Alvin Schwartz’s creepy children’s horror stories come to life in the trailer for the Guillermo del Toro-produced Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark. Published from 1981-1991, Schwartz’s three Scary Stories collections were inspired by a variety of older folk stories and urban legends about everything from wicked scarecrows to vengeful ghosts, Death itself, and even the occasional polite, if misunderstood, monster.
CBS Films acquired the Scary Stories movie rights in 2013, and had writers like John August (Frankenweenie) and Saw sequel duo Marcus Dunstan and Patrick Melton work on the film adaptation, before bringing del Toro aboard. The Shape of Water director is credited for the film’s screen story and served as a producer here, with André Øvredal (The Autopsy of Jane Doe) calling the shots from a script by del Toro’s Trollhunters: Tales of Arcadia collaborators, Dan and Kevin Hageman.
Related: Scary Stories Movie: 5 Confirmed Stories (& 5 We Hope to See)
The film’s marketing got underway in February with a poster and Super Bowl TV spots that nodded to some of Schwartz’s more infamous stories, like “The Red Spot”, “Harold”, and “The Big Toe”. CBS Films has now released a Scary Stories teaser trailer online, ahead of its premiere in theaters. The studio also unveiled a pair of posters this week that once again reference “The Red Spot” and the Pale Lady character from Schwartz’s books (who even showed up in the Super Bowl spots). You can check out the latter one-sheet after the trailer, below.
As seen in the teaser, Scary Stories takes place in a small American town called Mill Valley, circa 1968, and follows a group of young teens as they investigate the mystery of Sarah Bellows – a tortured young girl who lived on the edge of town in the now-abandoned Bellows mansion, several years ago. However, upon discovering Sarah’s secret writings (where she wrote about the horrible experiences she had in life), the unsuspecting kids find themselves being menaced by the various monsters and ghouls that Sarah wrote about.
Schwartz’s original short stories were disconnected, but it seems the film adaptation uses a plot device that strings them together and, in turn, allows for all manner of gnarly specters, spirits, and creatures to show up (including ones that aren’t from the original collections, like the Jangly Man in the trailer and Super Bowl promos). Beyond that, Scary Stories looks and feels a bit like a del Toro movie, but his storytelling approach appears to meld well with Øvredal’s horror filmmaking style so far.
And on a related note: between the Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark teaser and the Godzilla: King of the Monsters “Beautiful” promo from earlier, it’s been an… interesting day for trailers using “Over the Rainbow” from The Wizard of Oz.
MORE: The Most Anticipated Horror Movies of 2019
Source: CBS Films/Lionsgate