6 Best Books Like Scary Stories To Tell In The Dark Update 05/2022

Books Like Scary Stories To Tell In The Dark

Because, well, what the fuck? I haven’t seen the adaptation ofScary Stories to Tell in the Darkby Alvin Schwartzdirected by Guillermo del Toro yet. For a long time after seeing those images, I couldn’t sleep because of them. If I’m being honest (which I almost always am, if not a little too honestly), they’re still haunting my nightmares. As a fan of del Toro and a huge fan of the original trilogy, I’m fine with the fact that he doesn’t have my trust. I’d like everyone to relive their nostalgia for the original trilogy for a little while, though, so that I can enjoy it as well.

Those black-bordered paperbacks with the illustration on the front that made your dad recoil when you brought it to him at the bookstore and begged through your coke-bottle lenses to have it are the ones you remember. Your friends would say something like, “Let’s read a story,” and you’d be all like, “OKAY BITCH, HERE WE MOTHERFUCKIN’ GO.”. This is something my friend Emily Martin and I did last year at our slumber party. She pulled us aside and pointed out that we should be taking video of this. You’ve got to hear it. It’s a hoot.)

For me, as a child, there were few things more enjoyable than frightening myself and others with the stories of frightening tales. Folklore, urban legend, grotesque indifference and humor were all present, making it the perfect showcase for my personal brand of humor.

There aren’t many things that go well with that particular concoction—in fact, there aren’t any. However, here are my best guesses, and why I think they’re the best ones I’ve come up with so far.

Her Body and Other Parties by Carmen Maria Machado

Her Body and Other Parties by Carmen Maria Machado

“Oh, HOLY SHIT, THIS IS JENNY.” That’s what I thought when I read the first story in this collection two years ago. THE GIRL WEARING THE GREEN RIBBON IS THIS PERSON. In some ways, this story re-ignited my passion for theScary Stories because I first encountered the green ribbon in one of Alvin Schwartz’s collections, despite the fact that it is a folktale. No, I didn’t pay attention to that when I was a kid, either. Review the originals that you’ve made. Take a look at the BOOKS AND BOOKS of references!

When I revisited the stories as an adult, I was horrified to learn that they were true.

Even though Her Body is a work of fiction, it still tells the folktales in a new way. This book, on the other hand, is aimed squarely at adults. In both senses of the word. It’s time to get it now. For those of us who grew up reading these books, this is exactly what we need. Preorder Machado’s autobiography, which is due out in the autumn.

The Merry Spinster: Tales of Everyday Horror by Daniel Mallory Ortberg

At Tales of Everyday Horror, you had me. Is this correct? Despite the fact that this collection of short stories definitely retells fairytales rather than folktales, the edge of terror is really razor-sharp, and thus, I believe this is meant for children who enjoy the horror of a fairytale. However, instead of wishing you were a princess, you were disappointed that the beast turned into that handsome boy at the end. Do I have this correctly?

And if that’s the case, read on. I don’t want to give anything away, but Ortberg’s first story retells the story of the little mermaid in the way it should have been. There is no reason to be concerned. This is one I can’t recommend highly enough. There’s a door open for you.

My Mother She Killed Me, My Father He Ate Me edited by Kate Berhheimer

This is another anthology that I’m glad I picked up; it contains fairytale retellings as well, but the emphasis is on horror rather than fantasy. Timothy Schaffert’s “The Mermaid in the Tree” is the one that has always stood out to me and that I never get tired of reading. Retelling Hans Christian Andersen from the perspective of the prince’s new girlfriend, it reimagines the tale.

There are some differences. The story takes place during a Mermaid Parade in this gritty coastal town, and the prince saves the mermaid rather than the other way around. Grit and steampunk abound throughout this must-read novel.

The Tales of Uncle Remus by Julius Lester

The Tales of Uncle Remus by Julius Lester

True retellings of folktales abound in this collection, and I learned many of them from it as a child. In retrospect, I can see that I was a nervous child who would run the length of the house pleading with my father to let me sleep with him because I was afraid of the dark. I had a few bad dreams. A pleasant one.

To this day, I have an overactive imagination to the point where there are details in this book that I can’t help but notice when they don’t appear on the page.

Because we’re country as hell, he did all the voices in the story of Brer Rabbit having The Mopes. I made him read it to me the most often. Aunt Mammy Bammy Big-Money, a witch doctor, is the cure he seeks. In order to get to her hole in the ground, did my father recall that you had to hop a lot? I asked him the other day and he said he had no recollection of that at all. He grinned and said, “That’s exactly right! “It’s been on your list to read that story ever since you told me about it.”

Because it was the longest and scariest chapter in the book, I insisted he read it with me every night. Y’all, it contained a witch doctor.

The Witches by Roald Dahl

courtesy of GIPHY

Because this is where my mind goes when left to its own devices, when I was at the last wedding, I yelled drunk across the table to my best friend, “Yo, Roald Dahl fucking HATED kids, am I right?” Rather than the wedding or the dancing, I’m going to Roald Dahl. She concurred. All of them were taken away from him. One of the rhinos escaped from its enclosure and ran over them. A giant had to befriend one of them. There were a lot of big, nasty bugs in the peach, so one had to live there. As punishment, they were dragged around by their hair and force-fed chocolate cake.

A mouse had to live in a hotel that was hosting an annual witch convention for one of them. FML. I was in school when I watched this. I’m in class! We read The Witches in 4th grade with my favorite teacher. This meant that when it came time to read aloud, Mrs. Franko would immediately tell me, “Mary Kay, we’re on page 22, first full paragraph,” or something like that because she already knew I was engrossed in that shit and had no intention of letting me get away with it. When I wrote Wait Till Helen Comes, I did the same thing. As a result, she didn’t even bother saying, “Stay with the group, don’t read ahead,” because she knew that the suspense would consume me.

The Tailypo: A Ghost Story by Joanna C. Galdone

This is the first book in my memory to have scared the crap out of me. My bowels move when I’m really scared, and I’ve mentioned this many times on our podcast. I need to find a place ASAP because IT’S COMING. If I’m remembering correctly, I was in first grade when our librarian read this folktale to us, book open, showing the pictures as she cooed about the animal’s desire for its tail back. It was an experience I’ll never forget.

According to legend, an elderly man living alone in his cabin (I’m imagining it to be in Appalachia) was down to his final can of beans. When an animal burst through a hole in the ground and chopped off its tail, he threw it into the pot. He had them cooking over the fire.

The animal scratches at the cabin all night long in an attempt to reclaim its tail. Remember, I’m telling you this story verbatim. That book hasn’t been in my possession since I was in first grade. That is how deeply it affected me. There is no way around it. What the hell are you waiting for? Go out and get it for yourself. You have earned it.

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