R.L. Stine published his first Goosebumps book titled Welcome to Dead House in 1992. Three years later after publishing more than 30 books in the original series of books, a TV show based on his stories came on the air. The show was distributed by 20th Television and ran for a total of four seasons and over 70 episodes.
The series adapted several books from Stine’s original series, while also making episodes based on a few of the books from the Tales to Give You Goosebumps and Goosebumps Series 2000 collections. The series was generally-well-received during its run between 1995 to 1998, with an average score on IMDb of 7.7 out of 10. Here are the 5 best and worst episodes of Goosebumps, according to IMDb.
10 Best: Night Of The Living Dummy II - 8.4
Out of all the characters from Goosebumps, Slappy is arguably the most well-known of the bunch. Slappy was first introduced to the show in season 1 in the episode Night of the Living Dummy II.
Slappy is brought home by Mr. Kramer for his daughter Amy, who has a knack for ventriloquism. Amy quickly finds out that Slappy is alive as he destroys her father’s guitar and ruins her sister Sarah’s painting. In the end, Amy’s family believes her after seeing Slappy’s mayhem first hand, but the day is saved by Amy’s original dummy named Dennis.
9 Worst: Go Eat Worms - 5.5
This episode follows Todd Bastrow, who is fascinated by worms. Todd torments his older sister with them, but karma strikes and he starts finding worms in odd places. Todd gets pulled underground and is attacked by a giant worm, only to be saved by his sister’s bird model.
The episode has a cheesy ending, with Todd eating a sandwich that has a fish hook in it and being pulled under the lake. Todd was using minnows instead of worms as bait, but the minnows allowed him to go back when he said he wouldn’t use them as bait anymore.
8 Best: The Haunted Mask II: Part 1 - 8.4
Almost a year after the original The Haunted Mask aired, The Haunted Mask II premiered in season 2. This episode shows Steve Boswell (who was recast with John White) becoming the victim of one of the haunted masks, while the original haunted mask becomes the antagonist of the episode.
Unlike the book, the episode has a happy ending as Steve is able to get the mask off with the help of Carly Beth. The friends burn the mask in Steve’s fireplace, but then Steve’s dog buries the mask since it wasn't fully destroyed.
7 Worst: Cry of the Cat - 5.4
Cry of the Cat was one of two episodes based on a Goosebumps Series 2000 book, the other being Bride of the Living Dummy. Here, the bratty teen actress Allison Rogers who accidentally runs over a cat named Rip with her bike, which then comes back to life to get revenge.
The end of the episode has another silly ending, with Allison using a toy mouse laced with chemicals to destroy Rip. However, the true ending comes when it is revealed that most of the episode was actually part of the Cry of the Cat movie Allison was filming.
6 Best: Welcome To Dead House - 8.5
While Welcome to Dead House was the first Goosebumps book R.L. Stine wrote, the TV adaptation didn’t come until the end of season 2. With this being one of Stine’s most popular books, it wasn’t surprising that it was another episode given two parts.
These episodes follow the Benson family as they move to Dark Falls, a city filled with zombies who were contaminated by an accident at a chemical factory. The episode has a ton of differences from the book, but still managed to become one of the highest-rated episodes in the series.
5 Worst: Calling All Creeps! - 5.4
Calling All Creeps comes in the latter half of season 2, but unfortunately, the episode is one of the worst-rated episodes of the series. Here, Ricky Beamer is a victim of bullying who decides to take matters into his own hands when he puts an ad in the school newspaper with his bully’s phone number.
Things backfire quickly as Ricky starts getting calls from the Creeps that he had intended for his bully Tasha. The episode may have been a bit too weird for people, with the inclusion of magic beans and yellow dinosaur-looking creatures.
4 Best: Night Of The Living Dummy III: Part 2 - 8.6
Slappy returns once again for this episode, this time terrorizing a family that has their cousin staying for the summer. Zane (played by Hayden Christensen) pretends to be afraid of dummies, but he is actually playing victim to get his cousins in trouble.
Things quickly get out of hand with Slappy making it known that he is alive and even bringing the family’s other ventriloquist dummies to life to do his biddings. By the end of the episode, the family’s favorite dummy named Rocky turns against Slappy and helps Daniel and Trina O’Dell save their cousin and destroy Slappy.
3 Worst: Teacher’s Pet - 5.1
Becca and Benjy accompany their class on a field trip to a nature center, where they meet the odd Mr. Blankenship. Becca finds out that Blankenship is performing experiments on animal DNA and even discovered a way to turn himself into a snake.
After the two confront him, they are attacked but escape by turning Mr. Blankenship into a fly. The episode ends with the kids thinking they killed Mr. Blankenship, but he flew onto their school bus to follow them home. Teacher’s Pet was the final episode of season 3, but the season went out on a dud.
2 Best: The Haunted Mask - 8.6
The very first episode of Goosebumps remains one of the series' best. The episode is very similar to the book, with Carly Beth buying a horrifying Halloween mask to scare her bullies. After trying on the mask a few times, the mask morphs to her face and Carly is unable to remove it.
By the end, Carly is able to free herself from the mask after finding a symbol of true love. The Haunted Mask was cut into two parts, both receiving an 8.6 on IMDb, making it the best-rated episode in the series.
1 Worst: Strained Peas - 4.8
The worst-rated episode of Goosebumps came in season 3, which holds a 4.8 out of 10 on IMDb. Strained Peas is a short story pulled from the first Tales to Give You Goosebumps novella. Here, Nicholas meets his new baby sister, who he believes isn’t actually a human.
The episode is just strange on many levels, but one of the most unsettling parts is the horrendous special effect that tries to simulate a baby talking. Combine this with the overall silly plot and it’s not hard to see why this episode was so poorly received.