November 14, 2017
‘Are You Afraid of the Dark?’ is Becoming a Movie
The Midnight Society is coming to life on the big screen.
A Nickelodeon classic is headed to the big screen. Variety has reported that an Are You Afraid of the Dark? movie is currently in development at Paramount Pictures. It screenwriter Gary Dauberman has been tapped to pen the film.
Nickelodeon’s Are You Afraid of the Dark? centered on a group of teenagers who form a group christened The Midnight Society. The society’s ritualistic meetings would take place in secret locations in the woods, where every week, one member told a scary story based on either fairytales or urban legends — but with a modern twist. The actual series of events would then play out onscreen as the stories were told. Are You Afraid of the Dark? ran from 1992-1996 before it was revived in 1999 for two seasons.
The era of films based on the nostalgia of the 80s and 90s is far from over. After the success of the likes of Stranger Things and It, an Are You Afraid of the Dark? film is actually not much of a surprising development. Kids in creepy situations? We’re apparently all for it!
Other wistful throwback projects are in the works at different production companies as it is, such as CBS’ third Twilight Zone reboot. Given the iconic nature of that show and the sheer number of other shows like it that already exist, there are some understandable concerns. Max Covill presents a great case questioning the viability of The Twilight Zone in 2017, determining:
“There is no quantifying the joy and nostalgia of sitting down to watch episodes of the Twilight Zone. The show has been a staple in many households throughout the years through syndication and holds a special place in television history.”
I would agree. I personally loved Are You Afraid of the Dark? as a child and even though I haven’t actually revisited the show in about 15 years, it was one of the few creepy shows I would dare watch at a tender age. But to me, the prospect of a film version of Are You Afraid of the Dark? is actually even more fascinating, given the original show’s anthology format. Part of the joy of that show rested in coming back each week, ready to hear a new campfire story. What deciding factors come into play when deciding which urban legends to fit into a 2-hour runtime?
The concept of an Are You Afraid of the Dark? film adaptation is beguiling in its lack of detail at this point in the news cycle, but I also approach the movie with a little caution. Having loved It, there isn’t much of a question towards Dauberman’s capabilities as a screenwriter. It is actually even a prime example of how trepidation about new adaptations can be proven wrong, and many films still deserve a chance to garner the favor of audiences. But the film industry has a tendency to milk a fad, oversaturating the upcoming slate of releases with similar movies instead of focusing on newer, fresher stories. The gut reaction will always be a little wary, especially when sentiment is involved.