Are You Afraid of the Dark? is a show that you were contractually obligated to watch if you grew up in the ‘90s. Kids like to get scared, and this was the scariest thing on TV at the time (that your mom would let you watch). Each week, another member of the Midnight Society would tell a scary story around a campfire. And each week, you would be terrified of going to bed that night.
I recently found a bunch of old episodes on YouTube and it’s been pretty awesome reliving my childhood. And you’d be surprised at how many of the child guest stars went on to become famous. Ryan Gosling, Hayden Christensen, Neve Campbell, Emmanuelle Chriqui, and Jay Baruchel were all responsible for making you afraid of the dark at some point.
If All That is a family-friendly SNL, then Are You Afraid of the Dark? is a family-friendly Tales from the Crypt. It’s family-friendly because there’s no swearing or nudity (god-fucking-damn-it). But it’s still creepy and scary and I wouldn’t recommend it before bedtime. It’s a little dated now, but it’s a classic show. You probably wouldn’t like it if you didn’t grow up watching it. But that’s your fault.
Critically Rated at 13/17
Written, Rated, and Reviewed by Brendan H. Young
Wes Craven’s Scream was the best horror film of the ‘90s. It is also Neve Campbell’s best movie (her best scene is in Wild Things though). This is a scary movie that also spoofs the clichés of the horror genre. It’s very meta and self-referential, but it does it subtly and doesn’t throw it in your face. It has a lot of funny moments, but no gags or jokes. It’s a horror satire, not a horror parody.
It has a good cast with Neve Campbell, David Arquette, Courtney Cox, Rose McGowan, Matthew Lillard, Jaime Kennedy and Skeet Ulrich. Drew Barrymore has a brief cameo in the introduction. Spoiler alert: she dies. It was a surprise to see her bite the dust so quickly; you just assumed that she would be in the whole movie. It’s even more awesome because Drew Barrymore sucks and she should die in the first ten minutes of any movie she’s in (except E.T.).
David Arquette’s Deputy Dewey is goofy and provides some comic relief. But Jaime Kennedy’s character is the funniest in the show. He is a film buff and kind of a dork, but he knows the rules of scary movies. He knows what to do and not to do, what to say and not to say. He shares his knowledge with the other characters and the audience. If you ever get trapped in a horror movie and want to survive, you better remember Randy’s rules.
The movie is kind of dated now. The ‘90s hair and wardrobe are weird looking. If you have a cell phone you are a suspect. The plot still holds up though. The whole backstory with Sidney’s whorish mother and the wrongful incarceration of Cotton Weary was pretty cool. It comes up in the sequels too. The twist at the end where it is revealed that there are actually two killers was well written. But seriously look at how shady Billy Loomis is. Did you have any doubt that Skeet Ulrich was the killer? Matthew Lillard does a great job transitioning from being funny to being psychotic.
The Ghostface mask has reached iconic status. It is instantly recognizable, and it makes the Scream killer as identifiable as Michael Myers or Jason. The voice is what really makes it terrifying though. It could be anyone under the mask. The actors never met Roger L. Jackson, the voice of Ghostface, they had no idea what he looked like.
Scream is a cool movie. It’s funny, scary, and smart. It inspired a new wave of horror movies aimed at teenager and twenty-somethings. Urban Legend, I Know What You Did Last Summer, Jeepers Creepers… all of these are riding Scream’s coattails. Scream did it first and did it better. What’s your favorite scary movie? Probably this one.
Critically Rated at 14/17