If you grew up in the 90s and knew how to read then there’s a good chance you probably read at least one of R.L. Stine’s extensive library of scary stories in the Goosebumps franchise. For kids who weren’t allowed to watch R-rated horror movies, these spooky and frequently silly (looking at you, “Revenge of the Lawn Gnomes”) novellas were a fun introduction to the horror genre.
According to the nostalgia clock it’s about time for the Goosebumps books to get a big screen adaptation, and Sony Pictures is obliging with a Goosebumps movie starring Jack Black as a Stine-esque writer who finds his horrific creations coming to life. If the film follows the structure of the books then there will probably be a cliffhanger every five minutes.
According to a report in Deadline, Goosebumps now has a release date set for March 23, 2016. It’s still a fairly long way off but the fact that there it’s been announced likely means that Sony has sorted out the scheduling. This project has already been in development for several years, so it’s promising to have a fixed date to look forward to.
Generally speaking, horror movies marketed towards kids tend to be pretty light on scares and geared more towards fun (see the likes of Scooby Doo and Frankenweenie), but Stine’s books were often genuinely scary – at least, from the perspective of an eight year-old. The author came up with a creative range of ghouls, ghosts, monsters and terrors to make up for the lack of gore, and the Goosebumps books frequently had had a sting in the tale with the protagonist meeting a sticky end just when they think they’re safe.
With a comic actor playing the lead and family-friendly director Rob Letterman (Gulliver’s Travels) at the helm, Goosebumps will probably be geared towards fun rather than scares. Still, with a screenplay from horror/thriller writer Carl Ellsworth (The Last House on the Left), perhaps there’ll be room for a nice dose of nastiness as well.
Goosebumps will arrive in theaters on March 23, 2016.