Which Terrifying Stories Will Be Included in the ‘Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark’ Movie?

Spooky scarecrows, spiders, and severed hands. The Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark book series terrified an entire generation of kids. And based on the teasers that aired during the Super Bowl, the upcoming film adaptation is set to do the same.

During the game, four teasers for the movie aired. While they don’t reveal the entire story (obviously), they do give fans an idea of which creepy tales they can expect to come to life on screen when the movie hits theaters in August.

What the teasers reveal

Fans of the book will recognize three of the four stories featured in the teasers. One is “The Big Toe,” which is based on the story about a boy who digs up a toe in his garden. It’s included in the original Scary Stories book, which was published in 1981.

The “Pale Lady” trailer appears to be based on the story “The Dream” from More Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark. In the book, a girl has an unsettling dream about a woman with a pale face and black hair who offers an ominous warning. In the teaser, a boy encounters a similar-looking woman in a hallway.   

“The Red Spot” is based on the story of the same name. Inspired by an urban legend, this tale involves a young woman who notices a strange red blemish on her cheek, which turns out to be much more than just a simple zit. In the trailer, a teen girl has a terrifying revelation as she examines the spot in a bathroom mirror.

A fourth teaser, “The Jangly Man” looks to be a new story that wasn’t included in the original books.

What to expect from the movie

Guillermo Del Toro is producing the movie. | Timothy Hiatt/Getty Images

While the stories in Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark were definitely creepy (especially for little kids), it was the illustrations that took things to the next level of frightening. The black-and-white drawings by Stephen Gammell were genuinely disturbing, and were definitely a factor in making the Scary Stories series the most frequently challenged books of the 1990s. Eventually, the publishers opted to reissue the books with new illustrations, which prompted and outcry from fans.

While the film adaptation is live action, not animated, it looks like director André Øvredal is attempting to stay true to the feeling of the original books. For example, the movie poster brings to life one of the most memorable illustrations in the book, a scarecrow named Harold.

Horror movie master Guillermo del Toro helped write the screenplay and is producing the movie. He’s a fan of the books and own 10 of Gammell’s original illustrations, according to Deadline, so it’s not surprising the movie is in keeping with the book’s vibe.

The synopsis offers some insights into how the filmmakers plan to turn a diverse collection of tales into a coherent movie. The movie will be set in the small town of Mill Valley, where a young girl with a dark and tortured past turned her life into a series of scary stories. Those stories “have a way of becoming all too real for a group of teenagers who discover Sarah’s terrifying tome.”  

Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark is in theaters August 9.

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