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‘Are You Afraid of the Dark?’: The Midnight Society’s Scariest Stories

Photo: Nickelodeon

Upon seeing a friend of mine mention how Are You Afraid of the Dark? was a pivotal gateway into her love for horror the other day I wondered why isn’t there an Are You Afraid of the Dark? film yet. Now is the perfect time to create an Are You Afraid of the Dark? film. Of course when I went to Google I learned good news. The good news is this is the case according to Variety on October 11, 2019. In many ways, I desire the old format. I think treating the film like a V/H/S film would be brilliant. Let the kids still tell the stories. With further reading I have learned they are taking more of a Goosebumps approach. Of course, I loved Goosebumps and am looking forward to Goosebumps 2. After all, who would not want to take a look into the books that took a generation by storm? In many ways Are You Afraid of the Dark? was the gateway into the world of horror films for an entire generation as well.

The tales every week took us on a journey for thirty minutes wondering whether the kids in the tales would make it out unscathed.  While many episodes I remember, five specific episodes left such an imprint on me I still randomly talk about them among friends.  I also remember a young Ryan Gosling starring in one of these tales entitled The Tale Of Station 109.1 that also left me rather creeped out. The whole week afterward I recall not wanting to touch any radio dial and wondering why I still put myself through the show.  I know now that this was my first taste of enjoying fear and understanding that what was on the screen could not and would not harm me.

Today I am left taking a walk down memory lane and submitting for the midnight society’s approval the top five stories that deserve a reboot in the upcoming film if the film were held around a campfire like in the good ‘ol days.

5. The Tale Of Laughing In The Dark

I’m not afraid of clowns and yet something about this face is still absolutely terrifying. I am also reminded why the smaller haunts at carnivals are far worse than going to Netherworld. While I scream walking through Netherwrold, when I walked through a haunted house with sensors in the floor in the complete dark I felt claustrophobic. No escape was near. Whereas the Netherworld workers show you the exit. The thought of going to a haunted house that was actually haunted by the spirit of someone who passed on is mildly intriguing though. I cannot say that I would be brave enough to go inside the house yet alone steal the nose off the animatronic of the spirit that supposedly haunts the house. Why ask for that much trouble?

4. The Tale Of The Dollmaker

I am so glad no dollhouses left in my house after this tale. I cannot even fathom a dollhouse taking me captive and attempting to turn me into a doll. I’m not sure if it would be worse knowing I was in another dimension or feeling the stiffness take over my body. I’m assuming the latter. Considering Susan, the girl who disappears from her home in this episode, loses her hand at one point in the episode we debate if it is too late for an escape. Thankfully the two manage to escape, but the what if thoughts remain. What if Melissa had not overheard her aunt and uncle discussing the dollhouse?  What if she was not determined to save her friend? Ultimately what bothers me the most about this tale is the thought of seeing those around me hunting for me but not having the ability to voice my location in order for them to save me.

3. The Tale Of The Ghastly Grinner

The reason I found The Ghastley Grinner so horrifying when I was younger is that I used to sit around and make up my own comics as well. I related to Ethan and the path he wanted to venture down one day in life. Comics were a big part of my childhood. I found myself imaging various fearsome villains having appearing in the real world.  The though is unimaginable.  Though when I was younger I imagined The Riddler and various other Batman characters.  Now I imagine Thanos as the character that would somehow make his way out of the comics and want to protect all my loved ones from him.  The Grinner himself is one of those characters from my childhood that has remained with me throughout the years.  When going back through the episodes a few years back I immediately recognized him.  I imagine that most people that watched this episodes remembers him as one of the most frightening villains of the society’s stories.  I know I do.

2. The Tale Of The Dead Man’s Float

This image has haunted me for years. I love going swimming. Pools have been my life since a very young age so when this episode aired I was suddenly grateful my parents purchased an above ground pool. Could you imagine jumping into the water and feeling something pull you down? To me this is a fate scarier than Jaws. The thought reminds me of a young Jason Voorhees in the water, who is oddly less scary than a corpse coming up from the depths of a pool to insist one joins him in the after life. The scariest part of this tale to me was always that the school built a pool on top of an old cemetery.  The haunting of the pool is quite simple.  They simply forgot to move one of the bodies. Despite the fact the initial tale takes place in the 1950s I still want to shout out DID NO ONE LEARN FROM POLTERGEIST!?  We do not build on top of old cemeteries ever.  Period.  Don’t do it. If one must though, which again I don’t recommend, they should make sure ALL the bodies are removed.

1. The Tale Of The Midnight Madness

I have always felt that this particular tale is the scariest of all to me because I love going to the movies. My father and I have a standing tradition of attending a movie Halloween and watching whatever new horror film is out that October. The idea of the monster coming off the screen and into the theater always made for the scariest episode. Could you imagine Pinhead coming after you? Me either. I don’t want to. Maybe this Nosferatu inspired vampire would not be as frightening, but something tells me that’s not the case. Any horror villain that can transport themselves from the screen to reality is the scariest thought process I could imagine. After all, The Ring frightened so many people back in 2002 for a reason.  No one wanted to imagine Samara coming after them either. While I love horror films, I prefer that they stick to the silver screen or the big screen in my living room.  There’s no need to actually meet these horror villains.  Unless I am able to meet the people behind these masks because that’s always a good day.

Were you a fan of Are You Afraid of the Dark? growing up?  What was your favorite episode?  What are you expecting to see from the upcoming film?  Let us know in the comments below.