Author R.L. Stine has spent decades frightening young readers with his massively popular horror books. Now one of his more recent chilling tales is lurching toward the big screen. Zombie Town, based on Stine’s 2012 novel, has received a PG-13 rating from the MPAA for “some language and bloody images.” This news inches the spooky adaptation closer to release.
Zombie Town tells the screamworthy story of 12-year-old Mike and his friend Karen attending a screening of a horror movie also called Zombie Town in their quiet hometown theater. But when the onscreen undead hordes suddenly burst out of the screen and give chase, spine-tingling chaos ensues.
The film adaptation comes courtesy of director Peter Lepeniotis, known for animated films like Surly Squirrel and The Nut Job. Up-and-comers Marlon Kazadi and Madi Monroe play the teen leads, while comedy veterans Dan Aykroyd and Chevy Chase lend their talents in supporting roles. Other cast members include Henry Czerny (Ready or Not), Scott Thompson (The Kids in the Hall), and Bruce McCulloch (also of Kids in the Hall fame).
It’s fitting that comedy legends like Aykroyd and Chase signed on, as madcap humor and the supernatural frequently blend in Stine’s spooky stories. The author’s nostalgic brand of creepy-kooky horror has delighted multiple generations of young readers since his smash-hit Goosebumps novels launched in the 1990s.
Zombie Town represents Stine’s first crack at zombies amidst his prolific career penning kid-friendly frights. And who better to adapt Stine’s signature blend of scares and laughs than the comedy dream team of Chase and Aykroyd? The two comedians have collaborated extensively before, in films like Caddyshack II, Nothing But Trouble, and on classic Saturday Night Live sketches.
Now they reunite to face the undead and hopefully bring some levity to the zombie apocalypse. Based on other Stine adaptations, Zombie Town seems likely to offer amusement alongside its creepy thrills. Jump scares and gory zombie mayhem will aim to spook younger viewers, while the seasoned comedians add winks toward the adults in the crowd.
The PG-13 rating hints that Zombie Town will indulge in zombie destruction, but exercise some restraint compared to mature fare like The Walking Dead. “Bloody images” are promised, but likely veering more toward the cartoonish than ultra-gorey. Parents can rest assured this won’t traumatize kids too intensely.
With filming having apparently finished before the industry strikes began, an official release date announcement for Zombie Town hopefully looms near. Stine fans and zombie enthusiasts alike should start boarding up their home windows in anticipation. The living dead are preparing to shamble forth soon from this fresh adaptation of Stine’s monstrous imagination.