Author R.L. Stine Shares the Goosebumps Book He Thought Was Too Scary

Over the course of the entire run of Goosebumps books from author R.L. Stine, readers were given all sorts of creepy adventures, featuring everything from ghosts to monsters to ventriloquist dummies, leaving an impact on young readers in various ways, but the author himself thinks the debut novel, Welcome to Dead House, was too scary for the rest of the series. Rather than it being specifically because of the subject matter, Stine detailed that he hadn't quite found the right blend of humor and horror in the first entry, a blend he would go on to perfect in future entries.

"I actually thought that [Welcome to Dead House] was too scary for the series. It didn't have the balance of humor and scariness, and I corrected that in the second book, Stay Out of the Basement," Stine explained to Yahoo! Entertainment. "When scenes started to get really intense in that book, I made sure to put in something funny. And that's what I stuck to from then on. There are a couple books that stand out as being scarier than others, but mostly I think they are the right balance."

Welcome to Dead House is described, "11-year-old Josh and 12-year-old Amanda just moved into the oldest and weirdest house on the block -- the two siblings think it might even be haunted! But of course, their parents don't believe them. You'll get used to it, they say. Go out and make some new friends. But the creepy kids are not like anyone Josh and Amanda have ever met before. And when they take a shortcut through the cemetery one night, Josh and Amanda learn why."

While Stine might think his first entry was the scariest, books like Monster Blood or The Haunted Mask might be more memorable to readers, as they earned sequels. Possibly even more iconic is Slappy, the ventriloquist dummy, who debuted in Night of the Living Dummy and returned for multiple more entries. As far as Slappy's popularity, Stine thinks it's all due to him being featured in the Goosebumps films.

"I had no idea! I think he became more central because of the Goosebumps movies," the author detailed. "People really liked him in the movies. But I never really planned for him to be anything. I don't really get Slappy! I don't know why people think he's so scary. I like writing him because he's like an insult comic -- he's so nasty to everyone. So I love writing that stuff. But now it's in my contract that every other book has to be about Slappy. Believe me, it's not getting any easier to come up with plots about a dummy who comes to life."

A Goosebumps TV series is currently being developed for Disney+.

What do you think was the scariest Goosebumps book? Let us know in the comments below or contact Patrick Cavanaugh directly on Twitter to talk all things Star Wars and horror!