…go bump in the night
Happy All Hallow’s Eve Eve! I couldn’t think of a better movie for this Flick Friday than the movie of every child of the 90s dreams (and nightmares), “Goosebumps.”
Bringing together all of the creatures from this 60+ book collection could have easily been a hot (Halloween) mess, but against all odds, it embraces the camp of these childhood tales of terror and the result is a perfectly delightful family-friendly movie.
After moving from NYC to a small town in Delaware for his mother’s (Amy Ryan) new job as a high school vice-principal, Zach (Dylan Minnette) is relatively bored with his new surroundings. That is until he meets the girl next door, Hannah (Odeya Rush). Her father (Jack Black) keeps her under lock and key, but that doesn’t stop her from sneaking out to share her secret place, an abandoned theme park deep in the woods, with Zach.
One night, when Zach hears screams coming from the house, and a police search reveals nothing, he takes things into his own hands, sneaking into the house with help from his school friend, Champ (Ryan Lee). While trying to rescue Hannah the two boys happen upon the family secret—Hannah’s father is R.L. Stine.
Yes, the author of the stuff of children’s nightmares. An impressive shelf of original manuscripts, kept under lock and key both intrigue and confuse these boys. With the key sitting right next to the shelf, the two can’t help but pop one open (seriously you don’t keep the key in an open case right next to the shelf of books that it unlocks, unless you want someone to open them). They foolishly unlock one of the manuscripts and soon learn the error of their ways as an avalanche of monsters escape, and we’re treated to a hectic, but entertaining parade of Goosebumps classics led by the creepiest of them all—the star of “Night of the Living Dummy”—Slappy.
It turns out that after writing so many terrifying (but kid-friendly) tales, they literally started to leap off the pages right into the real world, so R.L. Stine did the only thing he could, he put padlocks on all of them that could be opened with one single key and stored the key right next to the shelf (seriously, ridiculously easy).
That might sound like criticism, but the ridiculousness of the plot is part of the camp and thus part of the charm. It’s corny and implausible and it knows it. It’s fun, fast, and true to the stuff of 90’s Scholastic Book Fair dreams.