You may want to leave the lights on for this one. As noted in the new Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark trailer, the upcoming film is "based on the iconic book series that has haunted generations." Judging by the movie's spine-tingling new teaser, the reincarnation of author Alvin Schwartz's 1981 collection of short horror stories for children will undoubtedly frighten a whole new crop of kids and adults alike.
The overarching plot of the Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark movie (from Oscar winner Guillermo del Toro) will weave together the dozens of the original tales and folklore by focusing on a group of teens, who — as most horror movies go — can't help but put themselves in harm's way. A press release provided Bustle gave the following synopsis:
"It’s 1968 in America. Change is blowing in the wind...but seemingly far removed from the unrest in the cities is the small town of Mill Valley where for generations, the shadow of the Bellows family has loomed large. It is in their mansion on the edge of town that Sarah, a young girl with horrible secrets, turned her tortured life into a series of scary stories, written in a book that has transcended time—stories that have a way of becoming all too real for a group of teenagers who discover Sarah’s terrifying home."
The trailer begins with retro images of Mill Valley, while the chilling voice of Sarah Bellows explains: "This town has told stories about me. Horrible stories. But they don't realize I have scary stories of my own."
Enter Stella (played by Zoe Margaret Colletti), who discovers Sarah's book in what looks like a haunted house and asks the ghost to tell her a story. As Stella soon finds out and explains in one of the movie's scenes, "You don't read the book, the book reads you." During a phone call with her dad (Dean Norris), she fearfully states, "I'm afraid I'm gonna die."
Also joining Colletti and Norris for their dark onscreen plights in the André Øvredal-directed flick are actors: Michael Garza, Gabriel Rush, Austin Abrams, Gil Bellows, Lorraine Toussaint, Austin Zajur, Natalie Ganzhorn.
Based on the straight-from-your-nightmares images — including crawling zombies and other supernatural creatures — that flash throughout the trailer, there are several clues as to which of Schwartz's stories fans can expect to see playing out on the big screen. Those who remember Stephen Gammell's illustrations, of course, will see several similarities as well.
The fact that a creepy instrumental version of "Somewhere Over the Rainbow" is playing throughout the trailer doesn't seem to be a mere coincidence. After showing a dark cornfield, viewers also get a glimpse of a terrifying scarecrow that isn't quite the friendly guy you know from The Wizard of Oz. Most likely, that straw-stuffed monster is Harold from the short story of the same name. If you didn't read the book, Harold tells the tale of a scarecrow who comes to life to extract revenge on two abusive farmers by murdering one of the men and removing his skin.
Another of the trailer's more stomach-turning moments indicates that the movie will also include the story called The Red Spot. In the preview, a blonde woman, clad in a pink dress and matching headband, inspects a giant, growing pimple in a bathroom mirror — and said blemish eventually seems to sprout some sort of leg. As the urban legend goes, a spider laid eggs in her cheek one night, and the facial boil eventually ruptures, and out crawls a swarm of baby spiders.
With Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark hitting theaters on Aug. 9, the teaser trailer promises that "this summer will be scary." No arguments here.