Goosebumps did the job of giving young audiences a freight and bad nightmares both in the book version and in the acclaimed television show of the same name from 1995. The infamous scary tales from the show were created by R.L. Stine.

He became a well-known author for creating some of the most spine-chilling and eery stories that had children quivering under their blankets. It only worsened when they came to life on the small screen. In 2015, the stories got revamped in horror-adventure films starring Jack Black in both films. Some fans of the original found some worthwhile content from the films, but the show still reigned supreme in many regards.

10 The Theme Song

This goes without saying that Goosebumps is also iconic for its theme song when it came to scares. Which is also why the show is better than the films. Upon hearing the classic beat of the song kids knew the catchphrase, “Viewer beware, you’re in for a scare!” It set the tone for the entire show with the pitched piano playing, the eery sounds, and the upbeat tempo.

Sadly, the films don’t have this theme song included for obvious reasons. It also didn’t have much of a theme song at all. If it did it’d be hard to top the classic tune from the show.

9 The Aloofness Of R.L. Stine

When it came to the creator of Goosebumps, an aspect that gave audiences the creeps was that they never truly met R.L. Stine. He does make a cameo intro at the beginning of the show when introducing the popular episode and story of the haunted mask. Later on, with the show’s iconic theme song, he only appears as a cloaked figure.

Adding this level of mystery to the show and stories creator only intensified the spookiness when watching. It gave off this feeling of a bigger character at play who controls everything.

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8 The Use Of Effects Was More Realistic

One thing that the show did incredibly well during the time was convincing the audience that everything was real. It was made to feel as though these stories could magically occur randomly in daily life. The film versions veered from this and made things look more vibrant and cartoony.

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The ability to make a Halloween mask appear real and skin-like added to the horror of the story. Not to mention the creepy yellow eyes of the golden retriever seen in the intro. The special effects and costuming had a much darker look than what’s seen in the films. It was dark, grotesque, and overall much more enjoyable.

7 More Worthwhile and Intriguing Stories

The advantage of a television show is its ability to continue building more and more episodes and seasons using multiple stories. This allowed the show to garner audiences’ attention because every episode was a brand new story or certain episodes were made into two parts. It made for multiple memorable episodes. 

The stories enthralled viewers because they were much more dynamics and had to have a lot of detail to get the plot across. The film doesn’t allow for this display of multiple stories. There’s only so much that can happen in a two-hour film. The films had to center around one main storyline and problem. The show has multiple problems and stories that kept fans interested.

6 The Use of Changing Characters

Much like the use of multiple storylines, the show was also popular because it often introduced new main characters for each episode. It meant that viewers didn’t have to keep up with the show consecutively. Each episode could stand on its own. It also allowed for more dynamics in how the episode plays out depending on the main characters.

Compared to the film, there’s a set group of main characters that audiences have to keep their eyes on. This also applies to the creatures and monsters. The films use one central and popular monster, Slappy. It then uses a plethora of others from the books to add to the idea of a monster take over. But there’s no real detailed buildup to each monster.

5 So Much Scarier

Goosebumps is inarguably crowned as being the number one kid’s show that really frightened their audiences. Everyone has a memory of one episode that scared the socks off them. That was the allure and appeal of the show. It brought to life the scary monsters and stories that did so well on paper. The show only amplified the scare factor with costuming, spooky settings, and effects.

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The films only made the characters and monsters seem like a parlor trick and didn’t scare anyone. The show wins in this regard. There’s still some fear when watching the scariest episode even as a full-grown adult. Who can forget the clowns, vampires, and the gnomes from some of the best episodes?

4 Didn’t Rely On A Comical Element

A big difference between the show and films is that the film relied heavily on garnering laughs. This was especially true when it came to the introduction of one of the main characters, R.L. Stine. The author’s role was played by comedy actor Jack Black. While audiences agreed that Black’s role in the film was comedic, it made the author seem wimpy.

Throughout the films, there are many witty jokes that do the job of eliciting laughs, but it took away from the scary element that is Goosebumps. In the end, the films steered too far from the hair-raising chills the show is known for. Hence making the show better. The show does use a small level of comedy but the real star was the monsters and scares.

3 Didn’t Need An Explanation To Why The Stories Come To Life

From the beginning of watching Goosebumps the show, audiences aren’t given a real explanation as to why these stories are occurring. Audiences do see in the intro that R.L. Stine’s works are floating towards town after his briefcase open. This only explains that the show brings to life the stories from his books.

Because of this, there’s an aloofness or mysterious phenomenon that has audiences questioning how it’s possible that these monsters even exist in the real world. The film debunks this with an explanation. According to the story, the books came to life due to a supernatural typewriter in Stine’s possession when he first started the books. The books themselves keep the monsters trapped.

2 Didn’t Need An Extensive Teenage Love Story Or Teenage Drama

To be fair, there are some episodes of the show that hinted at couples or relationships, but it wasn’t what drove the episodes. It was a small plot device that was then overshadowed by having to eradicate the monsters. This is something that made the show so great, it didn’t have to rely on this type of story details. It still managed to have the audience care and feel for the main characters without it.

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But the first film took this idea and spun it a different way. The main reason why the main character, Zach (Dylan Minnette) becomes intrigued by the house next door is because of the teenage girl residing there. The second film also uses the fact that one of the main characters finds out her boyfriend is cheating and the mom starts a possible relationship.

1 Focused More On Source Material

In order for a film series to work, it needs to deviate from the original content and source material in some way. The films did manage to do this while incorporating details Goosebumps is known for. But for fans of the books, the show will still win against the films. Part of what made the show so fun to watch is seeing how the stories and monsters on the page translated on screen.

Some episodes stuck to the source material while others went even beyond and became better than the original book version. The only real thing the films took from the books were the monsters and part of their story. With the central villain being Slappy, the puppet who wants world domination and to become real in a way.

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