So, a little history: I have only ever read one book in the Goosebumps series. You see, they were wildly popular when I was a kid, when I was right in the throes of the “I won’t be into something because it’s popular” stage. Also, I was pretty sure they’d be creepy and gross. So I vowed to never read an R. L. Stine book, and only broke it some 15 years later to read The Phantom of the Auditorium because, well…
And perhaps I sort of broke it recently to watch Goosebumps. I’ve long since gotten over my R. L. Stine hostility, but I’m still pretty sure he’s just not my style, and I felt that way about the movie too. But—I had a writer friend who said it was a great writer movie, and we watched it at our monthly movie night. And it was great!
Jack Black stars as R. L. Stine, weird and antisocial and slightly crazed. Teenage Zach gets interested after he moves in next door and starts to fall for Stine’s daughter Hannah. And Stine’s craziness all begins to make more sense when Zach and Hannah accidentally open one of Stine’s manuscripts—and the creatures from the book come out. More books open and pretty soon monsters are rampaging all over town.
The teen romance was cute enough. The monsters were interesting mostly in their incredible variety. But the writer side of it all was so much fun!
The concept of characters leaping out of books is just brilliant, and I loved the story of the writer trying to contain his own creations. And there are lots of writer jokes that my friends and I kept cracking up over. For instance, a character compares Stine to Stephen King, and Stine goes on a rant about how much higher his sales are.
My favorite line, occurring while they’re midway through running from rampaging monsters, was when Stine says he’s sold 400 million copies. Another character responds, “Really? Domestic market?” and Stine admits, “No, international. But it’s still an impressive number!” Which it definitely is. So apparently my young rebellion didn’t hurt his sales any!
Considering how weird and bizarre this movie looks with all the nutty monsters running about, it’s actually very clever in a lot of ways. I wouldn’t have expected to recommend a movie based on the Goosebumps books, and my young self would probably be horrified, but it really was a good one!
Movie/Book Site: http://goosebumps.scholastic.com/
Buy it here: Goosebumps