Monsters Run Amok in Delightful Adaptation of Family-Friendly Fright Franchise


Film Review by Kam Williams

Monsters Run Amok in Delightful Adaptation of Family-Friendly Fright Franchise

Launched by Robert Lawrence Stine in 1992, Goosebumps is a phenomenally-popular series of spooky stories carefully-crafted to scare the bejesus out of 7 to 12 year-olds. The so-called Stephen King of kiddie literature has published hundreds of titles over the years, selling about a half-billion books worldwide and counting. Goosebumps has been spun off into a TV show and video games, so it makes sense that it would be brought to the big screen, too.Goosebumps, Film Review, Robert Lawrence Stine, spooky stores, Stephen King of kiddie literature

Directed by Rob Letterman, the picture stars the terminally-impish Jack Black as R. L. Stine, although the author he’s portraying does make a cameo appearance during a mob scene. The movie marks the reunion of Letterman and Black who in 2010 collaborated on a poorly-received remake of Gulliver’s Travels.

This production is likely to fare far better, since its has a built-in audience already weaned on the books. Plus, the adolescents’ appetites have been further whetted by the prerelease of a product line of Goosebumps tie-ins, including posters, games, stationery, Halloween costumes, plush toys, clothes and accessories. Not that the movie version needs any help, as the combination live-action/animated adventure proves to be quite entertaining in its own right.Goosebumps, Film Review, Robert Lawrence Stine, spooky stores, Stephen King of kiddie literature

At the point of departure, we find teenager Zach Cooper (Dylan Minnette) and his recently-widowed mom (Amy Ryan) grieving their loss and sorely in need of a change of scenery, which explains their moving to the town of Madison, Delaware. Their new, next-door neighbor, Mr. Stine (Black), is a reclusive grouch who warns the boy right off the bat to keep off his property and to stay away from his home-schooled daughter, Hannah (Odeya Rush). But it’s obviously love at first sight for Zach, who is instantly smitten with the attractive girl his own age.

On his first day of classes at Madison High, he proceeds to make fast friends with a nerdy loner named Champ (Ryan Lee). After school, the mischievous pair’s curiosity gets the better of them, and they trespass onto the Stine’s premises.

Upon entering the house, they rummage around the author’s mysterious manuscripts hidden in the basement, thereby unwittingly unleashing an army of monsters. They’re all characters mined from Mr. Stine’s fertile imagination: a giant praying mantis, the Abominable Snowman, the werewolf, lawn gnomes, zombies, Venus fly traps, the Invisible Boy, and so on.

Goosebumps, Film Review, Robert Lawrence Stine, spooky stores, Stephen King of kiddie literature

What’s more, they’re doing the bidding of a diabolical dummy bent on major mayhem in Madison, if not world domination. Can the creatures be corralled and safely redeposited between the covers of the author’s journal? Can Zach win the heart of Hannah in spite of the objections of her overprotective father? Don’t be surprised if this episode ends satisfactorily while simultaneously setting us up for a sequel.

A family-friendly romp providing just the perfect blend of light-hearted humor and spine-tingling fright fare to scare and delight kids of all ages!

Excellent (4 stars)

Rated PG for scary images, intense action and rude humor

Running time: 103 minutes

Distributor: Sony Pictures


Is Donald Trump Afraid of the Dark?

  Is Donald Trump Afraid of the Dark? GREG PALAST’S “THE BEST DEMOCRACY MONEY CAN BUY: A Tale of Billionaires and Ballot Bandits”    WHO:  Greg Palast, Rolling Stone/BBC investigative reporter films a real, live detective thriller about the upcoming theft of the 2016 election and the hunt for billionaires behind it.   With Shailene Woodley, Willie Nelson, Rosario Dawson, Ed Asner and Robert F. Kennedy with "detectives" Ice-T and Richard Belzer  … [Read More its Good for You...]


The “City of Angels” is a Fact for Our Wild Friends

  The “City of Angels” is a Fact for Our Wild Friends by Amy Lignor   It’s called the City of Angels. The title makes some laugh out loud when they think of the violence, driving, and other negatives that are focused upon by the media when speaking about Los Angeles. But a new book has just hit the market that opens up all new doors, proving that where both Los Angeles and the entirety of California are concerned, those angels actually do exist. Author Beth … [Read More its Good for You...]


ART EXHIBITION: 150 Years After The Civil War

  Cynthia Groya 150 Years After The Civil War: A Contemporary Perspective January 10 - March 6, 2016 Artist's Reception: Sunday, January 24, 3:00 - 5:00 pm Nassau Club 6 Mercer Street  Princeton, NJ 08540 The ideas reflected in Groya's paintings express a conversation about struggle for equal rights in our culture, in our time. The origin of this struggle can be traced to The Civil War in our country, which ended 150 years ago. The … [Read More its Good for You...]

Real Estate

Castles in America

  Castles in America by Amy Lignor   Robin Leach and his “Lifestyles of the Rich and Famous” taught us all long ago that we absolutely love to sit and view ridiculous luxury (usually owned by people who inherited all of it and didn’t work a day in their lives). See that? We had to complain about something as we were beguiled by the amount of money people would send to own or create the “best of the best.” Even though some things were referred to as the “gaudiest of … [Read More its Good for You...]


Rappin’ with “The Dude”

    Jeff Bridges The “Hell or High Water” Interview with Kam Williams Rappin' with "The Dude" One of Hollywood’s most successful actors and a six-time Academy Award-nominee, Jeff Bridges performance in Crazy Heart as Bad Blake, the down-on-his-luck, alcoholic country music singer at the center of the drama, deservedly garnered the iconic performer an Oscar in the Best Lead Actor category. The performance also earned him a  Golden Globe, Screen Actors Guild and … [Read More it Good for You...]


Crossbows the perfect fit for youth hunters

    Crossbows the perfect fit for youth hunters By Craig Lamb   Many states require a minimum draw weight of between 35 and 40 pounds for the purposes of archery hunting for whitetail deer and wild turkey. That keeps many enthusiastic youth hunters out of the woods until they can gain enough strength to meet the rule.   Or does it?   “The crossbow allows kids the opportunity to hunt at a much earlier age,” says Jake Miller, an avid archery … [Read More its Good for You...]


Get Ready for Football!

  Get Ready for Football! by Amy Lignor   There is a time every year where suddenly the sports news gets far more interesting. No. I’m not talking about the Olympics. Thus far the only thing anyone wants to hear about where Rio is concerned is a virus. What I speak of is that familiar smell of pigskin wafting in the air. The time when the (no offense) more boring sports exit the headlines to make way for the one sport that boasts more avid, loud, and loyal … [Read More its Good for You...]


Calling All Entrepreneurs: Creating “Buzz” For Your Brands

  Calling All Entrepreneurs: Creating “Buzz” For Your Brands by Amy Lignor   This is 2016. This is an election year. “Shark Tank” is a top show on television. And more than ever people want to be entrepreneurs; be in business for themselves and make some money. But even after all this time in the computer-age, entrepreneurs are finding it difficult to see the ‘niches’ they can get into to build their brand so that all consumers know who they are and why their … [Read More its Good for You...]


Visit the Most Beautiful Nature Locales in the Country

  Visit the Most Beautiful Nature Locales in the Country by Amy Lignor   Wildlife habitat gardens are being created in a variety of locations, in a variety of sizes. There are even those that are funded by some large names and organizations, who are calling out to tourists across the globe to come visit and see what great things are being done to sustain and increase the wildlife community.   These are places that the National Wildlife Federation (NWF) has … [Read More its Good for You...]