Like a lot of people, I grew up as a teenager reading the Goosebumps series. I don’t recall if I managed to read them all and I’d be at a loss to rattle off the whole list of titles for you (without the help of Google) but I do know I went through a stage where they were pretty much all I read. And I visited the library a lot. There was something addictive about the characters and the plot twists that as a young reader I never quite saw coming. And the best part? There was always another adventure I could turn to when the last one drew to an end.
While I may no longer remember the storylines and characters vividly I still acknowledge that Goosebumps were a great part of my childhood. So when I saw the previews for the Goosebumps movie, my eyes of course lit up and my curiosity was ignited. Would they do the books great homage? Would I recognise any of the characters or has my imagination and memory distorted them some time ago?
Here are my thoughts (I will try to avoid spoilers wherever possible but I can’t help but make mention to some of the characters that appeared so consider this a “SPOILER ALERT” just in case).
What I loved best about this movie was that it was a clever storyline in the sense that didn’t try to re-invent a particular book from the series but instead worked the angle of R.L. Stine (played by Jack Black) and his monsters. While this concept of a storyteller dealing with their creations has been tried before (ala Ink Heart and to a lesser extent The Never Ending Story with the strong link between reader and characters and Jumanji with the elements of the board game coming to life) the way it was delivered was clever and well timed with its humour.
In terms of recognising the monsters there were a few that I recognised. The most notable one was Sappy from The Night of the Living Dummy series. He was exactly what you would expect him to be from reading the books. The invisible boy seemed familiar and also did the werewolf guy wearing shorts and sneakers though my memory was struggling to recall their stories. Yep, that does it, I am definitely re-reading the books before this comes out on DVD.
So what has this movie taught me in terms of surviving a monster apocalypse?
1.) Gnomes can be tricky little bastards when they work together and will use whatever resources they have around them so it’s probably a good idea to avoid the kitchen when they pop up uninvited.
2.) Stay away from locked books especially if they are kept in an antique-y looking house that you’ve broken into. Also, as a side note, if I happen to buy a house with a basement that has a door leading outside I’m putting a whole security system in there and not relying on a piddly little padlock for privacy.
3.) Anything giant sized is best avoided. Oh and snowmen like candy apparently. Guess that’s a universal thing. I wonder if they like coffee?
4.) And finally if your neighbour seems creepy there’s probably a good reason for it. So unless you’re a fellow creep stay away and stop being so damn nosey.