In a time where family-friendly horror films have found themselves ignored for studio tent-pole movies, Goosebumps aims to buck that unfortunate trend. With the help of R.L. Stine’s creative juices, director Rob Letterman hopes that his spooky children’s adaptation will capture the attention of a generation’s worth of young horror fans, while also servicing Stine’s popular source material.
Goosebumps books have been keeping children pleasantly chilled for years now, and while the film puts a larger focus on comedy over scares, there’s still enough thrills to give audiences a taste of Stine’s jovial darkness. It’s accessible, respectful, and full of laughs – everything that we’ve been missing from this once-popular subgenre.
Goosebumps does not come in an anthology format, but it does deal with all of Stine’s catalog in the same story. Dylan Minnette plays Zach, the new boy in town, who eventually finds himself in the presence of R.L. Stine, played by Jack Black. Together, along with Stine’s daughter Hannah (Odeya Rush) and and Zach’s new friend Champ (Ryan Lee), the unconventional team must lock all of Stine’s monsters back in the books they emerged from, before their town is consumed by nightmares.
It’s an ambitious move to include every Goosebumps villain in one film, which is something I discussed with director Rob Letterman when we sat down for a chat at this year’s New York Comic Con. His film relies heavily on computer animated monsters, so we talked about the technical challenges that were inherently present, along with the film’s long history towards production. You’ll also hear about the puppeteer auditions that took place for Slappy, how Letterman sees his film versus the television series, and how his desire to pay homage to Amblin helped shape the vision of Goosebumps.
Check out the full interview with Rob above and be sure to catch Goosebumps when it opens October 16th!