Follow TV Tropes


Series / Goosebumps

Go To

"Viewer beware — you're in for a scare...huhuhu!"

Running from 1995 to 1998, Goosebumps was a television adaptation of R. L. Stine's book series of the same name, originally airing on both Fox Kids and YTV. Like the books the show was an anthology series and focused on a different group of characters each episode, though there were a few recurring elements, such Slappy from the numerous Night of the Living Dummy stories. Goosebumps was a joint Canadian/American production and was shot in both Ontario and Washington.

The show reran for two years on Cartoon Network (usually around Halloween timenote , but it lasted a bit longer in 2007 due to the Writers' Guild going on strike and producers scrambling for filler programming until the strike ended), then aired on The Hub Network in the early 2010s alongside R.L. Stine's then-new anthology series, The Haunting Hour. The entire show can now be found on Netflix.


This show contains examples of:

  • Accidental Misnaming: In "How to Kill a Monster", Gretchen's grandparents keep calling her step-brother Clark's "Craig".
  • Adam Westing: The Trope Namer himself as the Galloping Gazelle in the TV episode and video game of Attack of the Mutant.
  • Adaptational Alternate Ending: The TV adaptation changed a few endings from the books:
    • The original book "The Blob That Ate Everyone" ended with a bizarre twist ending that revealed the whole story to have been written by two blobs. In the episode based on that book, this ending was simply left out, possibly out of fear that it would be too narmy on screen even by the goofy standards of the show.
    • The book version of "Be Careful What You Wish For" had a sadder ending where Samantha undoes the negative effects of her wishes, but is then turned into a bird because of a wish made by the Alpha Bitch in her class. In the TV version this just becomes straight Laser-Guided Karma when the Alpha Bitch instead wishes to be "admired forever" and is turned into a park statue.
    • Advertisement:
    • "A Shocker On Shock Street" ends with Erin and Marty revealed to be robots that were meant to test out the horror theme park, who end up being shut down when the staff believes they might be malfunctioning due to their odd behavior. The TV Version adds in an extra scene where they reactivate by themselves and get revenge on their creator, who was in the middle of building their replacements.
    • The ending to "Awesome Ants" is mostly the same, with the protagonist waking up from his "nightmare" about supersized ants to find that giant ants keep humans in town-sized vivaria. However, in the book this is explicitly meant to be karmic since it resulted from the food pellets that the boy gave them, and the ants kept growing until they took over. In the episode, it's more of a Tomato Surprise since it's indicated that ants have always been the dominant species on Earth, and he was really just dreaming about a role reversal.
  • Adaptation Distillation:
    • Even though most of the original books were fairly short, a number of them had pretty complex plots. So much so that even the ones that required two parter adaptations mostly retain the basic outlines of the books.
    • The plot of The Haunted House Game retains the "haunted board game" plot, but the TV episode turns the story into a Jumanji-esque adventure as the two kids are sucked into the board game and forced to play for their lives against ghosts planning to add them to their collection.
  • Adaptation Expansion:
    • The TV series, in certain cases (mostly due to the source story being too thin). One notable example is "The Perfect School," a ten-page short story expanded into a two-part TV episode.
    • The Haunted Mask II. The book was simply about Steve, one of the kids Carly Beth scared in the first book, finding an old man mask that gradually began turning him into an old man (pretty much the first Haunted Mask book, only with a supporting character, also from the first book). The TV episode is the same thing, only there's an added subplot about the mask Carly Beth wore in the first book returning from the dead to take revenge on her.
    • Welcome to Dead House features the earlier reveal about the gas leak in Dark Falls via an old newspaper, but Amanda's family don't learn what it really did to the town until later. Also, we learn that the reason Amanda heard voices in her room and the source of the draft she felt came from a hole in her closet. There's also an added subplot about a tacky dried flower wreath Mrs. Benson thinks is a good luck charm but might actually be the cause of the strange occurrences in the house. It's not, but it actually was protecting Amanda's family until they were tricked into destroying it.
    • The House of No Return gives a tragic backstory to the ghosts haunting the titular house. They were a married couple whose infant child died when it fell through a weak spot in the floor. They were so stricken with grief they turned into hermits, spending the rest of their days constantly arguing with each other inside the house before they die. They collect children because they're trying to replace the family they had when they were still alive.
  • Adaptational Heroism:
    • The stage magician Amaz-O in the TV version of "Bad Hare Day", while he was a jerkass in the book.
    • Greg Banks and Shari Walker in the TV version of "Say Cheese and Die!" come off a bit more likeable and heroic than their book counterparts, Greg particularly. For example, in the book he takes the camera back to the abandoned house he found it, all but dragging his friend Shari with him, whereas in the television version he initially goes by himself, believing wrongly that Spidey is holding Shari prisoner there in exchange for the camera, and gets joined by Shari who voluntarily accompanies him. Also, Greg gets to fight back more enthusiastically in the tv version than his counterpart, while Shari snaps Spidey's picture on purpose instead of by accident.
    • Conan Barber from the Monster Blood books, appears only once in the show exclusive episode More Monster Blood, where he not only helps save the day, but afterwards is all but shown to have made a Heel–Face Turn.
    • The Shopkeeper from The Haunted Mask is another example. In the book, he sells Carly Beth a mask that he knows is cursed for only $30. In the TV adaptation, he flat out refuses to sell the mask, and Carly Beth winds up stealing it instead. In the TV adaptation of The Haunted Mask II, he is seen burning all the masks, and he actively attempts to stop Carly Beth's old mask from coming back from the dead to get revenge on her (although he ultimately fails and ends up possessed). None of this happened in the book.
  • Adaptational Karma: Some of the Karma Houdini characters from the book series get punished for their actions in the TV episodes. This includes Judith from Be Careful What You Wish For, who is Taken for Granite, Mr. Saur from Say Cheese And Die Again! who loses all his hair thanks to the camera while everyone laughs at him, the older brother from The Barking Ghost who is the only one who gets turned into a chipmunk.
  • Adaptation Name Change: Wolf in the novel The Werewolf of Fever Swamp is named "Vandal" in the television series. Also, Mr. McCall's first name in the television version of Revenge of the Lawn Gnomes is Major instead of Bill in the novel.
  • Adaptational Villainy: Frequently.
    • The townspeople of Dark Falls become more sinister than they were in the book. In the original story, while the kids liked to mess with Amanda and Josh's heads, there was still an undercurrent of sadness and tragedy in their actions, and they don't seem to particularly enjoy what they have to do to survive. In the TV show, once the truth is revealed, the kids and adults become rather maliciously gleeful as they corner the Bensons.
    • While he wasn't exactly a Nice Guy in the book, Mr. McCall in "Revenge of the Lawn Gnomes" is reimagined as a Drill Sergeant Nasty ex-military man.
    • While Sammy and his parents in the book of "My Best Friend is Invisible" are revealed to be aliens], with Brent being one of the few humans alive, they're still implied to be nice enough people. But in the episode it's revealed that The aliens actually took over Earth and Brent turned invisible to escape them, and the episode ends with Sammy and his parents ganging up on Brent
  • Adaptation Dye-Job: Slappy is a redhead instead of a brunet. Visually this makes him a sort of Composite Character with Mr. Wood, who doesn't appear.
    • The Creeps from "Calling All Creep" are yellow in the show, but purple in the book.
  • Adaptation Personality Change: Mr. McCall was a little more friendly in the book (at least to Joe), in the TV episode Major McCall is cold and militant to his neighbors.
  • Adapted Out: Michael from Say Cheese and Die!, Edna from The Headless Ghost, April, from Let's Get Invisible, Clay from One Day at Horrorland, the mermaids in "Deep Trouble", Gretchen and Clark's dog Charley in "How to Kill a Monster, Joe's dog Buster, Mrs. McCall, and Joe's friend, Michael "Moose" McCall in "Revenge of the Lawn Gnomes", and the author blob from the ending of The Blob That Ate Everyone all don't appear in the TV adaptation.
  • Age Lift: Mr. McCall in "Revenge of the Lawn Gnomes" is at least in his 50s or 60s (old enough to have been in a war), while in the books he's young enough to have a son around the same age as Joe.
  • All Just a Dream: Zigzagged in Awesome Ants. The protagonist's experience turns suspiciously nightmarish as the town is suddenly abandoned, there is a storm outside, and the ants are growing to ever-bigger proportions. Just before he gets killed by one, he wakes up at home and all seems fine. Then he gradually remembers the reality of the situation: in the real world ants are actually mountain-sized, and keep humans secluded in the human equivalent of ant farms and force them to survive on small pellets of blue food. In the book the ants just grew that big rather than always having been so.
  • And I Must Scream:
    • In "Say Cheese and Die!", Spidey gets trapped inside his own camera, until two bullies accidentally set him free.
    • In "The Haunted House Game", any player who dies inside the game becomes a new game piece.
    • In "Chillogy", Karl tries to turn one of the kids he torments into a sentient plastic figure.
  • Annoying Younger Sibling: "Click." As far as Seth is concerned, this applies to his tap-dancing sister.
  • Arbitrary Skepticism: Jillian gets hit with this hard during the climax of "Bride of the Living Dummy," wherein she doesn't believe Mary Ellen is alive while her and Katie are running from Slappy.
  • Ascended Extra: The evil magician mentioned in the book version of "Bad Hare Day" appears in the TV episode named El Sydney.
  • Asshole Victim: Major McCall from "Revenge Of The Lawn Gnomes," Ritter from "Deep Trouble," Judith in "Be Careful What You Wish For," Mr. Wright from "A Shocker On Shock Street" and Adam from "The Blob That Ate Everyone."
  • Baleful Polymorph:
    • In the first "Chillogy" episode, Karl convinces Jessica to sell lemonade for exorbitant prices by artificially driving up demand. Then he exposes her and turns her into a Pig Man for being a "greedy little pig".
    • In "Be Careful What You Wish For", everyone in the world except Samantha is turned into a fly by the Literal Genie witch when she blurts out "All of you just buzz off!". In the book, everyone simply vanished until she could correct the badly-worded wish.
  • Bowdlerise: A few examples, but a particularly notable one is that the rifles from "Welcome to Camp Nightmare" are replaced with crossbow-like weapons in the TV adaptation.
  • British Stuffiness: In the episode adaption of "A Night in Terror Tower", English locals in a restaurant are portrayed as stereotypically snobbish and prim and proper.
  • Canada Does Not Exist: Toronto, Canada was one of the series' primary filming locations, but most episodes were set in a vaguely North American town.
  • Cassandra Truth: In the Night of the Living Dummy series, every kid try to tell them that their ventriloquist dummy happens to be alive, but no one believes them.
    • In "The Ghost Next Door", Danny tries to tell Hannah that she's a ghost, but his mother never believes him since she's deaf.
  • Cat Scare: "The Girl Who Cried Monster".
  • Content Warnings: The Fox Kids run coincided with the rise of the American TV rating system, so many episodes started with a warning that "Goosebumps is rated TV-Y7, because it may be too spooky for kids under seven." Originally, it had their own rating called "GB-7," but when the FCC and the television industry created the content ratings that are imposed on all TV shows (except for news shows and sports), they had to conform to that. During the broadcasts on the Hub, the warning returned, stating, "The following program is rated TV-Y7-FV. Some scenes may be too spooky for children under 7. We recommend watching together as a family."
  • Death by Adaptation:
    • The Swamp Hermit in The Werewolf of Fever Swamp lives in the book, but in the episode he makes a Heroic Sacrifice to save Grady.
    • In the TV version of One Day at Horrorland, the Morris family wins a car after surviving Horrorland - and then are shown to drive over a cliff and probably die. We then see the Horrors watching the end of the show. The ending of the book had a slightly less cruel twist where after escaping from Horrorland in a stolen bus, they discover one of the Horrors has followed them and offers them tickets back to the park. There's also a sequel.
    • The TV adaptation of Revenge of the Lawn Gnomes ends with Major McCall, who is just Mr. McCall in the books, being turned into a lawn ornament by the gnomes.
    • In the novel Welcome to Dead House, The Power of the Sun only temporarily kills the undead townspeople of Dark Falls. The Twist Ending reveals they just came back to life and are luring a new family in. In the TV episode, however, there's no indication that any of the individuals (amounting to most of the town) disintegrated by the sun will return, with the Twist Ending being that the Bensons' dog Petey is now undead.
  • Demoted to Extra: Uncle Cal in Night of the Living Dummy 3. In the book, he stayed at Trina and Dan's along with Zane, but in the adaptation he merely drops him off and doesn't appear again until the ending.
  • Drill Sergeant Nasty: In the TV adaptation of Revenge of the Lawn Gnomes, Mr. McCall is renamed to Major McCall and is a mean ex-army officer.
  • Disproportionate Retribution: In the episode Don't Go to Sleep, Matt is taken to court by the Reality Police and put on trial simply because he said his reality sucked. It doesn't help that that he's ''[[HereWeGoAgain once again'' forced to endure it simply because he said his reality was boring.
  • Endless Corridor: In the live-action version of "Haunted House Game", the protagonists have to escape the haunted house itself to win the game with their lives. The corridor to the front door stretches out into infinity before them, requiring them to pull it towards them with a fishing rod.
  • The End... Or Is It?:
    • "A Night In Terror Tower": The two protagonists and the sorcerer escape execution by traveling to the future, but at the last moment it's revealed that the Lord High Executioner had obtained one of the magic stones. (Though this is only in the TV episode, the book has a happy ending.)
    • "Stay Out of the Basement": Margaret hears the flowers claiming to be her real father. But are any of them really her father or just flowers that developed sapience from being near her father's basement?
  • Egopolis: Karl Knave, the villain of the "Chillogy" episodes, makes his residence in a miniature town he rules called Karlsville.
  • Episode on a Plane: There's an episode called "More Monster Blood", in which the ravenous green Blob Monster is released onboard a passenger plane and proceeds to devour everyone. This plot was exclusive to the series.
  • Evil Old Folks: In the "Haunted House Game", one of the spots the two kids land on takes them to a house where two old women are playing a game. They're supposed to ask them for something, which turns out to be an amulet that saps the life out of the girl's arm.
  • Evil Wears Black: The Lord High Executioner from "A Night in Terror Tower" wears a sinister black outfit, combined with a black Beard of Evil.
  • Exorcist Head: Night of the Living Dummy III ends with Zane doing this, saying "I'll be seeing you real soon", and turning his head back around to face forward.
  • Expy: Curtis from "More Monster Blood" seems to be loosely based on Evan's cousin Kermit from the books, but played as a Lovable Nerd instead of a Nerdy Bully.
  • For the Evulz: Karl from the TV-only story Chillogy, the ruler of a miniature toy town aptly called Karlsville. He's never given a back story but when asked why he's bothering to turn one of the main characters into a plastic slave, Karl simply states "Everyone needs a hobby." His hobby is to turn kids into his slaves.
  • Fun-Hating Confiscating Adult: Major McCall in the Revenge of the Lawn Gnomes adaptation, who confiscates anything that lands on his lawn.
  • The Game Plays You: The show adapted "The Haunted House Game" story, but changed almost everything. Instead the Haunted House Game is a Jumanji-esque boardgame that two kids are sucked inside of and have to find the exit of the haunted house to escape alive.
  • Gratuitous Laboratory Flasks: In the episode "The Haunted Mask," when Carly Beth sneaks into the back room at the costume store, the shopkeeper has a chemistry set on a table for no readily apparent reason which passes by in the foreground. All of the vessels are filled with a bright blue liquid. We later learn he makes the haunted masks himself (and indeed his backstory in the Goosebumps Collector's Cap Book pegs him as a failed chemistry student), but the glassware in the episode doesn't seem to serve much purpose besides being set dressing because the shopkeeper never uses any of it or alludes to its role at all.
  • Genre Anthology: With the exception of some sequel episodes, each one is based off of one of the Goosebumps books and are thus their own contained stories.
  • Greater-Scope Villain: The TV series implies that it's actually R.L. Stine himself who's behind everything in all the stories (in a meta sense he is) and the ultimate evil of the series, even though he doesn't appear in any of them. In the intro, a man in black walks up to a town, and his briefcase (clearly marked with his name) flies open. The papers fly out and morph into the Goosebumps logo, which proceeds to spread misery around the town until it reaches a creepy mansion, which then shows clips of some of the stories. In the intro of the last season, he has the ability to turn into a swarm of bats.
  • Here We Go Again!: Several of the endings, in correlation with the books. In fact, My Hairiest Adventure ends with this trope being quoted word-for-word.
  • Informed Ability: Slappy claims that reading the incantation not only brings him to life, but makes the one reading it his "slave." We're never given any indication that this is the case. His second and third appearances at least give him the power to sorta back this up (he can turn people into dummies and possess people), but in both cases these powers are shown being used against people who didn't summon him.
  • Jump Scare: At the beginning of "Revenge of the Lawn Gnomes", a gnome suddenly seem to have attacked Joe after they took them inside the garage.
  • Karma Houdini: Karl, the villain of the three-part episode "Chillogy". At the end the heroes believe that one of the miniature figures they're burning in the fireplace has to be Karl, but it turns out he escaped the destruction of Karlsville unharmed. The episode ends with him laughing evilly at his apparent luck.
  • Karmic Transformation: In "Chillogy", Jessica uses her lemonade stand in Karlsville to try to scam the townsfolk by holding back her supply to drive up the demand. When this is revealed and she's called a "greedy little pig", she turns into a Pig Girl.
  • Mouth Cam: Used in The Blob That Ate Everyone before the blob eats Adam.
  • Mythology Gag: The TV episode of "Be Careful What You Wish For" ends with a crow perching on top of the statue of Judith, Samantha's bully. The book ends with Sam being turned into a bird (but never revealed what kind) after Clarissa becomes Judith's wishmaster. In both versions, Judith smiles.
  • Named by the Adaptation: The evil sorcerer mentioned in "Bad Hare Day" is given the name El Sydney.
  • Ninja Pirate Zombie Robot: The people of Dark Falls. They're undead, but also mutants, and also possess some qualities of vampires (such as being Weakened by the Light) and in addition to this, they need (or think they need) to eat healthy, living people to survive. So they're mutant vampire cannibals.
  • Now You Tell Me: In "How to Kill a Monster", Clark says this after he and Gretchen read the second later after killing the monster, explain that they have monster trapped inside and warn them not to let it out.
  • Our Zombies Are Different: "How I Got My Shrunken Head" has the villain experimenting on his henchmen to activate the powers of Jungle Magic. Instead, they're possessed by an unknown energy that reduces them to mindless slaves.
  • Population: X, and Counting: The Chillogy three-parter features the miniature town of Karlsville, which draws people into it through various means. Whenever this happens, the population sign automatically changes. When the two protagonists from the first two episodes must re-enter Karlsville in order to save the younger brother of the male protagonist, they manually change the sign in order to transport themselves there.
  • Promoted to Love Interest: Done mildly with Steve and Carly Beth in the episode versions of "The Haunted Mask" and "The Haunted Mask II." In the first, Chuck and Steve both claim that they only teased Carly Beth "because we liked her," something the book never mentioned or even hinted at. In the second, Steve gets his mask off through The Power of Love when he makes a Heroic Sacrifice to save Carly Beth from the first mask (something that never even came up in the book, which had a significantly different plot).
  • Race Lift: Iris from Calling All Creeps who is described in the book as having blond hair and blue eyes, is Filipino in the TV adaptation. Also, Danny from Go Eat Worms! and Aaron from The Girl Who Cried Monster, who are both described as red-haired, are black in the TV adaptation.
  • Recursive Canon: In "Attack of the Mutant", an advertisement of the Goosebumps TV show appears on the side of the bus Skipper rides in.
  • Related in the Adaptation: Freddy Martinez and Cara, best friends in the book "Vampire Breath", are said to look like siblings. In the episode, they actually are siblings (thus Cara becomes a vampire instead of a werewolf).
  • Say My Name: In "Say Cheese and Die -Again!", Greg calls out Spidey's name when he couldn't find the camera.
  • Something Only They Would Say: In Stay Out of the Basement, Margaret knows which Mr. Brewer is her real father when the real one calls her by her nickname, "Princess".
  • Sore Loser: In "The Haunted House Game", the two villains refuse to let the two protagonists leave the house even after they won the game fair and square.
  • Spared by the Adaptation:
    • Spidey gets killed by the camera in the book of Say Cheese and Die!. While in the TV episode, he becomes trapped in the camera and eventually released by the two bullies who picked on Craig, but strangely doesn't appear in the TV episode of "Say Cheese and Die - Again!" (except in flashback).
    • In the book version of Be Careful What You Wish For, when Samantha wishes that Clarissa would grant wishes to someone else, Clarissa becomes Judith's wishmaster and Judith wishes that Samantha would "fly away." Samantha is then turned into a bird and is happy that she no longer has to deal with being bullied and mocked by her peers. In the TV version, Judith, after Samantha wishes that Clarissa would grant wishes to someone else, wishes that wherever she was in the world, people would stop and admire her. Clarissa then turns Judith into a park statue where, true to her word, people stopped and admired her.
    • Zane's camera in Night of the Living Dummy 3. In the book it was smashed by Slappy to get Trina and Dan into trouble, but in the TV episode it remains intact as here Zane is the one who does all the mean acts (including trashing his room and ruining the family dinner, both of which were done by Slappy in the book). So it wouldn't make sense for him to smash something so dear to him (which in the book, Trina points out to Dan, which helps convince them Zane is no longer responsible.)
  • Supernatural Gold Eyes: In the show's intro, when the G of the Goosebumps logo passes over a dog (the dog form of Larry at the end of My Hairiest Adventure), and the dog's eyes turn gold.
  • Synchro-Vox: A frequent special (d)effect, used to depict Carley Beth's head speaking in "The Haunted Mask" and the baby's dialogue in "Strained Peas."
  • Taken for Granite:
    • In Be Careful What You Wish For, Judith, after Samantha wishes that Clarissa would grant wishes to someone else, wishes that wherever she was in the world, people would stop and admire her. Clarissa then turns Judith into a park statue where, true to her word, people stopped and admired her.
    • In "Revenge of the Lawn Gnomes," Major McCall (Mr. McCall in the book) is turned into a lawn ornament at the end.
  • They Killed Kenny Again: No matter how many times Slappy gets destroyed, he's somehow able to be repaired by the next episode.
  • Ultimate Authority Mayor: Justified in the multi-part episode "Chillogy", whose Monster of the Week, known only as Karl, is the mayor of a miniature town that sucks kids into it so he can torment and kill them. Since Karlsville itself is a supernatural environment controlled by Karl, he's a full-blown Reality Warper while inside of it.
  • Un-Installment:
    • Return of the Mummy was adapted. The Curse of the Mummy's Tomb, which it was a sequel to, wasn't.
    • While both Night of the Living Dummy II and III (and Bride) made their way into the TV series, the original Night of the Living Dummy was never adapted from the novel.
  • Weakened by the Light: As in the book, the undead denizens of Dark Falls in "Welcome to Dead House" find direct sunlight intolerable. Instead of pushing a tree over to expose the sun, the Bensons smash out a window inside of a house during The Siege after the townspeople have managed to get inside of the house, causing their undead neighbors to disintegrate into Empty Piles of Clothing. Unlike the book, it appears as if this does permanently kill them, and the Twist Ending is something completely different.
  • Wham Line: From "Welcome to Dead House."
    Mrs. Somerset: You thought that wreath would keep you safe. Well, you were right.
  • What Happened to the Mouse?: After Spidey's released from the camera, we're never told what happens to him. Even in "Say Cheese and Die - Again!", he's only seen in a flashback.
  • Win to Exit: In "The Haunted House Game" episode, two kids are sucked into a magical board game inside a creepy abandoned house. The only way to get out is to win the game while not getting killed.
  • Wounded Gazelle Gambit: In "The Haunted House Game" episode, a little girl lures older kids to the abandoned house by claiming that she lost her cat there so that they'll find and play the deadly board game. At the end of the episode she performs the same trick with another set of victims.


Example of: