Thursday, January 12, 2012

Gammell vs Helquist

It has been brought to the attention of many a haunter and/or Halloween enthusiast that our favorite series of childhood ghost stories has now undergone the “R” word… redesign. Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark is a series that we have all grown up reading whether we read these tales to our friends over a campfire, in the library, or under the covers with a flashlight. With all the hype these books brought to our childhood, we always looked forward to getting the wits scared out of us from these books. However, as we all know, what really kept us coming back were not so much thestories, as it were the illustrations. Stephen Gammell’s drawings from this series gave the stories their true edge. Their abstract and disturbing imagery really sunk deep down into our psyches, and boy did they give us a few nightmares. Who could forget the stern look on "Harold"’s face as he hung form a think rob by a string, or the eyes of "The Thing," not to mention the spiders hatching in "The Red Spot", or the lifeless skull of the woman in “The Haunted House?” How about Addy Finch walking toward us with her cane, or even the simple blood dripping from the window in “Sounds?” All of these images, although gruesome were ones we remember from our childhood and are still ones we look to for spooky inspiration.

Stephen Gammell's Covers

After hearing about the new look of the “Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark,” series, I had to check it out at The Haunted Closet & Adventures in Poor Taste. I have to admit that I am really fond of the new drawings, they are incredibly charming, uniform, and still spooky. I have become a big fan of Helquist since I finished The Series of Unfortunate Events, where his work was outstanding.

Brett Helquist's Covers

But of course, they lack the intensity, wildness, and bizarreness that Gammell’s incredible work brought to our young lives. I do admire their beauty and style, but while looking at the compared drawings I can’t help but wonder if this ‘redesign’ was done to purposely make the drawings less scary…

Stephen Gammell's Harold

Brett Helquist's Harold

I am not a conspiracy theorist, but I must say that it seems the intentions behind the change were indeed to keep things a little less disturbing for the future generation. If this is so, then I say if we could do, they can too! At the end of the day, I must say both versions have a beauty all their own, and at least they are both spooky. Although, as Haunters, we are a very nostalgic people... hopefully the future generation will still keep going back Scary Stories like we did, regardless. Hey, every kid's got to have their nightmares, right?

No comments:

Post a Comment