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 The nightmarish art by Stephen Gammell has been replaced by Scholastic in newer editions but remains some of the most disturbing illustrations in any book, children’s or adult.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.