The first-ever theatrical feature film adaptation of R.L. Stine's best-selling Goosebumps series hits U.S. cinemas today, starring Jack Black as Stine himself and a bevy of monsters.
During last week's New York Comic Con, ComicBook.com sat down with Stine, director Rob Letterman and members of the cast.
"The biggest challenge is balancing the horror and the humor," Letterman told us last weekend at New York Comic Con. "That was what R.L. Stine told us when we first met him early on was the key to Goosebumps, at least when he was writing the books, was keeping it funny and scary. You can do a scare as long as you do a joke, and he said that was his mantra for doing he safe scares and that was his mantra."
You can check out the full interview below.
Who chose what books were represented in the film?
Well, before me, definitely Slappy was integral, and I think the Snowman might have been in. Then once we started really developing the script and preparing to make the movie, it became a combination of getting in monsters that I thought I could do a really good job with visually and practically and things that we could not only afford but have pop off the screen.
It became this war room of a Wikipedia of every Goosebumps monster with breakdowns of everything and then I'd just start working with a monster design concept artist and tried to crack the code of what our look for the monsters would be. I wanted them to be real, I didn't want them to be silly, but I also didn't want them to be so terrifying that it would freak people out.
Now, I have to ask: Was Slappy inspired in part by Jack Black's work as a ventriloquist in Cradle Will Rock?
Well, Slappy is inspired a lot by Jack Black becuase once we had the puppet working and I had the sculpt of the head, I went back in with the creature designer who did it and had him manipulate Slappy's face so that it resembled Jack's face. There's a moment at the end of the movie where that plays a big role and I wanted that to line up and be a subtle hint of it.
And in the storyline, he's the alter ego of R.L. Stine, so it all makes sense.
Back in the heyday of Goosebumps, there was a mascot named Curly. Was he ever discussed for for the film?
I feel like he must have at one moment and I don't know why; I can't remember, it's been so long.
There was a lot of the basic idea of the movie that was solidified before I became involved. Once the basic map of the story was there, once I got there it was all about, "How do I make an Amblin movie out of this thing?" And it's such a great excuse because that's what I really wanted to do and it just felt like the right choice tonally.
I do think there's probably a draft that predates me that might have had Curly in it. I don't know; you'll have to investigate.
Were there any monsters you wish you'd gotten in?
No, I got everything that I wanted. We have key monsters that play big roles in these set pieces that I hand-picked because I knew how to make those pop. I felt really good about that. And then the litany of them that show up in the third act, a lot of that was just working with the special effects guys to figure out what we could do. People keep saying, "Why didn't you put The Haunted Mask in there?" And I'm like, "The Haunted Mask is in there. You just have to look hard."
Check out the humor, the context and a about twice this much conversation in the video above. Goosebumps is in theaters now.