The most interesting aspect of this documentary, to me, was the parts dealing with the SCARY STORIES TO TELL IN THE DARK books and their battles against censorship. Not that the rest of it isn’t totally watchable. The biography of the book’s creator, Alvin Schwartz (they really didn’t make much out of the life’s story of artist Stephen Gammell, whose work is every bit as integral to the success of the books as Schwartz’s writing, as Gammell declined to appear in the documentary) is reverent and engaging, and the animations used for the project are evocative of the artwork from the books and worth the price of admission alone. But it’s with the censorship stuff where the meat meets the bone.
They got one of the big-haired small-minded prigs from back in the day to appear in the documentary. Her hair now is not so big but she’s still a well-meaning but small-minded, ignorant prig. What people like her will never, perhaps can never understand, is that Art like the SCARY STORIES books allows children a safe space, a safe means to learn to deal with fear. Deprived of such an outlet, children grow up handicapped psychologically, woefully unprepared to deal with the horrors of the real world. But I’m risking getting up on a soapbox and thus getting off the topic, which is the documentary, so I will just conclude by giving it my highest recommendation.