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If you find a book in a creepy house, don’t pick it up.
That’s one of the takeaways from the new trailer for Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark, the Guillermo Del Toro-produced adaptation of the classic book series. The film is set in 1968 in Mill Valley, where the Bellows family has been a major fixture for years. A young girl named Sarah turns her tortured life into scary stories from within the Bellows’ mansion on the edge of town, creating a book of stories that will become real for a group of teens who discover her home.
The Scary Stories books debuted in 1981 from writer Alvin Schwartz and artist Stephen Gammell and captured Del Toro’s imagination as a teenager. He is now able to bring them to life with a film from director André Øvredal that stars Natalie Ganzhorn, Gabriel Rush, Austin Abrams, Austin Zajur, Michael Garza and Zoe Colletti.
Back in March, Del Toro spoke at a luncheon to debut the new trailer, and revealed that he purchased key illustrations for Scary Stories back in the late ’90s, even though he couldn’t quite afford it at the time. (It followed him paying a $1 million ransom to kidnappers for the return of his father.)
“I was really, really broke. But I was extravagant and I bought the key illustrations from the book that I love, which led to a lot of financial trouble after that,” Del Toro said to laughs from the crowd. “And marital trouble after that. You cannot justify a buy like that. But I needed to have the key images that affected my youth.”
The film will not be a collection of separate stories, but rather one cohesive narrative that draws on a number of tales from the books.
CBS Films, Lionsgate and eOne open Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark on Aug. 9.
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