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‘Scary Stories to Tell In the Dark’ Adaptation Just Got Way More Promising

Stephen Gammell, Harper & Row
Stephen Gammell, Harper & Row

Any kid with a budding penchant for horror — or storytelling —  likely devoured Alvin Schwartz’s Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark and its two sequels growing up. News that CBS plans to develop the franchise, which debuted in 1984, into a film was enough to raise a protective fan’s hackles (ahem) when it broke back in 2013. But it seems the project is in good hands, as director, writer and producer Guillermo del Toro has announced that he’s been tapped to handle the adaptation.

Del Toro, who directed the Hellboy films, 2013’s Pacific Rim, is an ideal pick: He’s also a master of horror, bringing us eerie films such as Cronos, The Devil’s Backbone and Pan’s Labyrinth.

Pan's Labyrinth
Pan’s Labyrinth

Scary Stories‘ tales were arguably eclipsed by illustrator Stephen Gammell’s ghastly illustrations which, in an injustice to young Wednesday Addams types everywhere, were replaced with new art in 2012. No disrespect to artist Brett Helquist, but these drawings leach the magic of the books and render the stories toothless (io9 has a side-by-side comparison). Guillermo’s involvement ensures the movie won’t suffer the same de-fanging.

Another reason to be excited is del Toro-level special effects: They regularly dazzle on his FX series The Strain, and they were the best thing about his 2015 Victorian thriller Crimson Peak (check out incredible behind-the-scenes photos here). The “Ghost With the Bloody Fingers” is gonna look so good, you guys.

Corpse Bride screenwriter John August will write the movie, according to the Hollywood Reporter. Whether del Toro will also direct remains to be seen, but here’s hoping.

Feel free to share your favorite Scary Stories to Tell In the Dark entry below — bonus points if you jump out and yell “BOO!” at the end.

Next: 'Are You Afraid of the Dark?' Cast, Then & Now

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