‘Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark’ Rating Aims for a Family-Friendly Fright Fest

     June 4, 2019

scary-stories-to-tell-in-the-dark-ratingScary Stories to Tell in the Dark will be bringing the horrifying stories of writer Alvin Schwartz (and the equally terrifying illustrations of Stephen Gammel) to life this summer. But it won’t be an R-rated affair. Instead, kids who grew up on these tales in the 80s and 90s will be able to take their own families to go see the scary stories on the big screen.

Producer Guillermo del Toro recently premiered some new footage from the film and answered a few questions from the audience, which Vulture happens to have an account of. It appears that the film will have a PG-13 rating, though that bit of intel comes from the article writer and not del Toro, and will be as family-friendly as they can be while still delivering on the horror. He also talked about the decision to go for a traditional narrative approach instead of a more direct anthology adaptation.

scary-stories-to-tell-in-the-dark-ratingHere’s what del Toro had to say about the storytelling approach:

“[Anthology] is something I love, but they’re always as bad as the worst story,” so they opted for a tale of “storytelling and friendship, how storytelling changes who and what you are.”

And here’s the bit about the demographic they’re aiming for:

“It’s a YA movie about childhood around a time when things were changing forever, around 1968 and 1969. It’s the end of childhood in many ways — a crucial time for America … We didn’t retrofit the characters to the stories. We adapted the characters to the story … Normally in these stories, it’s a bunch of boys with a sidekick that’s a girl. I wanted to flip that and make her the lead … We wanted to make a family adventure. I want this to be a nice family horror film. Family is horror in itself, but sometimes, with milk and cookies, you can find something nice to watch.”

Del Toro went on to stress that both heart and horror are just as important to young audience viewers as it is to adults:

It’s important to have hear. I haven’t read a single studio note, ever. If you have the right heart, humanity is there before the scare and gore. The real tragedy of horror is not to have your parents talk to you about it,. When you’re a kid, you’re curious about two things: sex and death. The rest you can figure out in a manual. A lot of parents shy away from those things. But we live in the real world. When we live in a great world, we can avoid these things. But we need to know the darkness to know the light. It’s something to bond over. I wish my father and mother watched [horror] with me. The world is constantly telling you about everything great, as a kid — in yogurt and shampoo commercials, in movies where nobody looks like you. Horror movies tell you: ‘There is a dark side, don’t worry.’ I think that’s really important.”


Image via CBS Films, Lionsgate

Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark stars Zoe Colletti (Annie), Gabriel Rush (The Grand Budapest Hotel), Austin Abrams (The Americans), Austin Zajur (Kidding), and Natalie Ganzhorn (The Stanley Dynamic), with Dean Norris, Javier Botet. Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark hits theaters on August 9th.

Del Toro produced the project and conceived the story with Patrick Melton & Marcus Dunstan (Saw IV, V, and VI) for the big-screen adaptation directed by André Øvredal (The Autopsy of Jane Doe) and scripted by Trollhunters writers Dan and Kevin Hageman.

For more on all things Scary Stories, be sure to check out these recent write-ups:


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