Months after teasing a litany of monsters in several brief Super Bowl spots and a longer teaser trailer, the upcoming screen adaptation of the classic kids’ horror book series Scary Stories to Tell In the Dark finally has an official full trailer. And not only does it provide a more in-depth look at what to expect, it also features a closer look at a few familiar faces — including one of the titans of Alvin Schwartz’s original stories, Harold the scarecrow.
The full trailer also offers the first significant look at the adaptation’s storyline. Produced and developed by Guillermo del Toro and directed by Trollhunter’s André Øvredal, Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark centers on a literal book of scary stories. After the book falls into the hands of a few adventurous teens, they quickly realize that its stories are coming to life — and coming for them.
From the looks of the trailer, each of the teens is haunted, in turn, by one of the familiar and traumatizing tales that many ’80s and ’90s kids probably remember well from their childhoods. Among the most memorable of these is the story of Harold the murderous scarecrow, who first appeared in the third installment of Schwartz’s Scary Stories anthology book series, published in 1991. Though we caught a glimpse of Harold in the movie’s earlier teaser trailer, this new one spotlights the character in all his malevolent glory — equally scary by day and night.
Over the course of the trailer, the teens are menaced by Harold, as well as several other creatures and eerie figures previewed in earlier looks a the film: “the Pale Lady”; a tall woman seeking her lost toe; a horrifying infestation of insects that fester beneath your skin to produce the worst zit ever; and “the Jangly Man.”
I’m not actually sure whether Mr. Jangly is from an existing Scary Stories tale or whether he’s a new, Slender Man-esque monster invented for the film. However, it seems likely that he’s at least partially inspired by the intruder in the Scary Stories tale “What Do You Come For?” who dangles terrifyingly from the chimney. The new trailer presents him as kind of the Big Bad of the film’s creatures, and we see him dangling from stair landings and being generally spooky!
Not exactly the face we want haunting our dreams, but definitely one that will call us to the theater when Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark is finally released on August 9.