It’s been a while since I’ve done a Retro Rundown post…
For the new readers out there, Retro Rundown is when I watch episodes of a tv series towards a younger audience featuring horror so Goosebumps, Are You Afraid of the Dark, possibly Eerie, Indiana, spooky episodes of Hey Arnold, Rugrats, anything like that.
So today, it’s been another journey into AYAOTD land and there are some free episodes on youtube. I wanted to watch an episode that I haven’t seen in a while or that I haven’t ranked as one of my personal favorites. I wanted to watch an early season episode so season 1-2 at least. So my original option was “The Tale of the Prom Queen” but instead, the episode played “The Tale of the Nightly Neighbors” and here we go!
Let’s briefly discuss it!
Season 1, episode 8. This episode is narrated or “told” by one of my personal favorites of the Midnight Society, Betty-Ann! I enjoy her stories, Kiki and Gary’s tales the most. I also remembered that I don’t like the character of Eric at all and the intro to the show is not the memorable one we get later on. It’s the same imagery but not the spooky tune behind it.
Big thing that really stood out was the use of the film Night of the Living Dead (1968) by George A. Romero which is great to see tv shows geared towards a preteen/teen audience showcasing some classics on a tv. I guess the connection there would be neighbors or strangers that you don’t know can become something terrifying.
The story is pretty simple: we have a brother and sister duo who think that their new neighbors are vampires. They are from Europe, wear black, come out a night, maybe from the Ukraine like Emma thinks or they are g*ypsies. That word came up and I legit made a physical reaction as I was leaving the room momentarily.
It’s the classic story of a kid who thinks an adult is a monster of sorts. It kinda reminds me of Goosebumps’ “The Girl who Cried Monster” energy but ironically, both are like “eh they were right, let’s believe the children! The big difference is the little bit of a twist with the adults/parents being servants to the child who happens to be a vampire. I enjoy that twist for sure, nothing more terrifying than children in ANY kind of horror who we don’t trust. Look at Children of the Corn, The Omen, 30 Days of Night, Let the Right One In, or even Night of the Living Dead, any time there is a child in horror, we want to protect and take care but when they are the antagonist, it’s like nah.
It’s the 90s and I didn’t mind the performances that much, it’s always all over the top. I see that with the character Eric but also with the brother character, DayDay. I really cannot with that name.
Overall, the episode is the middle for me. It’s not all that memorable but it’s not boring either. I appreciate the twist on having your vampire be a child, nice change of pace. But other than that, it’s a very middle of the road episode. Like I mentioned earlier, I’ve ranked some of my favorites of the entire series (excluding the renewal and the reboot) so if you wanna check those out, you can, it’ll be linked! If you want to read other Retro Rundown posts, just click the tag for it in this post and it’ll lead you to others.
What episode of AYAOTD would you suggest next or ANY other episodes from other kid friendly horror shows, let me know! Or tell me your favorite episode of Are You Afraid of the Dark?.