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Series / Goosebumps

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

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.

For tropes from individual episodes based on the original books, see the book pages.

The TV series in general provides examples of:

  • Adaptational Alternate Ending: The TV adaptation changed a few endings from the books. Most of them make the ending happier, but A Night in Terror Tower alters the end to suggest the Lord High Executioner is still able to come after them.
  • 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 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. Calling All Creeps, for instance, streamlines the story by removing a set of flashbacks.
  • Adaptation Expansion: This happens sometimes, mostly due to the source story being too thin. The Haunted Mask II, for instance, adds a subplot about the original Haunted Mask returning to try and claim Carly-Beth as a host again.
  • Annoying Younger Sibling: Quite a few of them, just like the books, with the most notable examples including Jamie in Click and Tara in The Cuckoo Clock of Doom.
  • Asshole Victim: Several. 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.
  • Canada Does Not Exist: Toronto, Canada was one of the series' primary filming locations, but most episodes were set in a vaguely American town. This trope is most obvious in "Attack of the Mutant", when a boy asks an old man if he can see a strange building in front of them. The old man says, "building? Where?" while the camera unintentionally gets a very good, clear shot of the C.N. Tower (one of North America's tallest skyscrapers). The building the boy was referring to in the story was actually a bright pink building that his comic book hero the "Masked Mutant" lives in, which nobody but he can see. This episode also wants viewers to pretend they don't see the TTC (Toronto Transit Commission) logo on all the distinct red-and-white buses and streetcars.
  • Compressed Adaptation: The Adaptation Distillation of the books sometimes would amount to this if necessary, especially if said episode was only a one-parter. Night of the Living Dummy II, for example, omits the majority of Slappy's pranks, compressing them to a single act.
  • 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 were 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."
  • Genre Anthology: With the exception of some sequel episodes, each one is based on 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, the adaptation of My Hairiest Adventure ends with this trope being quoted word-for-word.
  • Named by the Adaptation: The episodes will sometimes give the characters last names that the book did not mention, such has Mark Rowe in How I Got My Shrunken Head. They will also give the parents' first names, such as Mark's mother Alice.
  • Nobody Poops: Largely played straight, and Toilet Humor is completely absent. When bathrooms do appear, they are being used for other purposes (such as brushing one’s teeth or washing one’s face). The one notable exception is “Strained Peas”, where poop and vomit feature prominently, but that episode was about a baby.
  • Synchro-Vox: A frequent special effect, used in The Haunted Mask, Strained Peas and My Best Friend is Invisible.
  • 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.

"More Monster Blood" provides examples of:

"Chillogy" provides examples of:

  • Alliterative Name: K arl K nave.
  • And I Must Scream: Karl tries to turn one of the kids he torments into a sentient plastic figure.
  • Disproportionate Retribution: The townspeople decide to cut Jessica up and eat her after she's turned into a human-pig hybrid, simply because she scammed them out of money.
  • Egopolis: Karl Knave makes his residence in a miniature town he rules called Karlsville.
  • Forced Transformation: In the first part, 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".
  • For the Evulz: Karl, 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.
  • Karma Houdini: Karl. 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 doing an Evil Laugh at his apparent luck. note 
  • Karmic Transformation: 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.
  • Plaster Cast Doodling: Greg's father got into a car accident which left him in the hospital. His family visited him and wrote messages on his leg cast.
  • Population: X, and Counting: 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.
  • Recursive Canon: A few of the books can be seen on the bookshelf in the background of part two.
  • Ultimate Authority Mayor: Justified, 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.

"Welcome to Dead House" provides examples of:

  • Black Comedy: The episode is extremely serious and dark in tone through Parts 1 and 2, until a scene where Compton Dawes, the family real-estate agent, creeps out from under the family's vehicle where he was apparently hiding, proceeding to chase them as they speed away, shouting loudly, "please! You dopes, can't you understand? I NEED YOU!!! Come back, come back! Dark Falls needs you! ...I'M HUNGREEEEEEEE!!!".
  • Cassandra Truth: Amanda feels like there is something seriously wrong with her new house, and with the town of Dark Falls in general. Even after seeing an adult man peeping at her from a window adjacent to her bedroom, a ghostly boy wandering around, a deceased girl looming over her bed and a group of menacing kids weilding baseball bats, her parents don't believe her while her younger brother, Josh, just expresses annoyance at the house because it "stinks".
  • Company Town: The rural town of Dark Falls revolves around the now-defunct Dark Falls Chemical Factory, where most of the now unemployed residents used to work.
  • Evil-Detecting Dog: Petey, the family dog, is the only character actually aware that the Bensons have just moved into a total hellhole. The family of course doesn't see what the dog can sense until it's too late.
  • Good Luck Charm: The Benson family puts up a fugly-as-hell wreath, appearing to be made of dead leaves and human hair, which mother Penelope Benson proclaims is an old good luck charm from her side of the family, which father Jack Benson and realtor Compton Dawes both hate. The wreath is sadly later burned in the fireplace, which turns out to have been a bad idea since it really was lucky and was the only thing protecting the Bensons from the malicious townsfolk of Dark Falls.
  • Limited Wardrobe: While the Bensons all change their clothes and wear multiple different outfits throughout the show, the townsfolk of Dark Falls consistently wear the exact same thing, and all in very dark colours. The most prominent example is Karen Thurston, who wears a gray shirt with an ambiguous brand logo on it (a letter 'G' with a crown over it). It's unclear why the Dark Falls townsfolk never change clothes, but implied to either be sheer poverty or, worse still, that these are the clothes they were buried in when they were killed.
  • Nightmarish Factory: The few glimpses viewers get of the shady Dark Falls Chemical Factory are aesthetically hideous, including a slapdash plywood sign with the words "Dark Falls Chemicals: Closed - Danger!" painted on it. Making matters even worse, the Benson family learns that not only is everyone in town unemployed since the factory's closure, but in a past accident reported in the town's local newspaper, many workers were killed by an accident at the factory, which mutated them all into beings that feed on human blood and can't go into direct sunlight.
  • Our Zombies Are Different: While there's a lot of fan speculation and debate over just what the townspeople of Dark Falls are, if one follows the idea that they're zombies, they are quite different from conventional zombies in that they easily disguise as living people, speak quite well, can run extremely quickly, die when exposed to sunlight, and don't eat brains or organs (or they don't suggest so, anyway).

Other episodes provide examples of:

  • Cassandra Truth: In the Night of the Living Dummy series, every kid tries to tell their parents that their ventriloquist dummy happens to be alive, but no one believes them.
  • 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 sort of 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.
  • Jacob Marley Apparel: Averted in "Ghost Beach", where the ghost kids who died in the 17th century wear contemporary 1990s attire. Played straight in "The House Of No Return", where the ghost couple wears very old-fashioned clothes, hinting they've been dead for at least fifty years if not more. The wife appears to be wearing a wedding dress, which fits with the couple being newly married when they died.
  • They Killed Kenny Again: No matter how many times Slappy gets destroyed, he's somehow able to be repaired by the next episode.


Video Example(s):


Goosebumps [Gwendolyn's Reveal]

Scene from the Goosebumps tv series, thirty sixth episode - Vampire's Breath. Freddy and Cara wind up chased into an underground lair where Nightwing's vampire minion rest. They run into a girl, Gwendolyn, who claims she's a human slave of the vampires and offer help. When Nightwing capture Cara and holds her hostage for his vial of Vampire's Breath. Gwendolyn calls for Freddy to throw him the vial which he does... only for her to reveal her true nature.

How well does it match the trope?

5 (2 votes)

Example of:

Main / FaceRevealingTurn

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