Baldwin: ‘Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark’ to hit screens

Published 9:15 am Friday, August 9, 2019

Greetings, boys and ghouls of Winchester!

As of today, we have 84 days until the Great Pumpkin comes for a visit and brings us Halloween.

Like department stores, the movie studios like to jump the gun to capitalize on the approaching holiday and changing of the seasons by starting their scary flicks in August.

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Starting this week, you will see trailers and fright flicks released within the next three months.

Good or bad, the horror genre always makes a buck and the quantity of these genre releases currently is pure strategy to make quick cash off the die-hard horror hounds or seasonal viewer of these titles.

The Halloween cinematic cash cow gets started with this week’s release of “Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark.”

It’s 1968 and in the small rural town of Mill Valley, the young Sarah Bellows has some horrible secrets to share as she lives in the dark shadows of her family and has written her tales of torture and dismay in a collection of scary stories which are found by a group of inquisitive teenagers.

“Scary Stories” is a teen version of horror anthology flicks similar to “Tales from the Crypt” (1972) and “Monster Club” (1981), where short scary stories are tied together to tell a main story.

These anthologies were popular in the late 1960s to early 1980s as they give the viewer a couple of short tales of terror in a larger body of work rather than relying on one story to carry the weight for 90 minutes.

Some of the anthologies worked, or were good here and there depending on their short stories.

The most popular of this style of horror films were “Creepshow” (1982) in the U.S., and anything horror released by Amicus Productions out of the UK.

“Scary Stories” is based on the popular 1980s tween book series of the same title by author Alvin Schwartz.

“Scary Stories” was directed by André “Trollhunter” Øvredal with a screenplay by Dan and Kevin “Hotel Transylvania” Hageman.

“Scary Stories” is similar to the popular 1990s “Are You Afraid of the Dark” and “Goosebumps” series but it is a bit more serious, and are underneath the surface of being fright flicks, are cautionary in nature as young adults learn to face their fears.

With a solid cast and crew, “Scary Stories” gains even more credibility by having filmmaking auteur Guillermo “Hellboy” del Toro attached with screenwriting and producer credits.

del Toro is highly respected for his films by critics, audiences and his peers with his releases of “Cronos” (1993), “The Devil’s Backbone” (2001), “Pan’s Labyrinth” (2006) and “The Shape of Water” (2017) because of his sound storytelling and strong visual style.

His upcoming “Pinocchio” (2021) is sure to be a cinematic experience of this classic tale.

If you are new to his body of work, be sure to check him out.

If you are wanting to dine on some fright this Halloween season, “Scary Stories,”” “It: Chapter 2,” remake “Jacob’s Ladder,” horror/comedy “Zombieland: Double Tap” and “Doctor Sleep,” look like safe bets so far. These movies are much safer than eating the seasonal confectionery favorite of candy corn that went on display last week and will never spoil even after being exposed to air for over a year. The fact many of us eat that evil candy and live to tell the tale is horrifying in itself.

Have a frightful film-tastic day!

Rick Baldwin is a writer, filmmaker and film/music historian. He is president of the Winchester-Clark County Film Society. Find more from Rick on Facebook. He is on Twitter @rickbaldwin79 and can be reached by email at