Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark isn’t just a scary story, it’s a scary story about people who love scary stories. Specifically, it’s about Stella, a teenaged writer played by Zoe Margaret Colletti, who is a voracious horror fan and – as we see throughout the film – has a bedroom covered in horror posters and memorabilia.
It’s a set that was very important to director André Øvredal, who was trying to keep the film – which takes place in Pennsylvania in 1968 – historically accurate. And that meant that Stella’s room couldn’t just have the same old posters everyone recognizes today.
“We wanted to choose relatively obscure titles because we wanted to show that it was not just the classic titles, the big titles that everybody knows about,” Øvredal told me. “So that we show that in that world, in that time, it was the movies that existed then. Not necessarily just the classics. So we had some obscure [ones]. As a horror fan, you would know them but a general audience will kind of smile when they see all these crazy images.”
“We had a lot of fun figuring out which posters we liked. And it came down to, at the time, that I chose what it should be in relation to her character: a balance of horror and sci-fi, and she was leaning towards horror but it’s always kind of a thing,” Øvredal adds. “There is always a connection.”
To be sure, Stella has some odd choices in her collection. We caught poster for The Indestructible Man on her wall somewhere, and that’s a pretty deep cut. (The film is probably best known today as an episode of Mystery Science Theater 3000.)
How many weird movies and period-accurate horror paraphernalia did YOU see in Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark?