The return of “Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark”

If you grew up in the 80’s or 90’s you might remember reading scary stories. Whether it was under your blankets with a flashlight late at night or at a sleepover, scary stories have always been a fun and an important part of our culture.

The book “Scary Stories to Tell in The Dark” is no exception. A collection of old folk stories and urban legends, many of the stories take a psychological aspect to get inside of the reader’s mind. As a result, this book was the most banned book of the 90’s. Now a new generation can experience the chilling stories from “Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark” through a motion picture by the same name. 

This movie takes the psychological aspect of horror to the next level. In the original book each story has a terrifying sketch like drawing in all black. These pictures were drawn by Stephen Gammell, an illustrator for many books from the 80’s. The stories were disturbing on their own, but Gammell’s drawings were their own kind of scary.

In the movie adaptation Mike Elizalde, president and director of Creative Motion, takes on the enormous task of reviving the book. His work is mainly known from the movie “HellBoy,” the dementor from “Stranger Things,” “X-Men” and “Fantastic Four.” 

Mark Viniello, the projects manager for Creative Motion, recalls Mike Elizalde saying that “They [the monsters] have to be as true to the source material as possible.” With only the one image from the original book as the source material, the designers at Creative Motion had their work cut out for them. 

Each monster in the movie was from the original book, excluding the Jangley Man, a monster who manipulated his body into different positions to crawl around. An actor physically plays each one of the monsters. The main difference in the movie is that it’s one big story instead of different vignettes like the book. The film presents a teenage girl, Stella, who steals a haunted notebook that belonged to the dead Sarah Bellows, the town’s legend. It was said that she would make scary stories in the Bellows’ basement. She would write to them and they would come true. 

When Stella and her friends find Sarah Bellow’s book of scary stories, they wake up an evil force. Sarah Bellow’s book starts to write itself, describing how each one of the kids will die a miserable end. Stella figures out that end the curse, she has to expose the truth about the Bellows to the town. 

The movie leaves a large hint that there will be a second “Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark”. The book and the movie are similar keeping the original horror elements that made the books so memorable and widely banned. The new creatures and plots add on to the original story to make an elaborate plot. They also allowed room for more movies in the future.