An Extra Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark Movie is in the Works

By  · Published on March 31st, 2015

Cody Meirick

There’s a movie based on the “Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark” children’s books currently raising money on Indiegogo, but it’s not what you think. You may have heard about the Scary Stories movie being made by CBS Films and screenwriter John August (Frankenweenie; Big Fish). That’s definitely not a thing that needs to go the crowdfunding route. This here’s another movie about the books. It’s a documentary, and it needs your help to get to its $28k goal. The campaign is already about a third of the way through and it’s only taken in 15% of the goal.

Somehow, even though I’m a child of the 1980s, I’ve never read these books, which are apparently a big deal to a lot of my generation and the next. Maybe they became more popular following the publication of the third of the three in 1991, which is past my time hanging out at the elementary school library. As far as I know of as an outsider, they’re collections of the kinds of spooky folktales you tell around the campfire. And they were apparently banned in many places.

Director-producer Cody Meirick, who is a program manager at Chicago’s Erikson Institute, a graduate school focused on childhood development, and who also lists telling ghost stories as a camp counselor as part of his background, makes this thing sound very geared to fans of the books. That does make me feel out of the loop, which is unfortunately because the content of the film sounds more broadly concentrated on the psychology of the appeal of ghost stories for children.

It is specifically about the “Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark” series, though, enough that Meirick has gotten the attention and then support of the family of author Alvin Schwartz who died in 1992 after the release of the third book. He also hopes to get an interview with illustrator Stephen Gammell, whose artwork has been instrumental in attracting kids to the stories. He also acknowledges that there’s a fiction movie based on the books in the works. His will probably arrive sooner, with filming still ongoing but a release expected sometime next year.

Watch the Scary Stories: A Documentary campaign video:

Thanks to Scott Weinberg for bringing this project to our attention.

Christopher Campbell began writing film criticism and covering film festivals for a zine called Read, back when a zine could actually get you Sundance press credentials. He's now a Senior Editor at FSR and the founding editor of our sister site Nonfics. He also regularly contributes to Fandango and Rotten Tomatoes and is the President of the Critics Choice Association's Documentary Branch.