For anyone who grew up in the ’90s, the name R.L. Stine is synonymous with monsters, ghosts and, of course, goosebumps. Stine's children's horror series Goosebumps has sold more than 350 million copies worldwide since it began in 1992 and has spawned numerous spin-off series as well as a popular television show. Stine was one of many writers present at the Calgary Comic Expo this weekend.
“I love the Comic Cons, I have to say,” Stine says. “I love meeting my readers and especially at a Comic Con I get to meet people your age [in their 20s] who grew up with me. To me it's great to see my original readers.”
While Stine may be nostalgic for many, the children's horror author is far from being retired. Stine has many new projects in the works, including reviving his other popular young-adult horror series, Fear Street.
“I haven't done it in, like, 15 years. I thought I'd killed off enough teenagers,” Stine says, “but I guess you can never kill enough.”
After receiving numerous fan requests via Twitter to revive the Fear Street series, Stine began shopping the series around to publishers. While he was initially unsuccessful, he was later contacted — again, via Twitter — by Kat Brzozowski at St. Martin’s Press. Since then, Fear Street has been renewed for six new books, with the first title, Party Games, being released in October 2014, just in time for Halloween.
Goosebumps fans also have something to look forward to. Scheduled for a 2016 release, Sony Pictures has started principal photography on a Goosebumps movie.
“In the film R.L. Stine is this grouchy old guy who's retired because all of his monsters are escaping from his books. And all the old monsters from the early Goosebumps books, including Slappy the Dummy, are out and they're wrecking the town,” Stine says. “And these kids discover who I am and they say 'you have to write one more book to round up all the monsters.' ”
Stine's character will be played by Jack Black and although Stine says he isn't sure if he will make a cameo, he hasn't ruled anything out.
In addition to writing, Stine has also been working on a old-time radio-inspired children's horror series called Rainy Night Theatre. The spooky short stories, complete with sound effects, are reminiscent of the radio plays Stine loved as a child.
“When I was a kid, there was only radio. I didn't have television until I was nine. So for my first nine years I listened to radio and I listened to all the wonderful comedies and dramas and scary stuff on the radio,” Stine says. “But no kid would ever believe there was a time when there was no television.”
Stine writes the scripts, while his son Matt writes the music and produces the series. Stine says that while he enjoys working with his son, he laughs at the irony of Matt being so involved with his work as an adult.
“It's kind of a nice revenge because he never read one of my books. That's his claim to fame,” Stine says. “It was so funny because when he was a kid he would bring them into school, he would give them to his friends and he sold parts in Goosebumps. He would come home and say 'Dad, you've got to put Jamie in the next one.' I think they paid him $10 to be in Goosebumps. Then he never read one. But I always did it, of course.”