Accidental Innuendo: 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"). 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.
Whether or not Slappy has a bit of an inferiority complex to Mr Wood, the latter shockingly considered even more violent and sadistic than his more famous counterpart being all too willing to try to murder people and animals and Slappy's escalating aggression is him trying to constantly up the ante", so to speak.
There's a common fan theory that Slappy and Mr. Wood are pedophiles, as they seem obsessed with making little girls their "slaves". In later books - especially in the Slappy World series - many of his attempted slaves are boys. Also, in "Night Of The Living Dummy 3" he attempts to enslave the brother of the main character as well.
At the end of Attack of the Jack O'Lanterns its left ambiguous whether Shane and Shana really ate the missing people. The same could be said of the episode, though The Reveal is given in a much less joking manner.
Ass Pull: Some of the Twist Endings come across this way, the worst is probably My Best Friend Is Invisible where it turns out the characters are all aliens and Brent is a human whose parents made him invisible to hide him. But there are several problems with this twist: A. There's no foreshadowing that even remotely hints at this besides the characters' lack of any physical descriptions (which is not all that unusual) and a throwaway joke about the main character growing a tail, B. From what little description of the aliens we get, they aren't at all humanoid (apparently they have two heads and really long tentacle-like arms), yet their everyday life seems to work the same as if they were humans, and C. There are a couple things from modern-day Earth mentioned (such as Corn Pops), which aliens would not reasonably have. All in all, it seems likely the author just made up the Twist Ending right when he got to the end of the book and didn't think it out ahead of time.
And You Thought It Would Fail: Scholastic only commissioned Stine to write a few at the start, thinking the series wouldn't catch on. Needless to say, they were wrong.
Awesome Art: Tim Jacobus's iconic, creepy book covers. They straddled the Uncanny Valley in just the right way, making the mundane eerie, and the supernatural truly atmospheric. Even the Goosebumps wordmark was textured so that it seemed to have Goosebumps itself.
Base-Breaking Character: Depending on who you ask, Slappy is either an amusing and surprisingly menacing villain who perfectly encapsulates the fear and humor factor of the franchise, or an obnoxious prick whose creepiness is just cringe-worthy and has long overstayed his welcome with how formulaic his stories can be.
There's a dream sequence in Attack of the Jack O'Lanterns where Drew imagines her and the others becoming the latest editions of an elderly couples' trick-or-treater collection. It only serves as an extra scare before the real plot gets going.
I Live In Your Basement is a big lipped alligator book, but a couple particuarly odd scenes stand out:
Near the beginning of the book, Marco gets hit in the head with a baseball bat by mistake and has to stay home until he recovers. At one point after he goes back to school, the teacher mentions they are learning about how healthcare works and asks if Marco can tell about his stay at the hospital. Marco inexplicably has no memory of being in the hospital, and doesn't even realize he doesn't remember until the teacher mentions this. This whole thing is never explained or brought up again
Much later, after Marco has seen Keith a few times and had other bizarre things happen, his mom takes him to the doctor. After he tells the doctor everything that happened, the doctor says he wants to take out Marco's brain and look at it under a microscope. Even more bizarrely, Marco's mom doesn't see anything odd or scary about this. None of this is ever explained (unless it's meant to be a Stealth Pun about how Marco's brain is so small you'd need a microscope to see it,) and it's never brought up again. And it turns out to be irrelevant, as the first half of the book is All Just a Dream that ends before the brain-removal takes place.
Broken Base: As is the case with a long running series like this with multiple spin-offs, there's fierce debate wherever it stopped or started being good in the first place or whether or not Seasonal Rot kicked in at some point.
The tone of the books noticeably changed as the series went on, and there can be a bit of a debate over which style fit the books better: the more grounded, moodier, methodically paced and character-driven early entries or the more flamboyant, high-concept, Denser and Wackier meta-horror with a heavier emphasis on black-comic irony that started cropping up around One Day At Horrorland (with some notable exceptions).
There's also debate over the worthiness of the spinoffs.
Goosebumps 2000: a welcome attempt at Darker and Edgier storylines that were a bit more grown-up in nature or just second-rate leftovers from a past-it's-prime original anthology?
The Goosebumps Horrorland revival: a fun way to play with the Goosebumps mythology, or just a blatant nostalgic cash-in that still doesn't really capture the spirit or appeal of the original series?
Crazy Awesome: 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.
Creator's Pet: It's quite easy to accuse Slappy of being this, as he gets the most exposure of any other character despite being one of the most unlikable and least interesting, with him being the focus of two movies and his own spinoff series. It gets worse when there are even endings where he ''wins''. Several have pointed out Slappy isn't anywhere near the threat Stine wants to portray him as. Stine has also admitted that Slappy is his favorite villain to write for.
"Common Knowledge": For years, people claimed that Horrors of the Black Ring was later published as The Horror of the Black Ring. In reailty, the latter title only appeared on what seems to be an early version of the cover and it has only ever been published as the former title.
Creepy Cute: Some of the monsters could be downright Moe-ish rather than scary, though not all were intended as the actual villains of the story. Egg Monsters From Mars seems to intentionally invoke this trope.
Cult Classic: A few of the books in the series aren't as popular as many of the other well-known books (such as The Haunted Mask or Night of the Living Dummy), but there are still plenty of these that has a devoted following in spite of their meager success and/or popularity.
How I Learned To Fly isn't about typical supernatural fear, but rather the fear of exploiting others' talents and being trapped in the burden of fame.
I Live in Your Basement revolves more around psychological fear through one acute Mind Screw
Werewolf Skin features refreshingly Genre Savvy characters for the series, an interesting spin on the werewolf legend, and a legitimately surprising Twist Ending).
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.
Series 2000 in general got some enjoying the Darker and Edgier nature of it, with entries such as Jekyll And Heidi receiving praise for feeling more mature than most entries in the series. Creature Teacher even got a follow-up in the Most Wanted series.
Another example is Dr. Maniac Will See You Now. Every single character aside from the protagonist is unlikable in some form. Ernie is a brat, the parents are constantly arguing and putting Richard Dreezer, and Bree is an Alpha Bitch. Even the actual villains look better. After a while, it's hard to really care that much about what's going on.
Tim Swanson in Bad Hare Day may as well be Todd Barstow, minus the pranks and fascination with worms, the latter of which is replaced with the former protagonist's love for magic. The difference here is that while Todd is intentionally written as an asshole who never hides the fact that he's a jerk, Tim tries to paint himself as underappreciated by his parents and everyone else, even though he's just a complete nuisance towards everyone who watches his inept attempts to perform magic tricks, he's a terrible friend to Foz by forcing him to bring the latter's sister's rabbit and not caring what would happen to it when he almost loses it, he steals his idol's magic kit, and he only cares about how his parents would react when they discover his sister has transformed into a rabbit, and not the concern for his sister herself.
Jillian and Jackson Gerard from Help We Have Strange Powers might be two of the worst examples in recent history. Despite being given the titular powers, the twins are lazy,mean-spirited brats who spend all their time causing trouble, despise poor Artie and Nina Lerner just for being too polite, and spend most of their time with powers bullying them, to the point of contemplating stranding them on the moon for fun. They only start being nice to them when it's discovered the Lerners have powers themselves. Their gifts are completely undeserved, and some reviews cite the book would've been better following the Lerners instead.
Slappy, who wasn't even the main villain in his first story, ended up becoming the series' mascot.
Della 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.
Esoteric Happy Ending: Can frequently come up when there is almost always a major twist ending for each outing, a recurring example though is the books that end with the main protagonist's Up to ElevenAnnoying Younger Sibling (and sometimes outright tormenter) either being Ret-Gone-d from existence or replaced with a more congenial counterpart. A big debate whether that is a Surprisingly Happy Ending or Nightmare Fuel or, since in some situations the protagonist could go and rectify the situation but either shows apathy or an outright aversion towards doing so, a borderline Moral Event Horizon for them overall.
First Installment Wins: Many people consider the original 62-book series to be the best compared to its numerous spinoffs.
Fandom Rivalry: A minor one with Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark. While neither stories are especially scary by regular horror standards due to being aimed at children, some prefer Scary Stories due to Stephen Gammell's illustrations being much more frightening than Tim Jacobus's cover art, while others find Goosebumps to be more entertaining due to how bizarre and fantastic they are.
For the original series, generally considered with Let's Get Invisible for successfully introducing a more mysterious Greater-Scope Villain, as well as being the first genuine Ensemble Piece that had it's main adolescent character's actions be noticeably influenced by a more grounded social dynamic- which made the consequences of the story despite all it's supernatural elements feel much more human and believable than ever before.
Definitely more of a Broken Base, but some say the series truly started hitting its creative peak around the last few books of the series that continued into Series 2000.
The first story in the third Tales books has a part where the teacher is calling the kids, with their last name first. Thus, at one point she calls for Drake, Josh
Little Shop of Hamsters has the protagonist visiting a restaurant owned by someone with the last name Belcher.
Idiot Plot: In a book where preteens are the main protagonists of each novel, this is prone to come up every once in a while.
In all of the Living Dummy books, someone leaves a piece of paper inside the dummy with the magic words needed to bring it to life written on it. While the main characters aren't at fault, as they have no way of knowing that's what the words do, you have to wonder what kind of moron would leave a piece of paper saying how to animate a magic dummy inside the freaking dummy if they know it's evil.
Les Yay: Sabrina kissing Carly Beth on the cheek as her symbol of love in Escape from Horrorland.
Love to Hate: Several villains, such as Slappy, the Horrors, the Masked Mutant, Mr. Toggle, the Beasts, the Haunted Masks and the Creeps. While monstrous both literally and figuratively, they're often popular among readers just for how insanely campy and weird, yet genuinely frightening they can be for kid's books.
Mr. Gray from Egg Monsters From Mars crosses the line when he decides to kill Dana over a perceived slight.
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.
It's easy to feel sorry for Della when we find out she died at summer camp, and she has been trapped in a limbo version of it for years while the counselors covered up the accident. Sarah herself admits that she feels bad for Della. Della crosses it, however, by revealing that she goes on a murdering spree, trying to kill any kid unlucky enough to have a Near-Death Experience and convince them to cross over to the Other Side with her as a permanent buddy. Sarah wasn't even the first victim! It turns out that Della succeeded in killing Briana the previous year, and went after Sarah when Briana refused to spend the rest of her afterlife with her murderer.
Narm Charm: What the books are often fondly remembered for.
Nightmare Retardant: Often the complaints of the later books in the series, as the settings got more and more outlandish and the final twists more often that not feeling like total AssPulls.
Many of the Horrorland books retain the series' trademark twist endings. Except that there's another piece of story to continue on with, meaning the endings are either ignored, or resolved off-screen. After hearing Michael shrug off his entire family mutating into alien monsters, it's not hard to imagine every twist ending being undone without consequence.
In "The Dummy Meets The Mummy," Slappy is brought home to a new family, as per norm, but immediately opens with the insults and vomiting on people without any of his usual patience. As a result, the family immediately chucks him back in his case and chucks him out. It honestly comes off like Slappy just isn't trying anymore.
There are multiple books were the protagonist has a sibling who bullies or otherwise abuses them, oftentimes causing them more suffering than the scary/supernatural thing in the book, with The Cuckoo Clock Of Doom being the most extreme example. Disturbingly, it often seems like the parents are aware of this but don't do anything to stop it.
Despite the cover indicating that the horror would come from Jack realizing he's thousands of feet off the ground with little to no control, that is not the case. Nor is it that his rival Wilson found the formula and used his new flying powers to humiliate Jack again in front of Mia. No, the real horror is when the rest of the world finds out about the boys' new abilities. Jack's own parents turn him into their cash cow, booking him for testing, PR events, and experiments. it takes the joy out of flying, and Jack implies he doesn't have a choice. Wilson's parents do the same thing offscreen, giving him the moniker Wonder Wilson and he's forced to drop out of school, isolating him from his classmates. Anyone familiar with Former Child Star stories can see the Financial Abuse and strain. You can't blame Jack for pretending he lost his powers, and doesn't dare tell anyone, not even Mia.
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, whose 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.
Sarah from The Curse of Camp Cold Lake gets this treatment in most fanfiction involving her, which portray her as a bully or even have her turn evil. Fans in general exaggerate how bad she is and act like she was a cruel bully hell bent on making her bunkmates miserable and ruining their camp experience, when she felt guilty for her mistakes, thanked Briana for trading bunks with her, and apologized for accidentally revealing Jan's asthma (one could say that this accidental reveal may as well be Sarah doing Jan a favor, as the latter was adamant about hiding her asthma and doing so could have easily put her in danger had her condition flared up at any moment), as well as immediately forgiving her bunkmates and being completely happy with making a fresh start both times they apologized.
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 , the Monster Blood books and Say Cheese and Die Again due to how unlikable Sarah Maas, Evan Ross and Greg Banks are.
Jan, Meg and Briana, Sarah's bunkmates in the same book. They react to Sarah's annoying, but minor mistakes that she was genuinely apologetic for by cruelly bullying her. At one point, Meg and Briana apologize for pretending there were firecrackers in the fire and causing Sarah to run away screaming and get laughed at, only for it to be a trick to put a snake down her back. When Jan is Sarah's canoeing partner, she capsizes the canoe they're in while knowing Sarah's a bad swimmer just because she accidentally revealed she had asthma, and later lies to Liz that Sarah did it.
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.
Dr. Gray from Egg Monsters From Mars is disliked for being a bland, stereotypical Mad Scientist with no real standout qualities, derailing the plot away from what should have been about the alien egg monsters, being extraordinarily incompetent at his own job, and trying to kill a kid for no good reason. Oh, and his kidnapping of said kid is full of uncomfortable subtext.
Roxanne in My Best Friend Is Invisible is the most despised character in the book, and for very good reasons too. She is very abrasive and harsh towards Sammy most of the time, and despite being his friend, she is even willing to humiliate him in school by telling everyone about his imaginary friend without a single lick of remorse. While she has become nicer after learning Sammy was telling the truth, that does nothing to make up for the way she's treated Sammy beforehand.
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, which is only connected to the first one by the title), non-sensical and full of retcons (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.
Seasonal Rot: With some notable exceptions, the later books in the original series and much of the spinoffs are criticized for relying heavily on Recycled Plots and overly self-referential storylines, as well as going for intentionally cheesy Black Comedy at the expense of actual horror. It certainly isn't helped by the fact that the original series ends with what is often considered the worst book of the original series, Monster Blood IV.
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.
Monster Blood for Breakfast! completely scrapped the cast of the original four books, which made it a lot more easier to read especially since Bradley gets his comeuppance at the end when his ivy plant starts to wrap around his legs and Matt deliberately chooses not to help him.
Say Cheese And Die Screaming replaced the cast of the first two books and introduced Julie Martin, who immediately proved to be smarter and more endearing than Greg Banks when she tried her hardest to get rid of the Evil Camera.
Strawman Has a Point: There's a part in Revenge of the Lawn Gnomes where the gnomes wreck the neighbor's melons and Mindy accuses Joe of doing so, getting him in trouble. We are supposed to think she's a bitch for getting him in trouble for something he didn't do even though (as she herself even points out) all the evidence points to him, there's no evidence of his claim that the gnomes are alive and evil, and he has a habit of telling tall tales and pulling pranks, meaning she's quite justified in thinking he did it.
Emory Banyon in Scream School is too obsssed with getting Jake to admit he's scared but he has a point about how it's not healthy to hide your feelings like Jake does. Granted, he doesn't exactly make the best case with his actions.
How I Learned to Fly: Fame isn't all it's cracked up to be, and petty competition is pointless.
Are You Terrified Yet?: While it's great if you can get over your fears, there are some things you will always be afraid of, and that's okay.
Take That, Scrappy!: Those who despise Slappy and see him as a smug, pathetic creep might get some enjoyment out of "Slappy's Nightmare" where he's put under a death curse, cowed into doing things he hates, has his efforts sabotaged, and finally gets chucked into a trash compactor. He's not even let off the hook by the twist ending and is still at Jimmy O James' mercy.
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).
Sarah Maas' more mature, social, level-headed younger brother Aaron in The Curse of Camp Cold Lake disappears halfway through the story. He would've made a great Foil to the socially awkward, foolish Sarah, especially since he's the only character of the whole book that actually treated Sarah with any kindness at all. It helps that he's one of the few characters of the series who averts the Annoying Younger Sibling stereotypes of other younger siblings in many of the other books of the franchise.
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.
Mr. Wood finally returns in I Am Slappy's Evil Twin ...only to appear in a couple pages and not take any part of the story.
Mr. Wood in general. He's shown to be arguably more threatening and evil than Slappy, yet he dies in his first book and much of Slappy's antics are watered down compared to him.
While I Live In Your Basement is a well-remembered Cult Classic, the main character, Marco, never really gets to have his whole character explored more in the story. The twist at the end of the novel where Keith is revealed to be dreaming he is Marco certainly doesn't help.
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. (Although it was later reprinted to tie into the second movie)
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.
I Live In Your Basement is considered one of the more unique novels of the series due to its complex execution of psychological fear. This is one of the main reasons why even some of the fans of the novel consider the twist at the end the weakest part of the story and wanted the story to focus more on Marco and how he would escape his psychological fear alive, which would've been a great opportunity to show some interesting Character Development on his part as well.¨
A Shocker on Shock Street has the protagonists, who are fans of the titular horror franchise Shock Street mention a ton of coolsounding monsters from the series, such as a "Wolf-crab" and an "electric eel woman", but once they actually go on the ride at the film studio that is riddled with too-real animatronic monsters, the climax mostly involve werewolves and zombies. Except for the giant robot Mantis monsters.
Toy Ship: Even in stories primarily about Middle-School aged adolescents in a series that cared little for romance there was still a good amount of Shipping happening in the fanbase, with the somewhat Foe Yay Steve/Carly Beth & Amanda/Ray (or Amanda/Karen) and the more borderline-canon ship-teased pairings of Erin/Max and Evan/Andy proving to be among the most enduring Fan-Preferred Couple s.
Uncanny Valley: Tim Jacobus' surreal covers definitely border on this, especially the ones depicting human faces. The kids have such frozen, glassy eyed expressions of horror that the monsters are less unsettling to look at.
Nicole from The Abominable Snowman Of Pasadena. While she is kind of the Insufferable Genius type, it seems she's like this mainly just due to having No Social Skills rather than deliberately being arrogant/obnoxious, as such, Jordan's dislike of her seems rather harsh. At one point he even admits (not to her face) he wishes she was never born. He also lets her fall into their compost heap and get covered in slime just because he was annoyed with her at the time.
Sarah Maas in The Curse of Camp Cold Lake is considered this as well. While she is portrayed as socially awkward and rather shy, it's a bit difficult to sympathize with her when not only does she come off as annoyingly whiny, she comes off as rather egocentric when she compels one of the bunkmates to relinquish her bunk just to sleep on a bunk not close to the window (and not on the top bunk since she rolls around when she sleeps and is afraid to fall off), comes up with the dumbest plan to pretend to drown at such a poorly desperate attempt to get the others to sympathize with her, and becomes a complete bitch towards her brother, the only character in the whole story who has actually treated her with genuine kindness compared to anyone else in the book, right after he gives her helpful advice (and then acts surprised when he gets angry with her after she shoves him hard on the ground, because she "hates that he's sensible"). Her hallucinations of Della being everywhere she goes also kind of make it hard for many readers to feel bad for her when you consider that it was all brought on herself since the reason all this happened in the first place was because she tried to drown herself just to get others to sympathize with her, believing it would make her friends. If anything, the twist at the end is more of a cathartic feeling than anything else.
Joe Burton from Revenge Of The Lawn Gnomes. He's meant to be a cute prankster kid but mainly just comes across as annoying, and his sister Mindy, who we aren't supposed to side with, comes across as a lot more reasonable and sympathetic.
Tim Swanson in Bad Hare Day is portrayed as the character who is underappreciated by everyone around him, including his parents, as no one seems interested in his love for magic. However, it's very difficult to commiserate with him when not only does he claim the crowd should extol his magical act despite not being very talented of a magician, he's an awful friend towards Foz, he steals the magical kit from his idol, he's a compulsive liar, and when his sister gets transformed into a rabbit, Tim is far more worried of the fact that he might get into trouble with his parents and not showing any concern for his sister in the slightest. Needless to say, no one feels bad for him when he is transformed into a rabbit himself as his idol's assistant.
Noah and the ghosts haunting Camp Full Moon in Return to Ghost Camp have been trapped in the camp ever since they were killed by the Snatcher. It turns out every year they select a camper not to be the Snatcher's next victim, but to fight on their behalf so they can ascend to the afterlife. The trouble is, no one bothers to tell Dustin Minium (the kid they think is their selected champion) this until he's almost dragged into the monster-filled river by the Snatcher. For most of the book Noah, Uncle Lou, and the other boys made it sound as if Dustin was going to be a human sacrifice when he wasn't being scared shitless by some ghostly antics (such as kids drowning themselves, burning themselves in a campfire, or being shot at with arrows for target practice). The ghosts want to be free, but they do such a poor job of explaining themselves you have to wonder how many kids died due to the Snatcher or their own incompetence.
Slappy himself. Despite being one of (if not the) most iconic monsters in the franchise, he is widely despised by everyone he encounters, albeit with good reason. The guy lives to make others miserable, relishes being as rude, callous and vulgar as you can get in a kid's book, and probably has to pull himself together a lot from being smashed by fed up owners. It gets to the point where even his fellow dummies will inevitably turn on and pummel him, and one of his owners actually puts a curse on him just to make him behave. None of this seems to phase Slappy in the slightest, and if anything, just emboldens him with how many people he pisses off.
Many books have Free-Range Children in play, which causes most of the problems in the book. In some cases, the kids are allowed to go on exotic trips to pyramids or jungles, and their parents somehow signed off on it without doing routine phone calls.
The Running Gag about how every camp in the series lacks a working phone, and letters aren't sent out to concerned parents. Any camp with normal counselors would be facing several violations
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!: Any time a protagonist tries to tell their parents or any other authority figure something supernatural, scary, etc. they witnessed. It's pretty obvious that none of the adults are going to believe them.
What Do You Mean, It's for Kids?: Some of the books could have a rather dark, menacing, almost Adult Fear tone to them despite their still somewhat cheesy YA-friendly style, the earliest books especially could be at times outright violent & gory with Welcome to Dead House, Stay Out of the Basement, Welcome to Camp Nightmare and Piano Lessons Can Be Murder among the chief offenders.
Special Effects Failure: Happens quite a bit, to the point where some episodes can (unintentionally) resemble a cheesy B-movie. Played with in Welcome to Camp Nightmare, where an obvious animatronic monster turns out to be just that. Also, in Calling All Creeps! and One Day At Horrorland, you can clearly see human eyes behind the monsters' masks.
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.
There are some monsters taken from lesser known books such as some of the Give Yourself Goosebumps books note The Annihilator3000, Dr. Shock, and FiFi are a couple of examples, which some viewers may now know more from the film than the books they come from.
Alternative 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.
Broken Base: The premise is either 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.
Ho Yay: This exchange between Zach and Champ, regarding an upcoming school dance.
Champ: Hey, we should go together.
Champ: Oh, not like "together" together. Dance together or anything.
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. Though considering that Stine probably locked them in there because they were evil, it's more or less justified. But at the same time Slappy was, according to him, Stine's best friend and he was never explicitly stated to have done something villainous to deserve being locked up. It's also worth noting even if he did do something evil to deserve getting himself locked up since Stine wrote him to be evil he really can't help it for what he does.
Narm: The official music video tie-in, "Bumps Gonna Goose Ya!", looks and sounds like it was plucked straight from The '90s, 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.
Narm Charm: The movie treats the book series as rivals to the work of Stephen King. Laughable though it is, they sure as hell felt that way as a kid.
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.
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.
The idea of fictional villains becoming real was the premise of the book and episode Attack of the Mutant. However, despite the easy connection, the Masked Mutant never appears nor is he even mentioned, nor does Stine make a connection to the book. (Dr. Maniac doesnt appear either, despite being a Suspiciously Similar Substitute of him and being an Arc Villain in the latter half of the Horrorland books. Although he is mentioned in the introduction of the novelization.)
There's a case to be made that Hannah would have been better served as the protagonist, rather than in the supporting role she ended up with. In particular, her Tomato in the Mirror moment could have had a lot more punch if the story had been told from her perspective (as was the case in The Ghost Next Door).
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 R.L. Stine, it's...Jack Black. However, Black manages to make the film character's take of R.L. work by balancing rather dramatic scenes with hilarious moments.
Awesome Music: The surprisingly melancholic rendition of the TV series' theme used for the main menu of Goosebumps: The Game.
Big-Lipped Alligator Moment: Meeting Mrs. Forster and Fifi near the beginning of the game. Unlike other monsters in the game, they don't require any specific items to get past and they're never seen again after the player's brief talk to Mrs. Forster.
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.
While many previous protagonists were portrayed as cowardly, bumbling Chew-toys, the main kids of these comics are much more brave and active in their stories, while also established as talented individuals in their own right rather than Straw Losers. There's also greater diversity among them in both ethnicity and gender-orientation.
Veruca Curry, Sarabeth's Granddaughter, is a much more charismatic and fleshed out villain than her grandmother. While Sarabeth was a Generic Doomsday Villain who was forgotten after the first Monster Blood book, Veruca is a lot more lively and her true goal amounts to something beyond "evil for evil's sake."
Hilarious in Hindsight: The title "Monsters at Midnight" first appeared in the More Tales to Give You Goosebumps story Dr. Horrors House of Video, before becoming the title of the first comic arc.
The Creeps initiating a world takeover through social media is a solid idea that could easily support it's own story. In "Download and Die", unfortunately, this is just another sub-plot for the evil phone that gets resolved as quickly as it starts, and the Creeps themselves later get beaten offscreen by Slappy and Curly of all people.
Despite "Secrets Of The Swamp" taking place in a modern day Fever Swamp with multiple werewolves, Will and Grady are nowhere to be seen and the story overall doesn't connect much with the original book, outside of Cassie and Mr. Tucker being mentioned. It would've been especially interesting to see how they'd interact with this new generation of werewolves.
Unexpected Character: Of all the monsters in the franchise, most people likely didn't expect Keith from I Live In Your Basement to appear in the comic series.