1990s kids horror TV show Are You Afraid Of The Dark? is notable for two key reasons. For one, its anthologized stories starred baby-sized versions of now-famous, mostly Canadian actors ranging from Ryan Gosling and Elisha Cuthbert to Jay Baruchel and Neve Campbell. For another, its retroactively hokey stories of supernatural terror managed to instill in its target audience lifelong fears centered on swimming pool monsters, living dolls, and haunted school theaters.
It’s too early to say if this year’s series reboot will traumatize modern kids, their minds already irreparably harmed by ready access to the internet and a youth spent preparing for the climate apocalypse, or turn them into new celebrities, but Nickelodeon has just put up its premiere on YouTube so you can check for yourself.
Filled with the original’s British Columbia gloom, Are You Afraid Of The Dark? 2019's first episode is mostly concerned with setting up the dynamics of a Gen Z Midnight Society. New girl Rachel wakes up from a nightmare and heads to school to meet fellow horror-loving kids Graham, Akiko, Louise, and Gavin. Soon enough, she’s found herself deep in the woods at night with these classmates and is initiated into the wholesome tradition of telling spooky stories around a campfire. Like the ‘90s children of yore, Rachel entertains her buds with the tale of a creepy carnival—after tossing some cool pyrotechnic powder in the fire first, of course.
Most importantly, the episode’s deranged carnival barker “Mr. Tophat” looks, to adult eyes, extremely goofy, but to kids—some of whom act in the show and will surely go on to star in the 4D cyberplex futuremovies of the coming decades—he’ll probably end up instilling an entire lifetime of subconsciously-imprinted terror.
The new Are You Afraid Of The Dark? premieres tonight and will air its remaining pair of episodes on October 18th and 25th.
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