Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark (August 2019)

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FireAlarmPoet
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Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark (August 2019)

Post by FireAlarmPoet » Wed Feb 06, 2019 10:18 pm

I normally don't get excited about movies because I hardly watch any, but I really hope they do this one justice. Stephen Gammell's illustrations from the original books had a lasting impact on me and I think for many in my generation. Some 30+ years later they're still striking and deeply unsettling in a way that hasn't truly been replicated before or since, and that's a real shame given the audience they were originally meant for. Now I'm not going to act like there hasn't been a legitimately scary piece of children's media since the 80's: that's just close-minded. There'll always be something scary made for kids; it's really essential to their growth and, as a local children's book illustrator (not Gammell) once pointed out to me, kids want to be scared. However I do think now would be the perfect time to test or temper the "snowflake generation" with something like this, to take people out of the daily haze of exaggerated social slights and never-ending political malaise and into something both fantastical and unhindered by pressure to 'tone it down' the sake of merchandising (e.g. plush FNAF collectibles sold at half price books completely missing the point).
DISCLAIMER: opinions expressed in the past on this account may not accurately reflect my current beliefs, especially those prior to 2017.

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¼ dead
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Re: Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark (August 2019)

Post by ¼ dead » Wed Feb 06, 2019 11:35 pm

As skeptical as I am of inexplicably late and conveniently-nostalgic adaptations coming out of nowhere, Stevie G is something we have in common.

This is the first I've heard about it, and I haven't read anything more, except to confirm that it's a feature film, and not another Netflix miniseries I won't be able to watch. Had I heard about it from anyone else, I'd be nonplussed (if not irritated) by the host of negative assumptions that assholes like me specialize in. But I want to latch onto your hopes that it'll be something pure and good. And, so, I'm excited!

Image

Still, I expect a lot of reddit-grade cultural -isms to flood out if this like so much tangy diarrhea from a drunakrd's ass. Graphic tees and memes-for-facebook, ahoy!

puddysjacket
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Re: Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark (August 2019)

Post by puddysjacket » Tue Feb 26, 2019 5:58 pm

I grew up with these too...bought a big collection of them in the bargain aisle at Barnes and Noble a couple years ago....the pictures hold up, all of them.

In anyone else besides Del Toro's hands (major names I mean) I'd be fearing for the worst.

And agreed about impact...30 years later and still chasing the feeling those stories and drawings gave me.

FireAlarmPoet
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Re: Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark (August 2019)

Post by FireAlarmPoet » Sat Aug 10, 2019 10:54 pm

Well that was a solid 5/10. About on par with other recent movie adaptations of books that were popular when I was a kid; kind of what I’d imagine any of the recent Goosebumps movies would be like, albeit maybe slightly gorier. Should’ve taken the PG-13 rating as the first sign of trouble, or no, the very first sign was seeing Guillermo del Toro in the producer’s role. Wonder how much they paid him to attach his name in any way, shape or form to this drivel. Anyways, it’s typical tweeny horror. I’ll admit there was at least one good scare, though they obviously take a lot of liberties with the stories (like mixing the girl from The Haunted House with the plot from The Big Toe). All the monsters are of course some generic CGI jelly molded into mediocre approximations of the iconic Gammell drawings. They wimped out on the deaths; I had hope with the Harold scene until the kid turned into a goddamn scarecrow (if you’re familiar with the original story, then you’ll know why they couldn’t follow it verbatim for a PG-13 adaptation, though it’s still pretty ridiculous they couldn’t get away with it for a movie when the book was a-ok). The setting was kind of bizarre, too. The only reason I can think of to set it in 1968 is to have that one character who was a little girl in the late 1800s, but even then it’s like why does it have to have that backstory at all? Whatever, I’m bitching about a movie I already knew was going to be bad. Just buy the original books for their art and pass on this movie.
DISCLAIMER: opinions expressed in the past on this account may not accurately reflect my current beliefs, especially those prior to 2017.

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Re: Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark (August 2019)

Post by ¼ dead » Mon Aug 12, 2019 4:00 pm

I lost interest as soon as I saw the previews, but I didn't want to be a Negativnancy, so I didn't say anything. At any rate, I think it'd be possible to make a successful film adaptation of these books, but this likely isn't it. I seems so uninspiring from the previews. I feel like I'd be very, very bored by it. I feel like it's a movie that is going to sink, rightfully, into obscurity. The books are not the sort of thing that work in the context of a commercial Hollywood release. Such movies require (read: insist upon) stretching and fluffing and sanitizing things to the point that any attempted adaptation loses the essential qualities of the books/imagery.

I've never been impressed with GDT (I'm not even going to attempt to remember how to spell his name), either. Not as a writer, director or "visual person". And I don't think he was "the" guy to bring Gammell's imagery to life on film. Adding a grotesque, exaggerated level of contrast/shadow/color to everything so it looks like a fucking comic book is is not a "style" that works here. It's just a lazy, gaudy-looking crutch in general these days, but it doesn't even work here. Maybe if it were something like a Sandman adaptation, but not this.

I'd like to see an adaptation that doesn't try to strip the bleary, monochromatic quality of the images, or try to prop things up on an unnecessary (and terribly unimaginative) backstory/common element (from what I gathered from the previews, that seems to be the case here). I'd be happier to see an anthology film. Something that plays out like a dark, delirious, ever-shifting dream in black and white, not a Nightmare on Elm Street. Let's make our own adaptation!

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