10 Goosebumps Books and the Classic Movies That Inspired Them
We all know that Goosebumps books are great ways to get kids into reading. But, they can also be a fun bonding experience for kids and parents that are fans of classic horror films. Compare some of the popular Goosebumps books with the classic films that inspired them in the list below and then pick your favorites for a campy movie night! If your children have read the book, you can discuss how the book’s plot compares to the movie, as is done in the descriptions below.
It Came from beneath the Sink! / It Came from beneath the Sea (1955)
When Kat and her brother find an odd sponge under the sink in their new house, the last thing they expected was for it to be possessed. Cursing her family and friends, Kat does everything she can to destroy the sponge once and for all. The title of the book is a spoof of the classic film, It Came from beneath the Sea. The film tells the story of a sea monster who’s forced from its natural habitat due to hydrogen bomb testing in the Mindanao Deep area in the Philippines, which has made the giant creature radioactive. Besides the title, not much can be found similar between the two.
Night of the Living Dummy / Night of the Living Dead (1968)
After Lindy and her twin sister find a ventriloquist dummy in the dumpster behind the house next door, she decides to keep it and call it Slappy. But when Slappy comes to life, he wreaks havoc all over town. George A. Romero’s Night of the Living Dead was the first film to feature zombies as reanimated, flesh-eating cannibals. Still not sure which is scarier, the hungry undead, or a puppet with a vengeance.
Phantom of the Auditorium / Phantom of the Opera (1925)
R.L. Stine’s spoof of the 1925 American silent horror film brings the well-known phantom to a more kid-familiar environment. Brooke and her friend Zeke have been cast in the school’s new play The Phantom, which is a heavily edited version of The Phantom of the Opera. Weird things start to happen as the theater group goes against the school’s urban legend of a student dissapearing 72 years ago (the last time the school put on the play). Both the Goosebumps book and the 1925 film are adaptations of Le Fantôme de l’Opéra (The Phantom of the Opera) which was written by the French writer Gaston Leroux in 1910.
A Shocker on Shock Street / The Deadly Mantis (1957)
In The Deadly Mantis, a volcano sets free a 200-foot-long praying mantis that was trapped in ice for more than a million years, causing destruction until it is finally taken down in D.C. In A Shocker on Shock Street, Erin and her best friend run into a half-dozen similar monsters when visiting the studio theme park Shock Street. Along with combating the monsters, the two spend the day trying to survive a deadly haunted-house roller coaster, The Cave of Living Creeps, a graveyard full of traps, and even werewolves! Just a typical day on Shock Street.
The Abominable Snowman of Pasadena / The Abominable Snowman (1957)
The Abominable Snowman, based on a 1955 TV play called The Creature, is a British horror film about a team of scientists on the hunt for the legendary Yeti in the Himalayas. After confronting the Yeti and realizing the danger they’ve put themselves in, the team cuts their losses and backs away, losing only a few members of their team. In R.L. Stine’s spoof, Jordan, his sister Nicole, and their photographer dad, travel to Alaska to get evidence of the Abominable Snowman, which has been recently spotted in the area. Completing what the team in the 1957 film failed to do, Jordan and his family manage to bring back the Yeti, frozen in a block of ice, to Pasadena. Needless to say, this isn’t going to end well.
Let’s Get Invisible / The Invisible Man (1933)
The Invisible Man, based on the H.G. Wells novel from 1897, is a film about a chemist who discovers the secret to invisibility. Driven mad by one of the drugs in the formula, Dr. Griffin goes on a rampage causing fear and confusion all over town. In Let’s Get Invisible, Max and his friends discover a mirror that makes them invisible by turning on a light from above it. After days of pranking and goofing around, Max starts to notice that something’s not right with his friends. The longer they stay invisible, the stranger they start to act. One thing’s for sure in for both stories, things get dangerous when you can’t see what’s really going on.
The Blob That Ate Everyone / The Blob (1958)
In the 1958 film, the Blob is a growing corrosive alien organism from outer space that crashes in a small town in Pennsylvania and proceeds to consume and dissolve citizens and anything that stands in it’s way. In the Goosebumps spoof, Zackie, a young boy with dreams of becoming a great horror writer, finds a typewriter in a rundown shopping center that had been destroyed by lightening. When he gets home, he decides to rewrite The Blob, being too stubborn to realize that what he was writing was coming true. The blob begins to attack the entire town much like the original 1958 film.
Why I’m Afraid of Bees / The Fly (1958)
In The Fly, Andre is a scientist on the brink of perfecting his matter transporter. After a fly gets caught in the chamber with him, his test at transporting himself results with him having the head and arm of the fly. In Why I’m Afraid of Bees, Gary wanted to spend his summer vacation doing what he does best, read comics and keep to himself. Being picked on and teased by bullies, he searches for a way to better himself. Gary finds a program that will let him switch bodies with another kid for a week. When a bee flies into the room and interrupts the experiment, Gary finds himself in the bee’s body.
The Werewolf of Fever Swamp / Werewolf of London (1935)
In the 1935 film, an English botanist is attacked and bitten by a werewolf during a journey to Tibet. Returning home to London he learns of the severity of his condition. Using science, he tries to prevent his transformation with the use of a mariphasa plant, a rare flower that blooms in moonlight as opposed to sunlight. He is successful, but then his colleague, who was also infected by the werewolf, steals his plants. This leaves him without an antidote which causes him to fully transform and terrorize the streets of London. In The Werewolf of Fever Swamp, Grady and his family move to Florida where his father can study Swamp Deer from South America. After finding a new dog in the swamp, Grady’s family thinks the new pet is causing trouble. Grady knows his dog is just a regular old dog, even if he does look like a wolf.
The Curse of the Mummy’s Tomb / The Curse of the Mummy’s Tomb (1964)
When a team of Egyptologists return to England after discovering a mummy, they are shocked when it revives and attacks members of the expedition in this 1964 British horror film. This classic film inspired many adaptations, including the Goosebumps version of The Curse of the Mummy’s Tomb. At twelve-years old, Gabe gets to spend his Christmas vacation in Egypt with his parents, while they take care of some business for their refrigeration company. Gabe’s uncle, who works at the pyramids, and his trickster cousin Sari keep him company while his parents take care of a work emergency. Gabe’s uncle tells him about an Egyptian curse that later proves to be more than superstition.
You can keep the Goosebumps enthusiasm going with the recently released movie and the TV series that is now streaming on Netflix.
Paul Merced is design editor of Learning Liftoff. His passion and style for illustrating, photography, and design is a great blend for the educational field. With a BA in digital art from George Mason University, Paul is working on illustrating a children's book that will be released in the next few years. As a former bookseller, Paul loves reading his large collection of books and graphic novels.