Anyone who grew up in the 90s knows R.L. Stine’s Goosebumps series. Before Harry Potter swept the world and became the most popular young adult series in the history of time there was R.L. Stine’s Goosebumps series which is now the second most popular young adult series in history. Goosebumps is a horror series for kids. On the face of it that doesn’t sound like something that many parents would approve of. But, R.L. Stine’s novels were about things that all kids are scared of and the stories helped kids face and overcome their fear of the dark, fear of monsters, and other childhood fears. More than 60 books were published in the series, and they sold over 30 million copies. Even though the books were wildly popular no feature film based on Goosebumps was ever made. Until now. There was an animated TV show that ran for three years in the late 90s but no film.
The Goosebumps film that is currently going into production will delight kids who grew up in the 90s who will now get a chance to share the Goosebumps experience with their own kids.
There were a few spin off book series that used the Goosebumps books as an inspiration but none ever really caught on with kids and parents the way that the original series did. Even the TV show didn’t last very long. Part of the reason was that cultural attitudes were shifting away from things that were dark and scary. Now those patterns have shifted back. The Harry Potter books, full of magic and dark wizards and dark topics, started a new wave of dark themed books and movies for kids. Scary topics for kids are no longer off limits in literature or films that are created for kids.
One of the things that kids liked the most about the original series is that the characters were all based on characters that kids know from fairy tales and other cultural sources. For instance, Slappy the clown, who is featured in several books, is based on Pinocchio. Throughout the series R. L. Stine used popular characters as inspirations for his own characters so that kids would feel those characters were familiar. By incorporating these archetypes into the series he made the books accessible to kids even though the books were about scary things.
Fans have been waiting for a movie based on the beloved books for a long time. It’s surprising that a franchise like Goosebumps that is so popular still had trouble making it to the big screen. But as the studios held onto the project different writers came and went and the production never really came together. Finally everything has lined up just right and the film is ready to get started. Fans won’t have to wait a lot longer to see their favorite R.L. Stine characters brought to live on the big screen. Even though most of the kids who grew up on the series are parents now themselves they will enjoy seeing the film and remembering how important the books were during their childhood. The books should see a resurgence in popularity when the film is released.
The film stars Jack Black as Mr. Shivers, who is a writer much like R.L. Stine. His niece comes to live with him, and together she and the neighbor kid get into all kinds of situation and face down monsters. The niece will be played Odeya Rush and her partner in crime, the neighbor kid will be Dylan Minnette. Not too many details about the film have been released yet, but the casting of the three leads means that the film is going into production. Hopefully a release date will be coming soon. Some people questioned the choice of Jack Black to play Mr. Shivers but his work with kids in School of Rock was very poignant and funny. He is a great choice to play the lead in a kid-focused film like this one. Once audiences see how well he can tie the story together they will see that he was a brilliant casting choice for the role.