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How Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark Is Scarily Connected to The Last Voyage of the Demeter
There's a surprising connection between Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark and The Last Voyage of the Demeter.
It's well-known that the movie horror community is an ever-evolving, tight knit group of writers, directors, and special effects creators who collaborate, recommend, and hire from within. They're also pretty generous about recommending the talents of newcomers to the genre, so fresh talent is consistently reinvigorating the next gen of horror.
Connections are sometimes overt, like George A. Romero's hiring of Tom Savini for makeup and special effects work in his films. That exposure of Savini's work helped make him a much sought after special effects expert and eventual prosthetics legend in the horror genre. One of Savini's mentees was Greg Nicotero, who went on to become the another renowned special effects master of the trade after becoming one of the core directors in The Walking Dead universe.
How Guillermo del Toro Connects Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark to The Last Voyage of the Demeter
Guillermo del Toro is another director who is constantly recommending and platforming the work of his horror peers and newbies alike. His career has attached him to a myriad of projects that either didn't get funded, or had shifting schedules that forced him to step away due to prior commitments. But when del Toro has had to leave a project, he's often been instrumental in recommending an eventual replacement. In the case of 2019's Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark (now streaming on Peacock), del Toro was initially attached in 2016 to develop and possibly direct the adaptation of Alvin Schwartz's children's book. When directing wasn't possible, producer del Toro helped attach Norwegian director André Øvredal (Trollhunter).
At the same time, Universal's adaptation of Chapter 7 of Bram Stoker's Dracula — The Voyage of the Last Demeter — had long been in development by producers Brad Fischer and Mike Medavoy. They had a long list of directors attached, but the penultimate candidate was del Toro, which was recently revealed by Fischer during the press cycle for Demeter.
For various reasons, del Toro was not able to direct and Medavoy said it was Guillermo's recommendation that led them to Øvredal. He said: "It was his inspiration and he was completely right."
Interestingly, Øvredal told SYFY WIRE that if he hadn't directed the adaptation for Scary Stories, he wouldn't have felt as confident to direct The Voyage of the Last Demeter. "I felt like I was mentally prepared because I did it with Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark. They were beloved books so that was daunting in a way," he said. "Also, it wasn't really my culture. I didn't grow up with those books. But I also did it with my first film Trollhunter, which was all about the Norwegian culture. So, it has kind of become my thing. But, it was definitely daunting because they had been working with so many great directors that I admired for all these years."