I’ve been enjoying these walks down memory lane of looking at past films or television series (in this case) to analyze why I like certain things or remember certain things. So I’m continuing the little trend of figuring out why I am remembering some things more clearly than others. And it comes down to me being a very visual person.
So I’ve done top favorite episodes of Are You Afraid of the Dark in the past but this will be more focused on moments that to me are memorable, they still stick in my head or in your heads technically! I only picked 10 because my brain couldn’t compute with anything more than 10 but there may be some honorable mentions… let’s get started!
10. The Tale of the Silver Sight – S7 EP 1: The later seasons of AYAOTD aka the revival from 2000 aren’t my favorites. There’s nothing really memorable about them, it seems like all the better stories are from the original seasons/Midnight Society that were given personalities and backgrounds so we felt more connected. The newer cast, you don’t get that at all. But a big highlight and touching moment is seeing Gary back on our screen again and missing that energy that Gary kind of commands as the former leader of the Midnight Society. And of course, seeing a more older Tucker responding to big brother.
9. The Tale of the Chameleons – S5 EP 5: Tia and Tamera Mowry star in this tale told by Betty Ann, who in my humble opinion probably has some of the best stories out of the entire series, which is about a girl, Janice (Tia Mowry) being bitten by a chameleon and creates a doppelganger of herself (Tamera Mowry) who does a great performance of playing basically the antagonist. The moment I remember is the eyes changing of the doppleganger. And that expression on her face, I can see it in my head right now. A lot of smirking in this too.
8. The Tale of the Dangerous Soup – S3 EP 13: Let’s get right off the bat, Neve Campbell is in this. This is before Scream but I knew her from Party of Five. I watched that show, my mom watched that show, still upset at how Bailey treated Sarah but that is not the point of this! Another guest appearance by Dr. Vink with a va-va-va, a prominent character of Frank’s stories, he is just as eccentric in this episode has he shows up again in another listed moment but the idea of fear being extracted from you in order to make food is quite creepy in itself. But what sticks out to me is always seeing the gargoyle just emerging from creepy light and fog but also there was a snake. It looked like a boa and as many times I’ve seen snakes because of my previous job, I just never got into them. It was all in his lap and… shudders.
7. The Tale of the Quicksilver – S3 EP 11: Another episode with another well known television actress in Tatyana Ali. She does a great job as playing twins Connie and Laura Turner, both of them being very different people. You feel the sympathy for one and the anger for the other twin. But the top moment for me is when the demon emerges from the darkness, and it’s the makeup effect, the eyes are so pronounced a la… MJ in Thriller when he is turned into one of the walking/living dead. It’s the pronounced deep set eyes that seem to bulge out and take center stage every single time he appears on screen. It’s a small screen time for him but clearly effective.
6. The Tale of the Midnight Madness – S2 EP 2: Frank and his character Dr. Vink returns in a more better and iconic episode of season two. I enjoy this episode, I believe it also was a top 20 episode on my list. The story, very simply, a local theatre is on the verge of closing down for good and a couple of its employees are trying their hardest to keep it open, saved and have jobs. The eccentric Dr. Vink arrives to make a deal, showcase his films and the crowds will come. His films take on a bit of their own life and a film, Nosferatu (inspired by Nosferatu from 1922), well, he just comes out of the screen. That moment of him breaking the fourth wall, looking into the “empty” seats and just slipping out of there. Another equally creepy moment is realizing that Vink has MANY other films to show after buying the theatre.
5. The Tale of the Ghastly Grinner – S4 EP 9: This episode, this episode feeds my little artistic, creative soul. The comic art, transitions, a big baddie in obnoxious colors, there’s a lot about Ghastly Grinner than I enjoy. However there are quite a few moments but I think the one for me that sticks out is when the two children are on the bus thinking they escaped and they look down at the comic to see themselves and then look up at the bus driver who is driving manically, pale and ghostly, blue goo forming at the mouth and laughing hysterically. The bus driver even after the kids escape is just twitching and laughing with the goo out the mouth.
4. The Tale of the Super Specs – S1 EP 6: An episode that doesn’t get enough love. The concept is creepy on its own, seeing a different universe or alternative universe through glasses and seeing that it’s not exactly fun or safe when everyone just looks like black shapes. The ending is the moment for me. You know horror can either be bleak, a happy ending or an ending where either option is there for how you feel. Just seeing that who we were rooting for doesn’t even get to make it or have that ending of “everything is okay” is… so terrifying!
3. The Tale of the Laughing in the Dark – S1 EP 2: Zeebo. Zeebo. Zeebo. Zeebo the Clown. I have a love/hate relationship with clowns and I believe it started here. We know this episode, it’s one of the more iconic episodes of the entire series, almost like a mascot for the original run. But I know a lot of you reading this are thinking that the biggest choice is when we first see Zeebo in the attraction, the “fake” one. Or maybe it’s Zeebo in the house, supposedly. But no, the moment for me is when Josh is inside of the attraction and it isn’t Zeebo the clown he sees, it’s like a real person as Zeebo saying like “what do you think I am, some kind of clown” smoking a cigar and moving and it’s so brief but creepy.
2. The Tale of Dead Man’s Float – S5 EP 1: I think this episode ranked number one on said post about top 20 favorite episodes of AYAOTD and for good reason. This is an episode that truly scared me and then stuck with me even as an adult. But we know this chosen moment: the first time we see our lovely monster emerging from the pool and it’s the look of him. He’s a red, acidic kind of red that probably smells of mildew spirit who is silent. The makeup and special effects are amazing, probably one of the best. They spent the money where they needed.
1. The Tale of the Dark Music – S1 EP 11: I never quite understood this episode as a child but as an adult, let’s talk about eerie. A bullied kid seems to come across a door in the basement that plays music. But the entity behind it has different “looks”. And one of them completely freaks me out now, is the adult sized baby doll. And then it talks. AND I DO NOT LIKE THAT. Don’t get it twisted, I have some dolls that are from Living Dead Dolls or “figures” from Neca Toys, plenty of Funko Pops and stuffed creatures, but I think the height and how much it moved like a person. The other moment that sticks out is the ending, how our protagonist is so annoyed with his younger sister and just the idea of him sacrificing his sister is sinister but the way it ends is open to interpretation, a bleak ambiguous ending.
There are TONS of other episodes I could have spoken about like Crimson Clown, Pinball Wizard, Thirteenth Floor, Vacant Lot, Night Shift, so many others that have some memorable moments that could round out a top 20 to be quite honest. But what are some of your favorite moments from AYAOTD? The original run, the revival or the recent new version that was released?