Remember the classic ‘90s kid’s TV show Are You Afraid of the Dark? The Nickelodeon show remains iconic and memorable as ever (even if it doesn’t have a dedicated streaming home yet in the U.S.).
Every week, members of the Midnight Society would meet around the campfire to exchange scary stories. Told in anthology format, each week would tell a different story that were often twists on urban legends. Many famous actors appeared in episodes as guest stars like Ryan Gosling and Hayden Christensen. Everwood’s Gregory Smith even appears in a super classic train-themed episode.
The thing about Are You Afraid of the Dark? is that they were scary stories with a heart. Sure they were designed to be spooky, but more often than not, the stories taught lessons in morality by showcasing what could go wrong through lies, bullying and the value of teamwork and following your own instincts.
But what about the episodes that would haunt you long after you turned off the television set? We compiled a list of the Top 5 scariest episodes of Are You Afraid of the Dark? that are sure to send chills down your spine. Honorable mentions go to “The Tale of the Super Specs” and “The Tale of The Pinball Wizard” for having unsettling endings, but these five are eerie right from the jump.
5.) The Tale of the Dead Man’s Float
Most of the stories depicted on Are You Afraid of the Dark? typically involve a villain, but not necessarily a monster. Part of the joy of “The Tale of the Dead Man’s Float” is that the audience gets a bona fide monster. And not just any monster, but an ooey-gooey sendup to The Creature from the Black Lagoon.
The school at the center of this tale has had something lurking in its water for generations, causing students to disappear. When an underground swimming pool is reopened on site, whatever used to haunt the school comes back. The day is saved by some all-too-convenient science knowledge, but before that, the audience is treated to some fantastic scares by this creepy aquatic abomination.
4.) The Tale of the Lonely Ghost
In order to gain admittance into a new group of friends, Amanda must spend the night in the spooky, abandoned house next door. And even if it seems like no one lives there, rest assured there is a lonely spirit trapped inside it. One who’s ready to trap any and all potential playmates who venture over.
3.) The Tale of the Silent Servant
What would you do if you had a slave to do your bidding? In “The Tale of the Silent Servant,” our two main characters suddenly have a possessed scarecrow at their beck and call. All is fine and dandy when he repairs a window, finishes a fence and builds a baseball field, but things turn all the more sinister when he goes on a murderous mission on behalf of his new masters.
2.) The Tale of the Dark Music
The thing about Are You Afraid Of the Dark? episodes is that they typically all close with a feel-good ending to wrap things up, moving from spooky to safety. Not in the case of “The Tale of the Dark Music.” It only gets more sinister as it nears the finish line, closing on perhaps the darkest note in the show’s history.
Main character Andy is up against a neighborhood bully and is willing to make some dicey sacrifices to save his own skin. But that’s not the only reward… Not only is music key to the plot of this episode, certain shots of the episode’s bully are soundtracked with heavy metal in such an iconic way.
1.) Laughing In The Dark
One of the earliest episodes, “Laughing in the Dark” packs a one-two punch of combining two scary themes: clowns and the eeriness of being haunted. It all kicks off when the main character Josh steals a clown’s red nose to prove himself to his friends. However, he soon finds himself the victim of a vengeful spirit who wants what’s rightfully his to be returned. Sure, he seems to save his skin in the end, but it’s certainly not wrapped up in a bow… It’s an end apt to truly make you afraid of the dark.
What ‘Are You Afraid of the Dark’ episodes scare you the most? Let us know in the comments below!