Never before were kids fascinated with thrilling story-telling. But that all changed when R.L Stine somehow managed to encourage the ’90s generation of boys and girls to read horror fiction. Ladies and gentlemen — this was the birth of the #1 children horror series, Goosebumps. And since then, R.L Stine has blessed every young generation with a wild imagination and a nightmarish delight that never stops.
The first ever Goosebumps novel was Welcome to Dead House published in July 1992, and as of 2014, Goosebumps has sold over 350 million books worldwide. Although the series isn’t regarded as ‘serious’ literature, one can argue that Goosebumps had a serious incentive of encouraging kids to not only ~read, but to be immersed in literature as well — something that not many authors can achieve and sustain.
Targeted at children from ages 7-12, the books are fun, entertaining, menacing and chilling. And as expected of a best-selling series, R L Stine’s Goosebumps transcend time and can be found on every kid’s bookshelf at one point in their lives.
The books might consist of simple narrative language but it is the power of words and imaginative story-telling that attracts readers’ attention, allowing them to vicariously embark on wild adventures like no other before. And combined with Mark Nagata’s gruesome-looking cover illustrations, what kid would say no to Goosebumps?
Goosebumps usually feature stories that revolve around the main character in a remote or weird setting; encountering the strange and supernatural; and overriding evil by using wit and imagination. Whether concerned parents like it or not, these books show no hesitation of going overboard with the horror factor. It’s actually funny because R L Stine aims to be scary and humourous at the same time, rather than going for the conventional horror-thriller approach.
Growing up in the ’90s,some of CtrlGeekGirl’s favourite novels include A Night in Terror Tower, The Haunted Mask, Welcome to Camp Nightmare, Cuckoo Clock of Doom, and many more! (Just the thought of these titles send shivers down our spine as we had fantastic memories of reading Goosebumps as a kid.)
While there were 62 books published as part of the original Goosebumps series, Stine had also written various spin-off series including Goosebumps Series 2000, Give Yourself Goosebumps, Goosebumps HorrorLand, and Goosebumps Most Wanted.
Personally, our favourite spin-off series has got to be Give Yourself Goosebumps. These books were written like game-books — readers are given the power to choose their own journey and ending. Whether you are trapped in a circus or escaping from aliens, you must get out of the situation by selecting one scenario out of several scenarios, and depending on your luck and choices, this then determined your fate in the story.
Goosebumps didn’t just limit itself to literature as it also expanded into other areas such as audio-books, merchandise and a live-action TV series (see videos below!). Being the unique phenomenon it is, the series will be making a huge commercial debut on the big screen next year with Goosebumps the Movie, featuring Hollywood stars such as Jack Black (as R L Stine), Odeya Rush and Dylan Minnette. With such success behind the series, we’re positive that Goosebumps will continue hanging around and scaring future generations of kids no matter what.