“Are You Afraid of the Dark?” was a 90’s TV show on Nickelodeon about unsupervised children who met in the middle of the woods each week to tell scary stories. That alone sounds like the beginning of an episode of “Dateline” or “Law and Order: SVU” but the stories they told were pretty creepy. Sure, some of them were kind of lame, but there are some that could still give you nightmares today.
1. “The Tale of the Ghastly Grinner”: Season 4, Episode 9.
A kid gets a free one-of-a-kind comic book after after spilling water on it, he decides the most practical way to dry it is in a microwave instead of with a paper towel like a normal human being. In doing so, he unleashes the Ghastly Grinner on his town.
What We Learned: Technology will kill us all.
2. “The Tale of the Night Shift”: Season 5, Episode 11.
This episode scared the bejeezus out of my husband when he was a kid. It’s the story of a girl (Emmanuelle Chriqui) who volunteers as a candy striper at the local hospital. One night, during the night shift, our heroine realizes that the hospital is overrun with vampires who are attacking all of her friends.
What We Learned: Hospitals are overrun with vampires who want to kill you.
3. “The Tale of the Dangerous Soup”: Season 3, Episode 13
A fancy restaurant in town sells an incredibly popular soup created by Dr. Vink (with a va-va-va). It turns out the secret ingredient is fear, which Dr. Vink extracts from his waitstaff (which includes Neve Campbell) by strapping them down and terrifying them with things like the blade from “The Pit and the Pendulum.”
What We Learned: Waiting tables is a job that entails the exploitation of servers for the sake of customers and business owners.
Pretty accurate, actually.
4. “The Tale of Dead Man’s Float”: Season 5, Episode 1
A nerdy kid offers to tutor his dream girl in chemistry in exchange for swim lessons in the abandoned (yet water-filled and nicely maintained) pool under the school. The pool was closed after a young Jay Baruchel drowned in 1954 because the negligent lifeguard wanted to get into Baruchel’s sister’s pants. Turns out he didn’t just drown because he didn’t wait thirty minutes after eating–he was killed by a terrifying pool monster.
What We Learned: Pools may not have sharks but you’ll probably die anyway.
5. “The Tale of Laughing in the Dark”: Season 1, Episode 2.
If clowns weren’t already scary enough, Zeebo the cigar smoking clown is creepy as hell. A kid steals his nose from a funhouse on a dare and the clown begins to haunt him at home. Maybe it’s the history of terrifying clowns like Pennywise from It or the real life John Wayne Gacy, but this guy with his greenish teeth pretty much guaranteed that as a kid, you never slept again.
Happy Throwback Thursday!
Did I miss your favorite bed-wettingly terrifying episode? Let me know in the comments!