Why R.L. Stine (you know, the 'Goosebumps' guy) thinks it's even harder to scare teens today
Do you like scary books? If the answer is ‘yes’ and you’re in your 20s then you’ve more than likely read every single Goosebumps book ever written. The Goosebumps scribe, R.L. Stine, gave us countless new fears during the ’90s, and now he’s got something to say about teenagers today: they’re not as easy to scare.
Stine is back to writing scary books with the newly revived Fear Street series about — what else? — scary things happening to teens. The latest book, Don’t Stay Up Late, is about a babysitter and murders. Scary, indeed. However these new Fear Street books aren’t like the typical Goosebumps books of the mid-90s, because the times, they are a changin’ and that means teens are changing too.
In an interview with Time, Stine expressed just how difficult it is to scare high schoolers nowadays. “Technology has ruined a lot of things that make for good mysteries — largely because of cell phones,” he explains. “You can’t have a mystery caller anymore. You can’t have someone making horrible phone calls and you don’t know who it is. Now, you know immediately. You look at your phone, and you know. You have to get rid of the phone when you’re writing the book. Everyone has a phone now and everyone can just call for help. In some ways, it’s much more challenging now.”
He’s so right. Everyone with a cell phone has caller ID (let’s not talk about the fact that the Pretty Little Liars get ‘blocked’ calls, because that is totally different can of worms). Anyone who might find themselves being chased by a twisted zombie clown can just tweet a message of help. In order to bring about that true fear factor, Stine’s got to work around ever changing technology.
The one thing that will never change though? Fears. “The lucky thing about horror is that the things that people are afraid of, it never changes,” Stine continued. “Afraid of the dark, afraid someone’s in the house, afraid someone’s under your bed — that’s the same.”
Do you agree with what Stine has to say? Are you less likely to be scared now — whether by a book or IRL — with all these newfangled smart devices? Or, are you still just as scared as you were when you read 1992’s first Goosebump book, Welcome to Dead House? It’s OK if it’s the last one, because that’s me, too.
Image via here.