Fast and the Furious franchise producer Neal H. Moritz has been working with Scholastic Entertainment and Columbia Pictures to bring R.L. Stine’s popular Goosebumps books to the big screen since the latter snagged screen rights to more than 50 of the author’s works, all the way back in 2008.
Scott Alexander and Larry Karaszewski (Ed Wood, 1408) were among the first screenwriters to take a stab at the project, followed by Carl Ellsworth (Disturbia, The Last House on the Left) back in 2010. Yet another writer has been brought onboard to pen the Goosebumps movie; like his predecessors, he will be starting from scratch, rather than working from an earlier script draft.
The writer in question is Darren Lemke, who (according to Heat Vision) is in the midst of closing a deal to work on Goosebumps. Lemke penned the original spec script for this summer’s fairy tale retelling, Jack the Giant Killer, which was not-so-conicidentally produced by Moritz.
Goosebumps is a collection of young-adult sci-fi/horror books that revolve around underage protagonists, and often semi-comically reference classic monster and alien invasion movies, while also featuring a wide range of additional supernatural creatures – such as scarecrows, ventriloquist dummies, mummies, and mutated hamsters (you read that correctly). Every one of Stine’s original novels also boasts a spooky, last-minute twist ending and many were directly adapted for the live-action TV spinoff series that ran from 1995-98.
Most of the previous writers who were brought onboard to work on the Goosebumps film have a history of penning more adult horror/thriller material. Lemke, by comparison, previously co-wrote Shrek Forever After and is currently working on the script for a new version of The Nutcracker.
In other words: it sounds as though Columbia was aiming for less of a family-friendly Goosebumps flick before, based on the collective work of the aforementioned screenwriters. Now, the studio is apparently working on more of a loyal cinematic interpretation of Stine’s source material – or, at least, has hired someone with more experience in the area of darker entertainment for all ages.
Perhaps that means the Goosbumps movie will serve as a fun introduction to traditional horror cinema tropes and elements for younger moviegoers, much like the original books did. Here’s to hoping that proves to be the case…