-part episodes. I guess this meant R.L. Stine’s books that took 40 minutes to read took even longer to tell visually in a television show format. This continued during the series’ four season run. Why not make it an hour program if half are going to be two-parters? That’s just teasing us.
My favorite episode of the show was the one titled Welcome to Camp Nowhere. This episode was about a summer camp with mean counselors. I’ve always been a big fan of films about summer camp. Ernest Goes to Camp is in my Top 5. I’m kidding. I don’t want to lose credibility as a journalist. In the episode the main character’s friends keep disappearing because of a monster in the woods. I remember one kid drowns. Nobody believes the kid and the mean counselors who wear short shorts tell him he’s a liar. Finally he saves the day somehow and it’s revealed this was all a big test. His friends who disappeared come out and say they didn’t drown, they hid under the canoe. The mean counselors apologize and give him a kiss on the cheek. Maybe not. Then his parents come out and tell him this was all just a test to see if he could go with them on their next trip. He asks where they’re going and they say “We’re going to earth.” Then they all look up into the sky and floating as if it’s the moon is planet earth. So the whole damn thing took place somewhere close enough where you can see the earth but not close enough where we can see it clearly. This place doesn’t exist and R.L. Stine needs to learn to stop making places up.
(This is a different Camp Nowhere. Not only do I remember seeing this awful movie in theaters I remember the preview and I watched the first 10 minutes of it on YouTube two weeks ago)
At times Goosebumps was a really innovative show that could be pretty creepy. Other times the poor special effects made it impossible to enjoy. This was the next generation’s Are You Afraid of the Dark? And by next generation I mean people born two years later. Perhaps my favorite thing about this show was how I could watch an episode then claim I read the book. It saved a lot of time on middle school book reports. This is time I now use to write about TV shows. In a roundabout way, I did read all those books I claimed to.
I actually read a lot of Goosebumps books but I wasn’t into the show that much. If it was on Nickelodeon I would’ve been way more into it. I loved the book covers. I used to think they were so scary. And now I look at them and they are the opposite of scary. And the titles didn’t really fit the theme of the books. They were always so stupid. I could’ve made up better titles when I was 10.
The show’s downfall was the special effects were on the same level as the Disney Channel. Better special effects would have probably not done much though so I’m stupid to bring them up.
I purposefully bought the Goosebumps books based on the covers. See, another stupid thing I did. I actually did the math and R.L. Stine at one point was basically writing a book a month which shows you why some parts really lacked. I enjoyed the Choose Your Own Adventure ones because I could do a book report on a 150 page book but only have to read 30 pages.
I chose the books for the covers too. One of my favorites was “Egg Monsters from Mars” only because it had a scary egg on the cover.
Goosebumps were my son’s ‘go to’ books for book reports throughout elementary school. That means that I helped with many a Goosebumps related book project. I guess they were good for that reason – they were books that kids WANTED to read for the creepy spooky factor. Thumbs up, RL Stine, without your books my son wold never have read a book. Seriously. Never.
I couldn’t honestly say whether or not I enjoyed these books as much as I liked collecting them. Like Lily said, the covers were the best part. They were so colorful and Lisa Frank. I’m sure there are a few people out there who haven’t read a book since Goosebumps.
I had the computer game based on the Horrland Goosebump story arc (Escape from Horrorland, Return to Horrorland, etc.). I really liked that computer game. It was creepy and had really good puzzles you had to solve to get free.
I don’t think I ever saw any of the TV show. Must have been on a cable channel. The books were okay. I preferred the “rip-off” series called “Shivers”, which despite being claimed to be a rip-off of Goosebumps, was waaaay better written and didn’t have as many plot holes or hokey cliffhangers at the end of a chapter.
Then I got into “Tales from the Crypt” right before puberty and so began my lifelong love affair with real horror movies and books.
Ha I forgot about the Shivers books. Clearly they were a direct ripoff. It’s like how black people had Tales from the Hood instead of Tales from the Crypt. I used to have a Tales from the Hood t-shirt. I miss it.
You always make me smile 🙂
I’m making the rest of the world frown, mine as well make someone smile.