When news broke that the classic kids horror books Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark would be hitting the big screen many of us became giddy with anticipation. Our minds started racing as we thought how Alvin Schwartz’s tales would be adapted. If World War Z gave us any idea, there is a good chance that the source material will be pretty different from the movie.
But that’s not any fun! Let’s focus on what we read as kids! Here’s five of our favorite scary stories we want in the film and who we’d like to see in the roles.
Many of us kept away from the best hiding spots in the house as a kid thanks to this tale from More Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark. We’d love to see Jake Gyllenhaal as the Husband in a Gone Girl meets The Woods meets The Orphanage sort of adaptation set in the early 1800s. Gyllenhaal has built up a solid list of off-kilter roles that could make the Husband an extra compelling murder suspect. Check out Nightcrawler and Donnie Darko for examples.
For the Wife, Scarlett Johansen’s role in Under the Skin may not seem applicable, but she knows how to pull off the dark and mysterious characters pretty well. Plus, after so many roles as the sex symbol, maybe Scarlett would be up for the terrifying transformation the Wife undergoes.
This scary story from the first edition feels like it takes place in a period when olde time-y photos were just modern photos. Of all the Schwartz stories, The Haunted House can probably make the best case for its own standalone film. But as part of an anthology it could be another example of why no one should be home alone—especially one without technology.
Since he’s doing so well playing Father Gabriel, who better than The Walking Dead’s Seth Gilliam to take on the role of the Preacher? He’s also played tough roles in the past that could help him become the perfect horrified hero. After her turn as Carrie, Chloe Moretz gets our nod as the woman the Preacher assists. Between her slightly raspy voice and haunting stare, she can pull off a ghoul nobody would want to come across.
This just screams Cillian Murphy to us. After his lead in 28 Days Later it’s clear that he’s capable of portraying a terrified hero. And if The Dark Knight taught us anything it’s that Murphy knows how to play a dark character with relative ease. With the story set in his home country of Ireland, it makes perfect sense to have Murphy play the all too brave Tom McManus and face the mysterious bog.
Hunting in the dark and scary woods, you say? Well hello, Liam Neeson! After The Grey left some of us underwhelmed, Neeson could redeem himself in Canada’s Great White North.
Even though he hasn’t had much experience with horror, Jared Leto could channel his Requiem for a Dream and Panic Room roles to play the Cajun wilderness expert DeFago. Watching a method actor like him delve into a role like that would be tons of fun. It probably doesn’t hurt that he has some Cajun ancestry to work with.
Now if only we had any idea how to imagine the Wendigo. No matter the look, we’re thinking Andy Serkis for the job. A Gollum meets King Kong with antlers could be the right look for the terrifying Native American legend.
This is a classic foreshadowing tale that could be made great by veteran suspense actors. After some awesome performances in The Conjuring and Orphan, we think that Vera Farmiga could nail the lead role. With a wide variety of spine tingling characters under his belt (Start with The Cell), Vincent D’Onofrio could be the ideal hearse driver. If they can somehow work in a creepy Isabelle Fuhrman cameo we’re game for a full-length film!