Author of the famously chilling ‘Goosebumps’ series, R.L. Stine revealed some pretty interesting facts about himself in a recent interview with Entertainment Weekly. Apparently he never planned on being scary!
‘Goosebumps,’ which turns 25 this year, is the product of a number of influences from throughout Stine’s life. The original, very dark story of ‘Pinocchio’ was read to him by his mother when he was a toddler. In this version, “Pinocchio takes a big wooden mallet and smashes Jiminy Cricket against the wall, and then he falls asleep with his feet on the stove and burns his feet off.” To this day, Stine is fascinated by dummies and mannequins.
However, he says the book that inspired him to become a writer was ‘Barefoot Boy with Cheek‘ by Max Shulman. “I laughed so hard, I couldn’t breathe. I tried to copy it. That’s what I wanted to do — write funny novels. I never planned to be scary. You never know where you’re going to end up.” He also listed writers P.G. Wodehouse and Ray Bradbury among his favorites, and Peter Pan as his fictional hero.
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Despite enjoying humorous fiction, it seems Stine has always been drawn to darker tales. Banned from reading horror comics such as ‘Tales from the Crypt,’ and ‘The Vault of Horror,’ and ‘The Witches Cauldron,’ the blood-thirsty young Stine sought them out in other places; “I used to go get a haircut every Saturday because they had these comic books at the barber shop.” We wonder did the barber ever suspect his child-customer’s ulterior motives…
The ‘Stephen King of children’s literature‘ does have a soft side, though. His favorite album at the moment is Shakira’s ‘El Dorado.’ He goes on to describe how the singer inspired his most successful tweet. “You ready? Here it is in its entirety: ‘Shakira, Shakira!‘ That was the whole tweet! Hundreds of likes. Hundreds of retweets. Why? Why?” Why not!
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And now the big reveal we’ve all been waiting for: what is the scariest book R.L. Stine has ever read? ‘Pet Semetary‘ by Stephen King, of course. “I’ve stolen that plot about five times — I had to!” he gushed.
So there it is, and it’s hardly surprising Stine and King are two of a kind. To celebrate the 25 year anniversary of Goosebumps, Scholastic are bringing out a special collector’s edition tin of the five best-selling Goosebumps books, out on September 26th!
Featured Image Courtesy of Entertainment Weekly