While Goosebumps gets a lot of attention for being THE preeminent scare series during everyone’s childhood, there’s actually another collection of books that pre-dates R.L. Stine. Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark, first released in 1981, consists of three books written by Alvin Schwartz and illustrated by Stephen Gammell. Based primarily on folklore and urban legends, each book is like a modern day edition of Grimms’ Fairy Tales—dark, deeply disturbing and (almost) believably real. These traits are made even more poignant thanks to Gammell’s incredibly unsettling artwork, truly the stuff of nightmares.
The books were apparently banned several times for their supposed “violence” and the sinister illustrations…naturally, this made them like the “Faces of Death” of the book world, something you hear whispers about from a friend of a friend but are never able to get your hands on. Until now, I don’t recall people talking much about the books cultural impact or how they came into being, but that’s exactly what SCARY STORIES (A Documentary) has set out to do.
According to Facebook production started back in 2014 and is aiming for a 2016 release date, the series’ 35th anniversary, though there’s no mention of the format (theatrical, DVD/Blu-ray, VOD). There is, however, a terrific trailer and tons more info available on the film’s website.