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Are You Afraid of the Dark? screenwriter says he's not diluting the creepiness of original series

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Sep 7, 2018

It's been nearly two decades since the Midnight Society last met to tell scary stories around a campfire, but the crackling flames won't be extinguished forever.

Paramount Pictures is currently working on a film version of Nickelodeon's Are You Afraid of the Dark? and the project's screenwriter Gary Dauberman (It: Chapter One, The Nun) has offered a little tease of what the movie will be about. 

“It is a completely original story I came up with, but it still has the Midnight Society and it still has the campfire,” he told /Film. “It’s still a story being told.”

Running between 1990 and 2000 for a total of seven seasons and 91 episodes, Are You Afraid of the Dark? was a Twilight Zone-esqie anthology series (created by D. J. MacHale and Ned Kandel), where a group of kids (the aforementioned Midnight Society) told tales of supernatural horror around a fire in the dead of night.

Each episode was devoted to one story and usually closed with one of the members pouring water onto the fire to put it out. If you grew up in the '90s, you probably remember the show scaring you silly. As a fan of the original, Dauberman didn't want to dilute the genuine creepiness of the show's content. 

"That show is so important to me," he said. "I didn’t want to age it down too much because for it’s time, it had some really disturbing episodes and some really dark episodes. Not every story the Midnight Society told ended with happily ever after or a person learning their lesson and it will never happen again. I really embraced that side of things and I think it’s been a long time. I think fear is healthy for kids. I don’t think we have to always sand down the edges of things and that’s something I really wanted to do with Are You Afraid of the Dark? I think it is scary and I think kids will be scared watching it at times, and also they’ll laugh at times. I think it’s got a great message. I think it’s got a great heart to it but it is still scary. I think that’s great. I think it’s going to open it up to a wider audience."

The Midnight Society will convene for the first time in almost 20 years when Are You Afraid of the Dark? opens in theaters Oct. 11, 2019. No director has been hired yet.