As if the monsters from the book weren’t frightening enough, the team behind Scary Stories to Tell In the Dark revealed a new trailer featuring their original monster: The Jangly Man. Executive producer Guillermo del Toro says that Jangly Man is a composite of a few of the Stephen Gammell illustrations from the original Scary Stories books.
“The difficulty with this was to not do a normal decomposing corpse that you’ve seen a million times, but to truly try to give it evil,” del Toro said during a panel at San Diego Comic-Con. As you can see from the truly upsetting trailer, Jangly Man stitches himself together, taking on a unified but twisted final form. The creature was played by contortionist Troy James.
“We knew that Troy was so good at walking backwards, very eerily, that we decided that we’re gonna do an upside down head,” said makeup effects artist Mike Hill. And so they have!
“In all the creatures — the Pale Lady, Harold, all that — 90 percent of everything is physical,” del Toro said. “And then we have the 10 percent digital that makes you believe it’s alive.”
In the case of the Jangly Man, and the rest of the creatures in the film, that means putting actors in full-body latex suits and masks. But the Jangly Man presented a specific challenge, because James needed to go into a back bend as well as walk upright. The solution was separating the chest and stomach of the suit, so that when James went into a back bend the latex stomach stretched to cover his abdominal muscles.
“The chest could slide over it when he went backwards and forwards. And so [...] it seemed like there was a rib cage that was moving,” said Mike Hill.
Scary Stories to Tell In the Dark follows a group of teenagers who contend with evil after discovering a book of, well, scary stories. It comes out in theaters on Aug. 9.