Are You Afraid of the Dark?
Oh Canada. What is more frightening than sitting in the wilds of a Canadian forest? Convincing yourself that there are ghosts and serial killer clowns lurking between the trees by telling scary stories in said forest.
The Tale of the Hungry Hounds and The Tale of the Dark Music are two of my favorite episodes. The latter being one of the creepiest episodes I can recall. This series was memorable for many reasons but I loved the setting of this series most of all. Who could forget that creepy opening? The attic scene? forget about it!
Although the series aired in Canada in 1990, it was acquired by Nickelodeon and aired in the US from 1992 to 1996. I think I was 5 years old when I first saw it on SNICK. Does anyone remember Snick or Treat? I do.
There is a distinct difference between the first generation of the series which ended in 1996 and second generation which started in 1999.
One of the significant arcs in the second generation I remember was the three part episode released in 2000 called The Tale of the Silver Sight where Gary, the original founder of the Midnight Society from the first generation series returns for old times sake. Here is the synopsis: Gary, the President of the Midnight Society from the original episodes is back and needs the help of his younger brother Tucker and his friends to help track down the members of the First Midnight Society from way back in 1937, and help solve an ancient mystery and prevent an evil force from being unleashed on the world.
Only 3 VHS tapes were released of the TV series in 1994 and 1995. Each tape contained two episodes. All seven seasons of the series were released on DVD in region 1 between 2006 and 2008. These releases have been discontiued and are now out of print. However boxsets for the series were released on Amazon in 2011.
Who didn’t know about Goosebumps as a kid? I read the books all the time and the most memorable for me was Deep Trouble. While Are you Afraid of the Dark? primarily relied on supernatural forces for their scares, Goosebumps used creepy creatures and monsters to lure out the fear in it’s readers. I was up at my grandparents cabin when I read Deep Trouble and it is situated about 30 feet from a lake. It was storming heavily and I was terrified that mermaids would somehow hoist themselves up onto land and drag themselves up the hill to eat us. I was only 6-years-old so could you blame me?
I pre-ordered new books through Scholastic book fair catalogs or waited for them to show up on library shelves. I was ecstatic when I heard that Goosebumps would be made into a series!
One of the most unsettling episodes for me was ‘Haunted Mask’ and I felt uncomfortable putting things over my head for a while.
While none of the episodes gave me nightmares or anything
R.L. Stine’s The Haunting Hour
This series came out in 2010 and at this point I hadn’t seen or heard much about R.L. Stine’s work for several years so being an adult with adult things to do, I didn’t get around to watching it until this year. It’s just as creepy as the Goosebump series from 1995 but it has modern advances like cell phones and computers. R.L. Stine has admitted that technology has ruined a lot of things that make for good myseries- largely because of cell phones. You can’t have mystery callers anymore and everyone has one, so there is always a way to call for help. He says that he spends a lot of time now figuring out ways to get rid of cell phones in his books.
So far my favorite episode is Dreamcatcher. Here is the synopsis: The camp legend of a mysterious creature who feeds on bad dreams appears to be true after a cabin full of girls have a recurring nightmare about being trapped in a web of a mutant spider known as The Dreamcatcher.
The ending of these episodes is what makes or breaks them for me. I’m drawn to the ones where the main characters have a twisted ending.
Another tv series based on his books is called The Nightmare Room. I briefly saw it back in 2001 but lost interest quickly. It didn’t have the same dazzle as Goosebumps or The Haunting Hour and it was short lived with only one season aired on Kid’s WB station before it was discontinued. It was known for it being the only live-action show to air on the station.
An interesting fact: It featured Robert Englund, the actor who played Freddy Krueger.
Aaaahh! Real Monsters
One of the unexpectedly fun shows that I tolerated as a kid but enjoy as an adult. Younger me thought the art was gross and the plot was dumb. Who likes to eat garbage? YUCK!
The episodes follow the adventures of Ickis, Oblina and Krumm, three young monsters attending a monster school beneath New York City whose headmaster is The Gromble.
The dump the monsters inhabit is implied to be Fresh Kills Landfill, but never explicitly named in the series. The monster community includes a working economic system using toe nails as currency.
When I got older and found myself back tracking through old childhood tv shows and decided to give it another shot. Now I love the unpredictableness of Ickis and the know-it-all advice of Oblina. Though Krumm is probably my favorite character because he seems the most gentle of the three.
One of my favorite episodes is Attack of the Blobs where Oblina has to blobsit (babysit) a monster egg but it hatches and eats everything in sight!
It’s one of the most nostalgic cartoons from my childhood and it ran from 1994 to 1997. In 2003 the entire series was released on DVD.
That’s all creepy kiddies! I hope you enjoyed this walk down memory lane with me. Keep a look out for another blog where I share some of my favorite spooky kids books.