Movies

Now showing in Taos: ‘Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark’

Based on 80s book series, new movie adaptation is spooky, creepy and more fun than it should be

By Rick Romancito
tempo@taosnews.com
Posted 8/11/19

A big budget feature like “Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark” might not have played as well if it was adapted from the book series back in the 1980s when they came out ...

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Movies

Now showing in Taos: ‘Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark’

Based on 80s book series, new movie adaptation is spooky, creepy and more fun than it should be

Posted

A big budget feature like “Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark” might not have played as well if it was adapted from the book series back in the 1980s when they came out. Back then, it might have focused more on hitting the kids market and watered down all the creepier elements, not to mention the special effects.

But, that was then and this is definitely now.

Director André Øvredal’s adaptation weaves together several stories from the book — authored by Alvin Schwartz and brilliantly illustrated by Stephen Gammell — into a movie that includes hints of “Stranger Things” and “It” in its dealings with a group of outsider kids thrust into finding answers to a supernatural mystery. Interestingly, Stephen King’s novel, “It,” was first published in 1986 and “Stranger Things” is also set in the 80s.

Whatever cross-pollination may have occurred, Øvredal’s movie takes the young adult book series and applies a mature production for a straight out modern horror movie.

As it opens we’re introduced to a group of high schoolers who are trick-or-treating on Halloween night, 1968. There’s Ramón (Michael Garza), who just wants to enjoy a creepy creature feature at the local drive-in while passing through. He meets Stella (Zoe Margaret Colletti), Augie (Gabriel Rush), and Chuck (Austin Zajur) when they show up next to his car while trying to hide from local bullies led by the vicious Tommy (Austin Abrams), whom they just pranked big time.

Stella instantly takes a liking to handsome Ramón and so, to keep him around a little longer that evening, asks him and the group if they want to see a real haunted house. If the terror from what the bully might do to them was bad enough, they have another thing coming when they inadvertently awaken something evil in the house. I won’t detail what happens, of course, because the fun of a good horror movie is in the scares, but I will say this one’s pretty good.

I also thought the young actors, particularly Zoe Colletti, were above average, as was some of the back-story involving the impending election of Richard Nixon to the U.S. Presidency and the ongoing war in Vietnam. And, with the screenplay participation of film maestro Guillermo del Toro, I was hooked.

This may not go down as a classic of the horror genre, but it’s pretty good nonetheless.

Tempo grade: A-

“Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark” is rated PG-13 for terror/violence, disturbing images, thematic elements, language including racial epithets, and brief sexual references.

It is screening daily at Mitchell Storyteller 7 Theatres, 110 Old Talpa Cañón Road. For show times, tickets and additional information, call (575) 751-4245 or visit storyteller7.com.

Also showing in Taos

Marianne & Leonard: Words of Love

MPAA rating: R for some drug material, sexual references and brief nudity.

Taos Community Auditorium

This is filmmaker Nick Broomfield's most personal and romantic film of his storied career. The documentary starts on the Greek island of Hydra in 1960, where Leonard Cohen, then a struggling and unknown fiction writer, and Marianne Ihlen, a single mother with a young son, became part of community of expat artists, writers and musicians.

Never-before-seen footage shot by Broomfield and legendary documentarian D.A. Pennebaker make for a unique portrait of an idyllic 1960s bohemia. It was a time that left a lasting imprint on both Marianne and Leonard, whose friendship would last another 50 years before their deaths in 2016.

This film will be screened at 2 p.m. Sunday (Aug. 11) and at 7 p.m. Monday through Thursday (Aug. 12-15) at the Taos Community Auditorium, 145 Paseo del Pueblo Norte. For tickets and additional information, call (575) 758-2052 or visit tcataos.org.

Dora and the Lost City of Gold

MPAA rating: PG for action and some impolite humor.

Mitchell Storyteller 7 Theatres

Having spent most of her life exploring the jungle with her parents, nothing could prepare Dora (Isabela Moner) for her most dangerous adventure ever: high school. Always the explorer, Dora quickly finds herself leading Boots the monkey, Diego (Jeff Wahkberg), a mysterious jungle inhabitant, and a ragtag group of teens on a live-action adventure to save her parents and solve the impossible mystery behind a lost Inca civilization.

Based upon the children’s book and TV series, this film directed by James Bobin co-stars Eva Longoria, Michael Peña, and the voice of Benicio Del Toro.

It is screening daily at Mitchell Storyteller 7 Theatres, 110 Old Talpa Cañón Road. For show times, tickets and additional information, call (575) 751-4245 or visit storyteller7.com.

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