(Photo by Buena Vista Pictures, Sony Pictures, Warner Bros, TriStar, MGM / Courtesy: Everett Collecti
nd masculinity. Nichols walks a fine line between finding Val’s request and the subsequent comedy of errors it precipitates as preposterous and hilarious, insulting and entertaining. And while Albert may look like a fey stooge, it is his sensibility which runs through the film; it’s his drag which saves the day and reveals the Keeleys’ (and Val’s) hang-ups as utterly laughable. In its campy theatrics, The Birdcage encourages us all to be more like Albert, to see in his gay femininity a kind of strength we all too often mock and disparage. Sometimes even within ourselves.Manuel Betancourt is a culture writer and film critic interested in all things queer and Latinx. www.mbetancourt.comLike this? Subscribe to our newsletter and get more features, news, and guides in your inbox every week.
Ryan Fujitani for Rotten Tomatoes: You ve written, what, literally hundreds of novels across various series R.L. Stine: I know. Now, let s not say the number or I ll have to go take a nap or something. It s 26 years of Goosebumps. Do you believe it? I think they are about 140 titles now. I don t know. How did it happen? The Fear Street series; there are about 80 in the Fear Street series for teenagers.RT: So you ve not only done that, but you ve done short stories, anthologies, even comics. Did you have any inkling that the Goosebumps series in particular would attract the kind of fan following that it did?Stine: No, we had no idea. And we thought we were doing something kind of dangerous. No one had ever done a scary book series for seven-to-12 year olds. It had never been done, and I was really reluctant. For one thing, Fear Street was doing really well, the teen series, and I didn t want to mess that up. I was very reluctant to do Goosebumps. And then finally I said, All right, okay, we ll try two or three. The kind of businessman I am, right? We ll try two or three. And they just sat on the shelves. It took about six months for kids to discover them. I think if it were today with computers and everything, the stores would ve pulled them off the shelf, and that would ve been it.About six months. Somehow, kids discovered them, and then started telling other kids the secret kids network and it just went crazy. There was no advertising, no hype. Nobody knew me. It was just one of those insane things that no one had planned on. Nobody.RT: Considering you were so skeptical about it working, what was it that finally made you take the plunge?Stine: Well, they kept after me, my editors, and then finally I said, All right. If I can think of a good name for the series, let s try a few. And then I tried to figure out how I could do it and not really terrify seven-to-12 year olds, and I decided I d have a blend of horror and humor.RT: It took quite a while for the Goosebumps movie to come to fruition.Stine: 23 years, it took.RT: Was it satisfying to finally see your creations on the big screen in blockbuster scale that way?Stine: Yeah, it was, and it was a wonderful surprise because I had very little input in the movie. No one wants the author around. No one wants the author around, and I just felt so lucky that the film was so good. It really was a good movie, and I was just very happy about that. And also so weird to be a character. It was all about me. How weird is that, right?So I really enjoyed it. Yeah, I had a really good time with it, and it s totally revitalized the Goosebumps book series. We re back. It s been incredible. I just signed on to do six more. Some of us don t know when to quit, right? We just keep going.Goosebumps 2: Haunted Halloween is available to stream and on DVD/Blu-ray now.