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The Children’s Horror Book Comes to Life /Film

If you were a kid in the 1980s or early 1990s, there’s a good chance that you encountered the children’s book series Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark. Drawing from folklore and urban legends, the book series written by Alvin Schwartz was made all the more terrifying thanks to the inky, twisted illustrations by Stephen Gammell. Now the book series is coming to life in a film adaptation produced by Guillermo del Toro, and the first Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark trailer (or rather a series of mini-trailers) shows us the kind of terror we can expect.

Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark Trailer

This first teaser takes a cue directly from the original book with a grotesque undead woman looking for her missing big toe that was dug up from a garden. It’s one of the more unnerving stories from the book, and that woman looks quite gross.

The next teaser has us raising our eyebrows though, because it features some kind of nasty terror called The Jangly Man. As far as we can tell, this isn’t something taken from any of the Scary Stories books.

There’s quite a lot of pressure for this film to deliver the kind of nightmares that terrified children when they read these books so many decades ago. The illustrations were so horrifying that the books were banned in some libraries across the country. Based on this introduction to the movie, we’re not sure exactly whether it’ll live up to the expectations, but we’re still curious.

In addition here’s the teaser poster that debuted just before the weekend, with quite the terrifying image:

Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark Poster

That unsettling scarecrow is named Harold, and his story is just one of several from the collection of Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark. In the story, the scarecrow comes to life in front of a pair of cowboys driving a herd of cows through a green pasture in the mountains. The two think they’re merely losing their minds a bit, out in the hot sun for so long. But the story ends with one of them meeting a grisly end at the hands of the scarecrow.

For anyone worried that this movie wouldn’t be true to the terror of the books, check out the illustration of Harold:

Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark - Harold Illustration

That’s pretty damn close, if you ask me. Hopefully director André Øvredal (The Autopsy of Jane Done, Trollhunter) will be just as loyal when it comes to bringing the other horrors from the book to life. It won’t be a collection of short stories like The Twilight Zone Movie, but merely an amalgamation of various terrors as a group of young teens who must solve the mystery surrounding sudden and macabre deaths in their small town.

The film stars Zoe Colletti, Michael Garza, Gabriel Rush, Austin Abrams, Dean Norris, Gil Bellows, Lorraine Toussaint, Austin Zajur, and Natalie Ganzhorn.

Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark hits theaters on August 9, 2019.

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