You know how they (whoever “they” are — probably the same people who got caught between a rock and a hard place) say you can’t judge a book by its cover? It’s true. The scariest cover in R.L. Stine’s Goosebumps series is, obviously, Night of the Living Dummy. Those cold, dead green eyes. Those freckles. Those weirdly arched eyebrows. But Night of the Living Dummy isn’t the scariest Goosebumps book. Not quite.
In a Q&A session to celebrate the 25th anniversary of Goosebumps (and, by extension, 25 years of scaring the snot out of children), Stine, the Stephen King of the ’90s playground crowd, told the story about one of his horror stories originally being too, well, horrific. “Usually my editors are saying to me, ‘Hype it up… make it scarier,'” he said. “[But] there was one time, very early, where I did a Goosebumps book and everyone thought I had gone too far.”
It was a very early Goosebumps book called The Girl Who Cried Monster. This girl realizes that the librarian is a monster. But no one will believe her. In my original manuscript, the librarian eats a kid. And everyone thought that maybe was going a little too far. They said, ‘You can’t eat a kid in Goosebumps.’ So I changed it. I put a big bowl of live turtles on the librarian’s desk. And every once in a while, the librarian would reach out and grab a turtle and chew it. Eat it up. Which actually is better than a kid. It’s crunchier. It’s a lot crunchier. And you can hear it. It’s more horrifying, I think.
That was the one time I went too far. (Via)
Between the potential cannibalism and turtle crunching, The Girl Who Cried Monster is Cannibal Holocaust for kiddies. Still not as scary as Slappy, though.