It’s only been four years since the original “Scary Stories” film hit theaters but, to borrow a phrase oft repeated these days, it feels way longer. First, there was COVID-19 and everything that came after. Then the studios in the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers (AMPTP) failed to negotiate a fair deal with the Writers Guild of America (WGA) and Screen Actors Guild — American Federation of Television and Radio Artists (SAG-AFTRA), resulting in the two-pronged strike. Add the fact that Øvredal went off and made a whole other film during the interim, and it’s little wonder the “Scary Stories” sequel has been slower to progress than anticipated. As Øvredal put it:
“The process obviously stopped with the strike — but it’s alive, for sure. Covid and then [‘The Last Voyage of the Demeter’] eating up two years of my life certainly put a dent in the progress.”
The idea that real life tends to be scarier than any fiction we could imagine is, fittingly enough, a key theme in the first “Scary Stories” film and will no doubt factor heavily into the sequel (which will assure it feels timely, even with the prolonged delay). Beyond that, it’s known that “Scary Stories” co-writers Dan and Kevin Hageman are penning the follow-up as they once again mine inspiration from the original books by author Alvin Schwartz and especially Stephen Gammell’s gnarly illustrations. Guillermo del Toro is also coming back to produce the sequel, so presumably he’s had a hand in developing the story just like he did on the first film. If so, this second batch of “Scary Stories” may yet prove just as eerie (and thoughtful) as the first one.
You can catch “The Last Voyage of the Demeter” in theaters starting August 11, 2023.