The Art of Darkness

Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark to be a Movie

August 7th, 2014 by Cobwebs

Scary Story IllustrationIf you were a kid in the early 80s you might have been permanently scarred by Alvin Schwartz’ Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark or its sequels (1, 2). The stories were creepy folktales and urban legends; spooky enough for kids, to be sure, but what really turned their Chill Factor up to 11 was the horrifying and surreal illustrations by Stephen Gammell. (There’s a sampling of those here; when a 30th anniversary edition of the books was released with the work of a different illustrator there was an uproar from fans.)

Deadline is reporting that CBS Films has accepted a pitch from Saw writers Patrick Melton and Marcus Dunstan to adapt the short stories into a film which centers on a set of outcast kids who work to save the town when their nightmares become reality. I’m…pretty sure that was a Buffy episode.

There’s no word on who’ll star in or direct the film, but it could be a lot of fun. Seen through an adult’s eyes (and studiously ignoring the illustrations), the stories are more campy than creepy; however, for kids the books are high-octane nightmare fuel: There’s an amusing discussion of that here. The movie could thus be a family-friendly romp through urban legends or a straight-up horrorfest. And if Stephen Gammell’s work doesn’t get incorporated somehow I’m going to be sad.

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