EVENT REVIEW: SCARY STORIES TO TELL IN THE DARK (EXCLUSIVE FOOTAGE REVEAL)
FEAR FOREVER was invited to a special presentation for the upcoming film SCARY STORIES TO TELL IN THE DARK , and our writer/all around beauty Elijah Taylor was lucky enough to attend. This was not your run of the mill press junket. This was a trailer launch, exclusive never-before-seen footage reveal, lunch and a discussion with the cast, director André Øvredal (TROLLHUNTER, THE AUTOPSY OF JANE DOE) and producer Guillermo del Toro (THE SHAPE OF WATER, HELLBOY). While Elijah did not dish on what they had for lunch (inquiring minds want to know!), he did talk about the exclusive footage, the stories shared by Øvredal and del Toro and much more.
Here is what he had to say…
The classic anthology of horror stories that’s been haunting children since the 80s, SCARY STORIES TO TELL IN THE DARK, is finally getting the big-screen treatment. The film’s got some major talent behind it, in the form of director André Øvredal and producer Guillermo del Toro. If the new trailer is anything to go by, SCARY STORIES TO TELL IN THE DARK is well on its way to traumatize a new generation of kids, on its August 9th release date:
At a special press event, Øvredal and del Toro took to the stage to show off some sneak peek exclusive footage from the film, as well as talk about the source material, and the monumental task of adapting such an iconic piece of literature.
The all-too-brief clip that was unveiled gave us a close look at the creature originally described in the story “The Big Toe.” The nauseating set-up for the scene involved a character unknowingly taking a bite of the aforementioned creature’s big toe, which had been cooked into a chunky stew that also contained at least one eyeball. del Toro said that the film will be rated PG-13, but this scene certainly didn’t pull any punches, in terms of delivering stomach-turning horror.
After the gross-out stew, the beautifully designed practical effects monster approached, in search of his missing toe. Our would-be hero fled, eventually hiding under a bed as the entity stalked him. The cadence of the scene, and the way the tension built–A creeping dread ramping up to a jump-scare crescendo–evoked some of the best of classic horror films. It’s fitting that a book series so nostalgic for so many of us is receiving a film treatment that aims to remind us of the horror movies we grew up with.
Shockingly, Øvredal revealed that he had actually never read the books, before coming on board the project. Del Toro, meanwhile, is a long-time fan, having even collected Stephen Gammell’s artwork. He discussed the difficulty of narrowing down so many stories that he loved– They “played American Idol,” as a group, each voting for their favorites, until they finally selected the “six or seven” that worked best.
del Toro told FEAR FOREVER that the story he most regretted not being able to work into the film was a tale titled “The Bed By The Window,” which takes place in a hospital. del Toro said the story was affecting to him, but didn’t work for the film, because “it’s not horror. It’s haunting, but it’s kind of just a tragic slice of life.”
The film, itself a cohesive narrative (i.e. not an anthology), weaves together what Øvredal and del Toro call “a greatest hits” of the Scary Stories canon. The official plot summary below will give you some insight into how this will all unfold…
Official Plot Summary:
It’s 1968 in America. Change is blowing in the wind…but seemingly far removed from the unrest in the cities is the small town of Mill Valley where for generations, the shadow of the Bellows family has loomed large. It is in their mansion on the edge of town that Sarah, a young girl with horrible secrets, turned her tortured life into a series of scary stories, written in a book that has transcended time—stories that have a way of becoming all too real for a group of teenagers who discover Sarah’s terrifying home.
Both Øvredal and del Toro expressed an affinity for monsters, so their choices gravitated towards some of the creatures they most wanted to see come to life. Gammell’s illustrations (which are forever burned into the memory of many readers) were used heavily as reference for the practical effects creatures, with The Pale Lady being a favorite of both del Toro and Øvredal (though this writer is partial to Harold The Scarecrow). We’re looking forward to seeing more of these favorites when the film releases, or rather unleashes, in theatres August 9th.