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17 Goosebumps Episodes That Terrified You As A Child But REALLY Don't Hold Up

Updated June 8, 2019 2k votes 442 voters 32.2k views17 items

List RulesVote up the Goosebumps episodes that are kind of meh in retrospect.

As you grow older and closer to death, it’s natural to feel the pull of the past tugging at your skin and whispering, “Come back, remember Pogs?” But you can’t let nostalgia rule your world, and that’s why it’s time to look at all of the Goosebumps episodes that don't hold up and pick apart everything you thought you loved about them. Was Goosebumps really scary, or was it simply a lesser version of the peak '90s children’s horror that inundated our television sets? Even the theme song, which should set the mood for the show, was pure comedy. The scariest thing about the theme was the synthesized dog bark making up a section of the melody, and honestly it was more sad than spooky.

No matter how big of a wuss you are, you have to admit there aren’t a lot of scary Goosebumps episodes. There may be inspired visuals, strange digressions, and even a jump scare or two, but on the whole the series was DOA. Even though this is a systematic evisceration of the lamest episodes of Goosebumps, that doesn’t mean you’re not allowed to have fond memories of the series. Maybe Goosebumps started you on your path towards being a true horror fan, and if so that’s great. But that doesn’t make Goosebumps a watchable television program. Sometimes it’s best to let the things we loved stay in the past, and that goes double for low-budget horror anthology programs adapted from middling YA series.

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  • Photo: 20th Television

    This is a two-parter, so you know you it's supposed to be super scary. But while you're watching Billy navigate the slips and tangles of the hilariously named Camp Nightmoon, you get the feeling that the episode is always about to start. Maybe there's something to the idea that children are inherently afraid of leaving home for an extended period of time, but is that enough to base an episode around?

    When you put this episode into the context of other spooky camp episodes from similar regrettable '90s children's shows like Salute Your Shorts or that one episode of Are You Afraid of the Dark where the two girls go to Cramp Grindlestone, this episode can't compete. Sorry, R.L. 

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  • Photo: 20th Television

    When you hit an age where you have to pay electricity, Internet, phone, and waste management bills (on top of your rent), you realize there's nothing scary about dummies. Well, the wooden kind, not the orange kind who sometimes run countries.

    Even James Wan, a very good horror director, couldn't make dummies scary in an R-rated film intended to scare adults. Also, not to be Kanye about the whole thing, but Buffy the Vampire Slayer had the best living dummy episode of all time. 

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  • Photo: 20th Television

    You know how every Goosebumps ends with a twist you can't see coming, no matter how hard you guess? Well this episode takes that concept and applies it to every single scene. What begins as a classic haunted house story turns into a story with a dead dog, then a living dog, then spooky neighbors, then there's a home invasion, and then there are ghost teens hovering over your bed and something about people who want to steal your blood. It's almost like R.L. Stine (or his ghostwriter) was pulling plot points out of a hat, until the hat turned into a bat that's actually a good piano player. 

    There are multiple moments in this episode that could have legitimately freaked you out as a child, from the hovering ghost teens, to a bunch of grey old men telling a teenage girl they need her blood; but as an adult the whole production is just a big mess. Although, there is a very cute dog in the episode, so it might be worth your time. 

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  • Photo: 20th Television

    You probably remember this two-part episode as the one where everything a child loves comes to life and turns against him. It forever ruins his one escape from an increasingly tumultuous real world, and sends him down a Lovecraftian nightmare road where his greatest fears are the things he loves. 

    The production values of this episode gives off the distinct impression that a Twisted Sister video is about to break out at any moment. What should be a terrifying story about a child slowly losing touch with reality plays like a rough cut of every made-for-TV superhero movie from the '90s. If you're a Generation X defender, you might actually enjoy this episode. If you're a sane human being, you should steer clear. 

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