Follow TV Tropes

This is based on opinion. Please don't list it on a work's trope example list.

Following

Nightmare Fuel / Goosebumps

Go To

For a horror book series, how do you not expect Nightmare Fuel to come a-creeping?

This is one of the scariest children's books for a very good reason.

As a Nightmare Fuel subpage, all spoilers are unmarked. You Have Been Warned.


    The Books 
https://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/rsz_goosebumpsdummy.png
"Who are you calling dummy, dummy?!"

Original Series

  • First of all, Tim Jacobus's cover art for the books, such as Stay Out of the Basement, Night of the Living Dummy, The Haunted Mask, The Barking Ghost, The Scarecrow Walks At Midnight, The Curse of Camp Cold Lake, Return to Ghost Camp, Bad Hare Day, and Don't Go to Sleep!... just for starters.
  • Welcome to Dead House is very scary.
    • Just the idea that a whole town could be out to get you, for something that is not your fault...
    • At one point Amanda describes a dream she had where her entire family were rotting skeletons eating a dinner of bones while her old best friend is trying to come into her house, but all Amanda can do is sit and consume bones with her dead family.
    • Also, a lot of people's skin melt off. It's all very reminiscent of that terrifying scene at the end of Raiders of the Lost Ark.
  • Stay Out of the Basement:
    • The whole plot. A botanist is doing strange experiments in his basement, and wants to keep out his kids. However, he starts to act strangely, growing more and more distant. Than the kids discover that their father is turning into some kind of plant creature that bleeds chlorophyll and has leaves in place of hair. And later they see that his plants have grown human features, like writhing arms and screaming faces.
    • The clone of the father gets chopped in fucking half.
  • In Say Cheese and Die!, one photo actually makes Shari disappear. And that's all we know. Her parents are understandably horrified, her friends are panicking, when she finally comes back into reality, she has no recollection of where she's been.
  • The Curse of the Mummy's Tomb:
    • The whole part where Gabe and Sari are trapped in said mummy's tomb is pretty horrifying. We're not spared the descriptions of how weak they're getting as they start to have trouble breathing.
    • Anyone that violates the mummy's tomb is punished by being mummified alive!
    • Ahmed is one of the scarier villains because of how understated he is. He seems more or less like a normal guy at first, then the sense that there's something not right with him starts building, and he just gets worse from there.
  • Let's Get Invisible! has a mirror that can turn people invisible, but if you stay invisible too long, your reflection switches places with you while you get trapped in the mirror for eternity.
  • The Girl Who Cried Monster is one of the most well-remembered books of the Goosebumps series, and for good reason. It seems to be your average Crying Wolf plot where a girl, Lucy Dark, sees a local librarian, Mr. Mortman, becoming a bug-eating monster after the library closes. Nothing really out of the ordinary until the twist ending, where Lucy's parents invite Mr. Mortman over for dinner. And by that, we mean it literally. Lucy's parents invite Mr. Mortman to be their dinner, because, as it turns out, the entire Dark family is comprised of monsters. And they seem to be quite efficient at devouring other living beings. Lucy and her little brother Randy have yet to grow their fangs, though. Yeesh... And as a Fridge Horror, Randy is so afraid of all the made-up monsters Lucy tells him about; imagine how he must feel finding out that he, as well as his family members, are the genuine article!
  • The Cold Opening to The Ghost Next Door is horrifyingly graphic in its description, essentially allowing you to experience firsthand the raw terror felt by an adolescent girl waking up to the sight of her house burning down around her and slowly coming to the realization that she's about to be incinerated alive. The rest of the book is relatively tame in comparison, which just makes the opening stand out that much more. Needless to say, this one most likely made a lot of kids terrified of even dreaming about such a scenario, since as The Reveal goes on to demonstrate, how do you know whether or not it's actually a dream?
  • In The Haunted Mask, Carly Beth just wants a scary mask to teach her bullies a lesson that scaring people isn't cool. The mask she chooses unfortunately is no ordinary mask and the mask becomes her face. Carly panics as she realizes she can't take it off and her friend advises her there is no line, no separation between mask and skin. That face becomes her flesh!
    • Made scarier by the fact that this is based on one of author R.L. Stine's own experiences, specifically the time when his son was young and put on a rubber Frankenstein mask, then couldn't get it off.
  • Be Careful What You Wish For:
    • The sequence where Samantha accidentally erases everyone else from existence is quite chilling. That chapter does a pretty good job of conveying what it would actually feel like to be the only person in the world. She's scared out of her mind from the total isolation, and starts to panic about how she can't take care of herself and has no idea what she's supposed to do now, and nearly breaks down crying before she manages to find Clarissa and undo the wish.
    • When Samantha wishes that Judith was her friend, both the book and the episode portray her as a creepy stalker-type, who at one point breaks into Samantha's home in the middle of the night.
  • Piano Lessons Can Be Murder:
    • A guy is murdering children and stealing their hands to turn into piano-playing automatons. And we actually see the results of his experiments on the front cover.
    • The casual, Shou Tucker-esque way he discusses his plans to Jerry, as if he sees these atrocities as a simple art project.
    • While he definitely had it coming, Toggle's fate at the end of the book. The ghosts of his victims rise from the pianos, take back their hands, and then drag him screaming into the forest out back, never to be seen again.
  • One of the "rides" in One Day at HorrorLand involves the characters being sealed in floating coffins, which fill with insects.
  • Ghost Beach: Harrison Sadler's fate. He's sealed in a cave with three ghost children who killed multiple dogs to protect their secret, and have every reason to hate him. He'd be lucky if they just decide to kill him.
  • Attack of the Mutant has the Masked Mutant, a sociopathic shape-shifting comic villain who is hellbent on killing his biggest fan. To this end, he takes on the form of an attractive young girl to get close to him, graphically disintegrates his own henchman on page, and finally tries to kill the boy by melting him in acid. It's also worth noting that the book never explains just what he is or how he became real. It gets worse when you consider the Fridge Horror of The Masked Mutant: He impersonates a teenage girl so flawlessly that Skipper still believes "Libby" was on his side right up until the moment that The Mutant reveals the deception. In short, he can not only shapeshift, but he's a fairly skilled actor too. Imagine what someone like that could do if they had a motive beyond "kill my biggest fan": The mutant could have impersonated any number of influential figures and seized a great deal of political power. He'd be a regular Barty Crouch Junior.
  • A Night In Terror Tower is one of the creepiest and most disturbing books in the series.
    • Two siblings are locked in a London torture chamber and are then chased by a menacing man in black. Then, when they get back to the hotel, they discover that they have no modern currency and suddenly begin to lose their memories, even of their parents and last names. It turns out that they are actually a prince and a princess from the Middle Ages (mentioned by their tour guide earlier in the book) who were sent forward in time and given false memories for their own protection, and the man chasing them is a notorious executioner who wants their heads on a platter.
    • The Executioner himself. He's a ruthless killer who will stop at nothing to find his targets, even if he has to travel through time to do so. Basically, he's a medieval version of a Terminator. Even the local wizard is terrified of him!
  • The Horror at Camp Jellyjam has a scene where one of the captured children tells the protagonist that if anyone stops to rest even for a second, that disgusting monster they're washing will pick them up and eat them. And that she's seen him eat three kids already!
  • Say Cheese and Die — Again!:
    • The first photo taken in the sequel causes a young boy to have an extremely sharp carpenter's nail jammed through his foot.
    • The scariest photos of all in the Say Cheese and Die series are the two that cause the main plot of this book. The first is a negative of Shari, which seems OK, but the second is of a morbidly obese (at least in the four-hundred pound range—and remember, this is a preteen boy) Greg. Unlike the previous book, where the horrible accidents the camera bestowed happened in a single instant, this book stretches out Greg and Shari's fates, with the former growing bigger with every passing minute and the latter losing weight at an alarming rate. By the time the book reaches its climax, Greg has become so huge that he can't walk, and Shari has grown so weak and thin that she can barely speak. Now, imagine being Greg and Shari's parents, and watching these inexplicable events happen to your own children. And there's nothing you can do to stop it.

      Two things make this worse. The first is that Greg is treated to really nasty taunts and jokes about his weight by both his classmates and his cruel teacher Mr. Saur on the first day of his weight gain. By the second day, even the meanest kids in class realize that something is terribly wrong with Greg, but Mr. Saur keeps mocking him. The second is that it's implied that the camera itself causes the horrible accidents its photos predict... which means that it chose to bestow slow, painful deaths on Greg and Shari. In other words, it actually knows that they tried to destroy it, and it's not happy with them.
  • Ghost Camp is one of the most distressing and legitimately terrifying of the original books for a few good reasons. Even Troy Steele, the blogger behind Blogger Beware, mentioned that it's the "closest a Goosebumps book has come to being scary."
    • Some of the pranks the campers pull include extreme bodily harm. One camper stabs himself in the neck with a fork and another has his foot impaled to the ground with a tent spike. Another extreme "joke" is Alex seeing an apparently dead girl floating at the bottom of the lake and trying to save her. The moment he gets her to shore she just spits water in his face and says she could hold her breath for a long time. Of course, Alex later learns he was right. She was dead. But the most terrifying prank is when a girl apparently gets her head knocked off by a stray soccer ball. What makes it even scarier? When Alex says to Harry, "I saw it, too."
    • Harry and Alex are the only characters in this book who aren't dead. Everyone at Camp Spirit Moon besides them are ghosts, but even they don't know how or why they died. All Lucy says is that the fog rolled in one night when everyone was at the campfire, and when it departed, they were all dead. We're never given a reason as to why it happened or how the fog killed them, it just did.
    • Lucy and the others have no idea how long any of them have been dead, and are unable to leave the camp or it's said they'll disappear and become part of the fog. How did they come to gain this information? How many people tried to leave the camp? Does that mean the fog is made up of lost souls stuck in perpetual torment?
    • Elvis possessing Alex at the end, and we're never told if he ever left Alex's body or if he's still inside Alex. And imagine what that must mean for Harry, since it's likely no one will believe that his own brother is being controlled by a dead kid.
  • The ending of Attack of the Jack-O'-Lanterns is pretty damn creepy. After scaring the hell out of bullies Tabby and Lee, Shane and Shana are revealed to be the Pumpkin Heads, and then they are revealed to actually be Human Aliens who can disguise themselves, and so were everybody else in the neighborhood they went to. As they depart, Drew offers them candy, but they say they actually eat human flesh, and they tell her she's not an adult and plump enough to be eaten just yet. The book ends with Drew continually asking if they're just joking...
  • Chicken, Chicken:
    • The protagonist Crystal (and her brother) are both transformed into chickens agonizingly slowly, over several days, in rather graphic detail. This includes lovely paragraphs describing how their human eyes move to the side of their heads, their own teeth sink into their gums, and finally how their fingers become bony claws and talons. Also, Crystal's lips harden into a beak at her best friend's party and she just asks for some chapstick (assuming the change has a natural cause).
    • Vanessa herself. The mere thought of doing something like this to children and claiming they deserve it is appalling and sick beyond belief. And even worse, the whole story even implies they weren't her first victims! Then there's why Vanessa did it and why she thinks those children deserved it: they bumped into her, causing her to drop her groceries, and didn't apologize! She puts two frightened children through slow Transformation Horror because they didn't say they were sorry. And then in the ending, she does it all over again because they don't excuse themselves after burping. Disproportionate Retribution doesn't even begin to cover it.
    • At several points in the book, a rumor is mentioned about a trouble-making kid who got his head mutated into a huge sponge by Vanessa. Troy Steele thought of this as an annoying gag. However, considering what Vanessa did to Crystal and Cole, it probably wasn't just that...
    • The sheer amount of fear and humiliation the children go through is not only horrifying, but sickening. Crystal grows a beak in the middle of her friend's birthday party while eating cake, leaving her unable to eat (and almost causing her to choke); later, both children grow feathers on their arms and necks, which they have to painfully pluck out (leaving bloody holes). And this is before the extreme physical changes begin. They also start acting like chickens against their will, clucking when they speak (with Cole breaking into clucks in the middle of a musical solo at school) and pecking seeds off the ground in the chicken coop in front of the neighbors (who laugh at and mock them). Finally, Crystal ruins her chance at being the star of her basketball team by running and bobbing her head like a chicken in the middle of a game, and grows feathers all over her legs (causing her to run away in tears). As the icing on the cake, Crystal smells freshly baked doughnuts on the way home and begins to cry, wondering if she'll ever be able to enjoy food again. Troy Steele considers it the worst Goosebumps book he's ever read for its sheer sadism and cruelty (describing it as "112 pages of child abuse").
    • To top it off, Crystal and Cole's parents don't even notice that any of this is happening! When the children try to show their mother the physical evidence that they're changing into birds, she just scolds them for being hysterical and continues preparing roasted chickens for the neighborhood barbeque. When they start acting like chickens at the barbeque, their parents — rather than being troubled that their children are behaving like animals — become angry at the kids for embarrassing them. Then, to top it off, their mother gets upset that they don't want to eat her roasted chicken. It's Adults Are Useless taken to such an absurd level, it makes you wonder if Vanessa had a hand in it.
  • The Blob That Ate Everyone is chilling material, mainly because the main plot concerns a young boy called Zack messing with a magical typewriter which makes everything in it come true, shortly before Zack writes about his favourite character from his own horror stories, a large pink blob (that almost looks like a human-heart) that literally eats everyone in its path. No prize as to guessing what happened next. The next scenes concern the town's inhabitants fleeing from the giant Blob that keeps growing even bigger the more it feeds on everything in sight! Zack fixes this in the end, but still...
    • One thing to note is that Zack wrote about the Blob eating everyone but he is actually horrified when it swallows his mean friend Adam. There is a difference between doing it in fiction and seeing it play out.
  • The Curse of Camp Cold Lake
    • Sarah nearly drowning by accident. She ends up in a version of the camp that is in winter, where everything is cold and covered in frost. A girl named Della offers her a robe and a place to rest, only to reveal that she is dead, and Sarah needs to stay with her so they can be buddies and cross to the Other Side.
    • Della is Not Good with Rejection. When Sarah freaks out about being dead and spending her afterlife with a creepy ghost girl, Della follows Sarah into the real world and starts actively trying to murder her. Sarah also can't tell anyone because no one would believe her. It gets worse then the Cruel Twist Ending reveals that Della did succeed in killing another camper the previous year: Briana.
    • In the climax, Della reveals that she tricked Sarah into running into the woods to get away from camp. Why? Because Della didn't drown; she was killed by a poisonous snake! And the woods are full of them. Briana shows up to save Sarah, only to reveal that she wanted to kill Sarah personally to ensure that she had a buddy. Sarah's frozen with fear, and the novel ends with Briana setting a snake on her.
    • The fact that the camp covered up two accidental deaths related to the woods and don't explain why. None of the counselors will tell Sarah about dead campers, and she doesn't find out until it's too late. A real-life Adult Fear that allows for the ghostly stuff to happen.
  • The Haunted School:
    • The sequence where the protagonist and his friend, who are in the black and white world that the missing kids from 1947 are trapped in, go outside of the school and are captured by savage kids who perform strange rituals for turning kids from the color world gray involving a vat of boiling oil.
    • The ending, quite possibly the most horrifying in the entire original run. The photographer responsible for the horror of Bellwood is back. And he's about to take another class picture, with Tommy and Ben powerless to stop him.
      "Ready, Mr. Chameleon?"
      "Mr. who? NO! Wait!"
      SNAP.
  • I Live In Your Basement:
    • A "girl" turns inside out, described in full detail.
    • The main protagonist Marco caves Keith's skull in with a paper weight.
    • Marco's head injury after he is smacked by a baseball bat and the full detail of how he feels counts as well. Right after he is hit, the details of his injury are just unsettling to read through: the ground tilted, the pain exploded in Marco's head, everything turned bright red (which actually forced him to shut his eyes), and the ground swallowed him out of his consciousness. It's not only scary, it's incredibly PAINFUL! Just imagine that pain! The fact that it's told in first-person gives the reader a vicarious experience of this kind of pain, which makes it even worse! Made even worse by the fact that Marco is only 12 years old, and as you would know, very few people around that age or younger have survived getting struck on the head by a bat, especially after the full-blown detail of the injury mentioned above.
    • The boy, Keith, also elicits very strange and disturbing stalker vibes, especially considering how young the protagonist is. Then there's the fact that the show descends into a complete Mind Screw after Marco gets hit in the head with a baseball. While it can be interpreted as Marco suffering from his concussion, the end actually reveals that Keith was having a nightmare about being a human and living above the basement.
    • The fact monsters live in basements and do not dare emerge elicits some likewise very disturbing vibes.
    • The whole story is just a long series of contradictions; even the aforementioned Twist Ending makes very little sense, in context or otherwise.

Tales to Give You Goosebumps

  • Tales to Give You Goosebumps:
    • "How I Won My Bat" seems like a simple story at first. The Hero is a mediocre baseball player who wants to win a game. He then meet a person who gives him a magic baseball bat that allows him to do just that on one condition, that being to bring it back to him at the end off the game. The protagonist wins the game, but refuses to give the bat back. As punishment, the curator turns him into a wax statue.
    • "Broken Dolls":
      • This is another story that runs on the Nothing Is Scarier trope. We know the old woman did something to Tamara's brother, but we aren't told directly if she was trying to turn him into a doll or if she was stealing his soul to give one of her doll's perfect features. We're also given the implication that this woman has been alive for an impossibly long time, and there's an entirely unsettling moment made of Adult Fear during her confrontation with Tamara:
        Dollmaker: Young people disappear so often in this century. You'll just be one more...
      • Then there are the implications regarding the old woman's dolls. At one point Tamara can hear them saying "Stop her" and they make motions as if they were reaching out to Tamara. The fact that Tamara hears cheers of happiness after defeating the old woman implies that the dolls were actually begging Tamara for help!
  • Even More Tales to Give You Goosebumps:
    • "The Chalk Closet" has a ridiculous title, sure, but then comes the moment where Travis realizes he did poorly on the exam and is going to be the sent to the aforementioned room by Mr. Grimsley. The scary part comes from the fact that Travis's classmates are all equally scared for him, but they're even more scared that they might get sent in as well, so they act as if nothing is happening, even as Travis is pleading for help.
    • In "The Perfect School", troublesome kids are sent to a reform school. Turns out the school kidnaps the students and replaces them with "perfect" robots to send back to the parents. The Stepford Wives, anyone? The protagonist succeeds in going back home. Oh sure, he managed to not get captured and replaced by a robot, but his parents expect a perfect robot, so now he has to spend the rest of his life — or until he can move out — being absolutely perfect, for fear he'll get found out and sent back... In the TV show it's a bit better, because his parents weren't expecting a robot, so he can act at least decent, and he's trying to break the other kids out.
  • In "An Old Story" from Still More Tales to Give You Goosebumps, it's revealed that Dahlia was actually related to neither of the parents, she was just a woman who impersonated a family member just so she could have access to two young boys. And the fact that she demands a fee makes it sound like she does this a lot. Meaning that the woman likely hops from family to family, impersonating a family member just so she can gain access to young children whom she can turn old and sell to older people to marry them off to them.
  • "Still More Tales To Give You Goosebumps"
    • It at first seems like a Breather Episode when Sarah and her family are in Cuddle Bear Land, but an Adult Fear moment happens when Sarah is an hour late to meet with them for lunch. They're waiting for her and trying to entertain her Spoiled Brat little sister Katie. While her parents admonish her for getting lost, she decides not to tell them that the cast members tried to turn her into a Cuddle Bear by feeding her graham crackers. After all, they wouldn't believe her, and what if they did?
  • "More & More& More Tales To Give You Goosebumps"
    • Sam getting trapped in the ballet with Ms. Boren in "Nutcracker Nightmare". After Sam complains that the ballet is boring, Ms. Boren casts a spell so that everyone is trapped listening for a long time. It's so long, in fact, that Sam grows out of her dress and her mother develops grey hair. Even the innocent orchestra and dancers aren't immune. Sam tries to leave, but she ends up running in place. Ms. Boren smiles and tells her the snack bar is closed during performances. Just as Sam tries to leave during intermission, Ms. Boren reminds her that the ballet has two acts.
    • "A Holly Jolly Holiday": While it turns out that all the enchanted video cassette does is turn the family into brainwashed, cheery Christmas partiers, Jody reveals to her sister Beth that she got her a video of her favorite wrestling star from the same shop where she got the first one. And that's where the story ends! (Let's hope Beth never plays the cassette).
    • "The Double Dip Horror": Twins Rachel and Wynona are impersonating each other as camp counselors so that one can ski for free while the other teaches skiing lessons. They start becoming victims of near-misses and almost-horrific accidents, eventually blaming it on Bobby Judd, an obnoxious camper. In the end, when Rachel is waiting for Bobby on a slope, the camp head reveals to Wynona that Bobby is actually a murderous ghost that targets identical twins. Wynona realizes belatedly that she left her sister to die. Brrrrrr.
    • "Santa's Little Helpers": Two Jerkass older siblings Beth and Spenser get ambushed by Santa's elves, being mistaken for runaways from the workshop due to their red coats. Far from being a jolly old man that gives toys to kids, Santa is a cruel overseer and boss. His elves are no better, willing to throw their so-called coworkers under the bus. The kids beg for their lives from Santa, who wants to sentence them to eternal labor and get one chance to prove their identities. When the elves march them to their house, their little sister Diane opens the door. She ends up parroting their words about her not being their sister and mentions they are liars, which is all the elves need to know before dragging Spencer and Beth back to the North Pole. As the elves and their captives leave, with Spenser and Beth reduced to begging futilely, Diane cheerfully asks the elves to mention to Santa she was good this year.

Goosebumps Series 2000

  • Headless Halloween:
    • Brandon discovering his own corpse at the bottom of Raven's Ravine.
    • The Halloween party Brandon goes to, where he is at one point forced to bob for apples in a tub filled with living cockroaches, and has to eat one in order to stop playing.
  • Return to Ghost Camp:
    • The Snatcher, a fox-like monster that murders one camper from Camp Full Moon each year, leaving their spirits unable to move on and forcing them to remain in the camp. To make matters worse, it can shape-shift and impersonate a human almost flawlessly, so its victim won't be able to tell whether he/she is in danger until it's too late!
    • One of the rivers is swarming with creatures that drag down anyone who attempts to cross it. It's never explained what these creatures are or what they're doing in the river. Even the Snatcher isn't safe from them!
    • The ending, with Dustin trapped on the other side of the infested river, unable to cross over without being attacked by any of the river monsters.

Goosebumps HorrorLand

  • Revenge Of The Living Dummy has a scene where Slappy sneaks up on the protagonist and pushes her down the stairs. Only it turns out it was actually her cousin Ethan, who did so for the purpose of a prank. Could've killed his own cousin... for a prank.
  • In Creep From The Deep, the rotting forms of the zombie pirates are described in great, gory detail.
  • In Monster Blood For Breakfast, the protagonist ends up accidentally eating a glob of Monster Blood, but instead of growing gigantic, he starts growing more and more muscular. Until he's a misshapen, vaguely human mass of muscles.
  • Who's Your Mummy?:
    • The plot of the story is kicked off when the protagonists' grandmother sends them to stay with their uncle, because she's growing old, tired, and weak. And when they get there, it turns out their uncle never picked them up, and they've been abducted by a complete stranger.
    • Judging by the cover, the book looks like a story about the protagonists dealing with an evil, awakened mummy. The story does have a mummy, more than one, in fact. The villain keeps dozens of them moaning and writhing in their sarcophagi so he can eat their internal organs to stay immortal. And when all is said and done, the mummies get their wish to finally die in peace.
  • In Say Cheese — and Die Screaming!, a girl's arm is twisted and broken until bone shows through her skin. In the audiobook adaptation of this story, this scene is especially disturbing. As the narrator reads, the screams and cries of a young girl are audible in the background.
Advertisement:

    The TV Series 
https://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/slappy_the_dummy_3.png
Even when he's not alive, Slappy still manages to be scary as hell!
  • The opening to the show deserves a mention. It's somewhat minimalist, but its imagery, like the man in black (presumably R. L. Stine himself) with a briefcase's files being scattered by the wind and the "G" slithering around and making the billboard's face twist and making the dog's eyes glow, has stuck with many people for a long time. Not to mention the incredibly sinister but awesome song.
  • "The Haunted Mask":
    • The TV version really hammers home the horror of the book. When Carly first sees the mask, we briefly see its eyes and when the store owner slams the door in anger, all the other masks turn in surprise.
    • The sculpture of Carly Beth's head is a little unsettling at first, even Carly Beth admits that. When the mask finally seems to be fully gripping her mind, it comes to life and starts begging for help.
    • The scene where Carly and Sabrina realise the mask is attached to her face. There's no awkward monster suits, no laughable Special Effects Failure, just a girl realising something is very wrong with her body and no idea why.
    • Near the end, when all the other masks come after Carly Beth, the moaning and calling after her is genuinely chilling...
  • "A Night in Terror Tower", especially the scene where the kids start to lose their memories and have flashbacks to the Middle Ages, the time period from which they came. It's every bit as freaky as in the book, and Word of God says it's one of the most genuinely scary scenes he ever wrote.
  • "The Werewolf of Fever Swamp" is probably the scariest episode of the series, due to its genuinely creepy atmosphere and a scary-looking and -sounding werewolf.
    • The episode even has animals that are killed by the werewolf (off screen, but still disturbing)!
    • We never get a clear look at the werewolf's face during its attack on Grady and his family, only brief glimpses through shadows, which makes this monster all the more terrifying.
    • Like many entries, the ending to Fever Swamp. Grady's parents check on him as he's sleeping, thinking he might be over a series of nightmares following the werewolf's attack. But, just as soon as they shut the door, Grady lurches out of bed as an angry snarling werewolf, only to wake up as himself again, having experienced this as another nightmare. After he wakes up, he hears a wolf howling at the full moon. At the same time, Will's werewolf skeleton emerges from the swamp. The wolf's howls grow louder, and Grady soon begins howling himself. It's unclear whether it's a result of the swamp causing him to have a fever which makes him delirious, or just a result of a very traumatic experience.
  • In "Be Careful What You Wish For", rather than wishing for everyone to disappear like in the book, Samantha instead wishes they would "buzz off". Clarissa makes this true, all right... by turning everyone into flies. Especially disturbing for anyone with arachnophobia. Also, Judith's wish that she'd be admired by all who see her causes her to turn to stone. Leaving Judith in a possible And I Must Scream situation. And the single crow that lands on top of her head.
  • "The Haunted Mask II" is its own story rather than being a straight adaptation from the book. In the episode, the Haunted Mask comes alive and seeks to possess Carly Beth once more. And once Steve puts on the old man mask, the Haunted Mask torments the poor boy by turning him into an old man and making spiders come out of his hair. And when the Haunted Mask reunites with Carly Beth, it makes a comment that is very unnerving. "My dear Carly Beth. It's time to finish what we started last Halloween."
  • "How to Kill a Monster" is pretty narmtastic, but, good god, the sound that monster makes sounds like an elephant from the depths of hell, and it's not pretty.
  • "Welcome to Dead House" is also considered one of the episodes that are genuinely scary thanks to its creepy and gloomy atmosphere, music, and well done zombie makeup.
  • "Night of the Living Dummy II":
    • The ending. Just when it looks like Slappy has won, having Amy and Sara at his mercy, a fourth party suddenly shows up and smashes Slappy's head on the fire place. We assume it's Jed, but it turns out to be Dennis, Amy's previous dummy before Slappy showed up, and he's a living dummy too. He happily says "It's good to be back in the family again!" while giggling in a Goofy-esque voice. It's left a mystery as to who defeated Slappy in the book, but it's made clear here that it was Dennis, and it's ambiguous as to whether or not he's evil like Slappy, since the episode ends with him giggling, and everyone looking shocked and/or terrified.
  • "Night of the Living Dummy III":
    • This episode gives us a lovely shot of Slappy's melted face after he's struck by lightning towards the ending, along with Zane twisting his head around a full 360 degrees. Thankfully, most everything else in the episode is pure narm.
    • Slappy turning Zane into a dummy. Worst of all, Zane is constantly trying to talk but only muffled sounds are heard.
    Slappy: Loosen up, Zane! Don't look so wooden! Get it? Wooden!
  • The ending of "Shocker on Shock Street". In the book, it's revealed that the kids are robots there to test the park's attractions and it ends on that note. The show, however, has the robot kids activate as their creator is preparing to reprogram them and go to attack him.
  • "My Best Friend Is Invisible": Brent is revealed to be a human child whose parents turned him invisible to protect him from the aliens that invaded the planet. Said aliens, Sammy and his parents, claim they personally never wanted to hurt humans, then they turn around with creepy faces appearing on the back of their heads and say that they will "protect" Brent. They episode end with the camera panning to their growing shadows as they laugh maniacally.
  • "The House of No Return". All of it. Especially the Twist Ending, even though those kids had it coming.
  • "Click" isn't particularly scary for the most part, but then comes the ending, where Seth attempts to stop his friend from taking the remote by hitting the power button on him... but ends up accidentally turning off himself, leaving him in some sort of void. And just then the batteries die! Uh oh! The creepy salesman from earlier thanks him for trying out the remote and just leaves him there, calling out for help.
  • "An Old Story" is pretty tame by most standards of the series, but it still has its moments.
    • The thought of two young boys being aged into elderly men so that they can be pawned off to two older women by their own aunt is disturbing in more ways than one. We get several hints that she's not what she seems, but the fact that she'd go out of the way to do this to her own nephews is thoroughly smashing the Moral Event Horizon.
    • When the boys reverse the spell, their aunt attempts to hold them hostage until one of them whips out an entire pitcher of cursed prune juice and splashes it all over her, causing her to shrivel up into a skeleton before exploding into dust. The crude look of the skeleton used for this effect just makes it more off-putting. Finally there's her nephew having just done this deed and he's remarkably calm about having just killed his own aunt.
  • "Werewolf Skin" is plenty creepy.
    • While the opening scene with the hammy bus driver is a little off-putting, it more than makes up for it later on with its rural setting in the town of Wolf Creek (no, not that one) and the ominous, decrepit Marling house across the street from Alex's aunt and uncle.
    • Alex burying the werewolf skins as they come to life, writhing and clawing through the bag while he shovels dirt over them. His aunt and uncle stammer towards the pit like zombies, desperate for their skin while he begs them to keep away just a little longer so the moon will end their curse... by destroying the skins in a huge explosion.
    • At the end, after the titular werewolf skins have been destroyed, Alex closely examines one of his photographs, which shows Hannah removing her "skin". Then she walks into the room, telling Alex she doesn't bite. While the book spells it out clearer, Alex's fate is left unknown here, making it that much more unsettling.
      Hannah: What's the matter? I told you I don't bite.
  • "Awesome Ants" has some surprisingly good ant puppets, and the events escalate into the ants seemingly eating everyone in town. Not only that, but while other episodes rush into their Cruel Twist Ending at the last minute, this ending takes its time. Everything seems to be back to normal, and then Dave opens the fridge to find nothing to eat but tubs of food pellets... The final scene sees two ants, large as mountains, seemingly laughing at their "human farm" while human families fight in the street over dumped piles of food pellets. Somehow this depressing image is one of the only times Goosebumps didn't fudge an effect!
  • "Bride of the Living Dummy":
    • Mary-Ellen, Katie's doll, may be more disturbing to look than Slappy himself, due to being an actual plastic doll, and her facial expression doesn't change all that much apart from her angry face, bringing us a good case of Uncanny Valley. She's also very cruel just like Slappy, seeing as she forces Katie to do what she wants under the threat that she will harm or kill her family if she refused. It gets worse when she falls in love with Slappy.
    • Like the other two Living Dummy episodes, this one also has a disturbing ending. When a fight breaks out after Slappy's rejection of Mary-Ellen, Jillian is quick to turn on the saw-blade in the basement. Slappy tries to throw Mary-Ellen on the blade, only for the doll to hang onto him, and they both get torn to shreds (off screen, save for pieces of wood and plastic falling on the floor). What's left of their bodies are seen on the floor, and while Slappy's expression seems to be the same, Mary-Ellen's angry face is locked in place, and their evil spirits fly off when the carnage is over. The next morning, everyone gets a nasty surprise when it's revealed that Slappy's spirit has possessed Harrison, and laughs maniacally.
      Slappy: Heh, heh, heh! Sorry, folks! Harrison doesn't live here anymore! (laughs maniacally)
  • "Say Cheese and Die — Again!":
    • The story isn't much lighter than the book version in the horror department. Greg starts ballooning up and Shari is literally just wasting away. Greg manages to quickly figure out the solution: having his older brother (who conveniently works at a photo shop, as this was in the 90's when digital cameras weren't the norm yet) switch the negatives on the two photos... But as he goes to do them, Greg and Shari are on their last legs and Greg starts ballooning to the point where he'll likely explode from the internal force. And, while we don't see all of Shari's body, we do see that her hand is becoming skeletal. And this all as Greg is yelling for his brother to hurry. Just... yeesh.
    • Greg's "fat makeup" doesn't help matters. It gives him jowls and makes his neck completely disappear, making it look as if his skin is melting right off his face.
  • "Welcome to Dead House":
    • This can be a very unsettling watch, even for adults, depending how you watch it. The town itself is just so dark and creepy, and everyone they meet is always acting a little off. Than we start hearing strange voices and other creepy shit, ending part one with a unsettling scene of a hand in a barrel. Part 2 is when the zombies/vampires/whatever come into play. And even for a kids show, they portray them pretty well. They are quite unnerving. Espically with the music.. Great episode.

    The Movie 
https://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/goosebumps_movie_nightmare_fuel.jpg
  • Every monster from the Goosebumps series is released into the real world. And we mean every monster!
  • Slappy the Living Dummy.
    • While he's missing his implied pedophile personality traits, it's replaced with a burning hatred for his creator and many Genre Savvy moments. First, he burns the books so Stine can't lock them up again and then goes on a drive throughout town, releasing more Goosebumps monsters all throughout town. And to make things worse, he takes out the town's communication tower and freezes anyone that could help the protagonists defeat them. He even somehow has the ability to move faster than the eye can see. Out of all the Goosebumps monsters, Slappy's quite possibly the most dangerous given how cunning and malicious he is.
    • There is one particular scene where Slappy confronts the heroes in a hall of mirrors. A typical, cheesy scare... except that he only appears in one mirror at a time, before eventually upping the ante by appearing in every single one at once.
      Stine: [narrating for Zach to type] "Stine's ingenious plan worked to perfection. The funhouse was terrifying, not so much for Stine as it was for the others, but it offered refuge from the real terrors that lurked outside."
      Slappy: [after he turns the lights off and appears in a mirror] You wish! [disappears]
      Stine: Slappy's found us! Quick! Hide!
      Slappy: [reappears] But Papa, you left without saying goodbye! [switches to another mirror] Are you trying to hide from me? That's like hiding from yourself! [switches again] I was your best friend, and you turned your back on me! [switches again] You locked me up! Imprisoned me in the pages of a book! [appearing in every mirror at once] You stuck me on a shelf! For years, and years! The key was right there! [in a Juxtaposed Halves Shot with Stine] And you never used it!
    • His final moments onscreen count for two specific reasons: 1) He's trying to get the last kick on Stine for locking him up again. 2) After Stine gets the last kick on Slappy, he says these words as he's facing the audience while being sucked into the new book:
      Slappy: See you in your dreams!
  • The giant mantis from A Shocker on Shock Street smashing its way through cars, semi trucks, and buildings without even apparent effort. That's one monster that got a serious upgrade from the books, from Big Creepy-Crawlies to full-blown Kaiju status.

Top

How well does it match the trope?

Example of:

/

Media sources:

/

Report