Cast: Ken Marino, Jack Black, Odeya Rush
Director: Rob Letterman
Genre: Action, Adventure
Running Time: 103 minutes
Synopsis: In Goosebumps, teenager Zach Cooper (Dylan Minnette), upset about moving from a big city to a small town, finds a silver lining when he meets the beautiful girl, Hannah (Odeya Rush), living right next door, and makes a quick friend in Champ (Ryan Lee). But every silver lining has a cloud, and Zach's comes when he learns that Hannah's mysterious dad is in fact R.L. Stine (Jack Black), the author of the bestselling Goosebumps series. As Zach starts learning about the strange family next door, he soon discovers that Stine holds a dangerous secret: the creatures that his stories made famous are real, and Stine protects his readers by keeping them locked up in their books. When Stine's creations are unintentionally released from their manuscripts, Zach's life takes a turn for the weird. In a crazy night of adventure, it's up to Zach, Hannah, Champ, and Stine to team up and get all of these figments of Stine's imagination – including Slappy the Dummy, the girl with the haunted mask, the gnomes and many more – back in the books where they belong to save the town.
Release Date: January 1st, 2016
With over 400 million copies in print worldwide, Goosebumps is one of the biggest book franchises of all time. The bestselling series has captured the imaginations of readers for generations. Now, Goosebumps, the new film from Columbia Pictures and Sony Pictures Animation, brings the series to life on the big screen for the first time, combining dozens of author R.L. Stine's famous creations into one hilariously spine-tingling movie, starring Jack Black as the famed writer.
For producer Deborah Forte, it's easy to see why the series struck a resonant chord with readers all over the world. 'In Goosebumps, it's fun to be scared," she says. 'The series was full of relatable kid characters who found themselves in extraordinary circumstances topped off by fantastic twist endings that kids love! Goosebumps became a phenomenon which included even the most reluctant readers." Forte was president of Scholastic Media and EVP of Scholastic, Inc, publisher of the Goosebumps books.
Initially, the filmmakers – including director Rob Letterman, Forte, and producer Neal H. Moritz – faced a dilemma: with nearly 200 different Goosebumps books to choose from, which book to adapt? The answer came as the filmmakers cracked the code: they would put dozens of Stine's most famous creations into one film, with Stine himself at the center. 'We wanted to create a bigger experience than the books or the television show," says Forte. 'The script needed to capture the true essence of the Goosebumps books, but also deliver a big movie ride for the audience."
That true essence of the books required threading the needle on the tone that struck a chord, over and over again, in hundreds of books. 'The books are scary, but not too scary; they're fun, but not over-the-top," says Moritz. 'We wanted a story that kids could relate to, and have fun with Jack Black playing R.L. Stine. Jack has a quality that makes everyone comfortable."
'That combo of funny and scary goes so well together – they're like peanut butter and jelly," says Black. With that in mind, the filmmakers' sought to emulate the books' perfect mix of the right amount of a fun adventure, and the right amount of thrills. And Black says that no less a source that R.L. Stine himself told them so. 'When we first met with R.L. Stine, that was his one word of advice – to stick to that tone. He loved the script, he loved that I would be portraying him, and he gave us his blessing."
'That was the most important thing to me – is there the same blend of scares and humor that we have in the books? Does it match? It has to have laughs and it has to have twists and turns," says R.L. Stine. 'I've always called the Goosebumps books -safe scares,' because kids know what to expect. They're going to be safe the whole way, while having these creepy adventures. So, I was so happy when I read the script and it felt just like the books."
'The tone of the movie was one of the most important things about it, and the hardest nut to crack," says Letterman. 'I love the old Amblin movies, and the reason is that they are very grounded in the real world; all of the kids have real-world problems that real-world kids can identify with. And then something supernatural or magic or from outer space would enter that world, and it made for a compelling story, because the world was grounded. That was a big part of the tone of Goosebumps that was really important for me."
'The other part of it was balancing the comedy and the thrills, to make sure it didn't get too scary for kids but still had the fun scares that the series is known for," Letterman continues.
Opposite Black, the filmmakers cast so many of Stine's famous creations. Whenever possible, the filmmakers created a practical creature out of make-up and special effects. 'Any monsters that we could do practically, we did," says Rob Letterman. 'There are a few that are CGI and some that are a hybrid of practical and CGI, but we knew that we wanted to get as much in camera as we could. I didn't want the monsters to feel like a cartoon, or dumbed-down. I knew it would be great for the actors' performance to have something real there, on the spot – and it really gives the movie this great feeling, as the magic of the books comes to life."
Leading the way as the chief villain is Stine's most lasting creation: Slappy the Dummy. In the film, Slappy is Stine's alter ego and the mastermind behind the evil plot. The filmmakers reached out to Ironhead Studio to design and create a real, working ventriloquist's dummy – one that resembles Jack Black in many ways. The dummy was entirely manual – no electronics at all – and puppeted by Avery Lee Jones, who got the job after a nationwide audition. Jones could move Slappy with his hand controls in many different ways: head turning side-to-side or all the way around, mouth control, eyes side-to-side, eyes blink, wide eyed, and eyebrow movement. Overseeing the working of the dummy itself, to make sure that everything remained in working order, was Ironhead Studio's Jake McKinnon.
Joining Slappy in the film are many of Stine's other creations:
The Ghouls from Attack of the Graveyard Ghouls
Snake Lady from Escape from the Carnival of Horrors
Bog Monster from You Can't Scare Me!
Egyptian Princess from Return of the Mummy
Cronby the cave troll from Deep in the Jungle of Doom
The Evil Clown from When the Ghost Dog Howls
Vampires from Vampire Breath
The Witch Doctor from Deep in the Jungle of Doom
Madam Doom from Help! We Have Strange Powers!
The Executioner from A Night in Terror Tower
The Pirate from Creep from the Deep
The Creeps from Calling All Creeps
The Haunted Mask from The Girl with the Haunted Mask
Scarecrows from The Scarecrow Walks at Midnight
Jack O'Lantern from Attack of the Jack O'Lanterns
The Mummy from Return of the Mummy
The Abominable Snowman of Pasadena
The Werewolf from Werewolf of Fever Swamp
The Gnomes from Revenge of the Gnomes
The Blob from The Blob That Ate Everyone
Toy Robots from Toy-Terror: Batteries Included
Bug-Eyed Aliens from Invasion of the Body Squeezers
Vampire Poodle from Please Don't Feed the Vampire!
and the Praying Mantis from A Shocker on Shock Street
Among all of these choices, which is Black's favorite? 'Slappy the Dummy, of course," he says – noting that the reason is probably because the dummy looks just like him. Besides Slappy? 'The bug-eyed aliens, or the bog monster," he says. 'The bog monster is a swamp thing, but from the right angle, it looks just like a butt. Can we call it the butt monster?"
Casting The Film
At the center of the film is Jack Black in the role of R.L. Stine. He says that he put in the work to make Stine a completely unique character. 'When I read the script a few times, I felt like the character needed to look and sound different than me – it couldn't be like the dude from School of Rock is now the writer R.L. Stine," he says. 'No, it needed to be a character that I haven't played before, someone with a little more gravitas, a respected writer. So, I worked on his voice, and I decided to give him a little bit of an Orson Wells-ian accent. Refined. I wanted him to be someone with a taste for the finer things."
Naturally, Black's character is nothing like the real R.L. Stine, who in real life is actually a jovial fellow. 'I like to play characters, to get behind the façade," says Black. 'When I get into an accent, or a character who's different from myself, it frees me up to do things I wouldn't normally do – I get embarrassed saying certain lines or doing certain things if it feels like I'm doing it myself. Putting on a mask and a voice frees you up to express yourself better."
As a result, it doesn't matter that he's nothing like the real-life Stine; Black's character is hilarious and perfect for the movie. 'The funniest parts of my character are his vanity and pride about his track record," says Black. 'There was ample opportunity for him to get on a high horse and remind the others, especially Champ, that he's better than they are. He's trying to block the love connection between Zack and Hannah, and he thinks Champ is an imbecile, but that's the evolution of the movie – these guys become his best friends."
'This was my third time working with Jack, so we've gotten used to each other," says Letterman. 'It was very cool to see him sink his teeth into this, because I know he's a classically trained actor and has amazing acting chops, but the rest of the world always thinks of him as Jack Black the comedian. So it was really nice for him to do both, and it was also incredibly helpful for the movie, because Jack helps navigate the tone – he lets people know that the movie is okay for kids, but at the same time, yes, we could get a little bit of edge in there."
Teaming up with Jack Black in the film is a trio of young up-and-coming actors: Dylan Minnette as Zach, Odeya Rush as Hannah, and Ryan Lee as Champ. Because the four team up in the film to re-capture the creatures, it was imperative that the actors could not only handle their roles, but share a chemistry that would pop off the screen. As a result, Letterman not only met with the actors solo, but brought them in to read with each other, and, as a final confirmation, with Jack Black, to make sure the dynamic would work. Of course, it helped that Minnette was a Goosebumps uber-fan, having consumed over sixty (by his count) Goosebumps books over the years. 'I knew all the creatures – the Abominable Snowman of Pasadena, the Werewolf of Fever Swamp, Night of the Living Dummy… my favorite Goosebumps book was Say Cheese and Die, but The Haunted School was also creepy."
But, of course, Minnette can fully get behind Slappy as the film's lead villain. 'Who's not scared of a talking, evil ventriloquist's dummy?" he says. 'Seeing Slappy brought to life in front of me was surreal. Avery – the puppeteer for Slappy, who did his facial expressions – made him feel like a real person. It was exactly like I pictured Slappy in the books."
Minnette says that, like many of the Goosebumps books, the film grounds Zach in the everyday problems of an ordinary kid before the feature gets creatures. 'Zach has just moved to Madison, Delaware, from New York City. He doesn't want to leave the city or his friends – he's used to the city life and now he's going to this town that he thinks hardly anyone lives in," he explains. Despite connections with Hannah and Champ, this is the crisis he'll have to overcome – along with the crisis of a couple of dozen monsters that are attacking his town.
Hannah is played by Odeya Rush, an actress born in the U.S. and raised in Israel. 'Hannah is Stine's daughter," says Rush. 'Her dad is seriously overprotective – she's moved from place to place all of her life – and she doesn't really have a lot of friends. He keeps her very guarded from the rest of the world. When Zach moves in right next door, she's not used to really interacting with anyone my age, so she has a bubbling enthusiasm to have another kid her age to talk to, but she's still guarded and has to test him out in the beginning, because she's not used to it."
Rush says that even aside from acting, just being on the Goosebumps set was an interesting experience. 'It was funny to eat lunch there. You're just sitting at lunch and there's the Frozen People, and the Girl with the Haunted Mask, just standing in line, getting her food. You're sitting in the makeup trailer and there's a clown sitting next to you, or some guy with blood. It was pretty crazy."
Ryan Lee, best-known for his role on the television series 'Trophy Wife" and his supporting roles in the feature films Super 8 and This is 40, plays Champ, Zach's one new friend in town and a fraidy cat who gets more than goosebumps when the creatures come to life. (Fittingly, he has the heart of a champion and will rise to the occasion.) 'He's the equipment manager of the football team," Lee explains. 'He's very clumsy… you feel bad for this guy. But by the end of it, through the chaos of the monsters and everything, he comes into his own."
'Champ is the comic relief of the movie, but he's also a great part to play," Lee continues. 'There was one scene that could have been kind of creepy – we're sneaking into Stine's house, obviously we're not supposed to be there, and as we're walking down this creepy hallway, I whisper to Zach, -Hey, do you think he's going to mind if I use his bathroom?' It's stuff like that that takes you out of the scary moments and relaxes you a bit, which is cool."
Oscar® nominee Amy Ryan takes on the role of Gail, Zach's mother. 'Gail is a single mother, recently widowed, from New York. She is craving a fresh start, so moves with her son Zach, to an idyllic town where everything seems peaceful and quiet," she explains. 'She and Zach have a good sense of humor about each other – they rib each other. She's a fun mom – but Zach is still the typical teen who doesn't want to be seen at school with his mother, even though she works there. On her first day, as the new vice principal, things go crazy. She gets the biggest surprise of her life. Her new home is anything but peaceful and quiet."
Comedienne Jillian Bell, whose work on Comedy Central's 'Workaholics" turned heads and scene-stealing role in 22 Jump Street shot her to fame, plays Lorraine, Gail's sister and Zach's aunt.
Bell, like Minnette, was a fan of the series as a child. 'I was that kid who would wake up at 7 a.m. on the day a book was coming out and stand in line at the bookstore to buy it, and finish it by midnight the same day. I was obsessed with them."
In fact, Bell paid the filmmakers a tremendous compliment. 'She had read all the books, so when she read the script, she said, -This is legit. You guys really did your homework.' She and Dylan were our Goosebumps experts on the set."
Bell was also excited to find out about her character's plot twist. 'When they told me about the movie, they said, -Your character has a crush on R.L. Stine,' and I said, -Is R.L. Stine actually going to be in the movie?' and they said, -No, it's Jack Black.' I said, -Well, that's also equally as wonderful.'"
Creating The Creatures
The main cast in Goosebumps is composed not just of the fictional townspeople of Madison, Delaware, but also of the creatures of R.L. Stine's imagination.
As director Rob Letterman planned how to bring these creatures to life, it was important to him to combine both live-action and computer animation. Some would be present and captured in camera; others would be created later, in the computer; and still others would be a combination of the two.
'We knew it would be amazing to do as much as we could do in camera," says Letterman. 'I didn't want the monsters to feel like a cartoon. Kids are smarter than that, and I didn't want to dumb it down. By creating the creatures practically, not only would it look great, but it would be ideal for the actors' performance to have something real there for them to react to, on the spot."
Letterman collaborated early on with creature designer Carlos Huante, a veteran illustrator and creature designer who has worked on such films as Men in Black, Mighty Joe Young, Hellboy, War of the Worlds, The Spiderwick Chronicles and Alice in Wonderland, as well as the 'Ghostbusters" animated series. Later, during production, the creatures were brought to reality by makeup department head Fionagh Cush, creature makeup FX designer Stephen Prouty, hair department head Adruitha Lee, and costume designer Judianna Makovsky. 'It was a dream job, says Prouty. 'There are not too many jobs where you're asked to come in and make an army of monsters. The script was so clever and fun, I was hooked immediately."
'We took the concept designs, and then interpreted them into a three dimensional world of sculpture molds, and prosthetics," says Cush. 'In our series of makeup tests, some were too scary, and some weren't scary enough. We had to find the happy medium."
For example, the team created eight Ghouls that appear in the cemetery sequence and in the final, climactic monster attack. Custom-made latex flesh-colored prosthetics were applied piece by piece to eight actors' faces to give them a zombie look. Each set of face prosthetics was made from medical grade silicone and took an entire day to create. A fresh set of face prosthetics were applied each day to every Ghoul. The Ghouls' creepy, long finger prosthetics were handmade in the SFX makeup workshop. 1500 individual fingers were molded from scratch, with each finger hand-painted and brushed with clear nail polish. Each finger could be used three times.
The Ghouls were well versed in zombie movement, as many of them had previously worked as zombies on the television show 'The Walking Dead." Each Ghoul took three-and-a-half hours to get ready, from having their prosthetics applied and painted by the makeup department, to having their hair appear lifeless on purpose by the hair department, to dressing them in the vintage, aged clothes that were hand tailored for each Ghoul's look and personality.
Says Odeya Rush, 'When we were filming in the cemetery and the Ghouls came to life, it felt so real and was so scary. I couldn't believe my eyes."
Another practical creature creation was the Snake Lady, identifiable by her scaled face, long braided blonde hair, and alluring, skin-tight metallic shimmer dress. The Snake Lady took three hours to undergo her transformation. Some of her transformation details were sophisticated, and others surprisingly simple – like her eyes, made from polarized sunglass lenses, which popped in and out easily from the surrounding prosthetic. Her wig took three people 90 hours to complete.
Prouty's favorite creature was the Bog Monster – a late addition to the film that made the cut once Letterman saw Prouty's incredible creature design. To create the costume, Prouty created a fabric woven with yarn from camouflage hunting uniforms; each strand of yarn was hand-sewn onto a fine fabric netting. The Bog Monster's head was made of foam and hung from a bracket that enabled it to rock back and forth with movement.
The actor inside the Bog Monster suit was 6'8" tall and wore a size fifteen shoe. (Fun Goosebumps trivia: the Bog Monster and the Snake Lady were boyfriend and girlfriend in real life.)
Unsurprisingly, the design team focused closely on the costume details, like eyes and hair. For example, the Egyptian Priestess wore turquoise blue opaque contact lenses, beneath eyebrows that read 'Goosebumps" in hieroglyphics; Cronby, the thirty-six inch tall evil Leprechaun, wore cloudy gel red contacts; the evil clown wore glowing yellow contact lenses; and Dr. Shock's crazy electrocuted hairdo was made to stand on end using laundry detergent.
Ironhead Studio in Los Angeles designed the Mummy costume and mask for the film. The haunting teeth, cavernous eyes, and aged gold and emerald chin protrusion embellishment, haunted all those who crossed his path.
Also among those on set: a pack of pasty Vampires; the Witch Doctor, with caked-on mud and nose bone prosthetic; Madam Doom, with her glowing crystal ball and pointed prosthetic chin; the Executioner; the Pirate, who was a real life amputee; a boy and girl purple-faced Creeps; two Scarecrows and one Jack O'Lantern on stilts; and the Haunted Mask.
The creepiest creation? Ask Dylan Minnette, Odeya Rush and Ryan Lee, and you'll get one answer – the Clown. The actor never broke character on the set and was beyond terrifying. Frozen People
In the film, several characters get frozen. Twelve individual frozen people looks were created for the film, among them Timothy Simons as Officer Stevens, Amanda Lund as Officer Brooks, and Jillian Bell as Aunt Lorraine. The hair department made individual wigs for each frozen person that looked as if they were stiff and dripping with icicles.
Adruitha Lee, the Oscar®-winning hair department head, says, 'It was a challenge to find the right materials to make hair look actually frozen. I called around to other hair colleagues asking for their secret recipes, but nothing seemed to be working for our needs. Then we got the idea that saved the day, and we went to Home Depot and we bought twenty tube of caulking in white and clear, and started painting the wigs with them. It was an experiment… and fortunately, it worked!"
It took the hair department four weeks to create fourteen wigs. 'Before the process of making the wigs appear frozen, we styled the wigs to match the actors own hairstyle," says Lee. The special makeup department also had the challenge of making icicles that hang from the frozen people's faces, and created these with clear acrylics and vacuum-formed plastic.
For all of the fun in creating and designing dozens of individual monsters, it's clear that there's one star of that particular show (as he'll tell you himself) – Slappy the Dummy. Designing and crafting of Slappy, the lead antagonist and R.L. Stine's alter ego in the film, was impossible without the involvement of several skilled craftspeople.
Ironhead Studio was responsible for the physical creation and mechanics of the Slappy doll. At Letterman's direction, Slappy's face was designed to bear a resemblance to Jack Black as R.L. Stine. An honest-to-goodness ventriloquist's dummy, there are no electronics inside Slappy: all controls are mechanical, requiring the performance of a skilled puppeteer.
After a nationwide search, the job went to puppeteer Avery Lee Jones. Jones could move Slappy with his hand controls in many different ways: head turning side-to-side and all the way around, mouth control, eyes side-to-side, eyes blink, wide-eyed with eyelids retracting, and eyebrow movement.
Jake McKinnon from Ironhead Studio was on set to make sure all was technically on point with the physical puppet.
Following on Jones' performance, there are a few scenes in which Slappy is enhance with computer animation: the most skilled ventriloquist on the planet can't make Slappy walk, so those scenes combine the practical Slappy doll with computerized effects.
The Haunted Car
Rob Letterman went vintage for his pick of The Haunted Car vehicle, opting for a classic 1969 black Lincoln Continental Mark III. Weighing in at 5,000 pounds, this two-door coupe model of a Lincoln is well-known for its Rolls Royce-like grille.
There were two identical cars, found in Florida and Georgia, used during filming. In one of the cars, the special effects department installed an electrical system to create the effect of a glowing grille.
About The Vfx Creatures
From the beginning, Rob Letterman's direction to his team was that any creature that could be created practically and captured using live-action actors, would be done just that way. However, some of the planned creatures – from a 12-foot abominable snowman to a 27-foot praying mantis to a bevy of extremely unfriendly garden gnomes – would need to be created in visual effects. The job fell in large measure to Visual Effects Supervisor Erik Nordby, Co-Producer Greg Baxter, and the team at MPC in Vancouver and Montreal. 'What makes this movie unique is the vast array of different, unique characters," says Baxter. 'A lot of them are featured in their own scenes and set pieces, not fading into the background."
In the end, the VFX team was responsible for the abominable snowman, the werewolf, the gnomes, the man-eating plants, the bug-eyed aliens, the mantis, the blob, the toy robots, and the evil poodle, as well as creating the abandoned amusement part and the Ferris Wheel roll, and recreating several of the practical creatures for wide crowd shots. 'Our biggest challenge was just how many different unique creatures there were to design and figure out," says Baxter. 'Each of these creatures photographs differently, they move differently, they behave differently, they run in sizes from a tiny little garden gnome to a massive mantis and an even bigger blob."
Following Carlos Huante's initial pass at the creatures, the art department at MPC expanded on the designs for the creatures that would be rendered in VFX, working out details and figuring out how the characters would move.
The goal in the creature designs, according to Nordby, was to strike a balance – to come up with a creature that was just scary enough to give kids goosebumps, but still capturing the comical, fun spirit of the monsters that are the hallmark of Stine's series of books. For one, think of the gnomes, which have a comical, everyday appearance and high-pitched, funny voices, both of which belie their evil intentions.
Another example, which Nordby says approached the challenge from a different direction, is the werewolf. The design, on its face, is an honest-to-goodness werewolf – but then character took over. 'Rob dressed him in basketball shorts and sneakers," Nordby continues. 'It allowed the younger audience to contextualize it as something more playful, more fun. That was something that he tried to do throughout."
The werewolf, he notes, is actually an exception to one of the filmmakers' rules: here is a humanoid, bipedal creature that was created in CG, rather than makeup. 'There was a brief conversation about doing the werewolf practically, but very quickly, we realized that it would be impossible pull off what Rob wanted with a practical creature. His build – a wide upper torso, like a muscular basketball player -- the way he moves, the strength, the speed, the ability to run on all fours – the only way to do all of that is in CG."
To assist the filming, a stunt performer acted out as the werewolf. 'We could take the movements that the stunt performer gave us as a real-world, physics-based starting point for what the creature could accomplish," says Nordby. 'In certain circumstances, we used it as something that we could affect our environment. So, for example, when the werewolf hits the bacon and it all falls down, or when he squishes the fruit and the marshmallow bag, that's the performer doing that."
Setting the scene in a grocery store was another way to up the comic value. 'I got to push Jack Black in a shopping cart while being chased by a werewolf," says Dylan Minnette. 'Cross that off my bucket list!"
Another massive challenge was to create the Abominable Snowman of Pasadena, affectionately known as Abby to the production. Abby is covered in fur, so designing and planning the creature took tremendous effort. 'Abby's fur was going to be one of the most difficult things to make look real," says Baxter. 'So early on, we grabbed a whole bunch of different white animal fur pelts and brought in for Rob's feedback. We took the one that ended up being the closest to what he envisioned – long, white fur, like a polar bear's – and we wrapped that around a large sphere and used that as reference." VFX artists usually capture lighting information by taking pictures on each set of two spheres – one gray and one chrome. But on Goosebumps, the artists employed a number of other fur and textured spheres to reference how each individual creature might look when lit for that particular scene.
But Abby's fur was nothing compared to one other creature – one that both Baxter and Nordby cite as the most difficult to create. Which one was it? Unless you work in VFX, you'll never guess. It was the evil poodle, which appears in only six shots in the film but required months of work. 'Poodle fur – fur that's extraordinarily tight and coiled – is something that we always try to stay away from in the world of CG, because it's so difficult," says Nordby. 'We started that early on, because we knew that it was going to be very complex – and I don't know if it was luck or the sheer amount of talent we had designing it, but we got something feeling completely real within about four or five months."
Always seeking out the best and most practical solution to creature design, the bug-eyed aliens were performers on set, whose heads and hands were replaced by the MPC team in post-production. On set during filming, alien actors were cast as 6'5" young men weighing 170 pounds or less, and were dressed in skintight suits designed by Ironhead Studio.
In creating the Mantis, the concern was to make absolutely sure that the camera was pulled back enough from the action that the artists would have the room to insert the 27-foot-tall creature. 'We put a height reference there, when we were going through the town," says Baxter. 'In each of the scenes, we had to find a way to show the camera what isn't there, and how to frame up for it, how to chase it, how to light for it."
All of the creatures had to look real – even the Blob, says Nordby. 'We employed all the typical skinning and skeletal buildup from the beginning, so every creature had that built in, and then we added a huge round of rigging to make sure that they moved correctly and had the right weight. All the way down to the blob, the creatures' weight and movement was very physics based. The blob is the one creature in the movie that is the least likely for someone to understand how it exists in our world, just because we've never seen anything that big. We turned to water simulation software, and thickened up that water to a level where it would still behave like water, but a lot slower and with a lot more viscosity." And then they started testing, getting results that ranged from bubblegum to hair gel to a solution that was too liquid. To hit the right design, Nordby says, 'We had to take a step back and think of key moments when we needed that character to emote something, one of which is when the blob eventually rises up in front of Stine and becomes this very threatening tidal wave of blobbiness, and ends up forming a bit of a mouth and diving on top of Stine." By focusing on these moments, the design team could concentrate on the design that best suited the character in these pivotal scenes.
Often, locations can be miles apart, then cut together in editing to seem to make it seem like they're right next door to each other. In the case of Goosebumps, however, the Stine and Cooper houses really are right next door to each other, in the Candler Park neighborhood of Atlanta.
Shooting continued at the Decatur Cemetery for the Ghoul ambush, and then ventured to Jonesboro, where the family run grocery store chain, Wayfield Foods, was used during the late night hours for the Werewolf chase sequence. The Abominable Snowman chase sequence was filmed at the Ice Forum ice rink in Marietta.
Many of the interiors were shot on stage in Conyers, including the interior Stine's study, which kicks off the adventure; the sequence in which the gnomes attack in Stine's kitchen; and the interior Fun House sequence.
Creating the Stine's Study set was one of the more creatively fulfilling and enjoyable challenges faced by production designer Sean Haworth. 'In Stine's Study we, we were trying to find the perfect environment for Stine to channel his imagination and creativity," he says. 'We had to find the texture and the items that would feed his soul. We displayed items that the reclusive Stine would have picked upon his travels...magic cameras, shrunken heads, Mayan pottery, archeology books, books on the occult, a paperweight that had a praying mantis in it…We tried to infuse some humor into our array of displayed items."
But the study is also home to the Goosebumps manuscripts that house the creatures that fuel Stine's fears. 'The Goosebumps manuscripts are interesting because they've essentially become Stine's prison," says Haworth. 'They have become the keeper of his imagination. We designed the books as miniature vaults in themselves – locked-away worlds. Then we spent some time trying to figure out how to show off and showcase the books. For that reason, they are front and center in the library, in their own shrine."
To create the exterior of the abandoned amusement park, the filmmakers pulled of one of the largest builds on the film on the back lot at the Conyers stage location. Production designer Sean Haworth created a world that was common and simple. 'Rob didn't want a world that was overdesigned," says Haworth. 'He wanted it to feel relatable, and in a way familiar."
To give the abandoned park a creepy feel, Haworth took the happy elements of an amusement park and then dimmed and aged them. The fun house, the wacky shack, the merry go round, the Ferris wheel – all are now decayed in Haworth's vision.
For the sequences in the town – including the car chase sequences – the filmmakers chose the town of Madison, a historic town with a population of 4,000 people. This location is one of the main reasons Letterman decided to shoot in Georgia: Letterman fell in love with the quaint charm of the town and the willingness of the community to get involved and be supportive of filming. The clock tower on the two-hundred-year-old courthouse in the Madison town square was a perfect fit for the nostalgic tone he was going for in Goosebumps. Says Letterman, 'Madison felt like Anytown, U.S.A."
DeKalb School of the Arts in Avondale became the location for the multiple high school scenes in the film, including the huge high school dance action sequence, as 500 extras in the gymnasium discover the town is under attack by Stine's creations. The school's mural was transformed to read Madison Devils as the fictitious film mascot.
Release Date: January 1st, 2016