The Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark book series has been scaring the pants off generations for almost four decades, but now a new fright is creeping just around the corner. After almost six years of rumors, CBS has released its full official trailer for its Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark film to premiere this August.
Directed by Andre Ovredal, with production and design help from Guillermo del Toro, the film will weave together stories of horror and age-old folklore from around the world. The movie is based on the controversial Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark book series composed by author Alvin Schwartz and will have emphasis on the horrifyingly iconic illustrations by Stephen Gammell.
The film takes place in the Derry-esque town of Mill Valley in 1968, which has been stuck in the shadows of the mysterious Bellows family who lived in the dark mansion at the edge of town. The defunct daughter of the family, Sarah Bellows, is the author of a book of scary stories which are taken from Schwartz’ original books. The haunted book ends up in the hands of a group of unchaperoned teenagers who discover that the stories seem to write themselves. “You don’t read the book,” one of the characters says grimly, “the book reads you.”
The trailer features some recognizable characters from the original books including Harold the scarecrow, the ghost with the missing toe, and the lovely girl with a mysterious boil on her face. Luckily for us, del Toro’s creative designs for creatures in the past are promising when it comes to portraying the memorable characters on the big screen.
For kids that read the Scary Story series growing up know that the bulk of them are truly terrifying. In the 1990’s, the series was highly challenged and banned from libraries and schools for its violence and nightmarish illustrations. But there’s more to the series than just a jumble of stories to make the little ones pee their pants. Every story is derived from historical folklore, urban legends, and campfire stories that took Schwartz years of extensive research to combine into the three volumes. At the end of every book, Schwartz references each story’s individual background, where it came from, its different forms depending on locale, and its collectors. While it may be difficult to fully encompass the extent of the series into a less than two-hour long film, it won’t be as difficult to give viewers a good old-fashioned scare.
Del Toro’s enduring interest in the book series has culminated into the long-awaited film. His passion for horror and all things macabre will surely convey upon us the chills we once had reading the stories as kids. Bringing the books to life through the new film is adding a completely original and more modern element of horror to the tales we once knew. Much like Sarah Bellows’ haunted book in the movie, theses Scary Stories are proven to transcend time.