R.L. Stine is still the most prolific children's horror writer in the business. Though the kids are reading his books on iPads these days, not under the covers with a flashlight. His Goosebumps series ruled the Book Fair circuit, and it seemed like every time your parents took you to the mall, there would be six new stories to buy. Part of the creepy charm of the Goosebumps books were their grossly fun evocative titles and illustrated jackets, which gave your imagination just a taste of what Camp Run-For-Your-Life looked like. Here are our favorite Goosebumps titles and their Amazon descriptions. How many do you remember reading?
1. Say Cheese and Die!
"Greg thinks there is something wrong with the old camera he found. The photos keep turning out . . . different.When Greg takes a picture of his father's brand-new car, it's wrecked in the photo. And then his dad crashes the car.It's like the camera can tell the future — or worse. Maybe it makes the future!"
2. My Best Friend is Invisible
"Sammy Jacobs is into ghosts and science fiction. Not exactly the smartest hobby -- at least not if you ask Sammy's parents. They're research scientists and they only believe in "real" science.But now Sammy's met someone who's totally UN-real. He's hanging out in Sammy's room. And eating his cereal at breakfast. Sammy's got to find a way to get rid of his new 'friend.' Only problem is...Sammy's new friend is invisible!"
3. The Horror at Camp Jellyjam
"Camp Jellyjam is no ordinary sports camp. The counselors seem a little TOO happy. And why are they so obsessed with winning? It might have something to do with the hideous, slimy discovery lurking in the darkness..."
4. How I Got My Shrunken Head
"What has two eyes, a mouth, and wrinkly green skin? Mark's shrunken head! It's a present from his Aunt Benna. A gift from the jungle island of Baladora.And Mark can't wait to show the kids at school!But late one night the head starts to glow. Because it's actually no ordinary head. It gives Mark a strange power. A magical power. A dangerous power..."
5. The Blob That Ate Everyone
"A famous horror writer. That's what Zackie Beauchamp wants to be. He's writing a story about a giant blob monster. A pink slimy creature who eats up an entire town!Then Zackie finds the typewriter. In a burned-down antiques store. He takes it home and starts typing.But there's something really odd about that typewriter. Something really dangerous. Because now every word Zackie writes is starting to come true..."
6. The Girl Who Cried Monster
"When Lucy observes the summer librarian eating flies and turning into a grotesque creature, she is certain that he is a real, live monster."
7. Piano Lessons Can Be Murder
"Convinced that there is something creepy about his new piano teacher, Jerry soon hears terrifying stories about Dr. Shreek's music school and students who never completed their lesson alive."
8. The Abominable Snowman of Pasadena
"Becoming sick of the endless hot weather in their Pasadena home, siblings Jordan and Nicole Blake wish for a real winter and are delighted with an Alaskan family vacation, until they come face-to-face with the Abominable Snowman."
9. The Cuckoo Clock of Doom
"When his father brings home an antique cuckoo clock, Michael is cautioned not to touch it, but he turns back the hands and suddenly he is getting younger by the minute — a year younger to be exact."
10. Don't Go to Sleep!
"Matt hates his tiny bedroom. It's so small it's practically a closet! Still, Matt's mom refuses to let him sleep in the guest room. After all, they might have guests. Some day. Or year."
Theatrics slapstick and cheer are cinematic qualities you rarely find outside the realm of animation. Disney perfected it with their pantheon of cartoon classics mixing music humor spectacle and light-hearted drama that swept up children while still capturing the imaginations and hearts of their parents. But these days even reinterpretations of fairy tales get the gritty make-over leaving little room for silliness and unfiltered glee. Emerging through that dark cloud is Mirror Mirror a film that achieves every bit of imagination crafted by its two-dimensional predecessors and then some. Under the eye of master visualist Tarsem Singh (The Fall Immortals) Mirror Mirror's heightened realism imbues it with the power to pull off anything — and the movie never skimps on the anything.
Like its animated counterparts Mirror Mirror stays faithful to its source material but twists it just enough to feel unique. When Snow White (Lily Collins) was a little girl her father the King ventured into a nearby dark forest to do battle with an evil creature and was never seen or heard from again. The kingdom was inherited by The Queen (Julia Roberts) Snow's evil stepmother and the fair-skinned beauty lived locked up in the castle until her 18th birthday. Grown up and tired of her wicked parental substitute White sneaks out of the castle to the village for the first time. There she witnesses the economic horrors The Queen has imposed upon the people of her land all to fuel her expensive beautification. Along the way Snow also meets Prince Alcott (Armie Hammer) who is suffering from his own money troubles — mainly being robbed by a band of stilt-wearing dwarves. When the Queen catches wind of the secret excursion she casts Snow out of the castle to be murdered by her assistant Brighton (Nathan Lane).
Fairy tales take flack for rejecting the idea of women being capable but even with its flighty presentation and dedication to the old school Disney method Mirror Mirror empowers its Snow White in a genuine way thanks to Collins' snappy charming performance. After being set free by Brighton Snow crosses paths with the thieving dwarves and quickly takes a role on their pilfering team (which she helps turn in to a Robin Hooding business). Tarsem wisely mines a spectrum of personalities out of the seven dwarves instead of simply playing them for one note comedy. Sure there's plenty of slapstick and pun humor (purposefully and wonderfully corny) but each member of the septet stands out as a warm compassionate companion to Snow even in the fantasy world.
Mirror Mirror is richly designed and executed in true Tarsem-fashion with breathtaking costumes (everything from ball gowns to the dwarf expando-stilts to ridiculous pirate ship hats with working canons) whimsical sets and a pitch-perfect score by Disney-mainstay Alan Menken. The world is a storybook and even its monsters look like illustrations rather than photo-real creations. But what makes it all click is the actors. Collins holds her own against the legendary Julia Roberts who relishes in the fun she's having playing someone despicable. She delivers every word with playful bite and her rapport with Lane is off-the-wall fun. Armie Hammer riffs on his own Prince Charming physique as Alcott. The only real misgiving of the film is the undercooked relationship between him and Snow. We know they'll get together but the journey's half the fun and Mirror Mirror serves that portion undercooked.
Children will swoon for Mirror Mirror but there's plenty here for adults — dialogue peppered with sharp wisecracks and a visual style ripped from an elegant tapestry. The movie wears its heart on its sleeve and rarely do we get a picture where both the heart and the sleeve feel truly magical.