When Guillermo del Toro dropped out of The Hobbit film, it became painfully apparent that the writer/producer/director is one of the busiest men in Hollywood – maybe a little too busy?

So what else does del Toro have cooking? In addition to re-imaginings of Pinocchio and Frankenstein, del Toro is currently producing a remake of the 1973 made-for-TV classic Don’t Be Afraid of the Dark. The remake will be distributed through Disney, following the Miramax shake-down, and is officially slated for release on January 21, 2011.

The original Don’t Be Afraid of the Dark is a cult classic, following a young couple who inherit an old mansion, a demon-infested old mansion, as the hellish occupants attempt to take the wife for their own. While it didn’t rely on outward gross-out violence, like many modern horror films, Don’t Be Afraid of the Dark has remained a staple late-night creep-fest for over the last 30 years.

Del Toro’s version stars Guy Pearce, Katie Holmes, and Bailee Madison and was directed by Troy Nixey, who will make his feature-lenght directorial debut. The story was penned by Del Toro and writer Matthew Robbins (*batteries not included) and takes minor departures from the source film but keeps the core concept the same – demon-like inhabitants looking for friends.

“A young girl (Sally) sent to live with her father and his new girlfriend discovers creatures in her new home who want to claim her as one of their own.”

The emphasis on Sally (Madison), who was also the name of the wife in the original, as the source of the demon-creatures’ interest as opposed to the mother (Holmes) definitely hints at the film being a bit less disturbing than it’s predecessor. It’s hard to imagine Disney putting out a film with a 10 year old main character – who suffers the same fate as her 1973 (and older in age) counterpart.

This isn’t to say that del Toro’s Don’t Be Afraid of the Dark remake will be fluff but, given the story’s focus on a young girl, as well as Disney distributing, it’s looking less like a full-on remake and more like a reboot of Nickelodeon’s Are You Afraid of the Dark? TV series. However, that demographic is probably right where Disney is aiming.

What do you think of a Don’t Be Afraid of the Dark remake? Do you think the focus on a younger Sally will help or hurt the film?

Don’t Be Afraid of the Dark will be unleashed on January 21, 2010.

Source: The Playlist