Warning: mild book and potential movie spoilers ahead!
Beginning in 1981, Alvin Schwarz challenged the imagination of youngsters across the world with his children’s horror book of morbid frights known as Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark.
Accompanied by horrifying original artwork by Stephen Gammell, the book spawned two sequels, including More Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark in 1984, and Scary Stories 3: More Tales to Chill Your Bones, in 1991.
The trilogy was among some of the most morally challenged books by schools, parents, and most notably by the American Library Association throughout much of the ’90s. The books were often considered inappropriate for school-age children due to its visual depiction of surreal, violent, and horrifying imagery, not to mention the perpetually macabre subject matter written within its folkloric horror tales.
According to Collider, CBS Films is planning to give the developing movie a recently-familiar premise, as the adaptation is rumored to be centered around a group of young teenagers investigating an ongoing string of violent deaths in their town.
Producing the film is Hellboy, Pacific Rim, and The Shape of Water director, Guillermo del Toro.
Along with Kevin Hageman (Hotel Transylvania, The Lego Movie, Trollhunters: Tales of Arcadia), Guillermo del Toro will also be writing the script for this CBC Films movie adaptation of Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark. Zoe Colletti (Wildlife) will reportedly star in the film as a haunted teen plagued by visions of her mother who died on Halloween night some years prior to the start of the film.
Most notably, according to sources, an iconic and horrifying Scary Stories mascot, known as Harold, will reportedly make an appearance in the upcoming movie, much to the delight of book-series fans. The titular horror entity from the short story, “Harold,” is often cited as a favorite among those who grew up reading the series.
Also rumored to be represented, is the premise of the short story “The Red Spot,” which features a woman with spider eggs hatching from inside her cheek.
Collider wasn’t all glowing about the upcoming movie adaptation’s script.
Rather, one reporter seemed to think the premise of the movie not only deviates some from the source, material, but it also appears heavily derivative of more contemporary horror movies and television shows, like Stranger Things and the recent adaptation of Stephen King’s IT.
The original three books have no wrap-around story tying everything together. They’re just a collection of short horror tales.
On the other hand, Guillermo del Toro considers Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark to be a passion project for himself, owning some of the original hand-drawn Stephen Gammell illustrations for the book.
Currently filming, Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark is set to be released in 2019 and will be directed by André Øvredal (Troll Hunter, The Autopsy of Jane Doe).
Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark is an anthology packed with numerous folkloric short horror stories. The story “Harold,” — as previously mentioned to be rumored for inclusion in the upcoming movie adaptation — involves a couple of farm workers who regularly take much delight in verbally and physically abusing a stuffed scarecrow named Harold.
In the end, Harold comes to life, seeking vengeance by skinning and tanning the hide of one of the farm workers.