The 10 Types of Goosebumps Titles, Helpfully Explained by Venn Diagrams

Published On 10/21/2015 Published On 10/21/2015
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Goosebumps, the beloved 1992-97 R.L. Stine book series that spawned the Jack Black movie currently sitting atop the box office, covered every horror you could possibly imagine during its original 62-book run. Phantoms, beasts, mummies, psychotic garden gnomes -- name it, and Stine has probably written a humorously ooky story about it. Still, analysis of the books' inventive titles reveals that the author got his scare on primarily in 10 common categories; we’ve illustrated them in the seven Venn diagrams below. If you thought murderous puppets only merited one novel, you'd be dead wrong.

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The classic Goosebumps series had five "franchises." The books with sequels were Monster Blood (four volumes), Night of the Living Dummy (three), The Haunted Mask (two), Say Cheese and Die! (two), and The Curse of the Mummy's Tomb (two). Living Dummy and Haunted Mask overlap with the robust "evil inanimate objects" category, which also boasts The Scarecrow Walks at Midnight; The Cuckoo Clock of Doom; Revenge of the Lawn Gnomes; Attack of the Jack-O'-Lanterns; and Beware, the Snowman.

Overlap: Night of the Living Dummy, The Haunted Mask

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Stine made a mint with the "monster" sphere -- along with the aforementioned Monster Blood and Curse of the Mummy's Tomb, he penned The Girl Who Cried Monster, Egg Monsters From Mars, How to Kill a Monster, The Werewolf of Fever Swamp, The Abominable Snowman of Pasadena, The Blob That Ate Everyone, The Beast From the East, Vampire Breath, and Werewolf Skin.

That last one brings us to another key grouping: body parts. This cluster includes Werewolf Skin, Monster Blood, The Headless Ghost, My Hairiest Adventure, and How I Got My Shrunken Head. As you can see, it also presents us with our first tri-circle diagram.

Overlap: Monster Blood

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"Ominous Instructions" is a category that includes explicit warnings -- think Stay Out of the Basement; Don't Go to Sleep!; Beware, the Snowman; Be Careful What You Wish For... -- as well as a few suspicious commands. Well, at least we hope you think Say Cheese and Die! and Let's Get Invisible! are questionable prompts.

Overlap: Say Cheese and Die!

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You might've noticed those ominous instructions tend to get more creative with their punctuation. Titles wielding exclamation points make up a small but noteworthy cluster of Stine's output: Say Cheese and Die!, Let's Get Invisible!, and the rebuke You Can't Scare Me!

Overlap: Say Cheese and Die!, Let's Get Invisible!

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Sometimes, Stine would make his nightmares more personal with first-person titles. You Can't Scare Me! is obviously one, as is Why I'm Afraid of Bees, My Hairiest Adventure, How I Got My Shrunken Head, My Best Friend Is Invisible, and I Live in Your Basement! Two of those also feature your noggin, bringing us back to body parts.

Overlap: How I Got My Shrunken Head, My Hairiest Adventure

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You could bet any Goosebumps setting had its share of horrors, but some book titles let you know upfront that the location was a deathtrap. Like Welcome to Dead House, Welcome to Camp Nightmare, One Day at Horrorland, Ghost Beach, A Night in Terror Tower, A Shocker on Shock Street, Ghost CampThe Haunted School, Stay Out of the Basement, The Curse of Camp Cold Lake, The Horror at Camp Jellyjam, and The Werewolf of Fever Swamp. (Of course werewolves hang out there.)

A few of those locales have "ghost" in their names as well. Not-friendly Caspers figure prominently in Stine's world, notably appearing in Ghost Camp, Ghost Beach, The Ghost Next Door, The Barking Ghost, and The Ghost Next Door.

Overlap: Ghost Beach, Ghost Camp

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Finally, if you didn't notice in the "scary places" scroll, camps are apparently the worst place to send your children in the summertime. They're a whole set of their own with Welcome to Camp Nightmare, The Horror at Camp Jellyjam, Ghost Camp, and The Curse of Camp Cold Lake. Good thing half of those also have angry specters hanging out by the bunk beds.

Overlap: Ghost Camp

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Kristin Hunt is a staff writer for Thrillist. She was too scared to watch Kenan & Kel's Halloween special as a kid, but still read many Goosebumps books. Follow her to masochism at @kristin_hunt.



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