If it's crap ... We'll tell you
R.L. Stine has scared more kids than any dentist office or booster shot could ever dream of. Between his 'Fear Street' and 'Goosebumps' novels, he has managed be the basis of plenty of young adult nightmares. For quite some time, we've heard bits and pieces of the in-development 'Goosebumps' movie. In fact, when last we left it, the film adaptation of Stine's signature horror novel series was looking to switch writers from Carl Ellsworth ('Disturbia') to Darren Lemke ('Shrek Forever After'). But what is the current status? At a 20th anniversary celebration for the 'Goosebumps' books, Stine fielded a question about the film version. His words were less than inspiring for fans...
"I've been reading about [a Goosebumps movie] for 20 years, you know? (Chuckles) I never believe those things until I see them. Movies just don't happen [for my works], I've had much better luck on television….I haven't had much movie luck. I mean it's very hard to get them to make a movie. Look at Maurice Sendak, right? Where the Wild Things Are. When he wrote that book he was in his 30s, and when the movie came out he was in his 80s. So, I'm waiting. I'm waiting."
So it's safe to assume that this film project is stalled, or at least moving at so slow a pace that even the author of the source material isn't confident it's actually happening. I'm not sure how to feel about this. On the one hand, I read all the 'Goosebumps' books as a kid (my favorite was always 'Attack of the Mutant') and I think Stine's ability to engender within young people an interest in horror is commendable. On the other hand, there have been plenty of attempts by Hollywood studios to make softer, PG-13 horror films to appeal to young adult markets, and many of those films end up being just plain awful. Do we really need to drudge up 'Cry_Wolf?' What I would love to see with this project is an anthology film geared toward younger horror fans that doesn't water everything down just to achieve the widest possible audience. Trust the 'Goosebumps' fans' tolerance for frights and crank things up a bit. I'm not suggesting it be rated R, but make haunting visuals your strength and thereby adopt the 'Poltergeist' model; a legitimately freaky movie that was rated PG.
What do you guys think? Will this movie ever get off the ground? Are we too past the prime of 'Goosebumps' for this to work? If you were a fan of the books, which was your favorite?