John August to Write ‘Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark’

By November 17, 2014

Almost a year ago, CBS Films picked up the rights to the terrifying children’s book series “Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark,” with Saw writers and recent Movie Crypt guests Patrick Melton and Marcus Dunstan on board to write a script. The initial version of the movie would adapt some of the stories into a film with an overarching storyline “about a group of outcast kids who stand up to their fears to save their town when nightmares come to life.” Now Deadline reports that the duo is off the movie, and Big Fish scribe John August has come on to replace them.

Alvin Schwartz’s books, with nightmarish illustrations by artist Stephen Gammell, left quite an impression on kids growing up in the 80s and 90s, and I remember skimming through these books in my elementary school library and being pretty damn freaked out by them.


August, who also scripted Go, Charlie’s Angels, Frankenweenie, and more, is reportedly going back to the source material for inspiration, so it sounds like Dunstan and Melton’s idea has been shelved completely. As someone who has, well, I wouldn’t say “fond” memories, but at least “memories” of these books, I’m fascinated to see how August will be able to weave a cohesive narrative out of the source material, which was comprised of a bunch of one-off stories.

Do you remember these books? Looking forward to seeing what August can do with an adaptation? Who should direct?

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Ben is a writer living in Los Angeles, California. His work has been featured at,,,, and many more sites across the web. Some of his favorite movies include The Rocketeer, Anchorman: The Legend of Ron Burgundy, Tombstone, Lucky Number Slevin, Raiders of the Lost Ark, Ferris Bueller's Day Off, Collateral, Double Indemnity, Back to the Future and The Prestige. Follow him on Twitter: @BenPears.