Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark is a brand-new horror adventure from the minds of producer Guillermo Del Toro alongside director André Øvredal, Recently, I had the chance to attend an event for the film at The Roxy Hotel in Tribeca, where towering illustrations of the terrifying characters from the book series lined the walls of the room before entering the theater. I was completely ready to witness these characters come to life in full realization on the screen. At the event, two clips were shown, the first story being that of “The Big Toe” followed by “The Red Spot.” As opposed to the movie being shot as a horror anthology, producer Del Toro instead wanted to take a handful of stories and create a through-line narrative. When presenting the unreleased clips, Del Toro explained that he made the choice of staying away from an anthology film, because, “they’re always as bad as the worst story,” and “never as good as the best one.”
The film, while grotesque in nature, holds a ton of heart under its surface layer, a concept that Del Toro fans should be extremely familiar with. During his introduction, Del Toro described the movie as a “family horror” film, and said that they made an effort to keep it within a PG-13 rating. The film has no strong language, aside from what Del Toro described as the “fun” swear words, and not a ton of gore. Instead, it plays almost like its young-adult novel counterpart does, and leaves the majority of the horror to the terrifying creatures themselves. After watching some brand new unseen footage from the highly-anticipated film alongside both Del Toro and Øvredal, I had the chance to discuss the movie with the director.
Adam: As someone who entered into the world of Scary Stories through reading the film’s script as opposed to the book series, what was something that was extremely important when it came time to learn more about the source material?
Øvredal: I mean, one thing is, the stories were already integrated in a really great way. So that was, in a way, a really easy thing to follow up on. But, the drawings had to be honored, because you can really mess that up if you don’t spend time focusing on it. Having done similar exercises with Trollhunter, where the trolls were based on the way Norwegians knew trolls to look, Scary Stories was the same process. We couldn’t make an error in the design of these creatures. They have to be exactly as they were in the drawings. So, whenever something would come back in the process of creating these creatures and it wasn’t exactly like the book, we had to go back to the drawings.
Adam: A ton of practical effects were used in the process of making this film, and when you were on set, the creatures were actually there with you. When staring at these monsters eye-to-eye, was there one that truly scared you in its final design when you saw it walk out?
Øvredal: I have to admit, Harold is quite scary live. He’s quite big and he’s the one that really stood out to me while filming.
I had an amazing time checking out scenes from the film and getting to learn a ton about how the film was made from both Del Toro and Øvredal. Make sure to check out Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark when it releases on August 9th in theaters.