You know how every now and then you will be sat just lounging around and then BAM, something will remind you of that which you used to love as a child; and it is such a great feeling when you experience these things again. Well this happened to me the other day, and it got me thinking about the other things which I enjoyed whilst I was growing up: the Indiana Jones trilogy, Robot Wars and Super Mario Bros to name a few. I then began to think about what really got me in to the horror genre, although talking with my uncle (he is a blooming horror nut) is the main reason I am obsessed with it, I think where it actually started is when I began to read the Goosebumps books.
The Goosebumps book series, along with the Mr. Meddle books by Enid Blyton, was the first book series I actually read by myself. For those of you not familiar with the books, they were a series of different horror stories which were aimed at children and young teens. The original series spanned for 62 books and were written by American author R. L. Stine, who is often referred to as the ‘Stephen King of children’s literature.
The Goosebumps books were that point between children’s books and young adults ‘point horror’ novels. What was great about them was that they offered chilling stories which, when you’re a child, sent shivers up your spine, but weren’t too scary as to keep you up hiding under your bed covers until the early morning. In the short stories that generally stayed under 150 pages, we were introduced to imaginative characters which would create new nightmares for our imagination. However ‘Stine’ would also sometimes use famous horror icons such as mummies, werewolves and vampires and add a new twist to their stories.
Although the stories were the main enjoyable part about the books, what also intrigued me was the cover artwork. Along with the colourful bubbling goo which bordered around the edges, we were also treated to a centred picture which depicted what was to be expected in the novel. They were so creative, but also creepy, and along with the Goosebumps tag-line – ‘Reader, beware, you’re in for a scare!’ – it made you enjoy the books before you had even started reading them.
Here is a list of my top 5 favourite Goosebumps books from the original series:
Welcome To Dead House
The first book in the series kicked it off well, after the Benson family moves to their new house in Dark Falls strange things begin to happen, such as children appearing and disappearing throughout the house. Then the town appears to be the living dead and try to attack family. It eventually becomes apparent that the house needs new blood each year, and this year it’s the Benson’s turn. Once they realise this they must escape the house before they become part of the horrible tradition.
Tag Line: It Will Just Kill You.
Stay Out Of The Basement
Casey and Margaret have always been curious about what their father gets up to whilst he is in the basement, apparently doing his work. So when their mother goes away and their father is out they decide to go down and have a look, and find out something quite shocking. Not only does there appear to be living and breathing plants down there, but their father also seems to be turning into one.
Tag Line: Something’s Waiting In The Dark…
Say Cheese And Die!
This story was so enjoyable because it was so original. Four friends decide to go and check out an old spooky house and upon doing so find a camera that appears to only take pictures of people in accidents or in pain. Brushing this off, the kids still take more photos and find out that they really should have left the camera in the house as the ones they love begin to get hurt.
Tag Line: A Picture Worth A Thousand Screams
The Girl Who Cried Monster
This is one of the first books which I had to actually stop reading because I got too scared. It is a sort of ‘boy cried wolf’ type story for the horror genre. Lucy Dark is always telling her little brother scary stories about monsters to try to frighten him, and gets a kick of his screams. But when she stays late in the library one night and witnesses the librarian doing something unspeakable she realises that her stories are all too real. However because of her story telling ways she has a hard time trying to convince people of what she saw.
Tag Line: She’s Got The Monster Of All Problems.
The Blob That Ate Everyone
This was one of favourite stories in the Goosebumps series, mainly because I loved the cover art. Zackie is an aspiring horror writing, and after he comes across a free typewriter (and a pen) he feels that he has to write a new story with it. However the story he writes consists of a blob which devours everything in its path, and unbeknown to him, whatever he writes on the typewriter comes true.
Tag Line: He’s No Picky Eater!
The Goosebumps series evolved into various spin-offs such as: Tales to Give You Goosebumps, which consisted of numerous stories in a single book, Goosebumps Series 2000, Goosebumps HorrorLand and Give Yourself Goosebumps in which you decide how the story will play out yourself. Due to its popularity some of the stories were turned in to a TV series in 1995, which ran until 1998. It brought the fear of the books to life, and although some were adapted quite terribly, there were a few which were very enjoyable, an example is the adaptation of The Curse of the Mummy’s Tomb, which was quite chilling.
Did you enjoy the Goosebumps books series, what were your favourites? Leave a comment and let me know.