For those growing up in the mid-1990s, Goosebumps was the quintessential children’s book series. In 62 books about dummies, mummies, gnomes and various other monsters hiding in the most unlikely of places, author R. L. Stine took readers to strange new worlds where any number of crazy things could happen.
Stine has pretty much laid low since the series ended in 1997, though he has continued to write plenty of books, many even in the same universe. At SDCC 2014, he appeared onscreen momentarily to promote the new Goosebumps movie releasing next year.
Only two days after production wrapped, star Jack Black and director Rob Letterman (Monsters vs. Aliens) were on hand at Comic-Con and shared the first trailer along with more details on the film’s meta storyline. As we’ve mentioned before, Goosebumps will feature Black playing R.L. Stine himself, a writer who must keep his own stories locked up lest they escape and wreak havoc, which of course they will.
/Film was present at the panel, and they’ve relayed how Black told R.L. Stine about the role when they first met: “I’m gonna play you, but I can’t play you like you are. I need him to be more sinister. Creepy and crawly and scary.”
Of course, the film isn’t just scary; it’ll have its own set of comedic moments like the original book series as you can see from the trailer description:
We see a vision of beautiful small town America. A new family moves into a house; creepy neighbors, the Stine family, live next door. When the boy (Dylan Minnette) sees a Rear Window-esque event next door, he breaks into the house. There he discovers the truth. The ultra popular author keeps the monsters he created locked up in his original manuscripts. The house, shrouded in dark shadows, is appropriately creepy.
The trailer then cuts to Stine and the kids driving in the town and a massive preying mantis attacks them. (It will be CG, but was seen here in a pre-viz render as the film is so far from release.) “I don’t remember writing a giant preying mantis,” Stine says. It spits on the car and THEN he remembers. Then we see them being chased by the Snowman of Pasadena. There’s a huge funhouse, a wolfman character, knife-throwing gnomes and then the ventriloquist dummy Slappy, who is the ringleader of all of the monsters. (That book was named as a favorite by both Black and Letterman.) A slew of additional action scenes were shown, making it seem like almost every single monster from the books is in the film.
Essentially, it sounds like Goosebumps will have a Scary Movie sort of vibe, where nods to the many books are thrown out in a spoof kind of way. Fans of the series can expect to see a lot of their favorite books brought to life, and Black and Letterman let out a few hints about the film.
- They don’t know how many monsters from Goosebumps are in the movie.
- Some of the monsters are computer-generated, some use practical effects, and some will be a mix of both.
- Because everyone loves Slappy from Night of the Living Dummy, he’s the lead villain. They think of him as R.L. Stine’s alter ego.
- Fan-favorite book The Haunted Mask will be referenced, but Black and Leterman didn’t want to reveal too many spoilers about it.
- Another fan-favorite book, Welcome to Camp Nightmare, will also be referenced.
There are many different ways to condense a years-long series into a movie, but this option seems like the best bet for capturing the original feel of the books and appealing to fans (rather than choosing a single story to adapt). And if the excitement at the end of the panel when around twenty Goosebumps monsters showed up is any indication, viewers will love seeing all their favorites return onscreen.
How about you, Screen Rant readers? Do you like what you hear? Which monsters are you hoping or excited to see?
Goosebumps opens in U.S. theaters on August 7th, 2015.