Goosebumps in Scary Pumpkin Season
I have been an eager beaver holding my breath since I first saw the trailer for this back in July. It was released just in time for scary pumpkin season!
The trailer brought back memories of my 90’s childhood when I used my library card to work my way through all of the R.L. Stine Goosebumps books in the Convent library collection. Then, a series was produced and the words from all the books leapt of the pages placing kids in Twilight Zone like situations. I sat under a blanket sweating and shivering every Friday afternoon as I watched an episode from the long catalogue of Goosebumps stories. Goosebumps was akin to something horrible yet uncomfortably exciting that lured you in and then once you saw it, you couldn’t look away. A wave of nostalgia washed over me as I remembered the signature radioactive- green letters that slide down in disgusting glops and the catchy but disturbing theme song.
This is one of those rare times when I will say the movie was just as good as the books. What makes it awesome you ask? It's a clever metaphor for the power of books! The story used my all-time favourite frightful character from ‘Night of the Living Dummy’ named Slappy; an evil ventriloquist dummy who releases all of Stine’s imaginary creations unleashing nightmarish mayem on the minuscule town in the middle of nowhere curiously called Madison.
Instead of children being forced to live out the horror and find a solution alone, R.L. Stine himself- played by Jack Black- is one of the protagonists (aided by some kids because this is a kiddies film after all) and it’s up to him to get a handle on all his ‘literary children’. It reminded me of the movies inspired by H.P. Lovecraft, Le Territoire des Ombres, where Lovecraft’s character is inserted into a story about his stories- (that’s not confusing at all).
The movie touches briefly on serious issues like lonliness, bullying and loss. The movie also delivers on believable SFX, all the scary twists that make you jump and shriek and moments where you somehow think that by running in your seat you can help the actors gain momentum as they run for their lives.
For all the hardcore fans, all I can say is “you better beware, you’re in for a scare” and a really good use of 103 minutes of your life.