Top 10 Stories We Want to See in a Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark Movie

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Top 10 Stories We Want to See in a Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark Movie

VOICE OVER: Rebecca Brayton WRITTEN BY: Michael Wynands
The horror and children's genres rarely go together, but somehow this totally works! For this list, we're looking at Scary Stories that didn't make it into the 2019 film, but which we'd love to see similarly adapted. Our countdown includes “The Bride”, “The White Satin Evening Gown”, “May I Carry Your Basket?”, and more!
Transcript
Script Written by Michael Wynands

Top 10 Stories We Want to See in Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark


“Horror” and “Childrens Stories” rarely go together, but somehow… this works! Welcome to WatchMojo, and today we’ll be counting down our picks for the Top 10 Stories We Want to See in Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark.

For this list, we’re looking at Scary Stories that didn’t make it into the 2019 film, but which we’d love to see similarly adapted. With a sequel to the film reportedly in development, these are the Alvin Schwartz tales of kid-friendly horror that we think would work best on the big screen. Beware, there ARE spoilers from this point on!

#10: “Something was Wrong”

“More Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark” (1984)
Sleepwalking is often played for laughs in comedies. But all things considered, it’s a rather terrifying concept. Now... imagine waking up confused in the middle of the street and having people run from you in terror. The reason that everyone is cowering from our befuddled protagonist? He died a few days ago and he’s a corpse! Considering a number of characters died in the first film, we think that this could work quite well. What if the potential sequel opened with one of the deceased kids waking up and going about their business? The reveal that they’re dead would make for a great callback.

#9: “The Bride”

“More Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark” (1984)
Hide and Seek is a thrilling game that, though typically played by young children, is fun for all ages. When one person simply refuses to be found however, it can get downright creepy. In this particular Scary Story, a game of hide-and-seek that takes place on a wedding day ends with all of the wedding guests accounted for except the bride. Having searched the house top to bottom, everyone eventually gives up, accepting that she’s had second thoughts and run away. Only years later is she finally found by a cleaning lady; she got locked in a trunk. Chilling right? The shift from a fun game to overwhelming tension, paired with the big reveal, feels tailor-made for the screen.

#8: “The White Satin Evening Gown”

“Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark” (1981)
This story ties in nicely with the previous entry. Within the context of a film, it could easily be weaved together with “The Bride” to make for a tale of horror that just keeps on giving. In this story, a young woman rents an expensive gown that she could never afford. At the fancy ball she’s been invited to, she turns every head in the room. As the night grows late however, she becomes faint and has no choice but to go home. She wasn’t just dizzy from the dancing though; the dress was taken from a corpse. And as she danced the night away, the embalming fluid slowly poisoned her. Apparently it was truly a dress - and evening - to die for!

#7: “Cold As Clay”

“Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark” (1981)
Alvin Schwartz is a master of short yet highly effective horror stories. Even by his own high standards however, “Cold as Clay” is notably chilling. When the young daughter of a farmer falls in love with one of her dad’s employees, she’s sent away. The farmer feels that his daughter deserves better than to wind up with a stable boy. The farm hand is heartbroken and eventually dies, but the father never tells his daughter of his death. As such, she thinks nothing of it when he shows up at her door on horseback, despite him being “cold as clay”. A haunting tale of undying love, it could work as a flashback or get a modern spin. Either way, it’s sure to make an impact!

#6: “The Drum”

“More Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark” (1984)
In this story from the second compilation, two young kids come across a girl with a drum. Like some twisted version of Santa Claus, she promises to give it to them, but only if they’re bad. But the kids behave so badly that their mother threatens to leave them and that an old crone with glass eyes and a tail will replace her. A classic moral lesson, “The Drum” ends with the girls losing on both fronts. It’s a story that could easily be updated for a more modern setting, and we think that Guillermo Del Toro would have a lot of fun bringing the sinister replacement mother to life with his trademark practical effects.

#5: “Just Delicious”

“Scary Stories 3: More Tales to Chill Your Bones” (1991)
As we saw in the 2019 movie, the works of Alvin Schwartz often involve food in disgusting ways. In “Just Delicious”, the wife of a cruel man winds up feeding him the liver of someone who recently died. When she attempts to sleep however, she’s haunted by the neighbor who calls out for her liver. Sound familiar? Overwhelmed with guilt, she confesses to her husband, but he’s superstitious and quickly becomes fearful for his own life. Suffice it to say… the corpse gets a replacement liver. This story actually works as a nice follow up to the “Big Toe” segment of the film, and could theoretically even be reworked to involve the same corpse.

#4: “The Wreck”

“More Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark” (1984)
Imagine this: you meet someone nice at a school dance. The two of you quickly form a connection. It’s Christmas, so who knows, you may even encounter some mistletoe. You give your new friend a lift home, only to discover… they died on their way to the dance. Adding to the creepiness factor? The piece of tinsel that you gave them earlier is already in the hair of their corpse. Freaky! Given that the film involves high school age students, this feels like a real no-brainer and a perfect fit for the world that the film crafted for these stories to inhabit. Part of a long history of hitchhiking ghosts in folklore, “The Wreck” is a classic.

#3: “May I Carry Your Basket?”

“Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark” (1981)
In the context of this spooky children’s book, that title alone is enough to give you the creeps. This is NOT a tale about a helpful young boy helping a woman with groceries. Well, actually, that’s exactly how it starts, but it takes a dark turn when the recipient of his help turns out to be a headless corpse. We’re pretty sure that from there, you can guess the contents of the titular basket . . . For his trouble, our good samaritan winds up getting chased by both head and body. This story is all about the tension of the chase, which we think lends itself perfectly to a visual medium like film. Maybe it can even serve as a twist return of the jangly man?

#2: “High Beams”

“Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark” (1981)
Like with so many of his stories, Alvin Schwartz took inspiration for “High Beams” from an existing urban legend. It’s a twist on the “Killer in the Backseat” trope, which, let’s be honest, is a must-have in any self-respecting horror franchise. As a woman drives down the road at night, a car behind her keeps flashing its high beams, causing her to fear for her life. She believes she’s being followed by a lunatic. Little does she know, the threat is actually in her very own backseat… and the car behind her is just trying to protect her by blinding the knife-wielding killer. This would make for a great - not to mention tense - onscreen sequence, complete with a great reveal.

Before we unveil our top pick, here are a few honorable mentions.

“The Wendigo”
“Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark” (1981)

“Wonderful Sausage”
“More Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark” (1984)

“The Thing”
“Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark” (1981)

“The Man in the Middle”
“More Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark” (1984)

#1: “Room For One More”

“Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark” (1981)
Late at night on a business trip, a man hears a car pull into the driveway. Outside, he’s greeted by a long black hearse full of people. As if that’s not creepy enough, the driver, a sinister-looking fellow with hideous features, tells him that “there is room for one more” before driving off. The next day, our protagonist is told the same thing by someone in an elevator full of people, who sure enough plummet to their doom. Though a simple tale, because it taps into our timeless fear of unexpected death, it really stays with you. Onscreen, the hearse would make for a striking visual, while the premonition of impending death could be woven throughout the entire plot of the film.
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