It seems anything with even a hint of a built-in audience, or with nostalgia attached to it, is getting some sort of movie adaptation nowadays. Don’t believe me? Paramount has just acquired the film rights to the classic Jakks toy, Creepy Crawlers, which was popular in the 90s.
What was it? Basically an EZ Bake Oven that, instead of helping create tasty treats, used insect moulds to churn out plastic bugs for kids to scare their friends with. It’s also now potentially the start of a movie franchise.
Variety reports that Neal H. Moritz will produce the film. He’s best known for producing the Fast & Furious series from day one, and also helped bring Goosebumps to the big screen back in 2015, and has the follow-up film, Goosebumps: Haunted Halloween, currently filming for an October release.
With those two connections, it’s easy to see why Paramount and Jakks wanted Moritz on board, as they’re likely aiming for a similar kid-friendly horror franchise as Goosebumps, and would also love the kind of crossover, ironically-fun exposure of the Fast & Furious series.
How an actual Creepy Crawlers film will actually work is another question. There’s obviously no story attached to the toy. Although, for all my lamenting on any property being adapted into a film nowadays, there was actually a short-lived Creepy Crawlers animated series around 25 years ago. Maybe Paramount and co. could draw some ideas from that?
For those that believe in the 30 year cycle – the idea that 30 years after a decade is when nostalgia for it really hits the cultural zeitgeist; hence many 50s-based films arriving in the 80s and the current 80s trend – then prepare for an influx of 90s-based properties soon enough. There’s already been a hint of them, and Creepy Crawlers might be one of the frontrunners.
We’ll wait and see how this film develops, and whether it does indeed turn into the kid-friendly franchise Paramount hopes. Or it could just be one big mess. Then again, people probably scoffed at the idea of adapting toys like Transformers for the big screen, and those movies turned out to be immensely profitable. Who knows? Don’t count out the power of nostalgia.