Exclusive Features
Anniversaries, Cover Stories, Editorials,
Interviews, Lists, and Comprehensive Rankings

Ranking: R.L. Stine’s Original Goosebumps Books from Worst to Best

on October 11, 2018, 3:40am

62. Chicken Chicken

goosebumps chicken chickenTagline: It’s a finger-lickin’ nightmare!

Book #: 53

This book is a real bad egg. Alex and Crystal Sanders (seriously) accidentally bump into their spooky neighbor, spilling the grocery bags she was carrying. Since they didn’t apologize, she cast a spell on them to turn them slowly into chickens. The kids go through some gross mutations and only rectify their situation by apologizing via typewriter. And then they get turned into pigs for burping. Not a lot of fun.

Moment That Gave Us Goosebumps: No matter how ridiculous the book is, the image of Crystal’s mouth hardening into a beak really makes me squirm.

–Adam Kill-All (formerly Adam Kivel)

__________________________________________________________

61. Attack of the Jack O’Lanterns

jack o lantern - goosebumpsTagline: Put one head in front of the other…
Book #: 48

Drew and her friends try to exact revenge on pranksters Tabby and Lee for a cruel trick played on them two Halloweens ago. But little does Drew know that her scheme is actually being abetted by aliens! Unfortunately, beings from another planet weren’t around to convince Stine to file this idea away in the circular filing cabinet next to his desk.

Moment That Gave Us Goosebumps: Watching aliens Shane and Shana make the children eat all of their trick-or-treating candy — sorta like when a teen gets caught smoking in a sitcom and is forced to smoke an entire carton to learn a lesson. The horror of seeing the spoils of Halloween depleted in a single sitting always irked my candy-conservationist nature.

–Matt Malice (formerly Matt Melis)

__________________________________________________________

60. I Live in Your Basement!

i live in your basementTagline: Talk about a MONSTER nightmare!
Book #: 61

Basements are scary, and Marco’s is more terrifying than most because a creature named Keith claims to live down there and orders Marco to care for him. Each time Marco’s ordeals become bizarre beyond explication, Stine bails him out by waking him up from a bad dream, with the final twist being that Keith the monster has been the one having the nightmare all along! Unravel a sweater enough and you don’t have a sweater anymore. Consider this tale a heap of sweater guts on R.L. Stine’s floor.

Moment That Gave Us Goosebumps: The fact that I couldn’t wake up from this story and have it all be just a bad dream.

–Matt Malice (formerly Matt Melis)

__________________________________________________________

59. Legend of the Lost Legend

Legend_of_the_Lost_LegendTagline: Finders keepers!
Book #: 47

Siblings Marissa and Justin Clarke join their writer-explorer father, Richard, on a quest for the extremely valuable Lost Legend. In the process, the three themselves get lost forever and become the next chapter in the legend. Apparently, Marissa and Justin hadn’t been reading Goosebumps and learned that you never accompany your parents anywhere … if you want to live.

Moment That Gave Us Goosebumps: When this legend didn’t get lost on its journey to Stine’s publishers.

–Matt Malice (formerly Matt Melis)

__________________________________________________________

58. The Blob That Ate Everyone

goosebumps blobTagline: He’s no picky eater!
Book #: 55

A teenager-centric nod to the 1958 horror classic The Blob, this book ends up with one of the most confusingly meta endings of any Goosebumps, essentially pulling a St. Elsewhere and having the entire humans vs. blob story be a story written by the blob, that he’s reading to his friend.

Moment That Gave Us Goosebumps: The main character’s name is Zackie. Just thinking about being named Zackie terrifies me to my core.

–Splat Levy (formerly Pat Levy)

 

__________________________________________________________

57. Deep Trouble II

deep trouble iiTagline: Something’s fishy … again!
Book #: 58

After the botched mermaid caper of Deep Trouble, one would assume Billy and Sheena Deep would never set foot again on a boat with their uncle, Dr. D. Alas, they’re at it again, battling another rival scientist and contending with a magical plankton – aka Monster Blood of the Sea. Um, someone’s gotta say it: They’re gonna need a bigger boat.

Moment That Gave Us Goosebumps: When Billy believes there’s a human head in his fishbowl. Luckily, it’s just a doll’s head. Because that’s normal and not creepy at all.

–Matt Malice (formerly Matt Melis)

__________________________________________________________

56. Vampire Breath

vampire breathTagline: Open wide and say … mouthwash!
Book #: 49

Siblings Freddy and Cara summon a Victorian Vampire via the titular concoction and transport to Count Nightwing’s domain in Stine’s ode to Dracula. The time travel plot device raises the, um, stakes in this adventure that’s more Spielberg than Stoker.

Moment That Gave Us Goosebumps: The enigmatic Count turns out to be none other than … Grandpa? Maybe this one should have been called Mothball Breath.

–Alex Czysz-erhands (formerly Alex Czysz)

__________________________________________________________

55. Ghost Camp

Ghost_campTagline: Be all that you can’t see!
Book #: 45

By the time the 45th Goosebumps installment rolled around, R.L. Stine had already written several books about ghosts and several books about camps. Here, he cranks out a hybrid of the two, and it’s every bit as unscary and recycled as the lazy title suggests.

Moment That Gave Us Goosebumps: There’s one pretty cool part where the campers realize the ground beneath them is actually the skin of a giant monster, who promptly attacks them.

–Daniel “Stalker” Caffrey (formerly Daniel Walker Caffrey)

__________________________________________________________

54. Don’t Go to Sleep!

Don't_Go_To_Sleep!Tagline: Rise and shine. Forever.
Book #: 54

Don’t Go to Sleep deals with alternate realities and a dog named Biggie, so it really should be higher on this list, but it has its issues as well, so here we are at #54. Matthew Amsterdam is just a 12-year-old who wants a bigger bedroom, but when he tries sleeping in his home’s guest room, he finds that each morning he wakes up with a new body in a new environment. It’s some trippy stuff.

Moment That Gave Us Goosebumps: Waking up in the body of a giant lizard sounds like it could be fun, but being captured by the Reality Police and put in an eternal sleep sounds decidedly less fun.

–Splat Levy (formerly Pat Levy)

__________________________________________________________

53. Calling All Creeps!

Calling_All_CreepsTagline: And dial SSS-C-R-EE-P!
Book #: 50

The cover looks to be about the rebellious teenage years of velociraptors (which, really, wouldn’t be that much of a stretch for R.L.), but really it’s a tale of the least popular kid in class finding out that the school bullies are actually lizard-people who want to turn everyone else into “creeps” too — and because of an over-complicated switcheroo, they think he’s their leader.

Moment That Gave Us Goosebumps: In the end, our protagonist, Ricky, decides to take the job of creep commander, allowing the entire school to get turned into lizard-people since they were all such jerks to him to begin with … which is pretty dark, when you think about it.

–Adam Kill-All (formerly Adam Kivel)

__________________________________________________________

werewolf skin52. Werewolf Skin

Tagline: All dressed up and no place to howl!
Book #: 60

When Alex visits Aunt Martha and Uncle Colin in Wolf Creek, he stumbles upon a family secret that would have been handy to know before he made his vacation plans. In an inventive twist, Stine’s werewolves aren’t humans who transform into beasts beneath full moons, but rather creatures who can shed their skins at leisure and appear like regular people. Et tu, Hannah?

Moment That Gave Us Goosebumps: Before Alex knows his uncle and aunt are werewolves, they imprison him in the guestroom by locking his door and putting metal bars on his windows. What parenting book did that come out of?

–Matt Malice (formerly Matt Melis)

__________________________________________________________

51. The Curse of Camp Cold Lake

cold lakeTagline: Last one in is a rotten … ghost!
Book #: 56

One of the few Goosebumps books to not receive a television adaptation, The Curse of Camp Cold Lake involves teenagers contemplating fake suicide so that people will be nicer to them, thus giving the reader an insufferable protagonist to “root” for. But on the bright side, the book has one of the best taglines in the series.

Moment That Gave Us Goosebumps: The immediacy with which the main character decided faking her death would make people be nicer to her truly alarmed me.

–Splat Levy (formerly Pat Levy)

Click ahead for books 50-41.

9 comments