Guillermo del Toro, the esteemed filmmaker behind both Pan’s Labyrinthand Shape of Water, is now working on a collection of short stories for Amazon Original Stories.
Image via The Talk
While most of del Toro’s work is made to be viewed, though this isn’t his first publishing credit. Del Toro co-wrote The Strainnovels with Chuck Hogan, a fiction series about the clashes between the vampire and human worlds.
Image via Amazon
Most of del Toro’s work deals heavily with the supernatural, and this upcoming work will be no exception. The publisher has stated that the collection “will introduce a world of strange happenings, otherworldly horror, and dark fantasy.”
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.
Released in 1981, 1984, and 1991 respectively, the series shocked the world with its terrifying stories and its gruesome images.
Image Via Nightmare Nostalgia
Image Via Lit Reactor
Drawing heavily from folklore and urban legends, the series set light to the imagination of one Guillermo Del Toro. For one, according to Hollywood Reporter, he humorously an audience at the trailer launch luncheon in Hollywood that, “I was really, really broke. But I was extravagant and I bought the key illustrations from the book that I love, which led to a lot of financial trouble after that.”
In case you’re wondering if this will be an anthology following each story, not quite. Instead, it’s one cohesive narrative that draws on the books. It’ll be close however. Check it out below!
Image Via Comingsoon.net
Image Via NowThisNews
Now we’ve gotten a new trailer. Check it out below!
For the record The film won’t be directed by Guillermo Del Toro, but instead André Øvredal, who has directed critical darlings Trollhunterand The Autopsy of Jane Doe. Don’t worry, Guillermo’s in the producers chair and he’s still very much involved.
Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark opens August. 9. Check it out!
Guillermo del Toro won praise, acclaim, and Oscars for The Shape of Water last year. He created a cult classic with Hellboy. He amazed audiences with Pacific Rim. However, his most legendary film is still Pan’s Labyrinth, which is now getting a novel-length expansion.
Image via Amazon
Pan’s Labyrinth: The Labyrinth of the Faun is written by del Toro and New York Times bestselling author Cornelia Funke (Inkheart), and is illustrated by Allen Williams. It tells the story of a long-lost princess hoping to reunite with her family, and includes haunting illustrations and enchanting short stories that expand upon the film’s world and folklore.
Image via Amazon
In spite of also including murderous soldiers, child-eating monsters, and warring rebels, the dark fantasy novel is meant for readers of all ages. This is actually a little bit strange, given how frightening and violent (yet beautiful) the original film was. Remember that one tortured guy’s bloody messed up hand? I still do.
However, no one can argue with the richness of del Toro’s fairytale-like storytelling and worldbuilding. Fewer films deserve a book continuation and expansion more than Pan’s Labyrinth.
Did you ever read the Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark series when you were younger. If you don’t know what that is, they’re those books with those terrifying illustrations that haunted your nightmares. I mean, just look at these characters.
Well, get ready to get freaked out again because Guillermo Del Toro is bringing the terrifying tales to life. Written and produced by the Oscar winning filmmaker and directed by Andre Overdal, the Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark movie comes out August 9th. Here’s the trailer:
In addition, a documentary on the books themselves will come out this summer. Titled Scary Stories, it features more than forty interviews with authors, readers and family members of the author, Alvin Schwartz. The film explores the impact that the series has had on readers and children’s literature, as well as the efforts from various parental and religious groups who felt the subject matter and illustrations were too intense for young readers.
Scary Stories will have a limited release in select cities before being available on VOD May 7th. The DVD release is scheduled for July 16th. Watch the trailer here: