Earlier today, we received a press release announcing the full cast for André Øvredal's Scary Stories To Tell In The Dark, which is apparently going into production this week. The kid-heavy cast (featuring performers from The Hunger Games, The Americans, Moonrise Kingdom and more) is interesting, and lord knows we're excited to see anything Øvredal does after 2016's outstanding The Autopsy of Jane Doe, but at the end of the day we really only had one question about the project: will this adaptation attempt to preserve the look of the Stephen Gammell illustrations that made Alvin Schwartz' YA horror collections so goddamn terrifying?
I decided I'd just ask producer Guillermo del Toro directly.
My #1 question about SCARY STORIES TO TELL IN THE DARK: are they going to try to preserve the look of Stephen Gammell's legendary illustrations for the various creature designs in the film? I do not expect @RealGDT to answer this.— Scott Wampler™ (@ScottWamplerBMD) August 27, 2018
To which del Toro replied:
Yes.— Guillermo del Toro (@RealGDT) August 27, 2018
I think I can speak for every Scary Stories To Tell In The Dark fan when I say: what a relief.
For those unfamiliar with the books: Scary Stories To Tell In The Dark was a series of YA horror anthologies released in the early '80s. The stories contained in each of the three collections which made up the series were based on urban legends, popular bits of folklore - even a a funeral dirge or two, if memory serves.
Part of Scary Stories' power could be found in Schwartz' writing (these grisly tales were told matter-of-factly, with no attempt made to sand down the rougher edges on the material), but for my money the real power lay in Gammell's utterly horrifying illustrations, which were so nightmare-inducing that some concerned parents attempted to have the books removed from school libraries.
Here. Look at these.
See what I mean?
If Øvredal and del Toro intend to keep Scary Stories scary, this is the best place to start. We're not surprised to learn that this is the gameplan (would you expect anything less from del Toro? I mean, honestly), but we're thrilled to have it confirmed (via social media, yes, but still: better than nothing).
Anyway, time to start getting hyped about this one, folks. If Øvredal delivers, Scary Stories To Tell In The Dark might just end up terrorizing an entirely new generation of children, and we can think of no better way to honor the memory of the original books. Stay tuned for more on this one as further updates roll in.