Alvin Schwartz's Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark became infamous after its initial 1981 release, thanks in no small part to Stephen Gammell's horrific illustrations. In 2011, however, HarperCollins re-released the book of terrifying stories, replacing the original images with benign art from A Series of Unfortunate Events illustrator Brett Helquist.
In place of the haunting, wispy drawings of crumbling corpses and ethereal ghosts, Helquist contributed less evocative and more kid-friendly images. The changes backfired, though, with some critics calling the new artwork disrespectful and boring.
Though HarperCollins restored Gammell's original art with an updated Scary Stories trilogy in 2017, the contrast between the cleaned-up and classic versions remains shocking.
Two men create a scarecrow that looks like Harold, a farmer they hate. They insult and abuse the scarecrow, but it starts making noise and moving by itself. Eventually, the straw figure captures and skins one of its tormentors.
Sam's New Pet
Sam's mother discovers what she believes is a dog while vacationing in Mexico. Smuggling the animal back home, the mother presents it to Sam as a pet. The rescued animal seems to suffer from a strange affliction, though.
A trip to the vet reveals the pet is actually a sewer rat with rabies.
The Haunted House
A preacher visits a haunted house and spends the night at the property, reading his Bible in hopes of deterring any spirits. A ghost appears, however, and tells the preacher someone killed, robbed, and improperly buried her. She asks the preacher to dig up her remains and put a bone from her little finger in his church collection plate to identify the killer.
When the culprit touches the bone on Sunday, it sticks to his finger. The killer eventually confesses to the murder and goes to jail. After giving the dead woman a proper burial, the preacher discovers the rest of her money and donates it to the church.