As October comes ever closer to an end, the staff at Nerds and Beyond are wrapping up our month-long recommendations of favorite spooky movies for Halloween. Today, we present something conjured from your childhood nightmares by the hands of Guillermo del Toro (Pan’s Labyrinth, The Shape of Water) himself: Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark.
As a relatively new scary movie to join the ranks — no, really, it’s in theaters right now — Scary Movies to Tell in the Dark is, at its core, a reincarnation of the middle school nostalgic terror that may have been banned by from your school, but definitely lodged itself into your racing heart. Personally, I’ve had a lot of friends share blank looks when I mentioned the film, but a quick glance at the trailer below immediately reminded them of those ghost stories.
You know the ones:
— Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark (@ScaryStoriesMov) August 5, 2019
— Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark (@ScaryStoriesMov) February 4, 2019
As you can see just from the trailers, the ghosts from Alvin Schwartz’s terrifying stories have been completely conjured up through Stephen Gammell’s original illustrations (arguably the scariest part of the books). On the page, they were a single moment; an uncomfortable glimpse. On the big screen? That’s it, it’s time to call an exorcist.
Now, to avoid spoilers, I’m not going to get into how the plot itself stayed (or ventured) from the books; rather, I want to celebrate this reanimation of your childhood. This was not a book any authority figure in your life wanted you to read, and sure enough — as I could see by the reaction of many others in my generation — it’s not even content that most keep top of mind today.
And yet, Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark was a set of books that gripped you by your worst fears from ages 8 to 14. It was important because those stories were ours — a soft-bound secret in our bookbags — and the film honors that feeling with a cast of middle school prepubescents struggling with their own horror.
So even if you can’t quite remember any of the stories yourself, do the 11-year old you a favor and see this movie. Or — better yet — go find a copy of the original book and read it aloud. It is, after all, Halloween.