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Saw screenwriters to adapt children's horror books Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark

Dec. 4, 2013by: Alex Maidy

Many of my fellow 80s kids are about to have their childhood nightmares brought to life as CBS Films will be bringing a movie version of the SCARY STORIES TO TELL IN THE DARK books to the big screen. The Alvin Schwartz books are being adapted by SAW and FEAST screenwriters Patrick Melton and Marcus Dunstan. There is no word on directors or cast at this point, but the film will take a slightly different approach than the anthology format of the books.

Dunstan and Melton will adapt some of the Scary short stories into a screenplay about a group of outcast kids who stand up to their fears to save their town when nightmares come to life.

SCARY STORIES TO TELL IN THE DARK is often on the list of banned books in the United States due to the artwork in the original publications as you can see in the cover images above. The nightmarish art by Stephen Gammell has been replaced by Scholastic in newer editions but remains some of the most disturbing illustrations in any book, children's or adult. The stories are all retellings of folk tales and traditional stories from different cultures mixed with urban legends. The stories are all only a few pages in length but are written in such a way that they will still scare the pants off of anyone.

It remains to be seen if Dunstan and Melton will be aiming for a kid friendly horror movie or something darker. It is possible to make movies scary for kids without going too far (Gil Kenan's MONSTER HOUSE comes to mind), but with how cautious parents are these days I wouldn't be surprised if this became an adult horror film that featured kids in the wraparound story only.

Extra Tidbit: I still have my original copies of all three books. Classics.
Source: Deadline

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10:55AM on 12/05/2013

word

I'd love to see if the wheels get turning on this project. Even though I am a 90s baby, I still read and own the first three books and have the audio books on my novel playlist on youtube.

I wouldn't mind if it would stick to the children's demographic, but push the boundaries Towards an older audience like paranorman/coraline or the aforementioned monster house. If children are okay with playing GTA5 where missions consist of rape death and extortion, I think they would drool over this if
I'd love to see if the wheels get turning on this project. Even though I am a 90s baby, I still read and own the first three books and have the audio books on my novel playlist on youtube.

I wouldn't mind if it would stick to the children's demographic, but push the boundaries Towards an older audience like paranorman/coraline or the aforementioned monster house. If children are okay with playing GTA5 where missions consist of rape death and extortion, I think they would drool over this if promoted correctly
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+2
9:42PM on 12/04/2013
I used to love these books! This is a great idea
I used to love these books! This is a great idea
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8:39PM on 12/04/2013
I remember grabbing these books for a read few years back from the library. I remember the ones with the original artwork,very freaky indeed . Also saw the toned down artwork which wasnt bad either. But the stories always had that creepyness to them. So this is a wonderful idea for any horror buff.
I remember grabbing these books for a read few years back from the library. I remember the ones with the original artwork,very freaky indeed . Also saw the toned down artwork which wasnt bad either. But the stories always had that creepyness to them. So this is a wonderful idea for any horror buff.
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7:50PM on 12/04/2013
The illustrations that accompanied these stories always freaked me out. They were perfection.
The illustrations that accompanied these stories always freaked me out. They were perfection.
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7:23PM on 12/04/2013
This could be awesome! Like others have stated here, reading these as a teenager left a lasting impression on me. Some of the stories scared the shit out of me. If these are given anthological adaptations this could be a really incredible franchise.
This could be awesome! Like others have stated here, reading these as a teenager left a lasting impression on me. Some of the stories scared the shit out of me. If these are given anthological adaptations this could be a really incredible franchise.
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6:01PM on 12/04/2013

Excited

As long as we get an adaptation of "Harold", I will be happy
As long as we get an adaptation of "Harold", I will be happy
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5:56PM on 12/04/2013
I absolutely think these books contributed to my overall love of horror from a young age. Get a badass art director who loves/respects the original illustrations and you'd have a surefire winner here. Maybe even a franchise. There's PLENTY of solid source material here.
I absolutely think these books contributed to my overall love of horror from a young age. Get a badass art director who loves/respects the original illustrations and you'd have a surefire winner here. Maybe even a franchise. There's PLENTY of solid source material here.
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5:52PM on 12/04/2013
"The Slithery -Dee, he came out of the sea.
He ate all the others but he didnt eat me..."
Classic...
"The Slithery -Dee, he came out of the sea.
He ate all the others but he didnt eat me..."
Classic...
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+3
5:40PM on 12/04/2013
I remember these books as a kid and they were pretty freaky, though the artwork was what really got me scared. Loved these though. Some of these would make a great anthology together, like Trick R Treat.
I remember these books as a kid and they were pretty freaky, though the artwork was what really got me scared. Loved these though. Some of these would make a great anthology together, like Trick R Treat.
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5:19PM on 12/04/2013

So THAT's the title of these books!

I remember reading one in the library when I was in grade 1, and the image of the arm eating itself with a fork has been forever ingrained in my memory. I remember asking my teacher if I could go to the sick room, as my stomach felt queesy after seeing that pic. Excited to pick these up and give em another read after all these years!
I remember reading one in the library when I was in grade 1, and the image of the arm eating itself with a fork has been forever ingrained in my memory. I remember asking my teacher if I could go to the sick room, as my stomach felt queesy after seeing that pic. Excited to pick these up and give em another read after all these years!
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5:10PM on 12/04/2013
LOVED these books. The illustrations had an INTEGRAL part in my love for horror & the macabre.

Can't really see how the film could come close to doing them justice . . .
LOVED these books. The illustrations had an INTEGRAL part in my love for horror & the macabre.

Can't really see how the film could come close to doing them justice . . .
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+2
5:00PM on 12/04/2013
I use to loveee these when I was like seven or eight, I still got a couple of books. I'm down for this.
I use to loveee these when I was like seven or eight, I still got a couple of books. I'm down for this.
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4:49PM on 12/04/2013
The artwork still scares me in the dark thinking about them, no adaptation needed. What do the kids read now?
The artwork still scares me in the dark thinking about them, no adaptation needed. What do the kids read now?
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4:22PM on 12/04/2013
My Aunt got me these for Christmas one year and I was obsessed with them. When my mom sold her house she was going to donate these and I wouldn't let her. I still have them. In film school my friends and I actually adapted one of the stories as a project for class.
My Aunt got me these for Christmas one year and I was obsessed with them. When my mom sold her house she was going to donate these and I wouldn't let her. I still have them. In film school my friends and I actually adapted one of the stories as a project for class.
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4:16PM on 12/04/2013
These books scared the piss out of me when I was a kid.
These books scared the piss out of me when I was a kid.
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4:10PM on 12/04/2013

Best film news I've heard in months!

These books changed my life as a kid and formed my love for all things horror. As an owner of the original, and widely banned books I cant say how excited I am for this. I just cant believe no one thought of pitching this before! - See more at: [link]sthash.wt1zHnq0.dpuf
These books changed my life as a kid and formed my love for all things horror. As an owner of the original, and widely banned books I cant say how excited I am for this. I just cant believe no one thought of pitching this before! - See more at: [link]sthash.wt1zHnq0.dpuf
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4:02PM on 12/04/2013

Sounds AWESOME

I hope this retains the creepy factor of those sinewy illustrations. Doesn't even need to be hard-R, just shouldn't pull the punches on atmosphere.
I hope this retains the creepy factor of those sinewy illustrations. Doesn't even need to be hard-R, just shouldn't pull the punches on atmosphere.
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3:55PM on 12/04/2013
Wow.. nostalgia hit like a ton of bricks as soon as I saw the book covers. Love these as a kid. ....And I did not know these books were banned in the US due to their illustrations. Well, they were pretty creepy indeed, so I'm not surprised. Some were so freaky and random like if they were taken straight from someone's twisted nightmare. Even still I loved these books and no matter how scared I got, I would always come back for more. ..Not sure if a movie could work.. for kids?.. But here's to
Wow.. nostalgia hit like a ton of bricks as soon as I saw the book covers. Love these as a kid. ....And I did not know these books were banned in the US due to their illustrations. Well, they were pretty creepy indeed, so I'm not surprised. Some were so freaky and random like if they were taken straight from someone's twisted nightmare. Even still I loved these books and no matter how scared I got, I would always come back for more. ..Not sure if a movie could work.. for kids?.. But here's to hoping.
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+10
3:39PM on 12/04/2013

holyshit...

these books were terrifying as a kid. was scared to death after reading but i couldn't stop going back for more. i like this. hope they keep the tone of the books. some really scary shit!
these books were terrifying as a kid. was scared to death after reading but i couldn't stop going back for more. i like this. hope they keep the tone of the books. some really scary shit!
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3:37PM on 12/04/2013
i remember reading these in like 4th grade loved the art to bad they had to go and change the art for the newer prints the art set the mood for the stories
i remember reading these in like 4th grade loved the art to bad they had to go and change the art for the newer prints the art set the mood for the stories
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+5
3:32PM on 12/04/2013
I absolutely LOVED these books as a kid
I absolutely LOVED these books as a kid
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3:23PM on 12/04/2013
I can only wish that they make this for us 30 something's that grew up when these books were released. If done right this could turn out to be an incredible companion piece alongside Trick R Treat.
I can only wish that they make this for us 30 something's that grew up when these books were released. If done right this could turn out to be an incredible companion piece alongside Trick R Treat.
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7:25PM on 12/04/2013
Yes! Exactly what I was thinking of when imagining the template for them.
Yes! Exactly what I was thinking of when imagining the template for them.
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