Top five worst Goosebumps books and episodes
By Colin Hickson
As kids, who didn’t read at least one “Goosebumps” book? R.L. Stine’s classic kid horror novellas made quite the impact on the youths of the ‘90s and spawned a number of similar books from “Ghosts of Fear Street” to “Bone Chillers.” Like any series, “Goosebumps,” both in book and TV form, have produced some real duds over the years, which caused the reader to either scream at the top of their lungs or take a drink out of Mom’s liquor cabinet to try and purge their memories of what was just read.
But what are the five most poorly executed “Goosebumps” stories that should be avoided?
- “Beware of the Purple Peanut Butter”
When “Goosebumps” was at the height of its popularity, it spawned a “Choose Your Own Adventure” style spin off, “Give Yourself Goosebumps.” In each of the stories, the reader finds themselves in an original “Goosebumps” tale, and whatever path they take determines how the story will end.
The plot is that one is visiting the jerk cousins and stumble across an old refrigerator while being forced to play hide and seek with them. When the fridge is open, they find some kind of purple goop and a stale chocolate cake. If the reader ate the goop, they shrunk; if they ate the cake, they grew. Aside from sounding like a rejected version of “Monster Blood” or a really lame episode of “Honey, I Shrunk the Kids,” this also has some uncreative bad endings.
- “My Hairiest Adventure”
Larry Boyd and his friends are wanna-be rock stars who find a bottle of something called
“Insta-Tan” and try it on themselves. Shortly after, Larry starts growing hair all over his body, but every time he gets rid of it, it grows back.
There is a plot hole of why Larry was the only one who was growing hair, and the other kids seemed fine, which was never explained. The “Bone Chillers” book “Little Pet Shop of Horrors” did a similar story line of kids being turned into dogs by an evil pet shop owner and being sold to other kids and was appropriately scary. When the competition does a better job, there’s something wrong.
- “Calling All Creeps”
Not only is the storyline bad, but it is depressing. Ricky Beamer plans to get revenge on the snobby school newspaper editor Tasha, by placing a fake ad in the paper for “all creeps” to call her, but Tasha alters the message with Ricky’s name in it, and it turns out the creeps who answered are not only school bullies, but also reptilian aliens planning to transform the school into their world domination.
The constant cruelties Ricky suffers from his classmates ultimately cause him to become a creep. Besides being a rather dark ending, it also sends the message that revenge is more important than doing the right thing. It is a mean-spirited and unhappy book.
- “Don’t Go To Sleep!”
Matt Amsterdam, the youngest of three siblings, hates the fact that he has to sleep in such a cramped room and begs his mother to let him move into the guest room. When she says no, he does it anyway and discovers that every time he falls asleep, he wakes up the next morning in a different reality. Matt also discovers he is being stalked by the clearly corrupt Reality Police, who want to put him in an eternal slumber because of his unintentional crime of altering reality. This plot makes little to no sense.
- “Say Cheese and Die…Again!”
One of the earliest “Goosebumps” books “Say Cheese and Die!” is notable for introducing The Evil Camera. The camera can predict the future and make it happen, but only predicts bad things, and there was a sequel.
Greg, the protagonist from the first story, tries to prove to his jerk teacher that the camera exists, despite having sworn to never tell anyone about it in the end of the first book. During a fight between him and his friend, Shari, their pictures are taken. Aside from wasting a great plot involving Shari, this story is incredibly offensive to obese people. There is also a plot hole regarding the original story: Greg and Shari know the camera loses its power when the photos are torn, so why did they not just do that in the first place? Did Stine just forget the events of the original story?
There are many better “Goosebumps” stories out there! Go read them! Some dishonorable mentions would be “Bad Hare Day,” “Chicken, Chicken,” “Strained Peas” from “Tales to Give You Goosebumps,” “Legend of the Lost Legend” and “The Chalk Closet” from “Even More Tales to Give You Goosebumps.”