The psychedelic covers of Goosebumps are seared into my childhood memories: Monster Blood, Welcome to Dead House, Night of the Living Dummy. The books were almost like trading cards, and when a friend got the new one before you, it was like they were holding something rare and valuable.. a glowing treasure. R.L. Stine created a gateway to the horror genre without the gore, without the sex, and with parental approval. I think my mother liked them as much as I did. Reading Goosebumps made me feel like an adult, someone who could handle being scared. The show started when I was seven, and though it paled in comparison to my favorite childhood show, Are You Afraid of the Dark? it nonetheless cemented Goosebumps as a staple of 90s kid culture. The song from the TV show is constantly stuck in my head. It's stuck in there right now.
I had several of the books on tape, back when books on tape were actually on a tape. I played them on my Walkman on long drives, over and over. It's amazing how many times I could listen and still get absorbed in the goofy horror.
R.L. Stine has recently made a deal with Boom! Studios to write four new horror graphic novels. Coming in 2019, the comic books will be marketed to middle grade (9-12 year olds), but I have a feeling there will be a few adults like me that will pick up a copy or two.
It’s been a long time since I was a six-year-old admiring my own bookshelf full of bright Goosebumps books, a long time since I had a matching Goosebumps baseball hat and T-shirt (true story). But there are a few stories that I can still remember. Here are some of my most nostalgic titles, along with their classic cover and back cover blurb.
Shocker on Shock Street
Talk About Shock Treatment!
Erin Wright and her best friend, Marty, love horror movies. Especially Shocker on Shock Street movies. All kinds of scary creatures live on Shock Street. The Toadinator. Ape Face. The Mad Mangler. But when Erin and Marty visit the new Shocker Studio Theme Park, they get the scare of their lives. First their tram gets stuck in The Cave of the Living Creeps. Then they're attacked by a group of enormous praying mantises! Real life is a whole lot scarier than the movies. But Shock Street isn't really real. Is it?
Egg Monsters from Mars
Which Came First, the Monster or the Egg?
An egg hunt. That's what Dana Johnson's bratty little sister, Brandy, wants to have at her birthday party. And whatever Brandy wants, Brandy gets. Dana's not big on egg hunts. But that was before he found The Egg. It's not like a normal egg. It's about the size of a softball. It's covered with ugly blue and purple veins. And it's starting to hatch...
Beast From the East
Every Beast for Himself!
Ginger Wald and her identical twin brothers, Nat and Pat, are lost in the woods. No problem. After all, Ginger did go to that stupid nature camp. Still, there's something odd about this part of the woods. The grass is yellow. The bushes are purple. And the trees are like skyscrapers. Then, Ginger and her brothers meet the beasts. They're big blue furry creatures. And they want to play a game. The winners get to live. The losers get eaten...
Revenge of the Lawn Gnomes
Someone's Been Stalking in My Garden!
Two pink flamingos. A whole family of plaster skunks. Joe Burton's dad loves those tacky lawn ornaments. But then he brings home two ugly lawn gnomes. And that's when the trouble starts. Late at night. When everyone's asleep. Someone's creeping in the garden. Whispering nasty things. Smashing melons. Squashing tomatoes. No way two dumb old lawn ornaments could be causing all the trouble. Is there?
Night of the Living Dummy
He's No Dummy!
Lindy names the ventriloquist's dummy she finds Slappy. Slappy is kind of ugly, but he's a lot of fun. Lindy's having a great time learning to make Slappy move and talk. But Kris is jealous of all the attention her sister is getting. It's no fair. Why does Lindy have all the luck? Kris decides to get a dummy of her own. She'll show Lindy. Then weird things begin to happen. Nasty things. Evil things. No way a dummy can be causing all the trouble. Or is there?
Calling All Creeps!
Reach Out and Scare Someone...
Ricky Beamer is furious when he gets kicked off the school paper. So he decides to play a joke on Natasha, the bossy editor in chief. Just a little joke. Harmless, really. After school one day he sticks a message in the paper. If you're a creep, call Tasha after midnight, it reads. But somehow Ricky's message gets messed up. And now he's getting calls. Strange calls from kids who say they are creeps. Creeps with scaly purple-colored scales and long sharp fangs...
The Werewolf of Fever Swamp
What Big Teeth You Have!
There's something horrible happening in Fever Swamp. Something really horrible. It started with the strange howling at night. Then there was the rabbit, torn to shreds. Everyone thinks Grady's new dog is responsible. After all, he looks just like a wolf. And he seems a little on the wild side. But Grady knows his dog is just a regular old dog. And most dogs don't howl at the moon. Or disappear at midnight. Or change into terrifying creatures when the moon is full. Or do they?
A Night in Terror Tower
All Locked Up and No Place to Go!
Sue and her brother, Eddie, are visiting London when they run into a little problem. They can't find their tour group. Still, there's no reason to panic. No way their tour guide would just leave them. All alone. In a gloomy old prison tower. No way they'd get locked inside. After dark. With those eerie sounds. And a strange dark figure who wants them...dead.
Lets hope that R.L. Stine's new YA graphic novels make kids as excited as we were. So, what Goosebumps books stick out in your memory?