The original Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark books may have been geared towards young readers, but as anyone who grew up with the tales can tell you, the series never skimped on frightening subject matter. Not only were the stories by Alvin Schwartz unsettling, but the artwork from Stephen Gammell was just as disturbing, with the series able to leave a terrifying impact on burgeoning readers for years. Filmmaker Guillermo del Toro and director Andre Ovredal have collaborated to deliver audiences a live-action adaptation of the series, with the MPAA giving the film a PG-13 rating, confirming it won't hold back on the intrinsic spirit of the books.
Box Office Mojo confirms the film has earned the rating for "terror/violence, disturbing images, thematic elements, language including racial epithets, and brief sexual references."
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."
While the new film might be tame by some horror fanatics' standards, the film won't be going the way of films like Goosebumps or The House with a Clock in Its Walls and their PG-rated scares. The rating might seem intense for younger viewers, but del Toro hopes the film can still appeal to families.
“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 at a press event earlier this year. “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.”
Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark lands in theaters on August 9th.
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