Skip to main content

Review: Scary Stories

I wasn't the right age when Alvin Schwartz's Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark books came out amidst a sea of controversy, as many parent groups thought them too graphic and scary for school-age children.

Despite the fuss, and partly because of it I'm sure, the books have endured, and a big-screen adaptation is headed our way this summer from none other than Guillermo del Toro. This makes Cody Meirick's documentary about the books, Schwartz, and his inspirations a timely one.

Meirick has gathered scholars, artists, novelists, parents and members of the Schwartz family to tell the Scary Stories story. And he uses interviews, archived news footage, and some groovy animation to do it. This keeps the film interesting, if not a little disorganized at times. But hey, I have yet to make a documentary, so what do I know about structuring something like this?

Not much... yet!

While the book banning is of interest, especially considering it was completely ineffectual, it's the family stuff I found the most fascinating. This is as much a tale of a distant dad and his estranged son as it is about the books and their impact. Schwartz tried hard to be a good parent, but couldn't quite pull it off. And his son never really understood his father until it was too late (Schwartz died in 1992). It's poignant stuff.

Also of interest, at least to me, is the debate raised throughout the film about whether or not horror is appropriate for children. Some interviewees are downright against it, while others spoke to the need to not shelter our children from dark and scary things, saying it builds character and resilience. I'm in complete agreement with them.

I don't know if there's enough story behind Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark to sustain a feature length documentary. I was kinda done with it by the end. But again, I didn't grow up with the books. I'm giving it a Bad, but recommending it for fans of Schwartz and his work.


Popular posts from this blog

#CocktailHour: Slushtail

  Summer approaches, inspiring thoughts of sunshine, backyard parties, and having a tip and sip with friends.  With that in mind, I bring you this week sunny beverage. To make a slushtail, mix a can of frozen orange juice, a can of frozen lemonade (or limeade), a can of pineapple juice, a couple cups of black tea (or English Breakfast), and two cups of bourbon- such as Southern Comfort, in a pitcher.  When it's all nicely mixed, put it in the freezer until it's a nice slushy consistency. Scoop the slush into a cocktail glass, and pour in some Sprite or 7-Up.  Add a little umbrella for some frivolous fun, and a straw. Voila!  Ready to enjoy. This is a very refreshing drink.  The fruit juices, Sprite, and bourbon- when chilled makes for a great punch-like drink.  The bourbon doesn't overwhelm juices.   In fact, they are all nicely balanced in terms of flavors.  The sourness of the citrus fruits contrasts well with the slightly sweeter Southern Comfort.  It was refreshing enou

Marcus Flor vs Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse

In film, there's nothing I enjoy more than passionate creativity. Compared to the sea of mediocrity surrounding it, Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse is practically overflowing with it. This animated movie is vibrant, kinetic, and extremely inventive with its art style. On top of all that, this is just a solid movie. It tells its story with sincerity and tact, always focusing on the important aspects of Miles' emotional journey. The script wastes no time on pointless scenes or moments, which also gives the film an energetic rhythm that draws you in. One of the other great aspects of this movie is its reinvention of the Spider-Man story. It's clever writing demonstrates a true understanding of the webslinger, and offers commentary on the current state of his movie adaptations. In the end, you get a film both Spidey fans and non-fans can enjoy. Above all other aspects, what I like most about Spider-Verse is how fun it is. It demonstrates quality animation and filmmaking doesn

From The Basement - the "final" three

Just a gentle reminder From The Basement returns next Friday -- June 11 -- to the mighty Radio NL with an all-new episode! That's the good news. The bad news it'll be the first of our final three prime-time shows. What, you might ask? Are you bastards quitting AGAIN!?!? No. No we're not. We learned our lesson the last time. Shawn and I's long-running show will return to being "just a podcast," and not adhering to any set broadcast schedule. Why, you ask? Our lives are becoming increasingly busy outside of The Basement, and it's getting harder for Shawn and I to keep up with the latest movies, TV shows and entertainment news. We'd rather cease our weekly duties than produce an inferior product. Simple as that. Much thanks to Howie Reimer and the Radio NL crew for hosting us the last three years, first as a Friday morning segment, then as a prime-time series. It's been a blast! Don't worry, we're not coasting on these last three episodes. T