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For a children's series that had to go light on the gore, Are You Afraid Of The Dark? had more than a few legitimate scares that hold up to this day. Please add only examples, not your own experiences.
- The opening sequence.
- For many a viewer, the channel was immediately changed upon hearing the ominous sound accompanying the picture of the empty rowboat.
- The episode where the kids are trapped in a dollhouse and are slowly turning into porcelain dolls, one of whom is already so far gone that her hand falls off when she tries to help move a heavy piece of furniture.
- Especially how it was delivered. The protagonist asks the girl to help her move the furniture. The girl doesn't even change her facial expression, but simply pulls her hand out of the sleeve. Cue her friend giving an Oh Crap expression and promising to work faster at escaping.
- An episode where the kids wind up getting in a taxi that shows up in the middle of the woods in order to find their way out. The taxi driver then shows his handless right arm. Later in the show, the kids wind up in what looks like a mad scientist's lab, and find the taxi driver's hand floating in formaldehyde.
- Later they run into the taxi driver again and he starts speeding up and cackling about what the explosion of the car will be like if they don't solve the riddle in time.
- The Nosferatu episode where the vampire from the original film came out of the movie and started coming after the kids.
- Just about every episode with vampires, "The Tale of the Night Shift" for one.
"There's no use in running. I'm far too good a hunter!"
"And isn't the hospital a great place for it? It's like...a candy store."
- One of the most disturbing quotes in known history comes from the vampire after he's caught the main character:
"I should drop you and then lick up what's left!"
- Or any episode with a Monster Clown. The Ghastly Grinner, the Crimson Clown, Zeebo.
- "The tale of Dead Man's Float". Just like Tim Curry's portrayal of Pennywise, this episode can make you afraid of shower drains, not to mention swimming in the deep end of the public pool.
- No wonder it's usually voted among the top of the lists of scariest episodes of AYAOTD history
- "The Tale of the Ghastly Grinner", with the idea that something evil can reduce absolutely anyone to a giggling, drooling imbecile simply by being there.
- The Tale of The Twisted Claw where the kid wishes that his parents were gone, and then gets a phonecall from the police saying his parents had been in a car accident... a sort of inverted Adult Fear.
- From the same episode:
Kid 1: I wish Gramps was here; he'd know what to do. (The claw glows, and a car pulls up outside)
Kid 2: Dude... your grandfather is dead... (cue knocking on the front door)
- The story is based on the incredibly creepy "The Monkey's Paw", by W.W.Jacobs.
- Recently, ToplessRobot.com did their own 10 Creepiest Are You Afraid Of The Dark episodes, complete with full episode footage, courtesy of YouTube. Enjoy!
- The Tale of the Quicksilver opens with a little girl drawing a chalk doorway in the wall that a demon walks out of. She tries to get rid of it but can't; we last see her knocking one of the candles over, the curtains catching fire. We later learn that the girl burned to death in her room.
- The ending to The Tale of the Dark Music just for the look on Andy's face where it's implied he's going to feed his sister to the monster.
- It gets worse. In the ending scene around the campfire with the Midnight Society, the storyteller says that Andy didn't feed his sister to the monster but "he made she didn't bother him anymore". Exactly how he did that is left to our imaginations. God damn my imagination...
- Let's not forget when the skeleton comes out of the closet and how each time you put on music the door in the basement opens and out comes a monster trying to eat you, or how the monster is implied to have eaten the bully while the bully screams in terror. Or that creepy life-size doll.
- "I am cold..."
- The Tale of Many Faces where an old woman steals faces from young girls leaving them looking like mannequins. Also all the girls wearing those masks, *shudders*
- Not an episode, but a commercial for the series. It showed a young girl in her bed, in the dark, unable to fall asleep. She keeps hearing creaking noises, seeing shadows on the wall, and finally she can't take it any more. She gets up, hearing a noise outside her bedroom door, and opens it... to see the family dog sitting outside. She breathes a sigh of relief --and then the dog looks at her and says, in an ultra-deep voice, "Are you afraid of the dark?"
- The Tale of Old Man Corcoran. You never find out how or why the leader of the group of Hide-And-Seekers keeps gathering more and more kids to play these games, yet once the old grave digger explains that all those kids have been dead for years, the Fridge Horror comes in buckets. First, the girl who tries keep those boys out of the group was just trying to make sure they didn't end up like her; a ghostly participant eternally bound to a game of Hide And Seek in the graveyard. Second, the leader of the group who trying to get the two boys to come into his open grave was likely just going to somehow kill them and bind them to said eternal game of Hide And Seek. Third, that's why you never see the Hide And Seek group ever change their clothes during the new day, and why they are always colored in blues and whites during the night sequences. They are all dead.
- Even worse? When the leader called out everyone to start their game all over, the kids each came out from hiding behind (possibly their own) graves.
- On the bright side, it was a nice aversion to the Black Dude Dies First cliché.
- The Tale of The Chameleons, with its infamous downer ending. The villain not only won but it left a very cruel fate to the protagonist of the episode.
- The Tale of The Virtual Pets. Thank goodness it has a Happy Ending.
Feed me. FEED ME.
- "The Tale of the Lonely Ghost". That is all. "HELP ME HELP ME HELP ME HELP ME" *shudder* I can sit through the most brutal of horror films without batting an eye, but that poor little girl...
- The serial port in Simon's hand in "The Tale Of The Renegade Virus". Also, the virus that attempts to enter Simon's brain via plugging in a serial port connector as his hand in the serial port embedded in Simon's hand. The Does This Remind You of Anything? Attempted Rape parallels make it even scarier than it has to be.
- In the episode "The Tale of Laughing in the Dark" the character Josh is talking to his friend on the phone when the Monster Clown Big Bad of the episode suddenly speaks up on the other line "If you don't give it back, I'll come up and get it!"