Trailer Alert: Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark

“You don’t read the book. The book reads you.”
Get ready for the screen adaptation of a the book that formed up a generation of childhood nightmares.

Guillermo Del Toro and Trollhunter director André Øvredal have taken a 1968 spin on a series of popular YA books by Alvin Schwartz, and the famously creepy illustrations by Stephen Gammell. Books, for many are the starting point of finding out if you like scary stuff or not. And for legions of kids, Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark was their entry foray into real horror. And now, it’s coming to a theater near you.

Here’s the official film description from CBS/Lionsgate:

“It’s 1968 in America. Change is blowing in the wind…but seemingly far removed from the unrest in the cities is the small town of Mill Valley where for generations, the shadow of the Bellows family has loomed large. It is in their mansion on the edge of town that Sarah, a young girl with horrible secrets, turned her tortured life into a series of scary stories, written in a book that has transcended time—stories that have a way of becoming all too real for a group of teenagers who discover Sarah’s terrifying tome.”

This has all the markings of a fantastic gateway film. The books have legions of fans, and are themselves, one of the great gateway entry points for kids to get into horror. These three books, produced between 1981-1991 each contained 25-28 short stories within them. The film looks to have captured the illustrations very well, as you can see here of the Pale Lady:

Having Del Toro involved is like a blessing from the Pope. As a taste-maker and horror purist, Del Toro knows how to produce an impeccable dark tale, and has an impeccable eye for casting. He has already successfully transformed Hellboy from book form onto the big screen and knowing that he adapted the screenplay for Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark lends a tremendous amount of credibility to this project.

With Øvredal, you are getting a director who has a fantastic ability to find the dark magic of scary children’s tales, and making them fearsome and Spooky. I suspect given the source material being originally pitched at kids, the movie will be rated PG-13, but this movie looks to eschew the cheeky humor and kid-antics usually prescribed for a YA movie. This is no Goonies or Gremlins, this looks like a movie that intends to scare.

The facial infestation promised at the close of this trailer is any indication, the scares are most definitely coming. Since the individual stories within the books are so short, I’m wondering how many of them are going to be represented in this film. Of course, I’m sure that CBS is betting that if the movie is successful, they will be able to continue to milk the books, as there are plenty of stories to choose from.

The young stars of this film include Zoe Margaret Colletti, Michael Garza, Austin Zajur, Gabriel Rush, Austin Abrams, and Natalie Ganzhorn, along with veteran “that guy” actor Dean Norris.

Do you have a particular favorite story that you hope to see on screen?

Fangoria! Woo!

Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark is scheduled to arrive in theaters on August 9, which could be a great landing spot for it, as the Superhero movies will have had their run, and this may be the last big hurrah for summer vacation fun times!

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