Release Date: October 28th, 2018 (Frightening Ass Film Festival)
Directed by: Cody Meirick
Music by: E.K. Wimmer
Cast: Alvin Schwarts (archive footage), R.L. Stine, various
Giant Thumb Studios, 84 Minutes
“Part of Alvin Schwartz’s brilliance was that he took all these old folk legends and made them readable for kids. And I think that’s his particular genius.” – R.L. Stine
I think that for most Gen-Xers and older millennials, the Scary Stories to Tell In the Dark books were a staple of their childhood. The three books certainly were a major part of my late elementary and middle school years and also did a lot in generating my lifelong love of horror.
This documentary tells the story about these books but it also talks about Alvin Schwartz, the man who created this phenomenon, as well as the cultural impact of his work, which caused busybody parent groups to try and ban the books in schools.
The story is told by various individuals interviewed for this. Many talk about Schwartz, the books themselves, the cultural issues surrounding them, as well as their own personal experiences discovering and reading these books.
The film is capped off by Schwartz’s son sitting down and having a discussion with the woman that started the movement to ban his father’s work.
Overall, this was pretty good but I feel like if you aren’t already a fan of this literary (and now film) franchise, that this won’t specifically resonate with you.