The book that launched a thousand Millennial nightmares is finally coming to the big screen

By Alex Heigl
Updated December 05, 2013 08:00 AM

Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark, the iconic collection of short horror stories that terrified children of the ’80s and ’90s, is getting a film adaptation from Saw franchise writers Patrick Melton and Marcus Dunstan and CBS Films.

Melton and Dunstan wrote the last four Saw films, and reports that their treatment of Alan Schwartz’s collection will involve “a group of outcast kids who stand up to their fears to save their town when nightmares come to life.”

While understandably vague given that the project’s in its infancy, that description sounds suspiciously like a) Half of Stephen King’s novels (here’s hoping Melton and Dunstan weren’t planning on setting their film in Maine); and b) Nickelodeon’s Are You Afraid of the Dark? – another franchise responsible for many a sleepless night in the ’90s.

Schwartz’s books (the original Scary Stories, published in 1981, was followed by two more installments in 1984 and 1991) adapted folk stories and urban legends; the series has sold over 7 million copies worldwide.

Melton and Dunstan, besides their Saw credentials, recently wrote Guillermo Del Toro’s “giant robots vs. giant monsters” film, Pacific Rim.

Scary Stories‘ most recent moment in the zeitgeist was in 2011, when Scholastic re-released the books with new illustrations from Brett Helquist, the author of A Series of Unfortunate Events, replacing the originals by Stephen Gammell.

The move was not well-received by fans of the series, who criticized Helquist’s take on the material as more whimsical than Gammell’s stark interpretations.