90s kids have been waiting for ‘Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark’ to bring the creepy stories of writer Alvin Schwartz and the unnerving illustrations of Stephen Gammel to life. Those of us hoping that the movie would make us pee our acid wash jeans may be in for a bit of a letdown.
‘Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark’ will not be given an R-rating. The film’s producer Guillermo del Toro recently premiered new footage from the film for an audience where he was asked some questions. It was revealed that the film will have a PG-13 rating and will be as family-friendly as a movie featuring a murderous scarecrow can be!
Del Toro spoke about the decision to go for a traditional narrative approach instead of an anthology adaptation, which would have mirrored how the books were written. He said:
“[Anthology] is something I love, but they’re always as bad as the worst story.”
When asked about the film’s target demographic, del Toro said:
“It’s a YA movie about childhood around a time when things were changing forever, around 1968 and 1969. It’s the end of childhood in many ways — a crucial time for America … We didn’t retrofit the characters to the stories. We adapted the characters to the story … Normally in these stories, it’s a bunch of boys with a sidekick that’s a girl. I wanted to flip that and make her the lead … We wanted to make a family adventure. I want this to be a nice family horror film. Family is horror in itself, but sometimes, with milk and cookies, you can find something nice to watch.”
He went on to explain that heart and horror are of equal importance when it comes to childhood, saying:
“It’s important to have heart. I haven’t read a single studio note, ever. If you have the right heart, humanity is there before the scare and gore. The real tragedy of horror is not to have your parents talk to you about it,. When you’re a kid, you’re curious about two things: sex and death. The rest you can figure out in a manual. A lot of parents shy away from those things. But we live in the real world. When we live in a great world, we can avoid these things. But we need to know the darkness to know the light. It’s something to bond over. I wish my father and mother watched [horror] with me. The world is constantly telling you about everything great, as a kid — in yogurt and shampoo commercials, in movies where nobody looks like you. Horror movies tell you: ‘There is a dark side, don’t worry.’ I think that’s really important.”
‘Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark’ will feature Zoe Colletti (‘Annie’), Gabriel Rush (‘The Grand Budapest Hotel’), Austin Abrams (‘The Americans’), Austin Zajur (‘Kidding’), and Natalie Ganzhorn (‘The Stanley Dynamic’), with Dean Norris and Javier Botet.
‘Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark’ opens in theaters on August 9th.