YMMV / Goosebumps

    open/close all folders 

    The Books 
  • Accidental Innuendo: For just one example, Chuck and Steve "love making [Carly Beth] scream" because she's "the best screamer" in the school in "The Haunted Mask." The books are so rife with these that Blogger Beware made pointing them out a Running Gag (with its own title for the trope: "Out Of Context Alert").
  • Angst? What Angst?:
    • Billy Deep from the Deep Trouble series always seems to get his cocky attitude and thirst for adventure back, even after surviving dangerous incidents with sea monsters, sharks, and criminals.
    • Most of the protagonists in the Horrorland books go through truly disturbing and traumatic ordeals, but quickly think nothing of it once they get invited to Horrorland. Justified for some, who specifically go to have fun after everything they've been through.
    • The One Day at Horrorland interactive book is this provided you picked the right pages and made it out alive..
  • Complete Monster:
    • Night of the Living Dummy series: Slappy, the main antagonist, is a ventriloquist dummy that comes to life whenever the spell that accompanies him is read aloud. He would turn his owner's family against them, which ultimately culminates in him trying to convert the family, preferably the female protagonists, into his slaves. In Bride of the Living Dummy, he held a group of children celebrating a birthday party hostage, and he threatened to murder everyone in the room if he didn't receive his bride. He orders Jillian, the preteen protagonist of the book, to be his bride, only to violently hit her when she refused. The book also revealed that Slappy was crafted from a coffin by an Evil Sorcerer who then transferred his evil influence into the dummy. Under the threat of death in Slappy's Nightmare, Slappy gets forced into performing three good deeds; however, he does contemplate killing his new owner and her family when he thought that she was picking up on him. Though it turned out to be a dream, it's made clear that he wouldn't think twice about murdering anyone when it suits his needs. In addition to this, Slappy had attempted to murder several characters throughout the saga, one notable example being in Slappy New Year in which he tried to decapitate a young boy with a pair of garden shears. Sadistic, cruel, and disturbing, Slappy struck fear in the hearts of many.
    • Piano Lessons Can Be Murder: Mr. Toggle is a self-described brilliant robotician who runs a piano school that Jerry is sent to by his parents. Initially appearing to be a harmless, if eccentric figure, Toggle soon reveals himself as a particularly depraved Mad Scientist. Despite his status as a famed robotician, he couldn't make robotic hands properly, so he lures men, women, and children alike to his piano school and cuts their hands off and uses them for his experiments in hopes of creating beautiful music, all to satisfy his ego. (The TV Adaptation even implies his first victim was his mother, who ends up tormenting him to play the piano in her place forever.)
    • Goosebumps Horrorland: The Menace, he was completely alive, kids died on his rides but he didn't care, due to his experiments in fear. The park was so scary, it somehow ended up in an alternate universe. Later, he found out Horrorland was made on his park, so he got contact with a horror to invite guests there so he get them to panic park, and make them bring the fear meter up so he can PP back to the normal world. It's implied he's done this before, but the previous kids got so scared they died and he simply doesn't care. He even got several other Goosebumps villains to follow him, including Slappy and King Tutten-Ra from another GBH book.
  • Crazy Awesome:
    • Attempted with Dr. Maniac. Attempted.
    • The Beasts from the East. Super-strong bear monsters who play life or death games for fun, all while maintaining such cheerful, easy going personalities. There's only a few of them since they're as much of a newbie as the main characters they encounter.
  • Creepy Awesome: The Masked Mutant.
  • Designated Hero: Evan from Monster Blood and Sarah from Curse of Camp Cold Lake. The former repeatably uses monster blood to get revenge on his enemies, despite knowing full well how dangerous the stuff is, while the latter acts like an idiot throughout the first half of her book, and then blames her campers instead of trying to make amends.
    • However,in Sarah's case, the aforementioned campers did put a snake down her back and never really apologized. Also, one of the campers deliberately tried to push Sarah into the water despite Sarah saying that she can't swim well.
  • Designated Villain: Courtney from You Can't Scare Me! doesn't do anything except irritate the protagonists by being The Ace at everything. To be fair, this might be intentional.
    • According to the Goosebumps podcast, Goosebuds, Mr. Mortman may qualify. Yes, he's a monster that eats his turtles and live fish but he does this AWAY from people. He doesn't actually seem to be hurting anyone. The only time he does anything threatening is when he can't allow Lucy to leave, however, this is kind of justified because he doesn't want to be exposed as a monster who, again, didn't hurt anyone. When Lucy's parents eat him, this could qualify as an Alas, Poor Villain moment.
  • Draco in Leather Pants: Slappy has a lot of fangirls who usually ship him either with their OCs, or one of the girls from his books. Evidently, they didn't realize why Slappy is regarded as so creepy in the first place.
  • Ensemble Darkhorse:
    • Slappy, who wasn't even the main villain in his first story, ended up becoming the series' mascot.
    • And Andy, the female friend of Evan Ross, the protagonist of the Monster Blood series. Many fans of the series, especially readers of Blogger Beware, wish that Andy would have been the protagonist instead of Evan.
    • Della Raver may also be considered one, if only because she was much more likable and interesting compared to the actual protagonist of the book she was a villain in. If anything, the fact that she was able to gain a section in the Characters page before Sarah Maas just shows how much the readers actually prefer Della.
    • The Beast from The East seems to be a favorite among the later books in the original series, due to the creatively surreal nature of the plot and memorable monsters who were only scary at first, but were actually beginners.
    • I Live In Your Basement is also pretty well-remembered among the last few books for throwing the usual cheesy kids horror out the window and instead going for balls-to-the-wall Mind Screw.
    • Lucy Dark if the Memetic Mutation of her snark from the TV show is anything to by.
    • King Jellyjam to some, for how magnificently bizarre and horrifying a concept he is. Only the Best!
  • First Installment Wins: Many people consider the original 62-book series to be the best compared to its numerous spinoffs.
  • Fridge Brilliance: Nila's brother wanting nothing to do with her makes more sense when considering that, by the time she was able to revive him, he'd been dead for centuries. Nila was able to enjoy having a living, youthful body, while Khor-Ru is stuck inside an ancient, rotted corpse. She didn't even stop to consider he may not have wanted to come back regardless.
  • Harsher in Hindsight:
    • A lot of the stories centered on kids being made fun of and wanting revenge, fearing for their lives at school (or children dying or said to be dead) are more depressing to read in this post-Columbine/Virginia Tech/Newtown/Umpqua world. Especially bad is Calling All Creeps, which actually ends with the main character allowing his classmates to be turned into monsters, which he will be the leader of, because they're just that awful to him.
    • In the TV adaptation of Say Cheese and Die!, Doug said "News flash! This is a camera, not a weapon!"
    • In Say Cheese and Die- Again!, the camera causes Greg to become severely obese. His classmates tease him about it for a few days, but stop once Mr. Saurs takes part in cruelly mocking him. While his actions are shown as awful in the book, what with the recent epidemic of children developing eating disorders such as bulimia and anorexia, it becomes downright disgusting.
  • Hilarious in Hindsight:
  • Jerkass Woobie:
    • Della, the titular ghost of The Curse of Camp Cold Lake. She's not really evil, it's just that she really wants to escape from her existence on the lonely camp grounds.
    • The Haunted Mask. A sentient, albeit disembodied creature who spent years locked away in its creator's basement, and desperately wants a human body. It also acts much like an immature, angry child when possessing a host, and it can only be defeated by an act of true love.
    • Andrew, the titular character of The Headless Ghost. Yes, he was a noxious little brat. No, he didn't deserve to have his head ripped clean off and then be trapped his old house for eternity.
    • Princess Nila from Return Of the Mummy has shades of this when you realize she probably spent centuries planning to bring back her beloved brother. And when she finally succeeds, he returns the favor by ''trying to kill her'', and she gets trapped as a scarab forever thanks to Gabe. Nice going, hero. Although to be fair, she did try to kill Gabe and his family, nor is it ever stated if her brother actually wanted to come back.
  • Magnificent Bastard: In Attack Of The Mutant the titular villain spends the entire book in the form of a twelve year old girl, takes advantage of his own comic story to lure Skipper to his base, has everyone fooled (including his henchman, who he kills in his little girl form), and never makes his presence known until the last few chapters. He'd probably be a more effective example if he wasn't so gullible and petty.
  • Memetic Mutation: From The Girl Who Cried Monster, the scene where Lucy exclaims "Life is just a phase I'm going through" is constantly posted on tumblr.
    • "AND THE CAR WASH WAS FIVE DOLLARS."
  • Moral Event Horizon:
    • Mr. Wood crosses it in the first Night of the Living Dummy when he threatens to kill the family dog.
    • Alexander betraying the Deep family and allowing them to be murdered, all out of Greed and fear for his own life.
    • Conan, the Jerk Jock of the Monster Blood series, crosses it in the third book when he is shown threatening little kids with a baseball bat.
    • Mr. Gray from "Egg Monsters From Mars" crosses the line when he decides to kill Dana over a perceived slight.
    • Again, Chicken Chicken: The entire book is Vanessa's.
    • Ari in Return to Ghost Camp crossed it when he took the time to actually gloat that Dustin was going to die instead of him, and then threatened his brother to keep his mouth shut.
  • Replacement Scrappy: Dr. Maniac to The Masked Mutant. While the Mutant was apparently popular enough to get his own video game, he never reappeared. Dr. Maniac, who's story is an obvious Spiritual Successor, not only got a sequel, but a recurring role throughout the Horror Land books. The only villain to show up as much as him is Slappy.
  • Rooting for the Empire: If the book's protagonist is too whiny, annoying, or just keeps doing stupid things, chances are the reader will start hoping the book's villain will do something really horrible to them. Case in point, The Curse of Camp Cold Lake and some of the Monster Blood books due to how unlikably whiny Sarah Maas and Evan Ross are.
  • The Scrappy:
    • A lot of the Annoying Younger Siblings in the series were this, since they were often irritatingly selfish and immature. They also had a tendency to cause the series' iconic Cruel Twist Endings - sometimes intentionally.
    • Nearly all the characters from the Monster Blood books are this, with the exception of Andy and possibly Aunt Kathryn from the first book.
      • Evan Ross, the main character, is a Butt Monkey like many of the other protagonists, but he's also incredibly whiny and stupidly insists on using Monster Blood to get revenge on his tormentors despite all the times it's already backfired on him.
      • Evan's parents consistently unload him on relatives that are either unfit to take care of him or just plain treat him like crap, while also telling him to suck it up. In fact, the fourth Monster Blood book opens with Mrs. Ross explaining that if Evan wants to go to summer camp, he has to pay for it.
      • Said aforementioned relatives include Evan's Aunt Dee and her son Kermit. Kermit is a Spoiled Brat Insufferable Genius that spends most of his page time either using Evan as a guinea pig for his insane experiments (that almost always backfire) or getting Evan in trouble just to see him either punished or beaten up. Aunt Dee lets Kermit do whatever he wants and always believes his lies about Evan picking fights, leading her to scold him and treat him like crap.
      • Finally, there's Conan Barber, a horrendous example of one of the many bully characters in the series. Conan only seems to exist for the sake of making Evan's life even more miserable, has no redeeming qualities, and almost never receives any punishment for it. You'd think after Evan saves his life at the end of Monster Blood II Conan would leave him alone, but he still beats Evan up whenever he can. With some many unlikable reoccurring characters, it seems to make more sense why an entirely brand new protagonist was created for Monster Blood for Breakfast! in the Horrorland series.
    • Courtney in You Can't Scare Me! is one to some for being the very definition of a "little miss perfect" Smug Snake. She's even worse in the TV episode.
    • Tara from The Cuckoo Clock of Doom gets immense hatred by fans. While the series does have its tradition of having annoying/bratty siblings, Tara is just horrible, tormenting her brother, Michael, on his own birthday, constantly tricking her parents (who are also considered themselves Scrappies) into thinking she's a sweetheart, and practically make Michael's life a living hell. What's so disturbing and so sickening of her is just how fucked up she is, giving us the idea she's more of a sociopath at that, considering she never shows any remorse for her actions. It's no surprise that she's erased from ever being born and giving us the idea that Michael will never back to save her, which is treated as a happy ending. Considering how fucked up she is, this is understandable.
    • Larry from Welcome To Camp Nightmare, especially his TV counterpart.
    • Sarah Maas, the incredibly whiny and unsympathetic protagonist of The Curse of Camp Cold Lake (though she did get what was coming to her in the end, when the girl who saved her from Della revealed that she only did it so ''she'' could kill Sarah and make her her friend in the afterlife).
    • A villainous example would be Vanessa, an infuriatingly smug Witch whose actions are horrific even by the standards of the series. One could call her the Shou Tucker of the Goosebumps universe.
    • Some of the more abusive or apathetic parents definitely fall under this. Special mention goes to Michael's in The Cuckoo Clock Of Doom or Crystal and Cole's in Chicken Chicken.
    • Greg Banks from Say Cheese and Die is not one of the more well-liked protagonists. Stealing the camera in the first place and causing the horrific injuries of his friends and family,(as well as Spidey's death) was a bad move, but by the sequel, he practically cannonballs into this, deliberately risking the lives of everyone around him so he can look good to his teacher. Some could argue he's become an even bigger menace than Spidey or the Camera.
  • Sequelitis: The 2000 and Horrorland series aren't as well-remembered as the originals.
    • Also applies to specific books' sequels within the series, which are generally considered inferior to the first book ("Return to Ghost Camp"), non-sensical and full of Ret Cons ("Say Cheese and Die — Again!"), or both ("Monster Blood II-IV"). Even the "Living Dummy" series (the only sub-series that's careful to maintain continuity) is criticized for every book having the same basic plot with little variation.
  • Surprisingly Improved Sequel: A very rare example, but "Scream Of The Haunted Mask" is considered by quite a few to be one of the better Horrorland spin-offs. Compared to the original sequel, the focus is back on Carly-Beth and the Mask itself, the continuity is surprisingly consistent, the formula of the first two books is abandoned, and we get a look into the Mask's dark past.
  • So Bad, It's Good: At times, maybe somewhat intentionally.
  • Tastes Like Diabetes: A Holly Jolly Holiday, about a disgustingly sweet Christmas movie available on a cursed video cassette that brainwashes a family into acting as cheery as its main character, Susie Snowflake (until the main character turns on a wrestling match while rewinding the tape and the family snaps out of it).
  • They Wasted a Perfectly Good Plot:
    • When Horrorland was launched it included reprints of classic Goosebumps stories as companions, although some of the accompanying reprints don't really match up with the Horrorland books. The original Horrorland story was reprinted alongside Dr. Maniac Vs. Robby Schwartz, even though Attack of the Mutant seemed like a more natural choice. Weirdo Halloween received The Scarecrow Walks At Midnight instead of Attack of the Jack-O'-Lanterns which was also a book about kids dealing with aliens on Halloween.
    • The Horrorland series in general has this problem. While intended to follow up on many of the original books, many of them only vaguely resemble older books, and many of them only feature the same supernatural elements rather than returning protagonists. As a result, the group in Horrorland is made up mostly of new arrivals. Some fan favorites, such as Attack of the Mutant, did not receive any follow up at all.
      • In fact, up until the last two books, the ongoing plot is mostly made up of the kids wandering around the park being spooked by various attractions, mostly teasing encounters with recurring villains that ultimately never happen.
  • They Wasted a Perfectly Good Character
    • The Masked Mutant actually manages to be a competent, threatening and mysterious antagonist. He's killed off in his only appearance-and in one of the most ridiculous ways possible. To add insult to injury, since the series was revived with the Horrorland books, there've been three separate books featuring comic book villains coming to life, and none of them features the Masked Mutant. They didn't even reprint Attack of the Mutant to go alongside Dr. Maniac Vs. Robby Schwartz even though it was a thematic fit.
    • Andy from the Monster Blood books, as mentioned in the Ensemble Darkhorse section, was far more likable than Evan Ross was and many readers wished that she'd been the main character. There were four Monster Blood books in total during the main series, but Andy was just a supporting character in all four of them. This is especially true in the last two, where Evan's cousin Kermit becomes a primary character and Andy's practically Demoted to Extra. And then, for Monster Blood for Breakfast! in the Horrorland series, an entirely new protagonist was created with none of the original Monster Blood cast returning.
    • Many of the original characters and monsters from the pre-Horrorland books can fall under this category. While some, such as Slappy, the Deep family, Carly-Beth and the Haunted Mask, the Horrors, and the Morris siblings returned, the majority of the heroes and villains were brand new, with some of them featured in rehashes of older books. This is problematic in that the concept of Goosebumps Horrorland and Goosebumps Most Wanted was that the worst villains Goosebumps had to offer would return, but so far only a small chunk of the villains were transplanted from the older books, and almost none of the protagonists have come back.
  • Too Cool to Live: See above. Also, Harrison Sadler and Rocky the Dummy.
  • Wangst: There's quite a bit, considering it's an adult writing through the viewpoint of twelve-year-olds, but Sarah from Curse of Camp Cold Lake really stands out.
  • What an Idiot:
    • Some of the kids go to Horrorland specifically to relax and distance themselves from their horrific adventures... they go to Horrorland to do this.
    • Abby from Who's Your Mummy in particular is shocked and horrified when she encounters a mummy themed attraction, wondering if someone specifically put it there to frighten her. In a horror-themed amusement park, a single mummy based attraction can't be that surprising, can it?
  • The Woobie:
    • Carly Beth Caldwell in The Haunted Mask series, especially in the TV show.
    • Chicken Chicken's Crystal and Cole, especially.
    • Gary Lutz in Why I'm Afraid of Bees, arguably the ultimate Butt Monkey in the series. He literally has zero friends, he's picked on by bullies, his sister hates him, her cat hates him, his beekeeper neighbor is a sadist who loves tormenting him with the thing he fears most, his attempt to impress a girl ended with him crashing his back, and when he has a chance to get a better life, he turns into his aforementioned worst fear. Let's just say the point where he wants to sting someone, and thus die after isn't entirely out of nowhere.
    • Ricky Beamer in Calling All Creeps who is constantly bullied at school, embarrassed in front of his best friend/crush, and kicked off the school newspaper for something that wasn't his fault. And then the bullies who target him the most often turn out to be alien reptiles who want to Take Over the World and will likely eat him if they discover that he's not one of them. The Face–Heel Turn he makes at the end of the book is entirely justified.
    • Michael Webster in The Cuckoo Clock of Doom. He's The Unfavorite to his complete brat of a younger sister, his parents make fun of him and call him a liar when he tries to tell them how she makes his life miserable, and it's all but outright said that his dad thinks he's stupid. It says something about your life when having your sister erased from existence is a good thing for you.
    • Aunt Kathryn from the first Monster Blood book, when it's revealed she's been a slave to Sarabeth for twenty years, and the reason she never learned sign language was because Sarabeth wouldn't let her. In fact, Kathryn became deaf because of Sarabeth. Kathryn spent so much time acting insane and disturbing Evan because then he'd want to avoid her as much as possible which, by extension, would mean he'd be avoiding Sarabeth. When Evan accuses her of being a witch, Kathryn bursts into tears and begs for Evan's forgiveness for all that happened. She was even willing to let the Monster Blood kill her if it meant ending Sarabeth's magic.
    • Julie Martin, the new owner of the Evil Camera in the Horrorland series. Unlike Greg Banks, who kept using the camera despite all the horrible things it was doing, Julie tried to get rid of it after it blinded her best friend Reena and seriously injured another girl. Unfortunately, the camera keeps appearing in Julie's home (because her rival David Blank was trying to screw with her head), Reena ends their friendship because of what happened, and when David takes ownership of the camera Julie still gets the blame for the horrible things that occur because everyone thinks it's her camera.

    The Series 
  • Complete Monster: Karl Knave from season 3's three-parter "Chillogy" gets sick pleasure out of physically and mentally torturing kids simply because it's his hobby. He transports them into his miniature town and personal playground, Karlsville, where he toys with them before he plans to kill them. He manipulates Jessica into pursuing her own greed to sell more of his lemonade, then turns her into a pig and sends a mob of angry townspeople after her to serve her up to him for lunch. He plays a lethal game of baseball with Matthew, where Matthew has to do such things as fight a team of monsters, dodge killer baseballs, and crawl over a lava pit to make it to the next base. His last victim is Matthew's brother Todd, whom he prepares to "make a citizen of Karlsville" by turning him into a small plastic figure who will be forever conscious. He delays Todd's fate as long as he possibly can to enjoy Todd's fear.
  • Ear Worm: The theme song.
  • Memetic Mutation: From My Hairiest Adventure, Larry checking for more hair.
  • Narm: A strong occurrence in the TV adaptation, mostly due to the mediocre child actors.
  • Retroactive Recognition:
    • A young Ryan Gosling, well before he became a movie star, appeared as Greg Banks in Say Cheese and Die.
    • Hayden Christiansen played cousin Zane in Night of the Living Dummy III.
    • Scott Speedman, also young and up and coming at that time, did a cameo in Say Cheese and Die as a policeman.
    • Laura Vandervoort is one of the protagonists in The Haunted House Game.
  • Special Effects Failure: Happens quite a bit, to the point where some episodes can (unintentionally) resemble a cheesy B-movie.
  • Suspiciously Similar Song: The TV episode of "Don't Go To Sleep" features a song VERY similar to Garbage's "No. 1 Crush".
  • They Wasted a Perfectly Good Plot: You Can't Scare Me, particularly the TV adaptation: At various points it looks like the episode will pull a plot twist and reveal that Courtney is actually some kind of monster. Throughout the episode, she shows a fascination with them, and argues in favor of the possibility that monsters might exist. The episode reaches its climax end... Nope, Courtney is just a normal preteen who's just really perfect.

    The Movie 
  • Adaptation Displacement: Averted. It's made pretty clear throughout the movie that these are the monsters from the books, not the television series. Most notably, the Werewolf of Fever Swamp is harmed by silver, which was established in the television episode of his story as a myth started by werewolves themselves to discourage the poor from hunting them.
  • Alternate Character Interpretation: With an emphasis on monsters (which weren't necessarily in every single book), and some inconsistent characterization, some fans have noticed the film could easily be about the book covers coming to life.
  • And You Thought It Would Fail: The movie was surprisingly warmly reviewed by film critics.
  • Broken Base:
    • The movie trailer either has long time fans excited to see their favorite books on the big screen, or deriding the whole thing as a lazy attempt to cash in on nostalgia.
    • The premise of the movie. Either it's a great way to examine Goosebumps in a meta sense, or it's robbing us of the anthology film that was originally announced.
  • Harsher in Hindsight: Stine says he started writing his Goosebumps stories to live out his revenge fantasies against a whole neighborhood of kids who bullied him. This means that the books' protagonists that are constantly tormented by monsters, whether they deserve it or not, were inspired by those bullies in the film's universe.
  • Jerkass Woobie: Slappy. That doesn't excuse the destruction he's caused, but you do pity the fact that Stine locked him away along with the other monsters in the manuscripts.
  • Narm: The official music video tie-in, Bumps Gonna Goose Ya! looks and sounds like it was plucked straight from the 90's, and is subsequently full of this. In particular, Slappy's rap sounds like he was put on the spot and didn't know what to say.
  • Narm Charm: Featuring a remix of the theme song and incorporating dozens of book titles into the lyrics, some fans might think it actually represents the books better than the movie.
  • One-Scene Wonder: The overzealous policewoman-in-training and her more level-headed partner.
  • Tainted by the Preview: Some fans took issue with the movie's first trailer using the very non-creepy "Break the Rules" by Charli XCX, instead of the TV show's memorable theme song.
  • They Wasted a Perfectly Good Character:
    • Most of the monsters have absolutely nothing to do besides serve as Mooks for crowd shots. Slappy ends up being the only one with a distinctive personality or screen time.
    • Popular and memorable antagonists, such as Monster Blood or the Haunted Mask, are either delegated to easily missed cameos, or are not featured at all.
  • They Wasted a Perfectly Good Plot: Some reviewers have said they got the idea during the film that it would turn out Slappy is actually the real character, and created R.L. Stine as a way to bring the other monsters into our world. After that potential, the film's real twist became pretty underwhelming.
  • WTH, Casting Agency?: Of all people to portray RL Stine, it's...Jack Black.

    The Games 
  • Awesome Music: The surprisingly melancholy rendition of the TV series' theme used for the main menu of Goosebumps: The Game.
  • Nightmare Fuel: At several points you can access an otherworldly room that resembles an Escher painting. You are given the option of trying to enter one of the many doors, but are met with this message.
    Don't.

http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/YMMV/Goosebumps