© Sony Pictures Entertainment Deutschland GmbH

Gänsehaut 2 (Goosebumps 2: Haunted Halloween)
U.S.A. 2018

Opening 25 Oct 2018

Directed by: Ari Sandel
Writing credits: Rob Lieber, Darren Lemke, R.L. Stine
Principal actors: Wendi McLendon-Covey, Madison Iseman, Jeremy Ray Taylor, Caleel Harris, Ken Jeong

Kathy Quinn (Wendi McLendon-Covey) is a single mom employed in a nursing home. Her daughter Sarah (Madison Iseman) works hard writing college applications for Columbia University. Sonny (Jeremy Ray Taylor), her son, is creating a class project in electronics for The Daniel Webster Middle School. He and his friend Sam (Caleel Harris) make up a team called Junk Bros. They collect throwaways and sell them for spending money. One day they go into a haunted house, formerly occupied by the Stine family. Here they find an old trunk that contains a hand puppet and a magic book. With the aid of the book, the puppet, named Mr. Slappy, comes alive. At first he seems harmless but gradually, as things don’t go according to his plan (he wants to be a part of a “family”) he turns nasty and makes Halloween, including the trick-or-treat candy, come alive. (I loved seeing walking, talking gummi bears.)

This is a movie for the whole family, about 10 years old and older. It’s never really scary, but much fun, as people in very original costumes on their way to trick or treat, turn into huge monsters. Also, decorations in front of houses are creative, especially at the home of Mr. Chu (Ken Jeong), where there is no limit, including a giant spider on his roof. The haunted house of the Stine family at 24 Ashley Lane refers to R.L. Stine who wrote the original, very successful Goosebumps books – all 200 of them. This address does exist in Staten Island, NY, but I do not know if there is a real connection to Stine. (He was originally from Ohio, but moved to New York.) Besides video games and a TV series, the first Goosebumps film showed in 2015. Now we have a sequel, based not on a specific Goosebumps book, but created by Rob Lieber, who said that he wanted to write his own original story. R.L. Stine agreed to this idea. Four puppets were created to play the one role of Mr. Slappy, all managed by puppeteer Avery Lee Jones. This plays in fictional Wardenclyffe, New York, inspired by Wardenclyffe Tower, also known at the Tesla Tower, created by Nikola Tesla in 1901 at Long Island, NY (information which is also mentioned in the film). However, the real filming occurred in the US state of Georgia, mostly in Atlanta. Costumes are designed by Salvador Perez. In the end, love of family provides a moral to the story, as well as reassurance that one should “never judge a book by its cover.” Enjoy the movie for fun or take home the newly won information to research further. (Becky Tan)

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