Hello again, blog lovers! So this is a new one for my blog- it’s my first trailer (in this case, multiple trailers) review! For those of you that watched the incredibly boring Super Bowl this year, you may have seen a trailer or two for Guillermo Del Toro’s new movie adaptation for the book Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark by Alvin Schwartz and illustrated by Stephen Gammell. Fun fact- Gammell later went on to win a Caldecott medal (very big deal in the illustration world)! As you can guess, this book is a collection of scary stories from folklore and from Schwartz’s own mind that were collected and set into a series of three, this book being the first. As you can also see, this book was published by Scholastic. The recommended reading age is ages 9 and above. How very wrong they are…
I first read this book at either 9 or 10 years old in my elementary school library. It was the book that no one talked about, but was passed around as a kind of right of passage to see who could handle it. This book shook me to my core. I don’t think 9 year old me ever truly came back from how scary this book was. The stories themselves were terrifying enough, but it was really the pictures that did it. I clearly lost whatever imaginary challenge that had been initiated amongst the fourth grade class, because as I was reading it, a teacher put their hand on my shoulder, and I screamed so loudly that the already quiet library was stunned into silence.
I am not exaggerating when I say that as soon as I saw the font…not even the trailer itself, the FONT, I instinctively knew what it was and was immediately terrified. The stories that stood out to me the most as a kid were the Pale Lady and The Red Spot, both of which were in these trailers. There were four trailers in all, but Red Spot is the first one I saw, and the story that made me terrified of both spiders and acne in one shot.
Here’s a little sample of The Red Spot for the morbidly curious:
Yeah, unsettling right? Imagine reading that when you’re 9! And all the pencil sketches are in black and white! Ugh, it’s heart attack-inducing…but in the best way.
The thing about these books is that no matter how scary they were and how terrifying the pictures were, you couldn’t stop reading it. It was absolutely engrossing. As soon as these trailers dropped, I couldn’t wait to see the finished product. However, while Guillermo Del Toro is one of the best horror filmmakers of our time, I worry about the essence of the original books being upheld. Is it possible for the movie to be as scary? I don’t know if it is. The human imagination, especially that of a child, can create more petrifying monsters than any that computer imaging could come up with.
Between you, me, and the ghostlight, we’ll just have to wait and see what happens when it’s released into the world this August. Until, next time blog lovers!
And P.S. Just a tip…don’t read these in the dark.