[Review] The Midnight Society Reborn in New ‘Are You Afraid of the Dark?’

The Midnight Society is reborn in the newly reimagined Are You Afraid of the Dark?, and with a second season just announced, there’s no better time to get acquainted with this updated version of the classic 1990s Nickelodeon series.

The three-part limited first season of the reboot follows members of an entirely new Midnight Society, who are first introduced wearing masks and still gather around a campfire in the woods to tell scary stories.

While there are many callbacks that will delight fans of the original series, there are also numerous Easter eggs for horror fans in general, such as Herbert West Middle School, the town of Argento, and new Midnight Society member Rachel’s last name of Carpenter. In fact, most of the main characters share last names with well-known genre directors, including Coscarelli, Fulci, Raimi, and Lynch.

The new girl at school, Rachel (played by Lyliana Wray) is introduced wearing skull earrings and impresses a Society member Graham (played by Jeremy Taylor of It and Goosebumps 2: Haunted Halloween) with her knowledge of The Changling.

The new Midnight Society is rounded out by Gavin played by Sam Ashe Arnold, Akiko played by Miya Cech, and Louise played by Tamara Smart (of this year’s Halloween movie A Babysitter’s Guide to Monster Hunting).

When Rachel tells the Society her tale of the Carnival of Doom and its evil ringmaster Mr. Top Hat (played by Rafael Casal), the story starts coming to life when an actual carnival sets up in town.

Released this summer, the DVD also includes three fan-favorite episodes from the original 1990s series, including 1992’s Season 1 Episode 2 “The Tale of Laughing in the Dark” featuring Zebo, a cigar-smoking clown who haunts a carnival funhouse; 1994’s Season 4 Episode 8 “The Tale of the Ghastly Grinner” featuring an aspiring comic book artist with a science teacher named “Mr. Wrightson”; and 1995’s Season 5 Episode 1 “The Tale of the Dead Man’s Float,” in which the main character has a crush on a girl named “Clarice.”

An entertaining reimagining of a great “gateway horror” series for all ages, Are You Afraid of the Dark? is available now on DVD from Paramount Home Entertainment and Nickelodeon Home Entertainment.

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Matt Artz

Founded Halloween Daily News in 2012 and the Halloween International Film Festival in 2016. Professional writer/journalist/photographer since 2000.