I was kind of a unique little kid, I might have even bordered on creepy, I’m not ashamed to admit it. Ghost stories, monster movies, anything terrifying fascinated me and still does, for that matter. One of my favorite book as a kid was, not surprisingly, Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark and its sequels. Sure, it gave me nightmares and made me sleep with the lights on, but that was what made it amazing. The highlight of my day and possibly of my week, as a result, is the fact that Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark will finally be getting a screen adaptation, thus delighting my inner-child.
CBS films now owns the rights to all three books. They recently assigned John August to work on a screenplay. August is best known for his work with Tim Burton on films such as Big Fish, Corpse Bride, and Dark Shadows. Given his history and past BAFTA nomination, he should be more than able to give Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark the treatment it deserves.
There aren’t a lot of details available otherwise. The project has no deadline for completion or whether it will be live action or animated. The original book’s illustrations, the work of Stephen Gammell, were a key part in the stories’ spine-tingling horror, which might make animation appropriate for a film adaptation. However, CBS entertained the idea of a version in which kids fought against the creatures from their nightmares, an idea pitched by the writers of four of the Saw movies and Piranhas: 3D. There is no word whether this live action concept is set to be incorporated into the current incarnation of this project.
I am excited to see this project take shape. While Tim Burton’s work has certainly declined in caliber over the past several years, I still enjoyed John August’s work on Big Fish and Corpse Bride. I think given artistic freedom he could do a great job with Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark. With any luck the project won’t follow in the footsteps of the blood-drenched gore-fests that were the Saw movies and those writers and their concepts will move on to other projects and leave my childhood thrills alone.