The other day I had a sudden, intense shiver while sitting at the reference desk. I turned to my colleague (hi Jen) and said, “Someone just walked over my grave.” She hadn’t heard that expression before and (totally) doubted my sanity, so to prove to her that I wasn’t making stuff up I found the phrase online. According to a random phraseology website, the saying apparently, and not surprisingly, comes from England circa the middle ages and was used to describe an unexplained shiver. Somewhere someone is walking on the spot that will someday be your grave. Turns out that this saying, supposedly, also provides the frame work for the phrase “goose bumps.” In the colonies, “someone walked over my grave” turned into “a goose walked over my grave,” thereby giving a person goose bumps.*
Of course to anyone of a certain age Goosebumps means something completely different. I speak, of course, of R.L. Stine‘s terrifying series of children’s books from the early 90s. I was 10 in 1992 when the first book, Welcome to Dead House, came out. As I have written about before, I am pretty much the biggest baby in the world. This is due to the fact that back in the (much more permissible 80s) my mom let me watch Beetlejuice and because I was okay with it, moved on to letting me watch The Exorcist. Turns out that the kindergarten version of me was not able to handle the jump from Michael Keaton to Satan.
Goosebumps scared the living poo out of me but because my little (i.e. younger, yet braver) sister and brother loved the books and the TV show, I was constantly being subjected to the terror that was R.L. Stine‘s imagination. As an adult I am slightly braver**; in fact last weekend I made my first ever trip through a haunted house (I hid my face in my husband’s jacket the entire time, but even that is a huge step for me). Reading through some of the Goosebumps stories that I steadfastly avoided as a child, I am amazed at how suspenseful they really are. All of this is a lead up to say that I am excited to see the upcoming Goosebumps movie even if I am secretly terrified.
Jack Black plays the writer R.L. Stine. He keeps all the monsters, ghouls and baddies from his books locked up in the manuscripts themselves…at least until they are accidentally released by a couple of teens. I want to know if this big-budget, probably somewhat silly production of Goosebumps will be able to terrify me as much as the books and low-budget TV series did almost 20 years ago.***
* Do you want to believe a random internet phraseology website with no sources? I know I do. I am not going to even cite the source because I don’t want you to lose your (obviously very high opinion) of my researching skillz.
** Lies, I am still a coward.
*** And by 20 years ago I mean last night when I read one for the first time.