Happy 25th anniversary, “Are You Afraid of the Dark?”
The beloved Nickelodeon show was billed for kids, but honestly, it gave us more nightmares than “Goosebumps” ever could, starting with its very appropriately timed premiere on Halloween 1991.
Despite its constant flow of scary tales, it’s tough to find a ’90s kid who doesn’t hold a special place in their heart for this fright fest, because, let’s face it, we all wanted to be members of the Midnight Society.
We can still hear the freezing kid ghost slowly uttering, “I’m. Cold.” That creepy twisted claw from the show’s premiere is forever etched into our brains. We still don’t understand why some buildings even have a 13th floor. And, yes, we still secretly wish we were in that haunted mall, that haunted pinball arcade, that haunted dollhouse… OK, all of the haunted everythings. On second thought, we wouldn’t want to visit Zeebo the Clown — wasn’t “It” bad enough?
We especially cannot forget the lonely ghost who lived on the other side of the mirror, that terrifying, pale girl who scrawled “HELP ME” over every inch of wall space she could find.
And we still get nauseous looking at the bloody skeleton from “The Tale of the Dead Man’s Float.”
Seriously, our parents let us watch this? It was so good, but holy crap this is terrifying… and we’re adults now. (Sort of.)
What the show also had going for it was an uncanny ability to cast kid actors with major talent. Filmed and produced in Canada, “AYATD” plucked heavily from a pool of ambitious young thespians born in the Great White North.
That list includes Ryan Gosling, Emily VanCamp, and Jay Baruchel, though Americans like Neve Campbell and Will Friedle were a part of the campfire tales as well. As you may recall, their faces were much less scary:
Submitted for the approval of the Midnight Society are the now-famous faces who appeared on the classic show.
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