Guillermo del Toro's Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark will move forward, with Andre Ovredal will director.


Joseph Baxter

Apr 27, 2018

Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark, the classic 1980s collection of horror stories (supposedly aimed at children,) has auspicious plans with a movie adaptation that’s long been in the works. But we all know making movies is all about the money, and Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark just got some.

Entertainment One (eOne) and CBS Films will be financing the movie adaptation with Guillermo del Toro (The Shape of WaterPacific Rim, Hellboy, Pan’s Labyrinth) as a producer and co-writer, and André Øvredal as director.

Øvredal directed 2016’s The Autopsy of Jane Doe, a horror film with an element of mystery. That was the first feature he had directed since 2010 Norwegian giant monster movie Troll Hunter, which, itself, came after a decade break from 2000’s Future Murder. However, it appears that he’s ready for more steady work, since he’s already in post-production for the 2018-scheduled Norwegian fantasy film Mortal and is attached to a sci-fi project called Bright Skies. Yet, Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark will clearly be his highest profile project, one that comes attached with the expectations of generations who grew up being terrified by the book trilogy. 

Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark will use the trilogy of horror story collections by Alvin Schwartz – 1981’s Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark, 1984’s More Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark and 1991’s Scary Stories 3: More Tales to Chill Your Bones – as the center of a series of mysteriously macabre small-town murders –presumably emulating the horror stories of the books – that a group of young teens will attempt to solve.

The terrifying nature of Schwartz’s books, which adapts existing folklore and urban legends and feature memorable stories like “The Haunted House” (you know, the one with creepy skull face lady), “Harold” and “The Big Toe,” were boosted by the iconic, childhood-scarring illustrations of artist Stephen Gammell, which gave the stories a notably nightmarish gravitas. Because the images were so terrifying, the books often found themselves immersed in controversy, landing on the ban lists of several libraries. Thus, the 2011 reissue edition of the books featured less-terrifying art by Brett Helquist.

Guillermo del Toro had previously been attached to direct the film adaptation, clearly embracing it as a passion project (he even posted pics of Gammell’s artwork that hangs in his home).

The script had passed from an original draft by Patrick Melton and Marcus Dunstan of the Saw films, to John August, the writer behind fantasy-themed life-affirmer Big Fish, before passing into the hands of Dan and Kevin Hagerman of The Lego Movie, who wrote it alongside Del Toro.

Del Toro serves as a producer, joined by Jason F. Brown, Sean Daniel and Elizabeth Grave.

Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark Release Date

Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark has yet to book a release date. However, production is reportedly set to commence in summer 2018.