In the mid 1990s, I was about ten years old and read nearly every Goosebumps book R.L. Stine wrote. I was a kid obsessed with creepy ventriloquist dummies, monster blood, haunted masks and ghosts next door. Most of my old Goosebumps books are still on my bookshelves, waiting for my kid to be ready to read them. If he dares!
The 2015 Film starring Jack Black as R.L. Stine is a wonderful orignal story tying itself to the most memorable books of the series. It starts off like a Goosebumps story would, a boy, Zach (Dylan Minnette) and his mom (Amy Ryan) move to a new town. He meets the nice girl next door, Hannah (Odeya Rush). Then he meets her creepy father (Black) who warns him to stay away. When Zach worries that something happened to Hannah, he investigates and accidentally unleashes the monsters from Stine’s books on the town. Then the real fun begins!
Goosebumps is a good mix of creepy fun, action and adventure perfect for older kids. The CGI monsters are not gruesome or gory and this isn’t a slasher kind of scary movie. Unless your littlest ones scare easily, this is a good one to share in the Halloween season. My three year old loves it (yet he is terrified by the tv show from the late 90s, double check what you’re watching.)
However, my kid cannot appreciate it like his old ‘90’s child mama. So many of the books I read as a kid were suddenly brought to life at once. Monsters I hadn’t thought about in twenty years crept back in my memory, brought me a great sense of happy nostalgia and reminded me why I first began to write. Best of all, writing becomes an act of heroics that helps save the day. What nerd wouldn’t eat that up?
While Goosebumps is aimed at kids and tweens, older millennials who grew up waiting for Stine’s next book to be released will be just as pleased. It’s not Oscar material and I doubt it will be a classic, but it’s great spooky fun and Jack Black is perfectly kooky. Check it out if you want a wonderful Halloween treat complete with some Stine-styled twists.
“You forgot about me!”