'Goosebumps' Creator R.L. Stine Talks the Movies, New Comics, and Sometimes Being Too Scary

If you’re of a certain age, there’s a good chance you’ve read one of the hundreds of Goosebumps books that have been published in the past couple decades. Or, if you’re of a younger age, perhaps you’ve seen the films Goosebumps and Goosebumps 2. Whatever the case, you have legendary author R.L. Stine to thank.

Stine, who is 75, has basically been writing Goosebumps books nonstop since 1992’s Welcome to Dead House, which was the first entry in the original Goosebumps line. It ran for another 61 books before concluding, and various ongoing and concluded spinoff lines have been published since that time.

As previously mentioned, the franchise has spawned two films as well: 2015’s Goosebumps and 2018’s Goosebumps 2: Haunted Halloween. There’s no indication as of yet that there will be another film in the series, but there’s plenty of source material to draw from.

ComicBook.com spoke with franchise creator R.L. Stine ahead of the home video release for Goosebumps 2 this week, and he answered questions ranging from his opinion on the film to what they should adapt next and more.

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ComicBook.com: What did you think of Goosebumps 2?

R.L. Stine: I think I got lucky, I think the film was good. You know, you never know. And I think I got lucky with both Goosebumps films. I'm very proud of both of them. I think they're just good entertainment. The second one is a really good kids movie, I think. I'm proud of them.

Now you cameo in both films. Are you down for a third film, if that happens?

Well I'm waiting by the phone. I don't know, no one's calling me. I haven't heard anything about a third film. Yeah, it was fun. I like going down to Atlanta, and hanging out with everybody, and doing my little five seconds.

And how does that compare to your usual work process?

Doing a five-second cameo? Usually I'm home typing all day, right? You know, I just signed on to do six more Goosebumps books. So I'm working on a Slappy book right now, called The Dummy Meets the Mummy.

This movie specifically focuses on a lost manuscript. And there actually is what some people might consider a lost manuscript, with the Goosebumps Gold line that you were supposed to do in the year 2000.

I can't believe people still bring that up, Goosebumps Gold. I hear about it all the time. Those books never came about. They were never written, they were never anything. And somehow, they're always present somehow.

It's just one of those things -- I think when people see there were some titles, they go, "Well, did he write them? Did Tim Jacobus do covers?"

No, I think we were actually thinking of going to a different publisher or something, and we were trying to figure out what we would do with it that would be different, and we actually had a couple covers made, but then we never did it. It just never happened. With the second one, I think I used the title for a book later on. But it's just funny, I hear about Goosebumps Gold all the time, something that never happened at all.

Speaking of the Goosebumps books, you know, Goosebumps 2 had a subtitle when it was in theaters, Haunted Halloween, but if you had to title the movie like a traditional Goosebumps book title, what would you call it?

I'd have to think about that. It actually had another title before that, and they actually made up, you know, when they do the director's chairs for everybody, they made up those chairs with the wrong title on it, which was kind of funny. I have one of them at home. But, Haunted Halloween is fine, I think.

Wait, what was the wrong title?

What was the wrong title? Slappy what? It was Slappy Halloween. That was the wrong title. Yeah. What happened was I announced the title on Twitter, and people got furious at me, because it was supposed to be a secret, so I think they changed it because of me. I'm a loose cannon.

Well it's funny that it was Slappy Halloween, I didn't know that, but I believe that Goosebumps Gold book title was Slappy New Year, the one you reused.

Yeah. Yeah we did that one, I've done Slappy Birthday, I'm working on Slappy Rosh Hashana. That's gonna be a good one. [Ed. note: this came across as a joke.]

Now, speaking of stuff you're working on in addition to the film, can you talk at all about your upcoming comics? Obviously that's a pretty new experience for you, too.

So I'm having fun with that. When I was a kid I was a comic book freak. I just loved comics, it's all I read when I was a kid. So for me to be writing comic books now, is kind of a return. I'm doing this graphic novel series for Boom! Studios, it's called Just Beyond, and it's for kids, it's for Goosebumps age. It's sort of a Goosebumps story, but told in comic book form. The first one's called The Scare School. And it's just fun, something different for me to work on. I'm enjoying it a lot.

Since we're talking about movies, any update on Fear Street stuff?

There were three scripts, it was supposed to be three movies, that are supposed to come out one month after the other. June, July, and August, and there are three scripts, and that's the last I heard about it. I don't know. I have no other news about it.

Returning to this movie, Goosebumps 2, how does it feel to sort of be ... you know, Goosebumps never went away, but it definitely seems to have had a renaissance with people my age, who read the books when they were kids, who are now having kids. How does that feel to be introduced to an entirely new generation?

Oh, it's great. I get to scare a lot of generations. It's a really nice feeling. For a while, it was hard, because you know, I'm nostalgia to people your age. [Ed. note: the interviewer is 31] That was a little hard to take at first. Took me a while to get used to it. But, what an amazing thing. How many book series last 26 years? And I think a large part of it now is because it's been revitalized, because of the movies. They've really helped bring the book series back.

But you know, every book series has a cycle; Goosebumps was pretty much over by 1997, and then it's back and back and back, and here we are. I feel very lucky.

Now, the films don't actually focus on any particular book, they're more sort of about the franchise. But, if you had to pick one, do you think there's any particular book that would make a good film?

I would like to see The Haunted Mask. I think that one would make a good feature. And maybe put together Haunted Mask one and two. That's my best Halloween book, I think. If they did a third one, I would want them to make it a little scarier, and less funny. They sort of go for laughs, which is wonderful, and they have scary scenes, but [...] I'd like to see the movies just heighten the scares a little bit.

That's really interesting for you to say. I think my favorite book that you've written, that I've read, was Welcome to Dead House, which I think is maybe the scariest of the original run.

Well that was the first one, and I didn't really have the formula, I didn't really know what I was doing. See, now I look at Welcome to Dead House, and I think it's too scary for the series. It doesn't have the humor of the other books. I didn't quite have it yet. But that's interesting you said that, 'cause I think it does stand out, as far as scariness goes.

By the time you get to Say Cheese and Die, I think you sort of have honed in on things.

Yeah, I had the right mix of horror and humor, I think.

Let me ask this: what was it like seeing Jack Black portray yourself twice now?

Hey, Jack and I are like twins, c'mon. No, he's wonderful, I love what he does, it's very funny, and it's a thrill for me to be a character in a movie. So I'm totally behind Jack, I'll tell you. If we do any more, I hope Jack will be in it.

Lastly, one of your more iconic films that blend horror with drama and romance is Interview with the Vampire. With Anne Rice moving forward with a Vampire Chronicles TV series, would you be interested in returning to that narrative in some capacity?

Well, I did have some communication with Anne. They reached out to me, so to speak. But I don't think it's something that I would want to pursue. I loved the book Interview with the Vampire, which is one of the reasons I made that film. And I'm not sure I would be the best person to follow Lestat through an entire television series. But I think Anne is putting that together with her son. So, I'd be really interested to see what she comes up with. It's a character that's so deep to her heart, that character of Lestat.

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Goosebumps 2 is now available on home video.