I, much like everyone my age, grew up with the children's horror novel series, Goosebumps. For those of you who are younger (or older) and never experienced them, they're basic horror storytelling: There's a pre-teen kid (who is usually the narrator), there's a monster/ghost/pedophile that starts creeping on them, it happens at school/camp/grandpa's, their parents/guardians don't believe them, then they have do something or other to make it stop, and there's usually a twist at the end where someone is transformed into something/was an alien/it was all a joke/dream. Every story had the same basic outline, but I was obsessed with them. To this day, I still own every single one of the original run of the series.
So for Halloween, I'm going to write a few articles about them. The series turned into a franchise, with a television series that ran for four seasons, three videogames, and there was even talks of a film in 1998 being directed by Tim Burton (thank God that didn't happen). There were knock-offs, like the Strange Matter series, and we also had Fear Street, however, Fear Street and Goosebumps both have the same author, R.L. Stine, so that was more of a spin-off.
They were stupid, but they were fun. The best part was the cover art, I used to sit there and just stare at them. I went back and looked at some, and while some of them were awesome (that will be listed in the next part), some of them were just a little bit cheesy.
10. Say Cheese and Die - Again!
The original Say Cheese and Die features the same cover, but with the family at a cookout. This one is better simply because there's a skeleton dog being fed table scraps. Even the turkey that the family is about to indulge in is bare bones. That evil camera spares nobody!
Fun fact: In the Say Cheese and Die episode of the television series, Ryan Gosling plays the main character.
9. The Barking Ghost
This was the 32nd book in the Goosebumps series, and I'm absolutely amazed that it took R.L. Stine 31 other books before he finally thought "How about a ghost...dog?" This dog is not in any way, shape, or form intimidating. It looks like a young child is wearing a dog mask, and I submit that any dog with ears that floppy can't possibly hurt you.
8. My Hairiest Adventure
It's called puberty, kid, and there's a lot worse things that are going to happen than a little hair growth. Seriously though, this story is about a kid that puts on some expired tanning lotion and starts turning into a dog, or something. How is that scary to kids? When I was that age, turning into a dog sounded like the coolest thing that could ever happen to me.
7. Calling All Creeps!
I don't know why, but I like to imagine these guys speaking in Jersey accents.
"Hey yo, is yo refrigerator runnin'? It is? Well then you better go catch it you stupid gavone."
"Good one, dude!"
6. Beware, The Snowman
Yes, tremble in fear of this very basic snowman that can in no way harm you...because it's a snowman, and you can literally break his arms if he tries anything. Also, it's a SNOWMAN!
5. Piano Lessons Can Be Murder
For any Angry Video Game Nerd fans, perhaps you've seen his episode of a game called Plumbers Don't Wear Ties. This cover art reminds me of that game because it's so boring and dumb, like it was made using clip art. The story itself is actually a pretty creepy one, it's about a piano instructor who takes the hands of his stupids so that he can play forever. It turns out the instructor is a robot, because of course he is.
4. The Blob That Ate Everyone
I think of two things whenever I see this.
1) That's Krang.
3. Chicken Chicken
Seriously, look how ridiculous that is. I never read any of the later books because I entered junior high and I considered Goosebumps to be kid stuff, but the collector in me had to keep getting them. So I never got around to reading this one, but to be fair, if you had the chance to turn a ginger into a chicken and eat them, you would take it, too.
2. The Horror at Camp Jellyjam
First, I can't be scared of a place called "Jellyjam." Second, I can't be scared of someone that reminds me of Pat from Saturday Night Live. Third, give me the Decal of Doom.
1. Why I'm Afraid of Bees
This was a very early Goosebumps book, but I never read it. I also remember that it was the last one that I purchased because I knew, solely based on the flat-topped child, that it was going to be stupid. From the terrible pun of a tagline "He's no ordinary human bee-ing..." to the fact that the cover gives away the entirety of the story, this has to go down as the most ridiculous Goosebumps cover ever.
Join me next week when I rank my top 10 BEST Goosebumps covers.