Goosebumps Is Back From the '90s to Haunt You

Photo: Nicole Nguyen
Photo: Nicole Nguyen

Talk about a Throwback Thursday. Goosebumps author R.L. Stine took to the stage at Comic-Con to discuss the upcoming movie based on his classic horror chapter books. The movie (out Summer 2015) does not focus on R.L.'s nightmare-inducing reads but, rather, the author himself.

He asked his son, "Who should play me in the film?" to which the younger Stine replied: "Morgan Freeman." His wife thought R.L. was too old to play himself, so he gave Jack Black (School of Rock and Kung Fu Panda) the honor.

Source: Sony Pictures

Of course, Black wanted the author's blessing before proceeding with the movie. "But I needed this R.L. to be more sinister, more creepy and crawly," Black said during the panel, "and he totally got it."

We got a first look at Black as R.L. Stine in an exclusive sizzle reel, without the visual effects (the movie finished filming two days ago!). The premise is that the series' many characters (including a giant praying mantis, an abominable snowman, and gnomes come alive) have been let loose, and the film's protagonists must suck the terrifying beasts back into R.L.'s books before something terrible happens.

It's a film intended for all ages — so don't expect The Omen or Rosemary's Baby. Director Rob Letterman didn't reveal which of the 62 Goosebumps books were covered in the movie, so we're not sure if classics like The Haunted Mask and Welcome to Camp Nightmare will be touched on.

But Black did say that Slappy the dummy, from Night of the Living Dummy, is "the ringleader, the kingpin" of all of the movie's creatures, and represents R.L.'s "dark alter ego." Black studied ventriloquy for seven weeks to prepare for the role and demonstrated his seriously impressive puppeteering skills onstage.

Photo: Nicole Nguyen

Then the conversation with Slappy took a dark turn when the puppet started moving autonomously and called in some of Goosebumps' most famous characters. Black and Letterman were then whisked off stage. We can't wait to indulge in our inner '90s child when Goosebumps hits the big screen Aug. 7, 2015! Stay tuned for more from Comic-Con International: San Diego.