Surprise! 'Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark' Looks Freaky as Hell

Pop Culture, ArticlesBrandon MarcusComment

I don’t have to tell you how frightening the Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark book series was. The books, from writer Alvin Schwartz and illustrator Stephen Gammell, scarred an entire generation of kids just looking for a few good spooks. I remember reading the books with my young school mates, laughing as we tried to make each other jump or shiver. Only later, in bed with the lights off, did the stories really come to life. Schwartz’s superb narration and Gammell’s haunting images would come together in my mind as I tried to sleep. It was hard to shake and required a nightlight. Thanks for the sleepless nights, fellas.

The new movie based on the novels looks about as terrifying as I expected...unfortunately. I originally assumed the movie would be softer than other horror movies because CBS Films would want to appeal to youngsters. Well, kids might still flock to see this thing but that doesn’t mean it won’t be bone-chilling. This new trailer below has some imagery that gave me goosebumps. That terrifying woman or creature or...whatever it is wandering down the hallway? Good lord. The face of Harold the scarecrow? Count me out. The crooked-legged woman ascending a staircase? I need to sit down. Oh yeah, this movie is obviously heavily influenced by the books and I don’t know if that’s good or bad news.  

Take a look at the latest trailer: 

The film, directed by André Øvredal (Trollhunter) with a story from Guillermo del Toro, Patrick Melton & Marcus Dunstan, has added some plot missing from the books. It takes place in 1968 and revolves around a collection of short stories written by a tortured young girl. Those stories have some sort of power it seems and they come to life and make the readers’ lives absolute hell. See, this is why I don’t read! 

There are some things that concern me. The dialogue (“The book reads YOU”) feels a little hokey and I’m still not sold on the cast being comprised of kids. But I’m completely on board with the horrifying images we see in this trailer and I’m quite fond of  Øvredal‘s earlier work. Will the film be as good as the books before it? Will it be as scary? I have a feeling that a brand new generation of kids is about to be traumatized by these stories.

Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark hits theaters on August 9.