Review: Don't Turn Out the Lights, the Official Tribute to Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark

At this point, there's basically no debating that 2020 has been an atrocious year.Yet within the roiling cauldron of human misery that has been life for the last several months, there is a lone spot of light: it hasn't been this good of a time to be a fan of Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark since Scary Stories 3 came out in 1991. The past year of so has been a boom time for Scary Stories fans, seeing the release of a beastly bevy of material beyond anything we could have ever imagined. There was a successful film adaptation, and a tie-in book that came out alongside it. There'sScary Stories: A Tribute to Terror, a fan-made passion project that does an incredible job of recreating the aesthetics and feel of the original trilogy. There's even a documentary about the Scary Stories phenomenon, and the history and impact of the books (which I will finally get around to covering soon, I promise). And then there's the latest release, and the one I was probably looking fo…

Lee Trevino's Fighting Golf: A Requiem

This probably goes without saying, but just for the sake of posterity, for those future generations that happen upon this post devoid of context (yes, I am an optimist), allow me to set the stage: 2020 is exceptionally messed up. There's a pandemic, widespread civil unrest, constitutional crises, and just generally the ingredients for some fine dystopian fiction in the decades to come. However, the passage of time being what it is, this is this decade, and as such...I've been spending a lot of time indoors. And time indoors being what it is, I have found myself with the free time to both contemplate what I want to be doing and to make it happen. Thus, this article, touching upon a subject I have not dealt with in any significant way in several years: video production. And then, um, another subject.
Previously, I have addressed at length my history in public access television production, a fact which in and of itself dates me significantly. I mean, YouTube became a thing like f…

Vintage Halloween Photo SPOOKtacular

As far as I can tell (my childhood memories are spotty at best), I've always loved Halloween. The October celebration of ghosts and goblins and high-fructose corn syrup touched something deep inside my evil little heart, as you can see in the photo above, where I proudly display both a cornucopia of seasonal items and my finest Gecko Hawaii shirt. In the spirit of the season, I have taken the liberty of scanning and collecting some old photos of these early Halloweens to share with you. It's like peeking into your trick-or-treat bag at the end of the night...let's see what we've got!
This photo is the earliest one I could find. I'm wearing a dinosaur onesie that my mom sewed based on a pattern she purchased at Michael's. I'm also apparently camera shy, or perhaps weeping. Equally likely, I suppose. Oh, and one note: most of these scans are from old Polaroids that survived a house fire and a closet flooding, so if they're washed out and/or ashy, there a…

Scary Stories to Tell in The Dark: The Book Tie-In to the Movie: The Review

Happy October! I'm kicking off Halloween season today by writing about...well, pretty much the same type of stuff I write about the rest of the year.
Anyway, as I mentioned in my recent-ish review of the Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark movie, a book was released in conjunction with the film called Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark: The Haunted Notebook of Sarah Bellows. Given my propensity for writing about anythingandeverythingScary Stories-related, it's only natural that I'd wanted to discuss this latest creepy collection of terrifying tales.

Now, to get the most obvious question out of the way: is this a new Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark book in anything other than the most literal, pedantic terms? Frankly, no. The stories are all moviefied versions of material from the original books, enhanced by concept artwork, photos and notes from the film’s production. Yet, oddly, these are exactly the qualities that make this book perfect for what it is. It’s basicall…

Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark: The Movie: The Review

I'm going to discuss the Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark film in detail in this post. As such, there will be material that could be considered spoilers, so if you're trying to avoid those, you should probably see the movie first before reading this. And if you're just looking for a brief, spoiler-free review: I liked it.

When I first learned that a Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark movie was in development, I admit I had mixed emotions. On the one hand, Alvin Schwartz's books are a beloved and significant part of my life, which I have written about quiteextensivelyoverthelastdecade, so of course the planned adaptation offered exciting and unexpected possibilities. And the involvement of Guillermo Del Toro was extremely promising, as he had the star power to get the project off the ground while also representing what seemed, in theory, a perfect fit for the material itself, having shown a flair for ornately unsettling aesthetics and a warm but macabre sensibility that…

Why Stephen Gammell Needs to Illustrate the New Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark Book

I have to say, it's a pretty great time to be a Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark fan. After an ill-advised decision by the publisher years ago to replace the books' iconically eerie Stephen Gammell illustrations with tamer, less disturbing artwork by Brett Helquist, the original versions have been reissued to bookstores everywhere. Hollywood wants a piece of that sweet Scary Stories pie (don't ask what's in it), and there's a major motion picture produced by Guillermo Del Toro on the way which, judging by the teasers, looks amazing. There's even a documentary coming out chronicling the creation of the series and examining its lasting cultural impact. 38 years after Alvin Schwartz's first volume began shocking the senses of countless readers, the series' legacy is still going strong.
     Perhaps most unexpectedly, there was a recent announcement that a new volume of the series is coming soon! Well, sort of. New Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark i…

Thanksgiving Break

This story follows the events of my debut novel, Henry Garrison, St. Dante's Savior. You don't need to have read the novel for this to make sense (at least, I don't think so), but it certainly doesn't hurt. Hope you enjoy my first short fiction in quite a while!

The heavenly aromas of Thanksgiving wafted into Henry Garrison's nostrils, enrapturing him with their particular blend of herbaceous seasonal delights. The savory fragrance of the freshly-brined turkey, the comforting perfume of warm sage in the stuffing, the buttery bouquet of mashed potatoes. And to top it all off, the uniquely tantalizing scent of the big bowl of-
Henry's mind snapped back to reality as Ms. Tegg's monotonous recitation of the day's economics lesson hit an unexpected peak as she reached the topic of incentives. Something approaching joy filled her voice as she discussed remuneration, and it was very distracting.
The wall clock read 2:47 PM. Each whispered tick represented a m…