'Goosebumps' Author R. L. Stine Talks About the Movie: The Moral Is 'RUN!'

Jack Black and friends in Goosebumps

Years before the Young Adult fiction genre was overrun by vampires and dystopian futuristic societies, author R.L. Stine's Goosebumps series reigned supreme. Over a run of 62 novels, Stine crafted an endearing world populated by essentially every kind of monster imaginable, mixing chills with comedy, leaving a memorable legacy for a generation of young readers.

Now, director Rob Letterman (Monsters vs. Aliens) and star Jack Black are bringing Stine's universe to life, with Black playing a version of the author who writes his stories to keep the real monsters in the pages of his books where they belong. We heard back in February that the film's release date had been moved from April 2016 up to this October, signalling Sony's faith in the family-friendly horror-comedy's appeal.

While Goosebumps seems to have dropped off the radar since the trailer's debut at last year's Comic Con - which the public at large still has yet to see - author R.L. Stine discussed the movie in a recent interview with Coming SoonStine commented on Jack Black's portrayal of him, hinting that the character will undergo an interesting arc when confronted with his rampaging monsters, saying: "He’s much more sinister, and in the first part of the film Jack is mean, very mean."

Stine elaborated, saying that after overlooking the obviously fictional representation of him in the movie, he differs from Black's character in the following way:

Just the fact that he’s a lot more troubled than I am. He has issues with Slappy the Dummy, he feels bad about what he’s created, he feels guilty. I don’t have any of that. I enjoy what I do, I just have fun, but that’s not a movie!

Stine praised the previous adaptations of his work - as TV movies and a series which ran for four seasons and is available to stream on Netflix - and talked about remaining protective of the Goosebumps brand, saying:

...we watch it very carefully, partly to make sure they don’t go too far for kids, and that they have the same combination I have in the books of being scary and funny at the same time. They’re never just scary. What I look for when I see scripts is that balance.

Jack Black Odeya Rush and Dylan Minette in Goosebumps

Stine commented on which monsters viewers can expect to see in the movie, saying:

All the early monsters that are in the books. They all come out, they’re all there. The real evil one is Slappy the Dummy, he’s there, the Abominable Snowman from Pasadena is there, and lawn gnomes, HUNDREDS of lawn gnomes. They’re great, they’re really good.

The author also confirmed the presence of the giant, CGI praying mantis which was reportedly in the movie's trailer. According to Stine:

Yes, which was on the cover of “A Shocker on Shock Street,” it was a ride or something and there was a giant praying mantis, and this insect plays a very large part in the movie, it’s pretty horrifying. The effects I’ve seen are not finished but they’re terrific.

Stine went on to talk about some of his horror influences: his favorite horror movie is Evil Dead 2, and his fiction has been heavily informed by some of the classic EC Comics titles like Tales from the Crypt and The Vault of Horror, which featured gruesome, funny tales which usually had a twist ending. When asked how he comes up with the morals for his stories, Stine responded:

No morals. Seriously, there are no morals. The moral is, “RUN!” That’s it, that’s all. I don’t try to teach anything, I want these to be only entertainment. I want kids to say, “God, I can pick up a book and it’s just entertaining, it’s not teaching me anything!” I’m proud of that! Of course, in the 'Goosebumps' books there’s usually a boy and a girl, very normal, average kids, they’re not special, and they face these horrible things. Something terrifying is happening. Their parents are useless, their parents either don’t believe them or they’re not there and they have to use their own wit and imagination to defeat whatever they’re facing, so that kind of thing is there. Otherwise, there are no messages.

The Monsters of Goosebumps

As for whether or not the Goosebumps movie will incorporate some of the elements of the books which the TV series was able to replicate - such as cliffhangers at the end of every chapter - Stine had this to say:

No, not really. There’s a lot of twists and shocks. That’s all I really like in things, I like surprises, and there are a lot in the movie, but you can’t really do that kind of chapter ending. The movie does have that combination of fun and scary, they really did achieve that, so I’m very happy about that. I’ve seen it two-and-a-half times. They’re still working on it. Now I hear Danny Elfman is doing the music. They were using fake music previously, now I heard they’ve got the real music in. That’s gonna be great!

Stine's enthusiasm for the movie version of his books is heartening to fans who were in middle school or high school during the brand's heyday. We have no wide release of the movie's footage, which usually means that the effects-heavy post production is still ongoing. Still, moving the film's release up by six months is generally a good sign. Goosebumps could prove itself a successful bit of family-friendly programming among the prestige releases of the fall, and this movie belongs in the month of Halloween, anyway.


Goosebumps opens in theaters on October 16, 2015.

Source: Coming Soon

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