Back in MY Day Our Horror Books Scared the Bejeesus Out of Us
For the 30th anniversary of their children's horror anthology, publisher HarperCollins gave author Alvin Schwartz and illustrator Stephen Gammell an interesting gift: they sanitized the crap out of it.
Schwartz and Gammell's collection, Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark was first published in 1981, and is comprised mostly of traditional ghost stories passed down through folklore. The book was challenged frequently throughout the 1990s and often deemed inappropriate for school libraries or the children's section of bookstores.
The stories themselves are ones you probably remember being told at countless sleepovers and campfires. What really set this book (and the other books in the series) apart were the illustrations. Stephen Gammell's original artwork, both on the cover and inside the pages, is simply horrific. I can only guess as to what Gammell used to create these monstrosities, but the drawings all look as though they were splattered onto the page by some sort of maniac wielding a bloody brush. I remember not being able to get through all of them as a kid, purely because of the artwork (to be honest, they still kind of freak me out). Isn't this the point of a collection of scary stories? To scare people?
Fans of the series who don't already own the books might want to visit amazon, since new printings will contain boring, "updated" artwork. No offense to Brett Helquist, the new illustrator, but your work simply can't compare to this (some of the best illustrations are at the bottom of the page).
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