Good day and a “me tie dough-ty walker” to you. Although the first installment of Scary Stories wasn’t a blockbuster, it did turn a profit and then some. So unsurprisingly, planning for Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark 2 is underway.
A Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark Refresher
image via CBS Films
A longtime cultural touchstone for 80s and 90s kids, the only surprise about Alvin Schwarz’s book series becoming a movie is that it took so long. But nevertheless, nothing moved forward until CBS Films acquired the film rights in 2013. It took five years after that for hiring principal crew, casting, and other pre-production until filming began in 2018.
Although the books are anthologies, the movie is not. The movie uses several stories from the book, but as part of a larger framing story. Guillermo del Toro, who worked with director André Øvredal to adapt the film, explained why at last year-San Diego Comic Con, saying, “Anthology films are always as bad as the worst story in them — they’re never as good as the best story.” It was his own film, Pan’s Labyrinth, that provided the direct inspiration for the story. Del Toro said, “Then I remembered in Pan’s Labyrinth, I created a book called the Book of Crossroads. I thought it could be great if we had a book that reads you, and it writes what you’re most afraid of. Then the theme became stories we tell each other.”
You can see that in the way the story turned out. In late 60s small town Pennsylvania, a group of teens stumble upon the book of scary stories while exploring a local haunted house. The town’s founding family, the Bellows, owned the home. When their daughter Sarah tried to reveal a town-damaging secret, her family held her captive and tortured her with electroshock therapy. In response to her trauma, Sarah began writing spooky tales. And as it often does in horror movies, old trauma causes new hurt.
The film earned $104.5 million worldwide on a budget of about $20 million–not too shabby. It also finished in second place its first week at the box office, just behind the Fast & Furious Presents: Hobbs & Shaw juggernaut. It also collected mostly favorable reviews. Some critics, however, including this one, believed it to be just a little underdone. But now they have a chance for a do-over.
Øvredal to Helm Sequel
With that kind of return, a sequel seemed inevitable. And now it’s officially happening. André Øvredal has closed a deal to direct Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark 2. We’re not sure yet if that’s the official title, but we’ll go with it for now. Along with Øvredal, all the other original players are returning, at least behind the scenes. Guillermo del Toro will produce, for instance. Dan and Kevin Hageman, who wrote the first film (and are also writing Netflix’s Dragon’s Lair adaptation), will write the sequel. The sequel story will draw its inspiration from a story by del Toro. But that’s all we know about it at the moment. We will, of course, keep you updated.
What scary stories are you looking forward to seeing in the sequel? Spin a yarn on social media or on in the comments below.
featured image via CBS Films
Salomé Gonstad is a freelance writer who grew up in the swampy wilds of south Alabama. She now splits her time between the Appalachian wilds (of Alabama) and the considerably more refined streets of New York City. When she's not yelling about pop culture on the internet, she's working on a supernatural thriller about her hometown. Also, we're pretty sure she's a werewolf.