In early August of this year, a movie came out that instantly took me back to my childhood: Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark.
I don’t remember if it was originally my brother or I who had bought the books, but I do remember we purchased from the Scholastic Book Fair at our school (One of my favorite things from elementary school, I must say).
I re-read these books every October as a kid, eventually leading me to searching for more scary stories on websites such as the Moonlit Road, and seeking out ghost hunting shows for my fix in the creepy stories department.
Random Fact: Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark is also why when I watched the Supernatural episode about the Wendigo, I knew what they were talking about. (Side note: Is it just me, or did they just pronounce “Wendigo” weirdly on that show?).
Overall, Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark influenced a lot of my interests as a kid, and seeingit was adapted into a movie peaked my interest. I was curious to see how they adapted a collection of scary stories into a full length film, and how well it translated on to the screen.
As I researched more about the movie, I learned Guillermo del Toro helped write the screen play for the movie (he most famously directed Pans Labyrinth) and I just had to go see it… and I really liked it!
I like how the stories were incorporated into the movie overall, in that there was a larger overarching plot tying all the stories together. The stories themselves were essentially subplots for individual characters to face their own fears and obstacles throughout the movie.
I appreciated how well the imagery from the books was translated into the movie, as well. Monsters such as Harold and the Lady with the black eyes looked exactly as they did in the book. Even with Ruth (which with her story The Red Spot, the name of the girl in the book was also named Ruth), the whole bathroom scene with her was shot well. It’s also one of the stories that stuck with me after reading the book, and is always a creepy favorite of mine.
Based on the ending of the movie, there seems to be the possibility of a sequel yet to come, which makes sense, as there are so many stories not used in the movie, Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark.
In fact, all of the stories from the movie are from the first and third installments of the trilogy, and the second book has a few stories that could tie into where the Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark movie seems to be going. A couple of examples would be “Something Was Wrong”, “The Wreck”, and “The Ghost in the Mirror”.
Overall, I think the movie adaptation for Scary Stories was one of the better ones, as it remained loyal to the source material, through both the stories and the vibe of the movie. The Scary Stories trilogy had creepy stories of course, but there are more light hearted stories in the collection as well. The movie did a good job of maintaining that balance of creepiness with parts that were more fun and light hearted.
I also appreciate the movie because during the 90’s, and even the early 2000’s, the Scary Stories trilogy popped up on the Office for Intellectual Freedom’s list of challenged books, due to the horror/graphic stories contained in the books. In recent years, it has dropped off, mostly because the focus has now shifted to books that contain LGTBQIA+ books, and books with sexual content.
However, when Halloween rolls around, or even during the summer when lots of campfire ghost stories are more popular, there still is a resurgence of a small group of parents who don’t want their kids to read the books. With the movie out though, it is now easier for the books to be accessed. For example, Barnes and Noble has dedicated a display table to the Scary Stories trilogy, so even if the books are banned at the library, or parents won’t allow their kids to check out/ own the books, there are more places where they can read them.
I could go on and on about my opinions on banned books and my interest in the subject, but that’s another post for another day.
On that note… That’s all I have for today!
Thanks for reading, and I will see you tomorrow with a new post!
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Radulovic, P. (2019, August 14). Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark’s legacy of library challenges and bans. Retrieved from https://www.polygon.com/2019/8/14/20804222/scary-stories-to-tell-in-the-dark-banned-books