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Harold the Scarecrow gets revenge in this freaky Scary Stories To Tell In The Dark trailer

Alvin Schwartz and Stephen Gammell’s Scary Stories To Tell In The Dark books will forever be beloved by demented youngsters, even if André Øvredal’s upcoming film adaptation is a total dud. The more we see of it, though, the more optimistic we become. The “Amblin-esque” horror flick’s latest clip not only presents the straightforward narrative—haunted book tells stories that then come to life, essentially the nightmare of any Scary Stories fan—but also provides a clearer glimpse at its central horrors.

That includes Harold the Scarecrow, a fan favorite creature that here feels the wrath of a gang of local jocks only to later exact revenge. We’re less jazzed about the “Jangly Man,” a CGI abomination that producers J. Miles Dale and Sean Daniel previously told us was a “composite” of creatures from the book. Still, the bulging, spider-ridden red spot’s enough to have us squirming our way to the box office.

Here’s a plot synopsis:

It’s 1968 in America. Change is blowing in the wind...but seemingly far removed from the unrest in the cities is the small town of Mill Valley where for generations, the shadow of the Bellows family has loomed large. It is in their mansion on the edge of town that Sarah, a young girl with horrible secrets, turned her tortured life into a series of scary stories, written in a book that has transcended time—stories that have a way of becoming all too real for a group of teenagers who discover Sarah’s terrifying home.

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Guillermo del Toro produced the feature, which is slated for an August 9 release.

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Randall Colburn

Randall Colburn is The A.V. Club's Internet Culture Editor. He lives in Chicago, occasionally writes plays, and was a talking head in Best Worst Movie, the documentary about Troll 2.