So Goosebumps has just had a MAJOR comeback and while that's pretty good news, I have to wonder why there's been no revival of the classic Are You Afraid of the Dark? TV series.
The popular Nickelodeon series ran from 1990 to 2000 and had 91 episodes, which ran over seven seasons. I used to watch the show each day after school at my grandparents' house and it never failed to send chills down my spine.
The series was a mixture of Tales From the Crypt and The Twilight Zone aimed at a young audience. Each episode was introduced by a group of kids known as the Midnight Society, who would meet in the woods around a campfire to tell stories about ghosts, vampires and other sinister monsters.
The series was so popular that it also spun off into the world of books to accompany the series, unlike Goosebumps, which started in book form.
The Goosebumps books, which were gaining popularity at the time, soon hopped on the bandwagon and produced a TV series of its own to match the success of Are You Afraid of the Dark?.
Simply put, though, Goosebumps wasn't a patch on Are You Afraid of the Dark?.
The thing is, and I know many will agree with me, Are You Afraid of the Dark? was a much better show than Goosebumps in terms of story, character and budget. Even at such a young age I could tell the difference between a show constantly pushing the boundaries of its kid-friendly horror confines, and one that went for the cheap scare.
Where AYAOTD? tried to create realistic grounded characters in a situation that put them at peril, Goosebumps would try to do the same, but everything had a sideshow twist to it. It's like comparing Christian Bale's Batman films to, say, George Clooney's turkey. Same playing field but two VERY different interpretations.
In fact, as much of a fan of R.L. Stine's Goosebumps books as I was, they did leave a lot to be desired. I used to devour three a day at one point and they were the strongest source of horror I could expect to receive in my pre-teen years.
Don't believe me? Well, let's compare the series openers. First, AYAOTD?:
And now Goosebumps:
I would say there's a clear distinction between AYAOTD?'s terrifyingly creepy intro, which still freaks me out today, and Goosebumps' somewhat muddled mash-up of random clips.
It's all down to personal tastes I suppose, and I did watch both series at one point. But I eventually gave up on Goosebumps as it was far more watered down. This is coming from a child who was somehow allowed to watch Poltergeist and The Changeling on a regular basis, so I was already a hardcore horror fan.
Oh, and since you're still here — check out one of my favorite episodes of AYAOTD? called "The Tale of the Prom Queen." Gotta love it!
I'm also very fond of this one, which bears more then a passing resemblance to John Carpenter's The Fog:
Want more horror?