Here’s something that’s got me excited: A new documentary about Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark, produced and directed by Cody Meirick.
If you’re not familiar with Scary Stories, it’s a series of books filled with terrifying folklore and urban legends, compiled and retold by Alvin Schwartz. The first was published in 1981, the last in 1991. In short, the stories collected by Schwartz, alongside the illustrations by Stephen Gammell, have haunted the imaginations of children ever since.
Meirick’s documentary promises to delve into these stories and their impact on society, with interviews featuring readers, writers, and even members of the Schwartz family. They’re also hoping to interview Gammell and others involved in the actual creation of the books. Should be interesting!
“What Do You Come For?”
One of Meirick’s comments from his Reddit AMA last spring really jumped out at me: “One of the reasons I found this a fascinating subject for a documentary is that you’ve got one of the most banned books of the last 30 years, and it is essentially retelling our own oral tradition,” he wrote.
It’s funny how being so overprotective can, in a way, rob us of who we really are. I mean, these books terrified, yes – but they also inspired.
Although, it’s also funny how I originally found the trilogy at a book fair in grade school. A few years later, while at camp (something like an extended field trip), one of the teachers even pulled out a copy and read a few tales around the campfire, the way they were meant to be.
I never knew they were banned (or rather “challenged”) until years later. Or maybe bans and censorship don’t work all that well.
You May Be Next…
Reading through that AMA, Meirick also explains how he’s really interested in literacy, art, censorship, and the importance of books, especially during childhood. That, he says, will be a large focus of the documentary.
There’s still a ways to go before Scary Stories will be finished, though. But the trailer looks promising, and I’ll be looking forward to it. In the meantime, you can check out their official website.