How Scary Is 'Goosebumps'? This Kid-Friendly Horror Movie Is More 'Hocus Pocus' Than 'Saw'
Just in time for Halloween, the popular fright novel series for young adults, Goosebumps, is coming to the big screen. The series, from author R.L. Stine, has been giving nightmares to preteens since the early '90s (yours truly, included), and the books have been adapted into games, a television series, and now a major motion picture. But is the movie Goosebumps scary like the books were? It certainly has a lot in common with the series; the film, which opens in theaters on Friday, references many familiar faces and even makes Stine an actual character. Played by Jack Black, Stine and his creations are front and center in the film, which follows a teenage boy who moves in next door to the author and his teen daughter. In the movie, Zach (Dylan Minnette) and his friend Champ (Ryan Lee) accidentally unleash all the monsters in Stine's books.
Now, Goosebumps books may be meant for ages 7-12, but there's no way preteens are meant to handle all of the scary monsters at once, right? Yet just because Goosebumps is rated PG and seems as kid friendly as the books were, don't dismiss it as just for the under-10 set. Say what you will about the relative scare-level of Goosebumps , but I'm a little freaked out just thinking about Slappy the ventriloquist's dummy, the Abominable Snowman, and psycho garden gnomes in one movie. Sure, The Hollywood Reporter called the cast "huggable" in their review (hardly a recipe for screams), but my guess is that any fan of the books will be, at the very least, startled by more than a few scares in the movie.
That said, Goosebumps' filmmakers have made it very clear that any big scares in the film are made with young viewers in mind. "I think if you are seven years old or older, it's appropriate for you, or at least that's what we learned in our testing," Goosebumps producer Neal H. Moritz told Screen Rant. "What's so interesting is that kids who get scared during the movie always kinda laugh right after the fact. They got a little scared, but it's almost like a badge of courage that they were able to make it through."
As a horror movie made for kids, Goosebumps joins a long list of not-so-scary scary movies made for the younger set. Here are a few other movies youngsters can enjoy this Halloween.
This 1984 classic earned a PG rating for its scary plot points. Do not be deceived by the cute creature above. Gremlins can be deadly.
If you weren't scared by the scene in The Witches, where Anjelica Huston reveals her true, evil face, then can you really call yourself a child of the '90s?
This all-time classic from 1993, starring Bette Midler, Sarah Jessica Parker and Kathy Najimy as a trio of witches who feed off the youth of children to live forever, is, dare I say, even better to watch as an adult than as a kid. It is also no less creepy. I mean, look at this guy:
These movies, like Goosebumps, may not be the scariest of scary movies, but if you're a kid (or just have a child's tolerance for horror) they will do quite nicely. Enjoy your nightmares!
Images: Columbia Pictures; Giphy (5)