The Five LEAST Frightening "Goosebumps" Books

Judging books by their covers is an entirely worthwhile and accurate pursuit. When you write a hundred thousand books, a couple are bound to be duds…

5. Chicken Chicken

Goosebumps has a storied history of turning children into human/animal hybrids and human/object hybrids. This time-tested trope plays into our natural fears about being trapped in a situation we can’t control. Unfortunately in “Chicken, Chicken”, instead of turning the child into something frightening, he (or she, I can’t tell) is turned into what appears to be a David Bowie chicken.

Tagline:
“It’s a finger lickin’ nightmare.”
A Zombie Colonel Sanders would have been a much more frightening way to go with this.

4. Into The Jaws Of Doom

Somewhere, R.L. Stine has a list of things that are scary. Dinosaurs are on that list because they are giant powerful creatures. What he failed to account for is that when things are made only out of bones, they are not so powerful (see: old people). The guy on the cover of this book kind of looks like he’s saying, “Some of my toes fell off, will you please put them back?” I would be much more worried about other things in a museum coming back to life, for example, anything that isn’t held together by fishing line and dust.

Tagline:
“There’s only one way out!”
Which I assume means I’m to be eaten and pooped out by a skeleton.

3. Lights Out*

So, the first fifty times I looked at this cover I thought the girl was talking on a cell phone, but she’s totally not. She’s just…clutching her face? You know, like you do when you’re afraid. Other than her pronounced side-eye, there’s just not much on this cover that reads sinister. Just crop out the author’s name and this is the cover of a soft-core porn.

Tagline:
“It all happens in the dark”
Yep, definitely porn.

*I know the “Fear Street” series is technically not Goosebumps, but I’m trying to make a funny here, so cut me some slack.

2. The Haunted School

The title of this one is so promising! How many awesome things can you think of to go with that idea? So many! But instead, we’re treated to a half black and white (why?) image of stuff falling out of a locker. The color part of the illustration, I’m fairly certain, is of Lisa Frank origin and the eyes inside the locker don’t even look remotely sinister. Also, congrats on your “A”. I’ll have to concede that this book might actually be frightening, but judging from the cover we’re in for some wacky hijinks where some friends try to see how many people will fit in a locker.

Tagline:
“They’re watching you learn…the hard way.”
What does that even mean? Do you have a learning disability? Is this about overcoming adversity? I’m so confused.

1. How I Learned To Fly

Did Goosebumps go through a Lisa Frank era that I just don’t remember? There’s nothing even sort of frightening about this. The whole concept sounds like something I’d enjoy. The birds look…sort of creepy, I guess? But honestly if I’ve learned how to fly, I’m not super concerned with that. If they get too snippy, I’ll just kick them in the face.

Tagline:
“It’s a bird! It’s a plane! It’s a…kid?”
Even less frightening than the cover illustration. As far as I’m concerned, this is just an instruction manual for how to get awesome.

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