In 2015, a Colorado-based video studio and media co-op called SneakyBoy gave itself a unique but fun challenge: remake the intro to Nickelodeon’s Are You Afraid Of The Dark?, a fondly remembered 1990-2000 horror-fantasy anthology series. They succeeded, and the impressive results hit the internet in late October that year. Now, in time for Halloween, SneakyBoy is releasing an eight-minute, behind-the-scenes reel showing what went into their meticulous Are You Afraid re-creation. In short, being a member of the Midnight Society is even more challenging than it looks, and malfunctioning camera equipment can be a horror story of its own. But the filmmakers were inspired to go on because of a shared love for the original series. “It hasn’t aged particularly well,” says a staffer. “There’s just something about it, especially the intro.” For whatever reason, this “cheesy” series continues to resonate with a generation raised on classic Nick programming.
Once they’d decided on the project, the members of the SneakyBoy team found themselves shooting legitimately creepy footage of cemeteries and forlorn-looking playgrounds. They also learned how to make very convincing magic powder: instant coffee and powdered sugar. For one shot, they even “borrowed” a particularly dilapidated rowboat without permission. Anything is fair game in the name of nostalgia. The project actually became more ambitious as it went along, evolving beyond a mere shot-for-shot remake.
Unfortunately, some of the earliest footage they shot looked more like MTV’s Pimp My Ride, which was hardly the desired effect. But they got the hang of it over the course of six moonlit days. For aspiring filmmakers, this making-of video could serve as an informal tutorial about how to film in extremely low light. A project like this requires pretty much everything to be shot after the sun goes down. That makes it extra challenging, but the finished video shows that the filmmakers’ efforts were ultimately worth the headaches.