Robert Lewis Stine has been scaring the fruit snacks out of 'tweens for 20 years.
Best known for his "Goosebumps" books and subsequent television series, R.L Stine is often called the "Stephen King of children's literature". He has released over 50 titles under the "GB" and "Fear Street" series as well as publishing several stand-aloners, one or two geared toward "all growed up" fans, (Superstious, 1995) most becoming YA best sellers.
Now, Stine is back on bookshelves with an all new series for the next generation of horror fans.
Tapping into a genre that is a proven crowd pleaser, Goosebumps: Horrorland, a new 12 book series debuted this past April Fools Day. Each edition will be sectioned into two different tales of kid-friendly terror.
The first half will be a stand alone tale and will incorporate old characters from previous "GB" books (think Slappy the Dummy and the kids from Welcome to Dead House). The second part will be a serialized story that will arc throughout each volume, only to be resolved in the final instalment.
Characters from the first stories will be invited to visit the "Horrorland" theme park in the second part (see "Welcome to Horrorland," an original "GB" title). A mystery develops for the reader to try and solve using the books and 2 websites (www.enterhorrorland.com and www.escapehorrorland.com) to aid in Jr. sleuthing.
I spent many years wrapped up with Stine's books (the Cheerleaders: First, Second and Third Evil mini- series was my favorite) as a young man. I would call the local independent bookseller to find out when new books were being released and beg my mom to advance my allowance to gobble up whatever he churned out. Unfairly, J.K Rowling has the literary world groveling at her Prada-encased feet, while Stine doesn't get much recognition for fueling children's desires to read for pleasure. Now, he can be credited with finding the savviest gimmick to get kids back into the bookstore, utilizing their love of the Internet with the natural desires to discover the conclusion to a cliff-hanger.
His creations have also helped to maintain the horror genre juggernaut.
As Stine's past readers grow into adulthood, they are inspired to write books and create movies of their own that pay homage to the YA author. Critics scramble to figure out why consumers are still interested in horror, which has resurged yet again with the recent Prom Night remake disaster doing better than expected at the box-office, despite scathing reviews.
With a PG-13 rating, the film appealed widely to the same audience that the Horrorland books hope to attract.
In a genius move, Sony announced today that they have acquired the film rights to the Goosebumps brand. While still in need of a writer, the film is slated on the fast track and dependent on it's success, a never-ending franchise can't be far behind.
Watch out Harry Potter, Goosebumps is primed to take over your corner of those lucrative young pocket books. Be warned: you'll need one hell of a magic wand to stop The Abominable Snowman of Pasadena!