Black magic

SFX: The Sci-Fi and Fantasy Magazine - - Reviews -

re­leased 30 May 2015 | PG | Blu-ray/dVd

Di­rec­tor rob let­ter­man Cast Jack Black, dy­lan Min­nette, ryan lee, Odeya rush

Stephen King for the torch-be­neath-the-blan­kets de­mo­graphic, RL Stine’s Goose­bumps books were al­ways a big-screen brand in wait­ing. Tim Bur­ton planned a movie in 1998 but dithered over which of Stine’s kid-friendly spine-shiv­er­ers to adapt. Luck­ily mod­ern sci­ence has found a so­lu­tion. Sim­ply pour all 182 books into the blender and whip that un­dead le­gion of ghouls and mon­sters into a post­mod­ern purée.

In a meta move, Jack Black is RL Stine him­self, self-ex­iled to a small town in Delaware. Toad­like and cranky, bristling at com­par­isons with arch ri­val King, he sees his lit­er­ary cre­ations lurch and slither into the real world: evil gar­den gnomes, de­monic poo­dles and even a gi­ant pray­ing man­tis.

Lit by an ’80s Am­blin glow, pow­ered by a sharp screen­play and great leads, this is a smart and charm­ing ghost train ride – and a stealth cel­e­bra­tion of the sor­cer­ous art of writ­ing.

Extras The DVD has two kid-friendly fea­turettes (nine min­utes): one on how to de­feat the movie’s mon­sters; one a gag about the set be­ing haunted. The Blu-ray adds two more (13 min­utes) – a be­hind-the-scenes bit on evil dummy Slappy, and a piece on mak­ing your own hor­ror ef­fects – plus deleted and al­ter­nate scenes, a gag reel and screen tests (26 min­utes). Nick Setch­field

The real RL Stine isn’t a fan of the movie’s Stephen King gags: “They’re just not like me,” he says.

Bar­row­man had once again ex­posed his but­tocks.

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