Skip To Content
Get Our Newsletter
JEWISH. INDEPENDENT. NONPROFIT.

Support the Forward

Funded by readers like you DonateSubscribe
Film & TV

The Film Adaptation Of ‘Scary Stories To Tell In The Dark’ Looks Terrifying

Page for page, there may be no more frightening children’s books than “Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark.”

With apologies to the prolific but seldom shudder-inducing R.L. Stine’s “Goosebumps” series, Alvin Schwartz’s three-book collection of ghost stories and eerie folk tales has remained the juvenile nightmare fuel par excellence since the first volume dropped in 1981.

The credit lies both with Schwartz and his collaborator Stephen Gammell, who illustrated the tales in the most horrific way imaginable, with tendrill-y, desiccated chiaroscuro figures that, years after reading, I still see when I blink. Given the visual provocation and narrative tenseness of the books, it was only a matter of time before Schwartz’s stories made the jump to the big screen. Director André Øvredal and producer Guillermo Del Toro have adapted the series into a forthcoming film, and based off a new trailer, the movie appears primed to live up to Gammell and Schwartz’s mix of ghastly imagery and deranged storytelling.

Harold, the human scarecrow of the books is here, looking more Elephant Man-esque than ever. The corpse from “The Big Toe,” searching for its missing digit? Present and accounted for. That lady in “The Red Spot” who found a spider infestation in her face, putting you off of popping zits forever? She’s in the mix too.

I never read these stories as prescribed (in the dark) and I’m not sure I’m ready to encounter them that way. I may have to wait for this film’s streaming release so I can control the lighting myself.

PJ Grisar is the Forward’s culture intern. He can be reached at grisar@forward.com

Engage

  • SHARE YOUR FEEDBACK

  • UPCOMING EVENT

Republish This Story

Please read before republishing

We’re happy to make this story available to republish for free under an Attribution-Non Commercial-No Derivatives Creative Commons license as long as you follow our republishing guidelines, which require that you credit Foward and retain our pixel. See our full guidelines for more information.

To republish, copy the HTML, which includes our tracking pixel, all paragraph styles and hyperlinks, the author byline, and credit to Foward. Have questions? Please email us at help@forward.com.

We don't support Internet Explorer

Please use Chrome, Safari, Firefox, or Edge to view this site.