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NYCC 2018: R.L. Stine reveals that Jack Black wasn't going to star in Goosebumps 2

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Oct 4, 2018, 1:32 PM EDT

Authors R.L. Stine (Goosebumps) and James Murray (Impractical Jokers) stopped by New York Comic Con to talk about their respective horror influences with panel moderator, SYFY WIRE's own Mike Avila

One of the biggest surprises was Stine's insider knowledge of the upcoming Goosebumps movie sequel, titled Haunted Halloween, opening in theaters Oct. 12.

Jack Black is reprising his role as the author, but the real-world Stine revealed that Black wasn't in the original script, due to the fact that the actor chose to shoot The House with a Clock in Its Walls with director Eli Roth.

At the last minute, Black's schedule opened up and he was written into Goosebumps 2, which explains why he didn't show up in any of the early promotional material.


Credit: Josh Weiss

Stine's input on both movies were, according to himself, minimal. In the first, he got them to remove two jokes about Stephen King, something he found "offensive." In the second, he was able to remove, "a d*** joke."

He finally met King at the Edgar Allan Poe Awards last year, asking if King was aware that a magazine once described Stine as, "a training bra" for Stephen King. The long of the short of it is that yes, King was aware. 

And if you're a fan of Stine's Fear Street series, he confirmed that movie adaptations are on the way, with scripts already written for them. 

Getting back to the main focus of the panel, Stine and Murray offered up their personal philosophies on scaring people. 

"I don't know what that feels like, to be scared by horror," said Stine, who has said in the past that the genre makes him laugh. "Every chapter [of Goosebumps] ends with [a] funny cliffhanger. I see it as writing jokes."

"Comedy and horror are flip sides of the same coin," added Murray, who was inspired by classic horror and sci-fi shows and films such as A Nightmare on Elm Street, Amazing Stories, and Tales from the Crypt, Terminator, and Aliens

He grew up reading comics, many of which he still owns. There's just one caveat, when he was in his early teens, he and his friends came into possessions of pages from an issue of Playboy. To hide them from his parents, Murray hid the graphic images in the pages of his comic books. Now, he can't remember which issues he hid them in and is terrified his mother might one day see "a boob." 

Both writers were promoting their new books; Stine's got the horror anthology Scream and Scream Again! from Mystery Writers of America, while Murray has Awakened, which he co-wrote with Darren Wearmouth. The follow-up to Awakened is called The Brink and will be released in 2019. 

Murray admitted that he'd like to turn this series into, "a new horror franchise."

Stine (who always re-reads Ray Bradbury's Dandelion Wine once a year for inspiration) also touched upon his frustration with political correctness, recounting how he once wanted to write a Goosebumps novel called "Morons from Mars." He turned the title into his publisher, Scholastic, who told him he couldn't do it because he, "might offend the morons." 

"You can't do fat jokes anymore!" he exclaimed to general laughter from the audience.

Even in the age of email, he still receives a lot of fan mail. He repeated one he got a few weeks ago: 

"Dear R.L. Stine, you are my second favorite author."

Click here for SYFY WIRE’s full coverage of NYCC 2018, including up-to-the-minute news, exclusive interviews, and videos.