Horror anthology shows in the '90s were unparalleled, especially the ones aimed at kids with an affinity for watching television they knew would convince them there was definitely something evil lurking in their closets. The big two shows of the era were without a doubt Are You Afraid of the Dark? and Goosebumps. Now, Are You Afraid of the Dark? is more likely to still get acclaim today, but Goosebumps can still offer up quality scares. In fact, Goosebumps' stories were often even more twisted than what the Midnight Society was churning out, and all the more alarming because there was no pretense of the characters being in a ghost story — for them, Slappy was all too real.
If you don't believe me, you can head over to Netflix and check out how well Goosebumps holds up for yourself. The classic series is streaming, and I promise you more than one Goosebumps episode will still give you chills. From monsters seemingly conjured up from literal nightmares to twist endings worthy of old-school M. Night Shyamalan, these Goosebumps episodes are just as spooky now as they were when you watched them the first time.
Reader beware, these episodes will definitely leave you scared.
1. "The Haunted Mask"
The petty theft of a Halloween mask turns into a waking nightmare when the mask fuses to a young girl's face and begins to alter her personality. It is also worth noting this was the first Goosebumps episode ever, so no one can say the show didn't come out swinging for the horror fences.
2. "Night Of The Living Dummy II"
Slappy needs no explanation. If you grew up in the '90s the show's evil ventriloquist dummy is likely still haunting your dreams.
3. "Scarecrow Walks At Midnight"
The scarecrows are not what make this episode scary, it is the very human man who is controlling them and the episode's gut punch of a twist ending.
4. "A Night In Terror Tower"
Everyone wants to time travel until they end up in the Middle Ages being chased by a determined executioner.
5. "Revenge Of The Lawn Gnomes"
Gnomes really should not be scary — they're lawn ornaments, guys — but between the makeup and the malevolence, the Goosebumps gnomes made going outside after dark the most unnerving of prospects.
6. "Go Eat Worms"
If you do not have a bug phobia before you watch this episode, you will after.
7. "Say Cheese And Die"
Young Ryan Gosling appears in this episode with its roots grounded firmly in The Twilight Zone. "Say Cheese and Die" is all about the psychological horror that gets under skin whether you want it to or not.
8. "Attack Of The Jack-O'-Lanterns"
Being able to trick or treat forever sounds like the recipe for living your best life until you factor in the exhaustion and creepy Jack-o'-lantern creatures who are forcing you to do their bidding.
9. "Welcome To Dead House"
The prospect of moving into a haunted house is scary enough without the ghosts also wanting to drink your blood.
10. "Don't Go To Sleep!"
This episode taps into the deep fear that you won't be able to wake up from your bad dream. In other words, all those nightmares about showing up unprepared for a class you don't remember signing up for could be terrible alternate realities.
11. "Perfect School"
Only on Goosebumps would a three part episode about children being imprisoned in a private school basement while their clones are sent home to be the perfect sons be considered kid friendly.
12. "Bride Of The Living Dummy"
Why stop with the pure horror of Slappy when you can add an evil doll into the mix too?
13. "Strained Peas"
This evil baby episode made me so happy to be the youngest child.
14. "The Ghost Next Door"
The twist in this two-parter will give you actual goosebumps.
15. "The House Of No Return"
This episode is why The X-Files' "Trust No One" tagline seems like a valid life philosophy.
16. "Let's Get Invisible"
Mirrors have a time honored place in horror storytelling, and Goosebumps continued the tradition with this unsettling story of a mirror world full of evil doubles itching to be set free.
17. "Attack Of The Mutant"
The episode looks cartoonish, but any story with a primary goal to make the lead character question their own reality counts as spooky as far as I'm concerned.
18. "It Came From Beneath The Sink"
Sponges are not supposed to be scary, and yet somehow in the world of Goosebumps they are pure nightmare fuel.
19. "Piano Lessons Can Be Murder"
Finally, I will leave you with an episode about a crazed piano teacher who wants to chop off his pupil's hands.
Can you believe your parents let you watch Goosebumps? Revisit these creeptastic episodes on Netflix, if you dare.
Images: 20th Television (20)