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Guillermo del Toro sheds light on the trailer for Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark

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The Oscar-winning genre buff compares his own childhood to The Shawshank Redemption

As the spooky season creeps ever closer, so too does the much-anticipated film adaptation of Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark. We’ve seen bits and pieces of footage of the movie, produced by Guillermo del Toro and directed by André Øvredal (Trollhunter, The Autopsy of Jane Doe); the new trailer offers an even clearer look at what’s to come.

In a sneak preview on Monday in New York City, in which del Toro and Øvredal presented the trailer and a few new clips, the duo spoke further about their film, saying that the movie would contain roughly four to five stories from the original book (some of which can clearly be picked out from the trailer, e.g. “Harold”). As the central conceit of the film is that the book will tell stories tailored to the fears of the person reading/experiencing them, the stories will correspond accordingly to the characters. For instance, the picky eater Auggie (Gabriel Rush), is seen encountering a creature missing its big toe — which he finds in his soup.

The filmmakers also addressed the film’s PG-13 rating (“There’s no blood in this movie,” Øvredal said), explaining that it was in recognition of the fact that, scary as they might be, the books are meant for a young audience.

“Personally, I think the most dangerous time is your childhood,” said del Toro. “It’s always like, ‘It’s a golden time.’ Not for me, man. I was in Shawshank. I was going to a Jesuit school, I was in the prison, having to fight in the yard and this and that. [Øvredal] captured that, and it made the kids more complex. A lot of movies simplify kids and make them cute, skateboarding dudes who say one-liners and never get killed. In my movies, kids do die. They are more frail, but at the same, more complex, and they see that darkness, and that extends to this movie.”

Judging by the trailer, that’s no exaggeration — this is perhaps the scariest trailer yet, with Pale Ladies and spiders and scarecrows galore.

Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark hits theaters (and your nightmares) Aug. 9.