KAYLA MARTHALER, STAFF WRITER
Children sat in the dark, blankets tented over them, flashlights on, with goosebumps covering their arms as they stayed up past their bedtime reading through this gateway into the horror genre.
“Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark” is a collection of children’s horror stories written by Alvin Schwartz and originally published in 1981. This beloved book has been a part of many childhoods over the years and on Aug. 9, 2019, the “Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark” movie debuted.
This movie attracted a lot of attention, partly for the widespread love of the original book and also for the director Guillermo del Toro. Del Toro is a creatively-driven Mexican filmmaker best known for “Pan’s Labyrinth” and “The Shape of Water.” Del Toro’s films often include hyper-realistic fantastical creatures and elements, and wit this film he was given full freedom.
Expectations for the movie were high, given the beloved track record and del Toro’s track record. The movie follows the book’s same format as a collection of scary stories consisting of monsters, ghosts and other nightmarish creatures.
The creatures in the movie, save for the transparent ghosts or ghouls, were not created using CGI. Instead, the creators of amazing, realistic costumes in movies such as for “Hellboy” and “The Fantastic Four” worked with del Toro to bring the two-dimensional drawings made by the book’s original illustrator, Stephen Gammell, into the three-dimensional world.
The texture of the suits and costumes, and the movements of the actors make the film incredibly eerie and the monsters evoke a nostalgia from the 1980s, similar to that of “Stranger Things” and the new season of “American Horror Story.” Suspense contributes to the scariness of the stories.
Del Toro deliberately does not show what happens to any of the characters at the end of the story, so each story leaving it to the audiences’ imaginations. It is a children’s horror movie and watching it as an adult is likely not going to measure up to the fear remembered as an adolescent.
However, this movie is a blast from the past and will revive memories of your hair standing-on-end and hiding from monsters underneath the covers of a twin bed.