Halloween Memories: Are You Afraid of the Dark

Submitted for the approval of the Midnight Society…(giant flame)…this is the tale of the lame 26 year old that recently started re watching all 91 episodes of this amazing show.

That’s right, I don’t know if it was nostalgia, the fact that I have already begun to celebrate Halloween or that I get so bored at my “real” job from time to time that I sit around watching video I’ve downloaded of old tv shows when I should probably be working. At any rate I had been on a Pete and Pete kick for the last month or so and now that I am through those I decided to start on Are You Afraid of the Dark.

Being that we are in the midst of 40 days of Halloween here at HEY STUPID! I decided to write up an article about it. “Are You Afraid of the Dark was a show that used to come on a U.S. station called Nickelodeon. Now, if you are old enough to remember what the OZONE (not the one that has been rapidly depleting for the last 20 years) was you should be able to remember back when Nickelodeon was THE station for kids. I don’t mean jackass 3- 10 year olds either, I mean the programming on that station at the time was awesome because they actually had shows that spoke to adolescents as people and didn’t dumb it down. Back when there were shows like “You Can’t Do That on Television”, “Hey Dude”, “The Adventures of Pete and Pete”, “Clarissa Explains It All”, “Count Duckula”, “David the Gnome”, “Don’t Just Sit There” and “Salute Your Shorts’ on the air. Long before the era of Blues Clues. Hell I remember a time when Nickelodeon was even considered a little bit dangerous, parents would feel that their precious little darlings could become little smart asses from watching a show where people got “slimed”.

Are You Afraid of the Dark originally aired between ’91 and ’96 then made a return with all new episodes in ’99 and ’00. Basically it was about a bunch of kids that met in the woods and told ghost stories to each other. They would sit around a campfire and as near as I can tell when the story was over they would go their separate ways. The most bad ass thing about this show is that most of the tales were based on old fairy tales, Hitchcock tales and stories from the Twilight Zone.

The directors of the show didn’t seem to be afraid of actually terrifying the hell out of little kids either. My wife was actually traumatized by that show as a kid, she couldn’t even hear the theme music without getting freaked out. Since we’ve been watching it together she’s realized that’s pretty lame, but at the time, hell yeah that was some pretty spooky shit.

Lets talk about a few of my favorite episodes…

The Tale of the Phantom Cab: This was the pilot episode and the one that hooked me in. It’s a story about two kids lost in the woods and after nightfall they find some one out walking around with a flash light. They ask the dude for help and he takes them to this crazy old man’s cabin. He askes them some riddles and when they get one wrong he gives them the boot. The end up getting picked up by “The Phantom Cab”.

The Tale of the Twisted Claw: This is pretty much the classic tale “The Monkey’s Paw”, but it was still exectued really well. Two friends are trick or treating and an old woman gives them a twisted claw. The claw grants wishes, but no one likes the result.

Tale of the Captured Souls: Basically camera’s steal your soul.

The Tale of Midnight Madness: There is an old theater showing a vampire movie made bay a crazy old man. People show up in droves to watch the flick, but as it turns out the vampire actually comes out of the screen and feasts on audience members.

The Tale of Apartment 214: This one is fucked up. This is an amazing episode even beyond the standards of a kids horror show, and this is the episode that caused my wife to be spooked out by this show for years. This chick and her mom move into a new building. The chick meets an old lady who lives in the building and they become friends. One night she promised the old lady she would go hang out with her, but then she never did. The old lady snaps and starts hunting the chick. Eventually you find out the old woman has been dead the whole time.

The tale of the Quicksilver: This episode reminded me a lot of Poltergeist. A house was built on a cemetery, there is an evil spirit lurking in the walls, some girl tries to capture it and remove but she dies, eventually two brothers move in and discover the ghost.

This show actually had a lot of guest stars (usually from other Nickelodeon shows) but it was still cool as a kid to see faces you recognized from other shows. Elisha Cuthbert even got her start there.

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