Drawing heavily on folklore and urban legend, Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark is a series of children’s books written by Alvin Schwartz and illustrated by Stephen Gammell. The set of three books, the first instalment published in 1981, captured the hearts and imaginations of youngsters across America. Along with his peers, Schwartz paved the way for the likes of R.L. Stine’s Goosebumps series.

With a feature film scheduled for this summer, courtesy of André Øvredal and Guillermo del Toro, these books are destined to reach a new generation of avid minds. In Scary Stories, director Cody Meirick looks back at the controversy generated around the books at the time and why they were so popular; investigating their Lasting appeal. He does this through a mix of interviews, archive footage and animation.

Scary Stories does a good job a setting the release of Schwartz’s ‘Scary Stories’ in the context of the era, getting to the heart of their enduring popularity. They inspired a generation of American children and influenced a whole swathe of artists. Whilst the campaign to ban them seems laughable now, it was a serious business at the time. Scary Stories is a lively documentary about a phenomenon which swept America.

Scary Stories will be available on VoD In America on 7 May and released on DVD on 16 July.