And that infamous meme was all I knew about R.L. Stine’s mega hit franchise.
As my 8-year-old son Ryder calls me…’I’m a Goosebumps noob.’
That being said, both Ryder and I went to see the latest big screen install of the books/TV show franchise…and I have to say I’m a Goosebumps convert.
The plot see’s two nerdy teens Sonny and Sam finding an unfinished R.L. Stine novel and ventriloquist dummy (the irrepressible Slappy, from the previous movie – voiced by Jack Black) while collecting junk for their ’business’, Junk Bros (catchphrase “We grab your junk”).
Cue: Halloween hi-jinks as Slappy takes over the town on his quest for a family of his own.
For me the humour was balanced enough to be appreciated by both big kid and actual kid, and the scares weren’t that scary. I mean, I’m not expecting a movie to mess up my child for life. Incidentally I was of the generation that was shown “Apaches” (google it!) the horrific 1970’s safety film, at primary school when I was my sons age. But I would’ve preferred a couple more frights than the token saccharine monsters you see in every supermarket party aisle each Halloween. I would say though, that the balloon spider was my favourite and Slappy with his wise cracks certainly made a cheeky villain.
‘So Ryder, what did you think?’…as I hand over the keyboard to him.
I thought “Goosebumps 2: Haunted Halloween” was a really funny movie. Younger kids under 7 or 8-years-old will be scared, I was not scared because I’ve seen the first one and seen a lot of the TV series. My favourite part was the gummi bears because they were so, so, so funny.
I agree with Ryder, the gummi bears were indeed a highlight. But perhaps if some of the other creatures had been given equal attention they wouldn’t have been so superfluous thus less threatening.
Look this was an entertaining enough movie, but to be honest I don’t think I’m alone here in expecting to see an actual complete, concise movie when I go to the cinema and not part 1,2 or 7 of an incomplete story, that’s what I have Netflix for. Because yes, it does lead directly into a promised sequel.
But anyway, take your kids this Halloween for a bit of spooky fun both you and they will enjoy.
Here’s the interesting thing with horror – it is easy to do, but hard to get right.
It’s a stance taken in various guises on this website alone, but for a quick reference as evidence, I would point you to the myriad of online horror flicks that look like they are a film school graduation project. And then write down how many of them are any good…
But I digress. If horror films are hard to do right, then you can imagine the extra layer of challenging you get when you have to make them PG as well!
On the surface it may seem an oxymoron, but there are plenty of great examples of TV shows & films that straddle the enviable line of embracing (and paying respect to) 2 tastes without offending one or the other.
In this case, adult content that is equally entertaining for children and vice versa.
In terms of kid’s comedy with serious dramatic elements, the UK series Press Gang instantly springs to mind. In terms of horror for a pre-teen audience, you also have Goosebumps (and the soon to be released sequel) plus there is the 2009 film The Hole.
Although now that I type this out loud, I didn’t think Goosebumps was any good. And The Hole was quite good…but for the life of me I can’t remember a thing about it. So maybe these aren’t great examples of PG horror.
But what about The House With A Clock In It’s Walls?
Set in the 50’s, it follows 10-year-old Lewis who is recently orphaned (which is very Up – OH UP! That’s a great example of an adult AND kid friendly film!) Anyway, he is taking a bus to live with his uncle Jonathan, who he has never met before, but seeing as he’s being played by Jack Black, he’s probably a lot of fun.
And Uncle Jack’s next-door neighbour is Florence Zimmerman, who is being played by Cate Blanchett, so you just know she’ll be awesome. Which for the most part she is. Especially at the beginning, as the banter between her and Black drives the movie and is the biggest highlight of the film (from an adult point of view).
Soon young Lewis – who is played by Owen Vaccaro, who has passable chops as the film’s protagonist (but is mostly whiny and annoying) – wakes up in the middle of the night in Uncle Jack’s house (which is old style and creepy) to the sound of a mysterious clock *tick-tocking* in the walls.
Jack Black roams the halls trying to locate it, as it seems to move from night to night, and when he thinks he’s found it, he tries to get at it. With a fire axe. Which is a little terrifying for a 10-year-old to witness…but he soon puts that all behind him when he finds out Uncle Jack is an everyday Warlock, and neighbour Cate is an exceptional Witch.
And from there the supernatural spooky (and PG) hijinks ensue.
Does it do well?
No. Not really. THWACIIW is pretty safe fair, where the scares are pretty bland, and the ideas are just fine. Not even a super magnetic acting force like Blanchett can punt it over the bar, but in terms of colour & bounce it may appeal to kids. But for that you’ll have to go to the Junior Surgeons of Horror Website for the children’s review of The House With A Clock In It’s Walls.
What does this mean to the genre as a whole? It can spell good news as the movie business see success and a money opportunity to exploit this genre to the bone.
This could mean an outpour of horrendous carbon copy movies that will grate to the bone, but it can’t be as bad as Amityville: The Awakening, Leatherface, or Jeepers Creepers 3 right?
But let’s not be too hasty on the negative-front. What does look promising is that we could very well get some fine horror films churning out over the coming years.
So with that in mind, the team stitched our collective minds together and come up with 18 of the most anticipated horror movies coming out that we would love to bring into the operating theatre and splice them wide open.
Directed by Alex Garland and starring Natalie Portman, Jennifer Jason Leigh, and Oscar Isaac looks off the dial.
The fact that it has been picked up by Netflix for a release some 17 days after its cinematic release has left some people scratching their heads as to whether or not this film has merit, but that’s old school thinking.
We at Surgeons see this at as a bold attempt at a streaming company to make their move onto the big arena.
If the trailer is anything to go by this film could be a massive hit and shape up the distribution method in a big way.
Some may instantly see comparisons with The Autopsy of Jane Doe with this one, but this story of a city cop fresh out of rehab, who takes up a role at the city hospital morgue, could very well be a trippy affair, where sanity is on the line.
You’d be remiss to neglect this one on the list. With the return of Jamie Lee Curtis and Nick Castle in their respective roles, alongside the creative minds of David Gordon Green and Danny McBride, can we finally see Michael Myers rampaging his way that will delight and reignite the franchise once more?
The House With A Clock In Its Walls
Cate Blanchett and Jack Black lead the charge in Eli Roth’s latest feature about a young orphan and his magical uncle who go in search of a clock that could bring about the end of the world.
Could we see a return of fantasy horror on the big screen? Can Roth extend his bloody touch to go beyond the success of Green Inferno?
Whilst this has already been released in the States, the Surgeons team who are based in Australia, need to wait with eager anticipation for Elise Rainer and her team of ghost hunters to delve into the Further once more.
Early reports suggest that Lin Shaye continues to impress in her role, but that the franchise may have run its course. We’ll have to wait and see before we cast our thoughts on the latest addition to the franchise.
2015’s release of The Witch and its success may have reawakened that love of folk horror, which has been embedded in British culture with the likes of The Wicker Man, Witchfinder General, and Blood on Satan’s Claw, has some of our team intrigued by this latest offering.
Set in 1920’s Ireland, a twin brother and sister must endure a sinister presence with a strong hold over them that may result in turning them against one another with drastic circumstances.
Whether you like him or not Jason Statham has a habit of packing a punch when it comes to ‘balls to the wall, testosterone-fuelled action movies.
Now he must come face-to-face come face to face with a 70-foot shark.
“You’re gonna need a bigger air tank.”
The New Mutants
When Logan was released and with the success that followed, Marvel were then faced with the enterprise of a much darker world.
In steps, The New Mutants which sees Anya Taylor-Joy (The Witch, Split) and Maisie Williams (Game of Thrones) among the imprisoned young mutants as they discover their new-found abilities and potential salvation.
Speaking of franchises, The Conjuringuniverse continues to expand and haunt in more delectable ways to terrify our souls with the much-anticipated return of Valak.
In this instance, Rome is our setting and Father Burke is sent to investigate the mysterious death of a nun. Burke played by Demian Bichir, who I hope is given more time to flex his acting muscles compared to his under-used performance in Ridley Scott’s Alien: Covenant.
Gary Dauberman from It, Annabelle:Creation, and The Conjuring 2 is back on board to write the screenplay, so expect similar twists, turns, and scares to arise.
In addition, Corin Hardy steps in to direct, who oversaw the surprisingly decent The Hallow from a few years back and has been given the vote of confidence to resurrect The Crow, starring Jason Mamoa.
Becoming something of the lesser cousin to the Alien franchise, The Predator universe has never managed to really make a dent beyond its original Arnie feature, which surprises as it is ripe full of potential.
One of the original stars Shane Black is on to direct, so you could argue that there isn’t anyone closer to the source to re-capture the magic of the first film, and he has proven success with Kiss Kiss, Bang Bang and Iron Man 3, but is that enough to win over fans and the many?
The additions of Oliva Munn, and Thomas Jane, who has had a something of a career comeback with Before I Wake, and 1922 of late, could very well help cement this together.
Where some were left aggrieved following the screening of It Comes At Night, (which is probably the best example of false advertising when it comes to luring your audience in – as an aside its actually a pretty decent and intense movie, just not how it was promoted) will no doubt have their needs met in this movie, which promises an intense and horrific ordeal.
John Krasinski directs and stars in his passion project alongside Emily Blunt as part of a family forced to live in silence from an unknown threat that will attack with the slightest noise.
The first film had horror fans divided – a bit like vegemite, you either love it, or hate it. For those that fell into the former category, they can rejoice as the trio of masked psychopaths return to reek havoc on some more prey.
The cast includes Christina Hendricks (Mad Men, The Neon Demon) and Martin Henderson (The Ring, Everest) and is directed by Johannes Roberts (47 Meters Down, The Other Side of the Door) but don’t let that sway you as he also helmed the magnificent F, and if he could tap the rage and anarchy unleashed in that movie, we could have a surprise hit on our hands.
Horror production giants, Blumhouse, who have been partly responsible for the rise in recent genre movies will be hoping to keep the trend going and repeat their successes of Get Out, and Happy Death Day.
Truth or Dare follows a group of friends who play a deadly version of said game when those that break the rules start a meet a grisly end.
Critically praised film director, Steven Soderbergh enters the horror arena with his usual approach to exploring different filming techniques, in this instance shooting the entire film on an iPhone camera.
The cast is also impressive with Claire Foy (The Crown), entering a mental institution and once again reality comes into question. Foy is accompanied by Juno Temple (Horns), Aimee Mullins (Stranger Things), Amy Irving (Carrie) and Joshua Leonard (The Blair Witch Project).
If The New Mutants is going to push the boundaires of darkness in the Marvel universe, then Venom will surely rip that apart and enter whole new level of insanity.
With Tom Hardy taking on the titular character, you can expect some hefty weight in the acting department.
It’s a project that is shrouded in secrecy at the moment and just a few screenshots that have been handed out to the media. Lets hope that it will be worth the wait.
Helen Mirren takes on the role of Lady Winchester house, heiress to the Winchester firearms, who becomes obsessed with building a house to trap ghosts with one of the most obscure architecture ever built.
From the creative minds of the Spierig Brothers (Undead, Daybreakers), this movie could be hit or miss.