Many adult horror junkies can trace their love of scary movies to a young love of Goosebumps. Written by R. L. Stine and published by Scholastic, these tales of terror were a fond highlight of many horror fans’ childhoods. More than 400 million books have been sold worldwide which made it one of the best selling series for several years. In fact, it is the second best selling children’s book series next to Harry Potter!
You may recall Goosebumps as being quite comical at times as Stine wanted them to be “scary books that are also funny”, so you could say it was light-hearted horror. The structure was familiar too as each book featured relatable child characters and settings, the primary protagonist were typically middle class and were often situated remotely or were isolated from conventional life. For example, it ranged from suburban areas to campsites, foreign villages and boarding schools – each had its own creepy spice that sent shivers down your spine, or more aptly, Goosebumps. Additionally, most books were first person narrative with a good old twist ending and Stine wanted to keep these books clean, prizing Goosebumps success on the absence of extreme violence, sex and drugs.
In honour of the classic Goosebumps series we would like to give you several facts about it to get some nostalgic juices flowing.
5The Title Comes First
.@nickschiner First step in my writing process? Think of a title. I have to have the title first.
— R.L. Stine (@RL_Stine) March 5, 2015
Weirdly enough, he often chooses a title first and revolves the story around this. This is quite unconventional but hey, that’s to be expected with a guy who writes horror books.
4Inspiration comes from within
They say the best books are relatable and come from first-hand experience; Stine drew ideas for the books from real life experiences. For example, The Haunted Mask idea came from when his son, Matt, had a Halloween mask he had much difficulty taking off. Stine also used his childhood fears to help him write and states “Luckily, I have a great memory. As I write a story, I can remember what it feels like to be afraid and panicky”
3The Series was originally aimed at girls
Stine signed a six-book deal with Scholastic and had intended the series for girls, but having learned that the fan mail was equally divided between both boys and girls he changed his target audience to become gender neutral.
27 Different Series
In total there are 7 series and they are as follows: original Goosebumps, Tales to Give You Goosebumps, Give Yourself Goosebumps, Goosebumps Presents, Goosebumps Series 2000, Goosebumps Horrorland and Goosebumps Most Wanted. If this keeps up, what will your kids be reading?
1Rare First Editions
This may be new to you. There are rare, coveted Goosebumps books in the series, one might even say collectables – Legend of the Lost Legend, Werewolf Skin, I Live in Your Basement and Monster Blood IV. What makes them so sought after is the fact that they exist as first editions and are known in the community as ‘The Unreprinted’. You want these, don’t ya?
Were you an avid reader? Did we miss any big facts? Let us know below.