Are you afraid of the dark? If you swear you're not, are you afraid of faceless people, pool monsters, shapeshifting zombies, creepy kids that randomly walk out of walls, or stalker clowns?
Your answer will be submitted for the approval of the Midnight Society.
Nineties kids who watched Nickelodeon’s Are You Afraid of the Dark? probably had these ghouls haunting their nightmares for years. This horror anthology series was supposed to be sort of like Tales From the Crypt for kids (though you could argue that was already done with the Tales From the Cryptkeeper cartoon).
Instead of some undead thing welcoming you to its cobwebbby lair and narrating scary stories, the show would flicker to life with a match that lit itself in the opening credits—if anyone knows how that was actually possible, paranormally or otherwise, please say something—and center on a group of teens who called themselves the Midnight Society. They would always be sitting around a fire that was just as mysteriously lit. Nickeloden was terrified of showing kids lighting matches on TV, so you just have to assume it was a ghost.
Another thing the writers did to make sure they weren’t swarmed by angry parents was to borrow many of the stories from Edgar Allan Poe. That way, if anyone came to them screaming about an episode being too scary, they could just turn around and blame it on a dead horror mastermind. Whether any of them were haunted by Poe for this remains unknown.
The young scream queens and kings who may or may not have busted a vocal chord in an encounter with Zeebo the Clown included Hayden Christensen, who would rise to the rank of the Dark Lord of the Galactic Empire; Neve Campbell, who never stopped screaming when she went on to Scream; Elisha Cuthbert; and yes, Ryan Gosling. Bobcat Goldthwait and Gilbert Gottfried also appeared on the show. That might be even scarier.
Please enjoy this Are You Afraid of the Dark? retrospective, particularly if you want to find out whether the so-called dead really stayed dead, or what was really in that Midnight Dust.
Elizabeth Rayne contributed to this article.