Do you like scary stories? That simple question, posed nearly a year go, heralded the long-awaited return of what is one of the most beloved series in Nickelodeon’s history – Are You Afraid of the Dark? The series’ reboot (and for others its “eighth” season) was met largely with applause from audiences new and old alike. Now almost a year removed from the mini-series event’s premiere, audiences are able to watch it anytime on DVD, as it was released Friday through Nickelodeon and Paramount at Target stores nationwide. The DVD is a positive addition to the home library of any fan of Are You Afraid of the Dark? That is due primarily to the actual episode, which will be discussed shortly. It is just one of the DVD’s positives. Its bonus content adds to its appeal and will be discussed a little later. The DVD’s average price range rounds out its most important elements. Each item noted here is important in its own way to the whole of the DVD. All things considered, they make this latest installment of Are You Afraid of the Dark? scary good.
Nickelodeon and Paramount’s newly released DVD presentation of Are You Afraid of the Dark? is a welcome addition to the home library of any of the series’ fans. That includes fans of the original series and those of this latest reboot. That is due in no small part to the DVD’s primary content. The primary content in question is the central three-part story that finds a story told by the Midnight Society’s newest member Rachel coming to life. Rachel’s story is about a Carnival of Terror that has haunted her dreams for years. The carnival and its creepy ringmaster Mr. Tophat (Rafael Casal – Blindspotting, bad Education, Def Poetry) first manifested in Rachel’s dreams when she was a child. Now that she is living in a new town with her parents and joins the Midnight Society, those nightmares have become reality following her telling of the story. Things start going bad from here, especially after Rachel and her new friends visit the carnival. Gavin, Rachel’s crush (played here by Sam Ashe Arnold – Best. Worst. Weekend. Ever., Brotherhood, Winter Hymns), ends up going missing. At the same time, a mystery is revealed about another young man’s disappearance. As it turns out, that boy’s disappearance is also linked to the carnival. This is just some of the trouble that happens when the carnival comes to town. Akiko’s brother Hideo falls victim to the forces of evil, so its up to the Midnight Society to save him and everyone in town as they work to defeat Mr. Tophat once and for all. There are other twists and turns tied into the story that add to the story’s interest. Viewers who have not yet seen this story will be left to discover those twists and turns for themselves. While Nickeldeon spaced out the story over the course of three weeks back in October, the new DVD release allows audiences to choose between watching the same way or just watching the movie all the way through. In other words, viewers are free to watch the story at their own pace, rather than be tied down by any time constraints. This works together with the story’s content to make this aspect a strong foundation for the DVD. While the story and its presentation on the DVD clearly help its appeal, it is just one part of what makes the DVD a positive new presentation. Its bonus content adds to its appeal.
The bonus content featured with the new home release of Are You Afraid of the Dark? is three episodes from the original series. Specifically, hey are the episodes, “The Tale of Laughing in the Dark,” “The Tale of the Ghastly Grinner” and “The Tale of Dead Man’s Float.” The episodes in question are considered by many fans to be among some of the series’ best stories. “The Tale of Laughing in the Dark” is taken from Season 1, “The Tale of the Ghastly Grinner” from Season 4, and “The Tale of Dead Man’s Float” from Season 5. Considering that the original series ran for seven seasons, this alone makes for a good representation of that series. The first episode focuses on a young man named Josh (Christian Tessier – Fear The Walking Dead, The Day After Tomorrow, Real Detective) who stole the nose from a clown named Zeebo. According to the legend told in the tale, Zeebo was believed to be the ghost of a clown also named Zeebo, who died in a fire after trying to steal money from a carnival. Josh learns an invaluable lesson when Zeebo come after Josh in a scenario that will appeal to fans of Scream and pretty much any slasher flick. On another level, one could also argue that the classic Appalachian story of the Tailypo played an influence in this story. For those who have never heard the story of the Tailypo, it is a timeless, chill-inducing tale in its own right. It centers on a hermit who is being stalked by a creature whose tail he took after shooting the creature. The primary story there has a pretty dark ending. That aside, it’s easy to see how that timeless tale might have influenced this story.
“The Tale of the Ghastly Grinner” will appeal to comic book fans. It centers on young hopeful comic book artist Ethan (Amos Crawley – Billy Madison, The Virgin Suicides, Night of the Twisters) as he is given a comic book by the owner of a new shop in his town. Ethan unwittingly unleashes the comic book’s villain, The Ghastly Grinner when he puts the comic book into a microwave to dry the document. It ends up being up to him and his friend Hooper (Heidi Burbela – Adam, Great Canadian Cookbook, Big Brother Canada) to stop the Ghastly Grinner and return it to its comic book world. The story has a happy ending, just like every other episode of the classic series.
The Tale of the Dead Man’s Float is considered by many audiences to be the series best episode. This story focuses on Zeke Matthews (Kaj-Erik Eriksen – The 4400, The Commish, 88 Minutes) as he and his classmate Clorice (Margot Finley – D3: The Mighty Ducks, Opposite Sex, First Wave) fight to stop an evil being (played by Marcel Jeannin – 300, Wicker Park, Taking Lives) that haunts the swimming pool in the students’ school. Zeke has to overcome his fear of the water in order to help defeat the monster. The story has a happy ending, with Zeke and Clorice becoming a couple. That little secondary story line will appeal to certain audiences while the overarching horror story at the center of the tale will appeal more widely. Between that, the episode’s production values and cinematography, this episode leaves little doubt why it remains such a memorable addition to the original run of Are You Afraid of the Dark? When it is considered alongside the other bonus classic episodes, the trio goes a long way toward adding to the DVD’s appeal.
Staying on the topic of the classic episodes, it is known that all seven seasons of the original series are available exclusively through Amazon. The problem is that those box sets are not official releases. They are DVR sets that are essentially created on demand. On another note, PlutoTV is streaming episodes from the original series, but the selection right now is limited. To that end, having these three episodes featured in this DVD leaves one hoping that eventually Nickelodeon, Viacom and Paramount will finally take the steps to release all seven seasons in official sets complete with bonus content. It’s one more series that will undoubtedly sell very well should officials with each company come to their senses and make that move. Time will tell.
Getting back on track, the primary and secondary content featured in Nickelodeon and Paramount’s new home release of Are You Afraid of the Dark? go a long way toward making the DVD entertaining and engaging. For all the value that they present, it should be noted that they make the DVD’s average price range appealing in its own way. The DVD’s average price range is $14.45. That price was obtained by averaging prices listed at Amazon, Walmart, Target, Best Buy, Barnes & Noble Booksellers, and Books-A-Million. Amazon and Best Buy offer the least expensive listings at $11.99 each. Walmart, Books-a-Million, and Barnes & Noble Booksellers all broke that price point with listings at $16.99, $15.76, and $16.99 respectively. Target’s listing of $12.99 is the only listing below the average price point — $12.99 – other than those of Amazon and Best Buy. As an additional note, research has shown that Target is the only one of the noted retailers that offers the DVD in store. The other retailers force audiences to order online. This is important to note because some people prefer to shop in person instead of online. In other words, audiences wanting the lowest price (even including shipping and handling) will have to order the DVD through Amazon and Best Buy. Otherwise, audiences who prefer to shop in store will have to pay a dollar more at Target. The other retailers are just too expensive, in comparing the listings. That those key listings are all under the $15 mark for a DVD that has just over two hours of content old and new alike, makes that average price point appealing, without question. What’s more the noted less expensive listings are affordable for audiences, too. That is the most important thing here. When this is considered along with the DVD’s primary and secondary content, the whole of this DVD becomes a welcome addition to the library of any Are You Afraid of the Dark? fan.
Nickelodeon and Paramount’s newly released DVD presentation of Are You Afraid of the Dark? is a positive presentation for new and old fans alike of this unforgettable series. That is due in part to the DVD’s primary content, the three-part episode that originally aired in 2019. It is a gripping story that will haunt audiences in all of the best ways. The trio of classic episodes that accompany the new story as bonus content adds even more appeal to the DVD. It will take fans of the original series back to another time while also introducing a new generation of audiences to that great series. The DVD’s average price point is relatively affordable. That is especially the case with its least expensive listings. All three noted elements are important in their own way to the whole of this DVD. All things considered they make Are You Afraid of the Dark? one of this year’s top new family DVDs/BDs. More information on the DVD and the forthcoming second (technically ninth) season of Are You Afraid of the Dark? is available along with all of the series’ latest news at http://www.facebook.com/AreYouAfraidOfTheDark.
To keep up with the latest entertainment reviews and news, go online to http://www.facebook.com/philspicks and “Like” it. Fans can always keep up with the latest entertainment reviews and news in the Phil’s Picks blog at https://philspicks.wordpress.com.