Guillermo del Toro to develop the Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark movie!
Back in late 2013, CBS Films nabbed the rights to develop Alvin Schwartz’s beloved children’s book anthology Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark into a feature film. Now the series of short, scary tales are being brought to life by a renowned filmmaker who also happens to be a bonafide fan: Guillermo del Toro! The director of such fright fare as Crimson Peak, Pan’s Labyrinth and The Devil’s Backbone posted the news to his Twitter feed, along with a photo of him in his fabled man cave Bleak House standing by some original pieces of Stephen Gammell’s horrific art that made the books some of the most popular (and frequently banned) in American schools.
First published in 1981, the first book of what became a three-book series (it was followed by More Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark and Scary Stories 3: More Tales to Chill Your Bones) is officially described as follows: This spooky addition to Alvin Schwartz’s popular books on American folklore is filled with tales of eerie horror and dark revenge that will make you jump with fright. There is a story here for everyone — skeletons with torn and tangled flesh who roam the earth; a ghost who takes revenge on her murderer; and a haunted house where every night a bloody head falls down the chimney. Stephen Gammell’s splendidly creepy drawings perfectly capture the mood of more than two dozen scary stories — and even scary songs — all just right for reading alone or for telling aloud in the dark. If You Dare!
Gammell’s illustrations were replaced with art by Brett Helquist for a recent 30th anniversary edition of the books, which led to some heavy criticism from fans who grew up with the original artists’s truly terrifying images.
Though Saw screenwriters Marcus Dunstan and Patrick Melton were originally tapped to provide the screenplay, which followed a group of kids who are faced with their nightmares coming to life, the current draft was provided by the decidedly more kid-friendly John August, known as Tim Burton’s go-to screenwriter (Big Fish, Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, Corpse Bride, Dark Shadows, Frankenweenie) as well as the host of the popular Scriptnotes Podcast. August hinted to Crave Online this past November that his script might have a meta flavoring to it.
“I think [the movie will be] quite scary,” August said. “Without spoiling things I will say that the illustrations are an incredibly crucial part of the book and they are an incredibly crucial part of the movie. The difference between those original illustrations and the second set of illustrations are an important aspect of the movie experience.”
In addition to potentially directing, del Toro will also produce Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark alongsideThe Sean Daniel Company’s Jason Brown and Sean Daniel as well as 1212 Entertainment’s Elizabeth Grave.