Goosebumps – The Original Kids Horror?

If you ask anybody from the early 1990s forward to name any kids horror book, chances are they’re going to tell you about the Goosebumps series by R.L. Stine. Stein published the first Goosebumps book (Welcome to Dead House) in July of 1992. From then until 1997 it was a flurry of releases that was near insanity levels. Stein either had a crap ton of these written and was trying to sell the series, or he had his formula almost perfect from the get-go, and was able to just crank out these kiddy-terrors at stupid fast speeds.

Book cover for Welcome to Dead House

According to users votes on Goodreads, these are the most popular Goosebumps novels. (From the original series.)

  1. One Day at Horrorland (#16) – 3.87
  2. Welcome to Dead House (#1) – 3.82
  3. The Haunted School (#59) – 3.8
  4. The Werewolf of Fever Swamp (#14) – 3.80
  5. Night of the Living Dummy (#7) – 3.80
  6. The Haunted Mask (#11) -3.77 **
  7. The Curse of Camp Cold Lake (#56) – 3.75
  8. Night of the Living Dummy III (#40) – 3.74
  9. Welcome to Camp Nightmare (#9) 3.73
  10. Say Cheese & Die (#4) – 3.72

(Quite frankly, I was shocked to see that none of these books had at least a 4 star rating. I find it interesting considering this seems to be such a well-loved, memorable series.)

**One of our regular commenters, Laura Thomas of brought up the Haunted Mask in the comments section of our Killer Clothes post. Proof that even years later, some of Stine’s plots are still staying in people’s minds!**

Of course, this was just the beginning of it all. Though the original series had 62 books, Stine also released( some while the original series was still being put out) an additional 117+ books, not including reprints as far as I can tell. And that’s not even counting the Goosebump Graphix series that was released as well.

That’s just… I don’t even have words for that man’s output. Of course, that calls into question ghost writing, but from what I could find, Stine does claim to have written the bulk of the novels by himself (Reddit AMA).

There was even a TV series that ran for two seasons called Goosebumps Presents in the late 90s. And, of course, one can’t forget the Goosebumps movie starring Jack Black that was released in 2015. (You can read our review of that here.)

Goosebumps aside, R.L. Stine is a prolific writer with a mind that one can’t help but admire. The man has authored lots of other works outside of his Goosebumps series both for children and adults. Actually, in December of 2016,  R.L. Stine announced that he was going to be doing a five book series for Marvel Comics “about Marvel’s strangest, ugliest superhero – The Man-Thing“.

If you want a full look (covers and all) at Stine’s works, check out his website bookshelf.

So, horror hounds, a few questions for you:

  1. How much of a role did R.L. Stine’s books play in shaping your love of horror?
  2. Do you still remember your favorite Goosebumps book? If so, which one was it?
  3. What do you think made his books so popular?

3 thoughts on “Goosebumps – The Original Kids Horror?

  1. I was headed into my teen years in the 90’s and didn’t even know Goosebumps existed until adulthood and I find they are campy fun to read. 🙂 That is really surprising to hear about the rating since the author is so well loved and known.

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