winky face

~~~welcome to the midnight.society~~~

Are You Afraid of the Dark? is the greatest, spookiest show in the history of television. To get ready for H-A-Double-L-O-Double-U-Double-E-N, I'm writing about some of my favorite episodes of this frightfest.

spooky clown

Spooktober 22, 2014 -- The Tale of Watcher's Woods
In this episode of Firefly, Kaywinnet Lee ("Kaylee") Frye finds herself on an infernal planet: Camp Chindleston.

kaylee in distress
The crew of Serenity has been massacred by Reavers. Kaylee wanders this desolate landscape and finds her friends' remains strewn about. All she has at her disposal is a broken compass and a bucket of mice, which she believes (in her emotionally-shattered state) to be a bucket of rats.

the savagery of reavers
Three cannibalistic witches trap Kaylee in a wooden cage. For the remainder of the episode, Kaylee sits alone, repeatedly telling her spaceship's history to her rodents, the only ears that will listen to her cracking, fading voice. "Who is Summer Glau?" she murmurs to herself. The camera fades to black.

kaylee's tormentors
This episode is a misanthropic dirge that makes Cormac McCarthy's The Road read like stage directions for Reptar on Ice. Please, hug your friends today. Do it for Kaylee.

Grade: B

Spooktober 19, 2014 -- The Tale of Laughing in the Dark

All you Bozos who get spooked by the murder-clowns on American Horror Story might not be able to handle this TV-Y7 harlequin of horror.

zeebo and evil are practically slant rhymes
Like any good piece of wisdom literature, this story features a hubris-spewing teenager with a dated haircut. The teenager ("Josh") accepts a challenge to steal Zeebo's nose. Zeebo, legend has it, is an eight-foot-tall cigar in a clown costume.

the spookhouse
The ghost of Zeebo lives (or dies, amirite?) in a funhouse run by an auctioneer in pajamas. The funhouse is the straight-up love child of The Cell and Marquis de Sade: there are actual flames. You may not have realized (thanks to expert make-up by Annick Chartier) that our nimble hero is played by a young Harrison Ford.

the best horror trope of all time, not offered by verizon
This episode memorializes the best horror-story trope of '90s film: the ol' landline hijack-a-doodle. After Zeebo stuffs a bunch of cigar butts into Josh's Le Creuset and chases Josh into his upstairs bedroom, Zombozo crashes Josh's 900-MHz SOS. Millions of iChildren will never understand our phones nor (consequently) our history. Thanks for nothing, Steve Jobs.

scariest psa ever
Little known fact: this episode ends with sponsored content from the Philip Morris settlement. Our auctioneer, alone and friendless at the story's conclusion, smokes a cigar. Tobacco use will leave you moonlighting as a carny well into your sixties. This patronizing message really detracts from the episode's literary integrity.

Grade: B

Spooktober 16, 2014 -- The Tale of the Dangerous Soup

This may be the only horror story whose antagonist is an impulse purchase from SkyMall.

brookstone fear demon
In The Tale of the Dangerous Soup, Dr. Vink ("with a vuh, vuh" lol) runs a restaurant that sells a high-end French onion soup with green food coloring for a hundred bucks a pop. We learn that what makes the soup taste so good is the fear-sweat of a garden ornament from Brookstone.

Hey, isn't that Neve Campbell?! You may recognize our story's heroine from her appearance in that '90s horror-comedy classic, Party of Five. But Sidney Prescott isn't just grabbing a quick coffee with Lisa Kudrow at Dr. Fink's Central Perk in this spooky spectacular (jk, Vink's). She's grabbing onto her Queen Bee status in the pantheon of foodie horror, crushing a 4-year-old JLaw like a shrinking cold storage room.

sidney prescott
As any Marxist middle schooler can tell you, this story is actually a spam-handed exploration of class warfare. In Dr. Vink's restaurant, the rich eat bowls of animal waste made from the terrors of the proletariat. Today's super-rich drink up their thousand-dollar smoothies from Le Bernardin's juice bar, but at what cost? #deblasiosnewyork

Grade: B

Thanks for making, ~ford!

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