Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark 2: Stories We Want in the Sequel - VRGyani News and Media


Friday, September 24, 2021

Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark 2: Stories We Want in the Sequel

Chances are that if you were a horror fan who grew up in the eighties or nineties, you've heard of Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark, the three-volume set of short horror stories written by Alvin Schwartz and illustrated to creepy, nightmare-inducing perfection by Stephen Gammell. Like Goosebumps, the folklore-inspired tales collected in each book served as a kind of gateway to horror for kids who were eager for something scary but still too young for the more adult horror and serious scares of Stephen King.

Despite the millions of copies sold and countless nightmares, it took nearly 40 years before any of the stories were compiled into a Scary Stories feature film. The 2019 adaptation directed by André Øvredal utilized many of the original stories such as "Harold," "The Big Toe," "The Red Spot," and The Dream," and wove them into a single narrative revolving around a group of teenagers who discover the book of stories in an allegedly haunted house. As they delve deeper into the history of the stories and the book's owner, the spooky tales come to life in horrifying ways.

The single narrative approach seemed to be the right one since the film was successful with both audiences and critics alike, not to mention a box office smash, instantly getting the wheels turning on a sequel that was announced in 2020. Despite not much news being released since then regarding the in-development sequel's plot, production, or release date, fans of the books are no doubt speculating about which of Schwartz's stories will be adapted next. After all, there are plenty more tales of human and supernatural horrors to pick from. Some feature a captivating story, others display cringe-worthy images, while others evoke feelings of horror, paranoia, or dread.

As we wait for further news, here are 11 Scary Stories that deserve to be adapted for the budding franchise's next big-screen outing.

RELATED: A ‘Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark’ Sequel Is On the Way

"The White Satin Evening Gown"

If a formal dress appears in a horror story, it's all but certain that not everything is going to be sunshine and roses for the unlucky wearer. The same goes for the young woman featured in "The White Satin Evening Gown." This fairly short story revolves around a woman who was given a dress that was worn by a dead woman prior to her burial. The dress's new owner then mysteriously dies after wearing it. And the cause? Poisoning by embalming fluid. Traces of it were found on the dress confirming that embalming fluid from the deceased previous owner had seeped into her pores and stopped her blood from flowing properly. It's a bit of a far-fetched concept, but the uneasy tone and Gothic imagery evoked by secondhand wedding dresses, funeral rites, and a mysterious cause of death would make for a visually appealing and captivating adaptation.

"The Guests"

A couple needs a room for the night and are welcomed by a hospitable elderly couple. When they leave and inform someone in town where they were staying, the villager says that their claim is impossible since the house they were describing burned to the ground – with the owners inside it. But when the couple goes back to check, they are horrified and confused to discover that the house they stayed in was, in fact, destroyed... but not without finding traces of their belongings, proving that they had stayed there after all.

"The Guests" plays with overt horror tropes like ghosts and haunted houses, but also touches on topics such as the nature of reality and perceptions. The imagery and feelings of unease evoked by a smoldering ruin would make for a perfect cinematic setting with plenty of opportunities to play with spooky visuals and ideas, not to mention affording the ability to organically play with feelings of paranoia and confusion regarding the couple's dawning realization that they had slept in a house that doesn't actually exist anymore (or does it?).

"The Hook"

The legend of a hook-handed man that targets young travelers has so many different variants that it's difficult to pin down exactly which one came first. "The Hook" would be a welcome insert into the Scary Stories films not because of its inventiveness with the story itself, but because it's a tale that leaves room for incredible amounts of storytelling potential and artistic license. Sure, the idea of a cloaked and hook-handed man targeting potential victims on dark and deserted roads is a well-trod premise, but the inherent formula present in the story (Innocent Travelers + Dark Night + Masked Maniac = Paranoia and Dread) is fairly malleable and could be applicable to pretty much any characters the filmmakers dream up.

"High Beams"

You know that feeling when you're driving on an empty road at night and there's one car that seems to be following you for an uncomfortably long time? "High Beams" takes that sense of paranoia and distills it into a three-page story. Except this one has a twist: the person following our heroine, continuously flashing his high beams at her, is actually following her to alert her that he saw a man with a knife sneak into her back seat. It's a pulse-pounding premise with big-screen potential that would take the story out of a house and onto the open road... and the horrifying things that wait there in the dark.

"Room for One More"

A hearse drives past Joseph Blackwell and offers the unsettling statement, "There is room for one more." It's a disturbing declaration, and one that sticks with Joseph throughout the day. Later, when he walks into an office building and is about to board the elevator, he is struck with an uneasy feeling of déjà vu when one of the occupants holds the door and says, "There is room for one more." Understandably taken aback, Joseph decides to take the next elevator. And it's a good thing, too, because things don't work out too well for those on board. As the final sentence of the story says, "The elevator had fallen to the bottom of the shaft. Everyone aboard was killed." The ending is incredibly bold (and pretty darn dark for a children's story) and could give the film some added shock value with the scene's quick pace and abrupt ending. Plus, featuring a character that continues to narrowly escape death could infuse the film with some Final Destination vibes.

Try not to think of this story the next time you're in an elevator. Go ahead. I'll wait.

"Cold as Clay"

Ah, farms. A setting where nothing bad ever happens in horror stories, right?

A farmer sends his daughter away to keep her away from Jim, the farmhand she fell in love with. So when Jim returns, the girl is understandably ecstatic and they spend many happy hours together. It's only when Jim disappears that the girl's father comes clean: Jim actually died weeks ago and the girl's father never told her in order to spare her the grief. But the girl is unbelieving that her love is dead. After all, she just spent hours with Jim. How could it possibly be true? In true Gothic fashion, the girl decides that the only way to determine the truth is to open Jim's alleged grave. When she does, she's horrified to find the corpse of her lover, but with an extra accessory: the handkerchief she gave him hours ago.

Was it Jim's ghost she spent time with? Did he really claw his way out of his grave? What parts of the girl's experiences were real and which ones imagined (you know, because unearthing your significant other's coffin to confirm that you're not going crazy is totally normal)? "Cold as Clay" raises some scary questions that would play out in exciting ways on film. Between its tale of unrequited love, a covered-up death, and digging up a body to make sure that it's really dead, it's another story with Gothic vibes (reminiscent to quite a few Edgar Allan Poe stories) that would result in a dark and somber tone while also lending itself to some fantastically creepy imagery on screen.

"The Thing"

When friends Ted and Sam see something crawl out of a dark field, they're initially horrified. But little by little their dread turns to curiosity and they decide to approach the shadowed figure in an attempt to touch it (as one does when one comes across a mysterious, vaguely human figure in a vegetable field in the middle of the night). However, the friends get more than they bargained for when the "corpse-like figure" in "black pants, a white shirt, and black suspenders" follows them home before abruptly vanishing, instilling in them a deep sense of fear and paranoia.

The first Scary Stories film toyed with the idea of a creature persuing teens through a darkened field with "Harold," but doing so again with the plot of "The Thing" would infuse the sequel with some killer imagery. After all, the story doesn't mince words with the ghoulish appearance of the creature. It has "bright, penetrating eyes that sunk deep into its head" and "looked almost like a skeleton." Its slow but unrelenting approach is unsettling in its Michael Myers-like determination. The story conjures feelings of isolation and unease, and you can practically hear the figure's bones popping and grinding against each other as it stumbles through the quiet field.

"The Window"

"The Window" is one of the more violent and overtly horrifying Scary Stories. In it, a woman begins to see a figure with a pair of "small yellow-green" eyes moving through a nearby graveyard. As it approaches, the tall figure manages to break into her house and twist "its long, bony fingers into her hair" and sink its sharp teeth into her throat. She eventually recovers, but the blood-sucking creature returns and the woman and her brothers follow it to a burial vault in the graveyard where they find the creature surrounded by "broken coffins, bones, and rotting flesh." The only reasonable course of action? Set the vault on fire and burn the creature to death.

This is one of the Scary Stories that feels like a fully developed plot and is tailor-made for portrayal on film. It's jam-packed with horror scenes and imagery: a blood-sucking creature with a "shrunken face like that of a mummy," a graveyard, broken coffins, and a burial vault shrouded in flames. Not to mention the implication that someone (either creature or human) has been feasting on corpses. Which begs some interesting questions: is the perpetrator of these attacks and desecrations a real vampire? Or just an escaped lunatic who thinks he's a vampire? Either way, the plot points of the story are practically beginning to get the silver screen treatment.

"The Bride"

What makes "The Bride" ghoulishly creepy is not so much its story but a single image: the skeletal remains of a woman stuffed inside an attic trunk.

During a game of hide-and-seek, a newly married woman travels to the attic. And what better place to hide than her grandfather's old trunk? It's a great idea — that is, until the falling lid knocks her unconscious and locks her inside the trunk. Her family spends a week searching for her before giving it up as a lost cause. It's only years later when a maid ventures into the attic that she finds the titular bride in the trunk... except all that remains is a skeleton inside a billowy wedding dress. It's much more of a tragic story instead of one that's overtly scary, but one that derserves to see the light of day for the creepy imagery alone.

"Rings on Her Fingers"

After a woman spends a month in a coma, she is pronounced dead and buried in a nearby cemetery. But when a graverobber exhumes her grave for the rings she was buried with, he gets more than he bargained for. As he begins to amputate her fingers for easy access to the valuable rings, the woman sits up and asks, "Who are you?" showing that she never was dead; she was actually buried alive. The shocked graverobber is so taken aback with fright that he stumbles onto his own knife, dying in the process.

Aside from the creepy-cool concept of grave robbers and the gruesome imagery of someone exhuming a grave (and cutting off the fingers of someone who's actually alive), it's a darkly comic story that succeeds in subverting the expectations of the story's villain as well as the audience.

"Is Something Wrong?"

After a man's car breaks down in the middle of nowhere, he decides to spend the night in an abandoned house nearby. But he doesn't get much sleep because it's not long before a big, heavy object falls from the chimney and onto the fireplace floor. And it's not an inanimate object, either; it's alive. The man flees from the house as the object pursues him before catching up to him with an ominous tap on his shoulder.

Not much detail is given about the creature, where it comes from, or what it looks like (aside from its "two big, bloody eyes in a grinning skull"), and that's exactly why it needs to be in the next film. "Is Something Wrong?" is a blank canvas for storytelling and could give the filmmakers to honor Schwartz's story while also expanding on it. It's a tale that could be plugged into many different characters or plots, so a big-screen adaptation could take the story to new and exciting places.

KEEP READING: ‘Scary Stories 2’ Will Tap into Stephen Gammell’s Iconically Traumatizing Artwork More than the First Film

from Collider - Feed

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