“Readers beware, you’re in for a scare,” is a tagline that should be quite familiar to those readers that came of age in the ‘90s when author R.L. Stine’s massively successful “Goosebumps” series was all the rage. With literally hundreds of titles in the series, a popular television show which featured fresh young faces like actors Ryan Gosling and Hayden Christensen, “Goosebumps” was quite the lucrative property for Stine and Scholastic books alike.
Now The Hollywood Reporter directs us to a bit of news that Darren Lemke, who wrote the spec for which got the upcoming Bryan Singer-directed “Jack the Giant Killer” moving over at New Line, is closing a deal to aide Columbia Pictures in their attempt capitalize on the nostalgia of many with a big-screen adaptation of the “Goosebumps” series. “Fast Five” producer Neal Moritz’s Original Films banner along with Deborah Forte with Scholastic Entertainment are producing, for a project that has apparently seen many writers take a crack at making a suitable story out of the beloved series, but Lemke will reportedly be starting from page one with his draft. Stine, who may also be a familiar name to those who picked up the young adult series “Fear Street” in the ‘80s, made the “Goosebumps” series into a success by making “Tales from The Crypt” and “Creepshow” style stories into ones more suitable for adult readers. With titles like “The Haunted Mask,” “Welcome to Dead House,” and “Night of the Living Dummy,” the “Goosebumps” series injected a sense of morbid humor into what was essentially the young adult novel equivalent of an episode of “The Twilight Zone.”
For those who still recall thumbing through the pages of “Goosebumps” in their youth or for those who started reading because of the TV series (ahem, this writer), this news comes as sort of a mixed bag. While the kids of the ‘80s have already had their childhood obsessions ravaged by countless “Transformers” films and proposed “Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle” reboots, it looks as if the franchise-minded Hollywood studios are looking to turn their eye on the ‘90s now. While we’d like to hope that Lemke and company could spin this into a bit of PG-13 genre fun, especially since the “Goosebumps” books inspired more intentional laughter than fear, there’s still a better chance it will add to the ever increasing glut of adolescent aimed projects that fill up our text friendly megaplexes every weekend. Still, it’s far too early to tell.