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This Friday, August 9th, the film adaptations of Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark is finally being released!
The creatures that have haunted us since childhood are coming to life, and this time they’re three dimensional. We’re going to watch them run, jump, scuttle, stab, and limp their way into our nightmares. And in addition to reuniting with the horrifying monsters we met in our elementary school’s library, we get to meet an entirely new creature as well.
Before we delve into that, let’s reconcile with some of our old friends.
Sarah’s ghost/Image via GeekTyrant
Sarah Bellows is taken directly from the book. She comes from “The Haunted House”, a story about a priest who meets a spirit while hiding away in a haunted house. The book describes her as “a young woman about twenty years old” who has no eyes, but “a sort of blue light way back in her sockets.” The story follows the priest as he attempts to avenge Sarah’s death, and expose her murderer.
However, the film has used Sarah’s story in a different way. According to an IMDb summary;
“It’s 1968 in America. Change is blowing in the wind…but seemingly far removed from the unrest in the cities is the small town of Mill Valley where for generations, the shadow of the Bellows family has loomed large. It is in their mansion on the edge of town that Sarah, a young girl with horrible secrets, turned her tortured life into a series of scary stories, written in a book that has transcended time-stories that have a way of becoming all too real for a group of teenagers who discover Sarah’s terrifying tome.”
Harold’s updated look/Image via Vox
In case you don’t remember, Harold’s story was included in the original book. Harold is a scarecrow who was made by two farmers, and modeled after the least liked farmer on the ranch.
The farmers constantly took out all their frustrations on the doll, mocking him and covering him in dirt and food. Until Harold grunts in response.
No spoilers, but things only go downhill from there.
In the trailer there don’t appear to be many farmers. Harold is instead being picked on by a group of high school jocks, though the story seems to end in a similar fashion. It’s safe to say that while our favorite creatures are returning, they may not be entirely how we remember them.
4-The Red Spot
The image that will haunt my dreams tonight/Image via Syfy
From what we can gather from the trailer, this story seems like it’s been kept pretty close to the original. In the book, a spider plants eggs under a girl’s skin as she’s sleeping.
She wakes up with a red spot on her face, that grows into a massive boil over the course of a few days. The night before she’s meant to see a doctor, the boil bursts, and hundreds of spiders pour out of the wound.
I don’t consider any of this a spoiler, since it’s all in the trailer. Plus, I doubt there are many people who haven’t heard this tale either directly from the source, or as an exaggerated rumor on the schoolyard.
3-The Pale Lady
The pale lady/Image via Bloody Disgusting
The pale lady comes from “The Dream,” a story about a girl who is visited by a pale woman during a dream about a house with strange carpet and locked windows.
The girl is terrified by this dream, and moves into a new town down the road. However, the house she moves into appears to be the house from her dream.
I won’t spoil what happens next, but you can probably guess.
2-The Big Toe
The infamous foot/Image via Bloody Disgusting
This is another classic creature. The story describes a young boy finding a big toe sticking out of the ground. He pulls until it pops from the dirt, and brings it home to his mother. She cooks it up in a stew, and their whole family enjoys a slice of toe with their meal.
That night the boy hears a voice out in the street moaning, “Where is my toe?”
We hear this voice in the trailer, on top of seeing the creature it comes from. In the book, we have no description of what this monster looks like. The little boy only hears it groan in pain, before hiding under his blankets, making the monster we see in one of the only ones not based on the book’s original Stephen Gamell illustrations.
The only other original creature we can see in the trailer is The Jangly Man.
1-The Jangly Man
Guillermo del Toro’s horrifying creation The Jangly Man/Image via Highsnobiety
The Jangly Man is the only monster in the trailer who has no relation to the book. He’s a creation from Guillermo del Toro, monster connoisseur and producer behind this film. Toro is known for his work on Pan’s Labyrinth, and Shape of Water where his knack for bringing non-human creatures to life was used to the fullest extent.
The Jangly Man is an amalgamation of several different Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark characters, giving him a twisted and ‘stitched-together’ kind of appearance. According to Polygon, del Toro stated that “The difficulty with this was to not do a normal decomposing corpse that you’ve seen a million times, but to truly try to give it evil.”
The Jangly Man is played by Troy James, a contortionist, and according to the trailer his skills are used to the fullest extent.
Featured image via GeekTyrant