People who watched the original Are You Afraid of the Dark? on Nickelodeon back in the '90s may still have nightmares about the spooky stories that the Midnight Society told. But now one of those stories is coming to life in the Are You Afraid of the Dark? reboot trailer. In the clip, a new member of the Midnight Society shares "The Tale of the Carnival of Doom" and then, the carnival with a frightening ringmaster named Mr. Tophat comes to town, just like in the story. And, as if a made-up scary story becoming real wasn't horrifying enough, the trailer gives off major It vibes, thanks to Midnight Society's Graham, who is played by Jeremy Ray Taylor, aka Young Ben in It and It Chapter Two.
The trailer starts off with inducting Rachel (Lyliana Wray) into the Midnight Society, where she must submit her first scary story by the campfire for their approval. Normally, that would be where the scares end in a '90s episode of Are You Afraid of the Dark?. But this three-part miniseries ups the ante by bringing "The Carnival of Doom" story (which is brand new to AYAOTD cannon) to real life. And, once the carnival arrives, Rachel and the rest of the Midnight Society, Gavin (Sam Ashe Arnold), Akiko (Miya Cech), Louise (Tamara Smart), and Graham (Taylor), must figure out a way to stop this waking nightmare.
Over the course of Are You Afraid of the Dark?'s seven seasons, creepy clowns were a bit of a recurring motif — like Zeebo the Clown from "The Tale of Laughing in the Dark" and the Crimson Clown. But "The Carnival of Doom" is chock full of the manic laughter of clowns and other creepy carnival characters. While the main villain of the new Are You Afraid of the Dark? is the non-clown ringleader Mr. Tophat (Rafael Casal of Blindspotting), two male clowns can be spotted watching the Midnight Society and chasing them in the new trailer. It star Taylor just can't seem to get away from creepy clowns, and his Are You Afraid of the Dark? character Graham seems equally over it when he says, "That smile will haunt my dreams forever."
But it's not just clowns and ringmasters who are after the Midnight Society in the Are You Afraid of the Dark? reboot. The trailer also teases water-dwelling zombies that the kids must contend with. It's not clear how they fit into the carnival and three-ring circus theme, but the zombies attacking Smart's Louise in the water definitely adds to the It vibes, since Pennywise loves those sewers.
Even though the original Are You Afraid of the Dark? episodes left you hiding under the covers, if you watched now as an adult, they probably wouldn't scare you (as much). But this new Are You Afraid of the Dark? miniseries looks like it will contain some genuine scares for viewers of all ages. Because whether you're young or old, it's a truth universally acknowledged that clowns are always scary. So when the first part of the new Are You Afraid of the Dark? premieres on Oct. 11, you'll be just as terrified as you were as a kid.