C'mon everyone, follow me! I have put together a time machine to go back to the year 1994 because there is something my 8-year-old self needs to see. I wasn't that excited when I read today that Columbia is producing a big-screen adaptation of one of R.L. Stine's Goosebumps books, but somewhere deep in the past I heard a little boy scream in delight. That little boy was almost certainly me, a kid who religiously read each Goosebumps book the moment it came out. Though their readability never waned, the suckiness of the franchise became undeniable after a few golden years thanks to Goosebumps' grueling monthly release schedule and, presumably, a team of writers calling themselves R.L. Stine who realized that they could wipe their butts with blank pages and sell it to kids like me if they gave it an awesome cover.
Yes, even the most undiscerning readers grow up. No one could deny that the books had lost the thread by 1995. I wasn't that charmed with the Goosebumps TV series either. In fact, that might have been my first realization that written material is not always done justice when transferred to moving pictures.
But back before I, like so many other young horror fans, moved onto Stephen King (and understood very, very little of what was going on in Christine) Goosebumps was my jam. I could literally think of no movie I wanted to see more than a good Goosebumps movie. That's why I want to use this time machine to ask 8-year-old Dave which of R.L. Stine's masterpieces should be adapted for the big screen. Alright everyone, climb in! I'm setting the coordinates for Ms. Brauer's third grade classroom!
Hello 8-year-old Dave! Please stop picking your nose and eating it long enough to read this article I can magically call up through space on my magical lap computer. Yes, that's right, some guy who wrote the screenplay for a Red Dawn remake is adapting a Goosebumps book for the movies. I can see you are shaking with delight, a wet spot appearing on the front of your corduroys. Can you please contain your excitement long enough to tell the nice Hollywood writer which Goosebumps he should choose to adapt?
"Yes. The one about the talking dummy is scary. Slappy is a scary dummy. But there is already a scarier movie about living dolls that I saw on UPN late at night [Child's Play]. That doll was meaner than Slappy because that doll had a knife. There is no way the Hollywood writer can top that.
"Watch out for books with scary covers but dumb stories! Even though there was a giant worm at the end, Go Eat Worms! was not scary. There's also one with a big hammerhead shark on the cover but the book is actually about mermaids. DO NOT ADAPT THIS ONE! It is for girls.
"The scariest Goosebumps books were the early ones. There is one about a piano teacher who cuts off kids' hands. That one is really creepy. That is why I hate music and I will never learn an instrument. Stay Out of the Basement! is a scary book because the kids' dad becomes a plant who wants to kill the kids. That is the scariest thing I can think of. [In a year I will watch The Shining and have nightmares about it]. Say Cheese and Die! is also cool because it has a camera that kills people and wrecks cars. If I had that camera I would take a picture of Ian McMilan and then he would have to stop picking on me because he would be dead.
The best book is One Day at Horrorland. It is about an evil carnival where monsters get you if you go into the rides. There will never be a better book about killer carnivals [I got into Ray Bradbury in 6th grade]. I think the Hollywood writer should make that one a movie because it has a Doom Slide where people keep sliding in the dark forever and ever and there's no way to get off. I want to see that slide. Also the mom and dad maybe die, too, not just the kids. I can't remember. If I had a plant dad I would invite him to Horrorland so he would die. Then I'd take a picture of Horrorland with my camera so it would blow up and no one would ever get hurt there again.
"I need to go now and get a change of pants from my cubby. Before you go can you tell me if I will ever be cool?"
Nope, but you will invent a time machine. *Ba-zink!*