The 8 Scariest Are You Afraid of the Dark Episodes
In honor of #Nerdoween and our love of all things 90s...
- •The Tale of Dead Man's FloatThe story of a school pool built on an ancient burial ground and the ghost that haunts it would be very dumb if not for the design of the freaky-ass water-logged ghost. By far the latest episode on the list (the premiere of season 5), this episode stands out for having a terrifying soppy-faced red ghost.
- •The Tale of the DollmakerThere are certain unfettered truths in life, and one of them is that porcelain dolls are scary as f**k. No thank you to that. This episode preyed on that fear, and the fear of losing oneself and creepy houses, too.
- •The Tale of the Ghastly GrinnerA kid wants to be a comic book artist and, after visiting a weird and sinister comic book shop, gets the only copy of the only issue of a comic called "The Ghastly Grinner," a Joker-esque clown villain who reduces his foes to drooling, cackling idiots. The visage of the Grinner spewing green acid stuff from his pursed lips is the stuff therapy bills are made of.
- •The Tale of Laughing in the DarkThe earliest episode on this list -- and the second episode ever -- "The Tale of Laughing in the Dark" also has one of the most lasting and upsetting premises. Zeebo was responsible for starting our fear of all clowns.
- •The Tale of the Lonely GhostAnother early one, a nerdy girl goes to stay with her aunt while her parents are on an archaeological dig. The ghost is of a deaf girl and she needs to find her mother, but in the process writes "I'm lonely" backwards on walls. The ghost girl herself is a very simple design, just pale makeup and a tattered white dress, but it's enough to put the scares right up you.
- •The Tale of the Midnight MadnessThis one features the recurring character of the mysterious Dr. Vink who comes to a failing movie theater who promises to pack in guests if the theater shows this long lost vampire movie. The only catch? The theater also has to show any and all of Vink's films he wants. Naturally, the movie theater begins to bounce back, and the two kids who work there begin to see what appears to be the Nosferatu coming off the screen. But it ain't a hallucination...
- •The Tale of the Super SpecsIn retrospect, this episode is like the John Carpenter movie They Live with worse effects, but my little 8-year-old brain didn't know that. This episode featured another recurring character, the magic shop owner Sardo (It's sar-DO), who sells a kid a pair of X-Ray specs for his girlfriend. The beings were just people in black body stockings and face masks, but when I was a kid, they looked as scary as those dream monsters look in the documentary The Nightmare.
- •The Tale of Watcher's WoodsMany years ago, three young girl campers got lost and were never found again, only their whistles remained, and another camper went insane, babbling about something called the watcher being out there. When the two girls in present day get lost, they find out that the Watcher is definitely real and there's a lot of intensely creepy stuff out there amid the trees.