Rewind: ‘Goosebumps’ revisited

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What’s it about?

If you grew up in the nineties, you will have probably come across Goosebumps at some point.  Even if you don’t remember doing so, it’s plausible that one of the decade’s best horror programmes for children may have insidiously impacted upon your personal collection of irrational fears.

Do you happen to be petrified of scarecrows? There’s a good chance that Goosebumps is to blame. Sure, the wretched things are supposed to be sinister, but the sight of a vast herd of them trudging about in Series 2’s ‘The Scarecrow Walks at Midnight’ was enough to put many a child off cornfields for life.

Notable indeed for its penchant for delivering genuine scares to children, the Canadian television series was based on R.L Stine’s hugely popular books of the same name. At the start of each episode, a menacing voice proclaimed, “Viewer beware… you’re in for a scare!” Just in case the show’s opening sequence, with its chilling theme tune and evil-eyed golden retriever, wasn’t enough to have its young audience reaching for the nearest cushion to duck behind later.

If you look back and decide Goosebumps was far too corny to be taken seriously, you’ve rather missed the point of mid-nineties children’s telly.


Who was in it?

As most episodes were based on individual Stine novellas, the programme’s overall cast list was immense.


Best moment?

For its young horror-hungry fans, some of the programme’s best moments were also the most nightmare-inducing. From werewolves to ventriloquist’s dummies, each series of Goosebumps boasted a whole host of gruesome monsters. And let’s not forget ‘The Blob That Ate Everyone’!

Although there are no horrible beasties in Series 1’s ‘Say Cheese and Die’, it is undoubtedly one of the most memorable episodes. When they sneak into an old building, three kids accidentally steal an instant-print camera from the villainous-looking fellow it belongs to. Soon they realise that there’s something deadly wrong with the camera, which appears to curse those in photographs it produces. Pretty frightening for a generation of Polaroid users!


Last seen?

Goosebumps, which ran for a total of four seasons, originally aired between 1995-1998. Season 1 was released on DVD in the UK last week, featuring uncut episodes.


The future?

There’s certainly no shortage of Stine material to adapt! The author continues to pen frightening books for children and another spooky TV show, R.L Stine’s The Haunting Hour, is currently in its third series. A Goosebumps movie is also currently in the planning stages, with Shrek Forever After writer Darren Lemke attached as screenwriter.


> Buy Season 1 on DVD on Amazon.

What are your memories of Goosebumps? Let us know below…