Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark was a series of kids books back in the 1980s and 1990s. But anyone who remembers the elementary school book fairs from around then knows that they’re anything but, thanks to the haunting art. The announcement of a Scary Stories movie being produced by Guillermo del Toro, then, was mighty enticing, and initial teasers whet our appetites. Now a proper full trailer is out, I’m not sure if I’m excited for or dreading the upcoming horror movie.
Alvin Schwartz original stories were just that – a series of short stories. They played on our discomfort surrounding things like strangers, skin blemishes, scarecrows, and shadows, but each one was over in just a few pages. What director André Øvredal and his team have done is collect these into a single unified story about a group of kids who find a book from which the stories are written spring to life. The haunting art of the original tales – since removed or toned down in subsequent printings – is rendered in three terrifying dimensions and hews closer to Stephen Grammell’s stark pencil and ink drawings than I would’ve ever thought possible.
The movie seems to be set around the time the stories came out – a time before cellphones and computers were ubiquitous – before it would be a simple matter to snap a picture of an otherworldly monster to prove it existed, or to call for help from the middle of a corn field.
I don’t normally go to horror movies in the theater – the trailers are almost too much for me. But Scary Stories has me intrigued, and it might be too much to resist when it hits theaters on August 9.
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