Guillermo del Toro is eager to traumatize a new generation of children by bringing Alvin Schwartz's Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark series to the big screen. Schwartz's short story collections (published from 1981-91) are full of creepy yarns accompanied by even freakier black and white illustrations from Stephen Gammell. The books were the stuff of nightmares for children of the '90s who grew up reading them, so it's only natural that the director of Pan's Labyrinth and The Shape of Water would want to turn them into a "movie for kids".
A Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark movie has been in development for many years, but del Toro didn't get involved until 2016. Although he is producing the film and cowrote the script with the Hageman Brothers, del Toro has handed the job of directing over to André Øvredal. The Norwegian filmmaker now has funding for the venture too, and is gearing up to start production on the project in Toronto this summer.
Per Deadline, Entertainment One and CBS Films have announced that they are co-financing Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark. CBS will further distribute the film in the U.S. through Lionsgate, with eOne handling distribution in Canada and several other countries. Distribution rights in the remaining international territories will be available to buyers at the Cannes Film Festival. eOne president Steve Bertram issued a statement to go with the announcement, promising the film will be "a chillingly fun ride [that's] sure to leave audiences around the world jumping in their seats."
The Scary Stories movie will revolve around a group of young teenagers who investigate a mysterious series of unexpected and disturbing deaths in their small town. The Hagemans and del Toro previously collaborated on the Netflix animated series Trollhunters, so it stands to reason that Scary Stories will hew closer to that show in tone than Schwartz's more outright macabre books. Øvredal is also the filmmaker responsible for the gruesome Autopsy of Jane Doe, but his found-footage horror/comedy Trollhunter shows that he knows how to keep things scary yet light too.
As for del Toro, he's taking a bit of a breather before diving head-first back into the world of directing movies. It's believed he still plans to follow up his Best Picture Oscar-winning Shape of Water with the Fantastic Voyage remake, once he gets back in the director's saddle. The filmmaker's fans know better than to count his projects before they actually start shooting by now, but it's nice to see that his Scary Stories adaptation hasn't fallen by the wayside as some rightfully feared.
Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark doesn't have an official release date yet. We will let you know when that changes.