Lessons Learned From Are You Afraid of the Dark, Season 2

      Are You Afraid of the Dark? wasn't just a great horror show for children, it was also a great educational show for children. In every single episode of the show, you will find one or more important life lessons, lessons that you probably heard dozens of times before from your parents and teachers. Of course, we all know you didn't listen to your parents and teachers. They're complete pussies, and they don't know their hands from their asses. They think they have the right to give you advice just by virtue of having been alive longer? That's bullshit. Why should you listen to them? You're a petulant little bastard and no one can tell you what to do. Fuck the world! Fuck it hard!

       ...it's because of attitudes like that Are You Afraid of the Dark? exists. If you hadn't been such a stupid goddam prick, adults wouldn't have had to invent this show to scare you into being a half-decent human being. But you were, so they did. Below, you'll find brief synopses of all the Season 2 episodes, along with the lessons you should have learned from them. Enjoy!


Episode 1 - The Tale of the Final Wish

Synopsis: Jill is a thirteen-year-old girl who is still obsessed with childish things like Troll dolls, unicorn figurines, and fairy tales. She is constantly teased by her friends and brother and told that she needs to grow up. One night, after a particularly bad day, she clutches a book called The Sandman and Other Tales to her chest, gazes at the first evening star, and wishes that she could live in a fairy tale and that everyone would leave her alone. She awakes in the middle of the night to find her dream has come true. Her friends and family are in a deep sleep and she is trapped in the Land of Nod with the Sandman (Bobcat Goldthwait). Jill begs to go home, but the Sandman refuses, saying that the story is already written and can't be changed. When Jill grows upset and threatens to smash his magic hourglass, the Sandman tells her that he'll have to put her to sleep too since she won't behave. Realizing that the story can be changed, Jill smashes the hourglass, breaks the spell, and returns everything to normal. Jill awakes in the middle of the night again, screaming in her bed. When her family rushes in to see what's the matter, she apologizes and promises to finally grow up. Jill goes back to sleep, finally ready to enter young adulthood. But then the Sandman's book flies open, and we hear him narrating Jill's story: "The little girl went to sleep, promising never to believe in fairy tales again. If only she knew - she would have never gone back in the bed again!"
Lesson #1: Be careful what you wish for.
Lesson #2: Bobcat Goldthwait is a total dick.


Episode 2 - The Tale of the Midnight Madness

Synopsis: The Rialto is an old movie theater on the brink of closing due to poor ticket sales. Pete is a high school student who works there, and who doesn't want to see the historic site close. He starts a campaign to get the building landmark status and puts up fliers everywhere. While he fails to attract people to his cause, he does, however, attract the attention of the mysterious Dr. Vink. Vink offers Mr. Kristoph, the theater's manager an old silent horror movie he produced called Nosferatu: The Demon Vampire and promises that it will drastically boost attendance. Vink says that the theater can have the movie for free, but once it brings the theater success, Kristoph must give him one night a week to screen his other horror films. Kristoph agrees, and Vink disappears. The theater staff decide that Vink was just a crazy old man, and never bother to screen his movie. One night, a reel melts, and Pete and his coworker Katie put on The Demon Vampire as a substitute. It quickly becomes a big hit, just as Vink said it would, and the theater is saved. However when Vink comes to collect on his deal, Kristoph refuses to screen any more of his movies since the theater can now afford to screen A-List titles instead of old forgotten movies. Vink leaves, but promises that he'll be back. Meanwhile, Pete decided to watch Vink's movie to try and figure out why it's so popular. To his surprise, Nosferatu steps right out of the fucking movie. The evil vampire attacks Kristoph, then goes after Pete and Katie. Just as the vampire is about to attack Katie, Pete jumps into the vampire's movie to destroy its coffin. When Nosferatu follows him in, Pete pulls aside a curtain in the vampire's crypt, exposing him to sunlight and killing him. When Pete exits the movie, he is greeted by a relieved Katie, a dazed Kristoph, and the sound of applause. Katie and Mr. Kristoph step aside to reveal an excited Dr. Vink who commends Pete on an excellent ending. Kristoph apologizes to Vink and tells him he can have one night to screen his movies after all. Vink says that won't be necessary; he has purchased the entire theater and he's going to show his special horror movies every night.
The Lesson: If you try and renege on a friendly agreement, you'll be fucking sorry.


Episode 3 - The Tale of Locker 22

Synopsis: Julie Defaux is a French immigrant who has just moved to America, or possibly the English-speaking part of Canada. Since no one likes French people, Mr. Shaffner, her new school's assistant principal, assigns her a locker in an old unused hallway that's in the middle of fucking nowhere. Julie quickly learns that her locker is haunted by the ghost of some damn hippie girl. The ghost gives Julie love beads, and when she puts them on, she is transported to 1968 where she assumes the dead girl's identify; she takes them off to travel back. With the help of a new friend named Chris, Julie discovers that the girl's name was Candy Warren and she died in an awful accident. While Chris is interviewing an old teacher about what happened to Candy, Julie puts the beads on and becomes Candy once again. She runs into a young Shaffner, who tells her she must take her make-up chemistry exam or she'll fail for the year. Meanwhile, Chris learns that Candy died in a freak chemistry accident; the gas line for her Bunsen Burner was frayed and when she lit it, she got herself blowed up real good. Chris rushes back to Julie's locker to warn her, but she's not there. Then Candy appears and he realizes that Julie must be in the past. Candy transports him back to 1968, where he saved Julie/Candy from exploding and tells Shaffner he's a careless idiot. Julie and Chris are then transported back to their own time where they meet their *new* assistant principal: Ms. Candy Warren.
Lesson #1: Stay the fuck away from chemistry, it's not safe.
Lesson #2: Altering history is fun and not at all dangerous.


Episode 4 - The Tale of the Thirteenth Floor

Synopsis: Karin and her brother Billy live on the twelfth floor on an old apartment building. The thirteenth and final floor of the building is abandoned, the last tenants disappeared years ago, so the siblings use the thirteenth floor as their personal playground, though Karin often gets frustrated because Billy is much better than her at all the games they play. One day, a toy company moves in on the thirteenth floor and invites Karin to test their toys. Karin is afraid to go alone, so she brings Billy with her. The experience is fun at first, but then the toy company staff reveal themselves to be creepy faceless aliens who have converted the thirteenth floor into a spaceship so that they can bring Karin back to their home planet with them. As the atmosphere in the ship begins to change, Billy becomes very sick and starts to die. A frantic Karin manages to fight off her captors and drags Billy to safety. As the aliens depart, they send Karin a message telling her that she is one of them, they were there to rescue her, and that they won't be to come back for another ten years. As Billy slowly regains consciousness, he looks over at Karin to see she has turned into a super scary faceless alien. AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAH!
The Lesson: If you suck at everything, you're probably an alien.


Episode 5 - The Tale of the Dream Machine

Synopsis: Best friends Sean and Billy find an old typewriter hidden in a secret room under some stairs in Sean's house. When Sean writes some stories about his friends on it, they have vivid dreams that are exactly like the stories. It's fun at first, but then Sean discovers a terrible twist: when someone else reads the story, it happens for real. Not only that, but Sean has just submitted a short story to his English teacher where Billy gets buried alive. An effort to retrieve the paper fails and Billy is about to die, until Sean quickly writes a story about the typewriter losing its magic and has his friend Jennifer read it. The typewriter breaks, Billy is saved, Sean and Jennifer fall in love, and their dumpy English teacher eats a giant pastrami sandwich. The End.
Lesson #1: Don't write stories where people you know die.
Lesson #2: Seriously, don't write stories where people you know die. You could get expelled from school or arrested.


Episode 6 - The Tale of the Dark Dragon

Synopsis: Keith was in a serious car accident that left him with a permanent leg brace and no self-esteem. One day he sees an ad in the back of a comic book for Sardo's Magic Mansion. The advertisement says that Sardo has a potion that can bring out the best in people, and Keith is just gullible enough to believe it. So he goes to Sardo's store to get it. Sardo sells the potion to Keith for $20, since that's all he has, and tells him not to take more than one drop at a time. So Keith starts taking the potion, and it works. It turns him into a suave, handsome guy who doesn't need a leg brace. But there are side effects. When the drug wears off, Keith becomes even more disfigured than he was before, covered in hair, warts, and wrinkles. Keith goes to Sardo for help, and learns that before the potion will fully bring out the best in you, you must beat the "dark dragon" within yourself. Instead of figuring out how to do that, he invents a new persona, he is cool as ice cousin K.C., and asks his crush Shelly to the dance, even though she has a boyfriend. She's mad at her boyfriend, so she says yes. Meanwhile, Keith's friend Mariah, who has a major crush on Keith, realizes that he and K.C. are the same person. She wishes that Keith had asked her to the dance, but alas, he just couldn't see past her glasses and ponytail. Mariah starts spying on Keith, trying to figure out how he becomes K.C., and after she sees him use the potion, she breaks into his locker and downs the whole bottle right before the dance. At the dance, when Shelly feels guilty and goes back to her boyfriend, Mariah is there to pick up the pieces. She confesses her love to Keith and tells him that now that she's pretty, they can be together. She tells him that she found his potion and drank the whole bottle, then she suddenly falls violently ill. Keith brings her out to the hall and she starts to transform then falls unconscious. Keith realizes that he loves her, and starts crying and begs her not to die. Suddenly, she's okay again and she's still hot; Keith is too. Keith waxes philosophically about how crying like a little bitch helped him defeat his dark dragon and the now permanently attractive couple return to the dance to get all kissy and shit.
The Lesson: There is a magic potion that can repair serious nerve damage, improve your eyesight, and make you more attractive, and it only costs $20.


Episode 7 - The Tale of the Whispering Walls

Synopsis: Claire, Andrew, and their babysitter Louise get lost on the way back from a carnival and end up a mysterious place called The Whisper Inn. The eccentric man inside, gives them directions that are supposed to take them back to the highway, but instead they end up at a rundown old mansion in the woods. The car breaks down, and Louise goes inside to look for help. When she doesn't come back, the kids go in after her. Inside the creepy old house, they find a room filled with candy and ice cream, which isn't at all suspicious. After almost eating acid-filled sundaes, the kids decide to go back to the inn and ask the man who was there before for help. When they get there, they find the man is gone, and a bunch of ghosts are there instead. The ghosts tell the children that the mansion belongs to Master Raymond, and that whenever there's a full moon on February 29th, he lures people to the house and traps their souls within the walls to sustain himself. If the children don't free Louise before sundown, she will belong to Master Raymond forever. The children venture back to the house, and they discover that the weird guy who sent them to the house in the first place was indeed Master Raymond. He taunts the children and tries to scare them off, but they eventually find Louise tied up in the attic. Raymond tells them there's nothing they can do, but Andrew throws a vase through a window and reveals Raymond's weakness: the wind. He is blown away and the trio rush for the front door. Before they can escape, Master Raymond appears again and seals the front door with magic. He tells Andrew that since he interfered, now he'll be taking both Louise *and* Claire's souls. The Master puts the girls into trances and beckons them towards him. Then a female ghost comes out of the walls and tells Raymond that Claire is too young, and that she reminds her of her daughter, but he refuses to listen. Defiantly, the ghost breaks Raymond's seal and opens the front door, blowing him away once again. Louise, Claire, and Andrew hop into Louise's car which magically starts and they drive off. As the sun starts to set, another car pulls up in front of the house and breaks down. A man gets out, and enters the house. Master Raymond's maniacal laughter echoes throughout the woods.
Lesson #1: Just because a guy looks sort of like Johnny Depp doesn't necessarily mean he's as cool as Johnny Depp.
Lesson #2: Just because you weren't raised in a barn doesn't necessarily mean you shouldn't leave random doors and windows open.


Episode 8 - The Tale of the Frozen Ghost

Synopsis: Charles Pemberton-Shilling III is an annoying spoiled rich kid who gets sent to his aunts' farm for a week while his parents attend a wedding. His snarky babysitter Daphne (Melissa Joan Hart from Clarissa Explains It All) accompanies him. Shortly after they arrive, Charles begins seeing the ghost of a young neighbor who froze to death in the farm's barn many years ago. Eventually, he figures out the mystery behind the boy's death: he was sneaking around the farm planning to steal cookies from the pantry, when he accidentally stumbled upon a bankrobber hiding stolen gold coins. The bankrobber chased the boy and took his coat and left him to die. Charles follows the ghost to an old rotting log and finds the boy's jacket, right where the robber hid it, along with an old iron key. He gives the boy his coat back, thus freeing his spirit. Later, he shows the key to his aunts who recognize it as the flue key for their old kitchen stove. They open the flue, and the bank robber's gold coins come pouring out. Hooray!
The Lesson: If you help other people, you'll be rewarded with large sums of money.


Episode 9 - The Tale of the Full Moon

Synopsis: Jed isn't just the gayest-looking little boy you've ever seen, he's also a pet detective. When he finds a bunch of pet collars behind a neighbor's house, he suspects that the man who lives there is eating them. He begins to spy on his neighbor and becomes convinced that he sees him transform into a werewolf. So when his mom begins dating the guy, Jed freaks the fuck out. After stabbing him with a silver fork during his mom's dinner date doesn't work, Jed breaks into the man's house to try and prove he's a werewolf. He discovers that he was wrong and the man isn't a werewolf; his brother is. He also learns that werewolf isn't a bad guy, he's just misunderstood. Jed teaches the werewolf to stop eating people's pets, his mom marries the neighbor, and they all live happily ever after.
Lesson #1: Lycanthropy is a horribly misunderstood disease.
Lesson #2: The show's costume department can't find a convincing wolf mask on short notice.


Episode 10 - The Tale of the Shiny Red Bicycle

Synopsis: Mike's best friend Ricky was killed when a bridge railing collasped and he fell into an active drainage ditch. Mike tried to save Ricky, but Ricky wasn't strong enough to hold on. The boy and his bike were swept away by the water, and neither one was ever found. Years later, when Mike is a teenager, he is still haunted by nightmares of the friend he couldn't save. Suddenly, it becomes more than just nightmares. Mike starts seeing Ricky and his bike everywhere, and he starts freaking the fuck out. Eventually, Mike gets the balls to confront Ricky's ghost and asks him why he won't fucking leave him alone. Ricky explains that he's not there to hurt Mike, he's there to warn him. Mike's brother Ben is down fishing by the same drainage ditch where Ricky died, and he's going to die too if Mike doesn't save him. Ricky gives Mike his prized possession, his red bicycle, and tells him to hurry and save his brother. Mike saves his brother, and suddenly Ricky's shiny red bicycle becomes rusted and broken. The next day, Ricky's body is finally recovered, his spirit finally at peace.
Lesson #1: Not all ghosts are evil and vengeful.
Lesson #2: Playing outside is stupid and dangerous.


Episode 11 - The Tale of the Magician's Assistant

Synopsis: Todd Marker takes a job with a once-great magician named Shandu to help support his single working mom. Shandu is impatient and sometimes mean, but he teaches Todd all of the classic magic tricks as well as the three cardinal rules of magic: never touch another magician's wand unless he hands it to you, only let the audience see what you want them to, and never get caught in your own reflection. When Todd accidentally discovers that Shandu's wand is really magic, he steals it so he can uses its power to finish his overworked mom's advertising storyboards for her. When Shandu discovers that Todd used the wand, he explains to him that a powerful demon named Nazrak is trapped inside the wand and that using it weakens the seal that keeps demon trapped. He then angrily fires Todd. After Todd leaves Shandu's trailer, he remembers he still has a gift that Shandu gave him and he guiltily goes to return it. He arrives back at the trailer, he finds it in flames and hears Shandu trapped inside. He grabs the wand and uses it again to put out the fire, only to discover that it was an illusory trap and that using the wand a third time has completely freed Nazrak and forced Shandu to take his place inside the wand. Nazrak tries to take the wand from Todd, but he escapes. Nazrak pursues and Todd eventually gives him the wand under the condition that no harm comes to his mother. Nazrak agrees, but once the wand is in his hands, he reminds Todd that he never fucking promised not to hurt him. He fires the wand at Todd, who steps aside to reveal a mirror. The beam bounces back at the demon, trapping him once again and freeing Shandu. Shandu then tells Todd that he's had the wand for too long and entrusts it to his protection.
The Lesson: Sometimes when you get caught stealing stuff, you get to keep it anyway.


Episode 12 - The Tale of the Hatching

Synopsis: When Augie Wilson's parents are forced to travel abroad because of their job, he and his sassy sister Jazz get shipped off to the Black Brook boarding school. At first, they think the place is weird. The school uses low frequency tones to signify class changes instead of the traditional bells, music is banned, and every night they are served a disgusting white goo called Spunge for desert. The siblings eventually grow to like the eccentric school, but they refuse to try Spunge. One night, they awake to find all of the other students leaving their beds in some sort of trance. They follow them and find out the horrible fucking truth: the school's headmaster and headmistress are really evil reptilian monsters who are using Spunge-induced mind control to force the students to incubate their queen's eggs. Once the eggs hatch, the students will be offered up as sacrifices to the ravenous newborn babies. Augie and Jazz try to escape, but they are caught and locked in the queen's lair. Augie suddenly realizes that the reptiles don't like high frequencies and takes out his walkman. Using a speaker to amplify the sound, he blasts loud music and destroys the queen, her servants, and all the eggs. Well, almost all the eggs. In the closing scene, we are shown that a single egg has survived.
The Lesson: Stay the fuck out of boarding school, it's not safe.


Episode 13 - The Tale of Old Man Corcoran

Synopsis: Jack and Kenny Harris just moved to a new town and they're desperate to make some friends. When Marshall McClain asks them to play hide and seek at the graveyard with him one night, the two boys are so eager to win him over that they accept the invitation. When they arrive, they meet Marshall's other friends, Ron Jacobsen, Scott Walden, Laura Ayers, Mary Alice Reardon, and Cissy Vernon. Cissy proceeds to tell them the legend of Old Man Corcoran, a crazy old gravedigger who hated children. One day, a grave he was digging caved in and he was buried alive. Now his ghost haunts the graveyard, playing his harmonica and looking for trespassers. Jack and Kenny don't buy the story, and run off to hide. As they're looking for a hiding spot, they suddenly hear harmonica music. Convinced that the other kids are playing a trick on them, they follow the sound of music. To their surprise, they stumble upon an old shack and see Old Man Corcoran chopping wood outside. They run out of the graveyard, screaming like fucking morons as the go. The next night, the boys work up the courage to go back and play again. When Marshall and the others rebuff their claim that they saw Old Man Corcoran, they decide to steal his harmonica to prove it. They manage to procure the harmonica from the shack, but Old Man Corcoran sees them and chases them through the graveyard. They hide from him in an open grave, but Cissy is hiding there too and she angrily tells the boys to get out of her hiding spot. Then Marshall calls to them from another open grave and tells them to hide with him. The boys show him the harmonica, but he doesn't care. The boys explain the gravedigger's ghost is after them, and Marshall tries to convince them one last time to hide in the grave with him. Suddenly Old Man Corcoran comes up behind the boys and grabs his harmonica out of Jack's hand. He asks the boys if they're alone, and they say they were playing hide and seek with their friends. When they give him the names, the old man scowls and tells the boys not to tell such mean jokes, all those kids are dead and buried. When they turn around to the previous open grave where Marshall was hiding, they instead see a headstone bearing Marshall's name. Finally, the truth is revealed: Old Man Corcoran is very much alive, while the other children are all ghosts; Cissy's story was a complete lie, and Old Man Corcoran just saved Jack and Kenny from being buried alive.
Lesson #1: Scary-looking old men usually aren't evil, despite cruel rumors to the contrary. You probably should have already learned this from Home Alone.
Lesson #2: For the love of God, don't ever play outside.

      So what have we learned today? All sorts of great stuff. First off, Bobcat Goldthwait is fucking annoying. Secondly, boarding school is always a bad choice. Third, earrings and white guys are *never* a winning combination. Fourth, chemistry totally sucks ass. Oh yeah, and werewolves are good people. But the most important lesson to be learned from Are You Afraid of the Dark? is this: DON'T EVER FUCKING PLAY OUTSIDE. Seriously, you'll get lost or drowned or buried. You can do pretty much anything else, just stay indoors. It's safer. Oh, you can't play video games either.


Posted by: Syd Lexia