Readers of a certain age will have fond memories of hours spent poring over the Scary Stories To Tell In The Dark series, in much the same way we obsessed over R.L. Stine’s Goosebumps. Much like Stine’s frequently frightening novels, Alvin Schwartz’s collections of creepy stories are often credited with introducing many fans to the horror genre.
The trilogy, written by Schwartz and illustrated by Stephen Gammell, drew inspiration heavily from folklore and urban legends, and was intensely creepy at times. Even nowadays, upon revisiting the series, many of us will still find ourselves spooked by the tales contained therein.
Fans were up in arms when, in 2011, to celebrate the series’ 30th anniversary, Gammell’s illustrations were replaced by those of Brett Helquist (A Series Of Unfortunate Events), in order to soften them, to make the books more appealing to new readers. As anyone who grew up looking to be scared out of their wits can attest, this felt like a major step backwards.
However, this shift shouldn’t be too surprising, considering the Scary Stories To Tell In The Dark series is among the most challenged work in North America, chiefly for its violence, with the illustrations being a major gripe for worried adults.
Rumours have swirled for years suggesting the books would be turned into a movie, but thus far nothing significant has happened (CBS acquired rights, but they have been slow to make any real movement on the project). Now, our prayers have sort of been answered as YouTuber, and fan filmmaker, Stephen Simmons has taken to making his own shorts based on Scary Stories To Tell In The Dark.
The first video, for “Strangers”, is below. You can check out the rest of Simmons’ appropriately chilly takes on the beloved series on his YouTube account here.