The first official trailer for Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark is here and it’s right out of a nightmare. The movie is based on the 1981 horror anthology series of the same name by Alvin Schwartz, a staple of children’s libraries and childhood nightmares.
Guillermo del Toro took on the project in 2014 as a screenwriter and director, but handed the directing over to André Øvredal (The Autopsy of Jane Doe). Previously, short teasers hinted at which stories from the anthology would make it into the movie. This first trailer, however, shows more of the overarching plot, which revolves around an eerie town called Mill Valley and Sarah, a young girl with horrible secrets she chronicles in a journal.
The American Library Association lists the anthology of children’s horror as the most challenged book of the 1990s, with parents wanting it pulled from the shelves for its violence — as well as the chilling, often unsettling illustrations by Stephen Gammell.
Indeed, the aesthetic of the Scary Stories books has been one of the series’ most iconic traits. The books’ special 30th Anniversary Edition contained new illustrations (by A Series of Unfortunate Events artist Brett Helquist), which incited purists to take their fury to the internet. The macabre and ghoulish aura of the series is clearly high on the nostalgia pedestal.
Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark comes out on Aug. 9.