Many a child of the 1980s and ’90s grew up reading all three installments in author Alvin Schwartz’s spooky tale literature anthology Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark, which brings various creepy folklore and disturbing urban legends – with pieces of dark humor sprinkled here and there for good measure – to vivid life, in no small part thanks to the freaky black and white illustrations by Stephen Gammell (long the source of controversy among concerned parents and the American Library Association).
CBS Films has acquired a pitch for a Scary Stories movie adaptation, courtesy of Saw IV-VII, Piranha 3DD, and The Collection screenwriting duo Marcus Dunstan and Patrick Melton. The project already has a handful of producers and executive producers onboard, so the next step – after Dusntan and Melton finish their screenplay – will be to hire on a director, whose speciality is the macabre and supernatural (or, if not that, then someone interested in trying their hand at the horror genre).
Deadline reports that Dunstan and Melton’s script for Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark is going to revolve around “a group of outcast kids who stand up to their fears to save their town when nightmares come to life.” That premise resemblances the concept for that upcoming Goosebumps movie (based on R.L. Stine’s best-selling paperback books from the 1990s), where Jack Black is lined up to play a novelist whose nightmarish creations come to life in the real world.
Question is, will the Scary Stories movie adaptation be appropriate viewing material for younger moviegoers (a la Goosebumps), an adult horror show like the Saw sequels, or perhaps something in between, like a callback to the crazy kids movies released in the 1980s (see: Gremlins, The Goonies, etc.); in other words, that sort of ‘family-friendly’ romp that studios tend to skip making nowadays, as to avoid offending sensitive parents (with exceptions like Coraline, arguably).
Well, Dunstan and Melton have yet to show us what their version of a horror movie for kids is like, so if that’s the direction the pair have plans to take with Scary Stories, then the final result should be… interesting (to say the least). Schwartz and Gammell’s source material includes some nasty imagery, monsters and scenarios that will remain burned on your consciousness afterwards (for example, read “The Red Spot”), so there’s plenty of ripe material for the screenwriters to draw inspiration from, in their efforts to freak out people of all ages.
We’ll keep you updated on Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark as more information is made available.