CBS Films first acquired a pitch in 2013 for a movie adaptation of Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark, the series of three children's books written by Alvin Schwartz with iconic illustrations by artist Stephen Gammell. The first book was released in 1981, with the second arriving in 1984, and the last in 1991; all three collected various folk tales, urban legends, and ghost stories retold by Schwartz.
CBS originally tapped horror duo Marcus Dunstan and Patrick Melton (Saw IV-VII, The Collection) to pen the script, before then hiring John August (Big Fish, Corpse Bride) as the screenwriter. Now, CBS has added a well-known figure in the horror genre to help bring Schwartz' Scary Stories to life.
CBS has confirmed that filmmaker Guillermo del Toro (Pacific Rim) has closed a deal to develop the Scary Stories film, with potential to direct. Del Toro also mentioned the project on Twitter, calling Scary Stories "a favorite book of youth" and posing in front of some of Gammell's illustrations from the books - books the del Toro himself has, in past, described as being "scary as f***."
I start development on a film based on a favorite book of youth: Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark! pic.twitter.com/yu31FkCz4K
— Guillermo del Toro (@RealGDT) January 14, 2016
Of course, del Toro started out making horror films, going back to his debut on Cronos in 1993, before he became widely recognized and well-regarded within the genre for his 2006 film, Pan's Labyrinth. He most recently returned to horror with last year's Crimson Peak, a film that became incredibly polarizing with some enjoying it immensely and others not being too impressed. Now, del Toro is attached to a number of projects, such as the Pacific Rim sequel, a Fantastic Voyage remake, and a Haunted Mansion movie among others.
Though del Toro has his detractors, he has gained a devoted following as a writer/director due to what he can add to the horror genre in terms of storytelling, but more especially in visuals. Certainly, Crimson Peak was the best example of how del Toro can construct an visually compelling film that may not be as strong on the story side. As a result, there are sure to be many fans who will welcome del Toro's compelling visual style to CBS' adaptation of Scary Stories.
Of course, that also means there will be fans of Schwartz' novels, or simply movie fans, that won't be excited for another film from the director - that is, assuming he does sign on to direct. But, if CBS is looking for a filmmaker with an eye for interesting visuals in order to recapture the horror depicted in Schwartz' stories and Gammell's images, it's tough to say whether they could do better than del Toro. Again though, it remains to be seen how much del Toro will be involved with the adaptation considering all the other projects on he’s involved with or circling, in addition to Scary Stories.
We'll keep you updated on Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark as more information becomes available.
Source: CBS Films