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Sunday, October 18, 2015

What authors can learn from R.L. Stine and his Goosebump books

I don't always post my movie reviews here on my author blog, except when they talk about books, so this one is perfect!

Movie:    Goosebumps

Rating:    PG, 1 hour 43 minutes

Grade:   A

In a Nutshell:   If you grew up reading R.L. Stine's Goosebumps books or were a parent who read them to your kids like I did, you’re going to get a kick out of this homage to comedy horror stories and the author who gave them to us.

Sony Pictures Animation does a great job at blending reality with fantasy, mixed with sarcasm and romance.  Thanks for releasing it in time for Halloween!   “It gives me…oh what’s the word…goosebumps.”

Uplifting Theme:
·         “It’s time to face your demons…” – R.L. Stine
·         Connecting with real people.

Things I liked:
·         As an author, I love how the ink literally comes to life off the pages of the book.
·         I love how Slappy actually looks like Jack Black/R.L. Stine.
·         You gotta admire the way the real R.L. Stine is bringing new life and sales back to his books!  Brilliant!
·         Good for Amy Ryan for starring in 2 movies in theaters at the same time!  (Bridge of Spies )  I’ve always adored her ever since I first saw her do a Yoda impression on The Office: Season 5 .
·         See if you can spot the real R.L. Stine in his cameo at the school.  This is what he looks like in real life:

Things I didn’t like:
·         It was a little bit scawy…
-    It would have been fun to see more of the other characters R.L. Stine created in the movie.
-    Jack Black didn't have a mole on his forehead like the real R.L. Stine does.

Funny lines:  
·         “Dude, we should call the cops!” – Champ
“Have you met the cops in this town?” – Zach
·         “Is that your scream?” – Zach
“Don’t judge me.” – Champ
·         “What is that?” -    Aunt Lorraine   (played by Jillian Bell)
“I rub myself in cilantro every morning.” – R.L. Stine
·         “I don’t remember writing about a giant preying mantis!   (it then spews s sticky ick from its mouth)  “Right, now I remember.” – R.L. Stine
·         “Let’s split up!”  - R.L.
“No!  Haven’t you read any of your books?  We’re never supposed to split up!”  - Champ
·         “Look at this kitchen!” – Gale
“We don’t cook.” – Zach
“Well, look at all this counter space to put take-out on!” – Gale
·         “I’m going to get a start on decorating my room…knock it off my Bucket List.” – Zach
·         “I know I speak for the entire administration when I say how excited we are about this weekend’s dance.  We  can’t stop twerking about it.” – Gale
·         “Shut your mouth!” – Cop
“Ok, but that’s not going to help.”  - Slappy  (the ventriloquist dummy)

Things you learn about writing from R.L. Stine:
·         “Every story ever told can be broken down into 3 distinct parts: the beginning, the middle, and the twist.”
·         R.L. Stine wrote”THE GHOST NEXT DOOR book.  I guess he wrote about it twice.  Think about it.
·         “The night was cold.  Cold was the night.”  Word order is powerful.
·         “No, it doesn’t work unless it’s a real R.L. story with twists, turns and frights…and personal growth for the main character.”
·         Champ asks R.L. “Why did you have to come up with something so freaky?”  The author simply replies “I just have a knack for it.”    In other words, write what you know.
·         “Steve King wishes he could be me!  I sell way more books than him, but no one ever talks about that.”
·         “Why couldn’t you have written stories about rainbows and unicorns?”   - Champ
“Because that doesn’t sell 400 million copies.”   R.L. Stine
“Domestic?” – Champ
“No, international, but it’s still a very impressive number.  Shut up!”   R.L. Stine
·         “That typewriter is special.  It has a soul of its own.” – R.L.

Tips for Parents:
·         Some of the monsters can be pretty scary.  There are plenty of creepy things too, like clowns, ghouls/zombies, drooling werewolf with frightening teeth and claws, evil garden gnomes, dolls, bugs, aliens, etc.  R.L. Stine said in a recent interview with Plugged In that he didn't want to traumatize children who see the film, so you won't see any blood.
·         Explosions, violence, suspenseful chase scenes.
-    Topics addressed include evil, revenge, and love.

Can't get enough of R.L. Stine's Goosebumps? Check these out!