Monday, July 07, 2008

R-E-T-R-O-S-P-E-C-T, find out what it means to me



Thomas Edison said, "Well, light bulbs sound cool, I guess I'll invent them."

Alexander Graham Bell said, "Well, I'd sure like to phone Watson, but I haven't invented a 'phone' yet. And also I'll need at least two and I'm lazy like you wouldn't believe. I mean, I could just walk to Watson but he's in the other room and this chair is so comfortable. I think it's made of oak? Could be oak. It's probably oak."

The Romans said, "All roads lead to us, so we better invent those plastic things on the end of shoelaces just in case it ever comes up."

Troy Steele said, "I can't believe there's not just a list online somewhere that tells you the twist endings to Goosebumps books."

Thus, out of necessity, in early 2006 Blogger Beware was born. I never intended to keep writing past the original series, but in case you don't read the comments or look to your right, I will be blogging into the next year. When the Horrorland series concludes, so will the blog. But until that day, expect the same "weekly" updates you've come to know and, well maybe not love, but like as a friend.

The following features are all culled solely from the first sixty-two books in the Goosebumps series.

NOTE: A retrospective of the covers will appear in the entry on Tim Jacobus' autobiography, It Came From New Jersey, so don't whine about one not appearing here.


the Goosebumps Collector's Cap Roundup Quiz
To capitalize on the POG craze (If you don't remember these, you're either too young to be reading the blog, or too old), Scholastic released two sets of Goosebumps POGS-- oh pardon me, POG is a registered trademark, they released "Goosebumps Collector Caps." Both sets came with bonus books filled with brief descriptions of the books pictured on the caps, along with word games and bits of trivia and new backstories. Think you've been reading the blog long enough to pass a test on Stine's exciting revelations? Take the quiz and find out. Answers will appear at the bottom of this entry.

01 RL Stine puts forth which two books as having the biggest twist endings?
A. Stay Out of the Basement and Be Careful What You Wish For...
B. Welcome to Camp Nightmare and Go Eat Worms!
C. Attack of the Mutant and the Girl Who Cried Monster
D. My Hairiest Adventure and Let's Get Invisible!

02 RL Stine proposes several potential Goosebumps-based rides in the section for A Shocker on Shock Street-- which one of the following is real?
A. the Headless Ghost 4' and under roller coaster
B. Ghost Beach water slide
C. My Hairiest Adventure petting zoo
D. How I Learned to Fly cordless bungee jump

03 The original title of the Horror at Camp Jellyjam was
A. Purple Rein
B. Snots Landing
C. Smelly Summer
D. Sports Sports Sports Sports-- Sports!

04 RL Stine's dog is named
A. Scholastick-ridden mutt
B. Doesn't matter, this was written thirteen years ago and his dog is now dead ;_;
C. Nadine
D. Cat-- man, Stine's always twisting everything!

05 As of the fortieth book, which of the following was the best-selling Goosebumps book?
A. Welcome to Dead House
B. Guess Who's Dating a Werewolf?
C. Invasion of the Appleheads
D. Beware the Shopping Mall

06 Which of the following "facts" were actually given about gnomes?
A. Several members of congress actually just gnomes resting on the shoulders of large woodland dogs while draped in navy blazers from the Big & Tall store
B. Gnomes can be either helpful or harmful
C. Gnomes love you long time, Joe
D. Celebrated Anthony Michael Hall action comedy A Gnome Named Norm still most popular gnome-centric film of all time, with eight total viewings since release

07 RL Stine makes which of the following dubious claims re: Deep Trouble?
A. Fish sticks > fish fillets
B. Entire novel was elaborate Snorks homage
C. Mermaids are scarier than sharks
D. 'Tippi' Hedren could have really been something

08 RL Stine proposes a fun "touching" game inspired by Go Eat Worms! and suggests preparing an extra bowl to hold
A. Keys
B. Subpoenas
C. Any vomit your friends may volunteer
D. Delicious Doritos-brand Cool Ranch tortilla chips

09 Least-shocking revelation about RL Stine:
A. Never played outdoors as a child
B. Is actually the pen-name of thirty-seven different men and women, and one centaur
C. Cracked magazine's demise actually the result of seven years of litigation from Scholastic's lawyers over ill-received "GooseDumps" parody
D. Goosebumps paid for his fleet of yachts, Fear Street for his wine cellar, and Superstitious for most of a McFlurry

10 RL Stine provides a new backstory for John Waters Shopkeeper from the Haunted Mask. What caused the old man to open an evil costume shop?
A. Freak chemistry lab explosion
B. Perfectly normal chemistry lab explosion
C. Elaborate ploy for Eric Stoltz's affections
D. The lines at the city registration building for opening any other kind of shop were too long

11 The Scarecrow Walks At Midnight was inspired by
A. That time RL Stine saw a scarecrow walk at midnight
B. That time RL Stine said cheese and died-- again
C. That time RL Stine didn't go to sleep
D. That time RL Stine lived in your basement

12 RL Stine gives a backstory for the Darks from the Girl Who Cried Monster. Where did the family immigrate come from?
A. Convenientending, Germany
B. Romania
C. Mexico. Is this why Republicans want that wall? To keep out monsters?
D. Vatican City, as the entire book is elaborate precursor to Angels and Demons

13 Stine reveals some new ways one can become a werewolf. Which of the following is one of them?
A. Drink after a werewolf without wiping lip of glass first
B. Have unprotected sex with werewolf
C. Accidentally give werwolf the same Christmas present you gave him last year
D. Rub self with plants

14 RL Stine refers to plot holes from Phantom of the Auditorium as
A. Proof of his gross incompetency as an author
B. Unanswered questions
C. Funstakes
D. Accidentios

15 RL Stine takes Conan the Barbarian down a peg by revealing he sleeps with
A. Sienna Miller
B. A teddy bear named "Fluffster"
C. A loaded shotgun
D. Danger

BONUS And finally, in the most amazing bit of revisionism, what were the employees of Horrorland before they were monsters?
A. Burn victims
B. Car crash victims
C. Members of Ice-T's wife-bronzing posse
D. Um, monsters?



Goosebumps By the Numbers
Percent of books with no twist: 11%
Percent of titles ending in exclamation point: 13%
Percent of books with a platonic boy-girl relationship: 89%
--Percent of remaining books that are just Monster Bloods: 57%
Percent of books written in first-person: 82%
Percent of books with a female protagonist: 35%
Total number of minority characters: 20
--Percent which are Egyptian: 45%
Total number of books with minority characters as protagonists: 3
--Percent which are Egyptian: 67%
Total instances of "What.": 43



Ten Best Goosebumps Characters
01 Andy from Monster Blood



Ten WORST Goosebumps Books
It probably goes without saying, but this list was far harder to whittle-down than the Best list.

10 My Best Friend Is Invisible (#57)
How bad is this book? It bumped both My Hairiest Adventure and the Horror at Camp Jellyjam off the list. That's pretty bad.

09 Say Cheese and Die-- Again! (#44)
Sequels rarely get love from the blog, and this abomination is no exception. Rapid weight gain is fine if you're DeNiro, but when it's a twelve year old boy gaining massive amounts of weight just so Stine can make poorly (portly?) constructed fat jokes, I'd rather say "No thanks-- again!"

08 Revenge of the Lawn Gnomes (#34)
I still remember.

07 Deep Trouble II (#58)
Sometimes I realize that no matter how ridiculous the book is, I can never quite sell its badness for readers of the blog. You may have some vague notion of the book's badness, but its true terribility remains ungrasped. Be thankful.

06 the Abominable Snowman of Pasadena (#38)
An adventure book that's about as exciting as buying socks and bar-none the strangest final twenty pages of any Goosebumps books are but two of the strikes against the peculiar novel. If the Geico Cavemen have taught us nothing else, and they haven't, it's that no one chooses to experience fictional ape-men on purpose.

05 Egg Monsters From Mars (#42)
Sometimes I considered revisiting the first four or five books I covered and redoing their entries in the more recent style. Eventually I decided that the first book I ever read for the blog has the entry it deserves.

04 A Shocker on Shock Street (#35)
One of the worst examples of what would become a growing trend in the series, the "Let's just line up crazy things in a row from the beginning of the book to the end" approach. Two problems. Firstly, that's a really unwieldy name for an approach. Secondly, despite how easily mockable these sort of books are, thus making my job easier, they are still infuriatingly bad.

03 Attack of the Jack-O'-Lanterns (#48)
I still remember getting to the last twenty pages or so, putting the book down, and actually saying out loud "Really? Really?" Like I was going to get a response from a book. The lesson here is don't try asking a book a question, it won't work.

02 the Legend of the Lost Legend (#47)
I reread this entry recently and even I couldn't believe I didn't just make half of it up.

01 Monster Blood IV (#62)
The nadir of the series, and proof that the end of the original Goosebumps line was a mercy killing. I wrote in the initial entry that this book was only slightly below Chicken Chicken solely because it lacked the ugliness of that tome. So what was true then remains true now. Monster Blood IV is nothing but the worst traits of the series, lined up one after another (and occasionally simultaneously) in one-hundred-plus pages of middle fingers to the reading audience. Truly Monster Blood IV is the worst Goosebumps book ever thrown at a public. That it was received by readers with the same enthusiasm as being peed on solves once and for all the question of how the original series earned its fate.

00 Chicken Chicken (#53)
This book doesn't deserve a number. It doesn't even deserve to be listed. To list it implies some value, even as a marker for the lows of the series. But this book doesn't deserve the attention it will garner just by virtue of its position. This isn't a case of "So bad it's good," this is "So bad I want to vomit, quick get me that bowl from the Go Eat Worms! game." Chicken Chicken very nearly ended the blog two years ago, but I ultimately decided to push forward. I don't know what else to say except it really is that bad.



Ten BEST Goosebumps Books

10 How I Learned to Fly (#52)
Sometimes RL Stine didn't try to scare his readers, sometimes all he wanted to put forth was a mild fantasy. This is surely the best "non-scary" Goosebumps book, with a genuinely weird concept and easily the sweetest twist ending in the series. Plus it filled that flying dog void that Underdog had left empty for several decades.

09 Stay Out of the Basement (#02)
I don't ask a lot from children's literature, but this is the only Goosebumps book to actually fulfill my Axe Murderer Quota.

08 Welcome to Camp Nightmare (#09)
For this retrospective, I resisted making a list of best and worst endings, despite it being a seemingly given category to cover. The truth is, most of the memorable endings are hard to classify as either, and the majority of those endings are from books on either list anyways. Everyone who read this one as a kid remembers this ending, and I'd wager most if not all felt cheated back then. However, this was one of the biggest revelations from revisiting the series-- what seemed ridiculous as a child now seems perversely appropriate. In case you forgot, this is the one where they all turn out to be aliens or something.

07 the Ghost Next Door (#10)
No other Goosebumps book ever attempted gravitas on this level, but given how successful this deeply depressing book is, you'd think Captain Yuks would have written more like it. Clearly evil sponges and sports camps were just too darn tempting.

06 the Headless Ghost (#37)
I don't particularly think ghosts are any more terrifying than vampires or ventriloquist dummies, but it's hard not to notice that Stine's ghost-centered books are among his finest achievements. I guess he should have let the spirit move him more often huh

05 the Haunted School (#59)
Slightly less terrifying than Pleasantville, this is another of Stine's last-minute bursts of creativity. The ink-spitting orgy remains the most bizarre moment in any Goosebumps book-- except for maybe when the car wash cost five dollars.

04 You Can't Scare Me! (#15)
Another Goosebumps book that aged into being appreciated, like fine wine or a British actress. Any book that contains bee throwing and still earns a spot must be really good.

03 Werewolf Skin (#60)
Well, it wouldn't be a real Goosebumps list without werewolves somewhere. An early favorite since the blog began, this one has it all: Werewolves and things that aren't werewolves.

02 Ghost Camp (#45)
The closest a Goosebumps book has come to being scary. The novel is atmospheric, darkly comic, and ingenious-- three descriptors rarely lobbed at this series. If all Goosebumps books were of this quality, this blog wouldn't be so popular.

01 Be Careful What You Wish For... (#12)
For better or worse, this book is Goosebumps. It is deeply flawed and contains many of the worst problems the series suffers from, yet remains just as disturbing and memorable as it was the first time I read it in grade school. The finale, with its completely unfair and entirely out of proportion punishment, remains the single greatest reminder of why kids everywhere loved these books. The book reminds us all of how we were able, for at least a little while, to look past the flaws and embrace the series. We read the books to be surprised. We read the books to be entertained. We read the books to be scared. Perhaps we even read the books just because everyone else was too. Regardless, the twelfth book in the series gives the reader the entirety of the Goosebumps experience in one shot. Be Careful What You Wish For... is the definitive Goosebumps book, and the best.



ANSWERS TO QUIZ
1 C 2 B 3 C 4 C 5 A 6 B 7 C 8 C 9 A 10 A
11 A 12 B 13 D 14 B 15 B BONUS A


Well, what now?

69 comments:

Q & T said...

Beautiful tribute to your work, Troy. When civilization collapses, all that will be left of the human race will be this blog. Advanced alien species will find it and adopt their entire culture to it. Soon, What. and Platonic Boy/Girl Relationships will become alien catchphrases.

Is next week the first entry into the 2000 series? I am quite looking forward to your misery and your torment, Troy.

troy steele said...

I have no idea what's happening next week. It's truly a surprise for everyone, including me.

shaun said...

Get drunk, what now

Anonymous said...

So what, you're throwing a dice to pick or something? Or, Heaven help us, Giving Yourself Goosebumps.

And, what, you rub yourself with plants to become a werewolf? And... the Horrors were burn victims? How does being a burn victim give you horns? And it looks like the mask store owner's backstory as a scientist was thoroughly retconned in The Scream Of The Haunted Mask.

dru-plus-spike said...

Also, Welcome to Camp Nightmare totally ripped off that Twilight Zone episode where that family is trying to escape their planet and it turns out that they're going to go to--duh duh duh!-- Earth.

Zach said...

I must say, Troy, I can't wait for you to start the 2000 series...this is easily one of the best blogs on the internet.

Don't stop, we beg of you!

Zak said...

Awesome. I was actiually shocked with some of the quiz answers.

But I was surprised Let's Get Invisible didn't make the top 10.

Dunno if you take suggestions, but I was gonna say... why do the 2000 series in order? I like being surprised like with the originals, but that's just me..

Great escaper said...

Troy, you could do so Give-Yourself-Goosebumps books like you said on another entry. Personally I think you should do what q & t said and do the Goosebumps 2000 series next.

Anonymous said...

There are about fifty Give Yourself Goosebumps - maybe you want to do them all, and certainly you'll need to fill a year before the last HorrorLand book comes out, but you could just do a random GYG every now and then. Maybe do some of the early ones, and then the later ones for comparison, and also any in-between with particularly ridiculous titles (I believe Secret Agent Grandma has been mentioned before as a candidate - or perhaps "It Came From The Internet"). Some of the Special Editions are sequels to original-series Goosebumps books, too.

Robert said...

If you're going to do the 2000 series, I'd enjoy Invasion of the Body Squeezers. I don't know if it made me quit the series or not, but it's the last Goosebumps book I remember reading. Also the only genuine two-parter in the series.

Anonymous said...

I'd like Bride of the Living Dummy, Slappy's Nightmare, and Return to Horrorland since, as they're sequels to original-series books, they'd be the most familiar and least disorienting. Quite possibly terrible, but, well, you know. I believe Return to Ghost Camp is actually not a sequel as it retains nothing from Ghost Camp besides ghosts. And camp.
And I'm surprised Vampire Breath wasn't on the top since you said it was the best-written one. Though you also posited that Stine didn't write it.

Anonymous said...

What now? Ghosts of Fear Street. Ghosts of Fear Street is what's now.

Anonymous said...

What now? How about a series from our childhoods that's slightly better: Animorphs.

Doctor Foci Whom said...

Truly a great wrap to a not-so-great saga of crappy terror, Steele. I commend. Easily the one thing I wait for every Monday.

How the F*** do you go burn victim to monster w/ horns!?!?! At least the 5 dollar car wash makes more sense than that, Stine. Yeesh.

:D

Kokomo said...

Hey, what do you know! I still have my copy of that pog book at home! I totally aced those crossword jumbles (well, I had a little help)

I'm glad to see that both Deep Trouble II and My Best Friend Is Invisible made the worst list, among others. A lot of people seem to misunderstand just how dull one is and how mind bogglingly retarded the other is. Once again, though, you did an amazing job on completing the entire original run!

But don't take my word for it. Let's hear it from that Lovecraftian master of prose, R.L Stine himself:

http://img512.imageshack.us/img512/6429/stine2bz9.gif
"You have satisfied me, Troy... care to join me in a celebratory yakult?"

Zak said...

Someone please tell me I'm not the only person here who made it as far as Earth Geeks Must Go. That book was awesome... I'm looking forward to that more than any.

Anonymous said...

Great entry!
I'm still freaked about the whole 'the Horror's were burn victims before they were monsters' thing!Where does it say that in the book???

Anyway,can't wait until your next post XD

Ryan said...

Congratulations to making it this far, it was definitely something i looked forward to since I discovered your blog sometime in 2007.

Anonymous said...

Don't worry, zak - I got to EGMG, and read most of the 2000 series. I never went out of my way to read any specific books, just what was in the local library/bookstore. To me they just filled the time - they were short and fairly fun. I quit after a few Give Yourself Goosebumps, but I don't remember if that was because The Curse Of The Purple Peanut Butter was awful or because I'd just grown out of the series.

He said, having bought the new HorrorLand books.

dru-plus-spike said...

"Remember pogs? Goosebumps is coming back, in pog form!" Millhouse

troy steele said...

I am familiar with the works of Pablo Neruda

jason said...

My personal end rankings:

Best (all involving the protagonist being happy and someone else being screwed over):
1. Cuckoo Clock of Doom - Yes, I do have a sibling; why do you ask?
2. Calling all Creeps - Bitcas get what they had coming.
3. How I Learned to Fly - And he still has superpowers!

Worst:
1. Screams in the Night - What is this, an ode to modernism?
2. Shocker on Shock Street - It made me hate the book, though without the ending, it would probs be one of my favorite.
3. Blob That Ate Everyone - Yeah, I really don't like it when the characters in the context of the book don't exist. Who cares about them then?
4. Chicken Chicken - Hey, look, more child abuse.

Ben said...

Amazing retrospective of a great blog. I've been sending my friends, girlfriend etc here for a while now. Really entertaining stuff.

Anonymous said...

So, I've never commented before and perhaps it's only the flu drugs raging through my body but this is truly one of the most entertaining blogs. The only thing better than nostalgia goggles is taking the damn things off and ripping the original source into shreds of our childhood. Really, though, this is some wonderful (and loving, I'm sure) snark, and I enjoy nearly every entry.

That said, to the person who suggested an Animorphs version of this blog: We could only wish for something as wonderful. If there was ever a true love of my childhood that needed snarking on... Well, other than Nancy Drew.

Ah, the things they expected young children to read.

Anonymous said...

"If there was ever a true love of my childhood that needed snarking on..."

Are you kidding? Aside from a couple problems with ghostwriters and filler books, Animorphs was a great series that dealt with some pretty heavy themes. It's not really comparable to Goosebumps, quality-wise.

troy steele said...

I didn't read Animorphs as a child, and I also don't have more than a vague notion as to what the series even is. So I'd say the odds of me coming anywhere near that line of books are not so hot. I'm sure that in time, someone will start a tremendously unfunny blog about them. It won't be me, though.

morbidiculous said...

Really? You never read them? That's kind of surprising! Goosebumps and Animorphs were released pretty much simultaneously if I remember right, and most kids I knew tried to read both.

As for an Animorphs blog, I have to agree with Anon! I couldn't see Animorphs working as a blog at all! Aside from being a pretty entertaining series, it did follow a pretty dark storyline and deal with some pretty powerful themes at times: death, betrayal, ethics, going back in time and killing Hitler in an alternate World War Two where he was a jeep driver for some reason...

...you know, universal stuff.

Everworld wasn't bad, either. Then again, when you have GODS THAT EAT OTHER GODS IN HORRIFICALLY UNNECESSARY DETAIL, what excuse would you have not to be?

Anonymous said...

Aw, no "Vampire Breath" in the top ten? I also think "The Ghost Next Door" should have been higher up on the "top" list.
Maybe it's because I'm slightly younger than most people who read this blog (I'm 18 - my first Goosebumps book was Why I'm Afraid of Bees, which also happened to be the first book I read that was over 20 pages long when I was four), but I stayed with Goosebumps up to 2000, and then followed R.L. Stine up into "The Nightmare Room" and even bought "The Haunting Hour" and "Beware!". I have all my R.L. Stine books by my bed, because I plan on reading them again soon, for nostalgic reasons, and I'm looking at my "Nightmare Room" books and realized there is one I haven't read ("Visitors") and I only have 2/3 of the "Thrillogy". I am now inspired to go eBay my missing copies of the original series, 2000 series, Tales to..., Give Yourself series, The Nightmare Room series... all of them. If you ever want to extend the blog past Goosebumps, The Nightmare Room is basically Goosebumps except published by Avon Books/Harper Collins instead of Scholastic.
I now don't know whether to be thankful or to hate you.

Anonymous said...

I'm much the same, anon #11 - around the same age, and look over there, HorrorLand books on my bookshelf. I'm even considering buying the Classic reissues, even though I've already read them and they're up in my attic in a box somewhere. It's a good thing I'd quit the series already before my obsessive-compulsive tendencies emerged, or I'd be trying to buy all the Give Yourself Goosebumps or something.

Julia said...

i subscribed to two Scholastic book clubs for a time: Goosebumps and Babysitters Club. i still have, like, over 100 BSC books in my closet, ugh.

Anonymous said...

How about the similarities between some Goosebumps and "Are You Afraid of the Dark"

Anonymous said...

I remember them being very similar indeed - some of the episodes covered exactly the same material as Goosebumps (although since Goosebumps is often just a homage to some old film or other, that's perhaps not surprising), and similarly they had some spooky ghost episodes and some awful episodes with aliens in a toy factory and kids being teleported into arcade machines.

Great escaper said...

Anonymous who said they were 18, Im 16 and I read the Goosebumps books when I was a kid, so you are not the youngest here.

Anonymous said...

Im 12

Anonymous said...

Troy, do you have a Wii?

http://store.scholastic.com/webapp/wcs/stores/servlet/ProductDisplay_Goosebumps+HorrorLand+Wii+Game_29510_-1_10052_10051

morbidiculous said...

"And what's a goosebump"

Anonymous said...

im 3

Christopher said...

Woah, you're already finished with the original Goosebumps series, nice. I would have put Headless Ghost as #1 , Be Careful What You Wish For as #2 and How I Learned to Fly as #3 because nothing can beat Headless Ghost. It was simply the best. How I Learned To Fly wasn't really scary but just the idea that you could find a book and packet of powder like that in an abandoned house was great.

It might be too late for this but I agree with Zak that Series 2000 or whatever you're doing next would be better off reviewed in random rather than in order because I like surprises.

Reepicheep-chan said...

My OCD would prefer the books get done in order ^.^ But you know, whatever works.

I like that Camp Nightmare is on the top 10 list, that was the first one I read and it seemed to me at the time to be pretty decent. I do not think I would have read any of the thing if my first had been truly awful, because I tend to make snap judgments about things that are popular, usually unfavorable ones(lol, I R rebel). As it was I barely made it through a fraction of them, maybe a dozen or so and a handful of the Give Yourself books. I was just a pinch too old I think (I am 22 now), and already reading things like Lord of the Rings and Watership Down. Still, despite my limited experience, this blog totally cracks me up. I am tempted to go out and get a hold of some of the one on the top 10 list, just for kicks.

What I think would be a good top 10 list is the top 10 most scary and least scary books. When I was eleven or so It Came From Beneath the Sink scared me shitless, but looking back on it I think that had more to do with an actual anxiety problem than any real scare value. Lots of things provoked out-of-proportion anxiety attacks when I was little... -.- Hell, just recently watching Slither gave me honest-to-God nightmares, and that is an effing comedy.

Err, yeah.

grimwriter said...

Actually, I felt the AYAOTD series was much better qaulity-wise than Goosebumps. Yes, there was poor-acting and there were episodes of lower calibur and 90% of the time the monster or villian was a ghost, but some were pretty charming and certainly haunting. Excuse the pun. I even have the first 5 seasons on my computer and re-watched most of them. Many have held up well.

Aimee said...

"Ten Best Goosebumps Characters
01 Andy from Monster Blood"

dude, i agree. so hard.

i ridiculously idolized her so much as a kid that i refused to let my mother give any of my day-glo clothing away to the salvation army, despite the fact that the mid-'90s were rapidly approaching and cheap plaid flannel would soon replace it.

everything time i see a neon scrunchie, i'll think of her.

Anonymous said...

When you get to the new HorrorLand "Say Cheese and Die" sequel, will you record yourself saying "No thanks" screaming?

Also, percentage of HorrorLand titles ending in exclamation point: 33%. And one question mark. And one exclamation mark inside a title. I don't know if there being only twelve books excuses this, but given that even Scholastic didn't know at first whether Monster Blood For Breakfast! was going to have an exclamation point, I'd say that they're pretty redundant.

Anonymous said...

"Way to breathe, no breath!"

Z-man said...

I worked in a day care throughout most of high school and college, and I used to dread the moment during reading time when one of those rugrats (any one) brought a Goosebumps (Or, worse, a Give Yourself Goosebumps book) and ask me to read it. The amateurish prose (sorry, amateurs) and idiotic mandatory cliffhangers were the bane of my existence. And yet, I couldn't really say "The twist in this one is that the main character really is whatever monster he or she is afraid of, now can we PLEASE read something else?"

And yet, during this time, I not only intentionally exposed myself to the Animorphs series, I read the whole thing in about a summer. That should tell you a little something about the discrepency in quality between these two series. Animorphs does not need such a blog.

But I am glad I found this blog, it is the single greatest human accomplishment in this or any other century. Whether you plan to cover Stine's adult novel "Superstitions" or anything else, I will follow you.

Ellie said...

Are You Afraid of the Dark? actually scared me every now and then, while Goosebumps never did. Especially the episode with the thing in the basement that ate people trapped in there while music was playing. It ended with the main character feeding someone to it on purpose.

Anonymous said...

Animorphs was a good series, certainly better than Goosebumps, but way too long. It could have been wrapped up in 10-20 books rather than forty-something. Way too many filler books, wacky situations, and poor ghostwriters.

Mighty said...

may have left stuff out, this is all from memory...
My scariest books:
The Haunted Mask
The Werewolf of Fever Swamp
The Haunted School

my favorites:
Let's Get Invisible!
How To Kill A Monster
Night of the Living Dummy
one of the camp books, I think Cold Lake
The Ghost Next Door
Be Careful What You Wish For...
It Came From Beneath The Sink!
The Girl Who Cried Monster

my worsts:
Legend of the Lost Legend
A Shocker on Shock Street
One Day At Horrorland
A Night In Terror Tower

But I loved ALL of the books for the twist endings. Anyway, just wanted to leave my two cents. //

Anonymous said...

"I'm 12"

I'm 10. In your face!

Tayyab said...

I'm happy that Night in Terror Tower wasn't on any of the lists.

bobs chilli said...

chicken chicken is betr than the blob that 8 evry1

TJ said...

Worst:



10. Bad Hare Day

9. A Shocker On Shock Street

8. Monster Blood II

7. the Horror at Camp Jellyjam

6. Return of the Mummy

5. Go Eat Worms

4. the Haunted Mask II

3. Monster Blood 4

2. Revenge Of The Lawn Gnomes.

1. My Best Friend is Invisible


Best:

13. Attack Of The Mutant

12.How I Got My Shrunken Head

11. Night Of The Living Dummy II

10.How I Learned to Fly

9. the Ghost Next Door

8. Welcome to Camp Nightmare

7.the Haunted School

6. Werewolf Skin

5. Be Careful What You Wish For...

4.Deep Trouble

3. Let's Get Invisible

2.Calling All Creeps

1. GHOST CAMP.

Best TV Episode: Welcome To Camp NightMare

Anonymous said...

morb:animorphs came out four years after goosebumps

felipe costa said...

For you "piano lessons can be murder" is good or not?

Crazy56U said...

Dude, if you decide NOT to review the tv series (I remember somebody asking you this before in a previous entry), could you at least review the three part "Chillogy" episodes; the ones SPECIFICLY created for the series?

VNightmare said...

I actually just looked up this post for the stats you had posted, but after re-reading the lists (and having actually read most of those in the last few months), I honestly have to agree with a lot of them. Personally, I would swap My Best Friend is Invisible with Chicken Chicken (at least that one made more sense and was slightly more interesting).

I definitely agree that Stine's strongest books tend to involve ghosts. While my own preferences tend to involve the Night of the Living Dummy series, I can see that they are kind of lacking compared to some of the ghost stories in terms of set-up and writing---and suspension of disbelief, but I also recognize I was probably about the only kid on the planet who actually -did- have some interest in vaudeville and ventriloquism as a kid (still do), so that warning bell did not come off as strongly for me.

While I disagree that Be Careful What You Wish For is -the- top book (personally, I think one of the lower rungs on that list could top it), I will agree that it is probably the definitive example of the best and worst of the whole series. Want the whole experience in one shot? That is your book. But the best Goosebumps book ever? As I said, I think some of the lower rungs could knock it off the pedestal in no time flat.

My own best and worsts:

Worst:

1) My Best friend is Invisible. Rarely do I (almost) fall asleep while reading a book because the prose is -just- that boring. The twist at the end was not worth my endurance, and not in a long time have I actually wanted to chuck a book at the wall.
2) Chicken Chicken. No explanation needed.
3) Revenge of the Lawn Gnomes. I only remember the OCD neat freak sister. I even re-read your entry and STILL retain nothing else.
4) The Abominable Snowman of Pasadena. Inspired many bouts of "lolwhut?" moments. And not in a good way.
5) Go Eat Worms! It had a good premise, but was poorly executed. I liked it as a kid, but now I see the potential it could have had, but never delivered.

Best:

1) How I Learned to Fly. It works on two levels: a nice fantasy story (you seriously take the Goosebumps label off and pass it off as such), and scares not from monsters or ghosts or creepy objects, but from the real world. This is not something you see all the time, so it was a refreshing break from the monsters, ghosts, and creepy objects. And it still holds its own against them.
2) Vampire Breath. The first one I read when I got back into this series, and it delivered what I remembered about these books: fun scares, an engaging story, and a genuine twist. The writing in it is also one of the better examples.
3) Ghost Beach. The set-up was superb, the tone was nicely set, and the story itself delivered what it promised. The protagonists in this book are definitely a bit more memorable than in others, and I liked that this one was more "solve the mystery" than "destroy the monster" (though it did have that too. XP).
4) The Ghost Next Door. I loved that the twist comes early on, but the book still keeps you engaged and burning to finish it. And having it be about the only book without a twist ending, but still working with the expectations of a Goosebumps book and STILL coming through pretty much speaks for itself.
5) Night of the Living Dummy II. This one genuinely creeped me out, and was the most memorable of all the ones I read as a kid, and now has the additional level of creepy reading it again with adult eyes. While it is a favorite, it is on the low rung of the list because of the writing quality and set-up, but credit where it is due.

Anonymous said...

I think I Live In Your Basement was also one the best books and one of the most creepy.

TLE said...

Your blog was a fun read, I'm doing a Goosebumps cover remake thing on my blog if anyone wants to check it out.

MJN SEIFER said...

I realize this is old, but I'm suprised you didn't do a "Ten Worst Goosebumps Characters" (Yes, I know the "Ten Best Goosebumps Characters" thing was a joke), although maybe you felt there were to many to dumb down, or something. I'm assuming Evan would be on the list somewhere though...

Seno said...

love you goosebumps forever the novel's horror

bubbles-san said...

Right, having read through all of the main series now, let's see if I can provide the set-up for a possible Goosebumps book of my own design:

Two siblings (one boy, one girl. Which is which doesn't matter, as they're fairly interchangeable) are sent by their parents to live with their scientist uncle who runs a summer camp and is a werewolf while their parents are out of the country indefinitely. At the camp they befriend other campers. One of their new friends will be chubby and/or redheaded, and possibly a werewolf. Alternately, the friend will be a minority, and if so, will also be a racist stereotype. And the opposite gender of the main character.

They hear a ghost story about the camp being haunted by werewolf ghosts and go into the woods to investigate and promptly get lost. They then wander around the woods for a hundred pages, getting scared by things that aren't scary. Oh no, a monster- wait, no, it's just a squirrel. Oh no, a ten-foot-tall mountain li- no, just a squirrel. Oh no, a werewolf! No, never mind, that's a squirrel. Oh no, a liopleurodon! Wait, my bad, that part was a dream- OH NO WHAT IS THAT HIDEOUS oh it's a squirrel. At this point the scariest thing to happen in this book is that they seem to be stalked by squirrels, or maybe just one squirrel.

They finally make it back to the camp only to discover that everyone was a dog or something.

And the twist: Their uncle isn't a wereWOLF, he's a wereSQUIRREL and now he's going to turn them all into weresquirrels OR IS HE? And also the car wash cost five dollars.

So how'd I do? Could I pass for a Goosebumps ghostwriter?

Oh, and it's also called "Return of the Werewolf of Camp Ghost Swamp", even though it is not a return, there were no werewolves or ghosts, and it didn't happen anywhere near a swamp.

Anonymous said...

benny here. wo okay choice i would probably would have changed a - lot of them. but nice sad that it wasn't longer though.

IHaveNoGoosebumps said...

What would "Let's Get Invisible!" be in: the best or the worst list?

Packer Fan said...

I'm a senior in high school so I only read these books between 7 and 9 years ago (3rd-5th grade). I read most of the books in this series, and it's weird how I remembered the entire plot of some without looking at the entries, then there were some that I didn't remember at all until looking at the entry brought everything back, and then there were a few that I know for sure I read but couldn't remember anything even after reading the entry. Like I know I read the Gnome one, but the only thing I remember about that one is the OCD sister.

I also remember reading Chicken Chicken and not particularly liking it, but I didn't realize how ugly it was until now. I also remember hating Shocker on Shock Street and Legend of the Lost Legend while Haunted School, Ghost Camp, and Cold Lake were among my favorites so maybe I wasn't so stupid as a kid. Though I do remember liking Attack of the Jack'O'Lanterns and Beware the Snowman so maybe I wasn't so smart. Gosh I could rant about these books all day.

Jacob Dunstan said...

1. Welcome to Camp Nightmare. 2. Werewolf Skin 3. Ghost Camp 4. How to Kill a Monster 5. Ghost Beach 6. Welcome to Dead House 7. Piano Lessons Can be Murder 8. The Werewolf of Fever Swamp. That'll do me as far as citing what I believe to be the best in the series. Also, I hardly think enough of a deal has been made of My Best Friend is Invisible's utter wretchedness. What a dreadfully written cop-out that book was. Trust me, those of you that haven't read it, the book will challenge any preconceptions you had as to what the worst book in the series is. The are an abundance of poor books in the series, but the ending to My Best Friend...will, well just read it and see.

Anonymous said...

Guess whos back. Benny here. Im sorry it took so long to comment. Ive been wrapped up into the holidays. And then I was going to start posting in January but a good show named house of anubis came back on for season 2. Now im finally back I bet you guys missed me just kidding. Well I was going to repot on Goosebumps 2000. Buy ultimately I am going to report on the series so It will begin right now. Soo see you later.

Batman said...

I only read the 30-or-so first books as a kid (and I'm pretty glad I stopped there, since I read a bunch of later ones eventually and dear god they got even stupider than the stuff that drove me off the series), but as far as I'm concerned, The Ghost Next Door is far and beyond the best entry in the series. I had read about 20 of the books prior to this one, and the heaviness of this one both shocked and impressed me at the same time. Did this stuff actually come from the same pen as garbage like Monster Blood II?

The part where it was revealed how Hannah herself was the one who caused the death of her family really got to me too, and I wish that bit had been delved a bit more on, but the entire second half of the book still had this sense of hopelessness and despair that made me feel really bad for her. There's no dumb twist to ruin the mood either, thank heavens.

The only other two books to make a real impression on me were the two first, both because of their twist endings, actually. The first one because you realize that yes, the dog actually died and stayed dead (which I felt was unfair), but also that all this evilness you thought the protagonists had put an end to was magically continuing as before for no properly explained reason, which creeped me out.

The second one had this "who's really the father" thing that actually really terrified me at the time - the idea that everything you know might be a lie and you have no real way of knowing the truth has always been a very effective scare tactic, and this ending makes to very vague whether the guy claiming to be the dad is just an even more perfect plant clone monster, or whether the new plant thing is just another plant monster trying to trick them. Creepy.

Both of those were just pretty simple scares where the idea itself is what was creepy, not the execution, though. So screw those two books, Ghost Next Door is still the undeniable king.

TJ said...

...i don't think Chicken Chicken is that bad,.

go ahead, sue me

Anonymous said...

Seriously,Troy only on entry for best character! Well, I get that a lot of the characters are the same but the cast from you can't scare me I thought were worth mentioning.Also past the first book Andy becomes just like any other minority character.
P.S I can' believe you forgot top 10 worst goose bumps characters:
Evan from monster blood

Anonymous said...

Troy, welcome to dead house could beat how I learned to fly any day update and put it on the list where it belongs #2 right before ghost next door.