Viewer, beware! You’re in for a scare!
This month, we’re counting down my top 10 favorite episodes from the Goosebumps television series. This is the final installment of my three-part series on my favorite Goosebumps content, but fret not. I’m sure Goosebumps will be turning up again and again as I continue to delve into my life growing up with horror.
Just a quick word about the Goosebumps TV show before we get started. I was too young to watch it when it first aired in the 90s. When I really got into Goosebumps in the mid-2000s, I remember trying to watch the show on Saturday mornings on Fox (to no avail). It was only through VHS copies, DVDs, and reruns on Cartoon Network that I got to see the horror of Goosebumps in real life. The show was great and, although a little dated and cheesy, I believe it’s still a great introduction to the horror genre for young viewers.
With that, let’s start counting them down!
The Girl Who Cried Monster
This is one of the earliest episodes of the Goosebumps TV show, and it does not disappoint. Creepy librarian? Check. Giant spiders? Check. An absolutely gross-looking monster? Check. The creature design with its big ol’ eyes is burned into my head and scared me so much as a kid. It’s only later, as an adult, that I’m actually able to appreciate this episode.
Phantom of the Auditorium
Totally riffing off of the Phantom of the Opera, this episode made me wish my school’s auditorium was haunted. I mean, it would have been so neat to have our own school spirit (pun intended). Overall, it’s a fun watch that keeps you guessing what is really going on.
You Can’t Scare Me
This episode is another example of what was great about the 90s – TV shows with actual monsters in them, not CGI. Sure, they look a little hokey, but that’s just more to love (and mud monsters need a lot of love). Aside from the monster, I love the one-upmanship of these kids trying to scare the class show-off that drives the story. It’s totally something kids would do. Lastly, I appreciate the humorous way the monster gets vanquished.
One Day at Horrorland
I’m a sucker for creature features, so One Day at Horrorland is obviously my jam. The monsters are made of big rubbery suits, but I love it. They’re perfect. That said, the episode does miss out on some of the things that made the book so great, like the Slide of Doom and the bat barn. The ending is also different than the book, but in all honesty, I think I may just prefer the episode’s take over the book’s.
Attack of the Mutant
If you know anything about me, it’s that I love horror and I’m a big superhero nerd. This classic Goosebumps episode brings together these two loves of mine in one glorious (and at times, cheesy) episode. I’m a big fan of the Masked Mutant’s rubbery cowl and general design. The “final battle” of the episode especially reminds me of the Tim Burton adaptations of Batman due to all the colored fog and flashing lights.
Attack of the Jack-O-Lanterns
As I said previously when counting down the books, this story gave me a lot of anxiety as a kid, and this episode is no exception. It’s one of the scariest episodes out there, especially the scene where they go into the old couple’s house and discover a bunch of trapped kids. That scene was apparently so scary, it often got cut or shortened in the re-airings.
Stay Out of the Basement
One of the early adaptions, Stay Out of the Basement is apparently one of R.L. Stine’s favorites, and it’s one of mine too. The episode is also great. There’s just something so frightening about not being able to trust an adult who is supposed to take care of you and that comes across pretty clearly in the episode. I also love a good eco-horror story, so seeing the dad slowly turning into a plant is pretty cool. Also, I’m a big fan of that freaky green glow that fills so many scenes in this episode.
Cry of the Cat
Okay, I know the book this is based on is actually part of the Goosebumps 2000 series, but it managed to make its way into the main Goosebumps TV show, and I’m so glad it did. Rip the cat is terrifying and so threatening throughout this episode (and I love cats!). More than anything though, I’m haunted by the mutated cat mom in this episode. Practical makeup effects for the win.
Werewolf of Fever Swamp
So, I think the first time I watched this episode, it was in broad daylight at a friend’s house. He tried to stop me from watching it because “it was too scary,” but I was insistent. I probably should have listened to him… This episode gave me nightmares. To this day, I can’t rewatch it without thinking about how nightmarish, chaotic, and scary it was for me that first go-around. It’ll always have a special place in my heart.
The Haunted Mask
Okay, here it is. My favorite episode (and probably the first episode I ever watched). This episode has the absolute perfect casting with Kathryn Long playing the main character Carly Beth. The other “star” of this episode is also perfect – the haunted mask. It’s so terrifying. I mean, the cover of the book was scary enough, but this real-life version is so much scarier, and I love it. And the mask’s “voice” is also super creepy and unsettling, but so perfect. There’s just so much to love about this episode, I could go on and on, but I’ll end it here.
So, what do you think? Did I miss any of your favorite episodes that gave you goosebumps as a kid? Let me know in the comments below!