Wednesday, October 10, 2018

Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark

As anyone who loves reading knows, books tend to come and go but some books stay with you and become an integral part of your experience of the world. For me, one of those books is Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark, written by Alvin Schwartz and Stephen Gammell.

Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark is a collection of folk tales and urban legend horrors retold in a way that makes the stories accessible without lessening their macabre impact. There are many classic eerie tales retold in the first volume of this series, including "The Hook," "The Killer in the Backseat," and "The Babysitter and the Man Upstairs." If your childhood didn't include these stories, you weren't raised right--but the good news is that reading this book will get you up to speed.

Stephen Gammell's art in the book in unimpeachable. It is horrifying, morbid, and uncanny in roughly equal measure--the seeds of childhood nightmares that would persist into adulthood. Gammell's art is so striking that it has frequently been cited as the reason for the challenges offered for the book's removal from school and public libraries. If you aren't familiar with the art from this series, stop reading right now and do an image search.

There are three volumes in the series, and they are all worthwhile. If you do pick them up, it is imperative you get copies with Gammell's art. A softened version with new art was published at one point to quiet mawkish parents, but those are unfortunately an inferior version. Luckily, the originals were reprinted in 2017 so you should be able to lay your hands on the real deal.

14 Terrifying Facts About Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark 
Maureen Monahan, Mental Floss

This Artist Turns Iconic Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark Illustrations into Custom Toys
John Squires, Bloody Disgusting

Scary Stories Documentary Trailer

For the Del Toro-philes: Scary Stories Film Adaptation
Dave McNary, Vanity Fair