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HarperCollins Released An Updated Version Of 'Scary Stories' With New Illustrations

Updated September 21, 2018 12.2k votes 1.6k voters 48.7k views17 items

List RulesVote up the tamest new illustrations.

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.

  • 1

    The Wonderful Sausage

    Butcher Samuel Blunt murders his wife, grinds up her flesh, and hides her bones under a rock. Samuel mixes his wife's remains with animal meat and begins selling the grisly mixture in his shop. The townspeople can't get enough of the special recipe, so Samuel starts harvesting citizens to keep up with demand.

    An ill-fated attempt to kill a rather large boy exposes the butcher, and he eventually disappears.

  • 2

    The Red Spot

    A girl named Ruth gets a red spot on her face after being bitten by a spider. The spot grows into a bulbous infection before exploding and expelling baby spiders.

  • 3

    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.

  • 4


    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.