1. There are actually seven different Goosebumps book series
The original Goosebumps series, plus Tales to Give You Goosebumps, Give Yourself Goosebumps, Goosebumps Presents, Goosebumps Series 2000, Goosebumps Horrorland and Goosebumps Most Wanted. For my Goosebumps inspired immersive, promenade theatre production Goosebumps Kids (on at Waterloo Vaults until 5 June 2016) I have mainly drawn from the original book series, including Say Cheese and Die, but have also put in characters or objects from the other series. Hardened fans will notice some of the smaller details.
2. The author RL Stine writes the books’ titles first, and then comes up with a plot
It is rumoured that he takes about three and half weeks to write a new book. Quicker than I wrote the play Goosebumps Kids! I wanted to be able showcase the wide range of of the books and the brilliant stories contained within them. After visiting the British Museum, it dawned on me that I could house many of the stories in a museum, therefore telling the history of the stories rather reliving them. This gave me the chance to build a new narrative around the existing stories.
3. Slappy comes in all shapes and sizes
In the TV episodes Night of the Living Dummy III and Bride of the Living Dummy, Slappy is shown both as human-size and baby-size. In Goosebumps Alive (for adults and teenagers) and Goosebumps Kids , Slappy is seen in various sizes too, from a small ventriloquist puppet to a huge terrifying monster; with various versions in between. What is scarier than a puppet coming to life?
4. There is a brilliant internet rumour that Tim Jacobus (Goosebumps cover artist) once worked for the converse sneaker company
The rumour is rife as he incorporated converse into so many Goosebumps covers. However, Jacobus never worked for Converse; he just likes wearing (and drawing) the shoes.
5. Goosebumps is BIG
Since the the first of R L Stines’s first Goosebumps book, Welcome to Dead House, in July 1992, the series has sold over 350 million books worldwide in 32 languages. It is the second best-selling children’s book series next to Harry Potter!
6. There are rare ones…
There are four rare Goosebumps books; Legend of the Lost Legend;Werewolf Skin; I Live in Your Basement! and Monster Blood IV. These books only exist as first editions and are known to Goosebumps fans as ‘The Unreprinted’. While I haven’t taken the exact stories of these, in the show you can discover what is living in the basement in Goosebumps Alive and Goosebumps Kids!
7. Some of RL Stine’s characters were inspired by books and films.
The character Slappy the Dummy was inspired by Carlo Collodi’s literary classic The Adventures of Pinocchio. Some of Stine’s ideas for his books also came from real life;The Haunted Mask came afterStine’s son had trouble getting a Halloween mask off. For me, the vision of the show has been inspired by 80s adventure movies, such as the The Goonies or Flight of the Navigator; ordinary children in extraordinary situations. My hope is that it will feel cinematic, be an adventure and have the feel of a classic 80s movie.
8. A common theme in the Goosebumps series is that children always triumph over evil.
Children facing horrid or frightening situations use their own wit and imagination to escape the scariness. In Goosebumps Kids the audience are the heroes. Like the classic hero adventure they need to find their powers first but as soon as they harness their power then they destroy the thing they are scared of.
9. It was controversial!
The Goosebumps books were some of the most controversial books between the years of 1990-1999. In fact, at #15 on the Top 100 Most Frequently Challenged Books list, the Goosebumps books were challenged more than Madonna’s Sex (#18) and The Anarchist Cookbook (#59). Seen here, an image of the freaky body squeezer in Goosebumps Kids.
10. Finally, did you know…
RL Stine wrote the movie novelisations for Spaceballs, Big Top Pee-Wee and Ghostbusters II: Storybook! The theatrical immersive versions of RL Stine’s Goosebumps are on at Waterloo The Vaults in London until 5 June 2016: Goosebumps Alive for teens (12plus) and adults and my Goosebumps Kids aimed at 5-11 year-olds!