R.L. Stine Teases More Goosebumps and Fear Street Movies

Goosebumps by R. L. Stine went from an experiment to see if 7 to 12-year-old readers would pick up a horror series to now having quite a few different incarnations in different media. There’s been tv shows, movies, comics, and video games. Now, almost thirty years after the first book, Welcome to Dead House, was published, Stine discusses with Yahoo! Entertainment how his work has transcended mediums.

“Listen — nothing sells books better than television! When the series premiered in 1995, the book sales went up by about a million a month. It was a huge jump because of the show. People say that kids watching television is terrible, but it also encourages them to read.”

Stine created the show, though since he was writing a Goosebumps book a month at the time, he couldn’t spend much time on it. According to him, it was fun to see other writers taking his books and going off in their own direction, saying The Haunted Mask and A Night in Terror Tower episodes were both good. On the show, tv viewers also saw some early appearances by Scott Speedman, Hayden Christensen, and Ryan Gosling.

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“It was a Canadian show, and we used every kid in Canada! I’d be at book signings in America, and kids would ask: “How do I get to be on the Goosebumps show?” And I’d say: “Well, you have to be Canadian.” [Laughs]”

Earlier this year, we reported that Disney+ has picked up a new Goosebumps TV show for a 10-episode order. It “will focus on five high school kids who find their town under threat from supernatural forces that they have unleashed.” There’s been no word if you’ll have to be Canadian to be on that show, too, though.

“Oh yeah [I’m happy it’s coming back to TV]. It’ll keep the book series going! I’m not really in the loop on the TV show, but my understanding is that it’s not going to be an anthology series, it’s going to be a continuing story. But honestly, I haven’t heard any more about it than that.”

Goosebumps On The Big Screen

“There’s still talk about more Goosebumps movies, and I also hear rumors about more Fear Street movies for Netflix, because the first ones did so well last summer.”

Released in 2015, the first film, titled Goosebumps, starred Jack Black as a fictional version of Stine who must save the town from an army of his creations, led by series mascot Slappy the Dummy. A sequel, entitled Goosebumps 2: Haunted Halloween, was released in 2018 and had roughly the same plot as the previous film.

“A lot of kids’ movies are horrible, and I also didn’t have much input into them at all. But I’m very proud of both movies. They’re really funny, and Jack Black is terrific. There’s a line he says in the first Goosebumps movie that’s just perfect: ‘Every story has a beginning, a middle and a twist.’ I love that line. I wish I’d written it! [Laughs]”

The Fear Street films were based on a different series by Stine. They were a trilogy of horror films released one week after another on Netflix last year. Directed and co-written by Leigh Janiak, each film dealt with a group of teenagers and some adults dealing with a supernatural curse that has driven people to slasher movie villainy.

“Those films kind of shocked me, because they were all R-rated, and I’ve never done anything R-rated! All those teenagers were getting slashed. I was like, ‘Suddenly, I have a slasher movie!’”

While the third installment wrapped up most of the dangling plot threads, the door to further installments was left open. When last we heard, Janiak herself had said that she had some ideas that could be used to continue the series. Still, with all these movies already released and possibly more on the horizon, have any of these adaptations affected the way Stine approaches the books?

“That’s a good question. Well, they gave Slappy more power than I had ever given him. Like in the second film, they had him bringing all these things to life, which I’d never done before. So suddenly I could give Slappy more powers in the books! I got lucky with the movies in that they were actually good, and they didn’t have to be.”