It isn't just wild nostalgia that keeps you returning to the show, because, as the creepiest episodes of Are You Afraid Of The Dark prove, it's also the quality of its spooky storytelling. Many of the monsters, villains, twists, and scary moments of the show's seasons have stayed with fans over the years likely due to the huge impact they likely left on our fragile child minds. And though not every episode is as scary as we remember, there are still some that manage to pack a creepy punch when we re-watch them as adults.
Sometimes that's because the episode manages to nail a specific atmosphere that gets right under your skin. Other times, it's because the monsters were so sinister that they still seem threatening all these years later. And then there are the times when the very premise of the episode is pure paranoia fuel. But, no matter which one it is, with an Are You Afraid Of The Dark movie coming our way in Oct. 2019, you'll definitely want to start brushing up on your knowledge of the show well in advance.
While little is known about the plot of the movie or it's characters, it can't hurt to familiarize yourself with some of the show's scariest villains and moments, just in case they show up in the movie. So hunt all 16 of these creepy gems down immediately for a spooktastic marathon session.
1. "The Tale Of The Dark Music"
Bullied kid, Andy, discovers an audiophile monster in the basement of his new home, who happens to have a taste for human flesh as well as music. Seeing a mutually beneficial opportunity, Andy feeds his bullies to the monster in return for some amazing consumer goods. How the monster can procure such items is a strange and haunting mystery in and of itself.
2. "The Tale Of The Midnight Madness"
A vampire creature bearing more than a passing resemblance to Nosferatu walks off a cinema screen and enters the real world. The creature is horrifying, but so is the suggestion of there being a thin line between what we perceive to be fiction and reality.
3. "The Tale Of The Super Specs"
A pair of glasses from no-good magic shop owner Mr. Sardo give the wearer the ability to see shadowy beings from another dimension. Giggle all you want at the fact that a character called Weeds is the one who casts a spell on them to make them all spook-o-vision, but this episode is absolutely haunting.
4. "The Tale Of The Nightly Neighbors"
Like a cross between The Lost Boys and Salem's Lot, this episode follows brother and sister team, Emma and Dayday, as they follow up on their suspicion that their suburban neighborhood is overrun by vampires. Which, as they find out, is totally ridiculous. But wait. There's a final twist to it that will have you screaming with delight.
5. "The Tale Of The Shiny Red Bicycle"
Angst-ridden teenager Mike is haunted by visions of a childhood friend that he couldn't save from a tragic accident. Unlike other Are You Afraid Of The Dark episodes that rely on terrifying villains or horrifying finales, this episode is creepy for how human it is; the ghost is a metaphor for Mike's enduring guilt, and that's unsettling and poignant.
6. "The Tale Of The Frozen Ghost"
Melissa Joan Hart stars in this atmospheric ghost story in which two kids investigate a family mystery while helping a small, frozen ghost boy. As one does. It has a fun cabin in the woods vibe to it, but also features a lot of creepy beats throughout.
7. "The Tale Of The Ghastly Grinner"
Somehow a microwave brings a comic book character to life and it causes people to become cackling wrecks who puke blue slime from their jaws. It might not sound exactly like the stuff of nightmares, but it totally is.
8. "The Tale Of The Dollmaker"
Like a lost episode of Pretty Little Liars, this spooky tale follows the disappearance of a teenage girl and an elaborate dollhouse that looked just like her home. It's sinister, and you'll be shouting, "nope," at your screen by the finale.
9. "The Tale Of Laughing In The Dark"
Proof if ever you needed it that:
- Clowns are evil and,
- You should never ever steal from them.
Because they will most definitely track you down and make your life miserable. This episode is pure nightmare fuel and features the most hideous clown cackle ever heard.
10. "The Tale Of The Crimson Clown"
Possibly the scariest clown figure that the show ever did, the Crimson Clown is a haunting figure who likes to torture misbehaving children to teach them a lesson about being nice to people. If you hate clowns, then this is the episode for you.
11. "The Tale Of Station 109.1"
A.K.A The Ryan Gosling episode, which features the idea of a radio station specifically designed to ferry souls to the afterlife. It's not something that mortals should be tuning into, and the episode is pretty hair raising because of it.
12. "The Tale Of The Twisted Claw"
Clearly inspired by W.W. Jacobs’ short story “The Monkey’s Paw," this episode involves a magical claw that grants wishes to anyone who holds it. However, those wishes are never quite granted the way the kids of the episode expect...
13. "The Tale Of The Night Shift"
An eerie vampire tale in which young volunteer, Amanda, finds herself fighting against an ancient evil that is feeding upon (and turning) her hospital co-workers. You'll get the creeps every time you see another bitten hospital worker.
14. "The Tale Of The Whispering Walls"
This haunted house episode is spooky enough just to watch. But it also features some creepy details like a meta reference to Zeebo The Clown (from "The Tale Of Laughing In The Dark") and the TV show's theme playing on a jukebox during the episode, all of which give it a uniquely sinister edge.
15. "The Tale Of The Dead Man's Float"
If a swimming pool has been closed down and boarded up for 40 years, then it's likely for good reason. Like, say, it's haunted by a decrepit pool zombie that doesn't want the living entering his waters. Yup, that'll do it.
16. "The Tale Of The Curious Camera"
This scary tale involves a kid who realizes that he's invisible in school photos. Naturally, the photographer tries to make amends by giving him a sweet antique camera. Except the camera has a gremlin inside it and awful things happen to everyone he photographs.
Gather up your best macabre-loving chums, head out to the woods, and spark up a campfire. The Midnight Society is officially back in progress, and these are the creepiest episodes that you want to re-visit with the gang ASAP.