Feeling Goosebumps: How Rob Letterman brought a children’s horror classic to the big screen

How does one make a Goosebumps movie? If you’re not familiar with R.L. Stine’senormously popular series of children’s horror novels, you might not grasp the full extent of the challenge, so let us break it down. For the most part, each Goosebumpsbook exists completely separately from the others, so it’s not like there’s one definitive plot to draw from. Goosebumps books are legitimately frightening, at least for the elementary-school set, so you want the movie to be scary, too…but PG, fun-scary, not traumatize-audiences-for-life scary.

And, perhaps most dauntingly, there’s the nostalgia element. Goosebumps has sold 400 million copies since its first book, Welcome to Dead House, hit shelves in 1992. Young adults of a certain age have fond memories of a short-lived anthology TV series that aired on Fox Kids in the ’90s. (One episode features a teenage Ryan Gosling come into possession of a cursed camera. Take that, Drive!) Goosebumps books are still coming out today, courtesy of Scholastic’s Goosebumps Most Wanted series. Long story short: Fan response can be brutal when a beloved children’s property fails to live up to expectations (See: The Last Airbender and The Golden Compass). And Goosebumps? Goosebumpshas fans that span decades.

Read the rest at Film Journal International.


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