'Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark' Scared You as a Kid & Now It Aims to Terrify You as an Adult
I like to think that I was a pretty brave kid, but even I remember how completely terrifying I found the Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark book series. And it seems that CBS Films is ready to exploit your childhood fears! According to reports, Saw scribes Patrick Helton and Marcus Dunston (the people behind such torture methods as the "reserve bear trap"... look it up) have pitched a concept for a Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark movie. The film will follow a group of kids who have to fight the stuff of nightmares in order to save their town. (Can we assume that Harold, the murderous scarecrow, is one of such things?)
These short horror stories — which featured chilling tales about troublesome ghosts, spiders that laid eggs in your face (this was marketed to children... just saying) and murderous scarecrows were basically the stuff of '90s kids' nightmares. And we haven't even talked about the illustrations yet, which, even now, have the potential to keep me up and night. (Who knew black-and-white pencil sketches could have that effect?!)
While Scary Stories might have scared us to death as children, I'm a little skeptical about how the stories will translate to the big screen. Part of the impact of the series was that the stories weren't overtly horrifying — instead, they had a slooooow, chilling build up, and a jaw-dropping conclusion. The stories are based off of old folklore tales from around the world, and the point of the stories was to share them with friends — preferably, around a campfire, or a dark room brightened only by the glow of a flashlight. A movie version would strip the series of the storytelling element, and, honestly, take away most of their scare potential.
While I must admit that I inexplicably love the Saw franchise (a girl needs her guilty pleasures) I really can't see how Helton and Dunston are the right fit to carry this series. Saw is not exactly known for its subtlety, even if the first film was far tamer than any of the other six films in the series.
If Scary Stories is heading the way of the big screen, we need a script that keeps the spooky quality of the series intact.
Image: Harper & Row