When it comes to the horror genre, some audiences are looking for the most gruesome or disturbing content they can imagine, seeking subject matter that exceeds an R rating. In the case of the upcoming adaptation Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark, however, it was an opportunity to bring to life a number of classic stories from the iconic book series, all of which skewed towards younger readers. As evidenced by the film's trailers, the movie won't skimp on scares, with producer Guillermo del Toro and director Andre Ovredal recently revealing their approach to the film and how they aimed to keep it family friendly.
"I want this to be a nice family horror film," del Toro shared during a press event for the film [H/T Vulture]. "Family is horror in itself, but sometimes, with milk and cookies, you can find something nice to watch."
He added, "We wanted to make a family adventure."
The books were written by Alvin Schwartz and featured the ghastly illustrations of Stephen Gammell, with initial looks at the film earning admiration from fans familiar with the series for how accurately the film has recreated its source material. Ovredal confirmed how he wanted to honor the source material, requiring the perfect balance of humor and horror.
"We didn’t wanna go too young, but we wanted to honor the fact that the books are for a younger audience,” the director noted. “We wanted to honor the material and the stories.”
The movie's synopsis reads, "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 home."
When an audience member asked the pair about finding the right tone for the film, del Toro opened up about the importance of introducing kids to the horror genre in ways that respect them.
“The real tragedy of horror is not to have your parents talk to you about it,” del Toro detailed about his goals with the film. “When you’re a kid, you’re curious about two things: sex and death. The rest you can figure out in a manual. A lot of parents shy away from those things. But we live in the real world. When we live in a great world, we can avoid these things. But we need to know the darkness to know the light."
He continued, "It’s something to bond over. I wish my father and mother watched [horror] with me. The world is constantly telling you about everything great, as a kid — in yogurt and shampoo commercials, in movies where nobody looks like you. Horror movies tell you: ‘There is a dark side, don’t worry.’ I think that’s really important.”
Fans can check out Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark when it lands in theaters on August 9th.
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