One of Ryan Gosling's first roles was in an episode of Goosebumps, which just happened to be one of the creepiest of the entire series. Adults of a certain age will have a lot of affection for the Goosebumps book series. These spooky books were written by R.L. Stine as a way to get children into the horror genre. They came with vivid artwork and understated titles like The Blob That Ate Everyone and One Day at HorrorLand.
Pre-Harry Potter, Goosebumps was a fun way to encourage children to read, though some parents didn't appreciate their ghoulish content. Goosebumps quickly inspired a franchise too, including a TV series that ran from 1995 to 1998, comics, and video games. Goosebumps also received a movie adaptation in 2015 from Pokémon Detective Pikachu director Rob Letterman. In the movie, Jack Black (Jumanji: Welcome To The Jungle) played a version of author R.L. Stine, who must help save a small town when the monsters from his series escape their books and wreak havoc. Positive word of mouth and nostalgia for the brand led to the movie becoming grossing $150 worldwide.
A sequel titled Goosebumps 2: Haunted Halloween arrived in 2018 but while it was a modest financial success, it received a muted response from fans. While the sequel ended on something of a cliffhanger there have been no reports of a third movie being developed. Fans of the franchise still have a lot of love for the Goosebumps TV series from the late 1990s that adapted many of the books. While the show could be a tad low-budget and cheesy it contained some atmospheric chills too.
Ryan Gosling's (First Man) second credit as an actor was for the Goosebumps season one episode "Say Cheese And Die." This episode was based on the fourth novel of the book series and centers around Gosling's Greg, who finds an old camera that appears to be cursed. Whenever Greg takes a picture with it, misfortune befalls the subject, like his father's new car being wrecked after he takes a photo of it or a friend disappearing.
The Goosebumps novels were always good at coming up with fun story hooks, and the concept of a haunted camera is an undeniably creepy one. Sadly, "Say Cheese And Die" had to condense a lot of material from the book, including losing a major character, but it does a surprisingly solid job building a spooky atmosphere. Young Gosling shows early signs of his future movie stardom, while a young Scott Speedman (Animal Kingman) also makes a brief appearance.
Goosebumps "Say Cheese And Die" isn't likely to cause any heart flutters with hardened horror fans, but for younger viewers, it's definitely one of the highlights of the series. It's well paced, has a few eerie moments and it makes good use of the premise. The show would later adapt Stine's follow-up novel Say Cheese And Die - Again! though the cast, including Gosling, were replaced by new actors.