Scary Stories To Tell In the Dark
October 28, 2020
(The Channel Awesome logo and 2020 Nostalgia-Ween title sequence play. Then we open on NC in his room as always, but it's dark in there, save for a fire in the middle of the room and a flashlight on his face. Bach's "Tocatta and Fugue in D Minor" plays in the background on an organ.)
NC: (scary voice) Hello, I'm the Nostalgia Critic. I remember it so you don't have to.
Tamara: Critic, this is weird.
Malcolm: Yeah, why the hell are we doing this?
NC: Fools! Don't you know today we're discussing Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark?
Tamara: Yeah, but so what?
NC: The only way to talk about Scary Stories is to gather around a campfire and read them in the spookiest way possible. Speaking of which, where are your campfires?
Tamara: We're indoors, you psycho! We're just doing flashlights!
Malcolm: Yeah, what the hell are you burning?!
NC: (waving dismissively) Oh, you know, anything safe and controlled.
(The camera then shows where the fire is coming from: a bunch of plastic gas cans on top of a wooden dresser.)
NC: Now, are we gonna start this thing or what?
Malcolm: We're waiting on you. You're the one with the book.
NC: Indeed. (takes out a book labeled "Scary Stories Treasury") Here it is, the complete "Scary Stories" collection. Here we go. (puts it on his lap, opens the book and reads) "Our story takes place decades ago when a group of geeky boys (becomes confused) and one girl are being picked on by bullies..."
Tamara: Wait, isn't that Stephen King's "It"?
NC: Yeah, that's strange. (takes page out of book and tosses it aside) How did that get in there? (looks at book again) Ah, here we go.
(An illustration of the boy in "The Big Toe", one of the actual "Scary Stories" is shown.)
NC (vo): (reading) "The boy trembled with agony as the voice kept calling out, (creepy voice) 'Where's my toe?'"
NC: (wiggling his fingers) "'Where's my toe?'"
Tamara: (flatly) Ooh.
Malcolm: (also flatly) Ooh.
NC: "Then the book started writing itself and the geeky kid was (becomes confused again) shocked to find it was all happening in real life..."
Malcolm: Wait, that's "Neverending Story".
NC: What the hell's going on? (removes this page as well) Other random tales are working themselves in where they don't belong!
Tamara: Just keep going. Maybe it goes back on track.
NC: Ah, yes! Here we go. (reading) "The pale woman..."
(Cut to a shot of the illustration of the pale woman in question.)
NC (vo): "...had black eyes and crept closer and closer..."
NC: (becomes confused again) "Then the geeky kid said if they want to break the curse to stop the stories coming to life, they have to confront the ghoulish CGI entity..."
Malcolm: Dude, that's "Goosebumps".
NC: No, no, it's a different book series.
Malcolm: I mean Goosebumps: The Movie. That's the script of Goosebumps: The Movie.
NC: (taking script out) Dude, how did that even fit in there?!
Tamara: Just skip to the end. Does it wrap up like a "Scary Stories" book or not?
NC: It doesn't end, it just says, "Percy Jackson-style sequel baiting."
Malcolm: So these "frightened" you when you were younger?
NC: (holds up "Scary Stories Treasury"; anguished) THIS ISN'T "SCARY STORIES"! I mean, sometimes it is, but mostly it's just a weak retread of other various stories!
(Suddenly, they spot another man (played by Rob), also shining a flashlight on his face.)
Man: (speaking in a thick accent) How's this thanks to me?
(NC yelps in surprise, as does this man.)
Tamara: (excited) Guillermo del Toro!
Malcolm: The master of masters!
Tamara: Are you joining our spooky campfire, too?
Del Toro: No, this is just how I talk to everyone online.
NC: Del Toro, you're a talented filmmaker. (holds up "Scary Stories Treasury") How did you miss the mark with this?
Del Toro: Well, I planned to direct a film version of "Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark"...
Malcolm: Of course!
Tamara: Sure to be a masterpiece.
Del Toro: ...but then I decided, "Nah."
Malcolm: Well played.
Tamara: It would not have matched your brilliance.
Del Toro: But I still wrote and produced it.
Malcolm: An inspired choice.
Tamara: I will kill whoever you want me to kill.
Del Toro: Wow. Whenever I leave a project, the people who take over...
(A montage of shots of movie posters is shown: Pacific Rim: Uprising, the Hobbit trilogy, the remake of The Witches.)
Del Toro (vo): ...know how to capture my...
Del Toro: ...original intent.
NC: Do they?
Del Toro: I don't care, I'm working on fifty other things.
NC: (massaging his temples) With films like this, it shows.
(The title for this movie is shown, followed by footage of it.)
NC (vo): Based on the hit collection of spooky folklore that was actually banned from some schools...
(Shots of the book series, three in all, are superimposed.)
NC (vo): ...Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark left a gigantic impression on countless kids. From the classic stories passed from generation to generation to those blood-curling illustrations that are masterworks in their own right, they are just as memorable and timeless now as they were when they were published in the '80s and '90s. So like many, I was hyped as hell to hear a movie was being made about them, hoping this would be a legitimately frightening kids like the ones we used to get in the '80s and possibly a new generation's (Posters for the following are superimposed...) Creepshow, Trick 'r Treat, or Tales from the Darkside. But while the first part came true, being so intense it got a PG-13 rating, Scary Stories sadly wasn't an anthology film, only sneaking in elements from the books and focusing on a completely different plot. I guess we've seen properties (Posters for the following are superimposed: Spider-Man: Into the Spider-verse, The Lego Movie, Wes Craven's New Nightmare and Joker) try a different, even self-aware angle before and achieved great success, but where I'll always remember Miles Morales or Arthur Fleck, I'm not gonna remember... I've forgotten their names already! But with decent critical reactions, audience reactions, and even a sequel on the way, should we be content with a passable film containing some great scenes? Or should we be pissed that we could have gotten one of the great game-changing horror films, particularly for younger people?
Tamara: I just don't know. Del Toro, what should we think?
Del Toro: I think you should love whatever want and eat worms for protein.
Malcolm: (raising index finger excitedly) On it! (runs off)
NC: (deadpan) You're all nuts.
Tamara: Oh, yeah? I didn't see you turn on a light. What's lighting up your office?
(NC looks over offscreen. There is a huge fire in his room, coming from a pile of clothes on the couch!)
NC: (deadpan) My glowing personality?
Tamara: Yeah, okay.
NC: This is Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark. (glances toward the fire again) Which is not gonna be for a while.
(The film opens on a black screen with nothing on it.)
NC (vo): The film opens with a narration that sounds like that one kid who tried waaaaay too hard in your creative writing class.
Female narrator: Stories hurt. They make us who we are. They have...such power. This I learned.
NC: (as female narrator, reading from a paper) "And what's the cause? Eating cows." (leans forward sharply) MONSTERS!
Offscreen voice: Amy, see me after class.
NC (vo): We start off in 1968, and to answer your question, I'm not entirely sure why. At first, it's cool, as it has both a faded but also vibrant color palette that a lot of films of the '60s and '70s had, (sighs) but it's still modern horror, so, you know...green and green and...green and... (The screen flashes red) Ooh! Red! (The screen goes back to green again) No, no, back to green. When did this become a scary color? Black, brown, blue, like I said, even red, but green is more a relaxing color, often associated with safety.
(A description of the color green is briefly superimposed, reading: "Green is the color of nature. It symbolizes growth, harmony, freshness, and fertility. Green has strong emotional correspondence with safety.")
NC (vo): It's not even a sickly, like in The Boys or Fight Club; it's like a tree leaf green. I guess you could argue this movie's playing around with the idea, like taking a safe color and making it threatening; you know, messing with your expectations, creating a false sense of security, but...
Young man: Now for the coup de grace!
NC (vo): ...I don't think this film's smart enough for that. Anyway, we're introduced to our main character, Stella, played by Zoe Margaret Colletti, who is a hipster (A pair of glasses is added onto her (even though she already wears glasses)) before there were hipsters.
Voice on walkie-talkie: Stella?
Stella: I don't want to go trick-or-treating.
(Cut to the person speaking to her: a boy named Chuck (played by Austin Zajur), who is blowing into an aquarium fish net for some reason.)
Chuck: Get all the eggs and TP you can and meet us at 7.
NC: You can tell he's a geek because he blows into aquarium nets! (beat) Th-That cliche...
NC (vo): This is Chuck, played by Austin Zajur, and Augie, played by Gabriel Rush. They're the Losers Club without the laughs.
Chuck: (to Augie) At least I'm not a clown.
Augie: I'm a Pierrot.
Chuck: (snickers) Clown.
NC: Thank you for that pause (waves a whirling motion with his hand) so you can let the roar of laughter fill the theater.
Augie: (points to some candy Chuck received) Do you know what's even in those? The same toxic chemicals that's giving our troops Hodgkin's– (Chuck downs the whole boxful) And you ate them all.
Chuck: (his mouth full) Is that why they taste so good? (throws empty box at Augie)
NC: Am I supposed to like them? 'Cause so far the only thing the film's doing is I want...
NC (vo): ...to see them horribly murdered! However, I will give this film some leeway (The camera zooms in on Augie, with a shot of Art the Clown from Terrifier shown on the side) if it's a Terrifier prequel.
Stella: He's not gonna show.
Chuck: What? No, he'll show.
NC (vo): Also, give him props; this is pretty sweet revenge on a bully by putting shit in a candy bag, knowing he'll steal.
(Said bully, Tommy (played by Austin Abrams) reaches his hand out of his car and grabs a bag of what looks like candy off a tree branch as they drive by. He reacts in horror, however, when he sees what it really is. They stop the car abruptly as Stella and her friends throw eggs at the car.)
Chuck: (throwing eggs) Pull on this, asshole!
Tommy: (seeing them) Little shit!
NC: (shrugs) All right, this is pretty cool. It is nice seeing the little guy finally...
NC (vo): ...getting some payback...
(Suddenly, as Tommy's car comes up to them, Chuck raises the stakes by throwing some flaming debris into their car! The occupants react in horror as the fire lands between Tommy's legs and burns his crotch.)
NC (vo): JESUS CHRIST!
Tommy: HOLY SHIT!!
(Tommy tries to bat at the flame with his hand. In doing so, he lets go of the wheel, and the car smashes through a house fence and then stops.)
NC: Egg throwing, lighting people on fire...It's Halloween, Charlie Brown!
(As he says this, an image is shown of a flaming skeleton is edited into a shot of It's the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown, with the skeleton appearing before Linus Van Pelt and Sally Brown. In the movie, Stella and her friends flee as Tommy and his friends emerge from the crashed car, livid with rage.)
Tommy: I'M GONNA MURDER THEM!!! (slams a stick on the ground)
NC (vo; as Tommy): First, take my anger out on the street! (Tommy and his friends chase after Stella and her friends) Okay, let's go.
(Stella and her friends run into a drive-in theater.)
NC (vo): While at the public domain drive-in, a boy named Ramon, played by Michael Garza, thankfully doesn't lock his car.
(Stella opens the passenger side door with no problem and gets in the car with him, getting his attention.)
Stella: Is this taken?
Ramon: Uh, I don't... I guess not.
(Cut to a clip of Weird Science)
Wyatt Donnelly (Ilan Mitchell-Smith): (looking up) Thank you, God!
(Cut back to Scary Stories, as Chuck and Augie get in the back seat)
Ramon: Hey, get out of my car!
NC (vo; as Ramon): My fetish to bang Daria as a witch is finally coming true, and you're gonna cockblock me!
(Tommy and his friends catch up with them, however.)
Tommy: Get out of the car.
NC (vo): The bullies find them, though, still looking for payback.
Tommy: (low voice) I don't think that you heard me. Everyone needs to get out. (looks to Ramon) You too.
NC (vo; as Ramon): Just let us purge.
Tommy: You're not gonna try to run away like Mommy, too, now, are you, Zo?
NC: Yeah, this bully is a little...odd.
NC (vo): In most films, they're one-dimensional (Shots of bullies in Stand By Me and West Side Story are superimposed) thirty-year-olds who scream at the top of their lungs, but this one...mumble-whispers, for some reason.
(A montage of clips of Tommy is shown, all showing him mumble-whispering.)
Tommy: Let's go, girls. / Crash and burn. / Eat shit, Harold. / This ain't over. / How 'bout some dessert? / I hope you find a way out.
NC: His whole performance is...
(A shot of Cameron Frye from Ferris Bueller's Day Off is shown.)
NC (vo): ...Cameron's voice when Bueller saves him!
(Cut back to Scary Stories)
Tommy: Everyone needs to get out.
(Cut again to Ferris Bueller)
Cameron (Alan Ruck): (also mumble-whispering) Ferris Bueller, you're my hero.
(Cut back to Scary Stories again as the man who owns the drive-in walks up)
Man: (calling out to Tommy) Hey! Get back in your car or get the hell outta here!
(Reluctantly, Tommy leaves.)
NC (vo; as Tommy): Next time, there won't be a middle-aged doughy guy to save you.
Chuck: (to Ramon about Stella) Her mom was... When she was a kid...
Augie: People wouldn't stop talking about it.
(Stella stands outside the car, drying a tear from her eye.)
Chuck: We're, like, her only friends now.
NC: (as Chuck) So as you can imagine, she's pretty miserable.
NC (vo): Oh, don't worry, they do get more annoying as the film continues.
Chuck: Can I see your switchblade?
Ramon: Did I say I had a switchblade?
Chuck: No, I guess you didn't. (to Augie, softly) He has a switchblade.
NC: Remember how I said Corey Feldman sounded like...
(Cut to Edgar Frog, Feldman's character in The Lost Boys.)
NC (vo): ...a sped-up Stallone in Lost Boys?
Edgar: (to Sam) Does your brother know who that vampire is?
(Cut to a clip of Cobra.)
Marion Cobretti (Sylvester Stallone): All right, just relax, amigo.
NC: This kid...
(Cut back to Chuck in Scary Stories)
NC (vo): ...sounds like a sped-up Corey Feldman!
(We next alternate between Edgar and Chuck to emphasize NC's point.)
Edgar: Does your brother know who that vampire is?
Chuck: So what are you doing alone at a drive-in?
Edgar: Then you'll have to kill him.
Chuck: You're not from here, are you?
(Cut to a clip of Access Hollywood.)
Man: (speaking in a high-pitched, nasally voice) Scientists tell me that the space in my nasal cavity is so dense that nothing can escape it.
(Cut back to Scary Stories)
Stella: (to Ramon) Do you want to see a haunted house?
NC (vo): So, kinda out of nowhere, they decide to check out a haunted house. I mean, yeah, I know it's Halloween, but they don't even mention this place until they just decide to go there.
(The entrance is chained off with a lock.)
Augie: Anyone got a pen?
Chuck: (holding up a pen with a sexy woman on it) Meet Lola. She is madly in love with me.
Augie: Yeah, your hand, maybe.
NC: Hey, don't talk about women named Lola like that! (Suddenly, a shot of Lola Bunny from Space Jam is shown in the corner.) Oh, that Lola! Definitely.
NC (vo): He picks the lock and they sneak inside.
Stella: The Bellows had a secret: a daughter.
Chuck: Nobody's ever found a picture of Sarah.
(As Augie looks around, Chuck abruptly jumps up and grabs him from behind, yelling as he does so, then runs upstairs.)
Chuck: Better run, clown!
Chuck: Better run!
NC: I hoped a movie based on the best ghost stories ever told has shitty fake-out scares, too.
(One of the original Scary Stories is shown: "The Cat in the Shopping Bag".)
NC (vo; reading): "Mrs. Briggs was driving to the shopping mall to do some– BOO! TEE-HEE-HEE-HEE! HEH-HEH! Nah just kidding, heh... last-minute Christmas shopping when she accidentally..."
(Cut back to the Scary Stories movie.)
Stella: Kids would come from all over. Sarah told them stories. Scary stories. (laughs)
NC (vo; as Stella): To tell in the... (sighs) Line! (normal) The legend goes if you find Sarah Bellow's book and ask her to tell you a story, it'll be the last story you ever hear. So they find the book and leave it alone. (beat) Nah! You know the drill.
Stella: (hushed) Sarah Bellows, tell me a story.
NC (vo; as Stella): Because the one we're in is pretty boring so far. (normal) They leave the house and find the bullies have messed with Ramon's car, because...I guess they knew they'd be at that house.
(The bullies have taken some red paint and painted "WET" on the hood in big letters and "BACK" on the lid of the trunk, also in big letters)
NC: (taking out cell phone) Huh, I wonder what that means. (pushes buttons on phone, then his eyes widen in surprise and he nods) I think it's a good thing I didn't know what that means. That's nice to have on my search history.
Stella: I can try and scrounge up something to help.
NC (vo): Stella invites Ramon to her home to help him out with his car, and naturally, they hit it off.
Ramon: You know, if you're serious about being a writer, you can't do it here. You gotta move to the city.
NC (vo; as Ramon): Everyone knows King wrote his best work in Manhattan. He puts it in everything.
(Stella examines the book and then opens it slowly.)
NC: Never thought I'd say this, but...
NC: ...I'm not interested.
NC (vo): She begins to read a story called "Harold". Because we're one-third in, maybe we should acknowledge the source material.
NC: And thank God it does, because when it references the books, it's pretty friggin' awesome.
NC (vo): Not only does it look exactly like the (An image of an illustration in the books is shown) Stephen Gammell illustrations, but it captures the slow and creepy tone that the books were known for. And give him credit as well: they get rid of the bully pretty early on so we don't have to put up with him for the rest of the film.
(Tommy finds himself in the middle of a cornfield all alone. He hears the sound of rustling in the cornstalks.)
NC (vo; as Tommy): I'm just an obnoxious, pushy kid alone in a horror film... Any takers?
(Suddenly, the source of the rustling presents itself: a scarecrow named Harold. Tommy freaks out and falls over. Harold comes to life and comes toward Tommy.)
NC (vo): Everything from the shots to the pacing to even how he moves is wonderfully creepy. If I was a kid, this would give me the nightmares I wished something like (Shots of the following titles are shown...) Are You Afraid of the Dark? or Goosebumps would give me. And I know, those shows were fine for what they were, but they were never scary. This is actually scary, and without any blood or gore. It's what I've always wanted to see in a scary property for kids.
(Tommy gets to his feet and runs for his life, Harold giving chase.)
NC (vo; as Harold): (singing to "If I Only Had a Brain") Oh, I know it sounds suspicious, / But you look damn delicious, / If I only had your brain!
(Harold impales Tommy with a pitchfork, going all the way through his body! Tommy stumbles around, clutching at his throat as he coughs up straw and starts to transforming into...something.)
NC (vo): The bully starts growing straw and, as you'd imagine, there's a new Harold in town.
(The next morning, Harold is spotted wearing Tommy's clothes. Stella and Ramon walk up to him.)
Stella: It's what Tommy was wearing last night. Okay, what if this is Tommy? And what happens in the book is exactly what happened for real?
Ramon: Just a scarecrow.
NC: (as Ramon) But he sounds like Henry Kissinger sucking helium!
(Harold makes mumbling sounds (provided by NC))
NC: (as Stella) That's totally Tommy!
Tamara: Wait, so you think that kids should totally see something this frightening?
NC: I mean, not like little, little kids, but I mean, if something is rated PG, meaning...
NC (vo): ...parents should be around while they're watching it...
NC: ...then yeah, get away with as much as you can, and if the kid can't take it, they'll know what they can handle!
Tamara: Yeah, but this is PG-13.
NC: Even better! We know younger kids sneak into those, anyway. At least we're giving them the scares they're looking for.
Tamara: Yeah, but what about–
Del Toro: I agree!
Tamara: Me, too. I just mailed you an award for saying that.
(Just then, Del Toro's doorbell rings.)
Del Toro: Ah, gracias! (gets up and walks off) I needed something to balance my coffee table.
NC (vo): Stella returns the book to the house, but somehow it makes its way back to her.
Stella: (seeing Ramon with the book) Where did you get that?
Ramon: It was just...here on your bookshelf.
NC (vo; as Ramon): What do you think this "Babadook" is?
(Stella opens the book to a blank page, which writes itself, forming the words "The Big Toe", written in red.)
NC (vo): The book has a story so good it writes itself, and apparently, Augie is the next victim.
Ramon: (reading) "Mother was digging at the edge of the garden when she saw a big toe."
(Stella grabs her walkie-talkie and frantically speaks into it.)
NC: (as Stella, pretending to hold up a walkie-talkie) TOOOOOOE!!!
Ramon: (talking to Augie on walkie-talkie) There's this story writing itself right now! I don't know how. It sounds scared. It was a voice, and it called out, "Who took my toe?"
NC: (pretending to read something) "Two forgettable kids who are underwritten were afraid–" (looks up) Hey! (pretends to turn pages) It's reviewing itself, too!
NC (vo): Augie accidentally eats a big toe in his soup and a creepy woman... Again, (A book illustration of said creepy woman is shown alongside the movie version) straight out of the illustrations... comes looking for it. It's technically combining a few stories from the books, but honestly, it's so effective, I don't think it really matters. It's still creepy.
(Augie can hear the woman's voice from behind his door, backing away from it as he does so.)
Woman: (grave whisper) Who...took...my...toe...?
(The doorknob starts to turn)
NC (vo; as Augie): Oh, if only I had a chair to prop up against a door. (Green arrows appear, pointing to two very obvious chairs)
(Augie hides under the bed.)
NC (vo): And as lame as that fake-out scare was earlier, this scene actually does a really good job tricking into where the real scare is gonna happen. There's several points where most horror films would do their reveal, but they cleverly hold off. I really do give credit that the most effort that went into this film seems to be in the scares.
(And as he peers out from under the bed to see if it's safe, there it is: a scare occurring as Augie suddenly finds himself dragged under the bed by the scary woman who then attacks him.)
NC (vo; as woman): Kiss me like I'm anybody who want to kiss you!
(We cut to a grassy area, where the police is looking around with police dogs and a group of people are feeling around in the tall grass with sticks.)
Voice on police walkie-talkie: As if this year hadn't been grim enough already, we have a disappearance on our hands, friends.
NC: Pretty douchey of Mark Hamill to do his Joker voice announcing a disappearance.
NC (vo): Stella asks to meet up with Ramon, Chuck and his sister [Ruth, played by Natalie Ganzhorn].
Chuck: (coming up to Stella and Ramon) Sorry we're late. Ruth ran out of zit paint. What's soooo urgent?
NC: Didn't you miss when he wasn't on screen?
NC (vo): All those scary creatures and creepy atmosphere? They needed more Chuck! Imagine his angelic voice during those scenes!
(A montage of those scenes up to this are shown, but with Chuck's voice added in, starting with Tommy meeting Harold.)
Chuck: Who ordered the chicken?
(Harold chases Tommy.)
Chuck: This isn't about candy, it's about payback.
(Next, the woman with the missing toe is shown.)
Chuck: Meet Lola. She is madly in love with me.
(Now Augie is seen encountering this scary woman.)
Chuck: Aren't you too ugly to go on a date? At least I'm not a clown.
NC: Release the Chuck cut!
NC (vo): Wait, I've always wanted to try this: (in mock Russian accent) In Soviet Russia...
Stella: You don't read the book. The book reads you.
NC: (looking up) Gravity Falls was right. (nods)
(As he says, an image of a book reading another book (both with Gravity Falls-esque faces), along with the word "Read?" appearing above them. On that note, we go to a commercial break. Upon return from the break, we cut back to the movie as the review resumes.)
NC (vo): They make their way to the local paper archives to see if they can find out any more information on Sarah Bellows.
Chuck: (reading one paper) "After Sarah hung herself, the Bellows fired Sylvie, as she and her daughter Lulu were thought to be responsible for teaching her black magic." If it's in the paper, it has to be true, right?
NC: (as Chuck, pointing offscreen) That Randolph Hearst guy wouldn't lie, right?
NC (vo): They discover something interesting happened to Bellows after she hanged herself.
Ramon: (reading paper) "In just one year, all her family members left."
Stella: But they didn't just leave the town!
NC (vo; as Stella): The town left them!
Offscreen voice: Will you knock it off?
Stella: They each have a story.
NC (vo): The book starts writing again, about a red spot, and they notice Chuck just spilled a bunch of ketchup on himself.
Chuck: I-I'm gonna die?! I don't wanna die!
Stella: (reading text as it appears) "A spider crawled across the young girl's cheek and bit her."
Chuck: Wait, young girl?
NC (vo; as Chuck): Well, there goes my reveal party. Thanks, book!
(We then cut to Chuck's sister, Ruth, who is dressing up for a play. But she has a spider bite on her cheek which becomes swollen. An acquaintance of hers notices.)
Acquaintance: Oh, honey, you need to do something about that.
(Ruth runs into the bathroom, where she spots just how swollen her face has become from the bite)
NC (vo): It's of course talking about his sister, who had a spider bite on her cheek that, just like in the book, (A matching illustration shows the same girl with spiders crawling out of her face) turns out to be a nest of eggs.
(As Ruth looks closely at herself in the mirror, the swollen bite suddenly explodes as tiny baby spiders start coming out of it! She screams in utter fright and clutches at her cheek. The spiders crawl out onto her hand.)
NC: I'll admit, I'm not (shrugs) particularly afraid of spiders, so I'm not sure if this scene is that scary. I think Tamara is, though. Hey, Tamara, is this scene scar–
(He stops, though, as he notices Tamara having fallen over with her legs up, presumably dead.)
NC: Okay, this scene works. (nods)
Malcolm: Aw, does that mean she doesn't want any (holds up a handful of worms) protein worms?
(Ruth falls down on the floor, screaming, as the spiders scurry everywhere.)
Chuck: Oh, my God! Ruth!
(Chuck and Stella find Ruth lying on the floor and screaming from the spiders)
NC (vo; as Chuck): Oh, come on! Just imagine they're smaller versions of your brother! (A shot of an earlier scene showing Chuck is shown in the corner) Oh, Christ, that's even more scary!
Creepy woman's voice: Who did that? Who did that? Who did that? Who did that?
NC (vo): She's taken to a hospital, so they try to look up one of the servers who used to work at the Bellows house.
Chuck: I had this messed-up dream again. (Ramon and Stella look at him with concern)
NC: (confused) Again? What do you mean, "again"? This is the first time you're mentioning it.
Chuck: I was trapped in the red room.
NC: Why are you saying "the red room", like we've heard of this before?
NC (vo): That fat, pale lady...keeps whispering, "This is an evil place."
NC: Why are you bringing this up now?
(The door opens.)
NC (vo): WE JUST RANG THE DOORBELL!
(In the door is a woman (played by Karen Glave).)
NC (vo; as this woman): You look like you were having a conversation about the red room. Everybody knows that story; it bears no repeating. But I'm sure you have several times organically. God, that was bad writing!
(She leads the kids into the house. On a TV in one room, Richard Nixon is giving a speech. The woman turns the TV off.)
Woman: Tricky Dicky. That's no name for a President.
NC (vo): Now, "Pussy-Grabbing Cheeto", that's a title I want to see.
(The woman turns to an older black woman, Lou Lou Baptiste (played by Lorraine Toussaint).)
Woman: Lou Lou, can you hear us?
(Lou Lou looks up, staring.)
NC: Oprah never did recover from Wrinkle In Time. (shakes head)
Lou Lou: (softly) There is no magic, child. There is only rage. (Chuck becomes fearful) You shouldn't have taken the book.
NC (vo; as Stella): We didn't take the book, the book took us! (as another offscreen voice) Okay, seriously! (normal) They're told that Sarah hanged herself at the hospital and not the house.
Chuck: Then what are we still doing here? Let's go!
(When we cut to an alternate angle of the room, Chuck is gone, as Stella and Ramon follow suit)
NC: Wow! He wanted to go there so fast...
NC (vo): ...he literally disappeared on the word "go"!
(The scene replays)
Chuck: Then what are we still doing here?
(The sound of Sonic the Hedgehog revving up and taking is added as Chuck leaves.)
NC (vo): They come across a recording of Sarah Bellows, and seemingly, the doctors tried to force a confession out of her.
Sarah: (on recording; crying) I didn't do it.
(The sound of electricity is heard, along with her crying out in pain.)
NC: It's nice hearing the original from (A shot of the following is shown in the corner...) Return to Oz.
NC (vo): Another story begins writing, and that incredibly well-built-up red room comes to life, and a pale woman with black eyes walks towards Chuck. Man, you stop giving attention to Bjork for a few years, and this is the comeback she plans.
Chuck: (running away from her, down the hall) Somebody help!
(To his horror, however, as he looks up, he spots the Pale Lady again, at the opposite end of the hall. He backs away.)
NC: The funny thing is, I never found that image...
(A shot of the Pale Lady from the original book (from a story called "The Dream") is shown.)
NC (vo): ...particularly creepy. If anything, I always thought she was kind of humorous-looking.
NC: But in my opinion, she's the scariest part of this movie.
NC (vo): No matter where Chuck goes, she's down every hallway, and on top of that, she's the same distance away in each one. So no matter where he turns, she keeps getting closer and closer. It's goddamn terrifying!
(Chuck sees the Pale Lady coming toward him, so tries to turn away, only to spot her coming toward him again, still closer. He turns again, only to keep running into her, inching ever closer, until finally, she grabs him and... uh, absorbs him into her body.)
NC: (waves dismissively) Oh, come on! It's not like he ever truly left the womb anyway.
(Ramon and Stella enter the hallway.)
Ramon: Chuck? Chuck!
(Stella looks down to spot Chuck's pen of Lola. She is aghast.)
NC (vo; as Stella): His porno pen! (She takes it) Oh, it's still sticky. (normal) They're caught sneaking in by the police, and Stella calls her dad, played by Dean Norris, from the police station.
Stella: (on the phone to her dad) You can't do anything about it.
Dad: No, no, you gotta help me out here, sweetie.
NC (vo; as Stella's dad): Once Breaking Bad ended, my roles have been getting smaller and smaller. I mean, Jesus, they're wasting me in this movie! I'm onscreen two minutes, and I'm clearly giving the best performance!
Dad: It's not your fault, Stella. It's not your fault she left. Please, please, please listen to me.
Stella: (as the police chief (played by Gil Bellows) hovers over her) I got to go.
Dad: It's not your fault, Stella. Please don't hang up.
Stella: I'm sorry.
Dad: It wasn't your– (He is cut off as she hangs up)
NC: (nods, then makes a "come here" motion with his finger) Give me your hand, movie. Give me your hand. (A hand reaches into the frame, and he slaps the back of it) That's for not using him more!
NC (vo): It's revealed that Ramon is actually a draft dodger, and the police try to force him to say where Chuck and the others are.
Police Chief: (putting Stella and Ramon behind bars) If you're not going in there, maybe a night behind bars will loosen those lips of yours.
NC (vo; as guard): Your stay in this cell with this pretty girl, that'll teach ya! (They are in two adjoining cells) Oh, they're in different cells. Eh, there's stuff they can still do.
Ramon: Two months ago, they shipped my brother back from Vietnam in...pieces.
NC (vo; as Ramon): Yeah, it was ballsy of them to mail him to us. Didn't even put "FRAGILE" on the box.
(On the police chief's desk, a TV is shown, displaying the run for U.S. President, showing the National Popular Vote, where Richard Nixon is leading by 43%, compared to Hubert Humphrey's 35% and George Wallace's 22%)
TV commentator: Uh, Richard Nixon is still holding a 43 and Humphrey 35...
NC (vo): So...
NC: ...you know...Scary Stories, Vietnam, Nixon... (shrugs) Just as the books intended!
NC (vo): The book once again starts writing a story, and this is sadly the only section taken from the original that's kinda lame: "The Jangly Man". It's also combined with another story, which, again, isn't a big deal, as the others were combinations, too, but this guy looks less like a "Scary Stories" ghost and more like a Beetlejuice character.
(A decapitated head falls into the police station and comes to life, speaking gibberish to the chief.)
Police Chief: (stunned) Are you shitting me?
NC: (as chief) That effect sucks balls!
(The other body parts appear and assemble, forming the Jangly Man, along with a shot of his feet from the book.)
NC (vo): In the books, you never see what he looks like, and though it is cool to see this really talented contortionist (A shot of said contortionist, Troy James, is shown off to the side) play him, look at what the first thing he does is...
(The Jangly Man having fully formed himself, he towers over the police chief, who only has a few seconds to stare in fear at him before the Jangly Man kills him by grabbing his head and snapping his neck. The Jangly Man roars as Stella and Ramon look on in alarm.)
NC (vo): Yeah, we go from slow-moving, often quiet, eerily built-up ghouls to a fast, loud, blood-hungry animal that moves more like a velociraptor than a disturbing presence creeping close by. It just doesn't match the other scares in the movie.
(The Jangly Man squeezes his head through the bars of Ramon's cell.)
Jangly Man: COWARD!
NC (vo): Ooh! That's gonna stay with me! (as some of the other monsters, eerie voice) "Where's my toe?" "This is an evil place!" (high-pitched voice) "COWARD!"
Jangly Man: COWARD!!
NC: (startled) Well...dork! (shudders)
(Having swiped the keys from the chief, Stella and Ramon unlike their cells and run for their lives from the Jangly Man.)
Ramon: Go, go, go!
(As they run, the TV showing Nixon winning the election is shown.)
NC: (stunned) Nixon's Gozer! Sorry, what are we doing?
NC (vo): They drive to the house with the Jangly Man chasing them, because, yeah, T-1000 car chase is exactly what I want to see in Scary Stories, and they try to appease the spirit of Sarah Bellows.
(As Stella enters the Bellows house, she runs into what looks like her grandmother, with dead white eyes.)
NC (vo): Aw, great, we're in that piece-of-shit Winchester flick! Does every horror film have to lie and say it's based on a true story now?!
(Stella hides under a table from a man (presumably Sarah's father) holding a belt. He finds her under there.)
Man: You can't hide from us!
NC (vo): She sees Sarah Bellows was the victim of an abusive family, and Stella tells her that by attacking others, she's becoming a monster herself. Yeah, we're just stealing from ParaNorman now.
Stella: (to Sarah, crying) You took my friends, two of the people I love most!
NC (vo; as Stella): Well, one-and-a-half. Okay, if you like half of each, that kind of makes one. Actually, you're kind of doing me a favor.
Stella: This is on you, Sarah. It's all on you.
NC (vo): Bellows is revealed to be Ed Harris in a wig, and Stella says if she lets them live, she'll tell the world the real story about how she was a victim.
Stella: (writing) "Sarah Bellows was innocent. She knew the truth."
(With a ghostly scream, Sarah disappears. Stella covers her ears and cringes.)
NC (vo; as Stella): Okay, the prose can use work, but it's still better than Dean Koontz!
(As Sarah disappears, Ramon, suspended in midair, falls to the ground. He gasps for breath.)
NC (vo): After that...pretty underwhelming climax, the two are let go, Stella tells her story, and Ramon is (imitating Chester A. Bum) gonna go to Vietnam and like it!
Ramon: (to Stella, about to get on the bus) Write me?
Stella: Every day.
NC (vo): Yeah, not only is he sent to war, but all the characters killed off don't come back.
NC: (looks quizzical) ...Sorta.
NC (vo): Stella says she's convinced there's some way in the book to find them, and they reveal that the sister is okay, like that's supposed to be some kind of big shock.
(As Stella leaves town with her father, a recovered Ruthie appears beside her in the car.)
NC (vo; feigned shock): What?! The person who wasn't dead isn't dead?! That's like The Sixth Sense if nothing happened to Bruce Willis!
Stella: (narrating) Chuck and Augie are still gone, but I know there is a way to bring them back...
(It's revealed she's holding the book in her lap.)
NC: (holds up hand) That's okay, we're good.
Stella: (narrating) ...and that the secret is in the book.
NC: Did you see...
NC (vo): ...the creeper faces they made at you?
NC: You don't need that in your life.
Stella: (narrating) And we... won't... stop... until we find them!
NC: Wasn't it Bellows who wrote the book to begin with? You're on good terms with her now, aren't you?
NC (vo): In fact, you're moving away from where she is! You're literally creating distance between you and the problem! It's like saying, "Look! That house is burning down! Better throw water on the fire station!" THIS MAKES NO SENSE! But...you know... (The image of Nixon on the TV from earlier is superimposed) Nixon! Goddamn Nixon! Tha-That's...
(The title is shown once more as the movie ends.)
NC (vo): ...Scary Stories To Tell In The... What was this?!?
NC: (frustrated, pounding his fists on the desk) Goddammit, as a "Scary Stories" fan, this movie is so...frustrating!
(Footage of the film is shown one last time as NC gives his final thoughts on it.)
NC (vo): Is it awful? No, not even close. But a lot of it is very standard or underwhelming, and I feel like a series as grand as "Scary Stories" deserves better. But on the other hand, when it does decide to be a "Scary Stories" movie, it does it right. It pushes the boundaries of what's acceptable in a horror film meant for younger people. I always talk about how a lot of kids' media is too coddled, but by God, this one isn't! It warns you that it's scary and it delivers the goods, doing so in a way that's not gory, but it's still frightening. I don't know, it's kind of like if the first Batman movie you ever got was (The poster for the following pops up...) Batman Forever; it'd probably be all right if you didn't have another Batman movie to compare it to, but you're still aware (The poster for The Dark Knight pops up) you could have gotten The Dark Knight. I guess I do recommend it for the good moments, and even the bad moments aren't terrible, they just feel like a lot of missed opportunities. It's not the masterpiece that "Scary Stories" deserves, but it does have just enough nightmare fuel to keep you up at night.
Guillermo del Toro: Do not worry, I will fix all of these problems when I direct the sequel. It is a passion project that I've been wanting to do for years.
(As Del Toro speaks, NC listlessly rolls his eyes upwards and then holds up his hand, lowering each finger one by one, in a "three, two, one" motion.)
Del Toro: Nah, on second thought, I am bored with it. (NC nods) Wait! I've got it! Witches 2! (gets up and leaves) Witches be crazy!
Malcolm: Well, thanks, Critic. These weren't quite the campfire stories I was expecting, but it was memorable.
NC: Yeah, I guess that sums up the movie pretty well, too, huh?
Tamara: You gonna be okay, Critic?
NC: Oh, yeah. I mean, I really am a "Scary Stories" fan, but I guess I can be thankful for the scary moments we got.
Tamara: No, I mean your home. It must be covered in flames by now.
(NC hears the sound of crackling flames and looks up to listen.)
NC: Is it possible for a ceiling to look like a bedsheet of flames?
NC: Then I think I'm good. I'm the Nostalgia Critic. I remember it so you don't have to.
(He gets up and leaves. He walks into his living room, which is on fire, not that NC is too bothered by this. He smiles at the flames surrounding him and sits down at a table that is not (yet) on fire.)
NC: (looking around at the flames) This is 2020.
(Cut through black to NC in his closet. He takes out two jackets, one his regular jacket and the other his Nostalgia-Ween jacket. He stares at them both quizzically.)
Voice in Nostalgia-Ween jacket (voiced by Doug): Come on, you know you want to do one more!
Voice in regular jacket (also voiced by Doug): But October will be over! He'll be living the past!
Nostalgia-Ween jacket: That's literally his job!
Regular jacket: You're literally his job!
Nostalgia-Ween jacket: What? Do one more!
(NC looks back and forth between the two jackets as they each try to get his attention.)
Regular jacket: No! It'd be weird!
Nostalgia-Ween jacket: One more!
Regular jacket: Weird!
Nostalgia-Ween jacket: One more!
Regular jacket: Weird!
Nostalgia-Ween jacket: One more!
Regular jacket: Weird!
(NC looks up, trying to come to a decision. Then smash-cut to a message reading, "WANT ONE MORE NOSTALGIA-WEEN EPISODE? LET US KNOW IN THE COMMENTS!")
Channel Awesome tagline – Chuck: And now for the poor dead car.
(The credits roll.)