R.L. Stine is like the Stephen King of children’s books, and the two have always had a semi-parallel existence in literary horror. The Goosebumps books are undoubtedly one of the best children’s series of all time, and serve as introductory horror for the kids who read them. The book series has been adapted to the screen many times in both television and film, and was popular among those who grew up watching Tales from the Crypt and Nickelodeon’s Are You Afraid of the Dark.
The biggest difference between these and 1995’s Goosebumps Series, of course, was the basis of the episodes being adapted from the page. In 2015, a feature film came out, starring Jack Black as R.L. Stine, and despite the lackluster appeal for adults longing to revisit the Goosebumps series, the movie overall suits a young first-time audience. The beloved property will be getting a live-action Disney+ series sometime in 2023. Until then, here’s every movie and TV adaptation of Goosebumps, ranked.
4/4 The Haunting Hour
The Haunting Hour was a program created by Stine that was essentially a reboot of Goosebumps for the modern era. The anthology series ran on Discovery Family for four seasons from 2010 to 2014. The Haunting Hour was based on a 2007 movie of the same name, which also gained popularity at the time of its release. Unlike its predecessor, The Haunting Hour wasn’t based on any of Stine’s books and was adapted straight for the screen instead. One of the most memorable episodes told the story of a young girl who receives a life-sized doll with sinister intentions.
3/4 Goosebumps 2: Haunted Halloween
After the success of 2015’s Goosebumps feature film, a sequel was released in 2018 titled Goosebumps 2: Haunted Halloween. Black reprised his role as R.L. Stine, however, the rest of the original cast didn’t return. The premise of the second film focuses on one of Stine’s most infamous villains: Slappy the walking, talking, evil ventriloquist dummy. Slappy tricks two best friends into releasing him from an unfinished Goosebumps book, and, once free, he brings to life all the other monsters in an attempt to take over the town. Slappy is derived from the book entitled Night of the Living Dummy, but according to Bloody Disgusting, it was the book’s sequel that made Slappy a certified Goosebumps icon.
2/4 Goosebumps (2015)
The theatrical release of 2015’s Goosebumps grossed an impressive $158.3 million in box office earnings for a young adult fantasy movie that wasn’t a Disney production. The movie is family-friendly, is a great introduction to the horror genre for children, and has plenty of meta references for adults to follow along. One of which being the various references to the Stine versus King feud. Black does a phenomenal job portraying Stine, and the film concludes with a fairly decent twist ending. Slappy the dummy is yet again behind the shenanigans that break out all over town, making him the main villain of this two-film franchise. A third film was rumored to be in the early phases of development, but according to Screen Rant, the film’s future is still up in the air.
1/4 Goosebumps (1995-1998)
In 1992, Stine published the first Goosebumps book, Welcome to Dead House, and soon after, more books followed. Multiple book releases a year were a common trend for the young adult series, and by 1995, Stine’s audience would be able to see their favorites brought to life on the small screen. The Goosebumps TV series ran on a handful of networks and is considered one of the best television anthology series of all time. The first episode to premiere was “The Haunted Mask,” which tells the story of a Halloween mask that won’t come off. The Goosebumps series ran for four seasons until it concluded in 1998. With the recent success of Netflix’s Fear Street Trilogy, it seems that now may be the best time for Goosebumps to resurface into pop culture, introducing terror to a whole new generation.
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