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Are You Afraid Of The Dark? Is Still Really Fucking Scary 20 Years Later

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This is one kids show that really does stand the test of time.

Back when I was a kid I was lucky enough to have Nickelodeon which meant that every night at 6:30 (at least in one point in my life), I could tune in to Are You Afraid Of The Dark? and usually get the absolute shit scared out of me thanks to another meeting of The Midnight Society.

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For those of you unaware, Are You Afraid Of The Dark? was a spooky anthology series for kids where a bunch of kids would gather around a campfire and tell a scary story each week. The thing about it was that the stories were actually really frightening and you could kind of tell it was going to be like that thanks to the creepy opening, and even more shockingly a bunch of them will still have you quivering today.

You can find below a few of our favourite episodes, I’ve included the full YouTube links to each one and a short synopsis of them as you could really find worse ways to spend your time today then watching them. They’re only 25 minutes so it won’t take that long and it’s probably way better to experience them yourself then to just read about them:

The Tale Of Laughing In The Dark

This one is all about an evil clown named Zeebo who dies in a circus fire and then decides to return to haunt the funhouse and scare the crap out of all the kids visiting it. One 12 year old kid named Josh thinks that he’ll go through the fun house and steal Zeebo’s nose to prove that he’s a badass, but he gets way more than he bargained for.

Of course, with the whole killer clown thing doing the rounds at the moment this is all the more scary but even without that I think I would probably find it pretty spooky hearing Zeebo’s weird laugh and voice in the dark. If you’re not into clowns maybe give it a miss.

The Tale Of The Dollmaker 

This one was supremely creepy. It begins with a girl called Melissa going to visit her aunt and uncle in the country for the summer and being especially excited by the prospect as her best friend Susan also lives next door. Unfortunately though when she arrives, she finds out that Susan has mysteriously disappeared. Uh oh.

Not to spoil it for you (kinda a spoiler) but it turns out that Susan has actually been trapped in a haunted dollhouse in her attic which slowly turns anyone who sets foot in it via a secret door into a porcelain doll. It’s pretty fucking weird and creepy seeing people turn into dolls FYI.

The Tale Of The Chameleons

Not only does this episode star the future stars of Nickelodoen’s Sister Sister Tia and Tamara, it also features one of the gloriously scary depressing and messed up endings that the show later became famed for in select episodes. No spoilers though so you’ll just have to watch it to find out what I mean.

The basic plotline of the story though is that a girl gets bitten by a chameleon in a pet store which somehow causes the reptile to morph into her evil twin who plans to take over the town by turning more evil chameleons into human replicants. You can probably guess what happens in the end but it’s still pretty crazy they put that in a children’s show – nightmares for a week when I was a kid. There’s also a creepy shower scene for those of you that had a thing for Sister Sister when you were little. Or still do.

The Tale Of The Nightly Neighbours

This is like an even more PG13 version of The Burbs. It follows the story of a girl named Emma and her brother named Dayday (what?) who come to suspect their new neighbours of being vampires.

All the usual telltale signs are there – they only go out at night, dark clothes, weird accents, they’re storing vials of blood in the basement etc, but it turns out that there’s a rational explanation for all this. OR IS THERE? There’s a great tense finale of our two heroes rummaging around in their neighbour’s basement only to hear them descending the stairs, followed by a twist that you probably wouldn’t see coming that doesn’t seem to spell a happy ending for our protagonists.

The Tale Of The Pinball Wizard

This one was particularly great because it involved malls, pinball and video games, all of which I was obviously really into when I was growing up. It tells the story of a guy named Ross who is completely sick at pinball and is a regular visitor at Mr Olson’s store.

There’s one machine that Mr Olson tells Ross never to play though, and when he does he again gets way more than he bargained for as he ends up trapped inside some kind of video game with literally no way out unless he ends up completing it. This is a pretty sick episode, made even better by the fact that it’s got a complete fucker of an ending that comes out of nowhere for no real reason. Unlucky Ross.

Enjoy those? Obviously they’re not absolutely horrific but like I said, they still kinda creeped the fuck out of me. If you need more a fix though, check out the 13 most bleak and disturbing movies of all time. Should help you out.


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