In Too Deep: Was Goosebumps Really For Kids?
Hello and Welcome to In Too Deep, where I over-analyse a certain section of pop culture.
Since it’s roughly Halloweenish (depending how well I schedule this, otherwise I’m early), lets look at one of the premiere horror books from a 90s kids childhood: Goosebumps. Written by R. L. Stine, it was an anthology of different types of horror stories. Whether parodying famous ideas to coming up with his own twists, the books were immensely popular. But they had some pretty frightening stuff that only now really scares me. Don’t believe me? Well lets look at some of the more horrifying implications of some of the stories.
Warning there are going to be spoilers for books that are, like, 15 years old. So if you don’t want to be spoiled… finish reading the book then.
Permanent Transformation: I don’t know about you, but the idea of being permanent trapped as something that isn’t my natural form is pretty damn frightening. Whether it be a bee (Why I’m Afraid of Bees), a fish (Deep Trouble II ), a dog (My Hairiest Adventure) or chicken (Chicken, Chicken), they’re all rather unsettling. I don’t know, the idea of being trapped in some other body is pretty creepy. Oh sure you’re alive, but the life you use to have is pretty much obliterated. Any hopes for the future are gone. Imagine being the only bee that had any sort of human thinking, meaning you’re stuck with the knowledge of the hell you’re living in. I mean, that’d be awful.
Slavery: It seems like slavery was something that popped up in a few of the books. Almost all of the Night of the Living Dummy books involved Slappy the Dummy trying to get women to be his ‘slaves’, otherwise he’d give them ‘love-taps’. If that doesn’t scream abusive relationships, I don’t know what does. Furthermore The Horror of Camp Jellyjam (besides having some damn scary cover art) was about a camp where the more athletic kids were forced to clean some giant purple monster that sweated slugs. Failed to do so caused you to be eaten. â€¦ If you did not clean this foul beast fast enough, you were eaten. Surely that’d almost be the preferable option? In fact, even the heroes get into it. One hero, after finding out that the race of lizard aliens he’s accidentally ruling over (don’t ask, it’s a stupid story) are gonna make all the students in the school his slaves in Calling All Creeps! It seems like the idea of slavery is innocent enough to put in a kids book as long as you don’t think about it too hard.
But enough of looking at the general overall themes (since I can only think of 2), lets look at individual stories that can be quite terrifying.
The Haunted School: Our protagonists ended up in some black and white photo world and try to get out of the classroom. They assaulted by a bunch of tribal kids who try and push them into black oil. Now they were only sent here because they annoyed a photographer. Think about that for a second. A photographer, who’s job was to photograph kids, got fed up with kids and banished them away. He pretty much killed these kids in their parents eyes. Or perhaps he just banished their souls, leaving their bodies fine. But that’s still pretty evil. Furthermore these kids, trapped forever in this torment, have gone insane. They can’t grow old, they can’t change. And the seem to love covering themselves in this burning oil stuff, since they seemingly can’t die. I mean, it’s a pretty dark scenario. God forbid they’d hit puberty. Then it’d have been a whole different messy affair.
How I Learned To Fly: Title’s on the tin really, about a boy that learns how to fly. However what made this book scary was the price of fame that came with it. But the part that really stuck out was how bloody awful the parents were. I mean these parents were just horrible. Not only do they agree to have him scientifically tested upon by the army for ten days (without his consent), they shameless use him for marketing purposes. Hell his mother doesn’t even let him go outside without wearing his stupid costume, as if he wasn’t allowed a life of his own. I know it sounds like I’m whinging, but this comes across as scary when we realise how many bad celebrity parents out there. How many parents, once their kids got famous, leeched off them? Hence why it’s scary from a real world perspective.
Egg Monsters From Mars: Egg monsters crash from Mars (â€¦ duh) and befriend the protagonist. A mad scientist kidnaps him and locks him up in a freezer with all the others. Fortunately he escapes and gets home, where he lays an egg on his lawn. Oh and the protagonist is a boy.
Do I need to say more? I mean, this is pretty much Hentai mixed with eggs. And male pregnancy to boot. I mean… eww. Just… eww. How on earth did this get by the censors?
So there you have it. Some of the more disturbing parts of Goosebumps. If you have anything to add, or anything you disagree with, feel free to leave a comment. Till next time.