In this interview conducted for Letterboxd News, I talked to the director of the new Guillermo del Toro-produced adaptation of the iconic YA-targeted anthology horror series.
Produced by Oscar-winner Guillermo del Toro, who also has a screen story credit on the film, Scary Stories To Tell In The Dark is a new PG-13 horror adapted from the three-book series of the same name first published between 1981 and 1991.
Prefiguring the likes of Goosebumps and its many imitators, the original Scary Stories books, written by Alvin Schwartz and illustrated by Stephen Gammell, presented short horror tales aimed at a young-adult readership. Many of the stories were inspired by (or perhaps the source of) widely known urban myths.
Despite the stated target audience, the stories—with assistance from some deeply disturbing illustrations (see below)—struck a nerve and traumatized readers of all ages. They were controversial to the point where there was, briefly, a minor movement to have the books removed from schools.
A movie adaptation would seemingly point to a classic horror anthology film, but del Toro and his collaborators have instead constructed a singular narrative around a group of young teenagers in 1968.