Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Old School Lane's Top 10 Are You Afraid of the Dark? episodes

Let's conclude our discussion of this classic anthology series with our favorite episodes. Now keep in mind, this is our opinion of what made these episodes impact us in a special way. If your favorite episodes are different from ours, that's perfectly fine. Whether it frightened us or thrilled us to the bone, let's count down our top 10 Are You Afraid of the Dark? episodes. We're going to not spoil too much on these episodes since we want you to see them for yourself. Let's begin with Kevin's top 10.

10. The Tale of the Nightly Neighbors

In this episode, a brother and sister see some new neighbors moving in to their house. They don't think much about them at first since they seem like nice people. But then, they suspect that the new neighbors are vampires. They don't show themselves during the day, when they went to their basement, they find bottles of blood in the freezer, and the boy sleeping in a coffin waking up with fangs in his mouth. That scared the crap out of me when I was a kid.

You would think that it would be a cliche episode of the new neighbors not being vampires and that it was their imagination or that they were vampires. Well, this is Are You Afraid of the Dark? and they throw you a twist ending that I did not expect coming.

9. The Tale of the Midnight Madness

What I truly love about this episode is the screening of the classic 1922 horror movie Nosferatu. At the time, it was very rare for kids to be associated with a movie like this. For Nickelodeon shows, they wouldn't reference Nosferatu again until one of the episodes of SpongeBob SquarePants. In this episode, a broken down movie theater is on the verge of shutting down, but then Dr. Vink comes in and brings in Nosferatu in exchange of controlling the theater the way he wants it. But then the movie starts to take life on its own as the monster leaves the theater and haunts everyone.

I love the scene when one of the employees at the theater jumps in the movie and stops the monster. Such a great episode.

8. The Tale of the Dead Man's Float

What is more scarier when going out swimming that drowning, one of the most common fears ever! A nerdy science kid wants to ask a girl to be her science partner. She says yes and says to meet her at the school swimming pool to do their studies. The problem is: he can't swim and had a traumatic drowning experience. They find out that there's some mysterious forces going on when they get pushed into the water and almost drown. I really like this episode because it has a common fear such as drowning portrayed in a way that really scared me as a kid.

7. The Tale of the Crimson Clown

In this episode, a rotten kid spends all his money on a toy clown instead of buying his mother a birthday gift like he was suppose to. He becomes so selfish about what his needs are that he goes against what's right and does what he desires. But then he figures out that the clown is evil and terrorizes the kid. I'm not afraid of clowns, but when I saw this episode, it freaked me out! It reminds me of the movie Poltergeist in which there's an sweet innocent toy clown that turns out to be evil in the end. It's a really nice homage. 

6. The Tale of the Phantom Cab

The very first Are You Afraid of the Dark? episode is definitely one of my favorites. It's about two brothers who hate each other's guts who get lost in the woods. In order to get back home, they need to work together solving riddles or else they'll be stuck in the woods forever. When a mysterious cab comes along, the stakes get even higher.

5. The Tale of Apartment 214

In this episode, a girl and her mom move in to a small apartment. There's a lonely woman who lives in Apartment 214 whom the girl have a special connection with. When the woman tells her to visit her on a special day, the girl promises to do so. She forgets the promise only to find her missing and the apartment empty. It's a very good episode that teaches you what happens when you break a promise and the consequences that happen when you do.

4. The Tale of the Ghastly Grinner

Holy crap! This is definitely one of the scariest episodes of Are You Afraid of the Dark? and also one of my absolute favorites. It's about a comic book fan and an artist buying the first issue of a comic book called The Ghastly Grinner. It's about a scary clown who turns people into laughing, giggling zombies under his control similar to the Joker. When their comic book gets wet in the rain, they dry it with the microwave only causing the Ghastly Grinner to pop out of the comic book. This is one of the most iconic characters in Are You Afraid of the Dark? and everyone who saw this clown got scared shitless. It's awesome!

3. The Tale of the Dark Music

When I first saw this episode as a kid, it scared me so much that I still remember it after 20 years later. It's still engraved in my mind. It's about a boy, his mom, and his bratty sister moving in to their uncle's old house. They realize that there's something evil lurking in on their basement whenever he goes down there. There's one scene that still scares me to this day. The scene where his sister is dragged into the basement door screaming while the door shuts. If that didn't scare you as a kid, then I don't know what will.

2. The Tale of the Dream Girl

Out of all the episodes of Are You Afraid of the Dark?, to me, this is the saddest one. It's about a regular guy and his sister who work at a bowling alley. The boy finds a ring on his locker and puts in on, but gets stuck on his finger. All of a sudden, a cute girl appears in his dreams and in real life. He tries to find out about her, only to realize that she's a ghost of a teenage girl who died in a car accident with her boyfriend. I don't want to spoil the ending, but the ending is indeed shocking.

1. The Tale of Laughing in the Dark

The second episode of Are You Afraid of the Dark? is my absolute favorite because of one iconic character: Zeebo the Clown! He scared the uttermost crap out of me when I was a kid. It's about a cocky kid who's giving a dare by his friends to go inside the haunted house alone and steal Zeebo's nose. He accepts and goes in. Bad decision! The only way to get the nose is to distract him with a funny joke. If he doesn't, he'll be stuck in the haunted house forever!

That concludes my favorite Are You Afraid of the Dark? episodes. Now it's time for Patricia's favorite.

10. The Tale of the Pinball Wizard

In the first season finale, Gary tells the story of a teenage boy obsessed with video games. His favorite games to play are pinball machines. He works at a store that repairs items and his boss brings in a new pinball machine. He's eager to play the game, but his boss tells him not to. When he disobeys his boss' orders, he ends up in the game playing for his life to win his freedom. If he loses, then it's game over and he's stuck in the game forever. Being a gamer myself, I thought that this was a really neat idea, but done in a way that's frightening.

9. The Tale of Apartment 214

Kevin pretty much said it in a nutshell about this episode, so moving on.

8. The Tale of the Room for Rent

In this episode, Sam tells the story of a new tenant moving in a room for rent. The family doesn't suspect anything until they find out that the tenant is a little bit mysterious and not who he seems. He's actually a ghost of a WWII pilot haunting the grandfather of the family who owns the house. Why is he haunting him? Watch the episode and find out.

7. The Tale of the Chameleons

Betty Ann tells the story about two best friends who wander into a pet store. When they reach a tank that contains a chameleon, one of the girls gets bitten by one and starts acting strange. It turns out that the chameleon is a shape shifter wanting to take the girl's identity as her own. This episode stars Tia and Tamera Mowry from Sister Sister and it's nice seeing them play in a role that's a bit more serious. The ending is truly something I did not expect.

6. The Tale of Badge

In the 5th season finale, Gary tells the story about a girl who's celebrating her 16th birthday only to discover a family secret from her grandmother. She's a witch and she must use her powers to take down an evil demon named Badge. The girl is skeptical at first, being afraid of use her powers in front of Badge. But she stands up for herself, takes courage, and takes down Badge once and for all.

5. The Tale of Cutter's Treasure

Season 4 begins with a two-part episode that is really thrilling and exciting. Gary and Frank tell the story about two brothers wandering in Sardo's Magic Mansion and find a mysterious treasure box. They wish to take a look into it, but Sardo refuses because inside contains an evil pirate ghost named Jonas Cutter. The boys, of course, disobey Sardo and open the box releasing Cutter's ghost. There's more at stake besides releasing Cutter's ghost for the main characters. He kidnaps one of the brothers and they find out that they have a certain connection involving Cutter's past. This is the only episode in which you see Are You Afraid of the Dark? recurring characters Sardo and Dr. Vink together. It's truly a very special one that you have to see.

4. The Tale of the Dream Girl

Kevin did a great job saying good things about this episode. Moving on.

3. The Tale of the Vampire Town

As time went on, I outgrew Are You Afraid of the Dark? and had stopped watching it after Season 6. Not only were the stories not as scary as the previous seasons, but all the characters that I came to know and love were all gone. The new members didn't feel the same. Years later, I saw this episode and I had wished that I continued on with the show.

Quinn tells the story about a teenage boy who's obsessed with vampires and goes into a town that is known for having a vampire buried in their catacombs. When he wanders into the catacombs, the hotel owner and a mortician accuse the teenage boy of being a vampire and chase after him. He tries to prove to them that he's not, but they don't believe him. Along the story, he unknowingly releases the real vampire from his coffin. This story ends in a very ironic way that is unbelievable. It's like if Bram Stoker and O. Henry wrote this story together. Check it out.

2. The Tale of the Silver Sight

This 3 part episode is the only one on the list that's from the 7th and final season. It's different from any Are You Afraid of the Dark? episode since the story is not told from one of the members, it's actually happening. Gary returns in this episode interacting with the new members of the Midnight Society. Gary and Tucker's grandfather dies of a heart attack and left Gary one final note in his will and testament. It tells of an object known as the Silver Sight and that it needs to be found and destroyed. The way to find the Silver Sight is to visit the original members of the Midnight Society, collect a piece of a broken record, and figure out the clues to where the Silver Sight is hidden. The gang also find out that one of the original members is a traitor looking for the Silver Sight himself.

In my opinion, they should have ended it in this episode. It's a really intense, thrilling, and captivating episode that makes you wonder what's going to happen next. 

1. The Tale of the Dangerous Soup

This episode is filled to the brim with the one thing that scares us the most...our own fears. It perfectly captures everything on what Are You Afraid of the Dark? symbolizes and represents. In the 3rd season finale, Frank tells the story about a teenage boy working at a restaurant where the chef is cooking the most delicious soup in the world. That chef is none other than Dr. Vink. 5 minutes into this episode, you know you're getting into something that's going to be scary and strange. The main theme in this episode is fear and learning how to face it otherwise you'll be conquered by it. 

In almost every Are You Afraid of the Dark? episode, a main character goes through a frightening experience facing it on their own otherwise they'll be doomed. But this episode is the most realistic of all. It's our fear. The one thing that frightens even the strongest person. Maybe you're not afraid of ghosts, monsters, witches, zombies, aliens, or demons, but you know you're afraid of something. This episode uses fear to its best advantage and that's why it's #1 in my book. Oh, and about the ending. You'll really be terrified if you were in that position, that's for sure.

What are some of your favorite Are You Afraid of the Dark? episodes? Post it in the comments and let us know. Hope to see you around Old School Lane soon. Thanks for reading.

-Patricia and Kevin

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