If you follow warrenisweird on Facebook, [which if you don’t, you definitely should] you probably saw this post referencing a TV show from my [very scarred] childhood: Are You Afraid Of The Dark? Along with shows like Tales From The Cryptkeeper and Goosebumps, this was a show that I used to watch almost religiously, even though it would give me indefinite nightmares after every episode. By sharing that one video clip on Facebook, I started to remember just how terrifying Are You Afraid Of The Dark? really was, especially for something that was marketed towards kids who were just getting into horror such as myself. I decided [against my better judgement] to delve back into the show and dig up past nightmares and make a list of my top 05 episodes [in no particular order] that I would argue are the scariest from my childhood, and to some degree, still are! As you can expect, spoilers will be involved with every submission below, so tread lightly if you are worried about finding out the “twist!”
Submitted For The Approval Of The Midnight Society, I call this story: WARRENISWEIRD’s TOP 05 SCARIEST “Are You Afraid Of The Dark?” EPISODES
“The Tale Of The Captured Souls” [Season 01]
Starting off with the “not so scary,” we have an episode from early in the series that follows Danielle and her family’s lakeside vacation that [almost] goes dead wrong! When Danielle and her family arrive for their holidays, they meet a strange man by the name of Peter: the abnormal [and young] inn keeper. The inn itself is also strange, covered with mirrors that shock whoever touches them because of, as Peter says, “old wiring.” [Because everyone knows that mirrors are usually wired, right?] During their stay, Danielle and her family begin to feel drained, and notice more than a couple new grey hairs growing on their heads. Eventually, we learn that the [wired] mirrors from before are actually part of a more elaborate plan to drain the inn’s guests of their souls, which will effectively keep Peter forever young. What doesn’t help is when Danielle stumbles upon Peter’s “graveyard” – a place where he keeps a collection of all the souls he’s stolen over the years. After Danielle discovers that Peter is behind everything after discovering his “soul-sucking lab.” Peter offers a truce: he will give Danielle the chance to join him in his quest for eternal youth. As expected, she instead destroys his bizarre science project; which ends with him becoming an old and ancient man, saving her parents from having their souls taken.
“The Tale Of The Super Specs” [Season 01]
If you were a big enough fan of the series, you probably remember Sardo’s Magic Shop. It was a plot point of many of the “Tales” that revolved a “magic/mystical item.” While a lot of the items were unique – and sometimes terrifying – none of Sardo’s “tools” were as traumatizing as his “Super Specs.” That’s where this episode comes in. While wearing the Super Specs, Mary Beth is given the ability to see things that aren’t really there. These “things” can range from a tea kettle whistling on the stove to figures cloaked in black. Soon enough, she learns that these specs have been cursed with a “second sight,” which opens a window into an alternate dimension. After explaining the situation to Sardo, he agrees to help Mary Beth clear her home of these dark visions, but his lack of experience in magic [irony?] ends up causing a “cosmic imbalance” which grants the [dark] creatures full access to our world. What makes this episode so scary is that it ends with our hero’s demise, which if I’m honest, is a lot to take in for a kid.
“The Tale Of The Ghastly Grinner” [Season 04]
If you have been a follower of warrenisweird for a while now – or you know me in real life – you are probably aware that I have an irrational fear of clowns. This particular Tale did not help that cause.. In the picture above, you are looking into the eyes of this entry’s villain, The Ghastly Grinner: an evil comic book character bent on making life for a young boy [Ethan] a living hell. Like most days in the early 1990s, it all started when our “hero” went to the opening of a new comic book store in town. [back when the days were easier] The store’s owners offered him a “one-of-a-kind” comic which featured the monstrosity above, who causes people to laugh uncontrollably and spit up blue goo.. [Gross! Why Nickelodeon?!] Before putting his new [and rare] collector’s item with the rest of his comic book memorabilia, Ethan accidentally spills a glass of water on it. Instead of cleaning the mess up like a normal human would, he decides to microwave the comic book.. because, of course he does. Bad news for Ethan though, because the radiation [somehow] brings the comic book villain to life! After The Ghastly Grinner starts freaking people out all over town – including a young Warren who cannot look away from the TV – Ethan decides [responsibly] to take matters into his own hands by creating a new comic book; in order to defeat The Grinner. Somehow though, he manages to get trapped inside the comic, thus bringing him face to face with the gut-busting villain.. Although this episode is more silly than anything, The Grinner himself scarred me like any – and every – clown before him. That reason alone earns it a spot on this list.
“The Tale Of The Dead Man’s Float” [Season 05]
Oh yes, that episode. The one from what I shared on Facebook. [see beginning of post] This Tale centers around Zeke, a geeky teenager who yearns to get close to a girl by the name of Clorice, [wait! Is that a chlorine pun?!] the super-cute captain of the swim team. In exchange for helping with her chemistry homework, she decides to give him swimming lessons. [definitely a fair trade as far as I am concerned!] Naturally, Zeke is eager to impress her, he takes her to their school’s abandoned swimming pool [which, for plot reasons, is mysteriously still filled with water] to begin his “lessons.” But this specific pool has been hidden for a good reason: It was built on top of an old graveyard, and now the spirits are angrier than ever! That’s when we meet the zombie/skeleton hybrid above. Don’t worry though, because in the end, Zeke uses his super-chemistry skills/nerdiness to defeat the evil skel-zombie, he gets the girl, and even learns how to doggie paddle!
“The Tale Of Laughing In The Dark” [Season 1]
ANOTHER CLOWN! And worst of all, this is the episode I remember the most! [it’s also only the second in the show’s history] This final Tale takes us back the Great Depression, when a scheming Zeebo The Clown decides to steal some cash from the carnival’s payroll. While on the run, he hides in the fun-house, which proved to be a mistake as he then accidentally burns it [and himself] to the ground with his cigar ash. Years later, the carnival rebuilds the fun-house, placing a dummy of Zeebo inside as a memorial to the clown who died inside [reminder, the guy robbed them! ..I don’t get that logic either] Flash forward to the 1990s,when a little punk of a kid named Josh decides to swipe the Zeebo dummy’s nose as a way to prove he isn’t afraid of his town’s local legend: the fun-house is haunted. But he should be. Because soon he is visited by the ghost of Zeebo, who begins terrorizing Josh at home, at school, and even making threatening phone calls. On a happier[?] note, The clown got his nose back at the end of the episode. However, a clown who laughs in the dark is no friend of mine!
Of course there are so many other episodes I could have covered in this list – 91 episodes total – that I probably forgot some of the more important ones! Which episode of Are You Afraid Of The Dark? scared You the most? If you liked this post, let me know in the comments below! [In the future, I may just do a Goosebumps version of this list!] As always, if you find yourself to enjoy what I do on here, then please take a minute and follow me over on my Facebook page [we’re at over 180+ likes – let’s get to 200!] By clicking that “like” button, you’ll see every post from warrenisweird the very moment it’s been “gone live” online; and I also share links to articles and pictures/videos that will not be featured here on the blog.
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