Last night, buffalo-sauce-mouthed Americans gathered for the Super Bowl, a night of football (the other football) and orgiastic advertising-budget-bandying. Four of those commercials offer a patchwork preview of Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark, among this summer’s more hotly anticipated horror projects.
The anthology film adapts Alvin Schwartz’s widely adored collection of spooky fables appropriate for grade-schoolers, featuring memorably grotesque illustrations of the ghouls and other frights peopling its pages. Each fifteen-second spot offers a tantalizingly brief look at one of these monstrosities, rendered in sickening color by director André Øvredal, last seen at the helm of The Autopsy of Jane Doe.
In the first, a desiccated corpse cries out for her missing big toe. The second features the long-limbed “Jangly Man,” perhaps a distant cousin of the much-feared Bye Bye Man. The third focuses on a rather foreboding blemish (was that a twitch?!) marring the complexion of a frightening schoolgirl, and the fourth introduces the rubenesque Pale Lady.
For promotional purposes, executive producer Guillermo del Toro gets the most prominent placement in these ads, though the clips do appear to contain his signature blend of stylized production design and bloodcurdling terror. Whether any of the nightmare-fables will be revised to include human-amphibian intercourse has yet to be seen.
Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark comes to cinemas on 9 August.
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